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Second CRU inquiry reports

Filed under: — gavin @ 14 April 2010

The Oxburgh report on the science done at the CRU has now been published and….. as in the first inquiry, they find no scientific misconduct, no impropriety and no tailoring of the results to a preconceived agenda, though they do suggest more statisticians should have been involved. They have also some choice words to describe the critics.

Carry on…

1,421 Responses to “Second CRU inquiry reports”

  1. 301
    Theo Hopkins says:

    Yes, let’s have some (back of envelope) projections for this volcano and global – or maybe more realistically, regional – temps. Or is volcanic activity at a fairly normal level, and it is just the unusual wind direction that is carrying it over Europe? Wrong volcano in wrong place with wrong wind at wrong time?

    For non-UK readers here. (OK. Off Topic)

    At the height of the financial crisis the UK govt froze all Icelandic assets in the UK using (yes!) anti-terrorist legislation.

    Some say this is the Gods getting their own back.

  2. 302
    ChrisD says:

    @zeroworker #260:

    The spirit of the FoI statute is to allow citizens to acquire information from various institutions, and that those institutions must have a valid reason for declining the request.

    The spirit of the FoI statute? FoI was never intended as a tool for obtaining scientific data from universities. That wasn’t even on the radar of those who passed the legislation. Anyone who tries to use it for that purpose is hardly in a position to whine about “the spirit of the FoI statute.”

  3. 303
    dhogaza says:

    dhogaza (291), who writes that engineering isn’t science: Hahahahaha! Somebody tell the guys at NASA that they’re working a Liberal Arts project.

    Engineering isn’t science, nor is it a discipline within the liberal arts. Though apparently it’s all greek to you.

    Go “ha ha ha” all you want, all you’re doing is to prove to both engineers and scientists that you don’t understand either field, because if you did, you’d understand why they’re different fields. Both fields are important and have made complementary contributions to the technological advances we’ve seen in the last couple of centuries, but they’re different. And no, the fact that certain individuals have at times tended to straddle the dividing line does not change that fact.

    Tell Ray Ladbury that physics isn’t science – I think he’ll be quite suprised.

    Physics is a scientific, not engineering, discipline. You’re right! Ray’s already posted, making points similar to mine, good luck getting him to disagree with him.

  4. 304
    Hank Roberts says:

    Auditing by liars gets you stuff like the financial market collapses.
    You wouldn’t want the fate of the Earth to depend on people like that, eh?

    Oh, wait ….

  5. 305
    Steve in Dublin says:

    Kevin McKinney @ 272

    In the article you linked to about Lackner’s synthetic carbon-fixing ‘trees’… it implies that with currently available technology each ‘tree’ could capture 1 ton of CO2 per day at a cost of $100 per ton. While every little bit helps, it seems to me that the costs far outweigh the benefits of this approach. To wit:

    1. The world-wide production of man-made CO2 is currently at 28,431,741,000 metric tonnes per year (source: Wikipedia). We’ll give Lackner the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s talking metric tonnes (a U.S. ton is .91 metric tonnes, which would make that figure 31.24 billion).
    2. Multiply that number by 100 to get the annual cost: $2.84 trillion!
    3. What powers these things? (I can’t find that info anywhere. The $100 cost per ton may be for the sodium hydroxide that’s used to capture the CO2. Dunno) But if a significant portion of that $100 is electricity, then what about all the CO2 that is produced just to generate that electricity?
    4. How much CO2 is produced to manufacture one of these?

    So even if you had 1 or 2 million of those ‘trees’ (or even 100 million), it wouldn’t even put a dent in the problem. And there is the same eyesore problem as with wind turbines.

    Just sayin’…

  6. 306
    Scared Amoeba says:

    Regarding the FoI blizzard targeted at the CRU and coordinated by McIntyre, see McIntyre’s template here (complete with miss-spelled ‘involing’:

    http://climateaudit.org/2009/07/24/cru-refuses-data-once-again/#comment-188529

    An indication of the level of intellect of McIntyre’s zombies is exemplified by this FoI request:

    FOI_09-97
    I hereby make a EIR/FOI request in respect to any confidentiality agreements)restricting transmission of CRUTEM data to non-academics involing the following countries: [insert 5 or so countries that are different from ones already requested1]
    1. the date of any applicable confidentiality agreements;
    2. the parties to such confidentiality agreement, including the full name of any organization;
    3. a copy of the section of the confidentiality agreement that “prevents further transmission to non-academics”.
    4. a copy of the entire confidentiality agreement,

    You will note that this particular zombie sent the FoI request without specifying the countries that the FoI request concerned.

    http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/25032/response/66822/attach/2/Response%20letter%20199%20100121.pdf

  7. 307
    Steve in Dublin says:

    The perils of exaggerating to make a point. 100 million would take us man-made CO2 negative, and who knows what adverse effects that would have? I suspect it wouldn’t help the real trees much :-\

    Sorry, enough of the OT stuff. I’ll leave it there.

  8. 308
    ZZT says:

    From: http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2010/4/16/actons-eleven-the-response.html?currentPage=2#comments

    The primary frustration with these investigations is that they are dancing around the principal issue that people care about: the IPCC and its implications for policy. Focusing only on CRU activities (which was the charge of the Oxbourgh panel) is of interest mainly to UEA and possibly the politics of UK research funding (it will be interesting to see if the U.S. DOE sends any more $$ to CRU). Given their selection of CRU research publications to investigate (see Bishop Hill), the Oxbourgh investigation has little credibility in my opinion. However, I still think it unlikely that actual scientific malfeasance is present in any of these papers: there is no malfeasance associated with sloppy record keeping, making shaky assumptions, and using inappropriate statistical methods in a published scientific journal article.

    The corruptions of the IPCC process, and the question of corruption (or at least inappropriate torquing) of the actual science by the IPCC process, is the key issue. The assessment process should filter out erroneous papers and provide a broader assessment of uncertainty; instead, we have seen evidence of IPCC lead authors pushing their own research results and writing papers to support an established narrative. I don’t see much hope for improving the IPCC process under its current leadership.

    The historical temperature record and the paleoclimate record over the last millennium are important in many many aspects of climate research and in the communication of climate change to the public; both of these data sets are at the heart of the CRU email controversy. In my opinion, there needs to be a new independent effort to produce a global historical surface temperature dataset that is transparent and that includes expertise in statistics and computational science. Once “best” methods have been developed and assessed for assembling such a dataset including uncertainty estimates, a paleoclimate reconstruction should be attempted (regional, hemispheric, and possibly global) with the appropriate uncertainty estimates. The public (and some scientists) has lost confidence in the data sets produced by CRU, NASA, Penn State, etc. While such an independent effort may confirm the previous analyses, it is very likely that improvements will be made and more credible uncertainty estimates can be determined. And the possibility remains that there are significant problems with these datasets; this simply needs to be sorted out. Unfortunately, the who and how of actually sorting all this out is not obvious. Some efforts are underway in the blogosphere to examine the historical land surface data (e.g. such as available from GCHN), but the GCHN data set is apparently inadequate in terms of completeness.

    Sorting out the issues surrounding the historical and paleo surface temperature records should be paramount, in addition to tightening up and improving the assessment processes (particularly the IPCC).
    April 17, 2010 | Judith Curry

    [Response: Anyone making accusations of corruption – especially in the light of the tsunami of baseless accusations against scientists that have been hitting the internet in the last few months – needs to be sure that they adequately document the evidence for their allegations. Absent that documentation, I see no reason to take them seriously. Casually throwing around such statements in comments on blog posts is not an appropriate course of action if they are meant to be credible. – gavin]

  9. 309
    Bob says:

    299 (mike roddy),

    Time to bust them once and for all- form a united front, spend some money, and insist that the public wise up.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think we can fight fire with fire. Today’s post on WUWT is a perfect example. It touts a large, obvious mistake in the GISS data for Finland that was quickly rectified. He even admits it was corrected… but at the bottom of a very long post that most people will stop reading by the 3rd paragraph.

    So, “our” side requires that people read and understand everything, while “their” side requires only something eye popping as a headline, and then nothing more of any substance beyond that. Or, alternately, they can just plain make it up and make it sound scientific and well thought out, and their sheep bray all over at how fantastic and sound the logic is.

    The problem is that when you are telling people what they want to hear, they believe it without question. When you tell them what they don’t want to hear, as often as not they’ll stop listening because it hurts too much.

    I’m afraid a lot will hinge on both the economy and this November’s mid-term elections. If the Republicans win too many seats, or if the economy stays too sluggish, not only will climate legislation be stalled, but the Democrats (in both the legislative and executive branches) will have been too weakened to make an issue of it.

    If the Democrats can hold on, and if the economy will show signs of life so that deniers don’t get the double whammy of saying “they’ll destroy an already crippled economy,” then the key is to make an issue of climate change in the government, and make the government keep bringing it to the attention of the MSM, and for the MSM that has been basically silent for the past year (outside of Faux News and other denialist banner carriers) to wake up and keep it in the public’s eye.

    But I don’t think money can do that. Faux News, I’m sure, uses the issue more for its populist, capitalist audience targeting than for any money they are being paid directly by fossil fuel interests. On the flip side, no amount of money will get the rest of the MSM to start being journalists again.

    I personally would love to see congressional hearings that haul the main deniers up and expose them, first by hitting them with their own contradictions, secondly by exposing their funding and motivation, and lastly by exposing their incredibly weak position. I’d love to see Inhofe crash and burn trying to stand with them. He’ll make a great 21st century McCarthy.

    But again, none of that can happen until (1) the economy is strong enough for people to feel some breathing room and (2) for the Democrats to feel secure enough to make an issue of it.

  10. 310
    dhogaza says:

    Apparently Judith Curry has completed her transition to the Dark Side. Interesting.

    In my opinion, there needs to be a new independent effort to produce a global historical surface temperature dataset that is transparent and that includes expertise in statistics and computational science.

    And apparently she’s unaware of the half dozen or so efforts, some spun out from the bowels of denialism, including an effort by the statistician known as RomanM, and a variety of software engineering experts, have been doing just that? And each of these efforts come up with essentially the same conclusion, despite using different analysis techniques?

    No matter how many people slice and dice this data, whether they begin from accepting the denialist view as being at least possibly viable (beginning with JohnV back in the early days of Watts surface stations project), tend to accept climate science and are just interested in helping improve tools (Clear Climate Code project), the answer’s the same. No credible analysis exists that refutes what nature tells us: it is warming.

  11. 311
    Bob says:

    I just followed ZZT’s post and went over to read the thread. Later, among other things, Curry posted this:

    So I still don’t think that misconduct has occurred, rather we are seeing possibly “bad” science and suppression/nonpublication of data. Both are very undesirable particularly with regards to high impact and policy relevant science.

    She says some other things that will be very, very easy for deniers to cut and paste out of context, particularly amidst what ZZT already posted.

    I’ve seen a number of statements by scientists that she’s one of the “good guys,” but all I’ve seen of her is shooting climate science in the head (not the foot, the head) by supporting false denier positions. It’s like she fell for the Overton Window, and thinks she’s being balanced by supporting the denier’s middle of the road (which is, in fact several long steps beyond the gutter).

    What’s her deal? Why does she believe the nonsense? Hasn’t she taken the time to actually read the e-mail trails, and get the facts?

  12. 312
    dhogaza says:

    What’s her deal? Why does she believe the nonsense? Hasn’t she taken the time to actually read the e-mail trails, and get the facts?

    The comment left at Bishop Hill was left by someone whose profile there reads:

    “Comment left by ‘Judith Curry’

    This item was posted by an anonymous author, meaning that he or she does not have a personal account with this website.”

    So it’s possible it’s not really her. However, given some of the things she’s written elsewhere in the last several months, it’s certainly possible it *is* her.

  13. 313
    John Peter says:

    Bob @311

    Judith believes climate science is settled and AGW has won. She wants climate scientists to stop calling each other names and worse. This is overly idealistic but she does try to teach climate science. Her students are enough turned off by all the nastiness that they switch majors out of the field. Real Climate’s message to her seems to be “deal with it”.

  14. 314
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Unfortunately, the debate between science and anti-science is bound to be nasty–and if your field is at the front lines of that debate, you are bound to experience that nastiness. The problem is that science deals in multiple lines of redundant evidence–never relying on just one analysis or one dataset for a result that is important. Anti-science does not–indeed cannnot–deal in evidence. When their strategy of chipping at tiny pieces of evidence fails to bring down the mountain of evidence as a whole, they inevitably focus on the softer targets–the scientists. Even here they fail. They may manage to ruin a few lives or even disgrace the work of a few scientists–but again the redundancy fills in any chink. Ultimately, they wind up in tinfoil-hat land, blathering about conspiracies between scientists and politicians or governments. It’s a special type of crazy.

    As to Judith Curry, she seems to be sufficiently naive to think that anti-science can be persuaded by evidence. If the posting on Bishop Hill is an imposter, then perhaps this will cure her of that naivity. If is really is her, perhaps we should pitch in and send her a broom so that she can clean up the ashes of her credibility.

  15. 315
    John Peter says:

    Steve in Dublin@300

    I am unhappy with some of the semantics around the climate science blogs. I consider myself a research scientist and a “skeptic”. That’s how we were taught and how we work. I was much more skeptical when I started to learn about CS here on RC so some change is possible even for me, given the right tools. I rarely admit to being a “skeptic” because that term has become a pejorative label on RC. That said, I am pragmatic and you are more right than wrong in your post@300.

    I emphatically agree with Gavin’s note@298. He criticizes the cavil actions of some individual “scientist”s’ unethical, scurrilous and despicable behavior. He calls them contrarians, a little less pejorative than deniers and, being a trained scientist, does not (mis?)use the term skeptic. So I’ll go with the flow and accept your terminology for now, on this blog, but I don’t like it.

    Actually, I don’t believe in labeling individuals at all. Describe their actions or the actions, positions or policies of their organizations but don’t label the individual with the group’s behavior. Labels are a slippery slope on the way to Joe McCarthy but then that’s a story for another day.

  16. 316
    John Peter says:

    Ray Lanbury@314

    Ray, why are you so angry?

  17. 317
    Bob says:

    I just read Judith Curry On the Credibility of Climate Research, and I’m appalled by her position, and her comments, and particularly by her characterizations of McIntyre, Watts, skeptics, and history. I feel like I just tumbled through a looking glass, and the Red Queen is shouting “off with their thermometers.”

  18. 318

    Gerry Quinn (#195) I don’t think “private intellectual property rights” are patent law in this instance: I think he was talking about the right to hold intellectual property secret (which also has some legal protection.) As you point out, this is in a way the antithesis of patenting.

    I could be wrong, but that’s how I read it.

  19. 319
    Eli Rabett says:

    Having known contrarians, the denialists are not contrarians. Contrarians adopt a contrary position no matter what. It’s amusing to talk with one of them once you have identified the species. The game is to figure out the minimum number of moves needed to get them to contradict the position they started out with.

  20. 320
    Frank Giger says:

    Democrats have had a majority of both houses of Congress for four years, and a trifecta with the Obama administration, including a super majority. Blaming Republicans seems a bit specious.

    Short memories seem to prevail here. The EPA and cap-and-trade were both Republican initiaties.

    But if y’all want to make climate change mitigation purely partisan, we can roll with that. Nothing will get done and every initiative will be reversed with the eventual change of party control.

    Sums up the debate in a nutshell. Advocates seem less interested in solutions and more interested in keeping their political party in power.

    So much for science.

  21. 321
    Steve says:

    All in all, it sounds like just about any lab in the US and probably, from my understanding of such things, anywhere else in the world.

    Labs are almost always somewhat disorganized, understaffed, and overworked. I know ours is (and we’re not climate scientists, we’re biologists).

    But, come on, no scientific paper is ever perfect nor is that even possible.

    There are always more experiments to be done or different approaches to be taken but at some point you have to publish the darned thing, if only just to get on to doing the next set of experiments and or approaches.

  22. 322

    Steve in Dublin (#305), keep in mind I’m not pushing these things, although I admit to finding them intriguing.

    But–the story does claim “minimal” energy use in operation; and that was the whole point of Lackner’s idea.

    And remember, they are neither intended to be a complete solution, and the cost is meant to drop by half. Right now, they’re piloting, trying to create a business model that will have the technology ready to go when the market for sequestration develops.

  23. 323
    Geoff Wexler says:

    #285

    I’m really disturbed by the whole “enemies of science” line. It implies that anyone that is questioning of a study or findings is an enemy.

    The fact that you are disturbed doesn’t make it wrong and your second sentence is a straw man argument which is not implied by the first.
    There is a good example above from thermodynamics. Here is the another comment:

    It is perfectly clear that the recent “argument” has gone well beyond honest questioning and is now being led by people who do not hide their hatred of climate researchers. The misrepresentation,harassment and bullying of people like Phil Jones and the others is hardly an example of scientific debate with its attendant questioning and controversy.

    Have you come across Morano, Inhofe and Delingpole? This has gone even further than it did with earlier campaigns by the pro-tobacco, pro CFC lobbies (often the same people but in slightly less angry mode). The warnings are there in history.

    Please see

    Corrupted science: by John Grant.

    The anti-scientific campaigns triumphed in both the USSR and Nazi Germany and in both cases helped to bring down the regimes concerned. In our countries we have checks and balances, we still have, for example, the National Academies, but the lesson from history is that not all people like the scientific method and would like to return to something else if they get the chance.

    For more on questioning please see:
    The Republican War on Science by Chris Mooney

    and (more up to date)

    Climate Cover-Up by James Hoggan

    For bad statistical behaviour read the new book by Grant Foster looks most promising.

    Not long to wait for another book about the ‘questioning’ by Naomi Oreskes.

  24. 324
    chris says:

    John Peter 17th April 2010 @3:51 PM

    “Labels are a slippery slope to Joe McCarthy…”

    Surely the “slippery slope to Joe McCarthy” is to hound, harrass, and make false accusations against a group of individuals (scientists), denounce them even from government office (Inhofe, Morano), and flood the internet with misrepresentation constructed from “think tanks” and other dubious sources with a vested interest in misinforming the electorate, induce ill-informed bullies to harass the scientists by phone, email and scurrilous FOI requests, sucker supposedly well-informed journalists into a narrative of anti-science humbug…

    …the analogies are starker than you think.

  25. 325
    ghost says:

    RE: 313 “She wants climate scientists to stop calling each other names and worse.” John, can you identify which “climate scientists” call one another names? Objectively, it appears that there are true climate scientists doing their job, and a loose group of “not climate scientists” throwing unjustified rocks at them. Personally, I object strongly to using the term “climate scientist” to describe people who are not practising in the field, and that includes meteorologists. As to the passage above attributed to Curry, the author’s hovercraft is full of eels as far as I’m concerned.
    +++++
    On the volcano eruption and the concept that thinning icecaps in other places might stimulate volcanic activity, I wish I were a sci-fi writer. It’d be a cool story to write that AGW melted the thick caps, unleashing volcanic activity that, through a twist unique to scifi, blocks access to oil and gas reserves. I’d need a scifi twist to dispel the notion that it might frack the other way and open new access, but seeing the rubbish trucks haul past the anti-science spew daily puts me in a bad-fracking mood. (I rather expect to see NASA’s report of the sun’s recent eruption to be tortured into a justification for the observed warming, which, of course, ‘isn’t happening anyway.’)

  26. 326
    Hank Roberts says:

    > John Peter says: 17 April 2010 at 3:15 PM
    > …
    > Judith believes climate science is settled and AGW has won. …

    You have perhaps some reason to believe she believes this?
    A cite to a source? Someone you trust who told you this is true?
    Your own research into what she believes?
    Have you bothered looking at what she actually says?
    Know how to find her home page? Google her name plus “website” and you’ll find it.

    http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/climate/towards_rebuilding_trust.html

    “… No one really believes that the “science is settled” or that “the debate is over.” Scientists and others that say this seem to want to advance a particular agenda. There is nothing more detrimental to public trust than such statements.”

  27. 327
    Ray Ladbury says:

    John Peter@316,
    I am sorry if my post in 314 came across as angry. I am certainly disappointed and bemused by the drift in position of Dr. Curry.

    The fact of the matter is that the consensus theory of Earth’s climate is the only position that is consistent with the evidence. It is an unfortunate corollary of that theory that dumping CO2 into the atmosphere must warm the climate by somewhere between 2 and 4.5 degrees C per doubling. Those who contend otherwise are either a)ignoring, b)rejecting or c)denying massive bodies of evidence. I simply do not see how science can compromise with such people. They are necessarily taking an anti-science position every bit as much as creationists, anti-vaxxers and Moon-Landing Hoaxers. Moreover, since they refuse to consider the evidence, it is impossible to hold a scientific discussion with these people. Any attempt to do so will break down into recrimination and character assassination. Ultimately, our society will have to choose between science and anti-science. There can be no compromise between the two. Certain scientists need to learn that.

  28. 328
    Hank Roberts says:

    PS, that’s the same article reprinted at Earthzine.

    The one comment there is interesting:

    “Bente Lilja Bye, April 14th, 2010 at 8:57 am

    First of all I completely agree with you when you say that uncertainty can and must be included in our communication of climate science. I am convinced that this will gain trust and credibility.

    However, I am disappointed about the silence and misrepresentation of fact when it comes to sharing data – one of the topics in Climategate.

    As was for the first time finally publicly mentioned (by someone other than me, but the second evaluation report led by Lord Oxburgh http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8618024.stm ), it is not up to CRU (Climate Research Unit at East Anglia) to share data collected by others. It is first and foremost a political decision made by governments and not scientists. In fact, CRU had published all data that were open for them to share on their website.

    As a former Director of European Sea Level Service, I know that sharing climate data is not straight forward – and so I made a video shedding some light on the issues connected to climate and other earth observation data. http://astrocast.tv/blog/?p=2787

  29. 329
    John Peter says:

    ghost@325

    “She wants climate scientists to stop calling each other names and worse.” John, can you identify which “climate scientists” call one another names? Objectively, it appears that there are true climate scientists doing their job, and a loose group of “not climate scientists” throwing unjustified rocks at them. Personally, I object strongly to using the term “climate scientist” to describe people who are not practising in the field, and that includes meteorologists. As to the passage above attributed to Curry, the author’s hovercraft is full of eels as far as I’m concerned.

    Take a look here http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/currydoc/Curry_BAMS87.pdf
    and then in a mirror

  30. 330
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Frank Giger, I don’t think it is fair to blame the scientists for turning this whole issue into a political firestorm. Actually, I and some others have praised Republican senators such as Lindsey Graham and John McCain when they have tried to find a way forward to take the threat of climate change seriously. However, the unfortunate fact remains that when it comes to trying to motivate and educate the public, the political right has AWOL, leaving the political stage to Al Gore. And when some of the more Antediluvian elements on the right have called for prosecution if not persecution of scientists, more moderate elements have not restrained or denounced them. It has now reached the point where I would be very concerned for the future of science and scientists under a new Republican administration. Look, there are idjits on both sides. I and others here have tried to restrain those calling for prosecution of lobbyists who lie about the science. I’ve even actively sough out solutions from those who oppose a larger government role in tackling this problem. I’m not feeling much love, though from the right side of the aisle.

  31. 331

    #320–“But if y’all want to make climate change mitigation purely partisan, we can roll with that.”

    Nonsense, Frank. The Republican party has drifted into anti-science mode to a dismaying degree, and that is not the Democrats’ fault; it’s a product–as far as I can tell–of Republican pandering to extreme elements such as the “ditto-heads,” and embracing elements of the religious right for whom denialism of scientific theory arises out of Biblical literalism. It was telling that George W. Bush tried as much as he possibly could to play down his Ivy League education. It is this that has led the GOP–or dismayingly large numbers among its membership, anyway–to walk away from achievements such as the Montreal protocol, signed, if memory serves by G.H.W. Bush.

    Of course, there are honorable exceptions to this (though not, unfortunately, my congressmen, with whom I’ve corresponded on the topic.) John McCain is one; another would be Lindsay Graham (and there are still more.)

    As far as what I want is concerned, I want a debate that’s *less* partisan; it’d be more efficacious, less frustrating, and after all, we all do breathe the same air. That’s why I engage folks as I can, including the aforesaid congressmen. But the dynamic that’s developed is self-sustaining to a degree. The reality of continued warming is going to have to do part of the convincing, I’m afraid.

  32. 332
    John Peter says:

    Hank Roberts@326

    I couldn’t get your link to work – first time that ever happened to me with one of your links.

    I couldn’t find the RC topic a couple of months back where she actually used the word “war” (I think I remember)

    She states this opinion (my emphasis) in a much more politically correct manner in part of her (in)famous multi posted trust memo: (http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/climate/towards_rebuilding_trust.html)
    “…In 2006 and 2007, things changed as a result of Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth” plus the IPCC 4th Assessment Report, and global warming became a seemingly unstoppable juggernaut. The reason that the IPCC 4th Assessment Report was so influential is that people trusted the process the IPCC described: participation of a thousand scientists from 100 different countries, who worked for several years to produce 3000 pages with thousands of peer reviewed scientific references, with extensive peer review. Further, the process was undertaken with the participation of policy makers under the watchful eyes of advocacy groups with a broad range of conflicting interests. As a result of the IPCC influence, scientific skepticism by academic researchers became vastly diminished and it became easier to embellish the IPCC findings rather than to buck the juggernaut. Big oil funding for contrary views mostly dried up and the mainstream media supported the IPCC consensus. But there was a new movement in the blogosphere, which I refer to as the “climate auditors”, started by Steve McIntyre. The climate change establishment failed to understand this changing dynamic, and continued to blame skepticism on the denial machine funded by big oil…”

    OK

    if you can find the RC topic from a couple of months back – Santer blasted with both six guns and Judith said she’d never post on RC again

  33. 333
    Bob says:

    Frank Giger,

    Advocates seem less interested in solutions and more interested in keeping their political party in power.

    So much for science.

    That’s a cop out. Easy to say, but utterly without foundation.

    The EPA and cap-and-trade were both Republican initiatives.

    No matter who’s idea it was, the leadership by the Bush administration for eight years was stall and ignore and suppress, and the signal from Replublicans for the past two years has been “no, no, and more no.”

    I have not even seen a “take climate change seriously” comment from the Republican side, let alone leadership.

    It’s not about the parties or the other issues. It’s about the fact that at this point in time, the Republican party seems utterly beholden to the fossil fuel industry, so while they are in power nothing short of an over night 10C jump in temperature will get them to move.

    As far as this bit:

    Democrats have had a majority of both houses of Congress for four years, and a trifecta with the Obama administration, including a super majority.

    That’s silly. A majority in both houses with Bush in the oval office was useless, especially in that climate. Everyone was stalemated.

    After the election, the Democrats had their hands full with the bail out, the economy, Afghanistan, health care, and a thoroughly obstructionist opposing party, combined with a need to not be perceived to do what the Republicans did with their own trifecta, which was to pretty much do everything except move the Capitol Building overnight without telling the Democrats where and when.

    Now is when the Democrats finally seem to have a chance to move on climate, but they can’t do so because the denialist movement has made it politically dangerous, so they really can’t move on it until after the mid-term elections.

  34. 334
    John Peter says:

    Ray@327

    You’re right but energy balance makes GW very simple for a physicist.

    The globe is getting a little warmer. It was already radiating 33 degrees Kelvin too much. The UV in from the sun is the same. There is a lot more CO2 around. All measured, no models.

    No physicist (I know of) can explain those factual observations any way other than GHG. So you don’t even need a climate scientist, but should you encounter one s/he will give you several dozen more facts.

    So what’s to deny???

    Stay cool

  35. 335
    ghost says:

    Re: 329, 332– John I’ve seen that article, but I don’t think a spat 5 years ago supports your claim that climate scientists ‘call each other names’ now, at least beyond the background level normal for technology fields. If it is but one of dozens of ongoing incidents, then I consider my question answered, and I shan’t pursue it further. It probably is beside the point that the hurricane intensity issue comes close to being weather, or at least in the intersection of climate and weather. Reading her more recent work, I wonder if she has fallen victim to that which she jointly criticized, though.

    That passage you quoted for Hank contains its own fallacy–that only big oil funded climate change FUD (perhaps that is dealt with elsewhere in the original). The salient point is that entities substituted for and/or augmented the activities that public big oil formerly conducted. People with whom I have discussed the matter may have used ‘big oil’ as a general term, but they well understood it to mean ‘carbon interests,’ whether that meant coal companies, utilities, oil-producing nation-states, or their activist organizations. The passage could be read to suggest that allegedly formerly complacent academic researchers now are not; they don’t appear to be rebutting the tragic existing research yet, though. Perhaps she addresses it elsewhere, but one can hardly overlook the role that the Bush administration’s government-wide gag order played in the rise of “skepticism.” That certainly accomplished something that no private organization could do, at least in the U.S. Among other things, the disbelief machine appears bent on selling the IPCC’s best case scenario as the worst case, ignoring or eliminating the real worst case. Cherry-picking from your quoted passage, I probably agree with the phrase “global warming became a seemingly unstoppable juggernaut,” but because of the body of physics and ecology evidence, not because of AIT or IPCC.

    As an aside, one anecdotal thing I’ve noticed among my peers is that the “contrarians” among them appear to be tiring of denial-hoax overload. Repetition of the same unsupported attack points coupled with the year-over-year absence of true rebuttal of the body of literature supporting the AGW hypothesis appears to be wearing on these people. They also had/have a ho-hum reaction to the CRU email thing, being quite familiar with how easy it is to be embarrassed by e-messages they have written. Maybe it matters; maybe it doesn’t.

  36. 336
    Walter Manny says:

    ~295
    John: to sending “Walter Manny (among others) into a tizzy”, that’s not the characterization I would have chosen for myself, but fair enough, and let’s face it: “tizzy” is a great word.

    My point, which I grant is a tiresome one relative to the discussion of the actual science, is that name-calling gets in the way of understanding, or at least I think it does. An error in focus, if you will. The Moncktons and Gores of the world should be ignored rather than vilified on a site purporting to be about climate science.

  37. 337
    Jim Galasyn says:

    University told to hand over tree ring data

    Queen’s University in Belfast has been told by the Information Commissioner to hand over 40 years of research data on tree rings, used for climate research.

    Douglas Keenan, from London, had asked for the information in 2007 under the Freedom of Information Act. …

    The university claimed that as the information was unfinished, had intellectual property rights and was commercially confidential information, it did not have to pass it on.

    After a series of counter claims from Mr Keenan and the intervention of the Information Commissioner, Queen’s have now been told that they could be in contempt of court if they do not hand the data over.

  38. 338
    Frank Giger says:

    The problem, IMHO, is a lack of good faith negotiations – which both sides are guilty of. But as we saw in health care, bipartisan negotiations means Republicans getting a chance on voting for the bill once it hits the floor (according to the Congresswoman Pelosi, who actually said that).

    The other problem is the overblown rhetoric on the part of advocates for and against AGW efforts. For ever flat earther with his fingers in his ears shouting “la la la, I can’t hear you,” there’s another with an out of context photo of a polar bear and outrageous claims about what is to blame on AGW.

    For all the complaining about denialist groups, not much is mentioned about the damage advocacy groups do to the scientist’s credibility. Twisting the words of scientists is hardly a one sided affair – and it happens as much as it does on the “anti” side.

  39. 339
    Edward Greisch says:

    Having read
    http://www.earthzine.org/2010/03/22/judith-curry-on-the-credibility-of-climate-research/
    If I were a young person looking for graduate education in climate science, I would NOT choose Georgia Tech. I think I would choose a university where RC people teach. Judy Curry’s idea of separating the research into segments done by different people would require more people to work on one project. That seems an unlikely luxury.

    Why did we not hear about “extratropical cyclone named Xynthia that brought hurricane-force winds and high waves to Western Europe at the end of February 2010”? It was in the URL above and on http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=42881
    and http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/03/01/europe.storms/index.html
    A storm like Xynthia should have made MSM headlines for being extremely unusual and a possible product of AGW. It could be that the news was withheld BECAUSE it might have been attributed to AGW. The North Atlantic is a COLD and stormy place, generally not hospitable to tropical type storms, especially in February. Could we have an RC article on Xynthia please? Was Xynthia NOT a hurricane?

  40. 340
    Steve in Dublin says:

    In the article linked to by John Peter @ 332, Judith Curry writes:

    …But there was a new movement in the blogosphere, which I refer to as the “climate auditors”, started by Steve McIntyre. The climate change establishment failed to understand this changing dynamic, and continued to blame skepticism on the denial machine funded by big oil.

    Afraid she didn’t do enough digging there. McIntyre and Ross McKitrick (an Ontario economist who helped McIntyre to launch his 2003 campaign against the hockey stick) are both backed by the George C. Marshall institute, a right-wing ‘think tank’ funded by Exxon. McKitrick also has ties with the Fraser Institute and Heartland Institute think tanks.

    Sources: http://www.exxonsecrets.org/
    Climate Cover-Up by James Hoggan, pp. 109, 112

    And there is an in-depth analysis of the whole hockey stick smear campaign here:

    http://deepclimate.org/2010/02/04/steve-mcintyre-and-ross-mckitrick-part-1-in-the-beginning/

    Big oil (and coal!) have their dirty little fingerprints all over this stuff. It’s just pretty well hidden (indirectly funded through think tanks), as you would expect it to be.

  41. 341

    Frank Giger (298): @ dhogaza (291), who writes that engineering isn’t science: Hahahahaha! Somebody tell the guys at NASA that they’re working a Liberal Arts project.

    BPL: dhogaza is dead right. Engineers build things. Scientists investigate nature. They are both valid jobs, but they are NOT the same job. There are far too many engineers who think they’re scientists, and almost without exception, think they’re better at it than real scientists–and as a result, embrace pseudoscience. A disproportionate fraction of engineers comprise the supporters of creationism (think Henry Morris), Velikovskian astronomy, alien presence in archaeology and history, and global warming denial (e.g. Robert Essenhigh).

  42. 342

    Frank Giger at 320,

    In case you haven’t noticed, the GOP is the political arm of big business in the USA. The fossil fuel industry desperately wants to shut up scientists talking about AGW, and the Republicans are their boys. Acceptance of AGW is less than half among Republicans than it is among Democrats, according to polls, and that isn’t a coincidence. Fox News, which is operated by former GOP strategist Roger Ailes, disseminates a constant stream of anti-AGW propaganda through its assorted TV stars–Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, Beck, etc. They often bring up the same talking points on the same day.

    The GOP has turned very hard right since the 1970s, because it has essentially been hijacked by far-right advocates. It is no longer the party of Gerry Ford, or even the party of Dick Nixon. Nixon created the EPA; the modern GOP would like to see it dismantled. The old GOP accepted social security and medicare; the new GOP would like to see both “privatized.” The old GOP rejected outright racism; the new GOP flirts with neo-Conservatives and right-wing militias and uses Mexican immigration as a subject to attract white votes in California and Texas.

    It IS a partisan issue. It’s not like the UK where both the Conservatives and Labor take AGW seriously. I wish it weren’t, but unfortunately, that’s the fact at the moment. To vote GOP is to vote against doing anything about AGW. Period.

  43. 343
    Geoff Wexler says:

    #325

    It appears that alarmist computer modelers with their uncertain science, precautionary principles and anti-capitalist agenda are winning.

    Each day, European air lines consult the various forecasting authorities to predict the likely movement of the volcanic ash cloud and announce their decisions to ground most of their air-fleets. How is it that they have come to rely on computer modelers to help them with these decisions?

    Even worse, the behaviour of jet engines outside the main plume of a volcanic eruption is not yet fully predictable.* It would be better to experiment with the crews and passengers.

    This is outrageous. If it goes on my local supermarket will run out of my favourite Kenyan green beans.
    ———————-
    * Some projections include a permanent reduction in efficiency which would further increase the emissions of CO2 from aviation.
    ———
    (Sorry it is a bit late in the month)

  44. 344
    dhogaza says:

    If I were a young person looking for graduate education in climate science, I would NOT choose Georgia Tech. I think I would choose a university where RC people teach. Judy Curry’s idea of separating the research into segments done by different people would require more people to work on one project. That seems an unlikely luxury

    If I were a young person interested in climate researcher, I don’t think I’d want someone who takes Anthony Watts or Steve McIntyre seriously as a researcher as a thesis advisor.

    Just sayin’

  45. 345
    Geoff Wexler says:

    A variation of my previous comment was given on the radio just now, but unlike mine, it was intended to be interpreted literally.

    So once again , but directly this time: Big business is the first to rely on computer models, in this case for short term weather forecasting, when its livelihood depends on getting it right. Perhaps that is also why it has used the precautionary principle,over the volcanic problem , so far.

  46. 346
    John Peter says:

    Somehow this slipped through the cracks last night

    John Peter says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    17 April 2010 at 8:12 PM

    Ray@327

    You’re right but energy balance makes GW very simple for a physicist.

    The globe is getting a little warmer. It was already radiating 33 degrees Kelvin too much. The UV in from the sun is the same. There is a lot more CO2 around. All measured, no models.

    No physicist (I know of) can explain those factual observations any way other than GHG. So you don’t even need a climate scientist, but should you encounter one s/he will give you several dozen more facts.

    So what’s to deny???

    Stay cool

  47. 347
    John Peter says:

    Hank Roberts @304

    Over the last few years, top MIT grads accepted the high starting salaries and huge potential bonuses to work on Wall Street as quants. Using their considerable mathematical skills to trade complex financial instrumentals like MBS and CDS, these neo-millionaires (neo-billionaires?) are still there doing their thing.

    No one, including the quants own management, has a clue about how they do what they do, it’s just that they make beaucoup bucks for the firm.

    Oh, and BTW, MBS and CDS are probably one of our best exports – financial services are 10%+ of US GDP.

    Go ahead, regulate. (SEC is just now suing Goldman Sachs to get some $$ back.)

    Hank, you’re forgetting the golden rule Them that has the gold, make the rules

  48. 348
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Frank Giger @336,
    I doubt you will find a scientist anywhere who applauds the fact that science has become a political football. Science and politics play by different rules. Politics requires compromise to work well (indeed, that’s one reason why politics isn’t working too well in the US). Science cannot compromise–it must cleave to what the evidence says is the truth.

    Frankly, all of the political emphasis on the science is hindering political attempts to come up with a solution based on the science. That absolutely has to be a political process. I am utterly agnostic when it comes to cap and trade, carbon taxes, etc. I think that either could be implemented effectively or catastrophically. However, it is difficult to come up with a solution based on science when your potential partners across the aisle start by rejecting the science. It shoves science into the political combat zone and it forces the rejectionists into an anti-reality position.

  49. 349
    Gerry Quinn says:

    Re Kevin McKinney #318:

    The OP says “Nevertheless, there is zero transparency – because private interests control the patents to the technology.” From that it seems clear he is implying that these patents themselves are somehow secret, which is nonsense.

  50. 350
    John Peter says:

    Gavin note on 297

    Please forgive me but an tsunami of baseless accusations is exactly the environment more baseless accusations.

    The objective of such political accusations is to damage the public credibility of the targets. By the time such a target recovers, the objective has been achieved. Sadly, re-establishing creditability to previous levels after such an attack is rarely, if ever, achieved. Think Joe McCarthy.