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IPCC report card

Filed under: — gavin @ 30 August 2010

Update: Nature has just published a thoughtful commentary on the report

The Inter-Academy Council report on the processes and governance of the IPCC is now available. It appears mostly sensible and has a lot of useful things to say about improving IPCC processes – from suggesting a new Executive to be able to speak for IPCC in-between reports, a new communications strategy, better consistency among working groups and ideas for how to reduce the burden on lead authors in responding to rapidly increasing review comments.

As the report itself notes, the process leading to each of the previous IPCC reports has been informed from issues that arose in previous assessments, and that will obviously also be true for the upcoming fifth Assessment report (AR5). The suggestions made here will mostly strengthen the credibility of the next IPCC, particularly working groups 2 and 3, though whether it will make the conclusions less contentious is unclear. Judging from the contrarian spin some are putting on this report, the answer is likely to be no.


403 Responses to “IPCC report card”

  1. 101

    Ron R @ 96:

    You can pick all manner of groups and say “They failed us”, but the bottom line is that we failed ourselves for myriad reasons.

    I was talking with a friend the other night about the study decline in the quality of manufactured goods. And that turned into a discussion about imports. And =that= led to a discussion about Wal-Mart and how the American consumer is shopping themselves into unemployment by buying from Wal-Mart. Everyone wants to pay less, and earn more. There’s a major disconnect in there somewhere.

    If you look at the “successful” journalists they are mostly successful because their message is one that the lazy masses want to hear.

  2. 102
    Vendicar Decarian says:

    “You’re right, and that’s because they are paid by corporations.” – 96

    The failure of American Journalism is not a result of corporate ownership as much as it is a result of competition. There has always been corporate ownership, although certainly the [edit-lets avoid partisan politics] move to de-restrict limits on media ownership has done quite a bit of damage.

    The majority of the damage however has come from the rise of near content free, or content negative “infotainment” in place of news.

    Infotainment is based on telling people what they want to hear rather than what is true. Journalists begin to slant their stories to make them more palatable, and editors begin to limit what is said to what will please the audience, even when that news pleases the audience by supporting their world view while at the same time angering them by the world daring not conform to their ideological preferences.

    In a nation like the U.S. where money grubbing is considered by many to be the ultimate good, and an end unto itself, the rise of the news for profit infotainment industry, combined with the ideology of self deceiving [edit] kooktards, the [edit] Lying machine has found very fertile soil.

    To the vast majority of [edit], truth is now irrelevant.
    Maintaining and promoting the growth of [edit] ideology is all that matters.

  3. 103
    pete best says:

    The media tells stories to fit their political bias (so called braodsheets) whilst the red tops (alleged newspapers) dont really know what to say on the matter of science.

    We need to be clear here about science and the media, until now science and technology has only enriched our lives (societally that is as I am sure individually it has wrecked many) especially in terms of travel – the car and aircraft especially, in goods and services (freight via road and sea and air), in medical science, in work and play and in energy provision via fossil fuels which could scale and was available in solid, liquid and gas form. Its just perfect.

    Now comes payback but the media loved to report the moon landings as it was optimistic and full of human endeavour along with all other technologies especially IT related ones, billionaire bill gates etc. ACC/AGW is not somehing they want to report on. The scale of change is distressing, the change of lifestyle even worse and the reduction in easy to obtain growth another.

    Fossil fuels have given us everything and now its potentially going to take it all away especially free market economics which in some peoples eyes made all of this possible.

  4. 104
    Rod B says:

    Paul Tremblay, my comment was in direct response to a comment on the prosecution of Mann re his AGW scientific efforts. Where the hell did “malaria” come from?

  5. 105
    Rod B says:

    Veidicar Decarian, the likely throwing the scoundrels out has nothing to do with climate science per se.

  6. 106
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Rod B.,
    Nowhere did I advocate anything approaching global government. I do however think that a global treaty must have enforcement mechanisms in place.

    Really, my post was intended as a challenge to those on the political right to start thinking in terms of solutions to the problem that are in concert with their ideology rather than automatically denying reality when it does not suit their ideology. Denial of physical reality doesn’t particularly make a good advertisement for an ideology.

  7. 107
    Radge Havers says:

    Veidicar @ 94

    Beginning?

    Figure of speech. Understatement.

    If someone has an actual antidote to the epidemic wetware malfunction, please administer it now. I mean it.

  8. 108
    SecularAnimist says:

    I wrote: “It seems to me that what needs ‘reform’ is not the IPCC process, but the governments that have consistently ignored and refused to act upon what the IPCC [has] been telling them for decades.”

    Veidicar Decarian replied: “Meanwhile in Yankville the highly intelligent electorate is about to give the house and the next presidency to the Global Warming Denailists. You seem to be in deep denial about the lack of intelligence of Joe American. You people just don’t get it do you?”

    With all due respect, your response to my comment seems to be a non sequitur.

    I opined that governments have failed to act on the scientific assessments provided by the IPCC.

    I said nothing at all about the upcoming US elections or the “intelligence” of American voters, so you have no idea at all of what my views may be on those subjects.

    So where do you get this “you seem to be in deep denial” business?

    With all due respect, you seem to have some preconceived ideas of what “you people” think, leading you to post a flurry of comments bellowing about what “you people” think, rather than addressing what anyone actually wrote.

    Which is neither edifying nor useful.

  9. 109
    Rod B says:

    Ray Ladbury: you said: “Nowhere did I advocate anything approaching global government. I do however think that a global treaty must have enforcement mechanisms in place.” I read it differently, but at the time didn’t really believe it — so my question with incredulity.

    You said: “Really, my post was intended as a challenge to those on the political right to start thinking in terms of solutions to the problem that are in concert with their ideology rather than automatically denying reality when it does not suit their ideology. Denial of physical reality doesn’t particularly make a good advertisement for an ideology.”

    That sounds like it might be instructive, but I can’t make heads nor tails out of it. Are you saying the political right has a common characteristic — and maybe an exclusive one at that — of denying physical reality??

  10. 110
    Paul Tremblay says:

    >>Paul Tremblay, my comment was in direct response to a comment on the prosecution of Mann re his AGW scientific efforts. Where the hell did “malaria” come from?

    Sorry, I mixed you up with HotRod. However, why are you throwing out political bombs about “Obama’s unconstitutional actions,” a statement completely off topic and utterly devoid of content? Are you just trying to push peoples’ buttons?

  11. 111
  12. 112
    Vendicar Decarian says:

    From the Conservative Rag the New York Post.

    What does the best evidence now tell us? That man-made global warming is a mere hypothesis that has been inflated by both exaggeration and downright malfeasance, fueled by the awarding of fat grants and salaries to any scientist who’ll produce the “right” results.
    The warming “scientific” community, the Climategate emails reveal, is a tight clique of like-minded scientists and bureaucrats who give each other jobs, publish each other’s papers — and conspire to shut out any point of view that threatens to derail their gravy train.
    Such behavior is perhaps to be expected from politicians and government functionaries. From scientists, it’s a travesty.

    Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/meltdown_of_the_climate_consensus_G0kWdclUvwhVr6DYH6A4uJ#ixzz0yPmsZBVT

  13. 113
    Vendicar Decarian says:

    “If someone has an actual antidote to the epidemic wetware malfunction, please administer it now.” – 103

    In order to develop a solution one must first identify the problem.

    My earlier comments were edited in a manner that kept the problem hidden in order not to be political.

    Well guys… Guess what…. The problem political. So by ignoring that fact, or by preventing dialog on that topic you are essentially preventing the problem from being identified and hence preventing it from being solved.

    Lets not mice words. The problem is Conservatism, particularly American Conservatism, both traditional and neo. The movement has become an ideological cult that ignores evidence and facts where those things conflict with the official Conservative dogma.

    We see the same thing in biology with the Conservative opposition to the theory of Evolution, in history with the Conservative view that the world is only 7,000 years old, with paleontology with the Conservative view that man lived along side dinosaurs. We even see it in the area of Economics where the overwhelming Conservative view is that 30 years of borrow and spend Conservative economic policies haven’t bankrupted the nation.

    The problem is Fundamentalist Conservatism and it’s eagerness to reject reality, it’s willingness to engage in deceit and self deceit, and it’s need to destroy anything and everything that challenges that ideology.

    The solution is to stand up to it, to stare it down, to shout it down, to minimize it, to marginalize it, and to do so in any and ever way possible.

    And if that is not sufficient to destroy the Conservative movement in the U.S. then the alternative is to destroy the U.S. itself in order to limit the damage it will do to the rest of the world.

    If you don’t like that solution… Too bad for you. Reality has this nasty habit of limiting your options.

    Feel free to provide some alternatives that will produce the desired result in the time remaining.

    [Response: OK, I just wandered in here and I'm not going to wade through the comments to find out who threw the first, second or nth egg. Just stick to the climate science and save the rest for somewhere else. And please calm down--Jim]

  14. 114
    Vendicar Decarian says:

    The Senate has all but ruled out moving on greenhouse gases this year, even though the House of Representatives passed a bill last year. In late July, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stripped climate provisions out of an energy bill, saying he could not get one Republican vote for them.

  15. 115
    Jon P says:

    “We see the same thing in biology with the Conservative opposition to the theory of Evolution, in history with the Conservative view that the world is only 7,000 years old, with paleontology with the Conservative view that man lived along side dinosaurs. We even see it in the area of Economics where the overwhelming Conservative view is that 30 years of borrow and spend Conservative economic policies haven’t bankrupted the nation.”

    Yeah OK no one challenge him on this BS, how typical.

  16. 116
    Rod B says:

    Paul Tremblay, well, in the context it’s nearly on topic. Sneaking political snarks in is popular, though I’d agree not particularly helpful. Just trying to reduce the odds.

  17. 117
    Rod B says:

    Vendicar Decarian (109), I’m really hesitant to play in your sandbox, but…. balderdash, hogwash, bull Shiite. And as we watch the liberals work to destroy the U.S. right before our eyes… Actually, in a weird sort of agreement, liberals do not deny reality. Can’t deny anything you have no concept of…

    [Response: What I said to Vendicar Rod.--Jim]

  18. 118
    Anonymous Coward says:

    Rod B,
    Please check out Bob Altemeyer’s research regarding denailist tendencies.

  19. 119

    RC,

    Every time I fail a reCAPTCHA, then re-enter, I get a “duplicate message” error and neither post shows up. This is a logic error in your software.

  20. 120

    RC: Every time I fail a reCAPTCHA and resubmit, I get a “duplicate message” error, and neither post shows up. This is a logic bug in your software.

    For God’s sake, can’t you do something about this user-hostile system you’ve switched to? Find something else! Anything else!

  21. 121

    VD 113: And if that is not sufficient to destroy the Conservative movement in the U.S. then the alternative is to destroy the U.S. itself in order to limit the damage it will do to the rest of the world.

    BPL: Right. That’ll just leave China and India. No environmental damage there!

  22. 122

    #101 FurryCatHerder

    I agree with your summary.

    Rod Black: generally, I think you are a liberal. If I read your posts correctly in the Monckton thread, you were claiming that any refutation of the straw-man argument re. string theory is not fully understood, therefore global warming is not well understood, refuted by outing the straw man, which you then refute by claiming that refuting the straw-man argument is a straw man argument? Geez, I think you just won the Platos Wall Shadow Construction Award. The liberal construction of shadows is a dead giveaway.

    Vendicar Decarian: Fundamentalist Conservative seems appropriate as it entails ideological vs. the pragmatic.

    Personally, I’m a conservative (which I now define as Centrist). I see we are risking our standards of living that exceed consumptive rates and capacity. So I highly recommend we get very conservative, very quickly.

    To moderators, if the above is just too silly feel free to delete :)

    Getting on Topic

    I summarized the IAC/IPCC report here:

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/summary-docs/leading-edge/2010/sep-the-leading-edge

    However, something I think everyone needs to look at is the primary subject of Net Primary Production

    If this trend bears out, the ‘meaningful’ policy schedule needs to be ramped up fast. I can see no reason why this pattern will not bear out at this time. Of course this is a complex mess of stuff including natural variation and global warming, but probably the best way to describe current analysis is natural variation and results that are the combined net effect of global warming and natural variation, which culminates into a new climate path, that of warming out side the natural cycle path, and its’ resultant ramifications.


    Fee & Dividend: Our best chanceLearn the IssueSign the Petition
    A Climate Minute: Natural CycleGreenhouse EffectClimate Science HistoryArctic Ice Melt

  23. 123
    SecularAnimist says:

    There are plenty of other sites where “conservatives” and “liberals” can scream at each other. I am grateful to the moderator for cautioning both Vendicar and Rod B, and I don’t intend to add to that noise.

    However, I would like to point out that Rod B’s contributions to this thread exemplify the character of the so-called “conservative” approach to AGW. We have heard from him that:

    1. AGW is a conspiracy to establish “world government” (accusing Ray Ladbury of advocating such a thing, which he did not in fact do).

    2. “Liberals” are engaged in a conspiracy to “work to destroy the U.S. right before our eyes”.

    3. When asked directly by Ray Ladbury to suggest solutions to the AGW problem that are consistent with “conservative” principles, Rod pretended that he didn’t understand the question.

    These attitudes are not those of a principled economic or political ideology of any kind — they are nonsense concocted by the fossil fuel corporation-funded denialist propaganda machine. They have as much to do with “ideology” as does “things go better with Coke” or “have you driven a Ford lately”.

    Rod, let me ask you even more directly than Ray did: give us some solutions to the problem of AGW that are consistent with “conservative” principles.

    I can think of several, and I’m not even a “conservative”.

    What have you got?

  24. 124

    Gentlemen, Gentlemen, Please

    Lets focus on what we have in common here. We need rapid transition to a low carbon economy. Whatever side of politics you are on, it is clear that the extreme right are being influenced by the fossil fuel industry to throw dust in our eyes and prevent action at any cost.

    When any ideology is under pressure, the crazies come out of the woodwork and the fossil fuel, reap any benefit at any cost is definately under increasing pressure.

    We need to keep our eyes on the prize and focus on repeating the message. Many people out there have still not understood that each new paper indicates things are worse than we thought just a few weeks ago. We have to keep going and keep our hopes up.

  25. 125

    I think FCH’s comment at #101 is pretty apt, for the most part–”we” continue to fail ourselves. I put scare quotes on “we” because that seems to be part of the problem: “we” often seems defined in quasi-tribal ways inappropriate to optimal human management of reality.

  26. 126
    Rod B says:

    Jim (117), I concur. It just takes a lot of self-control to let some extremities go. Sorry.

  27. 127
    Rod B says:

    Anonymous Coward (118), Bob Altemeyer’s description of tendencies is correct, IMO. Problem is you could substitute “left wing liberal” for “right wing conservative” and not miss one thing. Virtually everyone is an authoritarian at the core. Why is it that some “warmists” (sorry, I dislike cutsey handles, but…) want a global government? So they can insure all sides have their democratic say??? Reread Animal Farm.

  28. 128
    Thomas Giammo says:

    Why is the panel review being treated as though it only made cosmetic criticisms? Didn’t anyone read Section 2 of the review? In it, the panel states:

    Another concern of respondents to the Committee’s questionnaire was the difference in content between the Summary for Policy Makers and the underlying report. The distillation of the many findings of a massive report into the relatively brief, high-level messages that characterize the Summary for Policy Makers necessarily results in the loss of important nuances and caveats that appear in the Working Group report. Moreover, the choice of messages and description of topics may be influenced in subtle ways by political considerations. Some respondents thought that the Summary for Policy Makers places more emphasis on what is known, sensational, or popular among Lead Authors than one would find in the body of the report.

    Differences in content between the Summary for Policy Makers and the underlying report? Loss of important caveats? Influenced by political considerations? Emphasis on the sensational? These are important issues. Ignoring them only plays into the paranoid accusations of a white-wash by the climate community.

  29. 129

    ” Why is it that some “warmists” (sorry, I dislike cutsey handles, but…) want a global government? So they can insure all sides have their democratic say???”

    Or, as I said just now:

    . . .“we” often seems defined in quasi-tribal ways inappropriate to optimal human management of reality.

  30. 130

    Regarding the NY Post claim that scientists are getting rich from publically funded research, I show otherwise here:

    Taking the Money for Grant(ed) – Part I
    Taking the Money for Grant(ed) – Part II

    If a scientist wishes to get rich, PRIVATE money is where the pot of gold can be found.

  31. 131

    Virtually everyone is an authoritarian

    And of course, Rod B speaks for virtually ‘everyone’.

    Anyone with any critical thinking skills will read your posts and know you for what you are, Rod. You speak for yourself.

  32. 132
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Rod,
    It is certainly understandable to wonder whether an ideology precludes the ability deal with complex global threats when half of the political spectrum would rather deny the threats than develop effective solutions.

  33. 133
    Doug Bostrom says:

    RodB, can you name any particular “warmists” desirous of a “global government?” For that matter, what constitutes a “global government?” Is the Geneva Convention a feature of “global government?” Do international treaties in general represent global government? If by “government” we mean organization under agreed principles of law, are we not already operating under a loose form of global governance? Could we say that nearly every U.S. President has actively participated in helping to construct a “global government?”

  34. 134
    Rod B says:

    SecularAnimist (121), in deference to everyone I’ll try to be very brief — my responses:
    1) Don’t believe that and never said it; never accused Ray of it (I wondered about his statement, asked a question, got a satisfactory answer.)

    2) No conspiracy: being done entirely in the open and in our face.

    3) Don’t recall the exact question, but rashly assuming your characterization is close, I can not see how solutions to AGW can be either conservative or liberal. If a solution is needed and is effective and works, it ought to be done — conservative or liberal. Though I suppose most conservatives would not favor solutions that aren’t helpful, aren’t effective, and/or cost more money than exists.

    Other) I’ve never received a penny, a pamphlet, a direction, or nothin’ from the oil companies. Something is evidently askew within the mad-dog conspiracy.

  35. 135
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Rod,
    Let’s try to phrase this more clearly. My concern is that I see no solutions coming from the political right–only denial and obstruction. The right has thus provided folks like Vendcar Decarian with a mighty big ugly stick for whacking them. The objections from the right to solutions that have been proposed to date (e.g. carbon taxes, cap and trade, tax and dividend, increased funding for alternative energy, etc.) are that they a)require world government, b)require big government, c)require more taxes, d)hurt economic growth….

    The objections of the right are sufficiently strong that they would question the science before accepting the mooted mitigation.

    OK, so if those are your objections, can you name a mitigation measure that you support that would be 1)effective, 2)consistent with your values and 3)not engender a, b, c or d?

    If you cannot, and if the problems of climate change are real and significant (which we know at the 95% CL), what does this say about said ideology?

  36. 136
    Rod B says:

    John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) (120), not sure if your “Rod Black” statement refers to me but it rings a bell. However, I can’t fully decode your entertaining (really) assertion enough to respond. If you are accusing me of claiming that an objective solid confidence level can not be irrefutably assigned to statistical projections with limited physical basis (choosing my modifiers carefully), I plead guilty. On topic, it’s nearly in the vicinity of what the Inter-Academy Council said.

    The only straw man I attacked is the one when a skeptic expresses a disagreement with a particular piece of AGW science, often the retort is “you refute all (that’s every little or big piece) of climate science, you heretic??!!?” And it is a straw man argument.

    Some time back I gave you my full real name, and, IIRC, that gave me an “always accurate” license from you.

    If 120 wasn’t meant for me,……never mind!

  37. 137
    RichardC says:

    134 Rod asks, “Why is it that some “warmists” (sorry, I dislike cutsey handles, but…) want a global government? So they can insure all sides have their democratic say??? Reread Animal Farm.”

    How is a world government intrinsically different from the US federal government? That’s easy. A world government would probably be based on the premise of one person one vote, which means US citizens would lose power. Stupid references to Animal Farm don’t change the theories of democracy. And this is on topic as global warming and the IPCC are more expansive than any single country so the question of how to deal with that – do we need a global government? Are treaties enough? Those are the next big questions.

  38. 138
    David B. Benson says:

    Vendicar Decarian — Tak it elsewhere.

    For example
    http://climateprogress.org/

    I don’t vist here to read your rants.

    NOr Rod B’s either.

  39. 139
    Paul Tremblay says:

    Rod B says “No conspiracy [that liberals are trying to destroy the govennment]: being done entirely in the open and in our face.” And earlier you you refer to “Obama’s unconstitutional actions.” And then you further refuse to answer the question: what exactly do you propose to do about AGW?

    So I get it, Rod B. You have nothing to contribute to the discussion except unfounded generalizations. Here I thought this site was about the science of AGW.

    [Response: It is. I have cleaned up some of the more overt political stuff above, but this is all now off-topic. There are plenty of other places to have political discussions. - gavin]

  40. 140
    sambo says:

    Trying to bring this thread back on topic, I’d like to ask a few quick questions about the recommendations.

    1) Is there any examples of the “Level-of-understanding” scale that the recommendations suggest, in order to give an overview of how many studies there are and what the agreement is? Does someone care to suggest this could be implemented?

    2) Can someone explain what “elicitation procedures” means in this context? (I must plead ignorance on this point as I didn’t read the references given, although they might have been behind paywalls). My intepretation is by getting a group of experts (eg Amazon forest experts) and interviewing them either individually or in groups in order to determine what is likely to happen on a specific point (eg. Reduction in Amazon area/ desertification).

    3) How do all these recommendations (I’m thinking in particular about the uncertainties recommendations) get implemented? Is there an uncertainties pamphlet that will be handed around in order to clarify these types of issues, after which it will be the authors job to ensure it is followed? Will there be more formal implementation, for example tasking some reviewers with specifically looking at how uncertainty is presented?

    Hopefully this helps bring the discussion back to substance.

  41. 141
    sambo says:

    To my point 3) above and formal implementations. Maybe we could have an “uncertain officer” to police the implementation :D.

    Sorry I couldn’t resist.

  42. 142
    Joseph O'Sullivan says:

    I have read the executive summary of the Inter-Academy Council and seen some of the reactions in the popular press. It seems some of the contrarian sites are not impressed, but that isn’t too surprising.

    I am going to second Gavin and David B. Benson and hope the off-topic stuff is reduced, either through moderation or through self-control. I used to comment frequently on RC, but most of my comments were just adding to the noise. RC is at its best when we stick to the topics.

  43. 143
    Rod B says:

    Paul Tremblay (138), I though my attitude toward AGW was kind of known, but it’s a fair question, and maybe even on topic. In a nutshell I want a solid understanding and confirmation of the degree of global warming that might occur in the future (which IS NOT synonymous with “is AGW science valid”), a verification that near future global warming would be predominately man-made (though this is not a big hurdle in my mind), and a solid cost analysis (of societal things in addition to monetary considerations) of the different scenarios. Secondly, I’m fully in favor of quickly developing and implementing alternative energy, at a minimum for electric and similar power, because 1) it is inherently not a bad business case, 2) we’ll have to wean ourselves from massive use of fossil fuels sooner or later, and 3) doing #2 sooner buys some insurance against potential future AGW. It would be most desirable to have near global support and cooperation for any mitigation actions (and of course research — pretty much have that now).

    A nutshell misses a bunch, but in deference to RC that’s all I can do.

  44. 144
    wili says:

    It strikes me that climate scientists and websites like this are caught in a classic double bind–

    if they completely ignore politics, they stand by quietly while politicians and others ignore, misrepresent, our outandout lie about their findings, and their crucially important findings become merely academic debates about the mechanisms and timing of our plunge into catastrophe;

    if they involve themselves more directly in the political fray, they lay themselves open to the charge that political ideology had influenced their research (a claim, one might point out, that gets made anyway, of course, by the unscrupulous).

    Damned anyway you go on that one, as are we all, it seems.

    Anyway, since the Arctic thread was shut off for comments, and since we are in the final weeks of the melt season, I was wondering if I could get any experts (or thoughtful amateurs) to discuss the significance of what is looking to be the third or second lowest sea ice extent in September.

    Do we have new projections on when the Arctic will be ice free (or nearly so–well below a million sq km…)?

    Is there any new understanding of what the consequences of this development will be for the climate of the northern hemisphere?

    Are there any accurate, up to date readings on rates of methane release from tundra and sea bed…?

  45. 145
    Petey says:

    Willi, here is a non-political scientific perspective [edit of tiresome juvenilia]

    There are less than 17000 temperature stations situated across 30-40% of the landmass of the world. 70% of the world is covered by water. Temperature stations are only about 1-2 square ft in area for a total of, at best, 34000 square feet. The surface area of the earth alone is ~59 million square miles. This means that even at their peak if you spread all the temperature stations evenly across the Earth’s landmass this would place one every 41 miles from the next. Currently this would represent 1 temperature station every 82 miles. To put it in perspective, this would mean the entire state of Ohio would only have 3 extrapolated temperature readings indicating the temperature at every point in the state at a given time. Do you think this is an accurate assessment? Gavin does.

    [Response: Funnily enough people have actually looked into this - and you know what? it is sufficient to get an accurate measure of the global mean temperature anomaly. Try looking at the actual evidence - from satellites for instance - that indicate that monthly anomalies are highly correlated, not just over 82 miles, but over hundreds of miles. But if you prefer arguing by assertion, please continue. - gavin]

    Now as sad as this is, even in this best case scenario, we would only be getting these highly inaccurate readings for the 30% of the globe covered by land. There historically have been no temperature stations in the ocean. [edit] you are looking at temperature stations covering about 9% (30% land times 30% covered by temp stations) of the Earth’s surface extrapolated into one “Global Total” that Gavin’s crew assures us is accurate to within .5k out of the roughly 328k it represents or 0.1%

    [Response: You really need to think about this. Sub-sampling indicates that current measures of global mean temperatures are accurate to about 0.1 deg C. Again, if you think this is wrong, show some evidence. Making up meaningless statements about the percentage change measured in Kelvin is just dumb. - gavin]

    Let me repeat that. [edit - don't bother]

    Even more fantastically, he can tell us that any change in this value observed over time is caused not just by the CO2 that constitutes just 0.04% of our atmosphere, but the meager 3% of that that is contributed by human activity. I know its cliche but I am LOL right now just thinking about the absurdity of this.

    [edit]

    [Response: The only thing that is absurd is your complete ignorance. Human contributions to atmospheric CO2 is now ~30% of the total and growing every year. And CO2 might be 0.04% of the atmosphere, but some 20% of the greenhouse effect. PS. leave the histrionics at home, I edited to try and highlight any actual substantive point you were trying to make, but I won't bother in the future. -gavin]

  46. 146
    David B. Benson says:

    Petey @144 — Please first do study “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer , Weart:
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html
    and then try to stay on-topic.

    thank you.

  47. 147
    Rafael Gomez-Sjoberg says:

    Petey is repeating the silly and often-used argument that CO2 cannot be such a big deal since it’s only being only 0.039% of the atmosphere. The ignorance evidenced by such statements is staggering.

    Petey, if a low concentration of a substance automatically means their effect on a system cannot be big, how do you explain that hydrogen cyanide will kill you at a concentration of about 1.5mg/Kg, which turns out to be 0.00015% of your body mass?

    How do you explain that a concentration of 0.01% of certain molecules called initiators will rapidly catalyze the polymerization of certain substances and turn them from liquids to a solids? This kind of reaction is used all the time to make plastics and other polymers.

    Go check the concentrations of certain hormones in your blood, like insulin, without which you would die or get seriously sick.

    Nature is full of examples of large effects caused by very small concentrations of certain substances. Go learn some real science.

    We should be the ones laughing out loud at your crass ignorance and the absurdity of your comments. Unfortunately, this matter has become too serious and threatening to everybody’s well-being to be funny any more.

  48. 148
    adelady says:

    It’s not appropriate for the formal documents produced by the IPCC, but I think a simple set of indicators on certainty for journalists and educators is already available.

    The traffic light system for labelling foods might come in handy. Red for high certainty – high impact. Amber and green on other criteria.

  49. 149
    Radge Havers says:

    wili @ 143

    Don’t know if it’s a double bind or just a line that can be hard to define on occasion. If a group of people have organized to disrupt the science, it seems to me to be fair to target the disruption and antiscientific thinking in general, but tricky to attack the source.

    Ideally there should at least be a firewall around the science that’s respected by all partisan parties, making it a shared resource and disentangling it from other issues. Allowing attacks against scientific principles is just unhealthy on so many levels. As it is, there may be frustratingly little anybody can do to reverse the collapse of such a large society anyway, if that is in fact what we’re now witnessing (talk about your entropy!).

  50. 150
    Ron R. says:

    Per my comment on 1 September 2010 @ 9:48 PM:

    Interesting. Here’s a comment from a Vanity Fair article the next day: “The New York Times really thinks it’s the BBC”—or, more aptly, “the PBS of newsprint.” He goes on: “So, that’s what gets Murdoch’s juices going. He sees”—and here Neil pauses for emphasis and speaks the following words slowly and pointedly—“a fat pig there for the taking.

    So since Media Monopolist Murdoch (whatever happened to anti-trust laws?) has his sights set on the NYT, and since, according to the article the NYT is now a “financial drain” maybe now would be a good time for them to consider a change from private to public ownership? I’d hate to see them become just another Murdoch Mouthpiece. Another (ugg) Fox News.

    note: I submitted a comment similar to this yesterday but forgot the Captcha. When I tried to resubmit it told me that I’d already submitted. Since my post didn’t show I thought it might be because it’s somewhat off topic. Then I saw Barton Paul Levenson’s comment on the same subject so I thought I’d try again. If it is too off topic just delete.

    [Response: Captcha is indeed problematic, but this is OT nevertheless.--Jim]


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