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Two-year old turkey

Filed under: — gavin @ 22 November 2011

The blogosphere is abuzz with the appearance of a second tranche of the emails stolen from CRU just before thanksgiving in 2009. Our original commentary is still available of course (CRU Hack, CRU Hack: Context, etc.), and very little appears to be new in this batch. Indeed, even the out-of-context quotes aren’t that exciting, and are even less so in-context.

A couple of differences in this go around are worth noting: the hacker was much more careful to cover their tracks in the zip file they produced – all the file dates are artificially set to Jan 1 2011 for instance, and they didn’t bother to hack into the RealClimate server this time either. Hopefully they have left some trails that the police can trace a little more successfully than they’ve been able to thus far from the previous release.

But the timing of this release is strange. Presumably it is related to the upcoming Durban talks, but it really doesn’t look like there is anything worth derailing there at all. Indeed, this might even increase interest! A second release would have been far more effective a few weeks after the first – before the inquiries and while people still had genuine questions. Now, it just seems a little forced, and perhaps a symptom of the hacker’s frustration that nothing much has come of it all and that the media and conversation has moved on.

If anyone has any questions about anything they see that seems interesting, let us know in the comments and we’ll see if we can provide some context. We anticipate normal service will be resumed shortly.

666 Responses to “Two-year old turkey”

  1. 451
    DrTskoul says:

    DW…you must be out of your MIND. Who said combustion will be the death of us all??? Another straw-man argument!! Pacific islanders might have their whole way of life destroyed with a foot of water rise or even less. Mediterranean countries are in danger to become semi-arid which is going to be a tremendous economical calamity. They might not “die” but definitely they are going to suffer. And no this is not a natural phenomenon neither is going to be good for us. Get your head out of (-snip-) (self-censorship).

  2. 452
    ZT says:

    Many thanks for the response on the de Freitas article. Within the context of climatology, is it normal for sets of climatologists to group to together to complain about individuals to their bosses?

    E.g. Jim Salinger’s comment below appears to be a direct solicitation to colleagues to the detriment of someone holding an opposing scientific opinion.

    “My suggestion is that a band of you review editors write directly to Professor Hood with your concerns.”

    [Response: Of course it is not ‘normal’! It is exceedingly rare. Obviously, in this case they felt that the abuses of the editor went well beyond the pale. Note that the complaint here had nothing to do with ‘scientific opinion’ but rather with scientific standards.–eric]

  3. 453
    skywatcher says:

    David Wright, you seem quite the cornucopian. It’s all a land of infinite milk and honey (and economic growth) to you. Anything other than the present way of life is unimaginable, and will lead us back to the caves. To you, only FF burning can give us electricity, computing and mass transit. Back in the real world, resources are limited, some resources are damaging, and new technology is available to move the world forwards. Smog, ozone depletion, acid rain. All were serious problems that were the consequences of our industrialisation and rapid growth, and all tackled with appropriate controls on the relevant emissions. CO2 is the next one that is indisputably a serious problem, and we have the technology to make a transition off it. In fact making the transition will lead to an economic boom of its own, as well as leading to better energy security.

    Or are you like the stables and farriers of the late 19th/early 20th Century, suggesting that the new-fangled technology of motorised transportation will never lead to anywhere, lead to terrible job losses and economic disaster?

    It looks a lot like the sloppy seconds of emails is really a non-story, indicative of nothing more than the desperation and dishonesty of the deniers. Somebody should offer Phil Jones a thoroughly deserved relaxing holiday while the dross is cleared from his doorstep.

  4. 454
    ZT says:

    Many thanks indeed for your response. Were the scientific standard problems encountered by the people that Salinger was soliciting, similar to the problems which caused climatologists to consider withdrawing Pat Michael’s thesis (as revealed in the climategate1.0 emails)? I’m just looking for some sense of context. Is this the type of endeavor which climatologists engage in once in every thousands emails, once in five thousand emails, or more or less regularly, than that? (Or is it difficult to quantify ‘exceedingly rare’?)

    [Response: Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Soon and Baliunas paper being discussed was a shoddy piece of work, by any reasonable standard. Less than perfect work gets published all the time, but usually it at least appears reasonable at first glance. S&B did not even rise to that standard; hence the various people you are referring to being upset by the shoddy quality of editorial. This is exceedingly rare — if you want a number, I would say hazard around once per 10,000 papers get this sort of attention.

    I’ve no clue about what may or may not have happened with Pat Michael’s thesis, and I’m not very interested. (Has it ever occurred to you that reading people’s private email correspondence is simply not very interesting to most people?). I doubt very much that anything meaningful was ‘revealed’ by what you call “climate gate 1.0” except what those who released the emails wanted you to believe, despite the lack of evidence.

    “Climatologists” are not a monolithic bunch, so I really cannot speak to what “they” do. I can make an educated guess though, as could you. Try this: this particular group was annoyed with what they felt was the unprofessional behavior of others, so they discussed it. One cannot read anything into it beyond that. Please stop trying to find something that isn’t there. Meanwhile, you might read up on history, which you seem very interested in repeating. –eric]

  5. 455
    ZT says:

    Many thanks indeed for your response, Eric. In terms of the ‘reasonable at first glance’ criterion, how would you compare the Soon and Baliunas’ paper with AE Dessler’s recent paper in Science, which made much of a regression coefficient statistically indistinguishable from zero. Was Dessler’s paper reasonable at first glance?

    I’m puzzled by you accusing me of McCarthyism – I’m simply asking for the contextual interpretation of pieces of factual evidence (presuming that the emails are genuine) which this thread offered to provide. But, that puzzlement aside, I’m most interested in any context you can provide in the comparison between Dessler and Soon and Baliunas, in terms of their scientific standard and the review treatment each received.

    [Response: This is a pretty transparent attempt to divert a conversation onto a paper that has nothing whatsoever to do with the situation, but is simply one you think poor. Well tough. The issue here is the egregiously bad scientific standards in S&B i.e. 1) Defining a problem so loosely that nothing robust could ever be concluded, 2) concluding what they wanted regardless of the fact that it did not logically follow from the analysis. This is compounded by egregious mis-interpretations of other people’s work, republishing essentially the same paper in E&E, disgraceful over-selling of their results etc. This only got through review in the shape it did because the editor wanted it to. That this happened with numerous papers that de Frietas handled (including ones by Michaels, and Soon) speaks to a systematic pattern, not just a single aberration. Many people had concerns prior to this incident (Wolfgang Cramer has resigned over a previous incident, Hulme and von Storch and Clare Goodess all expressed themselves clearly). Note too that HvS didn’t resign because of the paper itself, but because the journal was not (in his eyes) learning from the debacle in ways that would prevent future problems. – gavin]

  6. 456
    Jon says:

    As a little experiment I’ve made some comments here and on Climate Audit, in both cases expressing a cautious but quite careful approach that expresses no commitment to the ‘other side’. The result is quite interesting (I think): contributors on both sides are absurdly swift to criticise and deride /anyone/, or whatever background they claim, who express /anything/ less than wholehearted commitment to the cause.

    This is – I think – a serious issue for you here. There’s a tendency here (not shared by the other lot) to assume that /all/ educated half-intelligent life-forms should be able to follow their way through the ideological shit-storm simply by trusting in the light of science. Yet where I come from (the UK), we know that most people ‘believe’ in evolution, but most people can’t actually articulate what it is accurately, or even begin to describe how it might work. The expectation that everyone should simply be able to go out educate themselves and then they’ll see that climate science is trustworthy is simply naïve: the belief that the other side must be stupid is also demonstrably erroneous.

    The reason the email hack matters – and it really really matters, whatever people here may like to think – is that it’s designed to provide a narrative that ‘normal’ folk (a category that unfortunately includes too many university professors) can recognise: and the story about corruption and hypocrisy provides a foundation from which plenty of people are choosing which ‘side’ to favour. Plenty of people who formerly accepted AGW don’t any more: because they simply didn’t get the science in the first place.

    Real Climate is not winning its battles. This may very often be because of what goes on in these comments. Every single time some wise-guy scorns or condescends to an honest punter with genuine questions, there’s going to be collateral damage, because more people read this stuff than comment – and more people will understand the comments than some of the articles. It is /precisely/ the tendency of scientists to condescend to laymen that is mucking this up for you. Educated people in western countries do not get science. Wake up and realise this, and you may work out how to make your messages work better. But right here, in this strand, you can see well-meaning people being actively discouraged, and coming away with the reasonable impression that scientists are arrogant berks who need to be taken down a peg. In know you get a lock of flack here: but if the faithful don’t stay courteous to those who haven’t made up their minds yet, you’re shooting yourselves in the foot.

  7. 457

    #449 David Wright

    No comfort for those who still think combustion will be the death of us all.

    Your focus on extremes is a dead giveaway to your propensity for argument to emotion.

    It is also a red herring as it distracts from the real issues. Most unfortunate that reasoned discussion is not your focus.

    But why do you focus on the extremes? To what purpose?

  8. 458

    455 ZT

    Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen is definitely exercising bias in E&E.

    But the light of truth is often a bitter pill to take. In time the light shines even in the darkest corners.

    It’s the bias of those that don’t understand that is preventing even you from understanding the science in context.

  9. 459
    LazyTeenager says:

    Timg56 says
    What I am willing to do because of that uncertainty is to consider courses of action to take, on the condition that the more drastic the course, the more evidence be provided as to the certainty of how non-beneign the impacts will be. In moving from the realm of science to the realm of policy, I expect the former to provide me with solid information on which I can base my decisions.
    what’s missing from the discussions of risk so far is the concept of reversibility. If we take economic action against climate change and it proves to be ill- founded then we can change the policy on a very short time scale. Total recovery would take 5-10 years. On the other hand if taking no action is ill-founded we will never ever recover.

    [Response: But we have already effectively irreversibly altered atmospheric CO2 and we continue to do so. None of us will see an actual decrease in CO2, regardless of policies adopted. – gavin]

  10. 460
    Joe Cushley says:

    @456 Being a layman, and generally a lurker, here for several years I simply don’t recognise this characterisation

    “Every single time some wise-guy scorns or condescends to an honest punter with genuine questions, there’s going to be collateral damage…”

    ‘Honest punters’, in my experience get kid glove handling from regulars such as Hank Roberts et al. Dishonest and recalcitrant punters (and pompous ones, ring any bells?), get shorter shrift.

  11. 461


    In [sic] know you get a lock of flack here: but if the faithful don’t stay courteous to those who haven’t made up their minds yet, you’re shooting yourselves in the foot.

    Ooh, tone troll is tone trolling; news at 11.

    If there’s one thing I know, it’s that clarity is more important than sweet-talking.

    If scientists state their message clearly, succintly, and frequently, people will get the message (and even if they don’t like it, it will sink in).

    If scientists try to sugar-coat their message with lots of pleasantries, it may sound nice, but there’s no guarantee that people will discern the message itself. But what’s the point of wrapping up a message if people won’t get the message?

    And the message here is that the climate inactivists are chock-full of illogical nonsense that anyone who’s wide awake can see through straight away. As I said before, it doesn’t take a Nobel Prize physicist to figure out that ‘Global warming, I mean climate change, was invented by Al Gore!’ is pure, unadulterated, counter-factual nonsense.

    Why do you want people to obscure plain facts such as these?

    — frank

  12. 462
    ZT says:

    Many thanks for the response, Gavin. I was simply trying to obtain the Real Climate perspective on the de Freitas thread, and the ‘reasonable at first glance’ term that was introduced by Eric, and I felt that perhaps this term could do with some definition, in case one might think it arbitrary, or mean ‘in keeping with the consensus’. I’m not sure why this should be regarded as a transparent attempt at diversion, or McCarthyism! Elsewhere (e.g. Cook and Bradley, people are entitled to their opinions, are they not?).

    [Response: ZT: the reference to McCarthyism was to make the point that you seem to think it worthwhile trying to guess what you assume are people’s underlying hidden agendas are by going through their mail. As I said, look it up. If you don’t see yourself in the mirror, clean the mirror. The point is that the entire idea that you can learn something about the scientific process, the peer review process, or the science itself in this manner is ridiculous. This obvious fact seems to have escaped many self-styled ‘sympathizers’ as well as the denialosphere. It’s really quite appalling and it is precisely what happened during the McCarthy era. Really want to understand how science works? Go to grad school and become a scientist. Or barring that, at least try to engage with scientists without presuming that they have ‘something to hide’ (those are your words, not mine).–eric]

  13. 463
    Susan Anderson says:

    It reminds me of a slumlord we had in the 1970s, who always responded quickly with a longer letter – it didn’t matter if you were polite or rude, factual or humorous. His goal was to bury you in paper, so you would give up.

    I joined these wars in the mid oughts because I was shocked at the promotion of ignorance and nonsense, and was startled at the level of vituperation in the air. How dared I present facts? How dared I not change my mind in the face of personal criticism? If I should slip in a buried sentence in one paragraph, an essay was written on the slip. If I didn’t slip, my words were subtly altered and I was misquoted. Since then, the fake skeptic movement and its fellow travelers, with their vast background promoted and supported by wealthy financial interests, have studied how science is done and produced material that is difficult to parse, sciencey looking and full of references, often excessively polite. It may be dirty underneath, but its surface is shiny and popular. Makeup, really.

    The people here have decided that a patient exposition of the facts is worth having, and no matter how ineffective that might be, it is an ethical challenge to others to politely stick to the truth. Blaming them for daring to continue to stand firm with the vast majority of the scientific community and every credible authority in the world may be effective tactics, but it will not change the truth one iota.

  14. 464
    dmaz says: ‘s Jason Mick is really starting to become irrational… I wish there were better responses in the comments.

    and this editorial from him:

  15. 465
    Hank Roberts says:

    Peter Watts’s Climategate posting (anthologized as one of the 50 Best Science Blogging Posts of the Year for 2009) is the best rebuttal to tone trolling.

    (If the blog software messes up those links, it’s at )

  16. 466
  17. 467

    # 230 anna haynes

    I just noticed this upthread regarding my ‘models are wrong’ page on OSS:

    I don’t recall any time when being honest and direct impeded understanding in my discourses. In my experience, it helps to be both honest and direct.

  18. 468
    Ric Merritt says:

    Gavin’s inline response to LazyTeenager, #459 was too hasty, and missed the point.

    LazyTeenager was talking about our ability to try policy responses, and several years later make adjustments or reversals of those policies. More might be said in response or rebuttal, but the point was basically reasonable, and Gavin was rebutting some other point, not what was said here.

  19. 469
    Paul Briscoe says:

    Jon @ #456

    I too find your characterisation of this site inaccurate.

    Just to explain, I too am from the UK. I have a PhD, albeit in a very different field of science. I have a reasonable grounding in basic science, yet having followed this site and Skeptical Science for over 2 years and having read a lot of the relevant scientific literature, I am still painfully aware that I will NEVER know as much about climate science as the guys who research the field. It is extraordinarily complex science (this is not intended to be patronising, as I don’t pretend to understand it all myself!) and it is impossible to evaluate it correctly without taking into account ALL of the facts – this is the aspect that lets down most non-experts when trying to draw conclusions.

    Another thing I know as a scientist is that the only reliable way of evaluating science is to read the peer-reviewed literature – that is the way science works and for good reasons. Most bloggers shun the scientific literature, choosing instead to believe blogs which tell them what they want to hear. IMHO, if people are unwilling (or unable) to read what the scientific literature actually says, it is disingenuous of them to pretend that they have anything positive to contribute to the “debate”. I would imagine that this is why many of the regular posters here, who DO know their subject, show their irritation at the constant stream of myths and pseudo-science put about by fake skeptics.

    The bottom line for bloggers is this: if they can’t be bothered to read the scientific literature and base their arguments on that, it’s time to leave the debate to the people who do know what they’re talking about and TRUST THEIR EXPERT JUDGEMENT……… in just the same way as you would trust the surgeon who might one day save your life!

    If you haven’t already done so, might I suggest that you go and watch Potholer54’s excellent series of videos:

    These give the best layperson’s guide I’ve ever seen regarding how to correctly evaluate science. You’ll note that Potholer, like me, doesn’t claim to be an expert, but he draws the correct conclusions because he relies solely on the scientific literature rather than the “McExperts”!

    You should try to apply Potholer’s methods when comparing this site with the “auditing” site you mentioned. If you couple that with a close attention to detail and a dose of true scepticism, you might spot the obvious flaws in the claims made elsewhere and start to realise the true value of this site.

  20. 470
    Nick Gotts says:


    Do you have any actual evidence either that public opinion has shifted markedly against acceptance of the scientific consensus; or that if this is the case, that the response of sites such as RealClimate to “honest punters” (how exactly do you know they are honest?) has anything to do with it, rather, than, say, the extremely well-funded propaganda machines aimed at deceiving the public by misrepresenting the state of the science?

  21. 471
    David Wright says:

    Comment by skywatcher — 28 Nov 2011 @ 12:09 AM

    “453.David Wright, you seem quite the cornucopian. It’s all a land of infinite milk and honey (and economic growth) to you.”

    I am an optomist, no doubt about it. It seems a lot of folks here are pessimists, hence the conflict of opinion. Nature has provided us with more than we deserve, so the basis for optomism is there for all to see.

    Many more of our advances have resulted from optomism than from pessimism. The discovery of the new world is but one example.

    We lack positive goals today. The cancellation of our human spaceflight program is but one example of that. We are more focused on fears than on exploration. Fear is a very unproductive emotion and there is a too much of it going around. Much more than necessary IMHO.

    No, I do not believe that economic growth will continue forever. There will be bad times, but the best tool for growth is optomism. Pessimism and fear assure mediocrity or worse.

  22. 472
    phil mattheis says:

    My, a lot can happen in a short time here (460+ posts in a week!) – one might think some of us had holiday free time to fill…;)

    Shortly before he ran off to other playgrounds, DW (@365, Nov 26) responded to the analogy of GW as a semi on the icy road ahead: “The semi bearing down is a belief, same as my belief that life on earth is getting much better since the last ice age, and based upon the current trend, it will likely continue to do so for a long while to come.” Good analogy for denial-ism, but an unfortunate image in the consequence… Imagining the disappearance of a looming collision won’t stop the brute force of impact.

    The notion of “belief” is key to understanding the looking-glass world lived in by Mr Wright and others. Science beyond-our-comprehension becomes equivalent to religion, and subject to choice (as opposed to the hard work of fussing with the math). Once free to choose, why pick the painful option?

    That dynamic pitches the faithful (where belief in spite of contrary evidence is ultimate proof of faith) vs people who chase scientific methods and models as independent, imperfect reflections of a real world. When the scientists jostle and plot amongst themselves (as good humans do), that’s just more reason to discount the outcome.

    Like Susan Anderson, I’ve lurked along here for a few years, and have consistently been impressed by the patience of the moderators. I have -not- seen “honest punters with genuine questions” treated with scorn or condescension. Far from it – Anyone listening in with ‘honest questions’ should feel free to ask, and should expect fair treatment with quick responses (although not always answers).

  23. 473

    #467 addendum

    Regarding the backfire effect: I can’t speak of those I do not revisit, but in my home town, for example, it has been some time since I delivered my presentation to my CAP squadron. They ask for updates on the understanding and when they do bring up a myth, I’ve heard comments like, ‘I just heard that…’ and when i give them the context they tend toward agreement and understanding.

    Possibly factors involved are method of delivery and message perception. I merely give them the relevant context to their questions and understanding ensues. For those trying to communicate climate science I highly recommend delivering the relevant context. It mitigates doubt while building confidence in the science.

    The hard ones to turn are those that believe it is a conspiracy. But even there I have experienced some success. I would say about 30% efficacy. But I do not focus on conspiracists.

  24. 474
    Holly Stick says:

    Jon at #456 Maybe people just noticed the phoniness of your message and would not play along with your little thought experiment.

  25. 475

    #471 David Wright

    Science is not about optimism or pessimism. Maybe this is the mistake you are making.

    Science is about evidence and what that indicates when weighed in relevant context.

    Do you have any scientific evidence that “many more of our advances have resulted from optimism that form pessimism”.

    Actually pessimism is a great driver of innovation as in when one sees something is not working, one then innovates based on the negative to create a positive.

    Context is key.

    Pessimism about entire governments has led to great advances in democracy.

    Fear itself is a great driver of advancement as well as in I fear this may stop working if we don’t innovate new solutions to keep it working in the changing market system. Fear often inspires action as well.

    Your reliance on opinion or rosy pictures is cute, but it is not scientific.

    Again, its not about the power of positive thinking, it’s about evidence and reality.

    On your last point:

    the best tool for growth is optomism.

    I would argue that that attitude while beneficial in many ways has also fomented the market bubbles that have destabilized global market systems.

    Optimism does not increase the resource base of the planet in relation to growth and demand. It is non sequitur to and false logic to assume so.

    Again, context is key.

  26. 476

    #456 Jon

    If I had a nickel for every time this argument of yours, which has been used to distract from the relevant topic on point.

    Look, I understand the problem of cognitive dissonance, but that does not take away from the facts.

    Due to the multitude of perspectives that exist in is quite impossible to appease every whim in order to reduce said dissonance. While it should be considered, it should not dictate the discussion turning it into a butt kissing love fest of ‘oh I understand you were deprived of scientific context in your education so let me sooth your misconceptions with the salve of polite discourse that brings no one nearer to the relevant points’.

    Poppycock. This is not a 60’s love-in. This is a discussion about the validity of the physics and observations in relation to socio-economics. This is a discussion about the ramifications of our collective actions and the risk ratios as well as cost/benefit ratios that will impact our reality.

    If you want warm and fuzzy hugs go to what is left of Haight Ashbury and see if you can find someone to hug you.

  27. 477
    Deep Climate says:

    A trick to hide the context

    … it is very clear that a new round of out-of-context quote mining and error-filled “analysis” is already unfolding. And the leader out of the gate, so to speak, appears to be Ross McKitrick, whose recent National Post piece on the IPCC and the latest batch of stolen emails is now being spread far and wide.

    In one particularly outrageous and error-filled passage, McKitrick accuses IPCC AR4 co-ordinating lead authors Phil Jones and Kevin Trenberth of selecting their team of contributing authors solely on the basis of whether they agree with the pair’s scientific views. He even goes so far as to accuse Jones of “dismissing” (i.e. rejecting as a contributing author) one qualified expert who, supposedly in Jones’s own words, “has done a lot, but I don’t trust him.”

    But the record clearly shows that it was Trenberth who made that last comment, and that he was expressing misgivings about the quality of the researcher’s work, not whether he was on the “right side” of scientific issues. And the expert in question, climatologist Joel Norris, was in fact selected by Trenberth as a contributing author. Even worse, McKitrick has reversed the order of the Jones quotes, taken them out of context, and then juxtaposed them to make it appear as if they were part of the same exchange. Meanwhile, an examination of the two separate email discussions show chapter co-ordinators trying to fill out their team with authors who will be able to contribute effectively, in complete contradiction to McKitrick’s central thesis.

  28. 478
    LazyTeenager says:

    [Response: But we have already effectively irreversibly altered atmospheric CO2 and we continue to do so. None of us will see an actual decrease in CO2, regardless of policies adopted. – gavin]
    I think I was ambiguous. I was referring to economic recovery, as in restoring previous economic conditions, and not to restoring CO2 levels.

    [Response: I know. My point was that if you are worried about irreversibility, you are missing the biggest impacts of all. Compared the carbon cycle, economic decisions are rather ephemeral. – gavin]

  29. 479
    timg56 says:

    @377 John Reisman

    This is a nice example of what fuels my questioning of why we have to be so worried about climate change.

    Regarding your questions on cost:

    – How much money will in cost to refit a single port as sea level rises?

    This question indicates a misunderstanding on how infrastructure is built and maintained. We are not going to see a need to totally revamp or rebuild port and shipping infrastructure all at once. I am involved in infrastructure. Decades ago utility power poles were 35 to 40 ft in length. Today the average is 45 – 50 ft. The reason, the growth in communications technology causing a dramatic increase in the number of attaching entities to a pole. Was the result of this change – one that is occuring much more rapidily than the predicted impacts from climate change – a wholesale replacement of utility poles around the nation? No. For the most part the replacement takes place during the course of normal utility activities. So to with port infrastructure. There are other factors with much greater influence impacting port infrastructure than rising sea levels.

    – How much will the inflation cost the monetary economy?

    Actually I can’t provide a response to this one because I don’t understand it. I also don’t see the connection to climate.

    -How much will in cost to move entire town and city populations more areas become less inhabitable,

    This is a good example of the alarmist school of thought. Exactly which cities and towns are going to have to move? What exactly will drive the move? New Orleans is already below sea level. It is also a city that experienced considerable devestation from weather related flooding. Last time I checked – it it was pretty recently as I’m chair of a conference that’s scheduled to be held there in March – the city is right where it always has been.

    – How much will it cost to adapt to to the changes?

    Adapt to what changes? There is the question – exactly what changes are we going to see? The cost could be having to switch from investing in snow ski’s or snowmobiles to water skis and jet ski’s. All we have to go on is the running of models out to a certain timeline and then extrapolating (or speculating) on what this will look like.

    – These are not hidden costs, they are occurring and increasingly expected costs. The cost of added CO2 is not an assumption it is an expectation. And this expectation is qualifiable. It is not mere opinion.

    The expected costs you refer to are all based on certain assumptions. They are only expected if the assumptions they are based on are accurate.

  30. 480

    #479 timg56

    Alarmist is a relative term. your usage in this context is inappropriate due to lack of context. So my question to you is why are you attending the alarmist school of thought?

    The confidence in the a assumptions are already reasonably high but you need to parse our which ones have higher and lower confidence.

    Infrastructure maintenance is dependent on availability of funds. In a strained economy it is more challenging, in a less stressed economy it is easier.

    Warmer temperatures impact crop productivity.

    The inflationary result then resonates throughout the rest of the relevant economic sectors thus reducing economic capacity in the monetary sector and increasing inflationary pressure.

    As to moving city populations that will depend on water availability. In the US for example we will see increasing stress in the south and southwest.

    We are already seeing changes in multiple areas. I could make a very long list here but your question merely reveals that you really have not looked into this much. Here are a few:

    – latitudinal shift of the jetstream
    – soil moisture content drop
    – accelerated loss of arctic and glacial ice (sea level rise/fresh water)
    – changes in precipitation
    – expansion of the Hadley cell
    – crop thermal limits increasingly exceeded

    The impact on the monetary economy is still small relatively speaking but not insignificant. The risks exist in the inertia of the increased radiative forcing and therefore it’s future impacts that are now baked into the cake so to speak.

  31. 481
    J Bowers says:

    “- How much money will in cost to refit a single port as sea level rises?”

    Where are most refineries located, and at what altitude above sea level?

  32. 482
    David Wright says:

    “Where are most refineries located, and at what altitude above sea level?

    Comment by J Bowers — 28 Nov 2011 @ 5:51 PM”

    Good point, most are near sea level. Maybe the “problem” will self mitigate. That would sure be ironic!

  33. 483

    Oh, dear. I have just seen the response de Freitas made to this issue. It was quite simple: his director’s comment on the accusations against him. They assessed how he had dealt with the reviews.


    Chris de Freitas has done a good and correct job as editor.”

    You’d better get yourselves some legal representation.

    [Response: Look at the date of that comment – 3 July 2003. Then look at the dates of everything else, including the resignations. They all happened afterwards – because the Kinne statement was not accepted at face value – and rightly so. Indeed, email 1719, reports that one reviewer definitely recommended rejection of S&B, and never saw the manuscript again to assess the appropriateness of the rewrite. And since the final paper was clearly flawed (conclusions not following from the analysis among other problems), no-one involved was reassured by Kinne’s statements. Especially not Hans von Storch (email 2106), and it was the refusal of Kinne to consider the draft editorial and new practices, that in the end led to his resignation at the end of July (email 3013). This is a story about scientists standing up for standards, however you would like to twist it. – gavin]

  34. 484
    ZT says:

    John P. Reisman, Eric, Gavin, et al, I’m still at a loss trying to understand why asking about the context of strong criticism of someone’s position as an editor, should be regarded as McCarthyism. Wasn’t one of McCarthy’s weapons to deprive people who did not share his views of their positions?

    I also remain very confused on the original question. Apparently de Freitas did a good job as an editor (according to Otto Kinne, his director). (Details here). What then were the context(s) for the machinations concerning de Freitas discussed in the climategate 2.0 emails?

    [Response: See previous response. – gavin]

  35. 485

    #41 Orson Presence

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume you don’t understand Gavin’s reply to you.

    RC or posters reply to ridiculously stupid posts by individuals in order to help others that come to this site to understand relevant context.

    hmmm… #45 Orson Presence

    Funny how I wrote what I did above, before I saw your #45 post, isn’t it.

  36. 486
    Susan Anderson says:

    “In vanquishing the conventional wisdom, sometimes it seems we have vanquished wisdom itself.”

    Bill Keller in “The Politics of the Age of Economics in the Age of Shouting”

  37. 487
    DrTskoul says:

    J Bowers.

    Very easy to answer. See how many Gulf refineries (Exxon, Marathon, Shell, BP, etc) were significantly impaired after the Gulf hurricanes since 2005. I personally know of at least 3 which sustained significant damage of electrical equipment. There only a few feet above see or lake or river level.

  38. 488
    Hank Roberts says:

    > 483 Doubting Rich … Oh, dear. I have just
    > seen the response de Freitas made

    > 484 ZT … de Freitas did a good job …

    Which site rebunked that line without context in the last day or so?
    How many places has it been copypasted since?

  39. 489

    “Last time I checked – it it was pretty recently as I’m chair of a conference that’s scheduled to be held there in March – [New Orleans] is right where it always has been.”

    Well, minus about 2/9ths of the population of the city proper. And AFAIK, they didn’t increase the height of the levees to account for sea level rise, despite the fact that you’d conservatively expect at least 8 cm over their projected lifetime.

  40. 490
    ZT says:

    Gavin, could you possibly help me understand your logic?

    On the one hand, a bad paper results in an attempt to have an editor fired and, on the other hand: ‘Bradley: “I’m sure you agree–the [Mike] Mann/ [Phil] Jones GRL paper was truly pathetic and should never have been published. I don’t want to be associated with that 2000 year ‘reconstruction’.” [Response: Again, people are free to make their own judgements on papers. This was in 2003 (discussing Mann and Jones (2003)). – gavin]’

    Could you explain succinctly when people are free to make their own judgments and when editors should be fired?

    Many thanks in advance.

    [Response: Once again you try and divert criticism of an egregious example (of which S&B was only a single instance) of editorial mal-practice into a crticism of another completely unrelated paper. The mal-practice at CR was blatant and repeated. Your logic appears to be based on the idea that if you can find another paper that someone criticised, that makes de Frietas’ actions ok? Sorry, it doesn’t. Editors at CR resigned because editorial integrity was compromised and their solutions to that were not accepted by the publisher. Find another example of that happening. Oh yes, at Remote Sensing earlier this year… – gavin]

  41. 491
    Ros says:

    I have been reading Realclimate for a long time now and am still at best think man has influenced climate but cAGW isn’t proved. I admit that I am not a scientist, though my experience of this site is that one of the kinder commenters will point this out to me with some vigour. Minor whinges aside the following really bugs me.

    “What astounds me is that in the same breath, you guys can look at criticism between scientists and claim there is no consensus, while at the same time invoking conspiracy to explain away the utter inability of denialists to produce a shred of evidence supporting their position. Doublethink at its finest.
    [Response: My bold. Well said Ray. Truly astounding, isn’t it!?–eric]”

    Consensus: An opinion or position reached by a group as a whole
    Conspiracy: two or more persons
    Doublethink: the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct

    How is it that you persuade yourselves that you are about communicating science to lay persons. Please don’t be so rude. My experience of academia is a brief time in admin. The aggression and unpleasantness of academics may be a necessary aspect of the development of ideas but it seems however often you are told, you don’t get that it should stay in the cloisters. You treat your readers who don’t have Ivory Tower membership as “stupid” (yes I do know you claim otherwise but just maybe you aren’t the world’s experts on everything) and let them see how offensive you are to your enemies in academia.
    Stop it. It interferes with your message.

    [Response: Ros: My apologies for offending you. But please recognize that this sort of thing is not directed at readers generally, but at specific people who have said specific things. None of us are really at all rude to people that treat us with respect — we just get a bit tired of being accused of being leftist tree hugging conspirators bent on destroying civilization. As for Hank Robert’s specific comment: it *is* astounding what people think we are about.–eric ]

  42. 492
    ccpo says:

    Thanks for the positive comments.

    Re: 445: I did address that: “Climate Change is existential threat/Do nothing: Result is eventual major disruptions to social fabric, economics, ecology, Sixth Great Extinction – likely including humans.”


  43. 493
    J Bowers says:

    “In conclusion: … CR should have been more careful and insisted on solid evidence and cautious formulations before publication.”
    – Otto Kinne, August 5th, 2003. ‘Climate Research: an article unleashed worldwide storms’. Climate Research Vol. 24: 197–198, 2003.

    The email to De Freitas is dated 3 July 2003.

  44. 494
    J Bowers says:

    If anyone wants to read Hans von Storch’s blocked editorial, it’s available from his explanation in 2009 (click on ‘editorial): The CR Problem

    (note to RC: the blog seems to flag Wayback Machine links as spam)

  45. 495
    Number9 says:

    Since you aren’t getting the point at all, here is a question for you: Please explain how are you so sure that without the stimulus it would not have been much worse? Such a claim must involve some kind of model, no? – gavin

    Easy answer: the recession ended in June 2009, with q2 GDP down just 0.17%. At that point, we had spent just $81bn

    The big models said that spending another $800 bn would deliver a recovery. Epic fail, because the models are incomplete.

    The models can explain a lot about the past, but are useless for basing policy to spend trillions.

    As Ray Ladbury said here, the models can give insight into the past but can not give ‘the answer’

    [Response: I’m certainly not going to claim the economic models are perfect (not by a long shot), but you completely fail to see that you are using a model yourself – the ‘no-numbers-everything-will-be-fine’ model. How do you know what would have happened without the $800 bn? You seem to imply that it would all have gone exactly the same, but you really need a justification for that. What is it? – gavin]

  46. 496
    Number9 says:

    Richard Simons It seems to me that Hansen’s Scenario B was not that far out. Are you getting your information from denialist sites that concentrate on Scenario A, the one that he thought was unrealistic

    No, it’s a comparison with Scenario C, which is where the models pegged temps if we stopped emission growth.

    We didn’t waste trillions and have lower temps.

  47. 497
    Number9 says:

    Ray Ladbury

    40 out of 7,000,000,000 years? That’s your question?

  48. 498
    Number9 says:

    How do you know what would have happened without the $800 bn? You seem to imply that it would all have gone exactly the same, but you really need a justification for that. What is it?

    I’m not using a model to say it would be fine. I’m looking at the data and they say that the recession was over before we wasted all that ‘stimulus’ based on incomplete models.

    The models might be able to explain the past but they misread the present and gave the wrong policy for the future.

    Similarly, the data are telling us that temps have stopped rising and are still tracking below Hansen’s Scenario C. That implies that the models might need more work for policymaking. As we’ve seen, we were fortunate to not spend trillions; temps fell below Scenario C anyway.

    [Response: You continue to amaze me. Are you arguing that you have some super secret model that indicates that injecting ( $800bn into the economy | 9 GtC/yr into the atmosphere ) have no impacts on ( economic activity | radiative transfer )? That would indeed be news. If not, you must accept that both actions will affect ( economic activity | radiative transfer ) to some extent. Thus the issue must be that you are disputing the magnitude of those effects. You need to be able to answer the question “all else being equal, injecting ( $800bn into the economy | 9 GtC/yr into the atmosphere ) what impact will that have on ( economic activity | radiative transfer )?”. Estimating that magnitude requires a model. Where is it? – gavin]

  49. 499
    Nibi says:

    Okay, I know this is veering way off topic, but Number9 keeps repeating right wing zombie lies about the stimulus. For example, we have

    The big models said that spending another $800 bn would deliver a recovery

    However, let’s look at what Paul Krugman said about the stimulus almost three years ago:

    The Obama Gap

    To close a gap of more than $2 trillion — possibly a lot more, if the budget office projections turn out to be too optimistic — Mr. Obama offers a $775 billion plan. And that’s not enough.


    Stimulus arithmetic (wonkish but important)

    And that gets us to politics. This really does look like a plan that falls well short of what advocates of strong stimulus were hoping for — and it seems as if that was done in order to win Republican votes. Yet even if the plan gets the hoped-for 80 votes in the Senate, which seems doubtful, responsibility for the plan’s perceived failure, if it’s spun that way, will be placed on Democrats.

    I see the following scenario: a weak stimulus plan, perhaps even weaker than what we’re talking about now, is crafted to win those extra GOP votes. The plan limits the rise in unemployment, but things are still pretty bad, with the rate peaking at something like 9 percent and coming down only slowly. And then Mitch McConnell says “See, government spending doesn’t work.”

    Let’s hope I’ve got this wrong.

    The stimulus may have been oversold by certain politicians and may not have been implemented in the most effective manner, but this was a failure of politics not some “big model”.

  50. 500
    Nick Gotts says:

    “We didn’t waste trillions and have lower temps.” – Number 9

    It doesn’t matter how many times the false claim that “we have lower temps” is repeated; it remains false.