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Free speech and academic freedom

Filed under: — rasmus @ 12 February 2012

Update: Some related concerns from deepclimate.org, if these claims can be verified.

In a recent interview for a Norwegian magazine (Teknisk Ukeblad, 0412), the IPCC chair Rajendra Kumar Pachauri told the journalist that he had received death threats in connection with his role as a head for the IPCC. There have also been recent reports of threats and harassment of climate scientists for their stance on climate change (Kerry Emanuel. Katharine Hayhoe, Australian climate scientists, Phil Jones, Barton campaign, and Inhofe’s black list).

These incidents appear as an unpleasant deja vu from my past, smacking of attempts to suppress the freedom of speech. They remind me of the days when I did my national service as a border patrol at the Soviet-Norwegian border in 1988-1989 (Norway and Russia – then Soviet – share a 196 km long common border in the high north), where we stood up for our freedom and democracy. Freedom of speech was tacitly implied as one of the ingredients of an open democracy, which in our minds was the West. There was an understanding that the other side of the iron curtain represented an oppressive regime.

If the people who threat and harass climate scientists were to have their way, I fear we would be heading for a world resembling the other side of the iron curtain of 1989. The absence of oppression and harassment is a prerequisite for sound and functioning science. Oppressive regimes are not known for producing good science, and blind ideology have often been unsustainable. Therefore, threats and such dishonorable campaigns represent a concern.

Me at the Soviet-Norwegian border in the spring of 1989, where I served as a border patrol. The border was halfway between the yellow Norwegian and green/red Soviet borderposts seen in the photo, and the iron curtain involved a militarised zone on the Soviet side guarded by the KGB.

Another unpleasant aspect of the direction taken by the public discource is the character of the rhetoric, which too exhibit similarities to that of the cold war. I still remember some of the propaganda that could be heard on the radio – translated to Norwegian. Too often these days, the debate is far from being informative but has turned into something like a beauty contest and he-said-she-said affair.

So it is important to keep in mind: Don’t shoot the messenger who is only doing her/his job. It would really be a disservice to the society. Any open and free democracy has to be based on true information and knowledge. When big and powerful media corporations start to look like past state-run propaganda machines, where slogans have replaced common sense and expert knowledge, then we’re heading in the wrong direction.

In Norway, the there were calls for enhanced openness and respect (by our prime minister) after the terrible July 22 (2011) terrorist attacks (the terrorist also disrespected climate science). In this sense, the openness also means exposing all levels and all aspects of matters being disputed. As in sciences, it is important to elucidate the situation, and see if the arguments stand up to being critically scrutinized. This also means that all relevant information must be included – not just those which support one stand.

Flower response, more democracy, and more openness in Oslo after July 22, 2011.

I think that the science community needs a louder voice in the society, and there is a need for bringing some of the science-related debates closer to true science. We need to explain the virtues of the scientific method, such as transparency, replication of past results, testing and evaluating the methods and conclusions. These virtues lead to the most credible answers.

For example, we need to focus on question like the following: Is the strategy adopted objective? Does it give robust results? Or do the result depend on the context in which the analysis was carried out? In other words, we need to question whether the conclusions are generally valid.

Focusing on the real questions and doing science means being free, critical and sceptical – and not a climate of fear.


739 Responses to “Free speech and academic freedom”

  1. 401
    Dan H. says:

    Gavin,
    It is not my claim, but originated by Craig in post #393. Maybe that claim is just hand waving, as I am not supporting it.
    The rest was an attempt to show Craig exactly what scientists agree upon. I cannot tell from your response whether you think there is more or less agreement.

    [Response: Huh? Craig's claim was "the human release of CO2 is the main driver of the currently observed warming." - this is indeed well accepted. Your statement was far more vague "CO2 is the main driver of climate". Surely you can see a difference? If you want to argue with people here, just be precise and leave the vague hand waving to venues more suited to it. - gavin]

  2. 402
    Dan H. says:

    ROTFLMAO
    Awful picky today, aren’t we? I thought my wife was the only one who acted like that. BTW, that is not as well accepted as you may think. If that were the case, then there would not be such a raging debate about it occurring today [edit - irrelevant distraction]

    [Response: Unless you have been living on Mars, perhaps you hadn't noted that it is precisely the fact that well-accepted scientific findings are portrayed as controversial that demonstrates the political nature of the 'debate' you perceive. Something isn't 'controversial' in science just because a talk radio host or a blog commenter doesn't like it. - gavin]

  3. 403

    #401 “an attempt to show Craig exactly what scientists agree upon…” This from a guy who can’t read a graph. Still awaiting a glimpse of intellectual honesty. “Up your game” indeed.

  4. 404
    Ray Ladbury says:

    It is interesting to watch this play out. While I don’t approve of Gleik’s tactics, it is fun to witness the outrage among the ersatz-skeptics over the release of the documents even as they ignore Heartland’s plans to lie to children. I notice that many of those who are trumpeting their outrage the loudest are the very ones who tried to fan the flames of the nontroversy following the UEA hack.

    Let’s be clear. Scientists would love–absolutely love–to make this about science. If it were about science, the scientists would kick your pasty, white posteriors to Mars and back. The denialists have no science. None. They have no consistent position or logic. They have only character assassination, lies, deceit and self-delusion.

    Now, frankly, I think it’s a mistake to descend to their level. We should simply keep presenting the science and telling the truth. So, tell ya what, guys. I’ll offer you the same deal Gordon Gecko did in “The Money Never Sleeps.” You quit lying about the scientists and the science, and we’ll quit telling the truth about you. Deal?

  5. 405
    deconvoluter says:

    Re: #389

    The information is embarrassing to the Heartland Institute, but ultimately does not constitute evidence of egregious misbehavior.

    The authenticity of this document has not been challenged

    So are your suggesting that planning to teach lots of childen

    natural emissions are 20 times higher than human emissions

    is not egregious? Is that a good introduction to accounting for young people?

    Inline comment by Connolly

    Its everywhere

    Even the electrons are doing it

  6. 406
    Joey says:

    Gavin, do you really believe that Gleick did not fabricate that memo? I have followed this site for a long time but if this is really your position I have lost all respect for you and can no longer take you seriously.

    [Response: I don't find the amateur sleuthing on this particularly compelling, nor does the purported motivation make much sense. Gleick's version of events seems far more likely. But I have no actual knowledge here, and so I am not going to definitively state anything with certainty. And, with all due respect, I don't make up my mind on issues based on the what blog commenters do or do not agree with, or how they perceive my seriousness. Sorry to disappoint. - gavin]

  7. 407
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Matthew L.,
    You have a rather odd idea of how science should be done…that “skeptical” scientists should be trying to actively disprove a prediction of the consensus theory rather than present a coherent theory of their own…that they should be able to publish whatever crap they want without peer review. This doesn’t sound like you’ve done much science.

    The problem is that while real climate scientists have been trying to advance understanding of the planet’s climate, so-called skeptics like Spencer and Lindzen have been playing Calvin ball–analyzing short, misleading and poorly controlled data, mischaracterizing the research of others and frankly flat lying to lay audiences.

    And frankly, far more of their crap has been published than is really warranted. If anything peer review has bent over backwards to include their views. This is unfortunate, as crappy research never truly vanishes. In my own field, we are dealing with bad results published years ago that naive researchers still cite to explain some of their results rather than discovering real issues with their testing.

    It truly astounds me how the denialati seem to cast the entirety of climate science as revolving around climate change. The reality is far richer and more productive–and more beautiful. It is a pity that ideological blinders prevent them from seeing the current state of the science and obsessing instead on a 116 year old prediction.

  8. 408
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Dan H.,
    Precision matters. A real scientist would understand that. Just sayin’.

  9. 409
    Martin Vermeer says:

    > Even the electrons are doing it

    Deconvoluter #405, a better metaphor is the counterfeiter who told the good judge that, since the number of banknotes he had printed was completely insignificant against the millions of banknotes people around the country are spending every single day, he should be acquitted…

  10. 410
    Michael W says:

    “The denialists have no science. None.”
    #404 Ray, as someone sitting on the sidelines watching climate science unfold, I have to call you on this. The science says the globe is warming and we play a role (ie the ‘denialist’ position). To say that the climate situation is dire is to go beyond the body of evidence and into a less supported area of science.

  11. 411

    #402 Dan H.

    I see you still have that tree problem in the way of the forest.

    You think there is a raging debate because people like you don’t understand what is going on. The consensus is clear that increasing GHG concentration during the industrial age has increased the radiative forcing.

    Just because you’ve got a big plastic tree that was placed in front of your face, or that you have parked your self behind so you can’t get a better view, does not change science… It only insures that you will remain naive and/or ignorant of the actual science and the relative confidence levels that have been and are being established quantitatively.

    As they say, there are none so blind as those that choose not to see.

  12. 412
    Dale says:

    I’m under the assumption that the CRU hack consisted of snippets taken out of context. This morning I was told that I was wrong and that the entire emails were released and that I was repeating an urban legend. Were the entire emails put forward at the time or did they wait until the denier blogs could get things stirred up making it more difficult to get the real truth out? I realize it makes little difference but I used that point referencing a post here at RC on Gleick and how he didn’t present snippets out of context but rather the whole enchilada.

  13. 413
    MARodger says:

    deconvoluter @405

    The authenticity of all the HIgate documents remains in doubt, and thus challenged. As of just now, the HIgate ‘stolen’ documents are still unauthenticated by H.I. They admit documents such as these were e-mailed but they cannot say if they are now presented in an unaltered state. H.I. are still (presumably) trying to find personnel available with enough of those rare skills in literacy to check the ‘stolen’ documents match the ones they were daft enough to send off to an unknown e-mail address.

    The alternative version is that the ‘stolen’ documents (and likely also the ‘fake’ document) contain many embarrassing truths which, if the waters are kept muddied, can remain apparently (and thus arguably) false.

  14. 414
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Michael W.
    The science says that the planet warms somewhere between 2 and 4.5 degrees per doubling of CO2, with a favored value of 3 degrees per doubling. Period. The science tells us that increased warming will increase drought significantly and that more of the precipitation that does fall will do so in impulsive events. It says that the oceans will acidify, reducing breeding areas for important fish stocks. These predictions are already confirmed in the trends we see.

    That is where climate science ends. That we are in deep kimchee emerges from the fact that by 2050 we will have to support ~10 billion people–roughly 50% again as many people as we currently have–in an environment that is significantly degraded in terms of its capacity to meet those needs. That we will have to do so without cheap fossil fuels and petrochemical insecticides and fertilizers adds to the concern. This is simple extrapolation of climatic trends and examination of their implications for demographics. It is not climate science.

    To look at these trends and conclude that “the market will provide” or “there’s nothing to worry about” is not science at all. It is self-delusion. I hope that clears things up.

  15. 415

    408, “a less supported area of science…” You’ve been called on this and received authoritative links flatly contradicting this and your earlier statements. Try moving towards greater understanding.

    And, if I may be so bold, Ray and others are saying that a huge problem with the “climate skeptics” is that they have offered no coherent alternative explanation for the warming we are seeing. To me, this is reason enough to doubt not only their incessant nitpicking, but their sanguinity regarding future developments.

    To see real intellectual honesty in operation, read the recent posts and commentary on methane. Quite the contrast to the merchants of doubt of whom Dan H. and others seem enamored.

  16. 416

    #409 Michael W

    The word ‘dire’ is ambiguous unfortunately.

    Instead of focusing on whether or not the situation will be dire, think about it this way. The hydrological system is being influenced by the current warming. That will change regional hydrological as well as thermal patterns which will affect crop productivity. Crop yield losses will result in not only inflation, but increasing food scarcity.

    The question then becomes, how bad does it have to get before you consider it dire?

  17. 417
    Septic Matthew says:

    Here is a quote from Megan McArdle of the Atlantic: After you have convinced people that you fervently believe your cause to be more important than telling the truth, you’ve lost the power to convince them of anything else.

  18. 418

    #411 Dale

    The e-mails could not possibly represent the science because there were merely conversations between scientists that actually understood the contexts of what was being discussed.

    They were then used out of context by those promoting the idea that the scientists are making up stuff or hiding things.

    So yes, they were taken out of context. Unfortunately some people don’t understand how important that context is.

  19. 419
    Dan H. says:

    John,
    Maybe it is because you do not understand the extent of the consensus that you cannot see past your own plastic tree. No one is contending that increasing GHG concentrations have not increased the RF. The raging debate, which you deny is occurring, is over the feedback processes.
    All name calling aside, you would be blind if you cannot see this occurring. Maybe this will help you:
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/warrenmeyer/2012/02/09/understanding-the-global-warming-debate/

  20. 420
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    One man’s “dire” is another man’s profit. One billion peoples’ “dire” is someone’s very large profit.

  21. 421
    dhogaza says:

    Dale:

    Were the entire emails put forward at the time

    Well, there was a second release recently of several thousand additional e-mails. This was like a year or so (or longer?) after the initial release.

    Therefore the answer to your question is obvious: no, the entire set of e-mails was not put forward at the time. QED.

    If I were you, I’d ask your person claiming that it’s an urban legend “how is it possible, then, that there was an additional release of thousands of e-mails, with hints that more may follow?”.

  22. 422
    SecularAnimist says:

    Dan H wrote: “The rest was an attempt to show Craig exactly what scientists agree upon.”

    No, the rest was just another one of your attempts to foist dishonest garbage on readers who don’t know any better.

    If I were paying you to troll this site with plausible-sounding denialist propaganda, I would have fired you for incompetence already.

    [Response: Please tone it down. - gavin]

  23. 423
    Dan H. says:

    Ray,
    Precision is important in the right context. Taking a phrase from a larger comment is akin to misrepresenting Gavin’s comment as “every word I say is a lie.” in Post #299.

  24. 424
    Hank Roberts says:

    Dale, about CRU hack, where did you get that bundle of ideas?

    I’m not current on it, last I recall nobody had been able to say for sure exactly how much data or from where had been stolen; the first release sent out had a cover text that claimed they’d sent out a “random” sample, which had to be bogus (a random sample would have a lot more randomness than what was released).

    A second release of other stuff happened before a second climate conference recently; there’s likely more out there. But that’s an impression from memory. Don’t trust such.

    I’d suggest you start reading here, and check each of the claims and assumptions and stories against what’s on this page:

    http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/

    Don’t trust some guy on a blog to read and summarize for you.

  25. 425
    SecularAnimist says:

    Michael W wrote: “To say that the climate situation is dire is to go beyond the body of evidence and into a less supported area of science.”

    No, to say that the climate situation is dire is to simply look around you at what is happening all over the world right now.

    It’s getting to the point where deniers can’t simply make obscure pseudo-scientific claims about the radiative properties of CO2 or about sunspots or about cosmic rays. They have to cover their eyes and ears and ignore the blatantly obvious large-scale effects, and the massive harm that anthropogenic global warming and climate change are already causing.

    It’s one thing to “argue” that no causal link between tobacco smoking and lung cancer has been “proven”. It’s quite another thing to make that argument while ignoring the fact that you are already coughing up blood.

  26. 426
    wili says:

    “To see real intellectual honesty in operation, read the recent posts and commentary on methane. Quite the contrast to the merchants of doubt of whom Dan H. and others seem enamored.”

    Thanks for that, Walter. That is why I am dismayed that so many are still using up so much of their precious time and thread space on feeding such trolls rather than grappling with the actual ranges of scientific dispute and real, pressing issues.

    Can we leave it to the rest of the blogosphere to (faux-)debate about whether GW is actually going on, and reserve at least this space for the actual range of scientific uncertainty that is being seriously discussed in the major journals and universities…?

    I personally would like to see more discussion on the following questions:

    What are the long and short term risks from sea bed methane? (Can we get a guest post from Shakhova or Semiletov, for example?)

    What level of temperature range are we already committed to (the MIT study a couple years ago said 3C, publication of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society a bit over a year ago was talking about 4C, but admitted that they were still leaving out carbon cycle feedbacks–so where are we?)

    What are the likely effects (atmospheric and on ocean currents) of an Arctic Ocean that is now mostly ice free and may soon be nearly or completely ice free for at least part of the year? Are we already seeing them?

    What is the currents state of our knowledge of changes in ocean currents?

    How effective could the new effort to limit non-CO2 GHG’s be?

    Are we getting better at attributing specific extreme weather events to GW?
    .
    .
    .
    There are so many pressing issues to discuss amongst well informed and sincere scholars and concerned citizens, activists and policymakers, I don’t see how we can afford to spend time swatting at obviously insincere artists at distraction.

    (reCAPTCHA: “cried luxpart”)

  27. 427
    Michael W says:

    Ray, Walter, if I simply take the position that ‘the globe is warming and we play a role’, I will be labeled a ‘denier’ unless I add ‘and the situation is dire’. If my position is more completely supported by the science, why the statement “The denialists have no science. None.”?

    This is almost a repeat of my earlier post, I don’t know how to make it clearer. Notice the comments of “Yes, it is dire. Look here.”, misses the point of whether I have any science or not.

  28. 428
    Michael W says:

    #416 John, thanks for the question, I think it points us in an interesting direction. But if we want to know what our future looks like, we have to ask the question “Is a warmer planet with more CO2 preferable?”, a list of negatives simply doesn’t suffice. You have to weigh the negatives and the positives. I get the impression that this exercise is extremely painful for you.

    Question to the moderator: I did a scan of RC and haven’t come up with a “global warming positives vs negative analysis”. Could you point me in the right direction?

  29. 429
    David Miller says:

    In #410 Mike says

    “The denialists have no science. None.”
    #404 Ray, as someone sitting on the sidelines watching climate science unfold, I have to call you on this. The science says the globe is warming and we play a role (ie the ‘denialist’ position). To say that the climate situation is dire is to go beyond the body of evidence and into a less supported area of science.

    Logical failure here Michael.

    If you want to ‘call’ Ray on his statement “The denialists have no science. None.” the appropriate thing to do is provide some real science supporting the ‘denialists’

    You tacitly agree that some of the science is right (globe warming, we play a role), then attribute it to be the ‘denialist’ position, then change the subject to a strawman that you can conveniently knock down (climate situation is dire).

    Two points; ‘denialists’ have hardly provided the science that the globe is warming and that humans play some role in that. Rather, they’ve been dragged kicking and screaming, spreading FUD about the science, the process, and the scientists themselves. Indeed, there are many denialist sites around that dispute both of your points.

    Second, introducing the strawman of a dire future, you have a logical failure. Doubting what some people think about the future is hardly presenting science from the ‘denialist side’.

    What’s been pointed out multiple times is that there is no alternative theory being proposed by skeptics that supports all the data we’ve collected over the last few decades and still follows known laws of physics. Ray may have abbreviated that statement slightly, but it doesn’t change the complete lack of alternative theories.

  30. 430

    #412, 419, 421–

    Depends what you mean. Entire email threads were released, so there was quite a bit context available:

    The material comprised more than 1,000 emails, 2,000 documents, as well as commented source code, pertaining to climate change research covering a period from 1996 until 2009.

    (Wikipedia)

    If I recall correctly, there was also from pretty early on at least one site indexing the material. And there was more of it by far than in the current Heartland affair.

    So, in this respect, I would (for once!) agree with the fake skeptics, that there is rough symmetry between the two cases–the material is substantially complete in itself, though not necessarily representative of everything that might have been written. To summarize, I think dhogaza answered a different question than you asked. Your question was, “Were entire emails put forth?” The answer is “yes.” However, as dhogaza wrote, the entire *set* was not put forth.

    Of course, although the context was often there in the primary release if you read the whole email or thread, the use of excerpts in the blogosphere was quite relentless: in that realm, context was stripped away relentlessly. (Eg., “Hide the decline!”)

  31. 431
    J Bowers says:

    @ 412 Dale

    The last zip release (2011) contained all of the emails, but the vast majority are locked within the archive behind a password known only to FOIA2011, IIRC.

  32. 432

    #401, #402 Dan H.

    When it comes to relevant scientific information, yeah, scientists can be quite picky.

    What is interesting is that you apparently have a problem with scientists being accurate in statements about science; whereas you have no problem at all being ridiculously ambiguous and extremely incorrect in your beliefs and assumptions.

    You see, they rely on physics and evidence and stuff like that. You rely on ‘stuff’ in general.

    I know, I know, you don’t see the difference.

  33. 433
    Ric Merritt says:

    Matthew L, #397, admits to a sneaking admiration for Warren Meyer, at the linked commentary on Forbes.

    Yes, Meyer uses a reasonable tone, and for all I know, might be persuadable by additional evidence. But for a guy writing an extended essay published in a prominent venue on a well-known public issue, he’s pretty lame. For example, he takes seriously the argument that we are halfway to doubling CO2, so going by the supposed best estimates, we should be halfway to +3 deg C, and we’re not, only about a quarter of the way. Umm, please look up how heat gets stored in the ocean, and get back to us.

    Also, in his very reasonable tone, he sets up a nice debate between GW proponents (oy vey, I hate GW, I’m an *opponent* of it) and skeptics, and tries to weigh the arguments for that ol’ CAGW theory. It would be interesting to track the use of “Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warning”, but I’m pretty confident you would find that it is used mostly by the denier end of the spectrum. It’s a nice diversionary tactic, because it lets you spend a lot of time arguing over whether we are in a crisis or not, or just what would be catastrophic and just when do you expect your favorite catastrophe. That leaves no time for acknowledging where we are and deciding what we might do about it.

  34. 434
    Matthew L says:

    Ray Ladbury:
    OK, I take your points. You know more about these guys than I do. In the end the progress of temperatures, Arctic ice cover and sea levels will show how good the models are. This is even more likely because I think there is not the political will to get off the “business as usual” CO2 emissions track, particularly in places like India and China – so the result of this vast global experiment we are engaged in will be obvious to all in a decade or three.

    Just a couple of points:
    “that “skeptical” scientists should be trying to actively disprove a prediction of the consensus theory rather than present a coherent theory of their own…”

    I have always thought it a perfectly valid (if limited) scientific aim to prove that somebody else’s theory as either wrong or impossible. You don’t necessarily have to have a fully blown theory of your own to replace it.

    In reply to Michael W:
    “The science says that the planet warms somewhere between 2 and 4.5 degrees per doubling of CO2, with a favored value of 3 degrees per doubling. Period.”
    The tone of this suggests the science is more “settled” than it is Ray. There are still plenty of uncertainties in the climate models. A more balanced statement would be that “our best prediction of temperatures for a doubling of CO2, given the current state of the models and climate data available to us, suggests between 2 and 4.5C with a favoured value of 3.” It has not always been at this level. Previous models have predicted a wider range of results and there is nothing to say that more refined models in the future will not give us different figures.

    My take on the “cranks”, as you term them, is that they are mainly just stating a contrary position to the real climate scientists because that is what they hope will happen. They use bland statements that the climate sensitivity is lower than current estimates with no evidence to back those assertions. If they do turn out to be correct, and temperatures fall rather than rise, it will have nothing to do with science, just pure luck.

    Prediction is very difficult, particularly of the future!

  35. 435

    #428 Michael W

    There are a few positives, but the bulk of the evidence indicates negative. You simply have to keep researching. Use Google scholar.

    Look up

    - crop yield, thermal limits, climate change
    - fires, trends, climate change
    - soil moisture content
    - ocean acidification

    You see, CO2 is a loved molecule of plants, but warmer temperatures cause fires and fires are the mortal enemy of plants.

    As to productivity, evidence indicates that plants do grow more with increased CO2, but anything that doesn’t fix nitrogen drops proteins. So if we lose the proteins, does it matter that the plat got bigger?

    Some areas will benefit form warmer temperatures, but don’t forget, it’s called global warming for a reason and the deeper you dig, the more you will understand what dire means.

    Also check out any interim reports coming our of IPCC WGII

    http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/

  36. 436
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Michael W., Science gives us facts. Looking at the implications of those facts and trying to avoid worst-case outcomes–that is the realm of other disciplines…e.g. risk analysis, engineering, etc.

    I know of no experts in these disciplines who are aware of the current precarious state of global food production and distribution and who do not look upon the changes likely to occur in the next 50-100 years with extreme trepidation. You ask for consideration of “benefits”.

    Well, we may be able to access fossil fuels currently under polar ice. That may ameliorate immediate food shortages in some areas by allowing control of pests and weeds using petrochemical insecticides and herbicides as well as fertilizaers, but at a cost of signficant additional environmental degradation.

    We may be able to bring into cultivation some areas of Siberia and Canada. Unfortunately, we will lose much of the globe’s breadbasket for production of winter wheat, rice, etc. The net effect is negative.

    Ultimately, when it comes down to it, the net effects are going to be negative. That is the conclusion of the experts. Simply saying, “Oh, it will be OK!” isn’t science. It is self delusion.

  37. 437

    #427-Ray, Walter, if I simply take the position that ‘the globe is warming and we play a role’, I will be labeled a ‘denier’ unless I add ‘and the situation is dire’.

    No, you would usually be termed a “lukewarmer” in such a case.

  38. 438
    Brian Dodge says:

    Immoral? Indefensible? Completely irresponsible? “The public discussion on this issue will be much the poorer for this”

    Stier Kot.

    The public discussion is already much the poorer because Science has until now let Politics control the debate, break the rules, and bring PR guns to a policy knife fight.

    “Treason is any attempt to ….. impair the well-being of a state to which one owes allegiance.” dictionary.reference.com

    Global Climate Change National Security Implications Edited by Dr. Carolyn Pumphrey. http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display.cfm?PubID=862

    “Chapter 1 addresses the growing historical awareness of the threat and outlines the science of climate-change. Chapters 2 and 3 focus on how climate change might affect human societies and the degree to which it might cause or exacerbate violence and conflict. Particular attention is paid to the implications for the security of the United States. Chapters 4 and 5 consider a variety of potential solutions, ranging from international diplomacy to the development of efficient technologies. Chapters 6 and 7 focus on the role of the U.S. Armed Forces. What can they do and what should they do to mitigate climate change or prepare to meet the threat? Chapter 8 summarizes and concludes. Contributors to this volume agree that climate change is a threat deserving of serious attention.” (emphases mine – BD)

    “For the purpose of this Statute, “crime against humanity” means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:

    (h) Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity[scientists, climatologists, environmentalists] on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious,[e.g., they're ag'in the godless sosh ialists econazi worldwide liberal Obamuslim conspiracy] gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds…”

    The Department of Justice isn’t going to investigate the misdeeds of Koch et al funded web of professional liars, or catch the climategate hacker – google Monica Goodling to see why.
    It was likely a Bush political hack who burrowed into the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE), formerly the Minerals Management Service (MMS), whose job was to oversee safety in offshore drilling, but who instead overlooked the shortcuts taken on the Deepwater Horizon.
    It was likely another Bush crony in BOEMRE who anonymously started the witch hunt against Dr. Monnet over the polar bear drowning paper.

    When professional liars that have bought or burrowed their way into government positions are subverting justice for the benefit of the one percenters, actions like Gleick’s are necessary.

    If you think what I say is overheated rhetoric that is getting in the way of honest debate, I have a suggestion-
    Go talk to the surviving relatives of the 30,000 who died because of the European heat wave, and the 15,000 Russian dead from their heat wave, and the survivors of the floods in Thailand, Pakistan, Australia, the United States, Brazil, and Columbia. Along the way, you might ask about the impacts of 900+ tornadoes in the US April-May 2011, and whether record drought and wildfires in Texas and Mexico(Hadley cell expansion doesn’t stop at the border), plus record floods in the Mississippi valley average out to a good time to be in agriculture; it might be educational to see if the Australian farmer’s perspective on drought plus flooding is any different. While you’re in Europe, stop in at Munich Reinsurance – they have to put their money where their mouth is – and get their perspective. Don’t forget to visit Bangladesh – but be sure you have your Wellies on.

    When you’re finished educating yourself, then we can debate whether Heartland, Competitive Enterprise, and the Marshall institutes, and their various cronies and fossil fuel/big business sugar daddies are honestly expressing a difference of opinion on policy choices(how much profit they internalize, and how much damage they externalize), or LYING about the FACTS and hoping you won’t notice they already have blood on their hands.

    “Judith Curry, for example, is on record of saying “The Uncertainty Monster Rests Its Case (thank you hacker/whistleblower)”
    ““Those who applaud his [Gleick's] [climategate hacker's] actions can only do so if ethics no longer matter.” Thank you for confirming what we ‘alarmists’ already knew.

  39. 439

    427, Michael W. I didn’t label you a denier. And I certainly don’t want to discourage you from comparing the potential positives and negatives that our current CO2 trajectory will likely yield. On the negative side, I suggest you peruse “6 Degrees” by Mark Lynas and “Eaarth” by Bill McKibben. For the positives, uh…maybe someone else on the site here can suggest something.

  40. 440
    SecularAnimist says:

    Michael W wrote: “if I simply take the position that ‘the globe is warming and we play a role’, I will be labeled a ‘denier’ unless I add ‘and the situation is dire’. If my position is more completely supported by the science, why the statement ‘The denialists have no science. None’.”

    Because your position is not, in fact, more completely supported by the science.

    To claim that the current situation with ongoing anthropogenic warming and climate change is not “dire” is to ignore the overwhelming scientific evidence from events occurring all over the world — let alone the overwhelming scientific evidence that far worse consequences are in store.

    To ignore that evidence is to deny that evidence. That’s why the term “denier” is entirely appropriate.

  41. 441

    #428–I’d start with the Working Group II Summary for Policy-makers:

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg2/ar4-wg2-spm.pdf

    It’s a good, and succinct, discussion about benefits and costs. You will probably want to follow up by tracing the SPM references (for points of particular interest) to their fuller discussion in the Synthesis Report, which is easy enough to Google up.

  42. 442
    Hank Roberts says:

    > raging debate is over the climate feedback

    You’re listening to AM radio as you type, eh?

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=climate+feedback

    No raging, and no debate–real work going on.

  43. 443

    #419–”No one is contending that increasing GHG concentrations have not increased the RF.”

    Oddly, a denialist whom it seems to be my recurring cross, or pleasure, to attempt to school, said pretty much that, just today.

    Then he said (as nearly as I can quote it) “. . . it’s clearly evident that global warming doesn’t exist, only localized warmings.”

    So, yeah, there are still those who haven’t got the memo (or haven’t internalized its contents) that the new meme is “but it won’t be bad.”

  44. 444
    MARodger says:

    Michael W @427 & @428
    You say @184 your reason for ‘coming here’ is “what you call ‘fun and games.’” Given you also say @175 – “like minded commentors are a waste of time IMO,” are we then to treat you as a trouble-making contrarian nonsense-pedlar?

    Yes you are entirely correct @427. To state “the globe is warming and we play a role” will gain you the label “dim-witted denier.” This is because the ‘warming’ is significant and ‘our role’ in causing it is (over the last 50 years) that of the only player on the field.
    You will also find that the consequences of ‘significant warming’ resulting from ‘anthopogenic causes’ is “dire” unless those causes are addressed. (The level of’direness’ has yet to be determined accurately.)
    The science supports these views. Denialsist and contrarians disagree but they spout unscietific nonsense. They also waffle on about the” benefits” of AGW that you mention @428. These benefits remain a bit of mystery. Michael W. – if you manage to find some ‘benefits’, do come and tell us, coz we all enjoy a good laugh. (My personal favourate ‘benefit’ is the end to all those international disputes caused by low lying islands having multiple sovereignty claims.)

  45. 445
    Dan H. says:

    Kevin,
    That comment was meant to correspond to the dialogue here, not the wider community. Most scientists would agree with that. If you are waiting for every man, woman, and child to agree, it will be a very long wait. Is your opponent a scientist? If so, ask him why he feels that nothing has changed.

  46. 446

    “Along the way, you might ask about the impacts of 900+ tornadoes in the US April-May 2011. . .”

    The tree that hit our house wasn’t felled by a tornado, but rather an anomalously strong straight-line wind associated with one of the many thunderstorms producing some of those tornadoes. It was April 5, 2011.

    The impact? Serious disruption to our lives, and $100K in repair costs. The cascading inconveniences have not yet ended, and probably won’t in the foreseeable future, though they are much diminished, thankfully.

  47. 447
    Michael W says:

    #444 MARodger, I think we can agree that generally speaking, predicting the future is a sticky business. Often the best and brightest fall on their faces. Now generally speaking (eg not just climate related) if you tell me you have a handle on our dire future, but can only argue the negatives, I’m not going to put much faith in your predictions. Anybody can list negatives. Until you can argue the positives with as much gusto, you’re just an advocate for an ideology, and not a skillful future predictor.

    I would like an objective opinion on Working Group II Summary for Policy-makers. It looks so one-sided. Take the following for example (from WG II):

    “decreasing fisheries resources in large lakes due to rising water temperatures, which may be exacerbated by continued overfishing”

    But if the fish population is managed properly (like our beloved DNR does in Minnesota) this point is moot! You could amend it by saying “but proper management of resources could result in healthier fish populations than currently exist” But you wouldn’t add that statement because it doesn’t make sense in a document that’s meant to be a warning.

  48. 448

    The raging debate, which you deny is occurring, is over the feedback processes.

    I for one would be interested in actual scientific white paper links to the ‘raging debate’ over feedback processes other than an idiotic Forbes article.

    I’d just be interested in what you think is raging. Thanks in advance.

  49. 449

    Michael W. “Until you can argue the positives…” Sure, argue the positives of smoking. Argue the positives for lead in gasoline. Argue the positives of jumping off a 100-storey building.

    Argue the positives for a demonstrably negative course of action and you look like, well, a nitwit. I’m hearing the lovely Monty Python ditty, “Always look on the bright side of life.” They’re up on crosses, of course.

    Sorry, but many situations really are one-sided. To posit a false balance is to be, as you put it, an advocate for an ideology. What’s yours?

  50. 450
    Jim Eager says:

    Michael W, since when does Minnesota border salt water that it shares with the rest of the world?

    You need to give your keyboard a rest and read up on how well the ocean fisheries have been managed to date.


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