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Defending Climate Science

Filed under: — group @ 10 December 2016

Guest commentary from Lauren Kurtz

The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF) was founded in September 2011 to defend climate scientists from harassing and invasive attacks via the legal system. Five years in, we’re expanding our efforts to reflect the new challenges scientists face, including increasing education and outreach work. Now more than ever, it’s important that scientists prepare themselves for how best to deal with political harassment or legal intimidation. Below are 10 things that every scientist should consider.

In addition, for those in San Francisco next week for the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting, please consider attending one of our events. We’re hosting a symposium on how open records laws have been used to attack scientists on the morning of Wednesday, December 14, which includes a talk from Michael Mann. Our booth in the Exhibit Hall (booth 1523) will also have free legal education materials, including our new Pocket Guide to Handling Political Harassment & Legal Intimidation. And as in years past, email lawyer@climatesciencedefensefund.org to schedule a free in-person consultation with a lawyer at AGU.

1 – Take a deep breath & remember other scientists have gone through this before

First remember that other scientists have been through this before and come out the other side. And while being the target of an attack is frustrating and intimidating, you are not alone. Groups like CSLDF exist to help defend, connect scientists under attack to other researchers who have been through this before, and ensure that scientists can keep their focus on their work.

2 – Call a lawyer if in doubt

If you’re worried that you’re becoming the target of harassment or intimidation, including receiving a request that seems politically motivated, seek counsel before you respond. Your institution likely retains legal counsel that you can contact, but it is important to remember that your institution’s counsel represents the institution’s legal interests, which may differ from your own.

You can always contact CSLDF, where our mission is to provide free legal counsel to climate scientists facing attacks as a result of their work. Call (646) 801-0853 or email lawyer@climatesciencedefensefund.org

3 – Understand whether state and/and federal open records laws may apply to you

One common legal attack on scientists has been through open records laws—the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or state equivalents. Intended (and mostly used) to promote transparency by allowing citizens to request copies of government records, these laws have also become a tool used to harass scientists. Publicly funded scientists have received open records requests for reams of documents, including emails, peer review correspondence, and preliminary drafts. Scientists employed by the government or by public universities, or who have received government grants—including National Science Foundation (NSF) grants—should recognize that open records laws may apply to them.

Understand whether state and/or federal open records laws are applicable to you. Reach out to your institutional counsel, the staff in your institutional records office, or a legal group like CSLDF who can help you understand the laws that may affect you.

4 – Separate personal and professional emails

Do not use professional email accounts for personal emails and vice versa. Separating personal and professional emails reduces the likelihood that personal correspondence will be affected by an open records request (which only applies to public records) or other legal action related to your work. Similarly, avoid any temptation to use your personal email account for professional correspondence. If it can be shown that your personal email contains professional records, this may result in you needing to turn over your personal email account to legal review. (Editor’s note: This is really important to minimizing time and effort that need to be devoted to dealing with requests or legal actions. Do it now.) 

5 – Remember that emails are not always private

Emails may be disclosed due to open records requests or legal actions, or can be hacked. Be sure to conduct professional correspondence in a professional manner. If you are discussing a sensitive issue, consider having an in-person or telephone conversation instead of emailing.

6 – Understand record-keeping requirements

Employees and consultants at public institutions, including government scientists and public university researchers, should retain all public records. The precise definition will vary by state, but generally, these are documents relating to public business.

Be aware that grants may require that you follow specific record-keeping rules: for example, NSF grants stipulate that research data, including databases, must be shared.

Even if no strict document retention requirements apply to your situation, we recommend that you keep files for a few years, as anyone can be made to look bad when things are missing.

7 – Exercise discretion when talking to a journalist

Before agreeing to speak to a reporter or interviewer, research their work. Think carefully about how or whether to speak with a hostile journalist, as you are unlikely to change their opinions, and you may instead provide more fodder for an attack. (Also understand your institution’s rules for speaking to the press and otherwise communicating your research to the public, and when clearance requirements may apply.) If you do choose to speak to a reporter, come to the interview well prepared. Consider the questions you are likely to be asked and outline draft answers. For higher-profile situations, your institution’s public relations office or scientific society may be able to assist you with preparing your message. (Editor’s note: See also the UCS guide to talking to the media for scientists.)

8 – If you receive harassing messages, do not respond and do not delete

Do not respond to messages you feel were sent in bad faith – instead archive or save, in case you ever need evidence to prove that it happened, which is especially important if the situation escalates. Look for signs that the sender is wasting your time or seeking to provoke you, as a correspondent may be seeking to rattle you, use your response to malign you publicly, and/or use your response as a launchpad for further harassment. If you do respond to a seemingly valid inquiry, remember that any response you write may be forwarded or published online, and be cognizant of the time lost by caught up in endless back-and-forth arguments. (Editor’s note: See also the UCS guide to responding to criticism or personal attacks.)

9 – If you receive threatening messages, contact your employer / law enforcement

Report the threats to your institution (your supervisor and the human resources staff are probably the best starting points) as well as law enforcement. Contact a legal group such as CSLDF, especially if law enforcement becomes involved. A lawyer can help you navigate the situation.

10 – For more information on particular legal situations, check out our new Pocket Guide to Handling Political Harassment & Legal Intimidation

Our 16 page guide has more specific advice on how to protect yourself against and/or respond to political or legal attacks. As mentioned above, free copies will be available at our climate science & law symposium on the morning of Wednesday, December 14, and at our booth in the AGU Exhibit Hall (booth 1523). You can also join our email mailing list to be notified as soon as electronic copies are available on our website, as well as stay updated on other CSLDF developments.

82 Responses to “Defending Climate Science”

  1. 1
    Mal Adapted says:

    I’ve made individual donations to CSLDF, but after reading about the Trumpish Inquisition of Department of Energy employees and contractors who’ve participated in the Obama Administration’s AGW mitigation efforts, I set up a recurring donation of $100 monthly. I urge all RC readers to contribute what you can afford as well.

  2. 2
    John Palkovic says:

    If you don’t want snoops to read your email, then use encryption. It’s 2016. Educate yourselves and learn how to use a free public-key encryption product such as gpgtools.org. Is there some idiotic rule that prevents the use of encrypted email at work?

    Another obvious option is to use a messaging client with good end-to-end encryption.

  3. 3
    RickA says:

    11. Stop trying to get your opponents fired.
    12. Stop pretending you know exactly what will happen in the future.
    13. Stop using the word “denier”.
    14. Stop telling the public we only have 10 more years (2006) or 4 more years (2009) to save the world! That turned out to be wrong.
    15. Be more humble – you could be wrong.

  4. 4

    Number 7 -“talking to a journalist” — that’s a tough one.

    As a former photojournalist and lay person to this field, I like to respect the widely promoted notion that as much as we can, we need to talk openly about global warming.

    Promoting passive aggressive snark still works to suppress discussion. Only when we speak openly can we prevail.

    Common sense says not to be worried about speaking to a reputable journalist, but rather watch out for the propagandist or PR flack. Check their name and work, usually you can tell much by reading their other content. If they have no work published in the sciences, then you need to know if they have genuine curiosity – or if they are on some sort of smear campaign.

    One easy way of starting a relationship is to informally offer your wisdom as background and off-the-record (not on the phone, and when in person decline to be recorded, and expect that you may be anyway). If the “journalist” insists on quoting you, it means they may have an irresponsible deadline and little interest in learning the science or the important background to their question. If there’s a weather calamity, tell them to talk to a meteorologist. If they want your climatology expertise, invite them to meet for a leisurely off-the-record briefing. Keep in mind there are entrapment video stalkers out there. If you don’t trust them, don’t meet, and tell others about that hack.

    I wish I didn’t worry about this – but too soon we may see government agency thugs sent to intimidate…http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/09/us/politics/climate-change-energy-department-donald-trump-transition.html Most public libraries have public meeting rooms – a place where information interference of any kind is not welcomed. And will be noticed.

    If you must meet a journalist without reviewing their character and their work, another way to prepare is to make a list of “Rude Questions”. Write out all the horribly stupid, aggressive, Delingpole-istic questions you can imagine. Prepare your responses as calm, careful phrases.

    Practice saying things like, “that’s something outside my field” and “you’ll have to ask them” and “that does not apply to this situation” – “..your question, is not predicated on science” and “If you want to talk religion and emotion and even economics, you will need to speak to different authorities, don’t you think?” There are lots of tutorials for dealing with the press.

    I encourage everyone to discuss our heating world and the progressively destabilizing climates. It’s a disservice for journalists to be a party to suppressing open discussion. For some news organizations – Fox and Breitbart, that may be their true assignment. But I get the sense many organizations have done that for decades.

    BTW – I constructed a custom google news filter to search for global warming content that specifically excludes the following sites: ” -patch.com, -breitbart.com, -foxnews.com, -drudgereport.com, -ijreview.com, -theblaze.com, -wsj.com, -nypost.com, -newsmax.com, -dailycaller.com, -pjmedia.com, -wnd.com, -washingtontimes.com, -westernjournalism.com, -hotair.com, -nationalreview.com, -thespec.com, -thenewamerican.com, -patriotpost.us, -reason.com, -newsbusters.org, -express.co.uk, -thelibertarianrepublic.com, -dailysignal.com, -academia.org, -americanthinker.com, -forbes.com, -gazette.com, -cato.org, -powerlineblog.com, –townhall.com, -legalinsurrection.com, -thehill.com, -heartland.org, -mcclatchydc.com, -thespectrum.com, -investors.com, -globalresearch.ca, -heritage.org” – They may have decent reports from time to time, but since so many are bogus, the effort put in to vetting their content seems not worth it. I know there are many more fake news sites.

    Thank you Real Climate for pushing this issue forward.

  5. 5
    Oale says:

    I think it’s pretty funny it looks like they want to disband 98% of climate scientists, and 95% of meteorologists, geologists, physicists and biologists, with lesser, but still over 60% cuts to other sciences. I’m a bit sad if US starts to falsify the data like they did in Soviet Russia regarding socio-economical studies and somewhat elsewhere too, but I think the truth still seeps in someways.

    A severe case of the people like described in Luke 6:41-49 is my diagnosis on the planned Trump government. Too bad. A bit sorry for that I even had to seek out the correct reference from the Big Book of Christianity.

  6. 6
    Harry Twinotter says:

    It’s the “shoot the messenger” tactic I guess.

    Are people allowed to encrypt “public” emails, it might help if the email archive gets hacked.

  7. 7
    Brian Blagden says:

    These are all good points and very much common sense…why then are people not already doing these things? Regardless of your profession (inside or outside of Climate Research), or indeed which side of the climate debate you reside, it’s always good to have a reminder.

  8. 8
    MA Rodger says:

    The Tory right-wing was throwing its weight about a soon as they emerged from coallition govenment in May 2015. They were meting out revenge from the off against renewable energy and must have taken great delight striking out at both the BBC & the Met Office in one single blow. BREXIT has opened more doors for these right-wing revolutionaries but I don’t believe the change in policy is so far very great. Rather the big change is that BREXIT has enboldened them so they operate more publicly. And as the wheels fall off their happy BREXIT, their influence will be much reduced.

  9. 9
    Dan says:

    re: 1.
    Thank you for this timely reminder! I just donated precisely as a result of your comment as I had meant to do this earlier in the year.

  10. 10
    Jim Eager says:

    11. Stop trying to get your opponents fired.

    Good advice…., for herr Trumph and denizens of wuwt.

    12. Stop pretending you know exactly what will happen in the future.

    I don’t see anyone around here who claims they know exactly what will happen. Only fools do that.

    13. Stop using the word “denier”.

    Then stop denying basic laws of physics, not to mention physical reality.

    14. Stop telling the public we only have 10 more years (2006) or 4 more years (2009) to save the world! That turned out to be wrong.

    How do you know what turned out to be wrong? (See no. 12)

    15. Be more humble – you could be wrong.

    You mean like every single prediction of a new “little ice age” or even a significant cooling of global temps, or impending rebound of arctic sea ice made by denizens of the denialsphere?

    Rick A is always good for a laugh.

  11. 11
    SecularAnimist says:

    RickA wrote: “13. Stop using the word ‘denier’.”

    YOU ARE A DENIER..

    “Denier” is the precisely correct and only accurate word for what you do, and for what you are.

  12. 12
    Radge Havers says:

    Re: (7) For sure watch your language. Not just with journalists. Note RickA, the king of word games promoting false balance and uncertainty in the pubic square.

    You migh want to develop (I almost said a bag of ‘tricks,’ but that would have been a *big* mistake) a ready, all purpose slate of techniques and responses for dealing with the less prominent denialists, luke warmists, and other assorted legalistic petifoggers, fabulists, pedders of specious blethers, etc., etc., etc. who feed off the bottom.

    And yeah. That’s right I said it. Denialists.

  13. 13
    Mal Adapted says:

    RickA:

    Stop trying to get your opponents fired.

    If only AGW-deniers would stop voting for politicians who want to get honest climate scientists fired.

    Stop pretending you know exactly what will happen in the future.

    If only you’d stop pretending the ground wasn’t waiting for you as you fell past the 2nd floor.

    Stop using the word “denier”.

    If only you’d stop rebunking long-debunked AGW-denialist nonsense in the name of culture war.

    stop telling the public we only have 10 more years (2006) or 4 more years (2009) to save the world! That turned out to be wrong.

    If only the public would stop listening to professional disinformers, and accept the lopsided consensus of working climate scientists.

    Be more humble – you could be wrong.

    If only you’d humbly acknowledge that uncertainty isn’t your friend, anymore than Judy Curry is; and that supporters of the AGW consensus are less wrong than AGW-deniers are.

    I can keep this up as long as you can, RickA. Ain’t freedom grand?

  14. 14
    Paul D says:

    That the editors felt the need to publish such an article as this in a blog that is supposed to be about climate science. for scientists, is frightening. No, terrifying.

  15. 15
    Michael Sweet says:

    I am sorry that you need to write a post like this. It is good information that you should not have to use. Unfortunately, it looks like you will be busy for the next four years.

  16. 16
    t marvell says:

    As a non-climate scientist, this reaction worries me. It looks like the climate community is bunkering down, afraid of talking when there is a chance of repercussions. Maybe that’s just what the attacking deniers want.

    For almost any scientific community, there is a tendency to stick within the group (e.g., colleagues in the discipline), getting one’s status and other rewards, as well as enemies, there. The climate issues, however, are too important for that.

    Any legal defense strategy should include the use of libel laws. I presume that all the organizations listed in post #4 are aware of problems with false personal attacks, and they should be made aware of strong reactions by scientists targeted.

    I live in Virginia, and I like too think that Ken Cuccinelli lost the 2017 election for Governor (by just 3%) because of his law suit, as Attorney General, against the University of Virginia for climate research records. The suit was based on Virginia’s Fraud Against Taxpayers Act. It was a ludicrous, shameful legal action. He spent a lot of public money, and was consistently thrown out of court. The University and the scientific community reacted strongly, so Cuccinelli got a lot of bad press. That’s the kind of thing the climate community should strive for, not shrinking away.

  17. 17
    Ron R. says:

    It’s 1616 all over again.

  18. 18
    Titus says:

    The advice to scientists should be: “stay out of politics”.

    Stick to science and the scientific method. Then, dealing with issues like this will not appear.

    Unfortunately, the problem is (from my observations) genuine scientist will disappear:(

  19. 19
    Susan Anderson says:

    Titus, politicians should stay out of science.

    This is important.

    Politicians (and fake newsmakers) should stay out of science.

    Science is a discipline based on skepticism, intelligence, testable work, and a variety of other methods for discrening the truth and reality. The current crop of fakers, financed by the wealthiest industries on earth, are about to prove to you that what they know (how to help themselves and their quarterly profits) is damaging to all of us now here on earth, which is rapidly becoming less hospitable. Assertions, many of them not even creative, just turning facts inside out, have no value in the real world.

    Our planet is finite, and it operates without regard to your politics. Scientists study it. Politicians exploit anything they can find to get their way.

    See the difference?

  20. 20
    RickA says:

    Jim Eager #10:

    You ask how I know Hansen is wrong about his 2006 and 2009 calls for 10 years and 4 years to take action?

    Because those time periods are now past and the world didn’t end.

    Also, just recently Hansen said maybe we have more time to take action after all.

  21. 21
    Titus says:

    @19 Susan Anderson says: “Politicians exploit anything they can find to get their way”

    We agree. In the real world that will never change. Hence my comment that genuine scientist disappear whether coerced or they’ve had enough and give up.

    Historically great science was done by self supporting individuals who could raise themselves above this. Even then powerful bodies could intervene if it didn’t fit their agenda. Galileo is the one usual cited as example.

    IMO, until science can truly show its independence this will always be the way and skeptic’s and deniers will abound as a result.

  22. 22
    Melene Nahodil says:

    I just read a lot of egos throwing their weight around.
    Earth is bursting at the seams with more and more consumption demands. Climate Change is the by product. Do we agree on this?

  23. 23

    The advice to scientists should be: “stay out of politics”.

    Stick to science and the scientific method.

    Yes, the one true scientific method, straight out of the Official Handbook of the Rule and Regulations of Science, by the Consortium of Armchair Quarterbacks.

  24. 24

    #3, RickA, for Borehole!

  25. 25

    Scientists *can’t* ‘stay out of politics’ as a consistent rule of conduct because–as Shawn Otto puts it in “The War On Science”–knowledge is power and politics is quintessentially about how power is wielded.

    The decision to use fossil fuels and be damned to everything else, or alternately to figure out ways to create a sustainable energy economy, is by definition a political one. It will affect who has power, going forward, and it will be decided by who can most effectively wield their political power in the present context. (Unfortunately, that has been the anti-science GOP lately.)

    Scientists with relevant expertise have a positive duty to advise society as to which decision is the less bone-headed. And for that matter, they have the right and duty as citizens to use their personal freedom of speech–and, yes, power–to advocate for the solution that they see as being in their best interest, and society’s best interest.

    To insist otherwise is to pretend that somehow, scientists are not human.

  26. 26
    Steve Fish says:

    Re: RickA, 12 Dec 2016 at 1:11 PM, ~#20

    Hansen has been pretty accurate. Please provide a reference for when Hansen said that the world would end. Oh, you can’t? What a surprise. Steve

  27. 27
    RickA says:

    Steve Fish #26:

    Here is one cite:

    “We have at most ten years—not ten years to decide upon action, but ten years to alter fundamentally the trajectory of global greenhouse emissions.”

    – James Hansen, 2006 (“The Threat to the Planet,” New York Times Review of Books)

  28. 28
    RickA says:

    Steve #26:

    Here is another cite:

    “We cannot afford to put off [climate policy] change any longer. We have to get on a new path within this new administration. We have only four years left for Obama to set an example to the rest of the world. America must take the lead.”

    – James Hansen, 2009 (“President ‘has four years to save Earth’“, The Guardian, January 17)

  29. 29
    RickA says:

    Steve #26:

    The lesson.

    Don’t exaggerate!

  30. 30
    Joe Cushley says:

    29 RickA So, again, tell us how James Hansen is wrong with those statements? In the first instance, we can’t know yet, or perhaps ever, how that ten year delay has affected our future trajectory. In the second instance, have a look at what Obama has tried to do on environmental policies (in the face of massive Republican and industry opposition) and now Trump wants to undo.

    The lesson.

    Some deniers can’t see the nose on their own face. Thing is, I knew that one before…

  31. 31
    Jim Eager says:

    Rick A, you missed the obvious: we do not yet know the full consequences of the atmospheric changes we have already caused to date and if they are reversible on a meaningful human time scale, therefore you do not know if Hansen was wrong or not. You have violated your own point 12.

  32. 32
    Steve Fish says:

    Re: RickA, 12 Dec 2016 at 11:00 PM, ~#28 and 29

    Oh, you can’t? What a surprise. Steve

  33. 33
    Susan Anderson says:

    Climate science deniers are not skeptics. Scientists are skeptical.

    These guys want to be called skeptics but they are not skeptical about their opinions and the biased material they support, not skeptical at all.

    It is wrong to surrender to their desire to be given credibility they have not earned.

  34. 34
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Titus, have you ever even known a scientist? Because your characterization of science is utterly unrecognizable to this physicist of nearly 40 years experience.

    Titus: “Hence my comment that genuine scientist disappear whether coerced or they’ve had enough and give up.”

    First, scientist are a rather contrary group to begin with–coercion is more likely than not to backfire. Some may knuckle under, but not the good ones. And what is more, if a scientist were the type to give up, I suspect he or she never would have finished his PhD dissertation or persisted through numerous post-docs or realized he/she could make a whole helluva lot more as a quant than a scientist.

    Titus: “Historically great science was done by self supporting individuals who could raise themselves above this.”

    WTF? Ever hear of the Hubble Space Telescope? Fermilab? The Large Hadron Collider? NASA, NOAA, ESA..? Hell, even Kepler had the support of Tycho.

    Titus, I think I see your problem. The only scientists you know are Galileo and Einstein. BTW, Susan has met a scientist or two in her life.

  35. 35
    Radge Havers says:

    OT, but nevertheless a masterful display of how to communicate.

    Yale history professor Timothy Snyder handles Stephan Moore of the Heritage Foundation and advisor to Trump. Snyder is articulate and knows his stuff. He is also fast on his feet and on target. Smooth chops.

    Moore is an egregious lumper who normalizes through elision and platitudes.

    The Diane Rehm Show:

    Audio:
    http://thedianerehmshow.org/audio/#/shows/2016-12-13/the-history-of-fascism-and-its-relevance-to-u-s-politics-today/114122/@00:00

    About:
    http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2016-12-13/the-history-of-fascism-and-its-relevance-to-u-s-politics-today

  36. 36
    Titus says:

    @34 Ray Ladbury says: “have you ever even known a scientist?”

    My degree was in applied chemistry with maths and statics thrown in. Worked in a laboratory for a few years researching plastics. Decided on a career move to business.
    We agree that scientists “are a rather contrary group” and in my experience in program management were the hardest group to work with. My pet peeve was their contrary attitude to being audited/questioned as any business function would be. Trumps team to the DoE, for example, is (IMO) asking the questions that any auditor worth their salt should be asking. As a stake holder (tax payer) I welcome this as being well over due. It will go along way to raising trust in science in the public image.

  37. 37
    Vitruvius says:

    Interesting – what ‘great science’ – was done by self supporting individuals?

    Galileo was a Prof of Mathematics at the University of Padua, Isaac Newton was a Prof at Cambridge, Einstein spent his life in the civil service or Academia. I guess you could count Darwin, although he ‘self-supported’ on inherited wealth.

    Science, like the arts, flourishes in societies which are productive enough to afford, one way or other, to feed and house people who dedicate their minds to a problem. I am not sure there is any qualitative difference, for a good scientist, in who is paying their food bill, whether it’s some renaissance Duke, taxpayers or rich alumni of a university. The difference tends to manifest in whether the patron seeks to give the scientist freedom, or constrain and control their intellect.

  38. 38
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Titus,
    Scientists have no problem with accountability. What they object to are being held to arbitrary, irrelevant and counterproductive standards by imbeciles who do not understand the subject matter in which the scientist is expert. What should matter is the end result produced by the research, don’t you think?

    Politicians on the right and the left keep thinking there must be a more efficient path to truth and scientific/technological advance than curiosity-driven scientific research. So far, none of them have come remotely close to finding one.

    Politicians may wonder at this, but scientists know why it is true. Curiosity is a basic human drive–in some (scientists), it may be the strongest human drive. There’s an old joke:
    A doctor, a lawyer and a physicist are debating whether it is better to have a wife or a mistress.

    The doctor says that it is better to have a mistress, because it is more exciting and you can dump her when you get bored.

    The lawyer says, “Whoa! That’s dangerous. You could get sued and lose half of everything!. Much better to have a wife, because it’s a contractual, legal relationship.”

    The physicist says, “You’re both wrong. It’s better to have both.” “Whoa, dude,” say the lawyer and doctor simultaneously.

    “Yeah,” says the physicist. “That way, when it’s 11:00 at night and you aren’t home, your wife thinks you are with your mistress. Your mistress thinks you’re with your wife, and you can be in the lab getting some research done.”

    Scientists, motivated by curiosity, want to understand their object of study more than anything. To lie or cheat or fudge data would subvert that understanding. And, since nature has a way of giving consistent answers when a question is asked multiple times, any cheat in science gets caught pretty quickly–and there goes all that work and time expended to become a scientist.

    You may ask, what about the problems with drug trials, but there, curiosity has been replaced as the primary motivation by profit.

    Science works. Politicians should stand back and let it.

  39. 39
    Observation says:

    This is nothing new to those who know him, but it looks like Trump’s modus operandi is as the Master Of Mixed Signals. He likes to keep his potential adversaries guessing. Enjoys frustrating people with his notorious waffling. Refuses to be pinned down on things, which maybe why he so detests the media, since they are sort of the opposite. He also likes to pit people against each other (likely at least partly as a distraction away from his own obvious shortcomings and general cluelessness, and possibly also for the entertainment value). Probably all tactics he learned in hard-nosed business. To sum it up, you can’t trust a thing he says; but one thing you Can count on is that he’s forever looking for an angle of self-advantage.

    Just some observations to keep in mind.

  40. 40
    Titus says:

    @38 Ray Ladbury:

    I’ve heard the physicist story before. It’s a great reminder to understanding the ‘love’ of science above all else. Thanks for that.

    As one professional to another, somehow you need to get yourselves out of the firing line. DoE response to the Trump’s teams questions just totally blew open the nest. They used an age old tactic and hopefully good will come of it. I’ve used similar tactics, not with the intent to rubbish or find fault, but to get an understanding of how the work can be best applied to the big picture and not just the lab.

    We appear to agree on the workings of the mind of a scientist. As science becomes more to the forefront of our world it needs to change its stance on this, otherwise it will just go the same way as religion. As you say: ‘Science Works’ you forgot the ‘believe, trust me’!!!:) Cheers…

  41. 41

    Titus, #36:

    I won’t dispute your idea that the Trump transition team is asking ‘the right questions.’

    However, I’m pretty darn sure, based on Trump’s appointments so far, that the intention has nothing to do with ‘auditing.’

    http://i1108.photobucket.com/albums/h402/brassdoc/CruellaASPCA.jpg

  42. 42
    Dan DaSilva says:

    Another rule:

    If using advanced techniques do not call them “tricks”.

  43. 43
    Steve Fish says:

    RickA says: 12 Dec 2016 at 11:01 PM, ~#29

    Back at #20 you said: “Because those time periods are now past and the world didn’t end.” However, none of your citations suggest an end of the world at the stated time period. They don’t support your contention.

    Your conclusion: “The lesson. Don’t exaggerate!”
    My conclusion: Learn to read plain English!

    Steve

  44. 44
    Mal Adapted says:

    Titus:

    Trumps team to the DoE, for example, is (IMO) asking the questions that any auditor worth their salt should be asking. As a stake holder (tax payer) I welcome this as being well over due. It will go along way to raising trust in science in the public image.

    Does Titus know something about Trump’s transition team The Donald himself does not? Actually, the least hypothesis is that they’re both clueless.

  45. 45
    Thomas says:

    42 Dan DaSilva;

    Another rule:

    Before criticizing the semantics applied to advanced techniques, people should go get a science degree in the field first, as opposed to opening up another cheap Blog site for the self-deluded on the internet.

    When abusing others for using the special jargon word “tricks” in a particular field please do remember that hacking into the computer systems of the UK MetOffice and the BOM in Australia is a CRIMINAL ACT that comes with a jail sentence.

    Fools who love to cherry-pick inconsequential facts from a 100 years of science and continually misquote published climate science papers and then present themselves as if they are ‘morally superior’ to those they condemn could benefit from a study of CS Lewis’ works about moral integrity and character.

  46. 46
    John Mashey says:

    As always, AGU was a fun experience, in this case several CSLDF events were particularly good, such as CSLDF AND AGU CO-HOST SYMPOSIUM ON LAW AND SCIENCE.
    That went 8:30-12:30, was very instructive, as was the 3+hour lunch that followed at The Chieftain (Irish sports bar).

    I hear CSLDF gave out 700+ brochures and this year nobody was asking why such a group existed…

    The questionnaire to DOE folks was not a normal transition event, and strangely, was supposedly done by some unidentified staffer (just one person??). somewhat akin to the way Meredith McIver (who we have yet to see) supposedly was responsible for the Melania speech plagiarism.

    Most US govt climate scientists are not in DOE, so I speculate that the key questions were about the Federal Social Cost of Carbon (FSCC), which folks like Peabody would prefer to be zero or negative.

    For a recent example, see Peabody’s Outlier Gang Couldn’t Shoot Straight In Minnesota Carbon Case, Judge Rebuffs Happer, Lindzen, Spencer, Mendelsohn, Bezdek.

  47. 47
  48. 48
    Thomas says:

    Defending climate science is a noble and critical endeavor which I support. But if you imagine that science is complex and challenging, then I suggest you should try running a business and possessing the wherewithal to be successful over the long term. Because that’s truly difficult. Why? Unless you’ve done it yourself you simply cannot know how difficult.

    What does the Native Title Act 1993 (Australia), the Civil Rights Act 1964 (US), NEPA/EPA/NOAA/CAA (US) women’s right to abortion and same-sex marriage equality law changes in the US and globally all have in common?

    All were predicated on years of successful Legal actions in the Courts that forced the hand of Governments (irrespective of political party/ideology) to enact specific Laws, Regulations and Institutional enforcement agencies of GOVT to deal with these controversial social economic & human rights policy issues.

    History and political realities today portends, imo, that rational science-based actions to mitigate AGW/CC, particularly in the US jurisdiction – the home of AGW Denial activism – can ONLY be decided in the State/Federal Courts and especially by the SCOTUS – and not in the court of public opinion nor the Ballot box.

    eg Refs:
    http://www.civilrights.org/judiciary/supreme-court/key-cases.html
    http://www.biography.com/people/frank-m-johnson-21384961#key-force-in-desegregation
    (A higher % of Republicans Voted FOR the CRA than Democrats did!)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Rights_Act_of_1964
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Environmental_Protection_Agency
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clean_Air_Act_(United_States)
    https://www.epa.gov/history/origins-epa
    April 29, 1970 deals with the organization of anti-pollution programs.
    https://archive.epa.gov/epa/aboutepa/ash-council-memo.html
    July 9, 1970 EPA/NOAA Plan
    https://archive.epa.gov/epa/aboutepa/reorganization-plan-no-3-1970.html
    http://www.c2es.org/federal/courts/clean-air-act-cases
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Coalition_for_Responsible_Regulation
    https://www.desmogblog.com/craig-idso
    http://www.wileyrein.com/newsroom-articles-2398.html (criticism of ruling)
    http://www.wileyrein.com/about.html
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/30/us/supreme-court-blocks-obamas-limits-on-power-plants.html?_r=0
    https://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/environment.html

    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2016/20160414_Electioneering.pdf
    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2016/20161026_UnwashedVersion.pdf
    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2016/20161202_SelfEvidentComm.pdf
    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2016/AikenOrder.2016.10November.pdf
    https://www.ourchildrenstrust.org/us/federal-lawsuit/
    https://www.ourchildrenstrust.org/donate/
    http://www.lec.justice.nsw.gov.au/Documents/preston_influence%20of%20climate%20change%20litigation.pdf

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/planet-oz/2016/jan/07/era-of-climate-science-denial-is-not-over-study-finds
    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/cp/climate/2015-paris-climate-talks/where-in-the-world-is-climate-denial-most-prevalent
    http://en.kremlin.ru/events/administration/53267
    http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/50812
    http://www.thenewamerican.com/world-news/europe/item/22149-putin-reverses-position-on-global-warming-backs-un-climate-change-agreement (with spin)
    2013 Methane With Natalia Shakhova https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kx1Jxk6kjbQ
    http://pulitzercenter.org/reporting/born-rewild-father-and-son-seek-transform-arctic-and-save-world

    Krugman: Markets Are Great, But Banning Coal Is OK Too
    http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/analysis/paul-krugman-environmentalist-first-economist-second/
    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2013/11/07/climate-change-gambling-civilization/
    https://thinkprogress.org/krugman-climate-action-is-remarkably-cheap-new-epa-rules-would-give-u-s-economy-a-boost-53ddfeb2a23b#.16lhxnwff
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/15/science/california-new-computer-energy-rules.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FGlobal%20Warming
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/14/science/wind-power-block-island.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FGlobal%20Warming
    https://newrepublic.com/article/135684/declare-war-climate-change-mobilize-wwii
    http://carbon-price.com/joseph-stiglitz/

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigovian_tax
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigovian_tax#Double-dividend_hypothesis
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigovian_tax#Criticisms

  49. 49
    Keith Rogstad says:

    Can anyone recommend a book that explains the theory of “feedback loops” and their role in AGW ?

  50. 50
    Mr. Know It All says:

    I’m trying to determine if climate change, particularly AGW, is real or a hoax. I saw Al Gore in person maybe 10 or 15 years ago give his “Inconvenient Truth” speech and I believed it at the time, but since then I’ve come to question whether AGW is real. I’m still deciding. In my search for information I came upon this RC website. Looks like there may be potential scientific explanations on RC to help me decide and I’ll keep looking. That’s the good news.

    The bad news are the political comments, insults to the president elect, etc that I’ve read in many comments above. This shows immaturity and lends weight to the widespread view that AGW is a “religion” rather than legitimate science. I’d recommend the articles and the comments stick to science if you want to be taken seriously.

    On whether scientists emails should be public I think a good argument can be made that if they are paid by the taxpayers, and if their work may contribute to influencing policies that costs industry a lot of money or destroys jobs, then yes, their emails should be scrutinized. There have already been instances where bad behavior by climate scientists was discovered in emails; just as happened in the recent election. The stakes are too high to let people in closed back rooms have unchecked power to decide public policy without oversight from the people. Viewing the final reports/data is not enough. Scientists may or may not have benevolent intentions; many politicians pushing AGW do not.