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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. 401
    Robert Murphy says:

    Raven, (400)
    It’s not just that there is no ‘proof beyond reasonable doubt’ that the allegations of fraud against the climate scientists at the center of so-called “climate-gate” are bogus (though that is true), it’s the simple fact that there exists plenty of positive evidence that the allegations rely on a complete (deliberate?) misreading of the emails. Take the *hide the decline* nonsense; it’s impossible for this to be deception on the part of Jones because the decline in question (the divergence problem, and how this effected temp reconstructions) was never hidden from the scientific literature. Yet *skeptic* after *skeptic* repeats the claim as if it has never been rebutted. It’s the same with the other allegations.

    Nobody here assumes that scientists are “motivated purely by a desire to find the truth”. That’s just baloney. We certainly aren’t so naive to believe, however, that so-called skeptics are automatically beacons of virtue and honesty. Most have been shown to be far from it. They are the ones who should be worrying about earning back trust.

  2. 402
    Geoff Wexler says:

    John Peter

    Most science is experimental. Ask Nobel – he left no prize for Hilbert Space mathematicians.

    What ? !!
    You have your calendar wrong and have confused pure and applied maths. Kepler and Galileo moved on from your view in the 16th and 17th centuries.

    Nobel prizes are not restricted to experiments! Most people tend to remember the theoretical ones. How about Arrhenius’s theory of electrolytes which more or less founded physical chemistry? That was before he went on to use simple maths to define and estimate climate sensitivity.

    Too simple? How about other Nobel prizes? BCS theory of superconductivity,Einstein’s theory of the photoelectric effect? Heisenberg , Schrodinger, Dirac and Feynman (both Hilbert space mathematicians)….and more recent ones.

    What is true is that physics is empirical i.e that theoretical and experimental work are joined at the hip.

    This is also a basic misunderstanding used by contrarians who avoid the “science of global warming”. The ‘science’ does not just mean using thermometers it means applying the laws which condense vast amounts of earlier experiments into a few highly tested equations.

  3. 403
    Jerry Steffens says:

    Steve Mosher’s comments are almost Kafkaesque; he appears to represent a group that believes that scientific matters can be decided in the same way that cases are settled in a courtroom, i.e., that the side that can argue most persuasively wins. What he doesn’t seem to fully grasp is that there is an underlying physical reality that is being discussed. Using his technique, a group of people in a speeding bus on a dark, rain-slick road might argue about whether or not the bridge up ahead has been washed out. Presumably, if those arguing against the “wash-out theory” win the debate by, say, undermining the credibility of those on the other side of the argument (perhaps two of them were seen to be improperly conferring in the restroom) then the passengers can rest easy.

  4. 404
    David Horton says:

    #378 Judith Curry “I am trying to provoke people to have open minds and think critically about climate research. The charges of “groupthink,” “cargo cult science,” and “tribalism” have some validity in my opinion. ”

    Let us change that to “I am trying to provoke people to have open minds and think critically about evolution. The charges of “groupthink,” “cargo cult science,” and “tribalism” have some validity in my opinion. ” Make sense in that case? No, nor in the first.

  5. 405
    John Peter says:

    Geoff Wexler@402

    Thanks for your interest and comments. I didn’t understand “your calender”.

    From Wiki:

    “Alfred Bernhard Nobel (About this sound pronunciation (help·info)) (Stockholm, Sweden, 21 October 1833 – Sanremo, Italy, 10 December 1896) was a Swedish chemist, engineer, innovator, armaments manufacturer and the inventor of dynamite. He owned Bofors, a major armaments manufacturer, which he had redirected from its previous role as an iron and steel mill. Nobel held 355 different patents, dynamite being the most famous. In his last will, he used his enormous fortune to institute the Nobel Prizes. The synthetic element nobelium was named after him…

    Here’s what I believe, as always, I may be wrong:

    Hilbert Space is mathematics.

    Nobel did not like/trust mathematicians and provided no Nobel prizes in mathematics, pure or applied.

    Theories are very rarely accepted until confirmed by experiment and Nobel prizes are very rarely rewarded before confirmation.

    Some of my best friends are Theoretical Physicists.

    With these caveats, I think we agree

  6. 406
    John Peter says:

    David Horton @404

    OTOH “…”The discovery answers an age-old question that has puzzled biologists since the time of Darwin: How can organisms be so exquisitely complex, if evolution is completely random, operating like a ‘blind watchmaker’?” said Chakrabarti, an associate research scholar in the Department of Chemistry at Princeton. “Our new theory extends Darwin’s model, demonstrating how organisms can subtly direct aspects of their own evolution to create order out of randomness.”…http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2008/11/princeton-team.html

    Well, whada you know 8*)

  7. 407
    David Horton says:

    #406 John Peter “an age-old question that has puzzled biologists since the time of Darwin: How can organisms be so exquisitely complex, if evolution is completely random, operating like a ‘blind watchmaker’?” Really John? I guess it would be a bit like that age old question that has puzzled climatologists – how can a small amount of CO2 warm the planet.

    [Response: John needs to read Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, by Dennett. He clears up any confusion about this. He shows that on the one hand some biologists have been ‘puzzled’ — Gould in particular was — but why they shouldn’t be. A few billion years, plus evolution precisely the way Darwin understood it, and voila: exquisite complexity.Someone ought to write the same book for climate, except that it would be boring because it is actually much less complex than evolution.–eric]

  8. 408
    dhogaza says:

    “The Lawyer with a physics degree says” … “I forgot that unauthorized access to a computer is a crime”.

    Hopefully now that your memory’s been jogged, you won’t have this problem again. Not that this is the only thing wrong with your post.

    (p.s. I do not believe either the lawyer nor physics claim)

  9. 409
    dhogaza says:

    “Our new theory extends Darwin’s model, demonstrating how organisms can subtly direct aspects of their own evolution to create order out of randomness.”

    Well, whada you know 8*)

    John Peter just proves that he knows as much about evolutionary biology vs. creationism/intelligent design arguments as he does about climate.

    No. The quote mine doesn’t support a creationist/intelligent design point of view. This is a feedback model.

  10. 410
    dhogaza says:

    Quoth the raven:

    The bottom line is trust is earned – not demanded and once lost is tough to get back. Nothing will change until the climate scientists acknowledge this and start to work at earning back the trust that has been lost.

    Of course, the raven isn’t pointing out that the raven has never trusted climate science (therefore there’s no trust to regain), and that for some reason raven trusts the lying, quote-mining, felony-committing e-mail thieves without demanding they earn it.

  11. 411
    Jeffrey Davis says:

    Judith Curry wrote, ‘The charges of “groupthink,” “cargo cult science,” and “tribalism” have some validity in my opinion.’

    The accusation of “cargo cult science” has “some validity”? Curry’s explication of “some validity” would be fascinating were she to provide it. To say nothing of what she means or thinks others mean by “cargo cult science”.

    And outside of academic committee-speak, what does “some validity” mean? Either a charge is valid or it isn’t. To make nebulous, undefinable charges is irresponsible. (Note: not somewhat irresponsible.)

  12. 412
    Hank Roberts says:

    > John Peter
    C’mon. You can look things up as easily as anyone else, and find
    http://prl.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v100/i25/e258103
    One citation since it was published.
    Nothing about it being revolutionary, nothing anthropomorphic, nothing directed.
    Don’t fall for press release science.

  13. 413
    flxible says:

    “I am trying to provoke people to have open minds and think critically about climate research. The charges of “groupthink,” “cargo cult science,” and “tribalism” have some validity in my opinion.”

    Sounds like Ms Curry explaining why she is hanging around the sites where the “groupthink,” “cargo cult science,” and “tribalism” can invariably be found, rather than here at RC where thinking folks come to learn about real science from the individualists that actually do science. Nothing wrong with “fighting the good fight”, providing of course, she can stick to the science among that crowd. Maybe, being a climate scientist, she can do a reasoned critique of the “science” involved in the Bishop Hill book as a guest post at ….. Bishop Hill?

    So a suggestion: one open comment thread for those who want to discuss the political “climate”, another for those who want to hash over the IPCC’s relevence or accuracy, and another for denialist memes, maybe others as well …. OT comments following actual blog posts can be moved to the appropriate OT thread, non-group commentors can regale each other and interlopers with their individual theories.

  14. 414
    Raven says:

    #410 dhogaza

    3 years ago I had absolutely no reason to doubt the consensus and only stumbled into the hockey stick debate because I was trying to figure out how much sea level rise I was likely to see in my lifetime. It took some time to sort out the nonsense sceptical arguments from the ones with merit but once I did the absolute refusal on the part of climate scientists to recognize the legimate issues raised really surprised me.

    [Response: I hear this sometimes, but every one of the ‘legitimate issues’ that we are supposed to be ignoring are either issues that the community has been looking at for years (UHI, uncertainties in paleo proxies or modelling) or are ‘issues’ which have rightly been dismissed as not been legitimate but that keep on being raised (co2 saturation, hoaxes, ‘corruption’ etc). So what are these ‘legitimate’ issues we are ignoring? Name one. -gavin]

  15. 415
    Frank Giger says:

    Quite of few of us who started from the negative postion didn’t get there through the “denialist propaganda machine.” I think the concern over how the public views the science has much less to do with emails and “ill advised” efforts to have data destroyed rather than released.

    For some of us in the USA – quite a few of my peers – it came from three places:

    1) Overblown alarmism from environmental groups that was clearly bogus. When NGO’s were brought in to advise and influence the IPCC reports (not the science part, though a few were referenced in error – a big ding in credibility), lots of eyerolls commenced. Why Greenpeace or the WWF had a seat at the table is still a mystery to me – last I checked they aren’t a government or a group of scientists qualified to speak about climate change. They had nothing of substance to add but a well telegraphed point of view and the appearance of injecting their agendas into the reports.

    2) The UN stamp of approval. Nothing says slanted political effort rife with corruption like a United Nations Committee. Not to say that every UN project is rotten (there are quite a few that work above board, effectively, and efficiently), but they prove the exception rather than the rule.

    3) The immediate policy recommendations that seemed to come concurrent with the first report. Granted, many folks got read-aheads so that they wouldn’t be ignorant when it was released, but to the layman it looked like a deal where the fix was in long before the starting bell. When the first recommendation is that the West pay eco-reparations to nations with dubious records when it comes to corruption, they definately lost me.

    People like me then dug into the science; it’s solid, or solid enough to warrant action. Maybe not the sort of action being forwarded at the UN or even within the US Congress, but that’s policy debate.

  16. 416
    Tom Fuller says:

    Judith Curry does understand something that posters and commenters here apparently do not.

    Many of the criticisms leveled against the IPCC, AR4, and CRU are valid and serious. Most of us who make these criticisms do not believe that, even if all of them are 100% true, they invalidate climate science. Most of us do not believe that the IPCC should be disbanded (although I have called repeatedly for the resignation of Rajendra Pachauri, which I will do again here–he should go. I also believe Phil Jones should not step back into post.) or CRU be closed.

    I would bet large sums of money that Steve Mosher, Steve McIntyre, ‘Bishop Hill’ and Anthony Watts would agree with me (maybe Watts would like the IPCC to go away).

    IPCC’s AR4 has serious flaws, although the flaws do not call into question climate science. One third of its references are not peer-reviewed, according to Donna Framboise. The Synthesis did not catch the error on Himalayan glaciers–why not?

    The IPCC has serious defects that do not call into question climate science. Its publishing schedule, review procedures and team make-up do not serve the needs of stakeholders. Lead authors should not review for inclusion their own work, nor negative comments on that work. They should enforce the rules on deadlines for IPCC reports.

    Rajendra Pachauri should resign, but not because climate science is wrong. He should resign because he vilified a climate scientist who told him the IPCC was wrong about Himalayan glaciers and worked mightily to suppress the error until the conclusion of COP15.

    Phil Jones should not step back into post, and not because climate science is wrong, and not because of his work as a scientist. He should step down because he did not inform the science community about siting issues that compromised his 1990 Nature article on UHI, and because he advised colleagues to break the law by deleting emails subject to FOIA requests. Those are not the acts of a leader of a premier unit of an academic institution.

    Like I said, Curry gets this. You all apparently do not.

  17. 417
    John Peter says:

    David Horton @407
    Eric note

    Thanks guys for the help. Guess I never heard before there was anything called “evolutionary biology”. Now that you mention it, I don’t know why it’s so sensible.

    I’ll take a look for Dennett, thanks for the link. I may even be able to avoid the misty net.

  18. 418
    John Peter says:

    Hank Roberts@412

    Mea culpa, of course you’re right. It’s late and I’m tired but I realize that’s no excuse.

    Thanks

  19. 419

    John Peter, Judith et al.: I’ve been through this kind of thing twice before, with the tobacco and AIDS denial movements in South Africa. There are all kinds of arguments you can bring to bear about how scientists should be better communicators, but it all boils down to one thing: whenever the denialists are given equal time (and I use this term to mean people who flatly reject the science, rather than real skeptics or contrarians amenable to logic, who are exploring the fringes of the science to make sure it holds up), it creates the impression that they represent a valid flaw in the science.

    The only way to counter this is to speak up frequently and clearly. John, you make a good point about hammering on the simplest points possible (#375). George Monbiot did a brilliant job of destroying Ian Plimer’s credibility by backing him into a corner over his totally incorrect information about CO_2 emissions of volcanoes, and ignoring all his other questionable claims.

    As for your request for “reliable transparent data” (#354), it exists. The problem with CRU is that they were picked on as using a few data sources of which they were not the primary curator, and a bogus issue was created around that. Add to that that most of the furore is around papers published no more recently than 1998 (12-20 years ago in general) and you have to wonder how anyone is taken in by all this.

    As I’ve said elsewhere, its as much a failure of journalism as anything else.

  20. 420
    Eli Rabett says:

    If Judith Curry is still reading this thread and wishes to discuss matters she is going to have to be much more specific about her various claims. It would probably be best to start with a single one, work that one out and then go on.

    The choice is up to you Prof. Curry

    [Response: Apparently the point was to try and move the conversation onto more productive topics in paleoclimate reconstructions and temperature records. How that would be facilitated by alluding to ‘corruption’ in the IPCC seems a little mysterious. – gavin]

  21. 421
    Hank Roberts says:

    > move the conversation onto more productive topics in paleoclimate reconstructions
    > and temperature records. How that would be facilitated by alluding to ‘corruption’
    > in the IPCC seems a little mysterious.

    Mysterious? you haven’t looked at the other climate book from the same publisher, the one I asked Dr. Curry’s comments on. This one:
    http://www.stacey-international.co.uk/v1/site/product_rpt.asp?Catid=331&catname=
    That’s Carter, going all Orwell on us — the paleo people are apparently uniformly in on the UN/IPCC conspiracy, and once you can fake the paleo records, you know:
    “… those who control the present control the past, and those who control the past …

    Seriously, I think that’s the area we need Dr. Curry’s honest evaluation on, and may be what she’s talking about — this notion that all these scientists are in on the conspiracy to falsify everything to control the world. Maybe it looks different from Georgia.

  22. 422
    Frank Giger says:

    “In case you haven’t noticed, the GOP is the political arm of big business in the USA.”

    And the Democratic Party isn’t? :)

    Unfortunately, a good faith, robust debate on policy isn’t desired by either party at this time. I wouldn’t trust either party to come up with the right solutions by themselves.

    Revisiting engineering versus science, I still don’t see the bright shining wall between them.

    The scientist develops the formulaic relationships between factors based on theory (which is backed by observation), and then develops a mathmatical model that uses adjusted data.

    The model then generates output, which the scientist looks at and then refines his theory (sometimes validated, sometimes not).

    The middle portion – the workings of the model – is the computation of the ballistic path, and not the physics of inertia, gravity, etc. In other words, the “engineering” phase of the science.

    As part of my last job I performed much simpler sorts of similar tasks, from cleaning up raw data, smoothing noise, weighting relevant factors, drawing conclusions about trends, etc.

    Most of the work was at the front and back end of the model, as it always is, but if the math is wrong inside the code the whole thing can go horribly askew! In our office it was standard practice to brief assumptions, methodology, and findings – and then have someone else do a computational check (“audit”). We prevented having egg on our faces more than once that way.

    One of the things I tell “deniers” of global warming (everyone I’ve ever talked to has been misinformed or ignorant rather than stupid) is that all models are wrong; some are just much better than others. That is to say that models of complex systems do not have to be 100% on the money to be fundamentally correct and of use. Similarly, expecting climate models to have anything but a confidence level within a range is missing the point.

    One has only to look at their own house note escrow account model to see that born out.

  23. 423
    Raven says:

    #414 – Gavin

    There was a recent paper on SLR which was withdrawn. The authors said:

    Since publication of our paper we have become aware of two mistakes which impact the detailed estimation of future sea level rise. This means that we can no longer draw firm conclusions regarding 21st century sea level rise from this study without further work.

    [edit]

    [Response: This is pointless. I ask for legitimate issues that are being neglected and you respond with some kind of litmus test I have to pass about a decade old paper which has been examined ad nauseum. Just get over yourself. – gavin]

    There are other examples. For example, the endless repetition of the claim that the climate models represent climate from first principles when critical processes are parameterized. The parameterization does not mean the models are useless but does mean their results outside of the range where they were trained must be treated with extreme caution because they could be useless. I do not feel that climate scientists have adequately conveyed these limitations to the public even though these issues are covered in the bowels of the IPCC reports. Again it appears that political concerns are put ahead of communicating the science accurately.

    [Response: I call BS. I have written extensively on the uncertainties in climate models, produced copious FAQs on the subject, made our code available to all, put all of the output on line and here you are accusing me of putting ‘political’ concerns ahead of the science? And you wonder why your concerns don’t get treated seriously? – gavin]

  24. 424
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “398
    Skip Smith says:
    18 April 2010 at 6:03 PM

    These comments prove Judith right.”

    No, Judith’s comments prove Judith right. Just she’s pointing them at the wrong people.

    SHE is indulging in groupthink. Raven is indulging in less-than-cargo-cult science. You’re politicking.

  25. 425
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “What has happened is not only do we have evidence that scientists don’t always put scientific concerns first when making public statements”

    Funny how the NIPCC, the Heartland Institute, Spencer, M&M, Watts et al are never under that spotlight from people like Raven.

  26. 426
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “.Cutting through that, it is clear that the vast majority of the CRU material that entered the public domain belonged there under the FOIA.”

    Really?

    Given that even the leakers themselves said that most of the info they stole was about nothing to do with the science or operational work (e.g. “I’ll be on holiday …”, the vast majority cannot belong under FOIA.

    Also, you can’t “belong” under FOIA. You can be *asked* under FOIA to release.

    More, as one other poster put it, one FOIA request wasn’t even a request.

    Given your inability to see any of this because you’re blinded by cupidity, I wonder how much of a solicitor you are.

    Given too that you use lawyer rather than solicitor, you’re a ‘merkin. So how much do you know about UK law rather than your own?

  27. 427
    Martin Vermeer says:

    I have seen no mention on RC of Andrew Montford’s (Bishop Hill) book … I for
    one would very much like to see what RC has to say about this book.

    While science fiction is a legitimate genre, I don’t think RC is the appropriate venue for literary reviews…

  28. 428
    Ted says:

    One quick comment: Judith mentioned “corruptions” in the “IPCC process.” Gavin and others have jumped on this phrasing in particular, but I think in the wrong sense. As I read it, she states that the process is corrupted … not the people. A subtle but important point. As with a corrupted computer file, the IPCC process isn’t working properly. Extrapolating from this some sort of claim that the people in the IPCC are corrupt – i.e., evil, perverted, or depraved – seems to be, willful or otherwise, a misreading of her post.

  29. 429

    JP (376): You can’t investigate nature, sitting in a library.

    BPL: Tell it to Stephen Hawking. Or Albert Einstein.

  30. 430
    Deech56 says:

    Frank Giger, the UN bashing seems odd to people in the health field – the WHO is well respected.

  31. 431
    Geoff Wexler says:

    [My last comment on this topic]

    Nobel did not like/trust mathematicians and provided no Nobel prizes in mathematics, pure or applied.

    Good thing that he did not live to see his prejudices overthrown by the people at Stockholm.

    Is this not applied maths? I hope you will not quible about the terminology.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renormalization_group

    It led to a whole bunch of N prizes e.g.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_G._Wilson

  32. 432
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “For each and every instance of your seventeen accusations:

    The presumption of innocence – being considered innocent unless proven guilty”

    This isn’t a court of law.

    This isn’t a case of guilt or innocence.

  33. 433
    Sou says:

    I’m happy to give Judith Curry the benefit of the doubt that her motives are benign (for now), but in doing so I believe she is naive in the extreme to think that those who are demonstrably anti-science and anti-scientists are ‘open-minded’.

    The open minded people who are looking to find out more will find it. It’s right there in front of their noses. She doesn’t need to go to WUWT or CA to find those open-minded people, they will find the science themselves by going to good quality sites (like realclimate) and scientific journals.

    My guess is that the social worker is coming to the forefront with Curry, and she thinks she can ‘save’ people by bending over backwards to ‘see their point of view’. Either she will be burnt in the process and realise the futility of her approach, or she will end up like other do-gooders and end up being used by those with malicious intent (but she will be blind to that and continue to pursue her crusade).

  34. 434
    votenotokyoto says:

    [In 414 Response: I hear this sometimes, but every one of the ‘legitimate issues’ that we are supposed to be ignoring are either issues that the community has been looking at for years (UHI, uncertainties in paleo proxies or modelling) or are ‘issues’ which have rightly been dismissed as not been legitimate but that keep on being raised (co2 saturation, hoaxes, ‘corruption’ etc). So what are these ‘legitimate’ issues we are ignoring? Name one. -gavin]

    You don’t mention solar irradiation, potential negative feedbacks, effect on storms, clouds, beneficial effects etc but I appreciate that you could not cover all questioned issues in an in line response. The point is that many of us are educated in a discipline that gives us some understanding of the underlying processes. We came to this issue to better understand the science. Some such as Frank Giger (415) were satisfied by what they read, others such as Raven not fully. However, when reading responses such as dhogaza’s to Judith Curry, or the constant tone of posts from completely fed up et al, or the constant official response from governments that the science is settled when it isn’t, of Rajendra Pauchari accusing people who question a misprint in IPCC reports of practicing voodoo science, those of us who were already questioning the science really begin to smell a rat about motivations.

    As I read it, one is a sceptic if one is not convinced that Human emmissions of CO2 and other gases are catastrophically heating up the world and to mitigate the effects we have to drastically cut CO2 emmissions. And the only way a right thinking person sould not believe all that is if they are in the pay of an oil or coal company or deranged.

    If one can not honestly answer yes to all these questions one is a sceptic.

    Is the Earth warming by more than normal climatic variation?
    Do you believe that UHI is accutately accounted for in HadCrut and GISS?
    Are sea levels going to rise by more than the current 3.3 mm per year for the next century?
    Does increased CO2 in the atmosphere have more negative than positive effects?
    Increased temperatures (asumes yes to Q1) will increase or intensify storms?
    Increased temperatures from increased CO2 in the atmosphere will result in more positive than negative feedbacks on temperature?
    If we don’t make any effort to change CO2 emmissions world temperatures will increase by more than 2C over the coming century?
    Reducing CO2 emmissions to 50% of current levels by 2050 will reduce this increase to under 2C?
    2C is the magic number?

    The hardest thing to understand about this issue is the motives of people. My motive for looking at this is to work out if the EUR15 per tonne of CO2 tax that I pay is justified. Also as a PhD engineer with many published papers I would like to know that the science is good and properly examined with all potential alternative theories taken on board. I would also like to see better discussion of science issues in general within scientific representative bodies.

    It is harder to discern the motives of proponents. Some are looking for research funds and these are often linked to global warming mitigation. Some have interests in trading CO2 emmissions. Perhaps governements like my own looking for more sources of revenue. Some proponents (the more shrill) are clearly ideologically motivated.

    But for many people I suspect it is a genuine belief that all of the above is correct. These people genuinely believe that the evidence says we should act now to reduce CO2 emmissions. If this is indeed the case there should be no difficulty with properly examining contrary science views. This is the only way the correct picture will emerge. I can not understand the reluctance by genuine science people not to discuss genuine scientific concerns about this extremely important issue. Have any of you geninely assumed a devil’s advocate position to see how robust your beliefs are?

  35. 435

    Raven said: For most people this comes down to a question of ‘who do you trust?’

    Indeed.

    Here’s my take on how to short circuit having to delve in all the evidence and counter evidence:
    http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2009/02/08/who-to-believe/

    I think they’re pretty common sense points as to how to assess the credibility of a certain position without necessarily having to know all the ins and outs.

  36. 436
    dhogaza says:

    Frank Giger:

    Why Greenpeace or the WWF had a seat at the table is still a mystery to me – last I checked they aren’t a government or a group of scientists qualified to speak about climate change.

    WWF scientists are frequent contributors to the published literature in areas such as conservation biology and population ecology, both impacted by climate change. Why shouldn’t NGOs with a strong scientific underpinning have a seat at the table? After all, Saudi Arabia does …

  37. 437
    dhogaza says:

    While science fiction is a legitimate genre, I don’t think RC is the appropriate venue for literary reviews…

    Oh, I don’t know, RC took on Crichton. On the other hand, he had a real publisher, and is widely read. Bishop Hill, on the other hand …

  38. 438
    Bob says:

    OK Gavin, perhaps you are right. Let’s pick just one issue for know and engage a full and honest debate. How about we start with MBH 98 and MBH 99. Let’s begin a real debate about RE vs r

    [edit. Dredging up discredited criticisms (see IPCC AR4) about 10 year old papers, the key conclusions of which have been reproduced now by dozens of other studies. Sorry, that’s jumping the shark. It is a tacit admission on your part (and that of would-be repeaters of the meme) that you aint got nothin. so in this, don’t bother posting.]

  39. 439
    CM says:

    Re: trust, a bright high school senior can figure out what the deal is.

    … As for the second option, that scientists are part of a conspiracy – if you stop and think about it, like, really? … (http://climatesight.org/2010/04/11/mind-the-gap/)

    If you haven’t already read it, it will brighten your day.

  40. 440
    Triple Bay says:

    I am not a scientist and I am not a member of any organization the would benefit either for or against climate legislation. Like many people, I made comments that would be considered derogatory against the scientists, the IPCC report and the UN. Please accept my apology and anyone that may have been offended.

    I have been following this since the Copenhagen conference and can see the benefit of legislation regarding climate change and reducing the use of fossil fuels etc.

    From reading these posts, it would appear some people think that progress in the area of climate change has come to a halt. I live in Canada and the Canadian Government has informed the UN that it is in agreement with reducing greenhouse gasses 17% by 2020 to 1995 levels. This is the same position taken by the USA. Various groups and politicians have been working behind the scenes in preparation for the UN meeting in Cancun later on this year. I also have noticed a big change in commercial advertising seen on the television and radio. It seems that the large corporations have included an environmental message in a lot of their advertising that was not there before. I list these examples to show something positive rather than contribute to the negativity that is out there. Maybe some people think this doesn’t go far enough but it is a start and better than nothing.

    I believe climate legislation will arrive sooner than later. I also think more progress would be made if certain individuals and organzations became a part of the solution rather the problem itself. I would rather be on the train that under it.

  41. 441
    Frank Giger says:

    @ dhogaza:

    Then the scientists who published would be there, but not WWF as an organization. [edit – over statements]

    We could use this same line of thinking and involve all manner of “denialist” groups that have published scientists as members, even ones that haven’t published within climatology fields. They need only be published in a related or impacted area.

    Unless you’re not defending the citations in the IPCC reports that credit the WWF for the research supporting it, which the UN isn’t.

    Saudi Arabia is a country, which is why it was involved with a United Nations effort.

  42. 442
    CM says:

    At least Crichton was Crichton. The author of “The Jesus Paper” is just trying to be Dan Brown.

  43. 443
    Petro says:

    434 votenokyoto: Let’s take your questions even further. What is the point of having biodiversity? What is the point support human being in some under-developed country? What is the point of check-and-balances What is the point of property? What is the point to have humanity?

    Would you really mind read the papers where are the answers to your questions? If you are not happy with some result, replicate it. All the methods and data is available to you. You don’t really need to believe any particular scientist, do trust only scientific method.

  44. 444

    This could be considered OT, I suppose, but discussion on this thread has been, er, rather wide-ranging, so: for those who need to deal with the subgenre of “station siting skepticism,” NCDC has added a nice “real-world” illustration of the advantages of dealing with anomalies (rather than absolute temps) as a sidebar to the latest monthly report:

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/?report=global

    The box isn’t far down the page, and is headed “Did you know?” The graph speaks volumes, I think.

  45. 445
    dhogaza says:

    Saudi Arabia is a country, which is why it was involved with a United Nations effort.

    Neither Greenpeace nor WWF are voting members of the IPCC, so what exactly do you claim is their involvement?

    They’ve put out work that’s been cited? As long as their work has merit, there is no problem with that, whatsoever. M&M got referenced. Why shouldn’t others on the other side of the fence?

    You’re bothered by the fact that they’ve made comments on draft reports? Everyone can.

    I think I understand your objection: you don’t like Greenpeace, you don’t like the WWF, so they should be shut out of the process, regardless of the merit of their work.

  46. 446
    Mal Adapted says:

    434 Vote no on Kyoto:

    Is the Earth warming by more than normal climatic variation?
    Do you believe that UHI is accutately accounted for in HadCrut and GISS?
    Are sea levels going to rise by more than the current 3.3 mm per year for the next century?
    Does increased CO2 in the atmosphere have more negative than positive effects?
    Increased temperatures (asumes yes to Q1) will increase or intensify storms?
    Increased temperatures from increased CO2 in the atmosphere will result in more positive than negative feedbacks on temperature?
    If we don’t make any effort to change CO2 emmissions world temperatures will increase by more than 2C over the coming century?
    Reducing CO2 emmissions to 50% of current levels by 2050 will reduce this increase to under 2C?
    2C is the magic number?

    Two of these questions are not like the others.

    My motive for looking at this is to work out if the EUR15 per tonne of CO2 tax that I pay is justified. Also as a PhD engineer with many published papers I would like to know that the science is good and properly examined with all potential alternative theories taken on board.

    Thank you for admitting that it’s all about your EUR15 per tonne of CO2 tax. The scientific questions you raise have all been answered definitively, as you would know if you actually understood the science. You are really asking just two questions:

    Will I be a winner or a loser? (i.e. “Will the costs, to me, of AGW be greater than the benefits, to me, of BAU?”)
    If I’m a winner, why should I pay to help the losers?

    These are not scientific questions. You won’t find the answers to them on this blog. In any case, it’s evident from your blognomen that you’ve already answered them to your satisfaction. Why are you posting here, then?

  47. 447
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Tom Fuller says: Many of the criticisms leveled against the IPCC, AR4, and CRU are valid and serious.

    Many? Please enumerate.

    I would bet large sums of money that Steve Mosher, Steve McIntyre, ‘Bishop Hill’ and Anthony Watts would agree with me.

    Why would you want these characters on your side, instead of actual climate scientists?

  48. 448
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “My guess is that the social worker is coming to the forefront with Curry, and she thinks she can ’save’ people by bending over backwards to ’see their point of view’.”

    You have to bend over backwards before you can put your head up your …

  49. 449
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Judith Miller says: The charges of “groupthink,” “cargo cult science,” and “tribalism” have some validity in my opinion.

    And the evidence for this assertion is…?

  50. 450
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “As I read it, she states that the process is corrupted … not the people. A subtle but important point.”

    Also vague and unsupported, therefore untenable in a discussion.