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IPCC errors: facts and spin

Filed under: — group @ 14 February 2010 - (Czech) (Svenska)

Currently, a few errors –and supposed errors– in the last IPCC report (“AR4″) are making the media rounds – together with a lot of distortion and professional spin by parties interested in discrediting climate science.  Time for us to sort the wheat from the chaff: which of these putative errors are real, and which not? And what does it all mean, for the IPCC in particular, and for climate science more broadly?

Let’s start with a few basic facts about the IPCC.  The IPCC is not, as many people seem to think, a large organization. In fact, it has only 10 full-time staff in its secretariat at the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva, plus a few staff in four technical support units that help the chairs of the three IPCC working groups and the national greenhouse gas inventories group. The actual work of the IPCC is done by unpaid volunteers – thousands of scientists at universities and research institutes around the world who contribute as authors or reviewers to the completion of the IPCC reports. A large fraction of the relevant scientific community is thus involved in the effort.  The three working groups are:

Working Group 1 (WG1), which deals with the physical climate science basis, as assessed by the climatologists, including several of the Realclimate authors.

Working Group 2 (WG2), which deals with impacts of climate change on society and ecosystems, as assessed by social scientists, ecologists, etc.

Working Group 3 (WG3) , which deals with mitigation options for limiting global warming, as assessed by energy experts, economists, etc.

Assessment reports are published every six or seven years and writing them takes about three years. Each working group publishes one of the three volumes of each assessment. The focus of the recent allegations is the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), which was published in 2007.  Its three volumes are almost a thousand pages each, in small print. They were written by over 450 lead authors and 800 contributing authors; most were not previous IPCC authors. There are three stages of review involving more than 2,500 expert reviewers who collectively submitted 90,000 review comments on the drafts. These, together with the authors’ responses to them, are all in the public record (see here and here for WG1 and WG2 respectively).

Errors in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4)

As far as we’re aware, so far only one–or at most two–legitimate errors have been found in the AR4:

Himalayan glaciers: In a regional chapter on Asia in Volume 2, written by authors from the region, it was erroneously stated that 80% of Himalayan glacier area would very likely be gone by 2035. This is of course not the proper IPCC projection of future glacier decline, which is found in Volume 1 of the report. There we find a 45-page, perfectly valid chapter on glaciers, snow and ice (Chapter 4), with the authors including leading glacier experts (such as our colleague Georg Kaser from Austria, who first discovered the Himalaya error in the WG2 report).  There are also several pages on future glacier decline in Chapter 10 (“Global Climate Projections”), where the proper projections are used e.g. to estimate future sea level rise. So the problem here is not that the IPCC’s glacier experts made an incorrect prediction. The problem is that a WG2 chapter, instead of relying on the proper IPCC projections from their WG1 colleagues, cited an unreliable outside source in one place. Fixing this error involves deleting two sentences on page 493 of the WG2 report.

Sea level in the Netherlands: The WG2 report states that “The Netherlands is an example of a country highly susceptible to both sea-level rise and river flooding because 55% of its territory is below sea level”. This sentence was provided by a Dutch government agency – the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, which has now published a correction stating that the sentence should have read “55 per cent of the Netherlands is at risk of flooding; 26 per cent of the country is below sea level, and 29 per cent is susceptible to river flooding”. It surely will go down as one of the more ironic episodes in its history when the Dutch parliament last Monday derided the IPCC, in a heated debate, for printing information provided by … the Dutch government. In addition, the IPCC notes that there are several definitions of the area below sea level. The Dutch Ministry of Transport uses the figure 60% (below high water level during storms), while others use 30% (below mean sea level). Needless to say, the actual number mentioned in the report has no bearing on any IPCC conclusions and has nothing to do with climate science, and it is questionable whether it should even be counted as an IPCC error.

Some other issues

African crop yields: The IPCC Synthesis Report states: “By 2020, in some countries, yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50%.” This is properly referenced back to chapter 9.4 of WG2, which says: “In other countries, additional risks that could be exacerbated by climate change include greater erosion, deficiencies in yields from rain-fed agriculture of up to 50% during the 2000-2020 period, and reductions in crop growth period (Agoumi, 2003).”  The Agoumi reference is correct and reported correctly. The Sunday Times, in an article by Jonathan Leake, labels this issue “Africagate” – the main criticism being that Agoumi (2003) is not a peer-reviewed study (see below for our comments on “gray” literature), but a report from the International Institute for Sustainable Development and the Climate Change Knowledge Network, funded by the US Agency for International Development. The report, written by Morroccan climate expert Professor Ali Agoumi, is a summary of technical studies and research conducted to inform Initial National Communications from three countries (Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and is a perfectly legitimate IPCC reference.

It is noteworthy that chapter 9.4 continues with “However, there is the possibility that adaptation could reduce these negative effects (Benhin, 2006).”  Some examples thereof follow, and then it states: “However, not all changes in climate and climate variability will be negative, as agriculture and the growing seasons in certain areas (for example, parts of the Ethiopian highlands and parts of southern Africa such as Mozambique), may lengthen under climate change, due to a combination of increased temperature and rainfall changes (Thornton et al., 2006). Mild climate scenarios project further benefits across African croplands for irrigated and, especially, dryland farms.” (Incidentally, the Benhin and Thornton references are also “gray”, but nobody has complained about them. Could there be double standards amongst the IPCC’s critics?)

Chapter 9.4 to us sounds like a balanced discussion of potential risks and benefits, based on the evidence available at the time–hardly the stuff for shrill “Africagate!” cries. If the IPCC can be criticized here, it is that in condensing these results for its Synthesis Report, important nuance and qualification were lost – especially the point that the risk of drought (defined as a 50% downturn in rainfall) “could be exacerbated by climate change”, as chapter 9.4 wrote – rather than being outright caused by climate change.

Trends in disaster losses: Jonathan Leake (again) in The Sunday Times accused the IPCC of wrongly linking global warming to natural disasters. The IPCC in a statement points out errors in Leake’s “misleading and baseless story”, and maintains that the IPCC provided “a balanced treatment of a complicated and important issue”. While we agree with the IPCC here, WG2 did include a debatable graph provided by Robert Muir-Wood (although not in the main report but only as Supplementary Material). It cited a paper by Muir-Wood as its source although that paper doesn’t include the graph, only the analysis that it is based on. Muir-Wood himself has gone on record to say that the IPCC has fairly represented his research findings and that it was appropriate to include them in the report. In our view there is no IPCC error here; at best there is a difference of opinion. Obviously, not every scientist will always agree with assessments made by the IPCC author teams.

Amazon forest dieback: Leake (yet again), with “research” by skeptic Richard North, has also promoted “Amazongate” with a story regarding a WG2 statement on the future of Amazonian forests under a drying climate.  The contested IPCC statement reads: “Up to 40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation; this means that the tropical vegetation, hydrology and climate system in South America could change very rapidly to another steady state, not necessarily producing gradual changes between the current and the future situation (Rowell and Moore, 2000).”  Leake’s problem is with the Rowell and Moore reference, a WWF report.

The roots of the story are in two blog pieces by North, in which he first claims that the IPCC assertions attributed to the WWF report are not actually in that report. Since this claim was immediately shown to be false,  North then argued that the WWF report’s basis for their statement (a 1999 Nature article by Nepstad et al.) dealt only with the effects of logging and fire –not drought– on Amazonian forests. To these various claims Nepstad has now responded, noting that the IPCC statement is in fact correct. The only issue is that the IPCC cited the WWF report rather than the underlying peer-reviewed papers by Nepstad et al. These studies actually provide the  basis for the IPCC’s estimate on Amazonian sensitivity to drought. Investigations of the correspondence between Leake, scientists, and a BBC reporter (see here and here and here) show that Leake ignored or misrepresented explanatory information given to him by Nepstad and another expert, Simon Lewis, and published his incorrect story anyway. This “issue” is thus completely without merit.

Gray literature: The IPCC cites 18,000 references in the AR4; the vast majority of these are peer-reviewed scientific journal papers. The IPCC maintains a clear guideline on the responsible use of so-called “gray” literature, which are typically reports by other organizations or governments. Especially for Working Groups 2 and 3 (but in some cases also for 1) it is indispensable to use gray sources, since many valuable data are published in them: reports by government statistics offices, the International Energy Agency, World Bank, UNEP and so on. This is particularly true when it comes to regional impacts in the least developed countries, where knowledgeable local experts exist who have little chance, or impetus, to publish in international science journals.

Reports by non-governmental organizations like the WWF can be used (as in the Himalaya glacier and Amazon forest cases) but any information from them needs to be carefully checked (this guideline was not followed in the former case). After all, the role of the IPCC is to assess information, not just compile anything it finds.  Assessment involves a level of critical judgment, double-checking, weighing supporting and conflicting pieces of evidence, and a critical appreciation of the methodology used to obtain the results. That is why leading researchers need to write the assessment reports – rather than say, hiring graduate students to compile a comprehensive literature review.

Media distortions

To those familiar with the science and the IPCC’s work, the current media discussion is in large part simply absurd and surreal. Journalists who have never even peeked into the IPCC report are now outraged that one wrong number appears on page 493 of Volume 2. We’ve met TV teams coming to film a report on the IPCC reports’ errors, who were astonished when they held one of the heavy volumes in hand, having never even seen it. They told us frankly that they had no way to make their own judgment; they could only report what they were being told about it. And there are well-organized lobby forces with proper PR skills that make sure these journalists are being told the “right” story. That explains why some media stories about what is supposedly said in the IPCC reports can easily be falsified simply by opening the report and reading. Unfortunately, as a broad-based volunteer effort with only minimal organizational structure the IPCC is not in a good position to rapidly counter misinformation.

One near-universal meme of the media stories on the Himalaya mistake was that this was “one of the most central predictions of the IPCC” – apparently in order to make the error look more serious than it was.  However, this prediction does not appear in any of the IPCC Summaries for Policy Makers, nor in the Synthesis Report (which at least partly explains why it went unnoticed for years). None of the media reports that we saw properly explained that Volume 1 (which is where projections of physical climate changes belong) has an extensive and entirely valid discussion of glacier loss.

What apparently has happened is that interested quarters, after the Himalyan glacier story broke, have sifted through the IPCC volumes with a fine-toothed comb, hoping to find more embarrassing errors. They have actually found precious little, but the little they did find was promptly hyped into Seagate, Africagate, Amazongate and so on. This has some similarity to the CRU email theft, where precious little was discovered from among thousands of emails, but a few sentences were plucked out of context, deliberately misinterpreted (like “hide the decline”) and then hyped into “Climategate”.

As lucidly analysed by Tim Holmes, there appear to be a few active leaders of this misinformation parade in the media. Jonathan Leake is carrying the ball on this, but his stories contain multiple errors, misrepresentations and misquotes. There also is a sizeable contingent of me-too journalism that is simply repeating the stories but not taking the time to form a well-founded view on the topics. Typically they report on various “allegations”, such as these  against the IPCC, similar to reporting that the CRU email hack lead to “allegations of data manipulation”. Technically it isn’t even wrong that there were such allegations. But isn’t it the responsibility of the media to actually investigate whether allegations have any merit before they decide to repeat them?

Leake incidentally attacked the scientific work of one of us (Stefan) in a Sunday Times article in January. This article was rather biased and contained some factual errors that Stefan asked to be corrected. He has received no response, nor was any correction made. Two British scientists quoted by Leake – Jonathan Gregory and Simon Holgate – independently wrote to Stefan after the article appeared to say they had been badly misquoted. One of them wrote that the experience with Leake had made him “reluctant to speak to any journalist about any subject at all”.

Does the IPCC need to change?

The IPCC has done a very good job so far, but certainly there is room for improvement. The review procedures could be organized better, for example. Until now, anyone has been allowed to review any part of the IPCC drafts they liked, but there was no coordination in the sense that say, a glacier expert was specifically assigned to double-check parts of the WG2 chapter on Asia. Such a practice would likely have caught the Himalayan glacier mistake. Another problem has been that reports of all three working groups had to be completed nearly at the same time, making it hard for WG2 to properly base their discussions on the conclusions and projections from WG1. This has already been improved on for the AR5, for which the WG2 report can be completed six months after the WG1 report.

Also, these errors revealed that the IPCC had no mechanism to publish errata. Since a few errors will inevitably turn up in a 2800-page report, obviously an avenue is needed to publish errata as soon as errors are identified.

Is climate science sound?

In some media reports the impression has been given that even the fundamental results of climate change science are now in question, such as whether humans are in fact changing the climate, causing glacier melt, sea level rise and so on. The IPCC does not carry out primary research, and hence any mistakes in the IPCC reports do not imply that any climate research itself is wrong. A reference to a poor report or an editorial lapse by IPCC authors obviously does not undermine climate science. Doubting basic results of climate science based on the recent claims against the IPCC is particularly ironic since none of the real or supposed errors being discussed are even in the Working Group 1 report, where the climate science basis is laid out.

To be fair to our colleagues from WG2 and WG3, climate scientists do have a much simpler task. The system we study is ruled by the well-known laws of physics, there is plenty of hard data and peer-reviewed studies, and the science is relatively mature. The greenhouse effect was discovered in 1824 by Fourier, the heat trapping properties of CO2 and other gases were first measured by Tyndall in 1859, the climate sensitivity to CO2 was first computed in 1896 by Arrhenius, and by the 1950s the scientific foundations were pretty much understood.

Do the above issues suggest “politicized science”, deliberate deceptions or a tendency towards alarmism on the part of IPCC? We do not think there is any factual basis for such allegations. To the contrary, large groups of (inherently cautious) scientists attempting to reach a consensus in a societally important collaborative document is a prescription for reaching generally “conservative” conclusions. And indeed, before the recent media flash broke out, the real discussion amongst experts was about the AR4 having underestimated, not exaggerated, certain aspects of climate change. These include such important topics as sea level rise and sea ice decline (see the sea ice and sea level chapters of the Copenhagen Diagnosis), where the data show that things are changing faster than the IPCC expected.

Overall then, the IPCC assessment reports reflect the state of scientific knowledge very well. There have been a few isolated errors, and these have been acknowledged and corrected. What is seriously amiss is something else: the public perception of the IPCC, and of climate science in general, has been massively distorted by the recent media storm. All of these various “gates” – Climategate, Amazongate, Seagate, Africagate, etc., do not represent scandals of the IPCC or of climate science. Rather, they are the embarrassing battle-cries of a media scandal, in which a few journalists have misled the public with grossly overblown or entirely fabricated pseudogates, and many others have naively and willingly followed along without seeing through the scam. It is not up to us as climate scientists to clear up this mess – it is up to the media world itself to put this right again, e.g. by publishing proper analysis pieces like the one of Tim Holmes and by issuing formal corrections of their mistaken reporting. We will follow with great interest whether the media world has the professional and moral integrity to correct its own errors.

PS. A new book by Realclimate-authors David Archer and Stefan Rahmstorf critically discussing the main findings of the AR4 (all three volumes) is just out: The Climate Crisis. None of the real or alleged errors are in this book, since none of those contentious statements plucked from the thousands of pages appeared to be “main findings” that needed to be discussed in a 250-page summary.

PPS. Same thing for Mike’s book Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming, which bills itself as “The illustrated guide to the findings of the IPCC”. Or Gavin’s “Climate Change: Picturing the Science” – which does include a few pictures of disappearing glaciers though!

Update 24 March: Simon Lewis has made an official complaint to the Press Complaints Commission about Leake’s Amazon story.

Update 29 March: IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri has published an interesting article in the Guardian.


601 Responses to “IPCC errors: facts and spin”

  1. 51
    David Gould says:

    Having said that, though, something does need to be done about communication. Not sure what, though.

  2. 52
    Jeffrey Davis says:

    The line about climate scientists having a vested interest in the existence of AGW is bizarre. Do the people making these claims refuse to go to doctors since doctors have a vested interest in disease?

    They’ve taken an admonition about caution and attempted to turn it into a standalone argument.

  3. 53
    Rich says:

    On the glacier-gate issue, I think the error was actually one of transposition for 2350 that got repeated from one secondary source to another. See http://how-it-looks.blogspot.com/2010/01/glaciergate-and-healthy-skepticism.html

  4. 54
    Les Johnson says:

    Harribin- Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming?

    Phil Jones – Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

    No statistically significant warming since 1995. According to Phil Jones.

  5. 55
    David Gould says:

    Les Johnson at 54,

    People have already responded to this. But read this carefully:

    “This trend (0.12 C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level.
    The positive trend is quite close to the significance level.”

    Note that the trend is positive. Note that it is quite close to the 95 per cent significance level.

  6. 56
    William says:

    The problem is that it appears a doubling of CO2 will warm the planet around 1C, at the lower end of the IPCC 1C to 6C prediction while it appears working groups 2 and 3 are using an assumed 3C to 6C warming for each location assuming without scientific justification the worst possible outcome. (e.g. Massive increase in hurricanes, super storms, droughts, rapid rising sea levels, and so on). It appears the planet’s response to a change in forcing is negative rather than positive which means the planet resists forcing changes that try to warm or cool the planet. This is not a bad thing.

    Now in terms of the biosphere is it better if the planet is 1C warmer or 1C colder?

    In the past when the planet was colder it was drier, there was an increase in droughts. The biosphere shrank. When the planet was warmer there was increased precipitation, the biosphere increased in size. For example (to illustrate the point), the Sahara desert is currently decreasing in size currently due to increased rainfall and due to plants being able to use water more efficiently due to the higher levels of atmospheric CO2.

    http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1175%2F2009JCLI3461.1

    Now some are assuming that a 100% of the 20th century warming was due to CO2. Even if 100% of the 20th century warming was due to CO2, the earth’s response to a 40% increase in atmospheric CO2 from 0.028% to 0.039% is less than 40% of what is predicted. That is not a bad thing.

    “Why Hasn’t Earth Warmed as Much as Expected?

    The observed increase in global mean surface temperature (GMST) over the industrial era is less than 40% of that expected from observed increases in long-lived greenhouse gases together with the best-estimate equilibrium climate sensitivity given by the 2007 Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Possible reasons for this warming discrepancy are systematically examined here.”

    If the facts change the hypothesis and the predictions should also change. There are other significant ecological problems to address, if planetary temperature is not a problem. Habitat conservation for example is cheap and effective.

  7. 57
    Eli Rabett says:

    Given that Muir Wood was an author of the chapter that people are saying he is complaining about something is fishy here. Eli also wonders if there is any proof beyond assertion that Pachauri was actually involved in the negotiation for various TERI grants (true he did call one of the grants a good thing afterward.

    Brian Schmidt had some sensible things to say on all this

  8. 58
    evagrius says:

    Phil Jones doesn’t understand what he’s stating from the perspective of, say,a scientific idiot like myself. Had he understood it from my perspective, he would have stated that, yes, there has been an increase.
    This might not have been an acceptable statement for scientists but the ordinary bloke could understand it.

  9. 59
    ADR says:

    If the MWP is found to be global and not regional, how will that affect the science of man-made global warming?

  10. 60
    ADR says:

    How long will this “blip” of no warming since 1998 last? Was this period predicted in the computer models beforehand — or, if not, can it be replicated now in current computer models?

  11. 61
    Doug Badgero says:

    Jones own words are much more damning than any MSM interpretation could be. He acknowledges that recent warming is not different in rate from past warming. He acknowledges that there has been no statistically significant warming since 1995. He acknowledges that data indicates the earth has been cooling since 2002, although no statistically significant trend exists on that short time-line. Finally, and most damning, he states that his belief that current warming is anthropogenic in nature is because we cannot explain it based on known natural causes.

  12. 62
    Karl_from_Wylie says:

    UN must investigate warming ‘bias’, says former IPCC Chairman Robert Watson.

    ‘Every error exaggerated the impact of change’

    Professor Watson, currently chief scientific adviser to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said that if the errors had just been innocent mistakes, as has been claimed by the current chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, some would probably have understated the impact of climate change.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7026932.ece

  13. 63
    David Klar says:

    Les Johnson @ 54,
    The lack of a positive statistical trend does not invalidate AGW, especially since the 15 year period over which the data has been collected is too short. BUT, there ARE positive statistically SIGNIFICANT trends over the previous 30 years.

  14. 64
    Ian Forrester says:

    Les Johnson, please define what you think is meant by “No statistically significant warming since 1995″.

    Hint, it doesn’t mean what you assume it does.

  15. 65
    Dean says:

    I just Googled “encyclopedia britannica errata” and got a page with 3 entries listed. It also said that I was only seeing one third of the article and could get the rest if I subscribed. Not sure how the volume of the IPCC three reports compares with an edition of Britannica, but it sounds like the IPCC is in the same league as them wrt accuracy. Any improvement is welcome, but perspective is needed.

  16. 66
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    I just got an email on the interview.
    I understand what you are saying about it. Still, the exact questions combined with the fact that Jones did not add extra material to his answers that he could have added make it easy to spin.

    I answered my email in part like this:

    Question *B – Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming*

    Jones: Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

    Me: Guess what? the climate is distinctly warmer but that was not the question. The question was whether the *trend* is significant for that time period. You need around 15 years or so to get significance (95%) because the noise is large compared to the annual warming. In the last few years the sun has been at a cool point in its cycle, so the warming for the 15 period is just below .95 significance.

    [wording improved from my hasty email]
    [Correct me if I’m wrong]

    Any way you slice it, this interview will take a lot of explaining to Joe Sixpack.

    By the way is Jones calculating from CRUTEMP or GISSTEMP?

  17. 67
    John Mashey says:

    A generic suggestion. It’s been a while since I was doing press interviews regularly, and of the bad articles, most followed Napoleon’s words on the malice-vs-incompetence, but at least one was definitely malice. I’ve had many interviews where people asked to record them.

    These days, if I were a scientist doing press interviews, I would say:
    “Sure, I’m glad to do an interview. Of course, I assume you have no problem with us recording it. We often use interview material for podcasts (or YouTube, depending on the sort of interview), but we generally wait until after articles have appeared to put them up.” I think people might get the hint.

    Of course, headlines are always problematical for newspapers especially, given space constraints nad fact that the reporter often doesn’t get to pick the title.

    Of course, this whole business of 90% vs 95% is pretty bogus.

  18. 68
    Bob says:

    For as long as I can remember, there has been a “war on [favorite pet peeve here].” It started with the War on Poverty in 1964, and has been adopted over and over again to add extra weight to anything… The War on Drugs, The War on Crime, The War on Anything. Eventually, it was even warped (like comparing anyone and everyone deemed to be “wrong” to Hitler) so that in our modern times we even get warned about “The War on Christmas.”

    Sadly, I’ve seen two silent wars being waged, without being named, and without anyone really even realizing they were even going on.

    The first is The War on Journalism. Journalism died somewhere along the roadside. It was never all that healthy to begin with (see “yellow journalism”, and how far back that goes). But it seemed to get pretty darn good in the 70s (see the original, true “Gate” — Watergate and Bob Woodward). Journalists had a higher purpose, and did something valuable beyond making money. They were heroes, or could be.

    But somewhere it all went astray. There was the obnoxious reporter in “Die Hard” that would do anything to get a great story. When he gets punched out by Bruce Willis’ wife at the end, everyone grins. It was almost as good as seeing the terrorist fall to his death. Remember? That was when people started to hate journalists. That was when being a journalist became a dirty thing, instead of a heroic, admirable thing.

    That became the stereotype of a reporter. But it wasn’t just reporters. The organizations behind them took up the banner — get the story, the interesting story, to attract readers and get advertisers and get money. They started to compete to see who could be more outrageous, and find a niche that would eat up whatever they were told.

    Then it wasn’t just get the story, it became make the story (see Leake, and David Rose).

    Then bloggers came, with no training, and no reason to be ethical. Not that there aren’t lots of ethical bloggers, but like the main stream media news organizations, the unethical, hysterical bloggers attract more readers. They’re the ones you hear about. That’s where the excitement is.

    So here we are. Journalism lies dead and buried. We need it to inform us, to bind us together, to rescue us from all of this disinformation… and it’s gone. Instead we have pundits that gleefully say whatever makes them seem smart and important to their ignorant fans.

    [As an aside, knowing now how badly the science is being misunderstood, misrepresented, and brutalized… what else don’t we know about that is really going on in the world? Do you now trust a single word that you read?]

    The other war, the other silent war… is The War On Science. The tobacco companies started it in the sixties. They couldn’t win, but they “fought the good fight”, and learned a lot of tricks, and made it last far longer than it should have. But what we didn’t notice along the way was how very poor the average man’s education is in science, and that they have been taught along the way how “unsure” scientists are.

    People, or at least most people, don’t understand science, and they don’t trust it. They don’t trust science, or scientists. Once, NASA was the coolest thing anyone could imagine. I grew up thinking that NASA was the future of everything.

    Now, people can’t wait to dump on NASA as a bloated bureaucracy that couldn’t possibly have ever put men on the moon (that was a hoax, right?).

    I actually think a lot of people instinctively don’t trust scientists. People don’t trust other people who are smarter than they are. People don’t trust people that use fancy mathematics and complex, foreign sounding words they don’t understand.

    It’s like magic. People don’t trust warlocks. They’ll put up with the village witch doctor because if you don’t he might curse you, but they really all rather (quietly) wish that he’d just leave the village. He makes everyone uncomfortable.

    That’s really how people feel about doctors and dentists. You want them around, in case you need them, but they scare the crap out of everyone. You don’t want to need them.

    Now the war has really, really flared up. The War on Science has gone nuclear. The pseudo-journalists are using their new found power to utterly destroy people’s respect for and belief in science. They’ve done it bit by bit, casting doubt on simple things like the ozone and DTD and vaccines (they cause altruism, don’t they? damned evil scientists).

    So, here it is, 2010. We desperately need journalism, and science, but they’re both victims of war.

    `And only one for birthday presents, you know. There’s glory for you!’

    `I don’t know what you mean by “glory”,’ Alice said.

    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. `Of course you don’t — till I tell you. I meant “there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!”‘

    `But “glory” doesn’t mean “a nice knock-down argument”,’ Alice objected.

    `When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

    `The question is,’ said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    `The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master — that’s all.’

  19. 69
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Roger Pielke Jr. says: 14 February 2010 at 8:30 PM

    “Its pretty clear. Pachauri refuted the Indian government glacier data, while he was negotiating with the EU and the Carnegie Foundation, for funds to study Himilayan glaciers.”

    You say, but where’s your evidence?

    Show a timeline. Show when the negotiations were happening, the organizational history of the arrangement, in parallel with Pachauri’s statements on the Himalayan matter. Dates and events, clearly delineated together, that’s all you need.

    Can you do that, using reliable sources? If not, you appear to be making an unsupported claim. It’s not at all complicated to make your case, you just have to show real data.

  20. 70
    Didactylos says:

    Les Johnson: You have failed to understand what Jones said. If I were Jones, I would have rejected the premise of the question, instead of answering (as he did) with a technically correct but open to misinterpretation answer.

    Once again, we see the denialists aren’t all innocent lambs in over their heads. Some of them are coldly and calculatingly working out how to trick scientists into saying things that are easy for them to spin into the complete opposite of what the scientists mean.

    Let me explain this very, very simply:

    You read it as “there has been no warming since 1995″ (your words).

    What he actually meant was “1995-2009 is too short a period to calculate a meaningful trend, but even so it still shows warming”.

    Do you understand now? No? Read his actual words one more time, then come back with some sensible questions.

  21. 71
    peterr says:

    @ #36 John Peters

    “Of course the climate will change, we all know that. It’s your focus on CO2 that’s at issue. To make your case against carbon you need accessible answers to questions like mine about cloud effects.

    It seems to me that “cap-and-trade” is what is bothering the deniers most. Supposedly based on your science, the politics of “cap-and-trade” are even more arcane than the quantitative details of radiation balance.”

    Agreed -except for the use of the term “denier” which is a loaded word with intentionally nasty implications. The people in the intelligent skeptic community slandered with this term (like Pielke, Watts, McIntyre) tend to refer to the pro-AGW crowd as “warmists” at worst.

    However this type of reasonable thinking usually results in ad hominem attacks from the regulars here. And it doesn’t help the message. And at base while the team players will insist that they are not about the public policy, they are just focused on the science, still any questioning of the policy proposals nets charges of “denier”. Enough. Last time I posted here I was ad-hominemed by a guy whose scientific reasoning includes evangelizing about the existence of a magic man in the sky who is also his son and also is another guy at the same time and he(they?) creates universes in six days and appears as a burning bush, asks people to kill their children, obsesses about food choices and tribal politics in obscure iron age villages, and allows enormous human misery in aid of appearing to work in mysterious ways. But my questioning whether statistical conclusions drawn from very small or low quality samples could be interpreted as sole causation of events requiring a complete reformation of society was considered not sufficiently grounded in reason.

    There are tons of things in the public policy sphere that can be done that would mitigate AGW caused primarily by CO2 if it is happening and be positive nonetheless if it isn’t (or if C02 is not the villain). Solar, wind, wave, geothermal, tax policy, zoning, building codes, public transit etc. But we end up with ponzi schemes like cap and trade which would enrich the scamsters who nearly bankrupted the world a year ago and punish the economies and people of the world in the process.

    So even assuming the climate models are correct, any doubt in the efficacy of the consensus solutions is regarded as flat-earthing. By people who measure tree rings from two places and then make sweeping statements about 2,000 years of temperature. Except for the periods where the trees’ voices demonstrably do not parallel recorded data. Then they just ignore it.

    So, to recap, you are correct. The focus on cap and trade or carbon credit schemes is nuts. The contention that AGW is driven largely by CO2 is possible, but there are lots of policies that would be effective whether the cause was CO2 or soot or deforestation or whatever. The view that AGW is definitely happening is more than plausible but far from proven. The theory that this climate change is caused by human factors is entirely possible but not “settled” or even much based on “science”.

    So at present we are being told that we must panic and destroy the world before man made carbon does. Great. To wait until the science is more compelling cannot be tolerated. We must act now before the actual problem is established and solutions are identified because otherwise it will be too late. Even if the urgent action is not actually the required solution. Even if the costs of this “solution” exceed the cost of the catastrophe (the whole benefits of global warming thing).

    But no, we have 20 years of computer models and statistically insignificant warming trends over short periods, and open derision at the role of things like the SUN that might -just might – have some impact close to that of minor percentage variations in one trace gas emitted by human activities, buttressed by selective choices of data, “adjustments” of the data that themselves impose a trend on any random dataset, peer review skulduggery …

    Which brings us to the conspiracy. There is no conspiracy (other than the obvious: Oil companies want to control the impact on their business, Financial services firms want to turn this into the next derivatives boondoggle). I don’t think there is any reason to believe that journalists are in the bag for financial reasons or that climate scientists are motivated by anything more than hubris and self importance.

    The consensus broad support of many scientists outside the “climate science” community is just a sad artifact of the isolation and splintering of disciplines. In my experience many scientists are loathe to question anything outside their immediate area, which has become even more narrowly focused over time. I really think that if physicists and statisticians and engineers and astronomers and chemists and biologists and computer scientists and everyone just looked at the actual foundation for the consensus on AGW they would shit their collective scientific pants. They are just granting professional respect on the assumption that things are being done correctly and that the climate science discipline is too specific for an outsider to judge. Just as they would not want to be judged by someone outside their immediate fields.

    But “Climate Science” is an invented discipline and has a history shorter than my pubic hair. It is a self defined and self referential field. I can’t believe how frequently i see someone dismissed as “not a climate scientist” by the partisans. Right, he is just a professor of physics, or a PhD in meterology or a published author in the field of statistics. Not someone super qualified, like a tree ring counter.

    So in the meantime, I will be biding my time. Installing a green roof and solar panels on my garage. Replacing the pot lights in my home with LEDs – again! (I kinda jumped on this a little early before the technology was fully there). Driving my insanely ugly “best fuel economy in its class” vehicle as our family vehicle. Working to reduce the energy impact of my company’s operations. etc

    Why? Because it makes sense, whatever the cause of our current reality or the direction of our future trends.

    Flame away

  22. 72
    Didactylos says:

    Apologies, those were Bob Smith’s words, not Les Johnson’s. Both posters seem to be equally confused about Jones’ meaning.

    (See, this is what normal people (and scientists in particular) do – spot an error, correct it, move on.)

  23. 73
    dbaker says:

    The expression that comes to mind is “nit pick”, finding the smallest of errors, and claiming the entire issue is irrelevant!

    The USA Medical Insurance Providers apparently use similar techniques to cancel the policy of sick people!

    The Tobacco Industry did the same, as long as they could, until irrefutable science was available.

    Unfortunatly if we wait untill irrefutable science is available, we all lose.

    Therefore we ( ignorant citizens ) put our faith in the Scientists to do the right thing, that has the parameters of morals and ethics as well.

    So could one of you freaking egg heads tell me why we can’t try my solution.

  24. 74
    Les Johnson says:

    The temperature trend is positive. But not significantly. Its outside the 95% confidence level. According to Phil Jones. Close, but still outside.

    Since 1995.

  25. 75
    Anand says:

    Mr. Ladbury
    “I do think it is clear that a climate-education branch of the IPCC might be a useful addition to the effort.”

    I think it already exists. It is called the United Nations University.

    http://www.unu.edu

    Last I saw, they had produced a document like this

    http://www.ciesin.columbia.edu/documents/clim-migr-report-june09_final.pdf

    which had the following:

    “Current and projected [for environmentally displaced migration)estimates vary widely,…to almost 700 million by 2050.”

    Which was believed to indicate to be migration induced by the melting of the Himalayan glaciers.

    The University held a “Indigenous Voices in Climate Change” film festival in Copenhagen.

    http://ourworld.unu.edu/en/cop15-filmfestival/

    :)

    Regards
    Anand

  26. 76
    Les Johnson says:

    Unless, of course, everyone wants to change the definition of “statistically significant”, so that “close to” is made the same as “inside of the 95% confidence level”.

    All statisticians in favour of, please raise your hands.

  27. 77
    M.Cejnar says:

    “Errors” in reports tend to be random. Why is it that all errors, mistakes and omissions in IPCC always favours AGW alarmism? I suppose it might be because sceptics only look for these types of errors. Fair enough. But then instead of endless excuses and spinning, why don’t you guys find some “errors” in the IPCC which go against alarmism. Then the public might not form the obvious conclusion that these errors are the visible tip of the iceberg of alarmist bias in the AR4. If you can’t find any, well, then….

    [Response: We analysed in detail here how the IPCC treated sea level. Now imagine that the various issues discussed there would have biased the IPCC range towards high, not low values. Some of that I’m sure would have been picked up with great outrage by “skeptics” (e.g. IPCC not mentioning in the SPM that the models used for future projections strongly underpredict past sea level, or having a sea level range and temperature range together in table SPM.3 when the sea level numbers do not actually apply to the corresponding temperature range provided for the same scenario). But that is just not our style. Stefan]

  28. 78
    Septic Matthew says:

    This has some similarity to the CRU email theft, where precious little was discovered from among thousands of emails, but a few sentences were plucked out of context, deliberately misinterpreted (like “hide the decline”) and then hyped into “Climategate”.

    Granted it was only a few, what do you think the correct interpretation of “hide the decline” was, with all context provided? I think that the context on the whole makes the comment worse. It was indicative of misleading advertising (cover of a report), not necessarily misleading science; put differently, it was a misleading political pitch.

    9, Gavin’s comment: Somebody else who thinks that statistics triumphs over physics. Or in other words, someone who thinks that the planet has to respond in some neat statistical way to a forcing.

    The idea that a doubling of CO2 has to have a net effect of increasing earth surface temp by 2-4 C (or any known value) is also “neat”. So “neatness” isn’t any more intrinsically bad than, say, parsimony. The point of the diverse time series analyses (VAR, stationary and non-stationary) is to explore the idea that the physical mechanisms are not known completely and accurately: if a credible analysis shows that the fluctuations in solar activity (to pick one example) are more strongly related to temperature changes than the CO2 changes are related to temp changes is evidence that a large component of the causal mechanism is still unknown or misspecified.

    A commonly known analogy is the relationship of swampiness (“bad air”), mosquitoes, and malaria: malaria rates are related both to swampiness of the surrounds, and to mosquitoes, but the partial correlation of malaria with swampiness, given mosquito exposure, is close to zero (but not quite, because malaria exposure and swampiness are both measured incompletely.) We know this because of experiments that showed how effective it was to put up barriers to mosquitoes, but it was already known that avoiding swamps (and seeking to live in open, airy places) was also effective. The experiment that we have not yet done is to show that reducing CO2 will reduce temperature (an experiment that Hanson and others are urging strenuously.) Without doing the experiment there is no certainty, but the VAR analyses suggest that the experiment will most likely show that reducing CO2 has no net effect.

    This is one reason that I think that we should hedge our bets: invest in alternative energies, efficiency, and carbon sequestration, but not all at once or in a hurry. The VAR analyses that I have seen do not support AGW, but they have problems of their own, and they do not rule out (or “rebut”) AGW, as far as I can tell.

  29. 79
    Martin Vermeer says:

    No statistically significant warming since 1995. According to Phil Jones.

    There has also been no statistically significant warming since last summer. Or since last week.

    …and that’s Professor Jones for you.

  30. 80
    MACK1 says:

    #54 Les Johnson quotes Professor Jones – “This trend (0.12 C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level.” So from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming. The trend may be up but that could be due to chance and it is just as likely that the real trend is flat or slightly down.

    This is important in the context of your own posting on 11 May 2008 – “Over a twenty year period, you would be on stronger ground in arguing that a negative trend would be outside the 95% confidence limits of the expected trend (the one model run in the above ensemble suggests that would only happen ~2% of the time)”. See http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/05/what-the-ipcc-models-really-say/

    Seems the data are getting pretty close to invalidating the models.

  31. 81
    Andy says:

    Criminy. Re: Phil Jones’ BBC interview.

    Being an idiot scientist, I actually thought the BBC interview was good in that it succinctly pulled out all of the controversial points into the open where they could be addressed. Problem was that Dr. Jones wasn’t allowed to do that.

    Ever give a deposition on a scientific matter in a roomful of lawyers including one at your side jabbing you every time they think you may answer with more than a yes or no? I have.

    It’s pretty apparent that Dr. Jones (I love writing that) was straitjacketed into only answering the exact question posed to him. No clarifying information or data allowed.

    Take a look at carbon dioxide and other forcings graphed with temperatures from the 1700’s onward (ice core data with modern data). We’ve had similar warming periods before. No …. I wonder why? This is actually supportive evidence.

    Also, Dr. Jones was only presenting the Brit’s data. It excludes that part of the planet that is heating the fastest. Makes a big difference in recent decadal trends.

    I think a Real Climate post on Dr. Jones’ interview as this Real Climate post does with the IPCC-gate junk would be instructive.

    Hell, all you really need to see is this graph:

    http://climateprogress.org/2010/02/02/groundhogs-day-movie-global-warming-where-its-always-the-hottest-decade-on-record/

    I couldn’t find the original graph try as I might.

  32. 82
    J says:

    Please. He said it. The spin on this site is dizzying:

    “Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming?”

    Jones: “Yes, but only just.”

  33. 83
    donald moore says:

    Scientists contributing to the IPCC are like police investigating a crime.A crime has been reported,we all on this earth are feeling that somethings wrong with the earth and we like the judge are awaiting the evidence to be set before us.Unfortunately the climate scientist[police] does not have this luxury and must go and find the evidence.To do this he or she must start with hunches or gut feeling first and then follow them to get the evidence.This can lead many times to blank ends and if the ‘police’ are honest they will turn and pursue another ‘lead’.Lets not allow the climate ‘press’ to get in in the meantime and create a miss-trial.

  34. 84

    Senator Inhofe making his God versus peer-reviewed climate change statement:

    http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/file-uploads/Inhofe-Bement-Ltr-24Feb06.pdf

    I was personally involved in the below, as was almost everyone I knew who was in-situ with Inhofe. There is a huge unwritten story here of a written threat against parts of the science community and harassment that costed you, the taxpayer. What I experienced is simply medievial, dark-ages, Spanish-inquisition-type forces and is blatently anti-science and anti-American. Carried to its extreme in my opinion, the USA would revert to the insular nature of Ming China and would have to fall as a world power as other countries forged ahead.

    http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/file-uploads/Inhofe-Bement-Ltr-24Feb06.pdf

    Read more about this by a Publizer prize winning author in the book
    “The Heat is On” by Publizer prize winning author Gelbspan…(I’m sure Amazon.com has it).

  35. 85

    …in related news, there’s somebody on deltoid actually, seriously claiming with a straight face

    Based on that Jones is saying it is statistically insignificant, the warming is more likely to have occurred by chance than to have not have.

    Click and weep.

  36. 86
    M.Cejnar says:

    Rich: “I think the error was actually one of transposition for 2350..”

    Rich, you miss the point entirely. This is not a typo in a just-released report. AR4 has been around for 3 years and this 2035 was originally challenged but was included anyway. It has subsequently been publicized and has been “settled science” and “accepted by thousands of scientists” for 3 years.

    If scientists could not or were afraid to denounce an absurdity in the AR4, then this makes all other data in the AR4, legitimized by the same thousands of scientists, also untrustworthy.

  37. 87
    Univ of Illinois researcher says:

    Dear Fellow Climate Scientists, it is time to put your smug responses aside. These are very serious matters, and you are rapidly losing the interest and conviction of the voting publics and political bodies that you most need.

    Please realise that not all skeptics are dullards, neocons or other such life-forms. There are very, very serious flaws with the data, data collection, extrapolation and projections. Some very competent scientists are raising their voices in this matter, and it doesn’t look very promising for new climate initiatives.

    Please act professionally, the game has changed, the tide has turned, and none of you even seem to notice.

    [Response: the vast majority of climate scientists were, are, and will continue to be professional in their handling of data and in the writing of reports. Nothing will change with that. Public statements saying how ‘everything’ has changed only arise from people who have no idea what the situation was in the first place. They will continue to say the same thing while the vast bulk of the science carries on. Sorry not to be more concilliatory, but that’s the way it is. – gavin]

  38. 88
    Gilles says:

    The errors in IPCC are not technical.. They are psychological. They are obviously the consequence of a “etat d’esprit” where people thought : WE are the science, WE can not do mistake , all deniers are stupid,and don’t deserve attention. And that everything going wrong on the Earth can be imputed to AGW, without verification.

    I just met very recently a case where a POTENTIAL mistake could easily be done. That was a news about the impact of GW on the size of animal, specifically the arctic fox in Iceland. The way the news is written is very interesting.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100209152235.htm

    excerpts:
    “Animal populations in a wide variety of geographical areas — birds in the UK, small mammals in the arctic, and most recently foxes, lynx and otters in cold Scandinavian regions — are adapting to a shift in rising temperatures. Where temperature changes are most radical, such as those at higher latitudes, Prof. Yom-Tov has measured the most radical changes of these animals’ body size over time.
    “This change can be seen as an early indicator of climate change,” says Prof. Yom-Tov. “There is a steady increase of temperatures at higher latitudes [SIC : this is wrong, it is not “steady”], and this effect — whether it’s man-made or natural — is having an impact on the animals living in these zones.”
    In his most recent paper, Prof. Yom-Tov and his Tel Aviv University colleague Prof. Eli Geffen report that arctic foxes are being influenced by changing water currents in the oceans. These changes, likely a result of climate change, affects the foxes’ food supplies. Hydrologists are confounded as to why the shifts in currents are happening, but the effect in foxes is evident: their bodies are changing along with the changing currents.

    “These animals need to adapt themselves to changing temperatures. In some regions the changes are as large as 3 or 4 degrees centigrade,” says Prof. Yom-Tov. “If they don’t adapt, their numbers may decline. If they do, their numbers remain stable or even increase.””

    Note the paper confuses the warming itself with indirect consequences. The changes in arctic foxes is related to the changes in oceanic circulation, whose exact causes “counfound” the hydrologists. So it is not certain that these changes are due to warming itself, the AMO for instance could explain it. But the rest of the paper insists on the fact that direct temperature changes impact the animals, and if you read it, you can think that Iceland has experienced a + 3 or 4 °C warming – which is plainly wrong. It is not difficult to imagine that a journalist could write somewhere that “the arctic fox has shrinked because a + 3°C warming in Iceland” and then that this news would be incorporated in a future AR report. There is an obvious lack of scientific accuracy in the way every news concerning climate is reported.

  39. 89
    Edward Greisch says:

    “The actual work of the IPCC is done by unpaid volunteers”
    You, the IPCC, deserve to be paid and paid well. Compare to those bankers who had to be bailed out.: You are clearly worth $20 Million/year each, probably more.

    How much is it worth to be informed ahead of time of disasters like the extinction of Homo Sap? It is hard to put a ceiling on it.

    Compare to the amount of money the other side has to spend to slow down the climate legislation. Rush Limbaugh alone gets $400 Million/year for his propaganda. Surely a scientist should be worth more than Rush Limbaugh.

    It is really amazing how little the IPCC spends and how much the fossil fuel industry has to spend in response. David and Goliath were so evenly matched in comparison. You are a really serious threat to them.

    2 “divine negative feedback theory”: The IPCC cash flow is also dwarfed squared by the theological opposition.

    I would like to say that you should go on strike or something, but that wouldn’t work. Somehow, scientists and science need to be more valued monetarily to reflect your true value to civilization.

  40. 90
    Alan of Oz says:

    RE #39,47,46,43

    Yes, lets take a look at Dr. Pachauri’s ties shall we…

    http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=270

    The meat from the above link: “By supporting Dr. Pachauri for primarily political purposes, the Bush Administration has seriously threatened the scientific credibility of the IPCC process.”

    That was written in 2002, given the benifit of 20/20 hindsight I’d say that was a very astute observation, wouldn’t you guys agree?

    Disclaimer: Personally I don’t know much about Dr. Pachauri. One side of politics says he’s a saboteur, the other side says he’s running a scam. The skeptic in me is screaming that they can’t both be right but they can certainly both be wrong.

  41. 91

    55 Dutch scientists involved in climate change research (broadly defined) issued an open letter about climate science and how it’s been attacked in the media. Well worth a read, available in both Dutch and English via this link: http://www.sense.nl/news/5753

  42. 92
    Completely Fed Up says:

    Flipping heck.

    How did post #2 get from “Inholfe says god’s up there” to “the IPCC are silencing voices”?

    Are they suggesting the IPCC are trying and failing to silence the voices that are sitting in Inholfe’s head?

  43. 93
    Completely Fed Up says:

    Global Spinner: “Perhaps you’ll comment on the fact that the BBC is highly invested in climate change, via their pension”

    Uh, how is their pension tied up in CC?

    Is there a special pension fund “managed CC investment” or something? If there is, how did you know about it? Work at the BBC?

    The wibbling of denialists like GS show how barmy they are.

  44. 94
    Owen says:

    As they did leading up to the Iraq war, our media have thoroughly let us down. This time the consequences will be even more serious.

    I applaud this piece for its clarity, rigour and attention to detail. However, I have little hope that it will be picked up by the media.

    If this situation does not change very soon, we have no hope of averting catastrophic climate change.

    Perhaps Climate scientists need to set up their own News Channel? Or perhaps the UK needs a British version of Democracy Now.org?

  45. 95
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Les Johnson and others say “No statistically significant warming since 1995. According to Phil Jones.”

    Neither relevant nor unexpected:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/12/15/how-long/

    Yes, short-term variation is interesting and at the frontier of climate studies. It’s just has nothing to do with whether we are warming.

  46. 96
    Ruth says:

    Gavin’s inline comment to Global Skeptic at
    14 February 2010 at 5:09 PM (comment #12) regarding Phil Jones’ Q & A with the BBC: “There is absolutely nothing new here unless you’ve actually fallen for the strawman caricature of what climate scientists are supposed to have been saying. -gavin”

    But this is what the climate scientists have been saying:
    From the RealClimate Glossary:

    “Medieval Warm Period: Period of relative warmth in some regions of the Northern Hemisphere in comparison with the subsequent several centuries. … As noted by Jones and Mann (2004) [Jones, P.D., Mann, M.E., Climate Over Past Millennia, Reviews of Geophysics, 42, RG2002, doi: 10.1029/2003RG000143, 2004], arguments that such evidence supports anomalous global warmth during this time period is based on faulty logic and/or misinterpretations of the available evidence.”

    And this is what Phil Jones said on 13 Feb 2010 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8511670.stm:

    “There is much debate over whether the Medieval Warm Period was global in extent or not. The MWP is most clearly expressed in parts of North America, the North Atlantic and Europe and parts of Asia. For it to be global in extent the MWP would need to be seen clearly in more records from the tropical regions and the Southern Hemisphere. There are very few palaeoclimatic records for these latter two regions.

    Of course, if the MWP was shown to be global in extent and as warm or warmer than today (based on an equivalent coverage over the NH and SH) then obviously the late-20th century warmth would not be unprecedented. On the other hand, if the MWP was global, but was less warm that today, then current warmth would be unprecedented.

    We know from the instrumental temperature record that the two hemispheres do not always follow one another. We cannot, therefore, make the assumption that temperatures in the global average will be similar to those in the northern hemisphere.” (end of quote)

    The quote from Realclimate’s glossary appears to rule out a global MWP, the recent answer from Phil Jones does not. In my view, this can’t be dismissed as “absolutely nothing new here”.

  47. 97
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “26
    Jimbo says:
    14 February 2010 at 6:09 PM

    OT
    I would like commenters’ views on this:
    “The UN body that advises world leaders on climate change must investigate an apparent bias””

    Yes, an apparent bias is not real bias. Especially when the person stating this has a bias.

    “several exaggerations of the impact of global warming”

    And how many exagerations of the lack of impact of GW have there been and have you EVER complained about them? Are you displaying an apparent bias, jimmy-bo?

    How many exaggerations of doom-and-gloom about the consequences of mitigation of AGW have there been?

    Every single blog post has one.

    Or how about exaggerated (let alone complely fabricated a la Latif) claims of what has happened in, eg, climategate?

    Yet still strangely silent.

    Woverstatements of the severity of the problem.”

    Ditto.

    Given the Times reports only when such problems can be asserted against AGW science, how can you trust them here?

    Their bias is obvious.

  48. 98
    Completely Fed Up says:

    Anand “When the situation calls for a cool-headed detached approach, you are asking for more initiative? ”

    Anand, so the cool headed response to a charging Rhino is to wait until after the Rhino has finished its task of running you over?

    Well, if you’re the Rhino or have bet large sums on the Rhino, I guess you’d want that.

  49. 99
    Completely Fed Up says:

    ” It’s your focus on CO2 that’s at issue. To make your case against carbon you need accessible answers to questions like mine about cloud effects.”

    So please explain how clouds stop CO2 absorbing IR radiation.

    We are all agog.

  50. 100
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “Here is the US NAS COI policy:

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/02/nas-on-coi.html

    Ask yourself if Dr. Pachauri would meet these standards. I think not. the standards for many science advisory bodies are even more strict.”

    Would you?

    No.

    McIntyre?

    No.

    Seiss?

    No.

    Inholfe/Luntz?

    No.

    Do you have anyone who would pass that on your side of the pro/anti science debate here?

    Lomberg could have been but he’s too sold on his theory and lapping up the attention (with paid speaker circuit attached!).

    No, it doesn’t look like it.


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