Reversing the direction of the positive feedback loop

by Judith Curry

I’m at Purdue University, preparing for a panel discussion with Andy Revkin and Roger Pielke Jr. on “Beyond Climategate.”  The following three questions have been posed:

  • Have scientists become ‘too political’ in their advocacy of particular climate change mitigation and adaptation policies?  Do the benefits of engaging in political advocacy outweigh the risks of losing their credibility as scientists?
  • What role has the media, including the blogosphere and the Internet, played in this growing contradiction? How has the media shaped the way that climate science is debated, disputed, and created? Is there a ‘better’ way for climate scientists to work with the media?
  • Moving forward, is there a better role for climate scientists in political and policy debates, and if so, what would it look like?

Well, in the wake of Climategate, I have been trying to understand the crazy dynamics of climate science and policy and politics, and how things went so terribly wrong.   I don’t think this is easily explained by any of the following explanations that are commonly put forth:

  • either too little or too much PR and activism/advocacy by climate scientists
  • the merchants of doubt and deniers won because of better PR and activism
  • the scientists are corrupt and politically (or financially) motivated

The positive feedback loop

I think the dynamics are much more complicated, and can only be understood by considering the ever vexatious feedback loop. There has been a particularly toxic positive feedback loop between climate science and policy and politics, whose direction has arguably been reversed as result of Climategate.

The scientists provided the initial impulse for this feedback loop back in the 1970’s and 1980’s.  The enviro advocacy groups quickly saw the possibilities and ran with it, with the scientists’ blessing.   The enviro advocacy groups  saw the climate change issue as an opportunity to enlist scientific support for their preferred energy policy solution. Libertarian think tanks, the traditional foes of the enviro advocacy groups, began countering with doubts about the science.  International efforts to deal with the climate change problem were launched in 1992 with the UNFCCC treaty.

Wait a minute, what climate change problem?  In 1992, we had just completed the first IPCC assessment report, here was their conclusion:  “The size of this warming is broadly consistent with predictions of climate models, but it is also of the same magnitude as natural climate variability.  . . The unequivocal detection of the enhanced greenhouse effect from observations is not likely for a decade or more.”

Nevertheless, the policy cart was put before the scientific horse, justified by the precautionary principle.  Once the UNFCCC treaty was a done deal, the IPCC and its scientific conclusions were set on a track to become a self fulfilling prophecy.  The entire framing of the IPCC was designed around identifying sufficient evidence so that the human-induced greenhouse warming could be declared unequivocal, and so providing the rationale for developing the political will to implement and enforce carbon stabilization targets.   National and international science programs were funded to support the IPCC objectives.  What should have been a political debate about energy policy, environmental quality, and reducing vulnerability to weather and climate disasters, became a debate about the nuances of climate science, with climate scientists as the pawns and whipping boys.

So were the scientists innocent victims and pawns in all this?  Were they just hardworking scientists doing their best to address the impossible expectations of the policy makers?  Well, many of them were.  However, at the heart of the IPCC is a cadre of scientists whose careers have been made by the IPCC.  These scientists have used the IPCC to jump the normal meritocracy process by which scientists achieve influence over the politics of science and policy.  Not only has this brought some relatively unknown, inexperienced  and possibly dubious people into positions of influence, but these people become vested in protecting the IPCC, which has become central to their own career and legitimizes playing power politics with their expertise.

The advantages of dogma

When I refer to the IPCC dogma, it is the religious importance that the IPCC holds for this cadre of scientists; they will tolerate no dissent, and seek to trample and discredit anyone who challenges the IPCC.  Who are these priests of the IPCC?  Some are mid to late career middle ranking scientists who have done ok in terms of the academic meritocracy. Others were still graduate students when they were appointed as lead authors for the IPCC. These scientists  have used to IPCC to gain a seat at the “big tables” where they can play power politics with the collective expertise of the IPCC, to obtain personal publicity, and to advance their careers.  This advancement of their careers is done with the complicity of the professional societies and the institutions that fund science.  Eager for the publicity,  high impact journals such as Nature, Science, and PNAS frequently publish sensational but dubious papers that support the climate alarm narrative.

Especially in the renascent subfields such as ecology and public health, these publications and the media attention help steer money in the direction of these scientists, which buys them loyalty from their institutions, who appreciate the publicity and the dollars.

Further, the institutions that support science use the publicity to argue for more funding to support climate research and its impacts.  And the broader scientific community inadvertently becomes complicit in all this.  While the IPCC priests loudly cry out against the heretical skeptical scientists and the dark influences of big oil and right wing ideology that are anti-science, we all join in bemoaning these dark forces that are fighting a war against science, and support the IPCC against its critics. The media also bought into this, by eliminating balance in favor of the IPCC dogma.

So do I think these priests of the IPCC are policy advocates? They are mainly concerned with preserving the importance of the IPCC, which has  become central to their professional success, funding, and influence.  Supporting the emissions and stabilization policies that they think logically follows from the science is part and parcel of this.  Most don’t understand the policy process or the policy specifics; they view the policy as part an parcel of the IPCC dogma that must be protected and preserved at all cost, else their success, funding and influence will be in jeopardy.

Reversing the direction of the feedback

So this positive feedback continued to reinforce itself, entraining more and more of the broader scientific community who deplored the political war on science.  Now the interesting thing about a positive feedback is that this doesn’t say anything about the trajectory of the actual chain of events.  A year ago, on November 19, this seemingly unstoppable juggernaut received a major impulse in the opposite direction with the unauthorized release of the emails from the University of East Anglia.  A year later, there has been some rather spectacular unraveling of the climate change juggernaut, although the high priests of the IPCC don’t quite realize it yet:  the positive feedback at work, but in the opposite direction.

I along with much of the rest of the world viewed the IPCC as a group of highly meritorious scientists, working hard and digging deep to assess the science, all the while fighting against the dark forces of politics and big oil.  The biggest shock from reading the emails was that the IPCC assessment process had a substantial element of schoolyard bullies,  trying to insulate their shoddy science from outside scrutiny and attacks by skeptics,  over concern with their press and media attention,  discrediting skeptics,  etc.  Now the argument is rightly made that behavior of scientists is not relevant to the truth of science.  However, when the assessment of the science rests largely on expert judgment,  the behavior and credibility of the experts becomes a very important issue.

At this point, the whole thing would have been salvageable if scientists and the institutions that support science would have spoken up for the integrity of climate science, demanding greater transparency, etc.  Instead, silence.  A few statements were made by individuals and professional societies saying that the science remained sound, the emails don’t change the science.

I started speaking up about integrity and transparency, and I was told that this wasn’t helping,  and was advised to stay off the blogs.  And why was this?  Central to protecting the IPCC dogma is the UNFCCC process, and we mustn’t allow this illegal hack to derail the policy activity in Copenhagen.  Well, its hard to tell to what extent Climategate contributed to the failure of Copenhagen; it seems that raw politics was much more in play than the politics of science.

Then we saw errors in the IPCC reports, with the nature of the response by the IPCC further damaging their credibility.  Investigations of scientists at East Anglia and Penn State were widely regarded to be whitewashes; in the U.K. the investigations themselves are now being investigated.  Then we saw the collapse of 7 years of work in the U.S. senate for a carbon cap and trade bill.  And allegations of conflicts of interest for the IPCC’s leader, Rachendra Pachauri.

The structure that has provide the basis for the IPCC priesthood to play power politics with their expertise in the arena of energy policy has all but collapsed.  If this was just about science, this shouldn’t matter to the scientists.  That the power is now in the hands of economists was bemoaned by Kevin Trenberth last week.

The blogosphere

The other hit to IPCC’s influence in power politics has come from the “radical implications of the blogosphere” in changing the dynamics of expertise.   The blogosphere has provided a technological base  for people such as Steve McIntyre, who is either the villain or hero of Climategate, depending on your perspective.

I’ve had my pulse on the blogosphere since 2005, and have experimented with it as a way of communicating climate science and engaging with skeptics.  When I first saw the emails on the internet, I knew immediately that this was going to go viral at least in the blogosphere, and I saw the IPCC as being in major jeopardy because of this.  To try to calm things down, I posted two essays in the blogosphere on issues related to the integrity of climate science.  I was hoping to keep a dialogue open with the skeptics so this whole thing didn’t explode.

Well, I was pretty much the only voice out there amongst the scientists that were supporters of the IPCC.  I became deafened by the silence of my colleagues, and more important from the institutions that support science.  Pachauri’s defense of the IPCC, and his apparent conflicts of interest, added fuel to the fire.  I began asking whether the IPCC could survive this, and even whether it should survive this.   I began trying to provide some constructive suggestions for the community to rebuild trust through greater transparency and greater attention to uncertainties.   Not only did I receive virtually no support from my colleagues, but they started to view me as part of the problem.

At some point, I decided that I could no longer in good faith support the IPCC and its assessments.    At the moment, it seems that many regard me as the main problem.   Many of my colleagues wonder why I am being so “mavericky.”  Here are some of the explanations that have been put forward over the last two weeks to explain my apparently inexplicable behavior:

  • I been duped by big oil and/or right wing think tanks
  • I have opened my mind so wide to skeptics that my brains have fallen out
  • I’m in the pay of big oil or right wing think tanks
  • I’m being blackmailed
  • I have become either physically or mentally disabled

So what am I doing and why?I’m trying to get the public perception of climate science back on track so that our field can regain some respect.  That respect will not be regained by better PR; rather it is essential to increase transparency, engage with skeptics, and pay more attention to uncertainty.  I’m trying to put the blogosphere to work to reduce the polarization on this topic.  My new blog is Climate Etc. at judithcurry.com.

On the role of scientists in public debates

So in closing, I would like to address the last question, regarding the role of scientists in public and policy debates.  Well, first we have to remind ourselves that we are scientists, and that integrity is of particular importance in public and policy debates. Feynman describes scientific integrity in his Cargo Cult Science talk:

“[A]lthough you may gain some temporary fame and excitement, you will not gain a good reputation as a scientist if you haven’t tried to be very careful in this kind of work. . . The first principle is that you must not fool yourself–and you are the easiest person to fool. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.  I’m talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you are maybe wrong, that you ought to have when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen.”

Much of what I have been saying over the past year is about uncertainty, and what I view is an inadequate job of characterizing uncertainty by the IPCC.  When I start using the words uncertainty and doubt, people immediately assume that I am a merchant of doubt in the pay of big oil, since doubt is used to diminish the political will to act.  Well, get over it, “everything is uncertain except death and taxes,” as the saying goes.

Robust decision making incorporates information about uncertainty into the decision making process.  And characterizing uncertainty for policy makers is what we should be doing as scientists.  Exploring the uncertainty, help understand the risks, and help assess the impacts and efficacy of various policy options.  The role of scientists should not be to develop political will to act by hiding or simplifying the uncertainties.


613 responses to “Reversing the direction of the positive feedback loop

  1. Do you have any proof that anything you say here has anything to do with a “feedback effect” or is this just your opinion? I’m talking about statements like…
    “The entire framing of the IPCC was designed around identifying sufficient evidence so that the human-induced greenhouse warming could be declared unequivocal, and so providing the rationale for political will to implement and enforce carbon stabilization targets. ”

    “…who have done ok in terms of the academic meritocracy. Others were still graduate students when they were appointed as lead authors for the IPCC. These scientists  have used to IPCC to gain a seat at the “big tables” where they can play power politics with the collective expertise of the IPCC, to obtain personal publicity, and to advance their careers.  This advancement of their careers is done with the complicity of the professional societies and the institutions that fund science.  Eager for the publicity,  high impact journals such as Nature, Science, and PNAS frequently publish sensational but dubious papers that support the climate alarm narrative.”

    “So do I think these priests of the IPCC are policy advocates? They are mainly concerned with preserving the importance of the IPCC, which has  become central to their professional success, funding, and influence.  Supporting the emissions and stabilization policies that they think logically follows from the science is part and parcel of this.  Most don’t understand the policy process or the policy specifics; they view the policy as part an parcel of the IPCC dogma that must be protected and preserved at all cost, else their success, funding and influence will be in jeopardy.”

    • This is may analysis of the situation.

      • I know, but these statements don’t fit into any “feedback” process that I can see. In fact, I don’t see how any of these opinions relate besides the fact that you’ve placed them all in the same blog post. Without any factual content, this is just a string of opinions that put the people whom you accuse, it a difficult position. And we all know who you are describing here. If they don’t respond, they’re willfully submitting to your opinion. If they respond, they fulfill the narrative that you have placed on them, as ” mainly concerned with preserving the importance of the IPCC, which has  become central to their professional success, funding, and influence”. The more staunchly they respond and become disagreeable, the better it fits.
        But you are entitled to you opinions, knowing full that put into this framework, who it would appeal to and who it wouldn’t.

      • I don’t think it Judith who ‘puts these people in a difficult position’.

        The position they find themselves in is one almost entirely of their own making. Having made their bed, they must lie in it. Having sown they must reap. Had they shown a lot less personal arrogance and a little more personal humility, I might almost have been moved to have some sympathy for them as they watch their carefully constructed world fall apart around them.

        But having had brushes on various blogs with their sheer unpleasantness to a newbie trying to understand the field, I wish them everything they are going to get. ‘Being in a difficult position’ should be the least of their far more serious concerns.

      • I’m not categorizing or enumerating what their serious concerns are. This comment seems awfully contentious. ‘Having sown they must reap’. Come on. You are not actually serious. are you?

      • Contentious?? Moi?? I can hardly spell the word, let alone understand what it means. So I plead ‘not proven’ to that charge.

        The deadly serious point is that so far the climate games have been played out largely according to the rules of academe. Many of the leading proponents are current academics or have very close past links in that very restricted world. All the ‘investigations’ into supposed or alleged malpractice have been conducted by similarly-minded people. With one or two exceptions, all the warmists blogs are run by academics, with sceptical ones being more likely to be from people with a wider life experience in other fields of endeavour as well as their academic qualifications. Perhaps that is why the warmist tribe inhibit rather than encourage debate from ‘outside’.

        This wouldn’t matter (much) if the topic at issue were an obscure academic spat about something with little practical or policy importance. Just like siblings fighting, the best thing to do as an adult is to let them get on with it until they calm down and forget all about it. Annoying, but not important.

        But this one isn’t. The academics themselves have been active colluders – if not directors – in bringing this matter to front and centre of the global policy debate. And, by their own choice of work – especially with the IPCC – to keep it there for some decades. They have individually reaped great rewards from this – at least in stature within their community, and a share in a Nobel Prize must be part of every aspiring scientists ambition.

        But as the world becomes increasingly sceptical of their claims, and as the supposed policy remedies are forecast to become ever more expensive and practically ever more difficult, the spotlight of outside scrutiny becomes ever brighter. And it starts to look in more and more corners and under more and more carpets. Searching always for the Inconvenient Truths that lurk.

        And the spotlight does not shine a kindly glare on the behavioural norms of academe. The cherished and supposedly inviolable concept of peer-review has been shown to be at worst little more than a mutual back-scratching exercise among buddies. The refusal to conduct and publish their work in a way that allows easy understanding of the methods and data by external parties would cry out to a financial auditor of sharp practice at best and far worse if they were to do their job thoroughly.

        Harry (God Bless Him) showed in Harry_Read_Me that a field that relies so heavily on computing and programming to derive their supposed ‘conclusions’ is populated by individuals with only a tenuous grasp of the minimum standards of ability expected in a professionally run establishment. No IT professional who has read this damning file has come away anything other than horrified by the lack of competence that they so clearly demonstrate. I am no statistician, but I believe the same can be said of their use of ‘idiosyncratic’ and unique statistical methods.

        The climatologists lack of self awareness in their public responsibilities (the vast majority take public money for their work) and arrogant contempt for those who dare to question even the slightest part of their dogma has made them few friends outside their own self-congratulatory circle of true believers.

        And these are not isolated incidents of an occasional lapse of judgment, They form a demonstrable pattern of behaviour by many individuals over many years.

        Here in the Big Wide World, these behaviours are totally unacceptable. There used to be a word for untrustworthy characters with dodgy ethics called ‘spiv’. And the more I see of the main participants, and the more I understand of their methods and activities, the more I am reminded of that excellent and underused word.

        I believe that the new US political setup may choose to look properly at the whole of this sorry tale. I hope they will choose to bring not just the dubious standards of academe, but to use those expected of anyone else in industry, in commerce, in medicine or in any responsible public position to bear on them .

        And the climatologists will be found seriously wanting. The backlash will be profound. The AGW industry will collapse. Many may lose their careers. ‘Climate Scientist’ will become a term of ridicule, not of even grudging respect.

        And they have largely been the architects of their own demise.
        Or as it was aptly put thousands of years ago:

        ‘For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind’

      • Anthony Hanwell

        A magnificent exposition of the concerns felt by people such as me. Open minded in the beginning but increasingly sceptical as the deficiencies of the scientific method as applied by climate scientists unfolded. There are many more revelations to come, not least the quality of the global temperature record after its many “homogenisations”.

      • people such as me, too

      • IPCC Feedback:

        The IPCC was perceived as needed because the precautionary principal says that if there is no proof something is safe, then something must be done about it (regulated).

        The IPCC was not set up to discover what is causing the warming, it was setup to determine how much man is influencing climate: “understanding the scientific basis of
        risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.” (not if there is human induced change, but the risk from it. This before any proof whatsoever had actually been found).

        That is problem #1. You need to look at what naturally happens as much as what man might cause. If you don’t know how much nature can change climate, you really dont know what man can do either. However the IPCC focus is only on what man might do (note that the PP means a regulation/action is needed when a much lower burden of proof is met. Action is not needed when it is found that man cannot cause serious climate change. If it is shown that man might have a remote chance of causing serious changes, then regulation is necessary. Most science is used in the opposite way, you must prove it is not natural variation for regulation to be necessary).

        Now as an official inter-governmental panel report, scientists had a list of things that “needs more study” and governments had a big official document with proof that money needed to be spent on the items that “needs more study”, Environmental groups have scientists and papers to show that their favored energy regulations would “solve” the problems the scientists have discovered.

        Environmental groups push the government for more funding for their favored subject. Certain scientists see this pool of grant money and go for it.

        After the first IPCC report, if you had published a paper that can be used by the environmental groups as proof that their energy policy is the correct one, then your paper and School will be put in press releases that the media then circulate to the public.

        This is problem #2. grant funding going mainly to one area and anything that actually does answer an IPCC question in the proper way (reinforcing man made climate change) gets you meritocracy in press releases and an upcoming IPCC report (I have read many studies that have ended up concluding an impact on global warming that the text of the study itself says it cannot prove even exists… the uncertainty monster. )

        Note, glacier-gate was part of this. The IPCC said certain glaciers would disappear. After the IPCC report was released, a government gave a grant to further research those glaciers.

        This kind of situation caused what many joked as the go-to grant application phrase “to study its effects from/on global warming” on proposals not remotely related to climate change.

        The more the press hears a scientist’s name in regards to a certain area of research, the more often that person will be called on when the media have questions about the science in that specific area of science.

        The environmentalists tell everyone that one of the IPCC’s recommended regulation (the one they like the most) should be put into effect and that 2500 scientists are not wrong, there is a “consensus” on man made climate change.

        The environmentalists linked the issue so that people, including some scientists began to think that the IPCC’s focus on man made climate change represented a consensus on the science which was also a consensus on the environmentalist’s recommended policy. To attack the policy (cap and trade) was also an attack on the science.

        Anyone else picking up on the feedback yet?
        1. Scientists find something odd.
        2. Environmentalists demand more research funding for scientists.
        3. Governments set up the IPCC to direct where science should look (which tells governments where to spend grant money).
        4. Scientists get those government grants and discover that the scientists that find man made changes (even very weak links) get lots of publicity ( and more grant money). Those that find other possible causes are ignored or belittled.
        5. IPCC reports on that science and environmentalists promote those findings and demand more research and certain regulations be passed.
        6. Governments give out more grants and start trying to pass those certain regulations.
        7. Feedback loop, go back to step 4

        If humans are found to be a very minor cause of the warming, then the precautionary principal says no regulations are neccessary. If a scientist has built a career out the grants, publicity, and meritocracy based on papers for the IPCC, it is not difficult to imagine that they fear anyone who damages the credibility of the IPCC and so they actively defended the IPCC. First the critisisms were from mainly non-scientists which were dismissed as non-peer reviewed. Then a few scientists started noticing and peer reviewed papers started appearing. Then you get the blocking and bad reviews of papers critical of those found in IPCC papers that are submitted for peer review.

        This of course is just my opinion as well, but it is fairly similar to Dr. Curry’s. If you want to suggest a reason for all of these groups to act the way they have in which no feedback (active or passive) between them occurs, then go right ahead.

      • You’ve shown no feedback response. You’ve done the same thing as Judith. You come up with a list of things that you think are either correlated or caused by one another, and then offered no proof as to how or why this could happen, or how they coherently connect without having to read minds and make up conspiracies. Just because this is a remote possibility, it does not mean that it happens, or that anyone who attempts to draw inferences from it can claim any type of original thought. In your last paragraph, you ask that I suggest a reason why this isn’t a feedback situation. You are fundamentally missing the point of what I am asking for. I am asking for proof of these accusations, evidence that these things are happening the way you and Judith describe. I cannot prove your negative, you must prove your positive. There are a million different scenarios that could have played that ended up in the reality that we find ourselves in. You just believe in one that has no proof and is highly improbable, only believed by an incredibly small number of people who actually are involved in science.

        Maybe the science is robust. Maybe environmentalists care about the environment. Maybe governments would like to know about the reality of climate change. These things aren’t very shocking.

        Please hear me out, and this goes for Judith — if you truly believe that worldwide problems deserve attention, funding, and our best scientific minds’ attention, then I think you will find your feedback response, minus the impossible, baseless conspiracies.

      • …Maybe the science is robust. Maybe environmentalists care about the environment. Maybe governments would like to know about the reality of climate change. These things aren’t very shocking. …

        Misanthropy is a factor here.

        Humanity is evil, greedy and wreaks ‘nature’ in it’s own selfish, blind, misguided activities. The negative bias of misanthropy is persistent and unfair. Sure we make mistakes but we are also part of nature too.

        On the other hand ‘subjectivity’ is a huge problem. “Awareness” is forward looking and convergent. We become trapped in local individual and collective tunnel visions.

      • gryposaurus

        Yes.

        Dr. Curry and bloggers Stilgar plus Steve Jones have all shown a “positive feedback loop”.

        If you are unable (or unwilling) to see it. that is your problem.

        Max

      • I’m trying to sort out some of the hostile reactions to this blog post. As an outside observer who is quite sympathetic to Judith, I find her description interesting and plausible. But I agree that she offers no firm evidence. And it’s almost by definition a more or less one-sided view of a situation that is rife with conflict. But that’s OK by me. It’s her opinion, not some officially sanctioned absolute truth.

        Taken as such, her account is not particularly inflammatory. She does not imply evil intent or character flaws beyond normal human failings. Above all, she is critiquing a social process, belief systems and institutional weaknesses. (Note: I wrote this before she commented on it herself.)

        The attempts to discredit this blog post by exaggerating its perceived nastiness will not work for anyone who is not a member of the tribe. It looks like drama queen behavior. It leaves the impression of a hyper-sensitivity to criticism that’s typical of people who are used to being shielded from unpleasantness.

        As a strategy, it is fatally counterproductive because the average person will not be impressed. A good recent illustration is here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/11/02/the-full-tamino/. This kind of thing is a sure win for Anthony Watts whether he is right or wrong, simply because he is respectful of those who disagree with him. His opponents shoot themselves in the foot by condemning him and have no clue why it hurts so much.

      • Please hear me out, and this goes for Judith — if you truly believe that worldwide problems deserve attention, funding, and our best scientific minds’ attention, then I think you will find your feedback response, minus the impossible, baseless conspiracies.

        Do tell. Who decided what problem deserved attention? How do you know they are correct? Who provides the funding (and how much funding, since you will have to cut funding from other sources) and how did you get them to part with the money? How do you determine who gets that funding? How much evidence or lack of would it take to defund that science?

        You seem to think that a computer is consulted and if the certain conditions are met, then funding is given and whatever the results are then that is what is followed. Please provide proof funding and decisions based on the science are not influenced by politics.

      • Maybe governments would like to know about the reality of climate change. These things aren’t very shocking.

        Maybe the humans that make up governments like things that allow them to expand their enterprise. Not very shocking, either, nor much of a stretch of the imagination.

      • David L. Hagen

        gryposorous
        David Evans exemplified and exposed these feedbacks in 2007. See: I Was On the Global Warming Gravy Train Mises Daily: Monday, May 28, 2007

        I devoted six years to carbon accounting, building models for the Australian government to estimate carbon emissions from land use change and forestry. . . . This evidence was not conclusive, but why wait until we are absolutely certain when we apparently need to act now? . . . The political realm in turn fed money back into the scientific community. By the late 1990s, lots of jobs depended on the idea that carbon emissions caused global warming. Many of them were bureaucratic, but there were a lot of science jobs created too.
        I was on that gravy train, making a high wage in a science job that would not have existed if we didn’t believe carbon emissions caused global warming. And so were lots of people around me; . . .
        What has happened is that most research efforts since 1990 have assumed that carbon emissions were the cause, and the alternatives get much less research or political attention. Unfortunately politics and science have become even more entangled. Climate change has become a partisan political issue, so positions become more entrenched. Politicians and the public prefer simple and less-nuanced messages. At the moment the political climate strongly blames carbon emissions, to the point of silencing critics.

        The integrity of the scientific community will win out in the end, following the evidence wherever it leads. But in the meantime, the effect of the political climate is that most people are overestimating the evidence that carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming.. . .

      • There is nothing new exposed here. This is just more vagueness with a side of cosmic rays. Sorry. We must do better if we really want to improve the IPCC process. Pulling out theories that aren’t supported by the evidence is not what a scientific report should care much about, for good reason.

      • Feedback loop:
        CO2 warms Earth hypothesis is put forward => IPCC is formed => funds research into CO2 warms Earth hypothesis => some questionable statistics later, some fuzzy “proof” is found to support CO2 warms Earth hypothesis => IPCC’s funding is renewed => funds research into CO2 warms Earth hypothesis => ad nauseum…

      • Okay, there is a misunderstanding of what I am trying to say here. You are doing the same thing as the Judith et al. These are sequential events, and a few which have no basis in reality (fuzzy proof? such as?). This does not mean that any of it is connected. It just means that these event may, or may not have happened, and you’ve placed them in a linear fashion with arrows to show a connection. Where those arrows are placed, that is where the proof of connection should be. I can think of any number of scenarios that take place where the events happen, but have no connection that leads to conclusions that there is a “feedback loop” happening. It is basic argumentation and logic. For instance: My alarm went off => I woke => ate breakfast => etc => went to sleep => ad nauseum…

        Did I eat because I woke up or because I was hungry or because I knew I had to or because there was a monster outside my house and I wanted to be strong for our Final Battle?

        I could provide proof of how those events fit together, but why bother if people willingly swallow whatever inferences I make based on zero proof. How does this fit into the IPCC scenario displayed here? There are a million scenarios that could have played out, all much more probable than the one being pushed here. The most obvious one is that the science is well funded and given much attention because it is robust and deserves it. In other words, there is no need to include environmentalists, governments, universities, scientists, etc. in these improbable, interconnected web of deceit that is trying to hide uncertainties from the public or policy makers. If you disagree, please provide evidence and logic to support your conclusions.

      • The most obvious one is that the science is well funded and given much attention because it is robust and deserves it. In other words, there is no need to include environmentalists, governments, universities, scientists, etc. in these improbable, interconnected web of deceit that is trying to hide uncertainties from the public or policy makers. If you disagree, please provide evidence and logic to support your conclusions.

        And you just offered your opinion without facts or evidence. Please prove the science is robust and what criteria was used to determine the funding and attention is deserved.

        Let me add a hypothetical. If by chance someone pointed out that some of the science was not robust, based on your theory what would/should happen? If reality does not match what your theory says it should, is your theory wrong?

        Improbable interconnected web of deceit? I think you are confused. No one has said anything about a consipiracy. It is simple human nature and politics that can make several independent groups push toward a similar goal without any of the individual groups realizing it. It happens every single day.

      • Improbable interconnected web of deceit? I think you are confused. No one has said anything about a consipiracy. It is simple human nature and politics that can make several independent groups push toward a similar goal without any of the individual groups realizing it. It happens every single day.

        First of all, we are not talking about everyday experiences, we are talking about the foremost report in the world on one of the most important issues for now and the future. The scenario painted here isn’t something that just “happens”. And this is something I would consider a web of deceit. Sorry if that isn’t congruent with yours.

        So were the scientists innocent victims and pawns in all this?  Were they just hardworking scientists doing their best to address the impossible expectations of the policy makers?  Well, many of them were.  However, at the heart of the IPCC is a cadre of scientists whose careers have been made by the IPCC.  These scientists have used the IPCC to jump the normal meritocracy process by which scientists achieve influence over the politics of science and policy.  Not only has this brought some relatively unknown, inexperienced  and possibly dubious people into positions of influence, but these people become vested in protecting the IPCC, which has become central to their own career and legitimizes playing power politics with their expertise….

        …Further, the institutions that support science use the publicity to argue for more funding to support climate research and its impacts.  And the broader scientific community inadvertently becomes complicit in all this.  While the IPCC priests loudly cry out against the heretical skeptical scientists and the dark influences of big oil and right wing ideology that are anti-science, we all join in bemoaning these dark forces that are fighting a war against science, and support the IPCC against its critics. The media also bought into this, by eliminating balance in favor of the IPCC dogma.

        And you just offered your opinion without facts or evidence. Please prove the science is robust and what criteria was used to determine the funding and attention is deserved.

        When I say a science, any science, is robust, it points to the conglomeration of evidence over long period of time. So where would you like to start? In history? If not, where?

      • I remember the days when ecologists were fond of the ‘Holistic’ perspective. They recognized that some situations aren’t easily framed by evidence based, formal descriptions. You could almost say that ecologists were ‘anti-science’ scientists.

        With climate change, ecologists found an ally in physical science. It isn’t easy to be ‘anti-science’ in such circumstances.

        The holistic viewpoint was sold out for the sake of expedient credibility.

      • Latimer Alder

        Maybe I watch too many cop shows, but when there are 15-20 minutes left, the hero often gets to put the limited evidence then available to the bad guy.

        If the bad guy’s lawyer then interrupts to say ‘but there is no definite proof that my client is guilty…we’re outta here’, you have a really good idea that said villain will be nailed good and proper just before the closing credits.

        Gryposaurus is currently playing the part of the lawyer.

      • So gryposaurus is the bad guy’s lawyer.

        So there’s a guy. And he’s bad.

        So it’s a cops show.

        Where’s the montage with the enthralling music?

      • Is this ‘Law and Order’ style or like ‘CHiPs’?

      • I was thinking CSI, but let’s not forget Team America:

      • Yes, I am asking for proof so we can forward. The rest of what you said isn’t really intelligible.

      • Are you for real?
        I suggest you read the UNFCCC and IPCC designations of cliamte change and then get back with us.
        The sanctimonious ignorance of AGW true believers is particularly resistant to fact and critical thinking.

      • Point exactly to what you would like me to read. Fact and critical thinking is exactly what I’m asking for. Repeating these memes about “true believers” doesn’t help forward that, at all. It only shows that “you” are resistant to dealing with the “other side’s” argument. How am I supposed to discuss anything with someone who thinks I am “particularly resistant to fact and critical thinking”. You aren’t participating in an argument by using chatter.

      • It’s all a bit like a giant magic show. The academic art of misdirection: Folks, ignore all those crazy climate variables like water vapor, clouds, solar and oceanic variability, that have been the drivers of climate since the beginning of time (“still poorly understood” IPCC AR4). Look over here at this little CO2 molecule. We can demonstrate that doubling atmospheric CO2 will likely cause a rise of 1deg K but we really think it will rise 4deg K, but we certainly have no scientific observational evidence to support that. Now please everyone completely change the way you are living even though we cannot mitigate these CO2 levels.

        The uncertainty is so wide you could drive a solar system through it.

      • Ha, good one, ivpo. LOL

      • My, my, you have quite a talent there. It’s amazing how many words you can string together and yet say nothing of any consequence. Judith has expressed her opinion on the situation. It is what it is, accept it or not. Demanding that she prove it is “true” is childish.

      • Here is the relevant sentence:

        > There has been a particularly toxic positive feedback loop between climate science and policy and politics, whose direction has arguably been reversed as result of Climategate.

        Is this only an opinion?

      • gyposaurus, your side made some specific claims about impending doom due to CO2 and you failed.
        You don’t get to come in all sanctimonious, offer nothing and assign reading lists to those of us who point the fail sign.
        If you wish to ignore stuff, don’t bother me about it.
        regards,

      • What do you mean “my side”? Mainstream science? And ‘doom’is in the eye of the beholder. Some people think that a link between pollution and externalities requires a Pigvogian Tax, but that’s besides the point.

        I didn’t assign a reading list, you did, but you weren’t specific about what you wanted me to read, so I asked you to clarify. So I really have no idea what you are trying to say here, or why you seem upset with me.

      • Please read the IPCC charter. There is nothing scientific about it. It is blatantly a charter for an advocacy group.

  2. Wow! What a brave and inspired post. Astonishing.

    Thanks too for that quote from Feynman, which, as far as I am concerned, provides the proper understanding for just how far off-course the mentality behind the Climategate emails and the efforts to rationalize them has been.

    I hope that you don’t pay too high a price for expressing these convictions.

  3. When I refer to the IPCC dogma, it is the religious importance that the IPCC holds for this cadre of scientists; they will tolerate no dissent, and seek to trample and discredit anyone who challenges the IPCC. Who are these priests of the IPCC?

    Who indeed?

    Broad-brush character assassination against a host of unnamed (but readily identifiable) scientists: is this really the way you plan “to get the public perception of climate science back on track?”

    There have been substantive critiques of what you’ve written here and elsewhere: do you lump them in with the handwriting-analysts? Or is “bending over backwards to show how you are maybe wrong” something that is only for “priests,” not for “mavericks?”

    • Phillip Bratby

      PDA:

      I think we all know who these self-proclaimed high priests are. Many of them made themselves known in the Climategate emails. See http://assassinationscience.com/climategate/

    • Well i could start a flame war and name names, but there is little point to that.

      • The point would be that without naming names, you are implicating every scientist on all the Working Groups.

      • Phillip Bratby

        That is nonsense. Only a few are priests, the leaders. The rest are followers of the leaders. I repeat, see http://assassinationscience.com/climategate/

      • I repeat, if that’s who Dr. Curry means, she can say so. Don’t put words in her mouth.

      • Phillip Bratby

        I’m not putting any words in anybody’s mouth. If the cap fits, wear it. We all know, they have outed themselves.

      • I will let Dr. Curry be the final arbiter of what Dr. Curry means.

      • PDA,
        Is it such a stretch for you to admit that the authors of the emails in climategate, have damaged the reputation of science?

      • Little point to that? Really? You’ve made some damning accusations, not just of several scientists, but of the entire manner in which modern western civilization pursues scientific knowledge. Without pursuing these individuals within our sacrosanct institutions, then what is the point to your existence as a scientist?

        Truly, what is your next step? I respect your coming forward, but you can’t build the bridge half-way. Is there a hierarchy to which you will appeal? These are not rhetorical questions.

      • ‘You’ve made some damning accusations, not just of several scientists, but of the entire manner in which modern western civilization pursues scientific knowledge.’

        Tosh! Daming accusations about the behaviour of climate scientists en masse perhaps. But nowhere does she discuss the ‘entire manner in which modern western civilisation pursues scientific knowledge’.

        One of the reasons that sceptics are so very unhappy with climatology is that many of them (like me) have pursued scientific knowledge professionally in other fields. And so know how science should be pursued. They see that climatology seems to have used its own, unique and different rules – where dramatic conclusions are drawn from very limited evidence, where computer models are given greater weight than experimental results and where dissent is actively discouraged, not sought and cherished. And they are not persuaded that climatology is a sufficiently different field of study from any other that special rules of science should apply.

        In other words they think that climatology is bad science, and the shoddy behaviour of climatologists brings all off science into undeserved popular disrepute.

      • By that man a pint.
        well said.

      • Buy that man a pint.

        Well said.

      • Next time you’re in SW London :-)

      • sigh. oh for an edit function.

      • Yes, these accusations are damning for science in general. If climate science is faulty then the various professional societies need to speak up. In the US, the American Physical Society, the NAS, and the scientific academies of 21 or so industrialized nations have spoken in support of the AGW thesis. Who are these people if not scientists, many of whom engage in climate science?

        If climate science is all bullsh*t , then the scientists need to revise the official statements of their various professional societies. I’m not a scientist, but I am a member of several professional organizations. We have by-laws, pay dues, and protect our reputation as a profession. By acquiescing to bad science, these scientists are damning themselves to a future with decreased prestige, funding and deference.

      • Paul in Sweden

        Dear Dr. Curry, generalizations, especially in the manner that you put them forth do make a case, but to what effect? Your gentle nudges to your peers settle nothing, nor do they seem to light a fire under anyone else in your community to join you. Naming Names and presenting your arguments supporting your statements would go a long way. Roger Pielke Sr. confronts specific issues regarding specific scientists regularly at his blog, so does Roger Pielke Jr.(BTW I received “The Climate Fix” in the mail yesterday and look forward to when I can order a book by Dr. Judith Curry that I have a chance of understanding – your current publications are beyond a layman’s grasp & quite pricey).

        Tiny issues, specifics, names with supporting data and references on your blog will bring home your points. Generalizations go only so far.

        PS: Dr. Curry there must be other scientists out there with your courage and integrity, I hope they find their voice and join you.

    • Seems to me that the public perception of climate scientists is doing very nicely. Faith in their abilities and conclusions is going down with every opinion poll taken.

      One of the chief UK climate spin doctors (Bob Ward) has just publised this astonishing statement:

      ‘The guiding principle for future communications by climate researchers should be to serve the public interest, to provide citizens and their representatives with the information they need and an understanding of the options available so that they can make informed choices and decisions’

      That he feels the need to do so shows that these simple ideas have not been their guiding principles for the last twenty years. Which says it all for me.

      It is the pattern of repeated dodgy behaviour by many individuals over many years that causes their trust and credibility to be eroded. Not necessarily one individual action by a single person. ‘Groupthink’ par excellence.

  4. “Well, its hard to tell to what extent Climategate contributed to the failure of Copenhagen; it seems that raw politics was much more in play than the politics of science.”

    Everything I’ve seen so far backs that. Der Spiegel even got recordings of the key backroom negotiations – no mention of Climategate (or Monckton’s One World Government), just leaders bickering over policy details and sabotaging each others’ efforts.
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,692861,00.html

    I think even if the emails hadn’t come out we would still be facing policy collapse and taking time to reflect.

  5. You could try asking, how may scientists actually READ any of the climategate emails for themselves (and Harry_read_me.txt) As I know at least three IPCC senior/high profile people, that have not, Sir JohnHoughton, Bob Watson and a friend.

    They seem to believe just a few emails bad moputhing people, nothing to be concerned about.. It is a bit like ‘The Hockey Stick Illusion’ hard to have a debate if no one reads it.. and relie on reviews or summaries, from partisan people (either side)

    Bob Watson, for example. At a debate caled Climategate (the Guardian one) when asked said, he had not (just a few)..

    Someone shouted out, ‘Do you often forget to do your homework’.. !

    Beyond bizarre… They should at least have had a look at Mosher/Fuller’s book, as a bit of a primer. (Climategate – The Crutape letters), in conjunction with Fred Pearce (warmist Guardian journalist) The Climate Files. Plus, of course completed Judith’s challenge to read ‘The Hockey Stick Illusion’ A J Montford

      • Michael Tobis to Richard Tol: “If you tarnish my reputation in this way in today’s fraught political climate, it’s not impossible that it will come back to do me considerable damage.”

        Michael Tobis to Judith Curry: “We have reached a point where it is impossible to judge that Curry is in touch with the science that she is supposed to be a prominent participant in. So has she lost touch, or has she never had much scientific insight to begin with?”

        Michael Tobis to Judith Curry: “I mean, could this be the stuff of some subtle neurological decay, where a formerly competent scientist starts making no more sense than the peanut gallery?”

        Michael Tobis: “Or alternatively, is the peer review system so shabby that a person of modest intellectual accomplishments, one who, despite years of connection to the scientific community, numerous publications and promotion to a position of responsibility, is capable of such vapid, illogical, pointlessly contentious writing.”

        Michael Tobis to Richard Tol:”
        I can’t believe that you are dragging my name through the mud in the name of this ridiculous hair-splitting argument. If that’s all you have, I strongly request you come out and say so.”

      • As far as I have seen, Tol has nothing to support his attacks on me as authoritarian. It appears that he was upset by a mention I made of “education”, and somehow leapt from that to “re-education camps” and is unwilling to back down.

      • Here is the thread for better context:

        http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2010/08/and-in-end_01.html

        We can pursue that discussion if need be.

    • Barry.

      There is nothing substantive in the harry read.me. Nothing.

      When you focus on the things that do not matter you give the defenders an easy target.

      • We disagree on that one…

        It show an indiscipline and cavalier attitude at best, to data handling.
        Given the other known issues with the data handling, rusia, nz australian raw data. It should give pause for thought..

      • Mosh

        I disagree. HRM shows that at least one major participant in gathering and processing the raw data on which much of climatology rests was working in an IT ‘establishment’ that did not even aspire to any professional standards, let alone adhere to them.

        No individual sentence or action is of itself damning , but taken together it shows that they had a lot of data stored- with little or no idea of the metadata (meaning) to go with that data. There was no attempt to work in a consistent or reproducible way..each new ‘problem’ was treated in isolation from its predecessors. Harry did not even have a clear understanding of the ‘tools’ (programs) at his disposal. There was no concept of a ‘data architecture’…i;.e a consistent way to store and analyse data. The list of techical inadequacies goes on and on and on.

        I was reminded very forcefully of the way I worked in the late 1970s on my masters in an environment similar to Harry’s. I had many of the same problems, and like, him, my understanding of DP was inadequate to solve them…so I worled as he did..ad hoc, seat of the pants stuff.

        But I wasn’t responsible for maintaining one of the worldwide datasets on which all of climatology is based. If I cocked up, the only person who would be hurt was me. CRU were paid well to perform a professional IT function and HRM shows how spectacularly they failed.

      • Paul in Sweden

        Steve, if you were included in any of the several investigative committees would you read the “Harry_Read_Me” file and the rest of the climategate FOIA release and say case closed no need to investigate further?

        It seems to me that the climategate FOIA whistleblower event demanded a deeper investigation. Climategate should have launched a massive discovery process and full disclosure of misconduct reflected in the climategate FOIA release.

        Move along nothing to see here doesn’t play with me.

      • The problem with the harry readme file is that it’s like half a telephone conversation. If you listen to Harry, you get the impression that things are absolutely dreadful, that the integrity of the data might be wholly lacking and that some of it could be completely bogus. But without the other half of the conversation, ascertaining whether the issues with the data as noted in the file were resolved, whether they were bodged or botched, stuck together with duct tape or whatever, is an insurmountable challenge.

        So while there are certainly reasonable grounds for being suspicious of the data, given the half of the conversation that we DO have, none of these concerns are directly supported by anything more than mere circumstantial evidence.

        Fortunate for some, but unfortunate for the rest of the world.

  6. Michael I could produce actual quote extracts from it myself…
    s…ll night long, if you want, but I don’t want to hog the blog…

    They were unable to reproduce their OWN work..
    You can go down that route if you want..

    Any IT professional that has looked at it has said their attitude to data handling is appalling… amongst other things.

    I could always reproduce Tom Wrigley’s reponse at an attempt to get a pre-kyoto consensus (ie advocay not science) if you like..

    Tom Wrigley’s reply to Mike hulme and the thirteen, plus the signaturies was pretty damming….

    His words, not some blogger’s little game.

  7. I think the old adage “follow the money” pretty much explains the whole larcenous climate change debacle. Scientists are no better or no worse than everybody else in the sense they want to protect their income. Most people have a tendency to “look the other way” when their comfortable living is threatened by uncomfortable events. A few, however, will stand up and point out when things are not right. Alas, those brave few generally pay a price.

  8. Jonathan Gilligan

    Your ability to read minds and determine malevolent motives in so many people and with sufficient confidence to publish your innuendo to the world is breathtaking.

    When Myanna Lahsen wrote, “On the Detection and Attribution of Conspiracies,” her title was ironic, but you seem to be deadly serious. May we please see a full Italian Flag analysis of your certainty about these allegations? ;-)

  9. In regards to gryposaurus’s points/questions- it seems obvious that these points are your opinions, but they are the opinions of an expert source that was involved to the process.

    Regarding scientists having opinions about political policy- there is certainly nothing wrong with that. They exception is if/when a scientist will potentially benefit financially from the advocacy of a particular position being taken or accepted. That is a clear conflict of interest and negates their “scientific position/analysis”

    The roles of the media or blogosphere is one that is rapidly changing as the general populace is gaining access to more data on a variety of issues. This is simply unavoidable and in my opinion a very good thing. Policy positions will need to be summarized succinctly, and supported with summary explanations of the of the rational in order for them to gain wide acceptance.

    A better role for scientists– more accurate explanations of the potential future states given the current conditions with reasonable analysis of the potential actions to mitigate.

    As an example, it would seem reasonable to state that “humans are releasing CO2 into the atmosphere and it appears that this is increasing total atmospheric CO2. There are also other factors and secondary effects that make this a complex relationship. It does appear that increasing CO2 is leading to a warmer planet. We are not yet able to accurately predict the rate that the planet will warm as a result of additional human caused CO2 because the modelling is complex and all the variables are not yet understood. There are negative consequences of a warmer planet, and there are positive effects as well. We do not currently have models that will accurately predict the precise results of a warmer planet to specific areas on the planet. We also do not yet understand at what levels of CO2 emissions we would have to maintain in order to not impact climate”

  10. Judith,

    I appreciate what you have done and are doing, but in the story above there is no electorate, no ‘people’. Enviro advocacy groups, governments, scientists, the media and lobby groups weren’t just operating on some kind of stage in an empty auditorium. There was an audience, and getting the audience to agree was the point of the play.

    In my view the IPCC endeavour and all those gab-fests in Rio and elsewhere had an impact on the electorate because, to a degree, parts of it were already prepared for the message. Since about 1950 the western developed world has become steadily wealthier. On the ordinary GDP measure my own country is more than three times wealthier than it was then. But it is not three times ‘happier’. The growth of wealth has been accompanied by, and to a degree caused by, the education of everyone, the entry of women into the workforce, the great expansion of the research industry, the improvement in communications of all kinds, and so on.

    At the same time, there has been in many countries, though not the US, a decline in the reach and power of organised Christianity, in part caused by the same phenomena. Here I quicken the pace: materialism is excellent at some levels, but it doesn’t answer existential questions, and it doesn’t finally satisfy. Into the vacuum has come a kind of restlessness about ‘what it’s all for’, and a worry that we, the humans, might be responsible for the adverse consequences of materialism that we see around us. The online Macquarie Dictionary now lists the recent coinage ‘affluenza’, a word meaning ‘the dissatisfaction that accompanies consumerism as a path to happiness’.

    The green movement, which is quite old now, has supplied both an answer to the ‘what is it all for?’ question and a program that, if followed, would make the anxious feel good about themselves and what is happening. Although the greens have not captured the majority, they have been successful enough to make the big players take notice, and adapt what they do and say so that they do not appear to reject what the greens say. In doing so they have become to a degree captive of the green position. As I said in another post, politicians, having accepted some of the green perspective, now have the task of managing expectations, and this is quite difficult at any time. Their characteristic procedure is to talk a lot but act only symbolically. This way they do not anger that part of the electorate that accepts the green position (CO2 is bad), and keep in power, waiting for some indication of what to do next.

    I think that if you plugged all that into your account above it would add greater texture and greater meaning.

    • Michael Larkin

      Don,

      You articulate very well a number of my own thoughts on this issue. In addition, my fascination with the whole AGW thing has quite a lot to do with the search for meaning and truth; it acts as a iconic attractor for such exploration.

      • Yes, from a sociological perspective I wonder what the leading lights of the Enlightenment would have been saying about AGW theory. How piercing and deep would they have cast their critical eyes over these peer reviewed papers and UN reports? Would they have so easily allowed entire organizations to metastasize around such an uncertain theory? Sadly, in today’s world we have a society that allows the most egregious obscurantism to thrive in all spheres of life. So that I can bundle together into the same sentence, say – Lindsay Lohan and say – Dr Phil Jones; and people will pretty much know what I am getting at. That is, careers that have both been undone by their own hubris and detachment from the normal mores of Socrates “the good life”.

  11. Positive Feedback: as the IPCC has become more alarmist, only more alarmist individuals have been invited to be authors. These authors further up the rhetoric in the IPCC reports and affect the screening of future authors. There is no sense in which the authors are a random sample of their peer community, especially in recent years.
    By the way, I’m still waiting for my oil money check.

  12. Willem de Lange

    You have eloquently outlined my personal interpretation of the development of the IPCC viewpoint. Thank you.

    However, as a “blacklisted” non-climate scientist, what would I know?

  13. I think a meta-narrative such as you have constructed here is sorely needed and much-welcomed. Thank you for this.

    I also think it’s important to note that, as far as I can tell, almost all of what you write has been voiced before by climate scientists, many who have served as part of the IPCC process. Given the reaction that is to be expected to this, I hope that people will remember that none of this is seeing the light of day for the first time.

    As I used to hear in the Navy (usually at 3 in the morning), “Stand by for heavy rolls…”

  14. The problem is not that scientists have opinions about policy, it is that they may come to believe that their scientific results trump all other considerations and are infallible. They do not and are not.

  15. Enjoy West Lafayette, the kids are great. As I write on this blog it occurred to me that this form of communication, at least scientifically, was unheard of a decade ago. The entire academic peer-review process dictated some degree of adherence to a number of rules, one of which: don’t badmouth the boss or bosses. As has been journalism’s wont, the Bob Woodward syndrome and the sensational front page, preferably above the center fold, became most appealing and the Muckrakers mentality necessarily waned, and was editorialized out of existance. Now cometh the web, and subsequent blogs, leaking out of the social networking morass. What has happened in less than one year, bookmark November 19, 2009, the blog mode of information sharing and “the extended peer communities and citizen science groups” are a major force that by-enlarge serves as a counter-weight to piece-meal information sharing as had been the case with major academic centers. The collective wisdom of a very very large interested citizenry is at work in climate science, and, will influence public policy. What will come in the future in other areas of science is the blogasphere, and here too, the collective wisdom of interested citizens and scientists will shape, and I speculate, increase the speed of science sharing. There are all sorts of pitfalls in this new process, but ideas, some nacent and needing encouragement will come out and change the course of our small part of history. Journalism will need to change. I believe, journalists will need to become highly educated in the process of critical thinking and skepticism. Scientists will as of necessity become as precise in their speaking as in a test-tube lab; modelers excepted.

  16. Another complication is that the IPCC gets linked into End of the World scenarios (the prior and related one being overpopulation). EoW is a powerful “story” with links to the religion that many feel is missing in the agnostic lives. It provides a justification for extreme political views. The IPCC reports are a wonderful justification for EoW, to make if a “fact” rather than mere feeling. And yet, the actual forecasts in the IPCC (even if you believe them) are far from apocalyptic–8.5 inches sea level rise, some increased droughts and hurricanes (unless you take the most extreme scenario). That is, there is a logic gap between the forecast that IPCC makes and that assumed by Gore and Hansen, among others. They follow the EoW story even though the forecasts don’t support that story. When scientists on this blog and elsewhere defend the IPCC or “the science” they are defending the defensible (usually), but the defensible is not the basis for the political advocacy that is going on.

    • Spot on Craig. This is the modus operandi of the alarmists. You ask them to provide evidence for their outrageous claims and they dish up textbook radiative physics as if it proved their case, and then ridicule the public for questioning them.

      But the informed blogosphere has seen through this ploy, so they have moved to the next stage:

      If you can’t blind ‘em with science, baffle ‘em with bulldust.

      They are running out of road in the dustcloud of contradictions they have raised around their ad hoc hypotheses.

  17. I’m not sure if my t’pence is a useful comment but here goes.

    Within the “lay” climate denier camp I’ve noticed that whenever I’ve been squabbling/arguing/flaming someone, it becomes apparent that since I question the motivations of climate scientists, the accuracy of the data or the stark predictions of calamity, I must therefore disbelieve that the Earth has warmed.

    As a result the arguments become polarised and that anyone who raises legitimate concerns about the politicising of the science by default must be claiming that the Earth is not/has not warmed.

    I think it’s probably fair to say that most of my “denier” buddies don’t have a problem with the fact that the Earth has warmed. We just question the certainty of how much warming has occurred, whether CO2 is the “thermostat” which overides natural variation in temperature and don’t see enough evidence that the Earth is somehow “out of whack” and on the verge of some “tipping point” if such a thing exists at all.

  18. Dr. Curry stand firm.
    I use to think the AGW people were onto something, by plotting their data I found that rather then support, the data actually contradict the AGW case. The truth is we do not know what drives long term climate changes.
    “All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.” Galileo.

  19. Your summary was pretty good. Why can’t climate do the same

  20. Whenever you do not understand someone’s motives for his/her behavior, think money. If you are still unable to understand why, think money. If it still remains a mystery, think money and either power or prestige.

    Just ask the politicians: money talks. So do other forms of payola, such as promotions, appointments, titles … grants and contracts.

    The basic problem with the field of climatology is that it has been corrupted by politics. One cannot be an ethical scientist and play the game of politics at the same time. Ever hear of an ethical politician? The answer is: “No, such an animal does not exist” … simply because the strategy behind successful politics involves a constant application of negotiation, compromise and manipulation. One doesn’t negotiate one’s theories, does he/she? One cannot compromise one’s scientific integrity … can he/she? One also cannot manipulate one’s data or models …. can he/she?

    Is not the IPCC a political entity? Hmmmm ….

  21. When I refer to the IPCC dogma, it is the religious importance that the IPCC holds for this cadre of scientists; they will tolerate no dissent, and seek to trample and discredit anyone who challenges the IPCC. Who are these priests of the IPCC?

    I’m extremely disappointed to see you writing in this fashion Dr Curry.

    You’ve clearly abandoned your position of wanting to communicate science so you can attack specific individuals you clearly have some sort of problem with. I simply find it impossible to believe you think this sort of thing represents a reasonable viewpoint.

    • Andrew Russell

      What Dr. Curry has done is to remember that a scientist is someone who follows the Scientific Method. “Climate scientists” whose demonstrated POLICY is to refuse to allow independent verification of their work, whose data and workings are secret, and who conspire to hide or destroy data that is the subject of FOIA requests, are not scientists. Similarly are so called “scientific” publications (like “Science” and “Nature”), whose policies clearly require contributors to make their data and methods publicly available, but whose editors REFUSE to enforce those requirements on “climate scientists”

      If you want names, read the Wegman Report .

      • The foundational problem isn’t the bullying or the funding or anything else like that. It’s that the community as a whole tolerated ‘science’ that didn’t have null hypothesis or a hypothesis that was falsifiable or release data or methodologies or metadata. I.e., scientist that forgot all about (or rejected as unimportant) the scientific method – post modern science that harkens back to Mideval Church methodologies with its appeal to authority. All else follows from that.

    • Yes, let’s be reasonable. An appeal to authority and the exercise of authority has no role in the scientific method. This is not an arbitrary rule. These viewpoints are what Dr. Curry are communicating. If some individual scientists have a problem with this, it is not a scientific problem.

      Although scientists can be looked upon as experts, they must never conduct themselves as authorities. What did you think was the idea behind the Feynman quote. That Feynman had some grudge against scientists? Wow.

      • These viewpoints are what Dr. Curry are communicating.

        No that’s not what Dr Curry is communicating.

        When you use the language of “priests” and “dogma” you’ve ceased communicating and begun simply reinforcing your own viewpoint.

        “Although scientists can be looked upon as experts, they must never conduct themselves as authorities. What did you think was the idea behind the Feynman quote. That Feynman had some grudge against scientists? Wow.”

        Let’s just deconstruct what you did there. You took something I expressed no opinion on whatsoever (Feynman quote) made up an opinion for me (grudge against scientists) and then expressed shock (“Wow.”) at the opinion you yourself created and assigned to me.

        If you or Dr Curry have specific problems with the conclusions of the of IPCC report I’m very interested in hearing about it. So far what I’ve read on this blog is extremely muddled and confused but more importantly very vague. I understand Dr Curry is sort of unhappy with the way uncertainty is expressed but doesn’t believe the actual science expressed in the IPCC report is wrong.

        Saying “This report is the best climate scientists have put together, show where it’s wrong” is not an “appeal to authority”. I see nowhere where the authority of the IPCC or climate scientists is invoked except as part of strawmen arguments by people who don’t want to deal with the real arguments and like to talk about “dogma” instead.

      • Re: (undefined NaN NaN:NaN),
        Apparently you deliberately miss the point(s). Her experience and observation was that when she recommended stricter standards, she was first ignored and then assailed. On grounds which are or are near matches of religious “shunning” and excommunication.

        Hence the characterization of the “priesthood”. They brought it on themselves (hardly for the first time.)

      • David L. Hagen

        Sharperoo
        Curry has an excellent grasp of the issues and is communicating them well. The same feedback loop was working to fund “Global Cooling” in the 1970s.
        These feedback mechanisms were at work in the opposite sense amongst the Aristotelian professors who had careers built on an appeal to authority. Their facade was exposed by Galileo’s discoveries and publicity. Some of the Aristotelian’s formed the Liga that eventually destroyed Galileo by persuading church authorities that Galileo was opposed to the Bible and the pope. (The opposite Galileo’s actual views.) Roy Peacock documents this little known background in A Brief History of Eternity

        I encourage you to step back and objectively examine these dynamics.

      • @sharper00: You are stopping one level short in your reasoning. My response was not about the conclusions of the IPCC, but the process by which those conclusions are reached. That is, the misapplication of the scientific method by climate scientists.

        Climate science in general and the climate models in particular lack conclusive empirical confirmation of their predictions. (The models made no predictions at all, only projections.) This falls short of Feynman’s “almost” definition of science: “The test of all knowledge is experiment. Experiment is the sole judge of scientific ‘truth’.”

        So I point out that consensus and authority have no part in judging scientific truth. By definition.

        Don’t like the religious analogy? It can’t be helped. Resorting to scientific authority to declare “the science is settled” maps more to religion than science and such an approach may well be detrimental to the progress of all science.

      • Climate science in general and the climate models in particular lack conclusive empirical confirmation of their predictions

        Yeah, sorry, FAIL.

        Resorting to parroting half-understood creedal statements is the sign of a true believer. Don’t like the analogy? It can’t be helped. Go learn the science, make concrete, specific critiques, and help expand the sphere of knowledge. Or stay here in the kiddie pool, your choice. Science will muddle on without you.

      • IMHO, the climate is pathologically complex and interrelated. Thus, no climate scientist can be entirely confident and certain of the truth of their findings in their specialty since they must not make any assumption like “all else remaining the same.” The solution? The climate models. However, it is IPCC terminology to refer to climate model output as projections and not predictions. And for good reason. The lack of empirical confirmation of the models’ outputs. However, that means the climate models do not resolve the uncertainty and ensure the necessary confidence.

        So when I first read your response “Yeah, sorry, FAIL.” (BTW, link seems broken.) I thought you finally understood the point and were referring to the IPCC process. :-)

        But no, just another ad hominem. Of course, it is perfectly OK to believe the science is settled and that consensus is a part of science. That anyone who disagrees with you and the consensus is being willfully ignorant. But it is also OK for me to say — Wow.

      • Wow, I am surprised PDA’s comments made it through moderation!

        There certainly is nothing within them that advances knowledge.

      • PDA, you’re uncharacteristically rancid in your tone of late. Usually you’re a pleasure to interact with, even if we both get a bit heated in our disagreement occasionally, but.. dude..

  22. I whole-heartedly agree with the last sentence of this blogpost (with the possible exception of the word “simplifying”: I think that scientists may have to do some simplification in order to communicate appropriately. After all, a politician doesn’t really want to know how uncertain we are about a particular diffusive ocean mixing parameter, they want to see the big picture).

    Having said that, PDA and gryposaurus are correct in their characterization of the shameful broad-brushed attacks on scientists involved in the IPCC process, calling them “schoolyard bullies” and a “priesthood” and claiming that their priority is to “maintain the importance of the IPCC”. I think this is deeply wrong on all three counts: first, reading _all_ the emails shows how the vast majority are attempting to best characterize the science: personalities do get involved, as they do in any science, where sometimes the opinion regarding the quality of science in a given paper and the opinion regarding the quality of the scientist who wrote it are not always separated, and there were definitely weird shenanigans involving FOI requests which have not been fully resolved in my opinion, but (again in my opinion) the emails reflect the attempts of the authors to come up with the best, most defensible scientific statements possible.

    Also, this post reflects a confusion between “attribution” and “recognition of a climate problem” by stating “Wait a minute, what climate change problem? In 1992, we had just completed the first IPCC assessment report, here was their conclusion: “The size of this warming is broadly consistent with predictions of climate models, but it is also of the same magnitude as natural climate variability. . . The unequivocal detection of the enhanced greenhouse effect from observations is not likely for a decade or more.””

    One can know that smoking a pack a day is a bad idea even if there hasn’t be an unequivocal detection of a growing tumor yet. Similarly, even in 1979 it was fairly clear that continued emissions of GHGs would lead to significant increases in temperature, even in the absence of evidence of significant recent warming (attributed or not).

    Note that plenty of good climate scientists critique the IPCC all the time: most of the quality scientists who do so, however, use much less charged language and many fewer strawmen that are evidenced in this post. Perhaps it is not the fact that this blog is critiquing the IPCC and the treatment of uncertainty therein (which can, of course, use improvement), but the manner in which this blog is promoting those critiques that has led to the backlash by the climate community. And note that the climate community as a whole has for a long time been dealing with a small but dedicated group that overhypes every correction and admission of uncertainty (see, for example, the over-reaction to the paper that showed that the CO2 fraction had not changed).

    • Michael Larkin

      M,

      “Note that plenty of good climate scientists critique the IPCC all the time”

      News to me. Care to give some examples?

      • That goes for me too. All I see is scientists defending evry dot and comma of the IPPC reports until the evidence of “error” is overwhelming and then resorting too the equivalent of “well it may be wrong, but the error is small and it makes no difference”

      • James Annan for one.

        The IPCC devoted Box 2.2 to addressing published critiques of their uncertainty approaches by respected scientists such as Schneider: http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg3/en/ch2s2-3-2.html

        Numerous critiques of the IPCC approach to sea level rise.

        Everytime an author publishes something different from what the IPCC published in their last report – from Solomon et al. on stratospheric water vapor trends to all the new hockey sticks post the so-called “iconic” Mann hockeystick, each of which is somewhat different, to all the GWP-replacement metrics proposed by Fuglesvedt et al., to practically any paper published in the scientific literature or any talk given at AGU… scientists don’t make their name by publishing papers that say, “yup, we’re just saying exactly what the IPCC said. Nothing new here.”

        And indeed, if you go to any conference, people will object to the ways that the IPCC handled their favorite pet area of science… but, while they all criticize the IPCC, almost all of them admit that the IPCC reports are very valuable and the best resource out there for a synthesis of available literature. Sure, the IPCC could do better (and its communication of uncertainty, as noted in Box 2.2, has been one area that received plenty of attention before this blog was even a gleam in Prof. Curry’s eye), but it does a pretty darn good job. The problem is in the difference between constructive criticism (“hey, I think X is a better way to describe process Y than what the IPCC said… I’m going to publish a paper saying so, and give talks about it, and maybe it X will be reflected in the next IPCC report) to destructive criticism (“hey, one sentence in one chapter in WGII was wrong about the melting of Himalayan glaciers. Therefore, the IPCC is totally wrong. Moreover, I’m going to claim that Pachauri defended the 2035 date because he insulted the way some unrelated Indian report on glaciers described global warming. And I’ll totally ignore the fact that WGI had a perfectly accurate and sober assessment of the science on Himalayan glaciers.”)

        -M

      • David L. Hagen

        M
        “the IPCC reports are very valuable and the best resource out there for a synthesis of available literature.”
        For a glimpse into what the IPCC left OUT and what was published since, see the 880 page report Climate Change Reconsidered
        Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, 2009
        http://www.nipccreport.org/
        ISBN13: 978-1934791288

        Has IPCC learned its lessons? We will find out by how much of this “other” science is incorporated into AR5.

      • Leonard Weinstein

        There are always outliers on both side of any debate. However, quoting that some people made bad criticisms about particular papers is purely a red herring. Serious scientists attempted to make constructive criticisms from the beginning. Some lost funding, and a few lost their jobs because they went against the accepted direction. All of those who wanted more data, or to publish papers with arguments against CAGW, were trashed in the media, by government heads, and by the core of CAGW supporting scientists. Now that the worm has turned, supporters of CAGW are crying, unfair, media bias, oil money, etc. Get a life.

    • Crispin in Waterloo

      M:
      “Similarly, even in 1979 it was fairly clear that continued emissions of GHGs would lead to significant increases in temperature, even in the absence of evidence of significant recent warming (attributed or not). ”
      +++++
      I think this ‘fairly clear’ is just not so. It was theory in 1979 that by 1992 was so unclear ‘in fact’ as to be unable to be differentiated from natural variation. If it was that unclear in 1992, how was it ‘fairly clear’ in 1979? In reality, in 1979 GHG warming was a just-so story and taking modern understandings into account, including uncertainties, it remains a just-so story today.

      The declaration that ‘the science is settled’ only a few years after ’92 reads more like an act of desperate men and women trying to stop the uncovering and pubication of uncertainties. That a cabal of scientists successfully conspired to remove editors is well established by their own words, contained in a set of emails that should have been released by FOI but which were illegally (and successfully) withheld.

      The ‘backlash’ against Judith is despicable and was in my view, coordinated in the very same way diatribes against non-compliant editors and reviewers were coordinated – by cabal with a vested interest in suppressing contrary views, especially where those views are backed by sound science. Shoot the messenger, in other words. Other messengers will get the message, if you catch my drift.

      As for a small but decidated group of ‘overhypes': that in my view describes the CAGW promoters very well. I continue to be amazed by the role played by Science, Nature and the New Scientist in both the hyping and the backlashing. They used to be pillars of scientific probity. Evidently those days have passed. If you don’t genuflect at the right altar, you don’t get published.

      You call the ‘backlash’ justified. I didn’t see a justified backlash, I see hate speech and ad hom attacks that avoided the evidence and I agree with the thesis that there is a self-reinforcing loop of money and power feeding the CAGW monster.

    • …One can know that smoking a pack a day is a bad idea even if there hasn’t be an unequivocal detection of a growing tumor yet….

      And it was also true and known that the rate of lung cancer shot up with the introduction of cigarettes and that hot smoke from clay pipes increased the incidence of lip cancer.

      Did the experts realize that the method of delivery of nicotine is the biggest factor in the danger risk? That if it wasn’t for cigarettes specifically nicotine would have been hailed as a miracle drug decades ago?

      Did it help that the experts failed to make the connection between heat and lip cancer, assuming instead that was due to the carcinogens in combustive tobacco smoke?

    • M

      ‘Having said that, PDA and gryposaurus are correct in their characterization of the shameful broad-brushed attacks on scientists involved in the IPCC process, calling them “schoolyard bullies” and a “priesthood” and claiming that their priority is to “maintain the importance of the IPCC”.’

      Try (anonymously if you will), making a post in a warmist blog that suggests that the received AGW narrative may not be entirely perfect.

      Then please report back here about the courteous and helpful replies that you received from the moderators there and how your point generated a productive debate that moved the argument forward.

      Having done so you may want to reconsider your remarks about ‘schoolyard bullies’ and ‘high priests’.

      • Steve “… a post in a warmist blog that suggests that the received AGW narrative may not be entirely perfect. ”

        But please, please say something more than ‘I think you blokes have got it wrong’. When you join a conversation among people you don’t know well, you listen to the way things are expressed in that group and you use the style/ lingo /jargon if you want to be listened to.

        So if you want to advance the view that temperatures aren’t increasing faster at the poles than anywhere else, don’t just say so. Do the work and find the best or the most recent or a long term graph to demonstrate your point. Also bear in mind that many such arguments are raised quite frequently, so if you want to be taken seriously where others weren’t, do some work to marshal the evidence for the point you want to make.

        Remember you’re wanting to argue against a very large body of theory, research, statistics and evidence so you need to find good material to support whatever you say. Because you can bet your boots that someone will come up with a few graphs, statistics and probably some papers as well to contradict anything you express carelessly.

      • Sure. Common sense says that courtesy and sensible research should be the norm.

        I look forward to the day when the warmist bloggers recognise that exhibiting these attributes might actually lead more people to agree with them rather than to provide a total turn off by their intellectual arrrogance and unpleasant manners. I will not name names but we all know who they are.

  23. Thank you Judith! I think you have nailed the mechanism in work here very well. Loops are much more plausible than a masterminded conspiracy. It will be interesting to see when and how the details are filled in.

    Sorry that you won’t be able to save the climate science field though. It is probably too late… Or?

  24. @Don Aitkin | November 3, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Thank you for reminding us of both the audience and the restless among the audience. The anxious un-Churched fall before the beauty of a new faith: the priests now have eager converts – ignorant former non-believers – innocent of inner examinations. Their conviction provides preternatural energy and focus.
    Sceptical inquirers should treat the newly-enlightened gently: once they understand the degree to which they have been mis-led, cynicism, then coarseness and crudity, may claim them.
    {plagiarism alert: cannot provide citation for Cynicism/Coarsnes/Crudity formula}

  25. Professor: You shouldn’t name names. Not because you don’t want to start a flame war. But because if you did, you could and should face a serious lawsuit for libel.

    Frankly I’m shocked at the jealousy, self-righteousness and sense of persecution you’ve shown in this post.

    • I think you’ll find it’s not a sense of persecution, if what you mean by “sense” is “delusion”. And it’s hardly shocking in its degree, since she says on more than one occasion that overall she has been supported by her peers and associates- hardly a paranoiac’s perspective.

      Again, whether a person is self-righteous or simply vigorous in their own defence is invariably a function of what the listener prefers to be true. That’s an observable fact. A listener is shocked because their own values are challenged, not because a speaker is objectively wrong.

  26. Dr. Curry,

    Thanks for a very thoughtful and courageous post. You have articulated the feelings of most of us who are considered to be skeptics or lukewarmers. I’m sure that you anticipated and are prepared to receive a lot of flack in response and can withstand the “incoming”.

    Your positive feedback analogy is useful for communicating to technical readers. As an “electronic-type”, I probably think in terms of a double loop; one positive and another negative that limits the unbounded positive loop. Nonetheless, the self-fulfilling prophecy decisions circa 1992 is a profound observation.

    I mentioned in a comment on one of your earlier posts that I spent most of my 40 yr professional career directly involved in several major aerospace/defense programs. Many of those programs involved some of the difficult and controversial science v. political factors that you have described. My experience in those programs isn’t relevant to this post but I encourage you to pursue this line of reasoning.

  27. Michael Larkin

    Dr. Curry,

    You might like to correct a typo:

    “I [have] been duped by big oil and/or right wing think tanks”

    You prove it’s possible be a scientist, AGW believer, and yet still sceptical about the IPCC and a certain political cadre of your peers.

    In an orthodoxy that brooks no dissent, there is no option for the heretic but excommunication. A heretic fit for burning? Or a Jeanne d’Arc in an asbestos suit?

    I think you’re flame resistant, anyway. Doesn’t matter if I do (I disagree with you, but admire your stance); but I suspect your critics see you that way too. Flame resistance is especially irritating for them.

  28. As someone who has always loved science and who is concerned about the environment on many levels this is a disturbing post because of the picture it paints.

    I have long thought there’s something rotten in the state of climate science – and this reflects on the rest of science too.
    No matter what the reality of global warming, the behaviour of too many in this saga has been disgraceful.

    Transparency, debate and challenge is the lifeblood of any science – if that is lost then we are left with an empty shell of assertion and ignorance.

    Good luck with bringing transparency to climate science and with rehabilitating its sullied reputation.

  29. Thank you for this Judith.

    It is not much fun to make carefully hedged statements when the politicians and policy wonks want red meat. Error bars larger than the effect being measured tend to be taken as an argument for inaction – which, in fact, they are. Careful scientists go as far as their data will let them while fully explaining the uncertainties and potential biases within that data.

    The intellectual honesty Feynman describes would insulate climate scientists from the current round of accusations and investigations. A degree of humility would help as well. So would a proactive practice of data and code disclosure.

    And it might be a good idea to cut out the “denier” smear and the “big oil” funding sideswipe.

    Keep fighting Judith. You are fast becoming the most credible climate scientist on the planet.

  30. Thank you allowing a peek inside the kimono of the AGW Politicization.

    Since hardly anyone cares anymore, your post is very timely as a forecast of the imminent death of global warming as a political issue.

    Mind you, like Elvis, there will be sightings for many years yet.

  31. @curryja

    Now I’m really impressed … you’ve come right out and said it: “religious dogma” for preservation of power, influence and money

    Earlier, I had believed you were somewhat naive, probably informed by your undoubted niceness (believing the best of people)

    The niceness remains, of course, but the naivety is most definitely giving way to clarity. The stupid venom of the ad-hom attacks pointedly shows this. I appreciate your courage

  32. Lord BeaverBrook

    Thank you Judith, if I may be so presumptuous, for out of the darkness shines a light of reason vanquishing fear and providing direction.

  33. An accurate appraisal of the situation so far.

    Can the IPCC process be saved? I think it’s too late for that now. Too many scientists are still reluctant to speak out. Recent multifaceted attempts by scientific bodies et all to ramp up the alarmism will not have the desired effect in the long run.

    Maybe there’s a role for a Climate truth and reconciliation commission.

  34. The questions that have been posed for discussion by the “Beyond Climategate” panel incorporate a false premise. The premise is that the IPCC’s “scientists” are, in fact, scientists.

    To be a scientist is to adhere to the scientific method of inquiry. Under this method, every theory or model is: a) falsifiable and b) repeatedly tested. The “projections” that are made by the IPCC climate models are not falsifiable. Thus, the people who build these models or make arguments on the basis of these models are NOT scientists.

  35. * I been duped by big oil and/or right wing think tanks
    * I have opened my mind so wide to skeptics that my brains have fallen out
    * I’m in the pay of big oil or right wing think tanks
    * I’m being blackmailed
    * I have become either physically or mentally disabled

    You forgot the simplest possible motivation, namely that you are getting a kick out of all the attention. Better be careful with that. The parroting of religious denier dogma by a scientist in your position attracts a lot of attention, but some things are more important than attention. Just like most addictions, this one is better left unfulfilled.

    Tom Fuller and his ‘lukewarmer’ colleagues really seem to be in love with you, though. That should be a warning sign most of the time. Unless your goal is to be the one-eyed queen, that is.

    And a wonderfully objective blog post in écriture automatique style, by the way. One would almost forget the atmosphere and oceans are warming at a steady rate. That spoils the whole thing a bit, wouldn’t you think?

    • Michael Larkin

      And Michael Mann and all the rest don’t get a kick out of all the attention?

      Better be careful, Dr. Curry. Guys like Neven know where you live.

      • No slander please.

      • I love the fatuity that the only possible reason for disagreeing with Dr. Curry is adherence to “dogma,” and that critics must be heretic-burners or crazed stalkers.

        You pseudoskeptics and your persecution complexes.

      • quote from the main post:

        “At this point, the whole thing would have been salvageable if scientists and the institutions that support science would have spoken up for the integrity of climate science, demanding greater transparency, etc. Instead, silence.”

        I love the deafening silence that always follows this point. So just who is destroying credibility with this silence ? Never mind, fatuity is in the eye of the beholder

      • Do you really think Michael Mann likes being investigated by PSU, dragged through the mud (figuratively) by Cuccinelli and hauled before Congress? Add to that the words by Dr. Curry above.

      • My comment was directed to Michael Larkin.

      • Michael Larkin

        Deech,

        IMO, Mann loves attention. He just wishes it was all uncritical adulation and is upset that it hasn’t been of late.

        I don’t know how much Dr. Curry enjoys attention, but my sense is that isn’t the main driver. If it were, she’d be insane to go about it the way she is when she could get it so much more painlessly by following the party line.

      • If it weren’t for the controversy she’d have zero attention. She wouldn’t be able to compete with the bloggers who “follow the party line”. That much is already clear.

      • Latimer Alder

        Hi Neven

        Please could you tell me exactly what the sceptical part line actually is? I classify myself as a sceptic and have been blogging for a while now. But beyond realising that the ‘science’ of climatology has been conducted in a very unscientific and unsatisfactory manner, I haven’t noticed a ‘consensus’ among fellow sceptics. We all come at it from slightly different perspectives.

        And if we all signed a petition agreeing with ourselves, would that make our argument more palatable to you? Such a consensus seems to be one of the few planks left as AGW theory goes down the pan.

        PS – I haven’t got my pay cheque from Big Oil yet either. That’s 18 months + worth of blogging I’ve done for free. Can you remind me where I apply please? I’m sure you know. Tx

      • If he’s got nothing to be ashamed of, Michael Mann should welcome the opportunity to confute his critics in such a public way.

      • It is noticeable in his op-eds that he has not done that. Just his usual whining!

        Judith, I do get tired of the “and the dark influences of big oil” attacks. Were it not for Big Oil the world would be a sorry medieval place!

    • “One would almost forget the atmosphere and oceans are warming at a steady rate. That spoils the whole thing a bit, wouldn’t you think?”

      I’ve been reading this blog patiently waiting for something, anything, that impacts this analysis. Instead I get something I’d dismiss as possible satire if I read it as a comment on wattsupwiththat.com

    • “One would almost forget the atmosphere and oceans are warming at a steady rate.” except for the cooling from 1940 to 1975 and the cooling from 1998 to present and the untested possibility that part of the warming is part of a natural 60 yr cycle…

      • The cooling from 1998 to present? :-D

        Part of a natural cycle? That would only mean CO2 will really bite us in the ass when the next upswing comes around, eh?

      • Crispin in Waterloo

        By even countenancing the idea that there is a down and upswing you have already admitted that the principal driver of the recent (1975-1998) temperature increase is not dominated by CO2. How much of the upswing was NOT cause by CO2? How much does that news reduce the CO2 forcing multiplier in the climate models? The ‘bite’ in the ass on the next upswing will be quite a bit less than expected, then. The problem is, the natural variability greatly exceeds the CO2 contribution so your biting idea is just another unfalsifiable theory.

      • temperature ≠ heat content, Sparky. I know this screws up your smug narrative, but it’s so.

      • Recent energy balance of Earth

        International Journal of Geosciences, 2010, vol. 1, no. 3 (November)

        R. S. Knox and D. H. Douglass

    • “One would almost forget the atmosphere and oceans are warming at a steady rate. That spoils the whole thing a bit, wouldn’t you think?”
      You expose your lack of logic. There is no skeptic scientist that I know of who disputes that the oceans and atmosphere are warming since the Little Ice Age.
      So what does this non requiter have to do with the price of tea in China under discussion?
      i.e. do the uncertainties in the scientific studies ( those missing +/- ) allow the non contestable conclusion that humans are contributing significantly to that warming?

      The answer is no.

      I saw a study for a particular medication:
      the medication was effective 6.8+/-6.7
      placebo 3.5+/-3.5
      Their conclusion was that the medications was better than placebo!!
      Would you take that medicine?

  36. Alexander Harvey

    A couple of things really struck me about the emails:

    The “bad behaviour” seemed just so unnecessary, it simply did not need to happen and achieved a fiasco. It was just a dumb thing to attempt. Also that people do not anticipate their emails being read.

    The second is that after the release, the scientists involved did not concentrate on admitting the bad behaviour at least to a degree that was not going to cost them their jobs and thereby trying to draw attention onto the behavioural aspects of themselves and away from the science. Also that they should have considered politely requesting that other friends didn’t pour fuel all over the blogosphere. All that stuff about it being theft hence a criminal act was just drawing in counter accusations. When in a hole stop digging.

    ——-

    Regarding the term sceptical, I think it might be a good idea to reclaim the word “cautious” and use it, on the grounds that skeptic has grown some counterproductive connotations. I think that “cautious” is the normal scientific stance, confident when appropriate, but cautious always. One can be cautiously confident.

    ——

    During the blogocene epoch, it seems apparent to me that little or no attempt was made to spike guns. I guess that the scientists still have the inside track regarding the science, so why was insufficient attention payed to the new millenial temperature stagnation, just a quick statement that it takes a minimum of 10-15 years to determine a change of trend before anyone really picked up on it would have defused the issue greatly. Making out that people who can see the divergence are no nothings when they draw attention to it is not productive particularly if it turns out that the divergence is maintained, and too late once people start noticing.

    —–

    One of the greatest traversties was the alienation of people who wholeheartedly supported the general thrust of the science but found that if they questioned any aspect to probingly they got a nasty experience. Not just from the scientists on their blogs but from the piling on from the acolytes. One blog ran protection for their most favoured acolytes so best not pick them up on any mistakes.

    ——

    All I can say is that if it turns out that we have missed the boat, I think that those that made up the public face of the advocacy of climate science need to consider their role in loosing the public’s support, not those that were never going to come on board but those who were before they got jettisonned.

    Alex

    —-

    Regarding high publicity, low content science, I think one really must question the mindset of the prestige press e.g. Nature. One can hardly blame scientists for getting their work on the front page, even if it is not exactly a milestone in science.

    Alex

    • Alex wrote: “One of the greatest traversties was the alienation of people who wholeheartedly supported the general thrust of the science but found that if they questioned any aspect (too) probingly they got a nasty experience. Not just from the scientists on their blogs but from the piling on from the acolytes. One blog ran protection for their most favoured acolytes so best not pick them up on any mistakes.”
      Alex’s comment brings to mind the hostile and insulting responses that questions from thoughtful readers used to receive at the realclimate blog; the moderators seemed happy to let their attack dogs scare off any hint of dissent or doubt. However that particular blog has been rather quiet recently, almost dormant in fact when it comes to climatology, although still producing occasional features such as the review of a new novel and a well-illustrated article on the ravages of pine beetles.

      • Perhaps RC has run out of bile and spleen and is awaiting emergency supplies before their next assault on the interested public.

        Or maybe. with the election results in the US they have decided that it is expedient to lay low for a while.

      • So if you saw the pine beetles item, you would have seen the solar output, the climate code archiving and the 2 discussions on feedbacks then. No?

  37. When I was reading your blog, hoping to see some analysis about what the actual uncertainty in the climate projections by the IPCC or anybody else. Some analysis whether the water vapor feedback is negative or positive, or maybe some actual discussion of science.

    I’m pretty disappointed in the discussions on your blog and truly wonder if you are an actual climate scientist at all.

    Whether the climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide is 1.5, 3 or more than 4 degrees C for a doubling, only means how long it is before we are in trouble.

    The clock doesn’t stop in 2100, the effects will continue.

    It serves a purpose when the latest data indicate the warming trend is unrelenting, its still getting warmer. Year to date record highs in both GISS and UAH.

    We should have listened to Hansen back in 1988, we might have been able to solve things had we had a good start. But now things are looking bleak.

    • Crispin in Waterloo

      “The clock doesn’t stop in 2100, the effects will continue.”

      Could you perhaps give us some idea of where more carbon will come from in the year 2100? There is a ‘slight’ problem with arguments that hold the CO2 rise will continue forever. Have you heard of peak oil, peak coal, peak gas, even peak energy?

      • Crispin, I think bobdroege was referring to long-term sensitivity increasing temperatures beyond the short-term sensitivity rise. And when we’re talking about “rise”, we should also bear in mind the delays in sea level rise for any given temperature forcing.

      • Crispin, I suppose you have heard of the approxiamately 800 year lag of the CO2 rise following warming meme?

  38. Steven Sullivan

    Epic flail.

  39. I have a question on uncertainty and the issue that you bring up of scientists engaging with skeptics. With regards to IPCC sensitivity estimates, on the one hand, we have for example Annan who has documented his sensitivity estimates of 1.7C to 4.5C with 95% certainty similarly as the IPCC. He may be wrong but we have a way of finding out how he arrived at this result here . I’m not sure how you arrived at 1.5C to 4.5C with 66% certainty but we have no way of telling. Would you characterize your engagement with skeptics in this fashion as being useful for climate science or does engagement in this manner only muddy the waters further on what is a politically charged issue to begin with?

  40. Dr Curry

    I tend to agree with all that you say in this post. Keep up the good work and dont let the naysayers get to you

    Kind regards

    Gary

  41. Judith, I mean no disrespect when I say that you have been studying “where it all went wrong” for a relatively short time. I have studied it, by contrast, all my life. IMO you cannot begin to understand the folly that is climate “science” without going back much further in time than you do.

    Firstly, throughout history there has been a certain section of each generation that believes it will be the last to walk the face of the earth unless everybody else accepts the superiority of its insights and does as it says. There is not much joy for these people in urging common sense measures to forfend readily perceptible hazards, since these don’t confer that frisson of “priestly knowledge” that catastrophists find especially rewarding. Hence the attraction of counterintuitive and counterfactual preoccupations, such as runaway global warming. When I was a boy, I read about the way things were and how they worked, and could never understand the fascination of some of my peers with the outpourings of Erik von Daniken. Now I suspect they grew up to be enviro-catastrophists. You can see the results of this human proclivity in Kesten Green’s analysis of Big Scares that Never Showed Up. http://kestencgreen.com/green%26armstrong-agw-analogies.pdf

    So much for the priesthood. But a priesthood needs a congregation.
    Secondly, then, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring established in the early 60s a new counter-enlightenment. It germinated the idea that practically any form of large-scale industry, and by extension, “western civilisation” was inherently malign. The “product” on trial was DDT, (looks great, saves lives, etc. – but that just shows how deluded you are, and how enlightened I am for telling you!) but the real defendant was human development, tout court. (This is not a preoccupation shared by people who have yet to “endure” the hazards of Western development.)

    In the event, it turned out (after the hue and cry had died down) that DDT’s toxicity had been wildly exaggerated, and that cessation of its use had resulted in millions of African deaths from malaria. Those responsible for its conviction (including Al Gore, in an early manifestion of his messiah complex) escaped censure, so firmly had the post-enlightenment narrative taken hold. So from about the mid-60s, the priesthood had its congregation. Since then, it has just been a matter of managing the Orwellian transition from one predicted catastrophe to another in such a way that no-one cracks a smile (po-faced acceptance of impending doom is a key attribute) when you appear to be dropping one and revving up the next. The morphing of Global Warming/Climate Change/Climate Disruption is just one example.

    No narrative which does not address this priesthood/congregation dynamic will get to the heart of the matter, IMO.

    Lastly, I can’t avoid the inference, when reading your thoughts, that you earnestly wish the IPCC would restore its reputation so that we can all go back to having confidence in its statements about “the problem”. I become more and more convinced that there simply is no problem for the IPCC to be trustworthy about.

  42. Dr. C,
    Thanks once more for a thoughtful essay. I now await the inevitable replies.

    RealClimate Schmidt: Well, we know from our models that Judith was having a Bad Hair Day. It is settled physics that if you take the cube root of the daily dose of conditioner …

    Climate Progress Romm: Hah! I have right here actual photographs taken by my secret agents inside Big Oil, which I can’t post because of copyright restrictions, actual photographs of Judith Curry at dinner with Lindzen, Michaels, and ALL THREE of the Idsos, EATING KITTENS!!!

    Thanks again for your integrity and courage. What has disturbed me for a long time is that this pseudoscientific nonsense may have a backlash that will discredit science in general, which would be tragic.

  43. A couple years ago, I read a book on Deniers done by a newpapaer columist.
    These were scietists that had contributed to the IPCC report.
    Manipulation and misquoting of reports was quite common to achieve a one sided conclusion.

  44. Dr. Curry,

    I think this is a reasonable assessment of some of the factors which led to the current situation. I don’t think you do justice to the work of people like McIntyre and how their interaction with the hockey team and alarmist blogs such as Real Climate was instrumental in raising serious questions about the quality of the science underlying the dogma. The sloppiness of so much of the science had been demonstrated long before the e-mails were released a year ago. Not only was Mann’s work shown to be seriously flawed, but so was Rahmstorf’s and Steig’s and others. The lack of quality control in the databases was being exposed. As was the gross sloppiness of the SST work. Jones’ supposedly important UHI study had already fallen apart.

    My point is not to dismiss the importance of the e-mails, but merely to note that, for people who had been paying attention, the content of the e-mails and the Harry-read-me files came as no surprise at all. It merely confirmed in greater detail and in the perpetrator’s own words what was already becoming apparent — very sloppy work had been hidden by a lack of transparency and an active campaign to hinder efforts to audit and replicate.

    Further, the alarmists were often their own worst enemies in raising doubts about the quality of the science. A whole lot of very bright people became skeptical after experiencing the stridency of Real Climate. As you have personally experienced, vicious slander seems to be the default response to anyone raising a question at a lot of alarmist blogs and from people like Michael Mann. Slander’s value as a persuasive tool is often negative.

    In sum, a groundswell of skepticism was already building in many areas before the e-mail release of a year ago. That’s one of the reasons they went viral so fast. A huge audience already existed for them.

  45. I gotta say Judith – I think you’re calling this one very wrong. What I read in the climate gate emails was colleagues spending too much time being distracted by attacks from the ‘denio-camp’ and getting a carried away with the sport of it. Less than perfect behaviour perhaps, a dash of bunker mentality and a hint of arrogance and complacency too (and some sharp wit for that matter) – office life really – but that’s helluva long way from rank dishonesty, institutional corruption and foul play.

    • Latimer Alder

      Just a ‘ hint of arrogance and complacency’??

      Perhaps you’d decribe Gordon Gekko as ‘having an occasional slightly acqusitive side to his otherwise well-rounded and affable character’

      And if people behaved like that in my office, I ‘d very quickly move to have them disciplined or worse.

    • That’s how I read them, Jay. Lunchroom talk.

      • Alexander Harvey

        If only it had been lunchroom talk, in a lunchroom.

        Unfortunately it was emails, and not private emails (as in private account).

        Whatever the rights and wrongs, leaving a trail was not well considered, possibly not considered at all.

        I am irked by the seeming lack of any necessity for a lot of what was written. I do not understand why people do this, do they feel immune to the consequences of their recorded thoughts.

        I do not know if they are naive, or reckless, or simply unimaginative, perhaps none of these, but when actions do not turn out as intended, whether it is bad luck or poor judgement, it is right that they should be critised, and in this case by both poles.

        Whatever point of view one has on the larger debate it seems right that they should be strongly censured for the act of writing down what is best left unwritten. Hopefully this has been handled as an internal matter, and they will never again involve themselves such folly.

        Alex

  46. Judith,
    Just read your profile on WUWT.
    Sorry if I give you any grief.
    You certainly have taken quite a bull by the tail.
    If there is anything I can do.
    No problem.

    Joe

  47. Dr. Curry: thanks for the thoughtful essay. Thanks also for being courageous enough to voice this perspective. The fact that it requires courage is, to me, strong evidence that the warmists are wrong. Those who do science and know they’ve done it right, don’t try to silence or ignore their critics.

    As for the “positive feedback loop,” I completely agree with the mechanism. The role of government is vital in powering the loop. Without the prize of grant money and the truly intoxicating chance at regulatory power, this would be just one more feud in the faculty lounge. My own favorite term for such feedback loops is “self-licking ice cream cone.”

  48. Ok, 2nd attempt at engagement.

    You write:
    “When I refer to the IPCC dogma, it is the religious importance that the IPCC holds for this cadre of scientists; they will tolerate no dissent, and seek to trample and discredit anyone who challenges the IPCC. ”

    Many of your readers will no doubt ignore this because of my association with RC, but my personal experience as a relatively young person in this game just doesn’t jive with what you are saying. I was highly critical of IPCC AR4 Chapter 6, so much so that the Heartland Institute repeatedly quotes me as evidence that the IPCC is flawed. Indeed, I have been unable to find any other review as critical as mine. I know — because they told me — that my reviews annoyed many of my colleagues, including some of my RC colleagues, but I have felt no pressure or backlash whatsover from it. Indeed, one of the Chapter 6 lead authors said “Eric, your criticism was really harsh, but helpful — thank you!”

    So who are these brilliant young scientists whose careers have been destroyed by the supposed tyranny of the IPCC? Examples?

    • Crispin in Waterloo

      Eric:
      I have not seen tyranny from the IPCC. I do however know a brilliant young scientist who is now widely respected in their field of expertise. This person wrote a paper that showed clear evidence from a completely unexpected quarter that the role of CO2 as a proportion of total forcing was probably highly over-rated. The academic climate in the early 2000’s (created by the IPCC and its contributing scientists) was such that to publish the paper before getting a job would have been career suicide, rendering the authors unemployable as labelled ‘denialists’ which bloggers would have heaped on the authors. The paper was in my hands for almost two years before it was released for publication, they having secured a job at a well known university. Nature refused to print it. Science refused to print it, in spite of it now being considered mainstream science. It did however see the light of day in a lower ranked journal. It was littered with cautions and maybe’s and possibly’s thrown in because it opened a whole new front for dimuition of the preeminent role for CO2 in any potential warming.

      Today, I can happily report that the cautious and careful low-key approach has allowed for a gradual release of additional information that has apparently been unchallengable and is now starting to be incorporated into GCM’s. The true import is still to be revealed in my view, even though the reality was known nearly a decade ago.

      Very few people I know have had the guts to run their careers this way, or they were working on something that could not be released gradually. Aspirant academics toed the climate line, avoided the field or went away. There is a lot of politics in academic life. The dumping of junior competitors is very easy in a climate of terror. That climate was created and sustained to avoid having to engage with contrary opinion using the Big Oil bogeyman (which in part funded the CRU, by the way – so much for that theory).

      • What a tease, Crispin! Any more clues?

      • Another addendum to the apocrypha of those maligned by climate science! To both you and Dr Curry: Details. Names. Evidence. Please.

      • Sorry Crispin but this sort of stuff reminds me of the “Well my uncle has a PhD in science and he says evolution is impossible!” stuff.

        If you want to run with this particular example by all means do but the devil is in the details. Why did the other journals “refuse” to publish it? By all means let us see which paper you’re talking about rather than engage in innuendo.

      • “The dumping of junior competitors is very easy in a climate of terror.”

        Amen to that.

        Can any climate scientist, or any scientist come forward, that they have not seen seen this, either tried on them , or a colleague they know of?

        That does not make the juniors’ ideas radical or anything, only makes true progress slower.

    • Interesting post, Eric. What it seems to say, however, is that criticism is OK if you are one of the “club” (RC contributor etc). What the Climategate emails showed us, however, was just how unwelcome criticism is if you are not in the club.

      As for your sally about “brilliant young scientists” – strawman. The brilliant young scientists either moved to another field or kept their heads down, lest they lose them. The few who dared to speak out (who were generally older, with less to lose) were indeed vilified, as the Climategate emails again confirm.

    • Here ya go JC, here’s the first of Eric’s comments on the IPCC AR4 Chapter 6…

      “I have four chief concerns with this chapter. First, there are numerous important references left out, and an over-emphasis on papers by the authors themselves, which do not accurately reflect the communities’ view. In general, the certainty with which this chapter presents our understanding of abrupt climate change is overstated. There is confusion between hypothesis and evidence throughout the chapter, and a great deal of confusion on the difference between an abrupt “climate change” and possible, hypothetical cuases of such climate changes (e.g. Heinrich events). Second, the use of the terms “very likely”, “likely”, etc. are not in conformance with the rest of the IPCC document — some things that are virtually certain are listed as “likely” and mere hypotheses, largely untested, are listed as “very likely”. This carelessness does not add credibility to this chapter. Third, extensive reference is made to a very few recent papers that have not yet been thoroughly considered by the scientific community, and whose relevance to future climate is, in my judgement, greatly overstated. Finally, the choice of words to define — or not define — in the Glossary is strange. A definition (and a very poor one) of Heinrich events is given, but there is no definition for “Holocene”, even though that term is used throughout the text. I would additionally note that overall, the chapter does a fine job at dealing with the “Hockey Stick” controversy, but a very poor job dealing with abrupt climate change and its possible relevance to the future. There are numerous glaring omissions of citations — notably no mention is made of the work by Wunsch, Seager and Battisti, challenging the standard “Broecker-type” hypothesis for abrupt climate change.”

      … see he makes many points similar to yours. Was his “dissent” ‘not tolerated’? Did anyone “seek” to “trample and discredit” him?

      I have felt no pressure or backlash whatsover from it. Indeed, one of the Chapter 6 lead authors said “Eric, your criticism was really harsh, but helpful — thank you!”

      … will you “engage” as Eric requests and either support, qualify, or retract your absolute stt?…

      “they will tolerate no dissent, and seek to trample and discredit anyone who challenges the IPCC.”

      • … Judith?

        You’ve since found the time to reiterate insubstantial claims, comment six times on another blog, and tell us how you’re too busy to respond.

        But you can’t find the time to respond a fellow climate scientist who is trying to engage with your claims.

        Presumably that has nothing to do with his pointing out, by his own example, the absolute stt….

        “they will tolerate no dissent, and seek to trample and discredit anyone who challenges the IPCC.”

        … is false.

      • ummmm . . . which of the almost 500 replies should i respond to? Keith Kloor sent me an email and asked to me to respond to something over there.

      • well that’s the successful blogger’s prerogative: once you’ve provoked a lively discussion, where do you enter into it… if you do at all? speaking as one commenter, I give my proxy to Bart Verheggen, who has phrased my own questions far better than I ever could have.

      • Try Eric Steig’s.

      • Eric’s experience is the experience of one person. His opinion on this is the opinion of one person. My experience is the experience of one person. My opinion on this is the opinion of person. How Eric’s experience and opinion (or any single experience or opinion) “falsifies” anything that I’ve said is beyond me. Eric provides anecdotal “evidence” in the form of experience of one person regarding a hypothesis about a large social system. People can discuss Eric’s experience and opinion. And people can discuss my experience and opinion. And maybe we can all learn something and broaden our thinking on this whole issue.

        This is my blog, so my opinion and analysis appears in the lead post. Eric can write his extensive analysis and opinions here or on another blog. I am not trying to ram my opinions down anyone’s throat. I am trying to motivate people to think more broadly about this whole issue, and stop talking about the danged emails, which are a symptom of the problem, not the cause.

      • Judith,

        “How Eric’s experience and opinion (or any single experience or opinion) “falsifies” anything that I’ve said is beyond me”

        You posited an unconditional…

        “they will tolerate no dissent, and seek to trample and discredit anyone who challenges the IPCC.”

        All that falsifying the unconditional (“tolerate no dissent” “discredit anyone who challenges”) requires is to find *one* counter-example. Eric’s will do fine. He provided “dissent” and “challenge” in criticisms which substantially echo some of your own. By his admission, his dissent was tolerated, no-one tried to discredit him, and his criticisms were commened by one of the lead authors.

        This suggests a need to qualify your unconditional and somewhat hyperbolic stt.

      • I guess the issue is that much of what you write appears to take the form of testable assertions of fact, which you might provide evidence for if you had some. But here you seem to say that its all just opinion and, not only won’t you supply evidence, nobody should really expect you to. What is this blog, then? Climate poetry?

      • Testable assertions about a social system? Well, I am spending an hour this morning providing some “evidence.” Unlike other blogs, I don’t hit my readers over the head with factoids about things as nebulous as a social system as proof that a discussion should not be had; rather I seek to stimulate dialogue among people with diverse perspectives so that we can increase our understanding of a complex situation.

      • Judith,

        “I am spending an hour this morning providing some “evidence.””

        What “evidence”?

        This?

        Once the UNFCCC treaty was in place, there was pressure on the IPCC

        — is an assertion.

        This?

        Hence the “discernible” in the SAR.

        — is an assertion.

        look at where the pressure was coming from.

        — assertion.

        The whole UNFCCC treaty wouldn’t make sense

        — assertion.

        Building political will for the Kyoto Protocol was a high priority for the TAR.

        — assertion.

        there was pressure on the AR4

        — assertion.

        there wasn’t really much evidence beyond that provided in the TAR

        — assertion.

        In the AR4, political pressure actually acted to moderate the conclusions.

        — assertion.

        The “discernible” and the hockey stick should never have made it into the summary for policy makers.

        — assertion.

        have been rewarded professionally

        Judith, you’ve not provided “evidence”, just more unsubstantiated assertions piled on top of the mountain.

      • well, read the emails if you want some examples that support my statement.

      • Waving about the emails again? Why not pick one–say one about the “bullying” of skeptics”–and tell us what you think it proves. That would at least bring us into the realm of the concrete.

        I have read them, incidentally.

      • Hat tip: willard

        well, read the emails if you want some examples that support my statement.

        …As token skeptic there is Dick Lindzen — but at least he is a smart guy and he does listen…
        …At meetings, John Christy has been quite good — and there were good and positive interactions between John and Roy and the RSS gang that helped clarify a lot. Outside the meeting, in the email world, he has been more of a pain. He has made a lot of useful suggestions
        for the ExSumm — but he keeps accusing the AOGCMers of faking their models (not quite as bluntly as this). In the emails there are some very useful exchanges from Jerry Meehl, Ramaswamy and Ben detailing the AOGCM development process…
        …Suffice to say that he has some strange ideas (often to do with the effects of landuse change) that are interesting but still, in my view, speculative — but testable….
        …To accommodate dissenting views, the report will have a “dissenters’
        appendix”, with responses. You will get this at some stage — the deadline for dissenters to produce is Jan 31, and we will not finish our rebuttals until mid Feb. The dissenters are John C, and (far worse) Roger Pielke Sr. All of the rest of us disagree with these persons’ dissenting views. Roger has been extremely difficult — but the details
        are too complex to put in an email. On the other hand he has made a number of useful contributions to the ExSumm and other chapters.

        Do you consider this:

        “they will tolerate no dissent, and seek to trample and discredit anyone who challenges the IPCC.”

        Or would you characterize as an exchange about dissenting views and the support/evidence for those theories that are not in the mainstream and in which it was their responsibility to produce a section and appendix for?

      • Judith…

        The fact that some alleged instances that indicate intolerance may be found, even if they are found, does not support your *unconditional* sweeping hyperbolic stt…

        “they will tolerate no dissent, and seek to trample and discredit anyone who challenges the IPCC.”

        Clearly Eric Steig’s example disproves the stt ‘no dissent is tolerated’ and the stt ‘they seek to discredit anyone who challenges the IPCC’… finding examples where dissent is not tolerated does not make the above *unconditional* *unqualified* stts true.

        What part of this logic do you not understand?

      • Judith…

        In simpler form, the statement;

        A) dissent is *never* tolerated

        is falsified by finding just *one* example where dissent is tolerated

        finding examples where dissent is not tolerated, does not support the truth of A)

        it supports the statement

        B) dissent is sometimes not tolerated

        this less hyperbolic and sweeping stt allows the followup question… ‘how often is dissent not tolerated’?

      • ok lazar, i give in, my statement should have said “never tolerated (except for Eric Steig)” I’ve seen your statement many times, you don’t need to say this again.

      • Ok Judith, then please change and qualify your statements (“dissent”, “discredit”) in the blog post than leave the ammendment buried here in the comments.

        But with regard to…

        “never tolerated (except for Eric Steig)”

        … what gives you the confidence that Eric Steig is the only example which can be found?… what are you basing your sample on?… a possibly non-random selection of emails from a single institution?… can you apply your criticisms about characterizing uncertainty and overconfidence to the above stt?

      • Exactly. If one makes extreme statements such as ‘no tolerance’ then only one counter example is needed. But make that at least two, as James Annan points out. His post makes a number other points and is very worth reading.

      • Interesting logic, let me see if i can untangle it.

        Curry’s premise: If someone views the IPCC as dogma (A), then there will be no tolerance (B)
        Steig and Annan’s premise: Someone dissented (C), and someone tolerated the dissent (D)
        Steig and Annan’s conclusion: Since (C) and (D), therefore there is no (A)

        Nullius in Verba, your help is needed trying to untangle this one.

      • “Curry’s premise: If someone views the IPCC as dogma (A), then there will be no tolerance (B)”

        … we’ve already been through this… the premise above is not even close to the statement referenced by Eric that has been under discussion… which is…

        “they will tolerate no dissent, and seek to trample and discredit anyone who challenges the IPCC.”

        … and you agreed that Eric’s statement was a sufficient counter example to justify modifying the above to…

        “never tolerated (except for Eric Steig)”

        PS what about James’ stt?…

        “Well, I don’t think I got quite such a rapturous response as Eric did, with my attempts to improve the AR4 drafts, but I certainly didn’t get trampled and discredited either – merely made to feel mildly unwelcome, which I find tends to happen when I criticise people outside the IPCC too. But they did change the report in various ways. While I’m not an unalloyed fan of the IPCC process, my experience is not what she describes it as. So make that two anecdotes.”

        … does that count as a second good counter example?

      • “Steig and Annan’s conclusion: Since (C) and (D), therefore there is no (A)”

        … where did they say that? Their references to (C) and (D) were made explicitly to counter your statement…

        “they will tolerate no dissent, and seek to trample and discredit anyone who challenges the IPCC.”

        … they make no mention of proving the lack of existence (!) of (A)

      • Specifically, how it relates to your claim…

        “they will tolerate no dissent, and seek to trample and discredit anyone who challenges the IPCC.”

      • Lazar, on your afternoon off,if you ever have one,why dont you go through every statement in our Nobel winning Al Gore’s movie, and specifically analyse the veracity therein? After all, the movie had a far greater audience than Jutith Curry’s blog, and had major impacts on governments policies worldwide. When you have finished, come back and blog about it. Love to hear further from you,Ian.

    • The view through tinted spectacles is, err, tinted?

    • my reviews annoyed many of my colleagues, including some of my RC colleagues

      That’s probably why they made you do that statistically ludicrous ‘study’ of the ‘rapidly melting antarctic’. Penance for candour.

  49. Dear Professor Curry,

    Your efforts to restore credibility in science are doomed to fail unless leaders of the scientific community are willing to admit that they have betrayed public trust.

    The global climate scandal and the crisis in Western science and in Western forms of government have simply confirmed a warning from the former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower – in his farewell address to the nation on 17 Jan 1961 – that a federally funded scientific-technological elite might one day take control of government policy and pose a serious threat to “the supreme goals of our free society”:
    http://www.h-net.org/~hst306/documents/indust.html

    Climatologists are not entirely to blame. They copied techniques that space scientists have used since 1969 to hide or manipulate experimental data on the Allende meteorite and the Apollo lunar samples that contradicted the SSM (Standard Solar Model) of a Hydrogen-filled Sun and its formation out of an interstellar cloud of mostly H and He.

    Thanks to Climategate, the public now grasps the danger that a federally funded scientific-technological poses to “the supreme goals of our free society”.

    Faith in science will not be restored until past mistakes are acknowledged.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  50. Judith

    Thank you.

    Be ready for the mammoth abuse.

    Good luck.

  51. I see the whitewashers have decided to visit.

  52. How can good young scientists advance their career in the field of climate science under the current circumstances?
    The data collection systems, the data history and the funding are all controlled by bodies that have publicly affirmed the reality of AGW.
    In addition, because of the complexities of climate and environment, it is quite possible to plausibly explain away apparently contradictory results, for instance that higher temperatures may result in increased snowfall in the polar regions.
    So how can a junior researcher in the space safely express doubt, much less produce a substantial challenge to the prevailing orthodoxy, when there is no clear possibility of a disproof?
    It seems that only well established scientists can even contemplate raising their voices against that orthodoxy, but only at the risk of denigration and personal attacks. So the clear message to new potential climate scientist is to get on board or go away.
    Under these circumstances, I admire Dr Curry’s courage in raising concern about the AGW juggernaut, but do not see how the correction process can be brought about in the current institutional framework.

    • I agree with etudiant. If we cannot stop the misuse of science as a tool of government propaganda, etudiant probably doesn’t want to be a part of the scientific community.

      Two immediate steps are necessary to eliminate the concentration of
      power without accountability in:

      a.) Anonymous reviews of research proposals and papers, and in

      b.) NAS (National Academy of Sciences) control over federal research
      agencies by annual budget reviews for the US Congress.

      Otherwise, the public will completely shut down federal support for science, if the public still has any control over politicians (?).

      I have personally enjoyed 50 years of continuous discovery, and I hope that you other members of future generations will be able to enjoy the same.

      With kind regards,
      Oliver K. Manuel

    • David L. Hagen

      Satellites are providing voluminous objective data. Study and model that, with full details to reproduce the model (and preferably with open source or posted model software), providing with direct access to archived data.
      Give full evaluation of the uncertainties involved, especially Type B. Account for chaos & ocean oscillations etc. Use Principles of Scientific Forecasting where applicable. Avoid alarmist projections.

  53. The following statement is indicitative of the problem that we face as sceptics

    “The IPCC was perceived as needed because the precautionary principal says that if there is no proof something is safe, then something must be done about it (regulated). ”

    The correct logic is that if a future risk can be identified quantitatively then it is worth spending money now commensurate with the probability of the risk and its cost to society. It is nonsense to say that precaution is based on the principle of not being able to prove that there is no risk.

    I haven’t looked at the figures but I seriously doubt that there is any justification to spend a cent of money of today to avert catastrophic climate change which is extremely unlikely to happen in a way that will not stop it anyway.

    Keep up the good work Judith and you Anthony, you are lights in the darkness of corrupted science

  54. Hey gryposaurus:
    Don’t you think Ms. Curry has some inside knowlege of how climate science and the IPCC operates?
    Her assessments echo those made by environmental and science analyst Peter Taylor in his book “Chill.”

    • She has gone beyond what anyone would consider “inside knowledge” here. She said she bases her assessment on emails, and I don’t see any proof of anything that goes beyond quibbles between scientists that have nothing to do with uncertainties being hidden. And her accusations seem very reaching into the entire academic process without any evidence to show how, IMO. But what do I know, right?

      • I don’t see any proof of anything that goes beyond quibbles between scientists that have nothing to do with uncertainties being hidden.

        That’s because your blinkers are firmly in place.

  55. “So who are these brilliant young scientists whose careers have been destroyed by the supposed tyranny of the IPCC? Examples?”

    The ones who in the end couldn’t back up their critiques with substance and so had to come up with a conspiracy instead.

  56. Thank you, Judith! I am deeply impressed by your integrity. I run Scandinavia’s largest climate skeptics blog and I find myself agreeing with you on every point. The problem isn’t the science, it is science becoming politised and kidnapped by those who seek their own glory rather than the truth.
    Once again, thank you for speaking out!

  57. “Now the argument is rightly made that behavior of scientists is not relevant to the truth of science.”

    Uh, almost right. When their behaviour includes refusing to publish methods, data, and code, their associated publications become, at the very least, moot. When they continue to represent the latter as scientific truth, they are lying. That, in my opinion, is relevant.

    “However, when the assessment of the science rests largely on expert judgment, the behavior and credibility of the experts becomes a very important issue.”

    If by assessment of the science you mean peer review, then yes. Otherwise, see the paragraph above.

    BTW, Dr. C, the word ‘robust’ in the sceptical blogosphere has very negative connotations as a result of its overuse in ProAGW literature.

  58. The entire framing of the IPCC was designed around identifying sufficient evidence so that the human-induced greenhouse warming could be declared unequivocal, and so providing the rationale for developing the political will to implement and enforce carbon stabilization targets.

    Dang, 20 years on, and still the IPCC hasn’t succeeded in the simple task of managing to declare human-induced greenhouse warming unequivocal. What an incompetent group of scientifically ethical boobs! Throw the bums out, and get some properly corrupt scientists in there who can accomplish the IPCC’s mission!

    • Could it be possible you are missing the point?
      Perhaps Pielke, Jr.’s point is worth reviewing on this:
      That the over emphasis on CO2, as well as the conflicting goals between the IPCC and the UNFCCC means that people are obsessing on one climate forcing and talking past each other?

  59. The self-perpetuating feedback loop is one we encounter all too often in other fields of human endeavour. For example, the cosily corrupt relationship between some medical expert witnesses (whose prime expertise is in giving ‘expert’ evidence rather than treating patients!) and insurance companies has added massively to the burdens suffered by the litigants battling in the Anglo-Saxon adversarial court system.

    The relevant professional bodies (Colleges of Surgeons, Physicians, Psychiatrists, and the like) whose job is to maintain standards stand by and do nothing – indeed, often the governance of these learned bodies comprises the self-same ‘guns for hire.’

    Scientists by nature tend to be intensively competitive achievement-orientated individuals and hence the possibility that some might subvert processes such as the IPCC to suit their agenda (power, influence, and sometimes ideology) comes as no surprise. For my part, I suspect that any subversion (if there has been subversion – a separate issue) would arise more from the narcissistic buzz of being ‘a mover and shaker’ at the centre of events rather than ideology or even monetary rewards.

    I suspect that research in many other sciences (I can speak only for my field) is often dominated by powerful personalities who perpetuate paradigms that bear little relationship to coalface realities.

    After all, when so many physicians and allied experts behave badly, is it realistic to expect our scientists to behave any better?

  60. You write “I’m trying to get the public perception of climate science back on track so that our field can regain some respect.” May I then suggest you spend some effort at trying to explain what you think we do know about climate science on this blog rather than only focusing on your doubts and how you think you are being mistreated by your colleagues.

  61. James C. Wilson

    I believe that the dynamics described in this post do not in fact explain the IPCC nor its reports. I believe that the post gets many things seriously wrong.
    1) The post suggests that a few self serving careerists have driven the direction of IPCC such that its findings are suspect or unscientific or wrong. A few numbers concerning Working Group 1 for AR4 (the 2007 assessment) are helpful. 152 Authors. ~450 Contributors. ~600 Reviewers. More than 30,000 comments received and posted. 75% of the authors on the 2007 Assessment were not on the 2001 Assessment. How exactly does the invisible hand of self interest corrupt this many authors, contributors and reviewers in the face of this much turnover. Many derive no money from their efforts. The vast majority have day jobs that pay them and IPCC work is done as a service to the profession and society. The method for herding these cats is not laid out in the post and indeed those who know these people know that the prospect of herding them would be daunting.
    2. The IPCC Working Group 1 chapters from 2007 have held up very well. The error rate was very small. The document is a very useful summary of the relevant literature in the various sub-fields because it is very complete. So, how did a band of self serving distortionists succeed at a low error rate. If the object was to feather nests rather than discuss climate, why are there not more errors? Remember that Dr. Lindzen was a lead author on Chapter 7 of the Third Assessment Report (IPCC 2001). Throughout the bruhaha concerning the validity of the summaries of those reports, Dr. Lindzen asserted that the chapter was accurate (he did not like the summaries).
    3. Hasn’t the trend from the first to the second to the third to the fourth report been increased confidence in the conclusion that climate is warming and in the conclusion that humans are contributing importantly to that warming? Is this was a reflection of the institutional needs of a cadre of self-servers rather than a picture of our evolving understanding? I think that it is the latter. The data are getting better and the understanding is getting clearer. If not, why have Dr. Lindzen and Dr. Spencer modified their views concerning these issues so that they are less dissonant? When TAR came out in 2001, neither were convinced that climate was warming. Today both are. And Dr. Lindzen has written that climate is warming and that humans contribute, according to his analysis, up t0 30% of that warming.
    The importance of the uncertainties is undeniable. And the range of the IPCC climate sensitivities reflects to some degree those uncertainties. There is much to do and it will not be done fast. So the policy conundrum of long lived, accumulating greenhouse gases whose impact is only imperfectly known remains with us. It is not because the IPCCers are corrupt. Its because its hard.

    Granted I have listened to some disagreeable people who played important roles in IPCC reports. I have also talked to a number of brilliant and selfless scientists who were involved. This post fails to capture the reality that the criterion for judging is whether the science is right. And it appears to be very good.

    Regards,
    Chuck Wilson

    • James C. Wilson

      I nodded off before finishing my list. Please let me continue:
      4. The consensus model for writing of chapters means that disputes among the authors are public and not private affairs. If an author disagrees with the conclusion, they can force acknowledgment of the dispute in the chapter. So the idea that a small cadre of insiders to drove the conclusions against the wishes of 75% of newcomers seems quite unlikely.
      5. The fact that IPCC limits itself to the refereed literature is very important and very helpful in avoiding the biases that Dr. Curry is alleging here to have driven the report. For the most part the refereed literature avoids the ad hominem arguments that characterize this blog. Count the words being devoted to assessing humans and their motives on this blog and compare that the the number of words discussing science. The science is in the minority. The human factors discussion is quite interesting to humans but does not advance the question concerning the energy balance of the earth. The refereed literature is rather good at filtering this noise out of the discussion. Note also that scientific errors are rampant in the blog. For example, people who do not know the difference between precision and accuracy are able to refudiate the global temperature trends with confidence approaching 100% on the blog. People who do not understand the basics of radiation heat transfer fail to understand that the biggest negative feedback on warming is the emission of infrared radiation. Hot bodies emit more. Therefore they imagine that the failure of the planet’s temperatures to have run off the end of the thermometer proves that AGW is false. Errors like these are by and large excluded from the reviewed scientific literature by reviewers and editors. Therefore while vast, the scientific literature excludes personal attacks and off-the-rails logic. In the blog, people are free to ignore previous results that are inconvenient. In the literature, responsible citation of previous results is the rule rather than the exception. Thus, the widely practiced discipline of writing for the refereed scientific literature means that the resulting pages focus on the science rather than on the distractions that humans enjoy so much. Science by blog is fun but simply fails to reveal anything about how nature works (I admit that human nature is in display in the blogs). The refereed literature requirement has its problems, but it sets a reasonable bar so that the discussion avoids the faults on display on the blogs. The scientific discourse in the refereed literature is a boiling pot of contention. But the contention is focused on the data and on the interpretations and not on gossip and innuendo that dominate many blogs. This makes the literature a dry place where insomnia is treated by staying current. That is one of its strengths but explains why so few of the contributors here are familiar with it.
      6. The requirement that the IPCC treat the scientific literature means that the small cadre of bad-guys that Dr. Curry might or might not identify were unable to exclude papers from discussion. The hacked emails listed some papers that the emailers did not like and apparently wanted to suppress. Those papers were discussed in the chapters. When I read the emails, I went to the chapters and searched for the papers and found every one. So IPCC was true to its mandate regardless of the conclusions you might draw from the emails. The papers received their due.
      Working Group 1 of IPCC has put up a milestone that is pretty accurate in summarizing what we knew as of the closing date for the papers considered. That was its task and it was rather successful. All the caterwauling has failed to identify more that a handful of errors in a very thick report. This blog is most interesting when discussing the uncertainties. I believe that how they were treated and what they mean for policymakers is very important in going forward. I think that the discussion is conniving cabals is better left to others. The broad brushes used on this blog have tarred far too many people with unsubstantiated charges.
      Now I must rush off to work. My list of strengths of the literature, the process and the result is still incomplete.
      Regards,
      Chuck Wilson

      • David L. Hagen

        Chuck Wilson
        You state the ideal, ignoring reality. You need to conduct a reality check/find out about the real world of “climate science”.

        Re: “If an author disagrees with the conclusion, they can force acknowledgment of the dispute in the chapter.”
        Checkout ClimateAudit for numerous examples of lead authors ignoring/burying objections raised by reviewers.

        Re:”5. The fact that IPCC limits itself to the refereed literature is very important”
        Don’t we wish! Check out the actual audits of the IPCC references.
        Findings of the Citizen Audit of the 2007 IPCC report at
        No Frakking Consensus

        The climate bible is unambiguously not based solely on research previously published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Nearly 5,600 of the sources upon which this document relies (30 percent) were found to be “grey literature.” Among these sources are press releases, news clippings, student theses, working papers, discussion papers, and advocacy literature produced by green groups.

        Re: “that is pretty accurate in summarizing what we knew as of the closing date for the papers considered.”
        Closing dates were ignored/fudged.
        Substantial evidence was ignored/excluded. See the 880 p 2009 NIPCC report Climate Change Reconsidered.
        See the legal evaluation:
        Global Warming Advocacy Science: A Cross Examination
        Jason Scott Johnston, University of Virginia – School of Law,
        May 1, 2010, U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 10-08

        Your statements contain numerous other errors. Time to do some serious “red team” evaluation and “kick the tires”. Otherwise we will just write off your statements as from one with his “head in the sand”.

  62. Dogma? Heresy? The battle between fundamentalists and evolutionary biologists set precedents and attitudes for the AGW debate that follows.

  63. Well said Doctor.
    It’s a brave person to stand up for one’s scientific conclusions these days, or, at least, in which direction investigation of the myriad data leads to those conclusions.
    I also congratulate you for keeping an open mind; so vital in any research.

  64. it is perfectly acceptable to criticize the IPCC for being too conservative.

  65. Michael Chrichton’s “Aliens cause global warming” is another interesting and original attempt to explain how the current situation came to be.

    http://www.s8int.com/crichton.html

  66. Simon Barnett

    An excellent article. One is left to wonder if you are the only climate “scientist” left that doesn’t deserve the scare quotes.

    While I hope this is not the case (for the sake of climatology going forward beyond the current cult of global warming) you are to be lauded as one of the few voices with the courage to treat this a scientific issue rather than a political one.

    Thank you for that and keep up the good work – don’t let the b@!”£$%^&*s grind you down.

  67. Yes – all very interesting.
    I have always been of the opinion that climate was changing- why only in the 1970’s we were on the verge of an ice age……

    I saw a very intriguing article recently about water mining. It seems that water mining for irrigation is taking ENORMOUS volumes of water out of the aquifers and spraying it on crops in areas where there isnt enough rainfall. This water is not being replaced (well not very fast anyway) Apparently this water seems to be the cause of about 25% of the observed sea level rise. But between being sprayed on land and getting into the oceans it necessarily gets there by becoming water vapour – more water vapour than would have been there historically when there was no irrigation.
    Now isn’t water vapour the most powerful greenhouse gas?

    I have no doubt that CO2 might be having some effect, but I also have no doubt that there are other factors at play, and much bigger and more powerful ones. I think the CO2 factor is pretty much the result of whats called illogical logic – ie: CO2 has been shown to be able to increase the temperature of an atmosphere, there is increasing CO2 levels in the earths atmosphere, thus CO2 is cauing earths atmosphere to warm. Totally illogical.

  68. I find the analysis of the climate case in terms of positive/negative feedback very interesting. I have used it for the analysis of CFC-ozone politics (in a book called Transnational Environmental Policy, see here
    The difference between the two cases are (with regard to positive/negative feedback) that in ozone politics a small group of dedicated advocacy scientists got the process started and was at the centre of a feedback loop. In climate politics it is a supposedly neutral, big international organisation.

  69. Dr Curry

    A very interesting piece and if I may say so, quite brave too. It is clear from some of the comments already on this post that you have poked the metaphorical bee’s nest with this one, though I do feel you were well within your rights to say what you said.

    An unfortunate side effect of trying to engage with the more sceptical scientists will be your increasing isolation and vilification from the ‘consensus’ group. However, as you, I and most other honest scientists will know, that only proves your point.

    It is quite maddening to read of some of the abuse you have received merely for asking questions and trying to restore some credibility to a seriously damaged field of science and I think it shows quite starkly, how climate science has been devoured by the politicians and opportunistic scientists.

    The IPCC have lost all credibility in my eyes. As have the CRU team and many of the other leading climate scientists- the minute you refuse to accept you may be wrong and seek to shut off all dissent/questions, is the minute you stop being a scientist. It is quite evident that from the tones of some of the posts you are receiving that many are themselves not scientists, so I would not take any to heart (though I doubt you would from what I have seen so far).

    The way forward? I think as you are already doing (not that I would assume to advise, only comment). To use a northern English parlance ‘we’ must carry on- “slowly, slowly, catchy, monkey”. Pick at each thread, follow it where it may lead then move on, irrespective of what abuse ‘we’ may receive.

    The amusing thing about all this is that if the consensus were more open we may even end up PROVING cAGW for them! However their aggressive refusal to follow basic scientific procedure does nothing but generate suspicion and concern. Couple that with the name calling and attacks, well- you have significantly more control than I Dr curry.

    Scientists should keep asking questions, if you’re not happy with the answers, ask more. Keep digging, read all available information and test what you can. This is certainly the scientific tenant I hold to, I just wish more others did as well- perhaps the climate scientists and the IPCC will remember this in time for AR5…

  70. Everyone knows who the “team” are. Everyone knows there is a chain of funding and a hierachy, the same as any other set of professionals.

    The conservationists and left wing nutters have used climate change as a trojan horse to further other agendas.

    The environmentalists have gone from standing outside nuclear bases to having the ears of governments.

    And add to that the fact that climate science is not settled, there are other opinions and many people see claims made on half cycles and unkowns as “facts” as hugely suspicious.

    Those with most to lose and all that.

    • Quite right.

      A lot of very influential people are worried to the point of panic, that the enormous amount of money they were going to make, will turn into a massive loss.

  71. IPCC priesthood,
    IPCC dogma,
    Framing it as if the IPCC conslusions were predetermined before it even started assessing the science.

    These are harsh words/accusations that need strong evidence to back them up, which is severely lacking IMO. This kind of baseless accusatory framing is also the main reason that you get a lot of flack. It increases, rather than decreases the polarization, and it starts to overshadow those issues where you do make valid points.

    • Bart,
      what more evidence do you need? The CRU emails clearly show:
      -intent to hide/delete data
      – actual evidence of deliberate FOI avoidance (illegal in the UK- they only esaped prosecution due to a legal loop-hole which has now been closed).
      – ‘cabal’ mentality- promoting and bragging about blocking dissxenting views from publication

      We then have Pirachi deliberatley misleading people over the himalayian data prior to copenhagen, downright attacking anyone who claimed otherwise (despite being wrong).

      Then you have the aggressice and continued attack on anyone who dares dissent from the consensus line.

      Finally and more specifically to Dr Curry’s case, you have direct attacks on her integrity, scientific qualifications and mental state.

      Just what more do you need? I think if anything, she was being TOO kind in the post, not too harsh. This type of behaviour is simply inexcusable, especially for scientists.

      • Munckey,

        The “but climategate” defense is wearing thin.
        http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2010/03/they-got-nothin.html

        Gossiping about how annoying some self declared auditors are hardly leads to the kind of allegations Curry pushes in this piece.

      • Alex Heyworth

        Sorry, Bart, but relying on Michael Tobis’ website for your information about Climategate is a fatal lapse. We can hear the wagons circling. Your credibility is in tatters.

        I would bet that you haven’t taken Judith up on her challenge to read what Andrew Montford has to say.

      • Alex,

        If the only way to get credibility amongst the no-mitigation crowd is to say the kinds of things Judith Curry is saying in this post and labmunckey in his comment (baseless accusations of widespread bias and/or misconduct), then I guess I won’t succeed. I still have standards. I’m all for building bridges. But a) with respect for evidence and b) in the absence of conspiratorial thinking.

        And FWIW, on the circling the wagons strategy I am in close agreement with Judith Curry. (See e.g. http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2010/04/27/judith-curry-on-climate-science-introspection-or-circling-the-wagons/ )
        That doesn’t in any way make the points that mt raises in the linked post moot. Have you read it?

      • Bart- i’m afraid i am going to call BS on this.

        The UK legal system has clearly stated that the cru team deliberatley broke the law wrt FOI avoidance.

        the only reason they avoided prosecution was due to a mis-understood loophole wrt the reporting time frame for the incident. This is freely available information.

        How is proof of breaking the law classed as
        “and labmunckey in his comment (baseless accusations of widespread bias and/or misconduct”.

      • Alex Heyworth

        Bart, I had not read that particular post before. I have difficulty in seeing its relevance. All Michael seems to be saying is (1) that the Climategate emails are not proof of a formal conspiracy; and (2) that the IPCC AR4 is not an extreme interpretation of the available evidence.

        Neither of these points seem to me to be particularly controversial. I would say that, rather than a formal conspiracy, the Climategate emails clearly indicate collusion towards excluding alternative opinion in particular areas from appearing in the AR4 report, collusion to prevent particular papers from being published, and collusion to influence editorial policy at certain journals. If you consider these to be baseless accusations, then I’m afraid I can only conclude that you haven’t read the emails.

        If you’re wondering how I distinguish between collusion and a conspiracy, a conspiracy to my understanding indicates a fixed group of people getting together to conspire towards a particular end. Collusion, as in the case of the Climategate emails, is a far looser process with different people involved in different aspects, different people playing the central role from one case to another, and shifting agendas.

        As for the AR4 report, it has its strengths and weaknesses, as I think we all acknowledge, but certainly there is nothing particularly extreme about it. It does, however, seem to have narrowed the range of source material in some areas with a view to deriving an artificial “consensus” where, in reality, none exists. As indicated above, this exclusion of some material (and inclusion of other material which, according to IPCC rules, should not have been considered), came about as a result of collusion on the part of IPCC authors.

        If you are so against the circling the wagons strategy, I wonder why so many of your posts seem to contribute to defending the indefensible (viz the collusions noted above).

        Also, I note that you didn’t say whether you’d read The Hockey Stick Illusion.

      • Bart, i’m confsed.
        The climategate emails do show deliberate un-scientific processes.

        The one email that asks a colleague to delete data rather than share it would be enough to get me fired and possibly put in jail in my current position. It amuses me still that the CRU are extended an immunity on this, despite being found to have acted illegal by the UK review into the matter (FOI avoidance).

        None of the inquiries have sufficiently looked inot the questions raised (going as far as to not even check the emails/data- hence the inquiries now having, erm, inquiries) so all the questions and allegations raised by the whole debacle still remain.

        At the very least and assuming that any future THOROUGH review finds the CRU innocent, the emails show a distinct mindset that could very easily be described as Dogmatic. The priesthood statement is an obvious extension of that conclusion and the IPCC’s evaluation of it’s own position.

        I can’t help thinking that you’re picking at this for other reasons than general concern.

      • I can assure you that I’ve had conversations with others around the coffee machine along the lines of “if only ….. I wish ….. we should get together and ….. he’s an idiot …. why do I have to …. I’d really like to get rid of …. ”

        It may not be admirable, but it is perfectly ordinary behaviour.

      • There’s a stark difference between saying something like that at the water cooler and then including it in an email, as a direct instruction and you know it.

  72. The journalist Christopher Booker and Richard North wrote a book, “Scared to Death”, which documents a considerable number of scare stories, based on science, that seem to have become inflated by the very feedback you describe.

    Each scare seems have ‘benefited’ from the tendency of politicians to take the words of men in white coats without asking even basic questions. Often the scientific advise offered to ministers, represented only one strand of thought, but was presented as the scientific opinion. Ultimately the politicians over-reacted.

    Whatever one thinks of the individual issues raised in that book (salmonella in eggs, BSE, Y2K, white asbestos, satanic abuse, …..), there is no question that each scare was supposed to herald apocalyptic consequences, but ended with a whimper – to be replaced by something else.

    I would recommend this book to anyone – it puts an interesting perspective on much that has happened in recent years.

  73. A wonderful essay, Judith. Now, if only we could persuade you that the output of the models, and other theoretical calcualtions carried out by the proponents of CAGW, are unsupported by any observational data. Further that such little observational data that we have, indicates that the effect of adding more CO2 to the atmosphere with respect to global temperatures, is somewhere between very small and negligible, then we would be making real progress.

  74. Well Judith, once one strips out the adjectives and hyperbole… where is your data? (Isn’t that a common skeptic refrain?)

    Here’s one data pont;

    James C. Wilson;

    “A few numbers concerning Working Group 1 for AR4 (the 2007 assessment) are helpful. 152 Authors. ~450 Contributors. ~600 Reviewers. More than 30,000 comments received and posted. 75% of the authors on the 2007 Assessment were not on the 2001 Assessment. How exactly does the invisible hand of self interest corrupt this many authors, contributors and reviewers in the face of this much turnover.”

    And here’s another;

    Eric Steig;

    “my personal experience as a relatively young person in this game just doesn’t jive with what you are saying. I was highly critical of IPCC AR4 Chapter 6, so much so that the Heartland Institute repeatedly quotes me as evidence that the IPCC is flawed. Indeed, I have been unable to find any other review as critical as mine. I know — because they told me — that my reviews annoyed many of my colleagues, including some of my RC colleagues, but I have felt no pressure or backlash whatsover from it. Indeed, one of the Chapter 6 lead authors said “Eric, your criticism was really harsh, but helpful — thank you!”

    You wrote;

    “the IPCC assessment process had a substantial element of schoolyard bullies, trying to insulate their shoddy science”

    Your turn… try and quantify “substantial” “bullies” “shoddy”

    • substantial and bullies- read the cru emails.

      Shoddy. how long have you got? Start with the continued use of grey literature and move on from there.

      • I’m asking JC, not you. But in brief…

        “read the cru emails” is unresponsive.

        “grey literature” does not equate “shoddy science”

        “grey literature” does not equate “their shoddy science”

      • fair enough, but i saw it as such an easy question to counter-

        Ok- more specifically on the cru emails wrt to substantial and bully- there are numerous emails detailing CRU members planning to block publications and boycot any journal that publishes a skeptical paper.

        AS for shoddy- they IPCC specifically stated it should not rely on grey literature and only scientific papers/data. They broke their own rules- hence shoddy,

      • Looks like we have a very different perspective of who’s the bully and who is being bullied.

        And indeed, there is something to be said that this has a long history in which at the current state there is bullying on both sides. Fair enough.

      • I can certainly agree that the debate has long since descended into name calling and accusation (Dr Curry’s efforts notwithstanding).

        However, i think you would have to be selective in the extreme to claim deny that the lions share of the aggression, threats and bullying does not come from the consensus side.

        though, this is by no means absolving EITHER side of guilt- these ‘tactics’ are abhorrent, whatever the reason or ‘side’.

      • If you don’t include accusations of fraud, bias and misconduct then I guess you could be right.

      • One thing i’ve suggested that nobody on either side wants to consider is the following.

        1. produce a list of skeptic papers/comments that were blocked and have them re evaluated. Publically.

        2. with AR4 there are only a few places where the record could be improved or corrected. Do that.

        for one side the admission of a few inconsequential errors, errors in process and editorial slant is too much to even fathom. for the other side, this measured approach won’t satisfy the bloodlust.

        so, the fight goes on. Now, I dont think the fight would stop if these things were done, but I’d say the specific problems were being addressed in a responsible fashion. Ignoring the problems is not an answer. making mountains out of molehills is just as bad.

      • Sea level attributions in AR4 would be an example of shoddy science. A simple comparison with the sea level attributions from AR3 shows many attributing factors were left out and the studies to support their deletion from attribution were non-existent. Just because something is difficult to measure doesn’t mean it isn’t important and you can’t just wave your hand at uncertainties and make them disappear.

      • steven – So you think they _should_ have included uncertain estimates of melting from GIS and WAIS. I do, but I just don’t know how they could have done so and kept within the rules they’d set for themselves.

      • Since they limited the attribution of sea level rise to melting ice and thermal expansion it was included as one or the other if it was indeed happening. I suspect that you may be confusing the issue of projections with the issue of attribution.

      • Says who?

  75. Thank you, Dr Curry, for yet another excellent piece. If it wasn’t for your early and unequivocal criticism of your own discipline, in the eyes of this layman, at least, climate science would be right down there with horoscope science in terms of credibility.

  76. “there are numerous emails”

    that is still unresponsive

    “IPCC specifically stated it should not rely on grey literature and only scientific papers/data”

    wrong

  77. This has to be the worst post on Climate Etc yet.

    Wild sweeping generalisations implicating every scientist involved with the IPC, all without the slightest hint of evidence, just pure opinion.

    Maybe Judith is trying to give a personal demonstration of how scientists should stay well away from politics, because this comes across as pure politics.

  78. Judith

    You thought the climategate emails were detrimental for the IPCC.

    For your detractors who ask for evidence and for your supporters, is it possible for you to write an opinion article on your interpretation of the climategate emails?

    I hope with the new climate in Washington, the investigation of these emails would not be a whitewash next time.

    Thank you

  79. The problem is interest is in only certain areas of short term science that can possibly effect our current lives.
    So the big picture of linking the past with the present has tried to be done with Darwin(who was just about jailed and condemned by the church).

    You have to study the past and include many factors or the models of prediction will ALWAYS fail.
    A good example is how water(liquid)was created and when the evaporation process started. You have to then calculated back to the distance of our planet to the sun, the increased rotational speed depending on how far back you are going. The chemical process of water had to be heavy due to centrifugal force was greater. So, the process of water bonding with salt and trace elements from this planets surface was a survival mechanism so that liquid didn’t evaporate(centrifugal force) and drift through the atmosphere into space.
    It is not a coincidence that Ice Ages started forming with the creation of evaporation as no actual water molecules were in the atmosphere before then.
    Evaporation has only started around 430 million years ago with heavier salt concentrations than today. No plant life on the surface of the planet before then. With planet life is a food supply and an incentive of evolution to evolve onto land.
    So, as our planet slows, the oceans waters are staving off salt and are becoming fresher.

  80. NATURAL GLOBAL WARMING

    1) 30 years of slight global cooling from 1880 to 1910
    2) 30 years of global warming at the rate of 0.15 deg C per decade from 1910 to 1940
    3) 30 years of slight cooling from 1940 to 1970
    4) 30 years of global warming at the rate of 0.16 deg C per decade from 1970 to 2000

    http://bit.ly/9Ie4P7

    Assuming the above pattern that was valid for 120 years from 1880 to 2000 is valid for the next 20 years, it is reasonable to predict slight global cooling from 2000 to 2030.

    Note that the two global warming phases in the last century (1910 to 1940 & 1970 to 2000) had nearly identical warming rates, showing the effect of 60-years of human emission of CO2 on the global warming rate is NIL.

    And since 2000, we have a nearly constant global mean temperature anomaly of 0.4 deg C as shown in the following plot.

    http://bit.ly/98dVMm

    What does the Climate Science community say about this lack of warming in PRIVATE:

    1) “Be awkward if we went through a early 1940s type swing!”
    http://bit.ly/9p2e5m

    2) “I think we have been too readily explaining the slow changes over past decade as a result of variability–that explanation is wearing thin.”
    http://bit.ly/aMJ6OQ

    3) “The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998. OK it has but it is only 7 years of data and it isn’t statistically significant.” [This statement was made 5-years ago and the global warming rate still is zero]
    http://bit.ly/6qYf9a

    4) “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”
    http://bit.ly/7jJE0X

  81. Alex Heyworth

    Maybe now that the policy cart’s wheels have fallen off, the science horse will finally be free to explore the environment.

  82. Dr. Curry,
    Best wishes at your Purdue panel discussion.
    It looks to be a well balanced panel between mainstream AGW promoter Revkin, Pielke, Jr. on costs of AGW policies and yourself about the actual science.
    A report from you on this panel discussion will be most interesting.

  83. Dr. Judith Curry (DJC) writes: “Investigations of scientists at East Anglia and Penn State were widely regarded to be whitewashes;”

    The argument that Climategate investigations were a whitewash is pure hogwash. I will support this argument using PSU’s investigation of Dr. Mann as my example. (That is what scientists typically do. If they make a strong statement they support it with evidence.)

    As reported by Brian Angliss at Scholars & Rogues (http://www.scholarsandrogues.com/2010/02/15/psu-cover-up-extremely-unlikely/) Penn State is one of the top research institutions in the country and their reputation is far more important than the reputation of just one researcher. Here is a snippet from Brain’s post:

    According to a list of grants at The Free Republic, Mann has brought in a total of $4.2 million since he joined PSU in 2006, with a significant portion of that money to be spent over the next several years. From 2006 to 2009, Mann’s grants totaled about $1.8 million. In that same period, PSU’s total research income was $2.8 billion ($2,804 million). As a percentage, Mann’s grants represented 0.06% of the total research money that PSU was granted between 2006 and 2009. Clearly, as White pointed out, “[i]t makes no sense that [Mann's] grants could corrupt the whole system.”

    There is very strong evidence for the human fingerprint on modern day global warming including direct measurement of an increased GHE. The evidence is so strong that just about every international academy of science supports that IPCC (2007) conclusions to that effect.

    There is very little evidence (IMO, no evidence) that climategate has corrupted the scientific process or that the IPCC is a politically corrupted organization whose high priests are steering scientific results.

    I find it odd that DJC is so certain that: 1) the IPCC is corrupt, 2) there is religious groupthink regarding AGW that is driving the literature, and 3) climategate exposed this corruption and groupthink even though there is little to no evidence to support these conclusions.

    At the same time she complains that there are many uncertainties in climate science not being adequately addressed while the evidence for the certainty of AGW is overwhelming.

    Does anybody else see this obvious contradiction?

    • Hmmm…..Mann is an important researcher, but his money is so small as to not corrupt the entire system.
      Are you also selling a bridge?

    • Scott:

      “Dr. Judith Curry (DJC) writes: “Investigations of scientists at East Anglia and Penn State were widely regarded to be whitewashes;”

      The argument that Climategate investigations were a whitewash is pure hogwash.”

      “were widely regarded”

      They are widely regarded as such. ( how wide is wide?) This isnt about the facts of the case. Its a about a public perception. More later.

  84. geoff chambers

    There’s an interesting diagram here
    http://ccgi.newbery1.plus.com/blog/?p=322
    which tries to analyse the nature of positive feedback loops in the growth of the global warming “story”. By including six “actors” (science, government, media, activists, administration, and industry) it widens the field from a simple loop connecting science and politics, and provides a convincing picture of a stable, self contained structure from which public opinion seems to be effectively excluded. Maybe if each link in the structure were analysed as thoroughly as you have analysed the science/politics loop, we’d be nearer to understanding what’s going and how to reverse the machine.

  85. The emails show scientists are completely fed up with the attacks they have they endure. Which should be of no surprise if you look at the situation in context.

    • “I assume that the reference number means that this is the 100th email Palmer has received! This will presumeably [sic] totally foul up his plans for a vacation.

      Heroic indeed.

    • I agree Bart, and I will provide some of an email as to why I think so.

      My personal opinion is that both FOI requests (1) and (2) are intrusive and
      unreasonable. Steven McIntyre provides absolutely no scientific justification or
      explanation for such requests. I believe that McIntyre is pursuing a calculated strategy
      to divert my attention and focus away from research. As the recent experiences of Mike
      Mann and Phil Jones have shown, this request is the thin edge of wedge. It will be
      followed by further requests for computer programs, additional material and
      explanations, etc., etc.

      Quite frankly, Tom, having spent nearly 10 months of my life addressing the serious
      scientific flaws in the Douglass et al. IJoC paper, I am unwilling to waste more of my
      time fulfilling the intrusive and frivolous requests of Steven McIntyre. The supreme
      irony is that Mr. McIntyre has focused his attention on our IJoC paper rather than the
      Douglass et al. IJoC paper which we criticized. As you know, Douglass et al. relied on a
      seriously flawed statistical test, and reached incorrect conclusions on the basis of
      that flawed test.

      I believe that our community should no longer tolerate the behavior of Mr. McIntyre and
      his cronies. McIntyre has no interest in improving our scientific understanding of the
      nature and causes of climate change. He has no interest in rational scientific
      discourse. He deals in the currency of threats and intimidation. We should be able to
      conduct our scientific research without constant fear of an “audit” by Steven McIntyre;
      without having to weigh every word we write in every email we send to our scientific
      colleagues.

      In my opinion, Steven McIntyre is the self-appointed Joe McCarthy of climate science. I
      am unwilling to submit to this McCarthy-style investigation of my scientific research.
      As you know, I have refused to send McIntyre the “derived” model data he requests, since
      all of the primary model data necessary to replicate our results are freely available to
      him. I will continue to refuse such data requests in the future. Nor will I provide
      McIntyre with computer programs, email correspondence, etc. I feel very strongly about
      these issues. We should not be coerced by the scientific equivalent of a playground
      bully.

      This is part of an email sent from Ben Santer. You can read the whole exchange here . There is one thing I can tell from reading a number of emails (that aren’t discussed often) is that the scientists felt that they were being harassed. There doesn’t seem to be any denying that. Now, of course, we can argue whether his feelings were reasonable or not, and we may come to some agreement, but none of us are actually Ben Santer and we cannot read his mind. We can also discuss whether his actions were justified, and we may agree on that, but again, we are not Ben Santer, we do not know how he felt at this time and under these circumstances. So whether or not you feel that this “scientists behaving badly” or “proof of fraud” or “nothing much at all”, the fact remains that there is an enormous amount of context involved that extends well beyond what can be discussed by looking at email snippets.

      • i can agree with the sentiment- though perhaps not on their justification.
        regardless of his, your or my opinion on the FOI requests, they were under a direct legal requirement to fulfil them.

        None of us like filling out paperwork- but it has to be done.

      • ” they were under a direct legal requirement to fulfil them.”

        True, they were. In my link, it shows Santer mentions discussing this with the legal affairs :

        I will be consulting LLNL’s Legal Affairs Office in order to determine how the DOE and
        LLNL should respond to any FOI requests that we receive from McIntyre. I assume that
        such requests will be forthcoming.
        I am copying this email to all co-authors of our 2008 IJoC paper, to my immediate
        superior at PCMDI (Dave Bader), to Anjuli Bamzai at DOE headquarters, and to Professor
        Glenn McGregor (the editor who was in charge of our paper at IJoC).

      • yes i saw that.

        I guess i’m saying, i understand why they were peeved, but i see it as no excuse. Which is probably what i should have said in the first place!

      • What a waste of tax money.

      • Grypasaurus: These people put forward some remarkable claims (demolition of the Medieval Warm Period as “proven” by a handful of tree-ring and other proxies, using novel statistical methods). They refused access to their data, algorithms and methods, so that it was impossible to check their work. If they believed in their work, they would want to see it replicated by independent experts. If they thought their work was important –and they did– they would seek out that kind of replication to ensure their claims could be trusted by policymakers. Instead, the emails show petulance and self-destructive paranoia. They would have saved themselves the “persecution” and work if they’d posted the material at the time of publication –as the journals ostensibly required, as they were repeatedly asked, as they repeatedly claimed they had done (but had not). Read “The Hockey Stick Illusion” and the pattern is appallingly obvious.

        If they want to be treated like scientists, they should act like them.

      • Just read the email I linked to and then read this . It may you give you the context you need to understand why they behaved the way they did. maybe it won’t, I don’t know. But what I can tell you is that there is no way to know what was going on there by reading a few emails. I don’t care about what you want to call them “petulant” “paranoid” or whatever. Your opinion is irrelevant. Instead of just assuming that you are correct, it might help to think of the situation from the point of view of the other people involved. It appears they felt they were being harassed and didn’t want to waste their time with what they felt were frivolous attempts to stall research with sending information they thought was already available. So does that show they were desperate to hide information from SM because they thought he was much smarter than them that he would find out their secrets? Or is it that they didn’t trust him to analyse and display their work in a fair manner, with little interference in their current work? I don’t know, but when is this email hangover going to end? geez.

      • This is all nonsense. First of all, Santer should know that a fundamental principle of FOI is that the requester does not need to provide any reason for asking for the data. Secondly, there would not be any need for a succession of requests if the earlier ones had been dealt with properly rather than sidestepped. Finally, there would have been no need for any FOI requests at all if all of the data and methods were published with the original papers.

      • I’ve never claimed that Santer was correct in his behavior, only that the emails themselves may give people insight into why they acted as they did. If that doesn’t help you, I cannot provide anything else because I cannot read scientists minds. And as far the data and methods being published, you’d have to go the original publisher to get SI, if archived correctly. Not much gets published with the paper. If not, you most certainly need an FOIA request. Whether it can be honored legally is another step in the process.

      • Can you say:

        “Santer was wrong”

        rather than “I’ve never said he was right”

        three words. I know you can.

      • Do you need other people to attest to things that they don’t know about or something? Why?

      • Actually, its just a test of your willingness to engage rationally. For example, when I discuss AGW with skeptics I ask them a simple yes/no question. Has it warmed since 1850. Those who answer that question with a question, or talk evasively are not worthwhile engaging.

        So, with people who believe in AGW, like I do, I ask similar questions. Is it correct to look at the motives of a person who requests information under FOIA?

        Since I have had the pleasure of discussing this with FOIA officers at NOAA, for example, I can tell you what they said. But its not a hard question. for honest people that is.

        “Is it correct to look at the motives of a person who requests information under FOIA?”

        especially when you eschew ‘reading scientist’s minds”

        yes or no.

      • I don’t know if there are situations where this is normal, but I assume not, as you seem to know already. But, for whatever reason (whether it be a rationality test or just to win argument points, I don’t know), you seem to be very intent on showing they were wrong, which is fine, I’ve already said that those thoughts are perfectly rational, but this conversation started with Bart discussing why he thought that scientists thought the way they did, and acted those thoughts through. I extrapolated through Santer’s email why he did and why this would happen, but the context is limited and unable to know exactly what he was thinking. Otherwise you can use as many rationality tests you want.

        And the reading minds bit is about knowing their situation in context, how it effect them as people. I’m not saying we can’t extrapolate some issues through what they wrote.

      • you have a timeline problem.

        Santer’s actions took place in 2008.

        in 2008 there had been 2 FOIA given to CRU.

        The 60 FOIA came in 2009.

        So, you refer to actions in 2009 by Climateaudit people 9 yes i helped organize that effort) to explain santer’s actions in 2008.

        “rom: Phil Jones
        To: santer1@xxxxxxxxx.xxx
        Subject: Re: [Fwd: FOI Request]
        Date: Wed Nov 12 09:31:31 2008″

        problem: EVEN BEFORE any FOIA of any kind was issued, Jones and wigley were discussing dodges to avoid them. haven’t you read those mails?

        Sorry. chronology fail.

      • These are examples. I’m not attempting setting up a specific scenario, even though it looked that way from the way I wrote it. We are discussing reasons for actions. Are you saying that Santer didn’t feel like he was being harassed in his email?

        From email I linked to…

        Dear Tom,
        Thanks for your email regarding Steven McIntyre’s twin requests under the Freedom of
        Information (FOI) Act. Regarding McIntyre’s request (1), no “monthly time series of
        output from any of the 47 climate models” was “sent by Santer and/or other coauthors of
        Santer et al 2008 to NOAA employees between 2006 and October 2008″.

        You said…

        problem: EVEN BEFORE any FOIA of any kind was issued, Jones and wigley were discussing dodges to avoid them. haven’t you read those mails?

        Yes. Are you saying that Santer made up the fact that he received FOIA requests?

      • I don’t know if santer felt harrassed or not.

        1. that would be reading his feelings and you seem to avoid reading the minds of scientists except when it suits your pleasure.

        2. he could be engaging in hyperbole.

        3. he could be super sensitive, he did after all say he would like to take skeptics out into a dark alley. Now should skeptics feel threatened?.

        4. His ‘feelings’ have nothing to do with his legal obligations. Did he not pay attention in training class. you may be comfortable calling him incompetant, I’m not.

        5. Maybe instead of feeling harassed he felt guilty and was playing the game called outrage. I dunno. I dont know how he really felt. neither do you.

        I dunno. Every time I’ve ever been asked for documents I supplied them without question or feeling. It’s the job.

      • Sorry My post got mangled.

        Gyp, you have a chronology problem.

        1. before any FOIA was sent to anyone in climate science, Jones and Wigley were discussing didges to avoid them.
        2. before any request under FOIA Jones said he would destroy data rather than share it under FOIA.
        3. In 2007 Willis and Steve sent in 2 FOIA to CRU.
        4. Those two FOIA were partially honored.
        5. In 2008 Santer was involved.
        6. In 2009 Climateaudit readers issues 60 or So FOIA to CRU
        7. Those FOIA were collected into “one request” ( an option we foresaw and expected)
        8. That one request was judged to require less than 18 hours of work
        9. Jones responded with 1200 words and 5 documents.

        So, you cannot point to actions in 2009 on the part of CA to explain the actions of Santer in 2008.

        Well, you can try, but the facts dont support it.

      • Ok, Wiggly and Jones, not Santer. I see.

      • I hit post too soon. The Jone’s issues are less complex, and I’m fairly sure it’s been admitted that he handled the situation very poorly, and although most people who dealt with him feel he didn’t get an even punishment, I’m also sure that most, including yourself, have admitted that what Jones did doesn’t effect the science. Is that a fair assessment from your point of view?

      • My assessment is this.

        1. The science doesnt change.
        2. The expressed certainty of Ar4 ch6 MAY be overstated.
        3. Jones behavior was wrong.
        4. No punishment was necessary.

        What was needed was the following.

        1. A full accounting of the entire affair. (not ill informed panels doing cursory summaries)
        2. better processes at CRU
        3. a rewriting of Ch6.
        A. change one chart
        B. expand the discussion of MM05 and AW07

        That’s kinda been my recommendation from the beginning, I think I did #2 as my official submission to parliament.

        the whole point was to own the relatively minor crap that was done and move on.

        Santer: I have less of an issue with Santer. It just shows how the disease spreads.

      • Since Jones himself would agree with #3, I believe that the assessment nears a plausible ball park.

        From my reading of his many comments here, I believe that Gryposaurus has been trying to tell you that inbetween “was” and “wrong”, he may wish to add “understandable, but”.

        Do you believe that Jones’ behavior is understandable, yes or no? Beware it’s a rationality test.

        A bit tougher: do you agree that talking about “spreading diseases” is a bit over the top, yes or no?

        No hint as to what kind of test this is.

      • Jones behavior.

        yes, its perfectly understandable. I went to great lengths to understand Jones behavior where I could and be silent where there was ambiguity. In short, in 2002 Jones sent data to McIntyre. he even implied at the time that the data was covered by confidentiality agreements and he believed that WMO policy trumped that policy. Jones sent data to McIntyre before Mcintyre achieved any public attention. Steve was officially a nobody. ( sorry mc) Between 2003 and 2005 all of that changed. and on feb 21 2005. Jones started to adopt mann’s way of dealing with things.
        he saw Mann’s success at handling Mcintyre this way. Read Mann’s mails to Jones, where mike presented himself as an embattled scientist. He was embattled. by the MSM and by the internet. (In the beginning the guys at CRU had no clue how important the internet was. )Jones was also in the middle between Briffa and Mann. co worker and co author with one, coauthor with the other. I think I understand some of the factors that drove Jones to make decisions that upon reflection he regrets. When we look at the entire history jones acted out of character. Briffa too acted out of character. That was the whole point of the narrative Tom and I put together. I wrote ( and was savaged) that I did not consider jones Briffa or Mann to be frauds. We called the behavior “noble cause corruption” And even here corruption is too strong of word.

        let me just put the whole thing into perspective. When climate science came under attack there are three different tactical responses that people could choose:

        1. Ignore the opponent.
        2. Delegitamize the opponent
        3. Engage.

        i would hazard that scientists are most comfortable with 1 &3. if the opponent is just stupid ignoring them is a good choice. bad science will get corrected. Option 3 is also comfortable. Write a reply. In fact through the mails you see the scientists often talking in these terms. Ignore them or Write a reply. But between overpeck and Mann tactic #2 takes hold. The first appearence of it takes the following form: ‘we can say skeptics dont publish in peer review’ That tactic is laid out by overpeck. It had a strength: it was true. It had a weakness. That weakness was demonstrated in 2003 with the publication of the Soon paper. If you read the mails you will even see Mann talk about this weakness in the overpeck tactic. So, they move to a stronger version of #2. Attack skeptics as oil shills. True for some, to be sure, but not true for others. Not true for Mcintyre. They also look to close ranks in the journals.

        Essentially, the scientists who are used to operating in a world where tactic #1 and #3 are familiar, suddenly start operating in a world where the attacks and counter attacks get personal. When Judith, argues that we need to get back to #3 it makes perfect sense to me. It does because tactic #2 has not worked. It backfires and scientists suck at it.

      • Moshpit,

        I would tend to agree with all you said. I just read twice, though. But I agree whoheartedly that getting personal in the public sphere is not very wise:

        http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2010/10/willard-on-curry.html

        PS: What about the other test?

      • And for anyone curious about what I’m pretty sure SM is discussing, it is here. . Let me know if that is correct. Here are some excerpts about FOIA

        Jones-
        As for FOIA Sarah isn’t technically employed by UEA and she
        will likely be paid by Manchester Metropolitan University.
        I wouldn’t worry about the code. If FOIA does ever get
        used by anyone, there is also IPR to consider as well.
        Data is covered by all the agreements we sign with people,
        so I will be hiding behind them. I’ll be passing any
        requests onto the person at UEA who has been given a post to
        deal with them.

        Wigley-
        The leaflet appeared so general, but it was prepared by UEA so
        they may have simplified things. From their wording, computer code
        would be covered by the FOIA. My concern was if Sarah is/was still
        employed by UEA. I guess she could claim that she had only written
        one tenth of the code and release every tenth line.

        Jones-
        On the FOI Act there is a little leaflet we
        have all been sent. It doesn’t really clarify
        what we might have to do re programs or
        data. Like all things in Britain we will only
        find out when the first person or organization
        asks. I wouldn’t tell anybody about the FOI
        Act in Britain. I don’t think UEA really knows
        what’s involved.
        As you’re no longer an employee I would
        use this argument if anything comes along.
        I think it is supposed to mainly apply to
        issues of personal information – references for
        jobs etc.

        Wigley-
        I got a brochure on the FOI Act from UEA. Does this mean
        that, if someone asks for a computer program we have to give
        it out?? Can you check this for me (and Sarah).

        This appears to be scientists trying avoid extra work on the complications of giving away proprietary code because of employment factors. Jones looks to be ‘hiding’ behind people whose job it is to deal with these requests. Should I be drawing more sinister motives from this?

      • yes.

        jan 21 2005.

        To put it in historical context. This is period which marks the change in Jones attitude toward data sharing. Whereas before from 2002 to 2004 he believed that data should be shared, and he shared it with mcintyre, even acknowledging the existence of confidentiality agreements, with the publication of MM05 ( just prior to this mail) and with the example of Mann stonewalling ( forwarded to him by Briffa) Jones changes.

        Its less about the work they would have to do. prior to this Jones spent time looking for old data on diskettes for McIntyre when McIntyre was a nobody. And now, you se a different attitude.

      • I’ll try to be clearer.

        The issue with Santer is merely this. Jones suggesting to him a method for handling FOIA and FOIA officers. Santer’s behavior is not that big of an issue. The issue is the narrative. The sharing or attempt to share some ill conceived strategies for dealing with obligations.

        mann, for example, set an example of how to deal with data requests. That strategy was ill conceived and it was shared with Jones. In the end it has hurt Jones more than Mann. Jones clearly followed Mann in this strategy. To see that you merely have to look back at the mails surrounding the denial to Warwick hughes.
        1. Mann gets covered by the MSM for his denials.
        2. Mann complains that he cannot fight this fight alone.
        3. Briffa forward news clippings of mann being savaged in the press.
        4. Jones ( the same day) writes his ill considered mail to Hughes.

        So, on one hand you have Mann’s tactic spreading to Jones and others.

        On the other hand you have Jones tactics on FOIA. very british. They use the system to delay and confuse. In 2007 they takes months to respond to two simple requests. Jones sits down with the FOIA officer to show him the type of people he is dealing with at CA.

        Santer then comes on the radar screen. Santer tries to use the tactics of Mann and Jones, deny and delay. But FOIA officers in the US are not as pliable as Palmer was. trust me, I’ve talked to NCDC and NOAA FOIA officers and they flat out would not put up with the kind of nonsense that Jones did. ( ha and they didnt care that I had written a book critical of their organization)
        quote: “my job is to get you the documents you requested 2 years ago. I don’t care who you are or why you want the information. Expect a fedex package in 3 days.” Which was delivered. 500 pages.

        Anyway, its that narrative that is important. Its important to get that right if you expect to improve the system.

      • Right, the narrative is important, which is what I’ve trying to get at in this string. Narrative is derived through fully conceptualized characters. If Mann and Jones have eroded the science people’s eyes then there is a reason understand motives well beyond what is characterized by merely saying they were wrong to do what they did. The important thing is why and what was going through their minds as they did it. There are two prevailing scenarios which have popped up all over this thread, the first is one of corruption and deceit and the other is one of poor decisions under what emails show is a feeling of harassment.

        Judith seems to prescribe to the first, I see the latter as much more likely, and you seem to think that the problem is that these unanswered questions lead to the erosion of the science in general. You can find all these narrative in the emails.

        I’m not sure another investigation will find much and likely have the same repeated problem of driving the scientists further into god guy, bad guy mode. This is unfortunate. The only way to reestablish the confidence lost is bring out all the characters and be able to trust while their actions were wrong, they were acting as humans and not purveyors of this all important science. You won’t learn an ultimate truth through emails, as their context is too limited. Either way, I’m not sure how this post helps the situation, even a little. But it’s not my call.

      • gryp.

        I realize that “, the narrative is important, which is what I’ve trying to get at in this string. Narrative is derived through fully conceptualized characters. ” I taught literature. Your point is that we have two choices “corruption” or “harrasment.” In my mind that is a false choice. You’ve accepted a “harasment” frame before reading the mails and so of course that will color your reading. My approach was different. When the mails landed in my lap on Nov 17th I read them cover to cover. several times. Then I constructed a chronology. I added material from other sources ( blogs, other mails ). Then I charted the changes in the characters. Sometimes these changes are evident in the writing style, although I dont talk about that much in the book. The easiest thing to do was rejecting the facile readings that hit press: those readings were ,”boys will be boys”, “corruption” and “persecuted” We looked at the development of the bunker mentality. Looked at how it spread. I probably should have spent more time talking about the people who did NOT buy into this mentality. Should have spent more time talking about those who just answered their FOIA with no complaint. In short, I dont think the harassment frame holds up. Briffa’s reaction, Osborn’s reaction, Wigly, Santer, palmer. All unique. Jones, I would hazard, in 2005 did not feel harassed.
        ( look for the way others characterized Mann’s reaction to things if you want to understand how they saw him and how he saw himself ). Anyway, Jones
        gets a mail from Briffa showing how Mann is being harassed. Press clippings. Go read that. Mann is being attacked. Mann is feeling harassed. is Jones in the press clippings? No. is Jones being harassed on the internet? no. Jones has one guy, warwick hughes, who has been asking him for data for a year. No press clippings about Jones denying data, no internet stories about Jones denying data. And sitting in Jones mailbox is a mail from Briffa showing Mann being savaged in the MSM. For denying data.

        What does Jones do ?

        he denies Hughes the data. Data he promised to send.

        All the textual evidence points away from Jones feeling harassed at this time. The evidence in front of jones shows him what harassment WILL COME if he practices the denial of data. And in full knowledge of the pain that will come, he writes the letter.

        That’s not a man acting out of feelings of harasment.

        I’d like to sit with Phil and ask him what he was feeling when he did that. Did he feel like he was coming to mann’s aid somehow, taking the pressure off? joining Mann in the fight against skeptics, striking his own blow in the fight?
        What?

        I’ll tell you what it wasnt. It wasnt a feeling of harrasment.

      • The choice is a false one, and yes my view is colored, as anyone else who’s been watching this pre-climategate. And I don’t mean to be vague, but the problem is that there needs to be a choice along one of the bends here. So although there was harassment at times, perhaps ‘harassed’ is likely word we should stop using here and go with something less direct.

        What was the mindset, then, that led them to this bunker-type mentality? Was their intent to hide something, in fear of exposure, and lose standing within community, funding, tenure, etc (Judith’s feedback description), or was their intent to protect the science from outsiders whom they felt would misrepresent their work in a way that would confuse the public on an important policy matter. This would also include some of selfish reasons, but for this option, let’s assume the main driver for the behavior was not personal.

        This gets back to our inability to read minds and our ability to extrapolate from emails why they did what they did in regards to holding back on data and resorting to bunker mentality. We can’t read minds, and our context is severely limited by emails. But since Judith has brought this issue back with some ferociousness lately, we need to get an answer to that question. What do you think is more probable? This question is for anyone to answer, remembering we are discussing fully conceptualized individuals who are neither previously criminal or angelic.

      • The obvious answer is to supply the full context. Release all relevent e-mails, and put those nasty hackers where they belong by letting all of see just how innocent and high minded CRU and pals really are.

      • Forgetting about what Santer may or may not have felt I found his reaction in the quoted email astonishing. The stated point of McIntyre’s request was to try to eliminate from the discussion any side issues about exactly what code was used (remember that because Mann did not reveal his code much of the really discussion of MBH revolved around the easily resolvable in principle issue of whether or not Mann had done his principal component analysis properly). For precisly this sort of reason some of the major economics journals have instituted replication policies which Santer would seem to regard as McCarthyite. The Econometrica version begins

        “Econometrica has the policy that all empirical, experimental and simulation results must be replicable. Therefore, authors of accepted papers must submit data sets, programs, and information on empirical analysis, experiments and simulations that are needed for replication and some limited sensitivity analysis.”

        The full version can be found here
        http://www.econometricsociety.org/submissions.asp

        Why should climate science not follow similar rules?

      • Code in climate science was just discussed at length at RC. The post and comments illuminate the subject much better than I could.

      • I thanked gavin for his fine efforts. lets see if it makes it through moderation.

        last time I did this was 2007 when GISS released their code.

        that comment was blocked.

        it said ” thank you for releasing the code”

        lots of bad blood here, but I’d rather just thank them for finally coming around and get back to having fun with their code.

      • When it is necessary to secret your workings away in pitch-dark seclusion, it should come as no surprise to find that the light from a single candlestick hurts your eyes.

        McIntyre’s, and others’, lawful requests for information, whether by email or via FOIA, have never been vexatious. Inconvenient? Irritating? Embarrassing? Frightening? Perhaps all of those. Consider why that is.

      • I asked the question further up thread:

        So does that show they were desperate to hide information from SM because they thought he was much smarter than them that he would find out their secrets? Or is it that they didn’t trust him to analyse and display their work in a fair manner, with little interference in their current work?

        You subscribe to the first option, I gather? Do you give any credence to the 2nd? While neither is the correct option, IMO, there is a mountain of difference and may give better insight into the situation we are dealing with.

      • I subscribe to variations of both, grypo. There is much in evidence to support the former – withholding and obfuscating data and metadata specifically for the purpose of frustrating attempts to replicate work – and there is also an air of arrogance and condescension broadly across the emails to support the latter.

        Neither the former nor the latter absolve scientists of their legal requirement to meet FOI requests, however. This is the point you conveniently skip over.

      • The arrogance is good way to mindset at certain times, but the arrogance was coming from both ways, if we are discussing the emails in regards to McIntyre, and let’s remember we only have select communication from one side. These personality problems, snarkiness, nastiness toward others is something I would expect to find in what was thought to be private conversation.

        “There is much in evidence to support the former – withholding and obfuscating data and metadata specifically for the purpose of frustrating attempts to replicate work”

        Yes, and the question I’m asking is how do we figure out why. I’ll ask it another way. Do you think it was to protect the science for their own personal gain, or do you think it was because they thought that McIntyre would not fairly replicate the work and misuse their data (intentionally or through incompetence) and confuse the public?

        Let’s remember that science needs to police itself. There will be no other authority that will come down to judge expert knowledge other than The Experts in any particular field. The ‘cadre’ (Judith’s word) of scientists who worked on the different incantations of the IPCC found themselves to be that arbiter, whether we like that fact or not. So did they make poor choices in doing so? Sure. Would there have been a better way to handle this situation, allowing for independent replication while at the same time, assuring themselves their work was fairly represented and therefore the public was correctly informed? I imagine. Maybe the bunker mentality had something to do with this? Perhaps not, as Steve Mosher showed earlier up thread (Phil Jones example), it’s difficult to know what exactly was going through their heads when they took the actions they did. The emails show a narrative, but there is no way to ever say that it is a complete one. There is too much context missing.

        I cannot excuse their behavior, but what i can do is question their motivation and challenge people to come up with the most likely answer to the question, drawing on context and information outside those emails.

        “Neither the former nor the latter absolve scientists of their legal requirement to meet FOI requests, however. This is the point you conveniently skip over.”

        Not intentionally. I may downplay it within this conversation because I think it is important to dig deeply into the motivations behind the behavior than to continue to beat the “bad scientists” drum, especially since the FOIA violations were an admitted violation. But if this is the most important issue to you than we likely will never move beyond it.

  86. “Others were still graduate students when they were appointed as lead authors for the IPCC. These scientists have used to IPCC to gain a seat at the “big tables” where they can play power politics with the collective expertise of the IPCC, to obtain personal publicity, and to advance their careers.” – JC

    Anyone with a clue knows exactly who you are talking about with this Judith.

    That fact that you don’t have the courage to name them, but make them clearly identifiable is pretty damn grubby and slimey IMHO.

    • It’s also amusing that with Wegman et all the argument is plagiarism doesn’t affect the substance of his claims yet when it comes to a climate scientist there’s an obsession over how they were assigned to be a lead author. As if the mechanism by which they ended up working on the IPCC report affects the science at all.

      • It’s IPCC “corruption”!!!!

        Of the no-evidence-required variety.

      • Sharper00 @9:54am —

        > with Wegman et all the argument is plagiarism doesn’t affect the substance of his claims…

        Well, the claims are what they are. However, I dissent from the idea that the authority and credibility of the Wegman Report could or should be unaffected by the (seemingly) persuasive evidence of poor scholarship, including plagiarism. This evidence has caused me to alter my opinion: the authority of that report is in tatters.

    • But Michael, isn’t it rather like “hide the decline”? The topic is already thoroughly discussed in other literature, so doesn’t need to be detailed again here.

      Still protesting? Double standards, Michael.

      • It’s tu quoque day at Climate Etc! Buy one, get one free.

        Do two wrongs make a right, Simon?

      • You mean hiding the decline was wrong, PDA!? I’d rather hear that directly from Michael, if you don’t mind. I’ve never heard it stated by his camp before.

      • You were using “hide the decline” as a tu quoque against Michael’s argument. It doesn’t matter whether he, or I for that matter, accept it as wrong or right. It’s a cheap rhetorical trick that has been deployed so many times in this one thread that I’ve lost count.

        Is character assassination by innuendo okay, Simon? Yes or no?

      • It’s only a tu quoque “two wrongs” if both acts are actually wrong. You have, yourself, thus done so. Regarding the purported “character assassination by innuendo”, I detailed my reasoning further, below. But there is no innuendo. The characters are well-known, and Judith is not alluding to anything not already long-established and in much greater detail in the specifics, in the public domain.

      • It’s only a tu quoque “two wrongs” if both acts are actually wrong.

        You literally have no idea what you’re talking about, do you? That must be an awfully unfamiliar situation for you to find yourself in.

      • I think you fell off your high horse, PDA, and have descended into derision. Disappointing. Gimme a minute.. just enjoying my Point goes to Hoppy moment. ;)

        I sure do know what I’m talking about, and it seems clear to me that you do too.

      • Wait, where’s your evidence… oh, right, I forgot: you don’t care about evidence. Merely asserting whatever you want is enough for you.

      • PDA, I don’t mind you having a hissy fit one iota. Knock yourself out :)

        As for whether or not it would be “awfully unfamiliar situation” for me to be wrong in my interactions with you, I think you’re entirely correct; It certainly would be very unfamiliar. Hope that never happens! ;)

      • Incidentally, PDA, I think Judith’s stated reason for not naming and shaming is valid. a) Those who would be interested to know the names of those Judith considers as the main characters are already well known to those of us who are interested in that particular aspect of the whole IPCC/Climategate discussion. b) Those who are not interested by this particular intricacy of the debate are not burdened by the need to know. c) Those whose names are omitted from Judith’s head-post are spared from more naming and shaming, and ought to be grateful.

        I would suggest that they’d be wise to consider the benefit of letting go of this particular rag because while it would be no skin off Judith’s nose to be explicit about these characters, it would not serve them well.

        Conversely, I would suggest to Judith that while I think that omitting names in the interest of avoiding a flame war was a good and noble call, if the alternative is to suffer attacks from Michael and similarly positioned commentators, she should feel no compunction to resist revisiting her decision not to name and shame the individuals.

      • Good point, Simon. I am sure you are correct that there are many scientists presently cowering in fear at the prospect of being personally identified as “inexperienced” and “possibly dubious” “priests” by Judith Curry.

        I’ll certainly cease my objection to minimize the risk of such a calamity coming to pass.

      • “Those who would be interested to know the names of those Judith considers as the main characters are already well known to those of us who are interested in that particular aspect of the whole IPCC/Climategate discussion.”

        No you’re simply assuming that she means the same people you imagine, she may or may not. If “everyone knows” then there shouldn’t be any reason not to say what “everyone knows”.

        “Those who are not interested by this particular intricacy of the debate are not burdened by the need to know”

        Ah! The burden of knowledge! I’m not actually familiar with this.

        “while it would be no skin off Judith’s nose to be explicit about these characters, it would not serve them well.”

        Perhaps you should consider that it also doesn’t serve well people Dr Curry doesn’t mean but are implicated nonetheless.

  87. For those who are curious to know more about careers that were made thanks to the IPCC, here is one blog piece about how Micheal Mann was “plucked from obscurity” and appointed as a contributing author and lead author for several chapters of the IPCC reports.
    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=5700&linkbox=true&position=1

    And here, meet Richard Kline, the former Greenpeace activist and the youngest IPCC lead author ever at the age of 25. Yes, sir, 25! He got his PhD six years after that.
    http://nofrakkingconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/meet-the-ipccs-youngest-lead-author/

    Where would we be without blogosphere!

    Of course, never forget to pay a visit to Bishop Hill, which is the best aggregator of discussions regarding the politics of climate science.
    http://www.bishop-hill.net/

    • Oh for crying out loud. What does this Klein business tell us?

      It tells us something about WG II of the *first* IPCC report. Stop the presses.

      Can we talk about WG I? In this century? Since this is supposed to be about, you know, contemporary climate science?

      • So it doesn’t matter because it’s old. Or it doesn’t matter because it’s in part of the IPCC report that you have to ignore for political reasons.

        So I guess we shouldn’t object to be calling deniers because the Holocaust is old–older than the first IPCC report.

        Or maybe you have anointed youself the ‘fool for Christ’ with the power to absolve all climate science of their past, present and future sins, singing Kyrie Eleison while you trash the reputation and good name of people you disagree with.

        Words fail.

  88. A list of undefined and/or unsupported stts, this just from the first section (“The positive feedback loop”)…

    “The scientists”

    “The enviro advocacy groups”

    “the scientists’ blessing”

    “climate change problem”

    “its scientific conclusions”

    “many of them”

    “the heart of the IPCC”

    “a cadre of scientists”

    “careers”

    “made by the IPCC”

    “used the IPCC”

    “the normal meritocracy process”

    “some”

    “relatively unknown”

    “inexperienced”

    “possibly dubious”

    “these people”

    “become vested”

    “protecting the IPCC”

    “central to their own career”

    “legitimizes”

    “power politics”

    • Again, in IMHO, a pretty cowardly mix of innuendo, insinuation and sweeping statements, all without a shred of supporting evidence.

      And this is the elevated discourse???

      • Really? you must be reading something completely different to the rest of us.

        As for cowardly- if you find tha above to fall into that grouping, i perish to think how you’d catagorise suggesting someone had a mental condition, simply for disagreeing with you….

      • cowardly – see above. The identifiying of people while not actually naming them fits the bill.

        It leaves the wiggle room for – ‘but I never actually named them so they have no justification in being offended’.

        Grubby. And cowardly.

        Judith is making the CRU emails look like a tea party invite.

      • You seem to have missed the distinction michael; the piece by Dr Curry is an opinion piece based on her own experiences as a scientist, a climate scientist and as someone who as actively tried to further the discussion- unless i’m mistake Dr Curry has clearly stated that she still thinks there’s merit in the theory, but has issue with the methods and presentation (though leaving an open mind for uncertainty natch#).

        For this, as highlighted in the piece, she has been accused of many things, not least of which of having a mental problem for even daring to suggest the consensus was in anyway wrong.

        To suggest that a piece like this is cowardly, while turning a blind eye to the excessive, personal and vindictive abuse she has recieved is well, weak.

        I too would be interested to hear Dr Curry’s take on your claims, as i think there’s more than one way the passages you take issue with can be interpreted, but calling ‘her out’ like this and ignoring the other side only seems to suggest you have other motives- i.e. discreditation, rather than a genuine desire for discourse.

      • To suggest that a piece like this is cowardly, while turning a blind eye to the excessive, personal and vindictive abuse she has recieved is well, weak.

        This is a mere ad hominem tu quoque rather than a response. If Dr. Curry’s statements are defensible, explain why. Vaguely asserting that other people have done worse is a fallacious argument and no defense of what Curry did here.

      • Not at all in this specific example I was not trying to defend Dr Curry’s statements, that is for her alone to do- i was just pointing out a selective use of logic that COULD suggest a certain bias on the subject. Nothing more.

        To include one ‘half’ of an exchange as cowardly, yet to completely attack Dr Curry while completely failing to address the other side, is shall we say, selective bias.

      • i was just pointing out a selective use of logic that COULD suggest a certain bias on the subject. Nothing more.

        Nonsense. You’re trying to invalidate the argument by asserting bias. Do you really think that anyone believes you’re just pointing this out for the heck of it?

        Rhetorical tricks like this were old before the first USENET forum came online. There’s a reason tu quoque is a Latin expression.

      • I am not doing anything of the sort.

        As i said Dr Curry will have to defend her own statements.

        But i still say it is evidence of a double standard to openly condem Dr Curry for what could be percieved as a slight insult yet say nothing of those who spoke out, exceptionally harshly, against her.

      • You’re missing the point, though I thought I had expressed it as simply and plainly as possible.

        It’s not criticism per se that is the issue. It’s how it’s done. Curry clearly identifies certain people, but without naming them. All the criticisms I’ve seen of Curry, do her the favour, and take the responsibility for, identifying their target, whether or not you think the criticism warranted or correct.

        I have a plausible, though misconceived, defense in mind – perhaps she thinks she’s being polite in not naming them. But when she, repeatedly, clearly indentifies some individuals (for anyone with any familiarity with the cast of this drama) without naming them, then it does not come across as polite, but just the opposite – snide and vindictive while hiding behind ‘plausible deniability’.

      • Ah, then i think i see where we’re getting stuck.

        I think unless there’s prior evidence of Dr Curry ‘not’ being polite (if you follow) then i think it’s best to give her the benefit of the doubt- at least until she can speak up for herself.

        Apologies for the confusion.

      • I’m just suggesting the only possible excuse I can think of for this.

        That it co-exists with a range of other poorly defined sweeping assertions doesn’t make me very confident.

        At the moment Judith appears to be doing the blogging equivelent of dropping landmines from aircraft – maximum carnage with minimum discrimination.

      • For what it’s worth, i think she was trying to set a context for her discussions/opinions given the turbulent politics in this discussion. Whether any real insult/attack was intended at anyone specific is a matter for Dr Curry to address- though as nothing is implicitly stated, and Dr Curry is if anything, usually direct i tend to lean towards ‘benefit of the doubt’.

        Speculation on her motives, especially given that this is the first ‘attack’ like this i’ve seen from her, would seem pre-emptive.

      • Her responses are easily defensible:

        1. None of what Judith Curry says here is new. It has been said time and again, often by scientists who have served as part of the IPCC. She has support from other accredited and published scientists with relevant experience.

        2. It is an alternative general narrative meant to paint with broad brush strokes the how and why we got where we are today. It is at least as plausible as the counter-narratives put forth by others and has at least as much data to support it. Because it is a broad narrative it does not (and need not) make point by point listings of names, sins, heroes and villains.

        As for those who think this is cowardly, one only need look at the slime job she got visited upon her this week to see that that is not the case.

        Some think they are looking through a window when in fact they are gazing at a mirror.

      • As for those who think this is cowardly, one only need look at the slime job she got visited upon her this week to see that that is not the case.

        Tom, even if I agreed with you 100% in every regard about what you call a “slime job,’ it would still have no bearing on whether what she wrote here was appropriate or not. It is ad hominem tu quoque, plain and simple. If it is appropriate for Dr. Curry to cast these aspersions without naming names, then it’s appropriate regardless of what anyone else wrote. If it’s not, it’s not.

      • Umm, I was saying her writing wasn’t cowardly. What part of that was not clear?

        I answered the rest of your comment above.

      • I accept your withdrawal of the ad hom.

      • That was a lot of words not to address my very plainly stated criticism of what Curry has written.

      • Bravo Michael,
        Lash out defensibly at a fellow climate scientist with whom you have a disagreement. In the final analysis this will surely demonstrate your exemplary character and honorable intentions for all to see…

        …. Oh, wait.

      • ivpo,

        There was some lashing out, but at least I’ve had the courtesy, and taken the responsibility, to clearly identify the target.

  89. Excellent summation and analysis of the whole furore, it means even more coming from someone who was so heavily involved in one side of it in it until recently, and is now trying to take up a position in the middle.

    I’d say the cat is most firmly among the pigeons!

  90. Hyperbole…

    “The entire framing of the IPCC”

    “careers have been made by the IPCC”

    “central to their own career”

    “tolerate no dissent”

    [see Eric Steig's counterexample against the prior and following]

    “seek to trample and discredit anyone who challenges the IPCC”

    “priests of the IPCC”

    “protected and preserved at all cost”

    “spectacular unraveling of the climate change juggernaut”

    “whitewashes”

    “all but collapsed”

    “major jeopardy”

    “whether the IPCC could survive this, and even whether it should survive this”

  91. Also, is this “Rachendra” Pachauri chap any relation to Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri, late of the IPCC and the Energy and Resources Institute? Because the latter gent was cleared of any wrongdoing through an independent audit by KPMG. The Telegraph had to issue a written apology for insinuating what you twice insinuate in the main post.

    You guys may, if you wish, assert that the $20 billion Swiss consultancy Klynveld PeatMarwick Main Goerdeler is another member of the “whitewash” conspiracy. In fact, I kind of hope you do. That would be awesome.

    • I have this strange feeling that at some point JC is going to chime in and say – oh, I don’t think any of this, i was just summarising the views that are ‘out there’.

      If so, I have just one thing to say – get a damned editor!

    • Ah but you see “allegations were made” and he had the “appearance of” a conflict of interest i.e. it doesn’t matter whether the accusations were true, false or reasonable they simply existed and therefore (I guess) scientists should have immediately stepped forward to condemn Pachauri.

      Of course it’s always mildly amusing when someone credulously accepts all claims of one type, refuses to accepts claims of another type despite all evidence and then tells us they’re simply being fair and balanced.

    • @PDA

      Pachauri was not ‘cleared of any wrongdoing through an independent audit’ at all. I shall be charitable and assume that you have been badly advised to say that he was.

      The report explicitly stated that it was not an audit at all and warned against assuming that it was. Here are the relevant words:

      ‘Our work constituted limited review, and the scope of our work was significantly different from that of an audit and cannot therefore be relied upon to provide the same level of assurance as an audit’. Which is pretty clear.

      Neither was ‘he cleared of any wrongdoing’ The relevant extracts all say ‘we did not come across any evidence…….’, which is a whole world away from clearing him of any wrongdoing.

      Which all begs the question that since Pachauri is not a poor man, nor are any of his institutions in penury, why did they not request the full audit that could have gone much further in providing reassurance? I submit the answer is obvious.

      As to why the newspaper printed an apology, you will have to ask the editor explicitly about that. I can only assume that there were other undisclosed reasons between the two parties since the KPMG review most certainly did not provide grounds for such a withdrawal to be made.

      • @Steve Jones

        “As to why the newspaper printed an apology, you will have to ask the editor explicitly about that. I can only assume that there were other undisclosed reasons between the two parties since the KPMG review most certainly did not provide grounds for such a withdrawal to be made.”

        An allegation is made, an independent review is conducted finding no evidence to support the allegation, the allegation is withdrawn with an apology.

        On any reasonable basis that puts Pachauri in the clear on the matter. Of course it’s not good enough for people who desperately want to believe the allegation but then I’ve noticed that no measurement, no scientific paper, no review, no inquiry is complete enough, transparent enough or thorough enough to convince such people.

        If you want allegations of corruption to have an effect you need actual evidence that it’s true not simply “well sure he was cleared but in my opinion that review wasn’t good enough”.

      • @shaper00

        If you really cannot tell the difference between a limited review and an audit, nor between a finding of ‘no evidence’ and being ‘cleared of any wrongdoing’, then I wonder if I could interest you in my new wonder product – snake oil?

        Guaranteed to cure all known ailments! Just send money and a bottle will be yours by return.

      • Pachauri has a clean review of his and TERI’s finances to support his side of the argument. You have… um… what, exactly?

      • I have a strong objection to your overstating the case here.

        Pachauri paid for a non-forensic, non-audit review of a limited subset of his finances – with ‘evidence’ supplied by his accountants to KPMG.

        It is perfectly reasonable for him and his defenders to say that within those parameters, no evidence of malpractice was found. No argument there. I agree with that conclusion – as long as the circumstances are made clear also.

        But it is a considerable exaggeration to extrapolate that to his having ‘been cleared of any wrongdoing’. Which gives a misleading impression of there having been a thorough and forensic process of all his finances and some form of judicial process that came to a ‘not guilty’ conclusion. No such process has taken place. KPMG warn explicitly that their work didn’t even approach such a process in its rigour.

        Clearly overstating whatever limited case there may be has become so ingrained in all warmists that they are no longer aware that they are doing it. Other examples are ‘The Science is Settled’, Unprecedented Warming’, ‘to melt by 2035’…The list is a long one.

        You do your case no favours by such transparent and increasingly ludicrous overkill. If you have a good solid case, you should not need to gild the lily to make it. That you feel the innate need to continually do so suggests that the case is not as strong as you would prefer.

      • I’m sorry, I didn’t get your response. What evidence do you have of any wrongdoing?

      • There is a lot of evidence of wrongdoing by both Pachauri and Teri. The best source is Richard North of EU Referendum and Christopher Booker.

      • Hi Tom. I was asking Steve; can you give us a minute? You can spend some time learning about the A HREF tag.

      • Tom clearly has the relevant details well to hand. Since you did not understand them when he wrote the for you earlier, there is little point in my restating them – whether via copy and paste or via your preferred link.

        But I an glad that you have changed your stance from his ‘being cleared of any wrongdoing in an independent audit’ to ‘a clean review’. As I’m sure you are well aware, there is a world of difference in emphasis between the two.

        G’night from UK.

      • So, PDA, let me get this straight. Pach paid to have an audit done on himself, gave the auditors whatever he pleased, and you are crowing that he was cleared of all wrongdoing? Is that right?

      • Oh hi, Jim. Maybe you can tell me what evidence you have of any wrongdoing.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        PDA…are you related to Bob Massingbird?

        “I remember Massingbird’s most famous case: the Case of the Bloody Knife. A man was found next to a murdered body. He had the knife in his hand. 13 witnesses had seen him stab the victim. And when the police arrived, he said “I’m glad I killed the b*st*rd.” Massingbird not only got him off; he got him knighted in the New Year’s Honours List. And the relatives of the victim had to pay to have the blood washed out of his jacket!”

        From Blackadder Goes Forth. :-)

      • Hi AnyColour. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you don’t have any evidence of Pachauri’s wrongdoing, either.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        Me? I’m just exercising my own precautionary principle. There seem to be anomalies in TERI’s accounting procedures. What’s the likelihood we should take these seriously? I’d like to see a more thorough investigation, just to see if drastic measures are really called for you know, or if it’s all just insinuation based on flawed accounting models.

        As for, the case of the “let’s subvert the bloody peer review and try to block anyone who disagrees with us, and nominate each other, and call McIntyre a ‘bozzo’ and a ‘moron’ emails”, I am as yet unpersuaded (despite your admirable tenacity) that this was mere office water-cooler banter. Call me a naive old thing! ;-)

      • Um.

        I have this old-fashioned habit of wanting to speak only for myself. This “water-cooler banter” business seems to refer to the CRU email thing (I’m unsure, since I had the misfortune to be raised speaking American), and I’ve expressed no opinion about that. I’ll defer to someone who cares.

        I’m waiting for evidence on the Pachauri business; I can’t see how it matters much one way or another, I just love the spectacle of self-professed “skeptics” fairly leaping to conclusions. If Phil Jones said Pachauri was guilty, you guys would demand a polygraph and a rectal exam before accepting it.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        Oh, you didn’t say anything about the emails? Wise move IMO. Apologies!

        Must’ve got you mixed up with Sharper or Gypro.

    • KPMG did not audit fully, accepting Pachauri’s figures as a given. TERI was forced to completely restate their income and expenses after an investigation was opened in the UK.

      KPMG was not doing the whitewash. They just said, if these numbers are true, then it’s okay. The UK government found out quickly that the numbers are not true.

      • Really? What are the details on what the UK government found?

      • Really? I doubt if that passed your eagle eye by, PDA…


        When Douglas Alexander travelled to New Delhi last September to announce Britain was presenting £10million to the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), standing alongside him was an imposing, bearded figure.

        Dr Rajendra Pachauri, is not only TERI’s director-general but also chairman of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which perhaps explains the Development Secretary’s largesse with British taxpayers’ money.

        Best known for the moment when he stood with Al Gore to collect the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr Pachauri was the mastermind of the IPCC’s latest monumental report on the dangers of global warming in 2007, giving him huge prestige and influence as the world’s “top climate official”.

        Since being elected to the IPCC chairmanship five years earlier, he has coincidentally built up a worldwide network of business interests. He has been appointed to more than 20 positions, ranging from directorships and advisory roles to major banks and investment firms to serving as the first head of Yale University’s new Climate and Energy Institute.

        Dr Pachauri insists that the millions of dollars he receives for these posts are all paid not to him personally but to his Delhi-based institute. But during the same period he has also presided over a massive expansion of TERI’s own empire, which now has five overseas branches, in North America, Japan, South-East Asia, Dubai and Europe.

        Considerable mystery surrounds the financial affairs of the TERI group since its annual reports do not include its accounts.

        There is, however, one branch of TERI for which we have been able to unearth a certain amount of information, because it is based in Britain and subject to UK law, and our investigations pose some questions which Dr Pachauri will not find it easy to answer.

        TERI Europe is registered as a charity, based at what appears to be a private home in a quiet residential street in Merton, south London. The house’s joint owners, according to the Land Registry, are Ritu Kumar, an “environmental economist”, and her husband Nicholas Robins, a substantial donor to the Green Party, who has stood for the party in council elections and works as director of HSBC’s Climate Change Centre of Excellence.

        The directors of TERI Europe are Dr Pachauri and Ms Kumar, who is also its company secretary. Among various other jobs, she cites acting as a senior adviser on environmental issues to Actis, a private equity firm with $7.6 billion of investments in India, China and other parts of the developing world. She has also been executive director of the Sustainable Trade and Innovation Centre, a consultant to the Commonwealth Science Council and worked for the Commonwealth Secretariat.

        This may help to explain why the official launch of TERI Europe in 2000 was not in a south London back street but in the imposing setting of Marlborough House off the Mall, the Commonwealth Secretariat’s headquarters, with John Prescott, then deputy prime minister, as guest of honour.

        In its early years, between 2001 and 2003, TERI Europe reported to Company House an annual income of around £60,000. But in 2004, just as it was widening its activities, including two contracts for the British Government, its declared income fell by more than a half. Since 2005, when new EU rules were coming in to exempt small companies from the need to show detailed accounts, TERI Europe has shown no figures for expenditure and income.

        Although this has been quite legal, two things made it odd. The first was that, as a charity, TERI Europe still had to file accounts with the Charity Commission. So long as its annual turnover was less than £10,000, these would only have to show basic figures for income and expenditure, and would not have to include a trustees’ report giving details of all its activities.

        Thus in 2006 TERI Europe gave its income as exactly £7,000, against expenditure of £5,100. In 2007 the figures were £9,000 and £5,000. In 2008 they were £8,000 and £3,000. All these sums were below the £10,000 threshold.

        What made the figures very much odder, however, was that it was in just these years that TERI Europe was expanding its activities ever further. Our investigations have shown, for instance, that in addition to carrying out projects funded by the European Parliament, the EU and many other organisations, it has continued to receive substantial commissions from four UK Government departments, all of which seem curiously reluctant to disclose how much money was involved.

        In 2004, TERI Europe carried out a major study on “renewable energy” for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and another on “Corporate Responsibility” for the Department for International Development (DfID). No cost figures for these projects are available.

        These were followed by further projects on emissions reductions and climate change funded by DfID and the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). In 2005 Defra paid TERI Europe for a study on “the exposure and potential of the Indian insurance industry to cover risks related to climate change”. Again no cost figures are available.

        In 2007, however, TERI Europe published a report on sustainable development in India, “SI2″, co-authored by Ms Kumar and acknowledging “generous support” from the FCO – and here we can at last arrive at some estimate of its cost, because TERI Europe was subsequently commissioned to produce two similar reports by the International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank, which is rather more transparent with its figures.

        The total cost of these two World Bank reports, along with a third commissioned from a group in China, is shown as $331,000, which implies that the two reports by TERI Europe, along with its earlier report for the FCO, must have generated a not dissimilar income.

        Oddest of all, however, is the sum of £30,417 still shown on the Defra website representing money paid to TERI Europe in 2007, via “Cambridge University”, in respect of work done by an unnamed “head of unit” towards preparation of a “Synthesis Report” summarising the contents of the IPCC’’s major Fourth Assessment Report.

        One of the two co-editors of the Synthesis Report was Dr Pachauri. But when we asked Defra to identify the “head of unit” referred to, we were told that this was now a matter for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) – which refused to tell us any more.

        We eventually learned, however, that the money was paid to a Dr Andy Reisinger, Dr Pachauri’s co-editor on the report, who had worked for the UK Met Office’s Hadley Centre but was now working for TERI India in Delhi. We further discovered that the £30,417 posted on the Defra website was reported by Defra in a statement to Parliament as having been only £5,800 (the IPCC itself also paid a further £400,000 towards this 52-page report, which was designed by the TERI Press).

        Why Dr Reisinger’s money was paid through TERI Europe, via an unnamed department of Cambridge University – and why the Government has been so secretive about details of this payment – thus remains as mysterious as much else about the financial affairs of TERI Europe.

        The one thing all this made obvious, however, was that TERI Europe’s income and expenditure in recent years were both much greater than the figures it declared to the Charity Commission.

        When we put this to Ms Kumar, as a director and company secretary of TERI Europe, she admitted that our questions had brought to light “anomalies” in the charity’s accounts. Its accountants have now been called in to produce a revised version.
        The primary responsibility for ensuring that TERI Europe’s affairs are in good order and comply with the requirements of the Charities Acts lies not just with the directors but with its board of trustees.

        These include not only Dr Pachauri himself but also two other notable figures in the global warming story. One is Sir John Houghton, a former head of the UK Met Office who played a crucial part at the top of the IPCC through much of its existence. A third is Sir Crispin Tickell, the former diplomat who was responsible in 1988 for converting Mrs Thatcher to a belief in the dangers of global warming. This led to the setting up by Houghton of the Hadley Centre for Climate Change, which has continued to play a key role in the IPCC to this day.”

        “Over £11 million of British taxpayers’ cash has been paid or pledged to Dr Rajendra Pachauri’s institute, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), while he has been chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This comprises over £1 million in direct payments over the last five years and £10 million to come from DFID over the next five.

        Direct cash payments have been made by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which has given Dr Pachauri’s TERI £441,000. £134,000 came from DEFRA and £269,000 from DFID – totalling £844,000.

        In addition, TERI shared £167,000 with Sussex University for a project funded by DECC and another £73,000 for the same project, funded by DEFRA, plus it shared in a £4 million research initiative funded by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

        Although the exact amounts paid to TERI in the shared projects are not specified, the institute was a major partner in the £240,000 Sussex University-led projects which, with the EPSRC money, would bring the overall total received to more than £1 million in cash already paid in the last five years.

        The details emerged from a parliamentary question asked by Ann Winterton MP. She was told that the direct payments to TERI included £120,000 for developing an energy security policy for India and £76,000 for the design of renewable energy credit system for India. These were funded by the FCO.

        Defra funded three conferences jointly organised by TERI in its luxurious New Delhi offices (pictured), spending £46,000 to cover forests and climate change and £88,000 on three “summits” on sustainable development. DFID supported two more sustainable development conferences, paying TERI £71,000 in 2008 and 2009. The 2008 conference received £31,000 but this was also supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, which paid $200,000 towards the costs as well.

        It also emerged that the British government paid £14.5 million in the last five years to the Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEP), of which TERI is the Asian representative, supplying office space in its own Delhi headquarters and the secretariat.

        REEP also acts as a “funding vehicle”, supporting research projects undertaken by its members, with an average value of €100,000. TERI has worked on at least two of these in the last five years.

        The £11 million of British funding is in addition to the share of €56 million for participation in 17 EU-funded projects (partly paid by the UK), €7.5 million pledged by the Norwegian government, nearly €1 million paid or pledged by the Finnish government, and $1 million pledged by the Australian government.

        Other funders include institutions such as the World Bank and commercial companies, such as the oil company BP, which is funding a $9.4 million project to grow Jatropha for biofuel in three districts of Andhra Pradesh. Additionally, Pachauri himself is estimated to earn about $800,000 annually in direct fees for his services, which he claims are paid to his institute.

        Having started with a £500,000 grant from Tata in 1974, TERI is one of the largest indigenous Indian NGOs, with assets estimated to be worth £40 million. The British taxpayer can be proud that it has helped in a small way to make Dr Pachauri’s institute such a success.”

        “Since taking the chair of the IPCC in 2002, Rajendra Pachauri’s own personal research institute, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), has enjoyed a multi-million-euro bonanza from EU-funded research projects.

        Having led the institute from 1982, in the 20 years before he assumed the IPCC chair, only four EU projects had been awarded. Since then, the institute in seven years has shared in 19 projects worth over €58 million. For many of them, TERI had no obvious expertise or physical presence.

        The rush of EU funding to Pachauri’s institute – which insiders speak of producing “low quality research” – invites suspicion that the EU is seeking to influence the IPPC chair in favour of the European climate change agenda, ensuring he pulls his punches when it comes to supporting developing countries, including his native India, while wrong-footing the United States.

        Pachauri, on the other hand – in so readily accepting millions of euros from the EU for his institute – lays himself open to the accusation of being a pawn of the Europeans, concerned more with promoting his own financial interests than impartially representing the international community.

        On the face of it, the facts are damning. Virtually unknown in the West until he became IPCC chair, Dr Rajendra Pachauri’s ascension to his elevated position marked a turning point in the fortunes of the institute which he headed as director general.

        Before he became chair, TERI’s pickings had been thin. Between November 1996 and February 2001, the EU supported another of his enterprises, the Asian Energy Institute, to an unknown amount, but the first recorded grant to TERI was in December 1998. It had participated in a four-year project called COASTIN on “Measuring, monitoring and managing sustainability – the coastal dimension”.

        That was managed through an office in Goa rather from the New Delhi corporate offices and it was not until May 2000, after Pachauri had been elected co-chair of the IPCC, that another tranche of EU money was awarded to his institute, PRO-CET, a grant of €125,000 towards the €786,830 needed to host an “OPET-Associate” for the Indian sub-continent and the ASEAN region.

        This was part of an EU commission initiative called the OPET Network – Organisations for the Promotion of Energy Technologies (OPET) – for which the commission had ambitions of turning into a world-wide network. The funding was only for a year.

        Pachauri becomes IPCC chair

        On 19 April 2002, Pachauri was elected chair of the IPCC and, in July 2002, his institute started a project in the Gurgaon district of Haryana – to the southwest of Delhi, conveniently centred on the TERI Retreat which now boasts a nine-hole golf course, cricket grounds and a badminton green.

        The project was part of the EU’s long-running ASIA-URBS programme, taking the institute’s involvement through to May 2004. It was aimed at “improving urban environment through the introduction of sustainability measures in building design”, TERI sharing €127,332.50 with its local government partner.

        The next project was not so long in coming. Named INTEREST, this was worth €650.000 split between six partners, starting on 1 February 2002 and lasting until 31 January 2005 The objective was to “generate tools to support improved ecosystem management for sustainability.”

        In October 2002, TERI then started on PERIURBAN, a study of, “Sustainable settlements in peri-urban areas: with special reference to impacts of transport and energy on natural resources management”. With €687,998 shared between six partners, this was the largest yet.

        An invitation to Brussels

        Reflecting his new status as IPCC chair, on 12 November 2002, Pachauri was invited to attend as a panel member a symposium in Brussels on “The International Dimension of the European Research Area”. He was the only Indian representative present and indentified as head of TERI.

        In April 2003, the commission injected more funds into its OPET project, paying €893,374 of its €1,636,910 costs, shared between its 18 – mostly European – member organisations. Nothing much seems to have come of the initiative in the hands of TERI. OPET is now represented in the region only in Malaysia.

        By June 2003, however, TERI was already sharing with five other partners a €480,155 project called ED-WAVE, developing “a sustainable framework for training in technologies for conservation, reclamation and reuse of natural resources”, with special reference to improving water efficiency.

        Most of this was though was part of the EU’s INCO (International co-operation) programme designed to spread money, albeit thinly, around the developing world.

        But not two years after Pachauri had rocketed to the head of the IPCC, his institute joined the mainstream. He was invited to Brussels to speak at s symposium on “EC Global Change Research: International Partnership” alongside research commissioner Philippe Busquin. Organised by the European Commission, this was held at the Academy Palace of Sciences and Arts on 6-7 May 2004. There were to be many more such events.

        The money flows

        A sign of the changed status came when TERI was nominated as a partner in stage three of an ongoing research project called NEU-CO2. Starting in September 2004 and lasting for two years, TERI’s task was to assist in setting up the systems to monitor the manufacture of synthetic materials and chemical products, e.g. plastics, paints, solvents, lubricants and bitumen, as these were considered to contribute substantially to CO2 emissions.

        For this endeavour, Pachauri’s institute shared in the fairly modest €289,656 pot paid-for by the EU. But greater riches were to come.

        The next project for TERI started in March 2005. Called TBT IMPACTS and lasting until February 2009, it was co-ordinated by TERI under the leadership of Dr Sangeeta Sonak, with a budget of €799,841.

        The task, from the offices in land-locked New Delhi, included an assessment of current policy concerns and developments with regards to the ban on using organotin compounds in antifouling paints and an assessment of their environmental impacts. The project was also to develop a simple biomonitoring system to regulate TBT impacts and help implementation of legislation.

        With that in the bag, between November 2005 to the end of January 2006, TERI was again a project leader, this time under the direction of Ms Ritu Mathur, in GAINS-ASIA. This brought together “state-of-the-art disciplinary models on air pollution and climate change to assess technical and market based policies that maximize synergies and benefits between these policy areas.”

        The million-euro league

        The pot here was a much improved €1,161,102 – the first million-plus project in which TERI has been involved – of which the EU paid €695,000. As project leader, TERI’s percentage would have been significant.

        Now the big money beckoned. Although a curiously specific European affair, TERI was invited to take part in ADAM a huge project on “Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies: supporting European climate policy.”

        Starting in March 2006 and running to the end of July 2009, working alongside multiple partners including the University of East Anglia – led by Mike Hulme – TERI took a part-share in the €18,197,000 pot. The EU paid €12,905,000.

        This was followed in short order on 1 April 2006 by T@W, a project on the promotion of sustainable energy technology in the emerging Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) markets in EU and CDM markets in Asia. Scheduled to finish in March 2008, the project cost was €1.24 million, with an EU component of €979,516.00.

        By now, the EU was taking a keen interest in Dr Pachauri, part-sponsoring (alongside the UK’s DFID) a conference in Delhi on “Adaptation to climate variability and change”, organised by TERI. Ms. Soledad Blanco, Director International Affairs, European Commission (Directorate General for Environment), gave the “welcome address”.

        Then, when the EU commission wanted work carried out in Africa, TERI was chosen, despite having no presence on the continent. This was COMPETE, a “Competence Platform on Energy Crop and Agroforestry Systems for Arid and Semi-arid Ecosystems – Africa”. The project started in January 2007 and finished at the end of December last year. Its objective was “to stimulate bioenergy implementation in arid and semi-arid regions in Africa.” TERI took a share of the €1,497,000 paid by the EU.

        Simultaneous projects

        Such was the flow of work that, for the first time, Pachuari’s institute was in that January starting another EU project simultaneously. This was EUCAARI, due for completion in December this year, at an overall cost of €15,025,634 – for which the EU has budgeted €9,999,627.

        Entitled “a European integrated project on aerosol cloud, climate and air quality interactions” this was also – at first sight – a European affair. But it included “key players” from third countries, of which TERI was fortunate to be regarded as one, enabling it to work alongside the University of East Anglia, School of Environmental Sciences, under the leadership of professor Simon Clegg.

        Meanwhile, on the 8th and 9th February 2007, as a sign of the closer relationship, the EU commission launched its “1st EU-India Strategic Science and Technology Workshop,” on the theme: “Climate change research needs”. Conveniently, the event, co-organised by DG-Research, was held at the TERI office location and inaugurated by the Commissioner for Research, Janez Potočnik.

        Now fully engaged on the launch of his IPCC report, and then attending to collect the Nobel prize on behalf of the IPCC, Pachauri had less time to devote to EU affairs. Nevertheless, there was time for SHAPES: small hydro action for the promotion of efficient solutions – “facilitating and strengthening the co-operation between EU Small Hydropower (SHP) Research and Market actors”. That started on 1 December 2007 and ended on 30 November 2009. The cost was €833,299 and the EU paid €749,969.

        The projects roll in

        In September 2008, TERI started another project, one called SAFEWIND. A highly technical project ending on 31 August 2012, this involves: “Multi-scale data assimilation, advanced wind modelling and forecasting with emphasis on extreme weather situations for a secure large-scale wind power integration.”

        TERI is not known for its prowess in “advanced wind modelling” – especially in European scenarios where the project is centred. But that has not stopped it becoming a partner, sharing in the French co-ordinated work which will yield €5,581,859, of which €3,992,400 will be donated by the EU.

        Only months later, on 1 January 2009, another major project started, in which TERI was a partner. This was CLIMATECOST ending in August 2011 at a cost of €4.61 million of which the EU was paying €3.5 million. Led by the Oxford Office of the Stockholm Environment Institute, TERI was to contribute to determining the “full costs of climate change”.

        That coincided with the start of ISSOWAMA – “Integrated Sustainable Solid Waste Management in Asia”. Requiring, “Networking and preparatory action in view of developing cost-effective, environmentally-safe waste treatment technologies and services adapted to the needs of developing countries, within a targeted life cycle approach”, TERI was to share €1,278,698, the EU providing €989,523 for the 30 month duration of the project.

        The University of East Anglia cropped up in yet another EU-funded project in which TERI also partnered. That one was called RESPONSES, dealing with: “European responses to climate change: deep emissions reductions and mainstreaming of mitigation and adaptation.” Again a largely European affair funded from the main research budget, it started on an unspecified date in 2009 with TERI sharing a pot of €3,149,708.

        .Also starting in 2009, officially on 1 May, was the now notorious HIGHNOON. It had been set up to study “adaptation to changing water resources availability in northern India with Himalayan glacier retreat and changing monsoon pattern”. TERI gets a share of €4.28 million, of which €3.31 million is to be paid by the EU.

        Then, in September 2009 and ending this coming August, TERI commenced work on SETATWORK, a €1.27 million project with €999,972 of EU funding, aimed at the “thematic promotion of energy efficiency and energy saving technologies in the carbon markets”.

        Also in September 2009, TERI started its involvement in RISKCYCLE, a project charged with defining future R&D requirements “in the field of risk-based management of chemicals and products,” with a view to using alternative testing strategies to minimise animal tests.

        Again, this was not an obvious area of TERI expertise but it nevertheless shares in the three-year project worth €1,206,063 – of which the EU is paying €996,324.

        Other Europeans pitich in

        Furthermore, support from European countries did not come only via the EU. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland has been funding TERI to carry out projects on Pollution in India, a project that aims to address some of the questions posed by the “brown cloud” phenomenon. Phased payments for 2004-2006 were € 302,000, phase two from 2007-2009 was € 220,000 and phase three from 2010-2012 is planned to spend € 480,000 – amounting to nearly €1 million.

        Additionally, the British government in September last year pledged £10 million to TERI – having already funded the institute to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds, while the Norwegian government on 13 November last year signed a 60 million Norwegian Kroners (about €7.5 million) contract with TERI.

        For R K Pachauri, whether man-made global warming exists or not, it has proved very profitable indeed for his institute, not least through the “generosity” of the Europeans who seem only too keen to encourage his ambitions.”

      • Sorry–forgot to credit North and Booker.

      • Hey, Tom? We have these things now called “links.” There was no need for you to spam the thread with that huge copy-paste.

        I read through it, searching in vain for any reference to a UK government investigation. How about you cut to the chase for me?

      • Oh, PDA, how about you spend five minutes on the internet looking it up? You don’t want me to paste it in, you don’t evidently read what is there. Do some work.

      • I did read your monster copy/paste and have been googling a whole range of pemuted search terms such as “TERI UK government investigation,” “TERI Pachauri investigation UK” etc, without turning anything up.

        And anyway, why should I have to “do some work” instead of you just substantiating your assertions? I’m not asking you to mimeograph it all and FedEx it over. Paste one fracking link, for goodness’ sake.

      • Gee, that took about two minutes.

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7005963/Taxpayers-millions-paid-to-Indian-institute-run-by-UN-climate-chief.html

        “The grant comes amid question marks over the finances of The Energy and Resources Institute’s (TERI) London operation. Last week its UK head called in independent accountants after admitting ‘anomalies’ – described as ‘unintentional’ – in its accounts that have prompted demands for the Charity Commission to investigate.

        The decision to resubmit accounts follows a Sunday Telegraph investigation into the finances of TERI Europe, which has benefited from funding from other branches of the British Government including the Foreign Office and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

        …”After two weeks of requests by the Sunday Telegraph, TERI revealed income for 2008 to 2009 of £10.7m, up from £6.8 million the year before. DfID said the first year funding of £2 million amounted to about 15 per cent of TERI’s annual turnover.
        TERI Europe has also attracted British Government and private funding and although no overall figures have been made available for the value of the contracts, they are reckoned to be worth substantial sums over several years.
        But latest available Charity Commission accounts show income of £8,000 and expenditure of £3,000 in 2008 while separate accounts lodged at Companies House show a little over £60,000 in cash at the bank in June 2008.”

      • That took you two minutes? It took me about fifteen seconds. You mean you didn’t have the information to begin with… you had to Google your own sources yourself? No wonder you’re a mess.

        Anyway, as I noted below, the article was written at9:30PM GMT 16 Jan 2010, about a month before TERI engaged KPMG to do the review. KPMG had the information.

    • Are you repeating your foolishness twice in the same thread? KPMG didn’t clear Pachauri. They just said the numbers he gave them added up.

      • What evidence do you have that there are numbers that TERI and Pachauri didn’t give KPMG?

      • Their admission that they needed to restate their figures and their subsequent restatement of their figures as five times their original statement.

      • What admission?

        Note: just post a link this time. Other people are trying to use this page.

      • No, PDA. People don’t follow links, so it becomes your word vs. mine. Text is better–I’m really damn sorry if you don’t approve.

        “Last week its UK head called in independent accountants after admitting ‘anomalies’ – described as ‘unintentional’ – in its accounts that have prompted demands for the Charity Commission to investigate.

        Ritu Kumar, who runs TERI Europe, said in response to inquiries by this newspaper she had called in independent accountants Mazars.
        Dr Kumar wrote: “As a result of this, Mazars has advised us that there are anomalies in the accounts filed with the Charity Commission. As soon as we learned of these anomalies, which were unintentional on our part, we informed the Charity Commission and immediately asked the accountant to prepare revised accounts, which will apply the correct accounting treatment.”

      • People don’t follow links

        Wow. That has got to be the weakest excuse I have ever heard. Not providing links lets you conflate blog stories with news accounts as you did in the monster post before, and play games with the timeline, like you just did.

        I googled the text you just pasted. It’s from January, before the KPMG review, not after as you said above.

        It’s not my word against yours. Thanks to the miracle of the World Wide Web, anyone can follow the links above to see who’s telling the truth and who is flatly lying.

      • Jesus, PDA, what’s your point? Are you saying that KPMG audited TERI’s accounts? They did not. Are you saying that TERI did not have to restate their accounts following an investigation by the UK Charity Commission? They did. Are you saying that they did not under-report their income? They did.

        What are you saying about Pachauri, TERI and KPMG?

      • Jesus, Tom, I’m not saying anything. I’m asking what you are saying. Repeatedly.

        Your implication above was that TERI restated its numbers after the KPMG review.

        They just said, if these numbers are true, then it’s okay. The UK government found out quickly that the numbers are not true.

        This is incorrect. Verifiably. Using a source you provided… but declined to identify.

        I will ask again: what evidence is there of any wrongdoing by Pachauri?

    • The audit was shown to be a sham. Sorry.

      • No need to apologize.

        It wasn’t an audit, it was a “review,” as I was helpfully informed. How was it “shown to be a sham?” By whom and through what means? Please be specific.

      • Apparently the same thought processes that lead to “the hockey stick has been completely discredited” also leads to “The audit was shown to be a sham”.

  92. I have concluded there are major issues with the IPCC programme.

    Nearly half claimed AGW is offset by the cloud part of ‘global dimming’ of which Twomey found evidence for thin clouds yet there appears no evidence for thick clouds. In 2004, he was given a prize: http://geo.arc.nasa.gov/sgg/singh/winners4.html The incorrect ‘reflection’ physics replaces theory he warned did not work for thick clouds.

    Apparently, the models base their calculations on eq. 19 here: http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/1974/1974_Lacis_Hansen_1.pdf A quotient of terms involving [1-g].tau: g is the ‘Mie asymmetry parameter’, tau the optical depth, a function of droplet size and number, it predicts increased albedo for smaller droplet. But clouds with darkest interiors/highest cooling are near to raining, so have larger droplets.

    Also, the assumption of constant g is only true for the first scattering event. The forward energy concentration [10^7 peak at 15 microns] means that at the next interaction the wave is far from plane: Mie assumed a plane wave. For diffuse scattering, g becomes meaningless: there is no wave.

    Whilst the equation seems to work, in reality it’s meaningless because apparent tau depends on two optical effects, direct backscattering at the upper boundary, diffuse scattering. The lower bound of the former is [1-g], 0.2 at 15 microns , 0.1 at 5 microns [polluted].

    So, for thick, non-absorbing clouds, at 15 microns [unpolluted] minimum albedo is 0.2 + 0.4 = 0.6. At 5 microns it’s 0.1 + 0.45 = 0.55: pollution reduces albedo by >=8%. Because albedos of water clouds can be higher, up to 0.7, and there is angle dependence not possible for diffuse backscattering, I suspect g for non-plane wave interactions may be <<0.5. Lower [10^5] peak intensity at 5 microns may reduce this backscattering.

    So, it looks like the IPCC models have a fundamental error and instead of 'cloud albedo effect' cooling, it's the reverse. The implications are major:

    1. Predicted CO2-AGW must be reduced by at least a factor of c. 3.
    2. Much warming may have been aerosol pollution reducing cloud albedo.
    3. The apparent cessation of global warming in 2003, according to ocean heat capacity, could be the result of saturation of the [reversible] effect.
    4. The Lacis-Hansen equation was derived from Sagan's work for Venusian thermal runaway: it seems this work was incorrect as well.

  93. Dr. Curry

    “The scientists provided the initial impulse for this feedback loop back in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The enviro advocacy groups quickly saw the possibilities and ran with it, with the scientists’ blessing. The enviro advocacy groups saw the climate change issue as an opportunity to enlist scientific support for their preferred energy policy solution. Libertarian think tanks, the traditional foes of the enviro advocacy groups, began countering with doubts about the science. International efforts to deal with the climate change problem were launched in 1992 with the UNFCCC treaty.”

    This passage is an interesting point of view recollection of times and events much more subtle and nuances, and free of larger context.

    Please, allow me to elaborate by proposing an alternate viewpoint:

    Victims of science (Thalidomide babies from Pharma, Mercury brain damaged consumers of fish from Industrial Chemistry, DDT impoverished sportsmen and farmers from Agrichem, Acid Rain impoverished sportsmen from Thermomechanical Engineering…) provided the initial impulse for this feedback loop back in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Lawyers, politicians and carpetbaggers as well as advocacy groups in the extreme minority quickly saw the possibilities and ran with it, dragging scientists kicking and screaming against their will into examination of the really shoddy work they’d been doing up to that point as lapdogs enslaved to a funding model more interested in producing product for industry than knowledge for fedback into furtherance of science itself. Reactionaries on all sides saw the climate change issue as an opportunity to enlist scientific support for their preferred energy policy solution. Libertarian think tanks, the traditional bagmen of opportunists and foes of actual science, continued countering with doubts about the science as they had done with Darwin, with hygiene in medicine, with family planning and so on for generations. International disputes over the climate change problem were shunted into a bureaucratic maze in 1992 with the UNFCCC treaty.

    • Bart R,

      I’m not even sure what your intention is here. I think you have most of it exactly right except for climate science. I think you will find that the scientists you refer to in the 50’s and 60’s were perfectly sure that everything they advocated was perfectly safe, mocked and ridiculed their opponents and accused them of being “anti-scientific” and similar to flat-earthers. They believed that it was their duty to manipulate public opinion by whatever means necessary since it was in people’s best interest to believe them. They claimed to represent scientific certainty against “merchants of doubt”. Naturally; there was no ironclad scientific proof that these practices were unsafe. And of course, as you say, the doubters were an extreme minority. By the current standards of the “warmists”, that proves them wrong.

      This is the same behavior as the “consensus” activist climate scientists are displaying today, except that alarmism has replaced its opposite (“safeism”?). Whoever has the upper hand becomes the oppressor. I’ve seen this in action a few times.

      • Dagfinn

        “I’m not even sure what your intention here is.”

        Thank you.

        On a Confusionist blog, that is high praise, and indicative that my comments may be hitting near to the goals of our host.

        If I had purposes, they may have fallen into roughly these categories:

        1.) The original post overlooked victims of science. Real, actual people who suffered real, actual harm, and real people who were in danger of further harms caused by the work of real, specific scientists. Too many people throw out impossible conditions that “the other side” must meet, waste time with unclear and unhelpful commentary that neither stimulates thought nor furthers the search for knowledge, and act like they forget that this is about actual, real outcomes and not pie-in-the-sky Professor-from-Gilligan’s Island fictions.

        Both sides — and even a Confusionist must admit to exactly two sides on this love triangle — have victim arguments, and both sides absolutely have some valid points about potential victims.

        Any unreasoning extremist on either side will be able to take issue with the above and following statements, flinging copiously truthy WUWTisms or IPCCness, and try to jump in and take control of the agenda with their strategic arguments to drown out a balanced stepwise approach capable of producing some alleviation for victims out of no more than fervent belief in their own side, but to them I say a plague on both your houses. Reel it in and let grown ups work.

        While I have to agree with your opinions and caveats for the most part, Dagfinn, we differ in nuance.

        Many scientists in the 50’s and 60’s (or ever) evinced undue certainty. Poor addled fools? Good scientists don’t fall into this trap unless they grow careless. Or lack sufficient grounding in Statistics and Game Theory or Decision Science or Propositional Calculus. Or both. Which, let’s face it, no one can be sure about before new results disprove old certainties.

        So whoever your “They” is, is too vague and broad a term, and does not well match the historical events in my experience.

        As for who this warmist side is, I’ve both heard it claimed that “They” have standards, and “They” have no standards. “They” are everywhere. “They” are nowhere. “They” sound like ninja pirate voodoo priest wuxia uruk supermodels. If we can pull it back a notch, both sides have to be painted at least a bit with this stinky brush, both ought be equally red-faced when caught (I know I’ve been caught once or twice), and resolve whether to continue to embrace unproductive name-calling or to leave the smear behind and perhaps look to Management Science when organizing efforts to get to a more solid grasp on the issue.

        Really, there’s no oppressor. There’s no upper hand. There’s no use to titles like activist or alarmist or denier (safeist?). There’s a need for an organized response of disparate individual parties with different agreements, points of view and resources. That’s the type of problem that is addressed by Management Science as an umbrella over and separate from ‘Policy’ and ‘Politics’ and ‘Climate Science’ and ‘Econometrics’ and ‘Commerce’.

        I’ve only done the most scant analyses by CMM (Capability Maturity Model) metrics, and believe it is possible to develop an informal network model for maturing the capability level of this level zero furor.

        2. Contrasting the original framing of Judith’s argument (which I believe she intended to be true and accurate within the bounds of her narrative) with my own (somewhat skreedy) framing, we can see that the same events can be looked at by different people, and as many different subtle perceptions of the events will exist as witnesses.

        Remembering it one way or another just entrenches biases, which leads to questionable science. Better to approach problems as from the framework and point of view of an opponent at least some of the time, to produce more even-handed results.

        What do you get, Dagfinn, when you squint in a warmist way?

        3. Scientists hate to get involved. Today, I doubt one scientist in thirty willingly participates in climate discussions in other than the driest, quietest and most distant privacy. I doubt most of what is said on either side about scientists on the other applies to more than one in twenty as a statement that could be even remotely considered arguable. Handwaving generalizations are always wrong. ;)

        4. Feedback for furtherance of knowledge is the only valid product of science. Byproducts like proof or disproof of global warming are by their nature policy questions.

        5. The world really needs Ignorance Insurance to fund research; if you’re paid up and do or say something astoundingly ignorant, science will stand up and explain how you went so wrong. If you’re not paid up.. no, wait, I sense an adverse system of rewarding bad behavior intrinsic in my proposal. Well, whatever, we need better ways to fund this debacle we call science. Maybe sell a few acres of university buildings, or turn them into theme parks and run fun rides?

  94. I really need to learn to edit before hitting that Post Comment button.

  95. Dr. Curry,

    Thank you. What you have said here crystallizes my feelings on these topics. Scientific debates can be exciting and invigorating. But a few figures, relying on their authority as “scientists” have dragged the debate over the science into the mud of politics. They have attempted to make the presentation of facts a value-judgement.
    Even though I may not always agree with you, I sincerely appreciate your courage and honesty.

  96. Apologies to all whose posts got caught in moderation while I was on travel returning to Atlanta. And welcome to those who are making their first visit/comment to Climate Etc.!

  97. There is a curious defense of the establishment going on here, with claims that there is no power politics, no vicious attacks, no censorship, just good old boys. It is true that some scientists criticize AGW or IPCC, even harshly, but they either make their own alarming noises in their published work or are considered part of the tribe (though ask Roger Pielke Sr. how that plays out over the long term…). But in other cases if a conclusion in a paper cuts too close one is then identified as an “enemy” and the shunning and attacks begin.

    Let us then consider who has power. Mann can get immediate press coverage any time he wants, and even interviews in Scientific American etc. In this media he accuses anyone who disagrees with his work or the IPCC or questions the consensus as part of “a well-funded oil denial machine”. So he has power and uses it to sully reputations constantly. Hansen has given thousands of interviews and his remarks are picked up by papers all over the world. With this media attention he talks about coal cars being like death camp cars, talks about imprisoning oil company executives, etc. The editor of Science says the time for debate is over (5 yrs ago or so in an editorial), but what is science except debate?

    So critics can be snarky and angry or even crazy, but they can be safely ignored because they have no power. You can’t equate this “bullying” as on the same scale as Mann and Hansen and Gore. The green NGOs like Greenpeace with combined resources in the hundreds of millions of dollars per year have the ear of governments and the IPCC and the media and make films like the 10/10 video where they blow up people who don’t agree with their views. Not bullying?

    • “a curious defense of the establishment” [...] “with claims that there is no”

      giggle… but it is JC who is making ‘claims’ which some others are asking her to support… those others are not trying to prove negatives or find her pony…

      • I am providing support for JC. It is the IPCC defenders who must prove a negative here (that there is no bad behavior).

      • “I am providing support for JC”

        JC can support herself… or not… if she makes claims that she can’t or refuses to support… so be it… your interpretations of her claims are your guesses… as is your guessed support…

        “must prove a negative”

        no…

      • It is the IPCC defenders who must prove a negative

        Argumentum ad ignorantiam much?

      • @Craig Loehle

        “I am providing support for JC. It is the IPCC defenders who must prove a negative here (that there is no bad behavior).”

        That’s quite an interesting position, is it reasonable to say critics of climate change/the IPCC must also prove they’re not being paid by energy companies?

        Personally I’d consider it extremely silly if someone tried to dismiss a criticism with “They’re paid by energy companies!!” and then when asked for evidence said “You have to prove they’re not paid by energy companies!!”.

        Does the standard of evidence you’ve proposed run both ways or does only apply to things you want to argue are true?

      • I’m sorry you can’t read what I wrote. Judith and sceptics assert from experience that there has been bad behavior, bullying, censorship, etc. Defenders are saying there is none. When multiple people have been mugged, saying “well, I haven’t been mugged” is not a very clever argument.

      • I read what you wrote just fine, thanks.

        “When multiple people have been mugged, saying “well, I haven’t been mugged” is not a very clever argument.”

        This analogy assumes your conclusion i.e. the disagreement is over whether there have actually been any muggings. People have claimed to be mugged albeit they’re unable to show any missing possessions or any injuries at all. Even worse is they claim other people were mugged very badly and were possibly crippled or killed. No they’re going to name those people or show any evidence they even exist.

        So sure some people claim the IPCC is corrupt. What’s being asked is they show some evidence of this corruption rather than spin a story. Your response to this is these claims are by default true and everyone else must show the IPCC is not corrupt.

        So tell me this: How do I show Dr Curry wasn’t mugged? What does the evidence of a non-mugging look like?

      • Craig, I suspect that what you mean is that the prosecution has made a strong case, and we’re waiting (and getting bored with doing so) for the defence to stop its bluster and make its case.

      • Yes

    • The editor of Science says the time for debate is over (5 yrs ago or so in an editorial), but what is science except debate?

      Science is not debate. It’s learning something new.

      • So is suppressing dissent a way to learn something new?
        Would it have been good to suppress your observations concerning the IPCC and glaciers?

    • Yes, Craig, there is power politics involved in AGW.

      The global climate scandal has convinced some members of the “Free West” that world leaders are now behaving like leaders of the old USSR – secretive and tyrannical.

      How else can one explain why world leaders, the United Nation’s IPCC, former US Vice President Al Gore, and leaders of scientific organizations, science journals, prestigious award committees, and the news media world-wide tried to advance only one side of a scientific dispute and to convince the public that anthropologic carbon-dioxide (CO2) is the primary cause of global warming, AGW?

      Frankly, I do not know the full extent of the power politics involved.

      But neither do I criticize those who fear that a secretive and tyrannical world government was behind the AGW scare.

      With kind regards,
      Oliver K. Manuel
      Former NASA Principal
      Investigator for Apollo

    • Yes, “the establishment” enjoys a modicum of defense, and for good reason. Academics have fought for tenure and professional deference in order to protect them from the vicissitudes of secular society. I suppose such internal political squabbles have always occurred within the scientific community, and such turmoil reduces the public’c confidence that such entities can produce good sciencee and deserve our public funding. The result of such in-fighting will be a loss of prestige and funding for all of science.

      This is not to say that malfeasance and bad science should not be reported and acted upon, on the contrary, the imperative is on those who believe themselves to have been mistreated to stand up and voice their objections to the status quo.

      My problem with this current debate is the complete lack of structure to the trial and conviction of climate scientists. I am an outsider– a physician, a medical man who understands science but certainly I do not engage in it at the level required for climate studies. Your work here is important. I am basically a skilled laborer who practices within a profession that enjoys much of the deference as scientists. We are self-policing to a degree, and are given wide latitude by society– as long as we conform to our internal standards.

      If a physician, or certainly a large group of physicians as large as the IPCC, were operating outside the legal, ethical or professional standard, there is a process for remonstrance. I would sincerely hope that a disgruntled physician at, say, the Mayo Clinic or Sloan-Kettering would not operate a blog to malign the senior staff with vague innuendo!

      Where are the professional standards, the “process”, the self-policing? is there truly no recourse than to flail about on the internet?

      I came to the site pursuing “both sides” of the AGW debate after a heated though friendly discussion with a colleague about the issue. For the record, he is a skeptic and I was a “believer” in AGW. I have come to trust that establishment science– with all it’s faults– is following a broad arc towards truth. Sure there will be debate about science, observations and the empiric evidence will change, our knowledge evolves, but the fits and starts are always generally in a positive direction.

      I am supremely disheartened and taken aback at this website. Perhaps Dr Curry is the supreme victim who has exhausted all appeals and has been cast out, from her life’s work denied a proper hearing due to a political establishment on a quest for power and the almighty buck. (Yikes! And I thought the medical profession gets a bad rap!)

      My advice– go through the proper channels, seek recourse with your professional societies and boards. If this has failed then enjoin other colleagues who support you and start a NEW professional society with structure and by-laws and rules. You are young, you have time, do it right. You owe it to yourself, your profession and your society who has helped to educate you and support you.

      As an outsider I can tell you all that this is a mess. It stinks and is destroying your field of study.

  98. Tomas Milanovic

    Judith

    The scientists provided the initial impulse for this feedback loop back in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The enviro advocacy groups quickly saw the possibilities and ran with it, with the scientists’ blessing. The enviro advocacy groups saw the climate change issue as an opportunity to enlist scientific support for their preferred energy policy solution. Libertarian think tanks, the traditional foes of the enviro advocacy groups, began countering with doubts about the science.

    This description perfectly describes the reality.
    And while many of the politico-scientifical discussions here are mainly valid only for the US context and/or concern only Americans , I can confirm you that the above statement is valid for Europe too.

    It is perhaps even more valid for (western) Europe than for the USA because what you call “enviro advocacy groups” are much more powerful in Europe than in the USA.
    Of course the rest of the world is concerned neither by IPCC nor by climate scientists so they are not really concerned by the statement too.

    Just as an example , I know of 4 cases only in France where a public statement against IPCC recommendations and conclusions by a scientist had triggered open letters and hate propaganda of IPCC members , enviro advocay groups and AGW believers who virtually asked for public lynching of the heretic.
    In Germany I could mention Schellnhuber (supposedly climate scientist) who is an eminent IPCC support and at the same time a political enviro extremist.

    And now to those here who are apparently IPCC fans or make their living with it , I would like to say only 2 things:

    We will elect politicians and give them among other mandates the mandate to disband IPCC and stop financing anything in relation with it.
    We will also ask that the useless spending in climate “science” whose amounts passed beyond any good and evil be immediately cut down to reasonable proportions.
    Say equivalent to what gets astrophysics.

    Why?
    Because we, the citizens, are their bosses. We pay them and we don’t like what we see.
    Their performance in the last 20 years is lousy, the ratio result/spending is vanishingly small.
    And what makes the matters worse, they are arrogant, wilful, irrespectful and pretentious.
    Many even pretend to dictate us how we should be living and what energies we should use.
    So finished galmorous trips to Bali or Rio to talk about the sex of angels and get back to your labs doing some useful work.

    Be very sure that the citizens not only can do that but will do that.
    They have had enough of them.

  99. @gryposaurus. Those of us in business know that we can be audited at any time and conduct our business in such a way that we have nothing to fear. The only people who live or work “in constant fear of an audit” are those who know their books are cooked.

    On the emails in general, yes there is context involved, however that context leads to interesting questions. In one of them Kieth Briffa notes that he knew there was pressure to present a certain type of story. (Simplified?) (Sorry, it’s past 1 am and I can’t find the full quote.) I for one would like to know exactly who was putting pressure on the AR4 scientists to present any kind of story.

    • Knowing what happens in any business, or anything related to being audited doesn’t give any context this situation. Not realizing the uniqueness of what happened between the CRU and CA wouldn’t being doing either side justice. It just looks really bad for one because we have the behind the scenes emails that went back and forth between the victims of the hack.

      Which Briffa email are you referring to?

      • Probably 938031546.txt:

        “I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards ‘apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the proxy data’ but in reality the situation is not quite so simple. ”

        Note that this is 1999 so we are talking about TAR 2001 not AR4 2007

      • He is referring most likely to the mail where he is complaining to overpeck about caving into pressure from Mann and Solomon. search on “overegg the pudding”

        The basic facts run like this.

        1. Prior to Mcintyre coming on the scene Briffa and Osborn are planning a paper which will be critical of Mann. Difficult for them because Jones is caught in the middle. Osborn cannot see how Mann got such small uncertainty bounds. ( they are less than the instrument record which makes no sense)

        2. There are harsh,defensive mails between the parties

        3. Mc comes on the scene and Briffa and Osborn drop their
        idea. Mc suggests that CRU should arbitrate the disagreement.
        They decline

        4. Overpeck in 2005 or so Writes to Briffa and sets his expectations.
        he wants an image “more compelling that the hockey stick”

        5. The new McIntyre paper will make this difficult. A counter paper is needed and all the players see the Amman Wahl paper as the antidote.

        6. The paper in question is missing the deadline. So Schneider trys to change the rules at his journal and calls the paper “provisionally accepted”

        7. Mcintyre catches this ploy. He also notes that the paper in question references unpublished papers.

        8. The push is on to get the Amman Wahl paper into the record, so Briffa has an “easier job”

        9. Briffa writes to Overpeck and complains that they do NOT need to push the conclusions beyond the TAR in terms of certainty about past temps. “dont over egg the pudding”

        10. Briffa contacts Whal to get help writing the section on Mcintyres paper. he lifts words from Wahl and does not attribute Wahl in the end.
        These mails are marked confidential. Primarily because they violate the spirit of IPCC rules. They are undocumented exchanges outside the process and after the deadlines. A review by an unofficial outside reviwerer (Whal)

        11. It becomes clear to david Holland and Mcintyre that Briffa is borrowing from Wahl ( Briffa’s comments back to Mcintyre)

        12. Holland does an FOIA of correspondence between Briffa and others.

        13. Jones and Palmer decide to deny the request based on confidentiality

        14. Jones argues that briffa could say he recieved nothing “outside the process” ( a lie)

        15. The FOIA is denied. Palmer is concerned about an appeal.

        16. Jones writes to others suggesting that they delete emails. weird since the request for the mails was already denied.

        17. Nobody investigates whether the mails were actually deleted.
        ( as in a computer forensenic investigation)

        18. Mcintyre requests the Attachments that were on the climategate Briffa mails.

        19. CRU says they dont exist.

      • “These mails are marked confidential. Primarily because they violate the spirit of IPCC rules. They are undocumented exchanges outside the process and after the deadlines.”

        Violates the spirit of the rules? That sounds like a roundabout way of saying it breaks what the rules should possibly be but aren’t.

      • missing the point a little bit?

      • Not at all.

        If you want to say that sort of thing is bad form and should be against the rules then I’m all for it.

        However trying to dress up a critical weakness (i.e. that it doesn’t actually violate the rules as given at the time) with a slight of hand about “violating the spirit of the rules” strikes me as “missing the point” in a more fundamental way.

        If we work on the basis we all agree having the IPCC produce the best science possible (rather than as some would have it, get the IPCC to produce the answers they want) then I think we can all agree that kind of behavior poses serious risks not because evil scientists are colluding to get grant money but because in their rush to get what they see as the best science in there bad science may easily slip in – science they wouldn’t consider credible if they had more time to examine it.

        However in so far as I’m aware nobody has a problem with the actual paper, just the manner in which it was included.

        In terms of “corruption” or the kind of rhetoric we have here about priests and dogma it’s frankly quite weak. In my own personal view if you have to resort to emails to make a point as opposed to one concerning the actual science then it’s always going to be a weak one.

      • The point being asking colleagues to delete emails and changing the rules of publication, inventing a category of provisionally accepted and using as references unpublished papers.

      • Well yes but the “point” is that none of that was particularly against the rules. You may think it should have been but instead you have to go with a makey-uppey “spirit of the rules” to compensate for a lack of real substance.

      • Turn of phrase, I’m trying to deemphasize the point of disagreement and emphasize the point of what I assume we agree on but I note you’re unable to let go until you hear the bone snap.

      • No actually.

        The rules are pretty clear about how the review was supposed to happen. Briffa does his draft, the reviwers comment. briffa responds to the comments. An official record is kept. The record was supposed to made public. When these records were requested the IPCC argued that they had made them public by putting them in Harvards public policy special collections. McIntyre and a a few more of us issued FOIA on solomon. The records were made public.

        Continuing, Overpeck also wrote a mail to Briffa and roberts. In that email he told Roberts that if robertswanted to contact Briffa to give him feedback that there was an official process and Overpeck insisted on following that.

        So on my view they violated the LETTER of the rules, However, Overpeck has since argued that nothing in the rules prevented this kind of communication. So, when I say violated the “spirit” I am referring to this possible dodge.

        The proceedure clearly states how the communication should happen. Open transparent recorded. Overpeck at the time tells roberts not to contact briffa directly, but to use the process that has been set up. NOW, overpeck says that since the rules dont explicitly forbid private communication, no rule was broken. I say, the rule says reviewer comments should be recorded, entered into the database and shared with other reviewers. That is what it says. Overpeck believed this at the time. Briffa believed this at the time
        (hence the confidential marking) Jones belived this at the time (hence the request to thwart the FOIA) Now, they argue that since the rules didnt explicitly forbid this kind of communication that the rules were not broken. Go figure, they broke the FOIA law to cover up nothing. So, rather than explain all this gory detail, I’ll call that vilating the spirit of the rule. But, I would argue they violated the letter if you want me to.

        continuing:

        Briffa wrote to wahl directly. They exchanged mails. Briffa sent Wahl a draft of ch06 ( a no no as briffa indicates in the mail). Wahl wrote comments back to Briffa. Briffa said that he hoped nobody noticed that he was using Wahls words. why?

        When Holland asked for these xchanges under FOIA, jones said
        “briffa can say he received nothing” Palmer then directed Osborn to contact Amman and see if Amman thought his mails were confidential. Amman responded that his mails were not marked confidential. Later Osborn would write to Amman and say that we have to stick together on this.

        I can go on.

        Sometimes I like to dangle bait. Thanks

      • So let us see all of the e-mails so we can realize what innocent professional efforts these brave toilers in the vineyards of knowledge were really up to.

  100. The far deeper problem is not bullying or censorship, but the US Global Change Research Program (http://www.globalchange.gov/). The USGCRP, set up in 1990, is the third leg of the machine, along with the 1988 IPCC and 1992 UNFCCC. And it is by far the biggest leg as it is the Federal climate science funding, running about $1.7 billion/year. This is roughly half of all the climate change research in the world.

    The USGCRP has been dominated by AGW proponents from day one; in fact its reports are indistinguishable from the IPCC reports, if not even more strident: (http://www.globalchange.gov/publications/reports/scientific-assessments).

    So what gets funded is pro-AGW science, including a steady string of scary studies intended to motivate political action. Nothing is going to change until this program is redirected to take uncertainty seriously. Perhaps the new Congress can do that, but it will be hard.

    • Do you know if the budget of the US Global Change Research Program is subject to review by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS)?

      Dr. Cicerone Ralph J. Cicerone is President of the NAS and Chair of the National Research Council.

      NAS is a private, self-perpetuating organization that has responsibility of reviewing budgets of most federal research agencies (NASA, DOE, etc) for the US Congress. That may be the source of the problem.

      I learned that the US National Academy of Sciences was corrupt and was using its influence to promote itself, rather than to promote science, when the late Dr. D.D. Sabu and I witnessed the NAS in action at the Annual Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in Washington, DC in April of 1976.

      With kind regards,
      Oliver K. Manuel

  101. The acronym for this:

    “Who are these priests of the IPCC? Some are mid to late career middle ranking scientists who have done ok in terms of the academic meritocracy. Others were still graduate students when they were appointed as lead authors for the IPCC. These scientists have used to IPCC to gain a seat at the “big tables” where they can play power politics with the collective expertise of the IPCC, to obtain personal publicity, and to advance their careers. This advancement of their careers is done with the complicity of the professional societies and the institutions that fund science. Eager for the publicity, high impact journals such as Nature, Science, and PNAS frequently publish sensational but dubious papers that support the climate alarm narrative.”

    . . . . DR. MANN

    Or is it poster boy?

  102. Have scientists become ‘too political’ in their advocacy of particular climate change mitigation and adaptation policies? Do the benefits of engaging in political advocacy outweigh the risks of losing their credibility as scientists?

    Yes. Though there is nothing wrong with scientists being political as everyone has an opinion on political issues, the line is crossed when that political idology dictates what the scientist does in their research when it biases their data and conclutions. The peer review process is supposed to catch that, but, and again unique in climare science, that has not happened. If anything the peer reviewed process has bolstered the political biases in presenting scientific premises.

    What role has the media, including the blogosphere and the Internet, played in this growing contradiction? How has the media shaped the way that climate science is debated, disputed, and created? Is there a ‘better’ way for climate scientists to work with the media?

    The media are whores. They will fixate on what gives ratings. Fear increases ratings. Most of the MSM as Liberal tendencies. Climategate wasn’t covered on one Liberal media outlet, print or TV, in Canada. Only the CBC did one on it by Rex Murphy and he go thrown out of the CBC for doing so. As AGW dies the media will refuse to cover it.

    Moving forward, is there a better role for climate scientists in political and policy debates, and if so, what would it look like?

    The best role that climate scientists can do first and foremost is clean up their act and get their facts and uncertainties public, and quit treating skeptics as the enemy. I know that is sometimes difficult for those of the political left to do.

  103. Bravo Judith Curry! Thank you for the most complete and most likely accounting of where and why climate science went wrong. The vast areas of uncertainty within IPCC reports coupled with “The science is settled” statements from leading GISS scientists revealed a terribly unbalanced equation within climate science.

  104. This is a wonderfully lucid discussion. Thank you.

    The Wonderful, Insidious Paradox that is Science:
    Here is a newly discovered fact.
    Do not believe it.
    Because if you do, it becomes dogma
    and you become an obstacle to science.

    Doubt this new fact religiously, seek to disprove it incessantly.

    But do not let the religion of skepticism prevent you from benefiting from the value of this newly discovered fact.

  105. Judith, very nice post, well done! Now watch the viens buldge with rage.

  106. Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu expressed similar sentiments about the IPCC in a 2007 interview:

    “My criticism of the IPCC’s report is simply that I do not know how 2,500 scientists can agree that the present 100 years is almost entirely due to the greenhouse effect. There is no evidence for that! There is no paper that studies the natural components of the retraction of the present ice. No paper! So they have no basis to say ‘most;’ it’s an assumption!

    The IPCC’s report, on page 10, states that, ‘most of the present temperature increase during the last 100 years, from 1975, is due to a magnified greenhouse effect.’ But there is no basis for them to say ‘most,’ for they have not examined the natural component. So it’s an assumption. Then, they say, computer models conform to that, but that’s not true. What’s happening is that computers try to simulate the present increase, but computers can’t do that. So it’s not confirming anything; their computers are just trying to simulate the initial assumption.

    …the top level, the very top-level climatologists or meteorologists, they don’t join the IPCC, because the IPCC is too political. They stay away. So there’s lots of — I don’t know if it’s the majority or not — but there’s lots of silent people there.”

  107. “Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers. The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present — and is gravely to be regarded.

    D. D. Eisenhower, Farewell Address, January 17, 1961

  108. Dear Dr Curry
    You say: “I’m trying to get the public perception of climate science back on track so that our field can regain some respect.” A major task!
    Perhaps the first step needed is to go back to basics and make sure that the “track” that it was on was in fact the correct one, so that any member of the public can agree that there might be something in what scientists have to say. The Feynman quote reminds me of the expression “Blind them with science” and these days it seems that scientists are not immune. No one likes to feel railroaded by the “Trust me, I’m a scientist” approach, which is why the alarmists come across so badly and unbelievably to anyone who dares to question their ‘science’. It took me a long time to dredge up Archimedes principle from my grammar school Physics lessons 50 years ago and realise that the alarmists’ claims of melting ice submerging coastal districts certainly could not apply to floating ice, and from then on I have been wary of anything claimed as being what “scientists say…”. Here is another basic conundrum, one which I have never had a rational answer to. Perhaps you can supply one.
    It seems to me that the essential attribute of coal is not that it is carbon, but that it is a fossil. Many of the fossilised leaves, tree trunks etc are recognisable as species that are still growing today, so it seems reasonable to assume that the fossils grew in much the same way as vegetation does today. So all of the billions of tonnes of carbon that are now underground must have been sequestered out of the atmosphere, where it is reasonable to assume that it was present in the form of CO2. Growing conditions when the fossils were alive must have been excellent, otherwise there would not be such massive coal deposits. So on what basis can any scientist insist that putting any or even all of the buried carbon back where it came from will lead to catastrophe? The evidence of the fossils tells us that it is far more likely that global flora will greatly benefit. In fact, perhaps it was the lack of CO2 as much as the lack of water that changed the Sahara from forest to desert. Interesting to see that the Sahel is greening and the tundra is also growing apace now that conditions for plant life are slowly improving, thanks in a very small and insignificant way to mankind’s inadvertent assistance in correcting the abnormal situation caused by the imprisonment of so much of nature’s plant food.

  109. This topic seems to have a nice parallel elsewhere in science. A recent Atlantic magazine article regarding how much of the popular research papers in medical science are systematically wrong .

    <blockquote cite ="In the paper, Ioannidis laid out a detailed mathematical proof that, assuming modest levels of researcher bias, typically imperfect research techniques, and the well-known tendency to focus on exciting rather than highly plausible theories, researchers will come up with wrong findings most of the time. Simply put, if you’re attracted to ideas that have a good chance of being wrong, and if you’re motivated to prove them right, and if you have a little wiggle room in how you assemble the evidence, you’ll probably succeed in proving wrong theories right. His model predicted, in different fields of medical research, rates of wrongness roughly corresponding to the observed rates at which findings were later convincingly refuted: 80 percent of non-randomized studies (by far the most common type) turn out to be wrong, as do 25 percent of supposedly gold-standard randomized trials, and as much as 10 percent of the platinum-standard large randomized trials. The article spelled out his belief that researchers were frequently manipulating data analyses, chasing career-advancing findings rather than good science, and even using the peer-review process—in which journals ask researchers to help decide which studies to publish—to suppress opposing views. “>

  110. “Nevertheless, the policy cart was put before the scientific horse, justified by the precautionary principle.”

    Global warming was considered a threat before detection confidence was high because we had a 150 year history of understanding the mechanism by which the threat would develop. Given that 150 years of study of the issue, detection and attribution were just a matter of time, unless somebody can overturn that 150 years of work.

    Now if you could argue that we know nothing about sensitivity, then maybe we should hold off. Bust estimates on sensitivity go back over 100 years, and have not changed dramatically in that time.

    I understand that not everybody agrees with those estimates, but given that public is usually made without perfect certainty, what should we base those decisions on? A century of research that shows pretty good continuity, or those in the minority who disagree? It isn’t casting aspersion on the minority to argue that the level of knowledge that we have developed is adequate for policy determinations.

    • The 150 years of “understanding” must be referring to radiative physics. But this per se will only get you 1 to 1.5 Deg C of warming from a doubling of CO2. The rest is due to amplification due to water vapor and clouds, which have never been proven, and it is admitted by the IPCC that vapor and clouds are poorly understood/modeled. To say that we have a concept about something does not mean it is “understood” in the sense of being verified or able to predict.

      • Dr Loehle,

        Could you contrast and compare the recent global trends in absolute humidity, precipitation and cloudiness in order to support or reject your implied position that there is no water vapor feedback.

        I find looking at available data that since the increase in absolute humidity is larger than the increase in precipitation, with cloudiness pretty much a wash, that the evidence supports the existence of a water vapor feedback that is positive.

      • Hello, Bob. At what atmospheric level(s) are you seeing the increase in absolute humidity?

      • It’s worth noting that specific humidity at the tropopause follows solar activity levels, not the rise of co2.
        http://tallbloke.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/shumidity-ssn96.png

    • No-one is arguing with the basic physics of the greenhouse effect. it’s a mistake on the other hand to assume that as [CO2] increases you don’t get any other changes.

      Thus, do the Stefan-Boltzmann calculation for real radiative fluxes and you predict GHG warming of c. 60K. The 27K difference from reality shows the contribution of weather to transporting the energy to the stratosphere.

      And then you have to accept that the climate models do a very poor job of predicting CO2-AGW because the equation introduced by Lacis and Hansen in 1974 to predict cloud albedo change from pollution is useless even though Sagan derived it.

      It fails to take into account that there are two optical processes in clouds with different sign dependences on droplet size and it assumes constant Mie asymmetry factor when that is only true for a plane wave.

      So, CO2-AGW is probably very low [overestimated by a factor of >=c. 3] and ‘cloud albedo effect’ heating has probably been responsible for the warming, now stopped because the effect has has saturated. You can see this in ocean heat capacity data which showed fast warming from the 1980s and warming ceased in about 2003.

      Susan Solomon earlier this year noted that stratospheric [H2O] has been falling recently after having increased between 1980 and 2000. This ties in with AGW having been essentially a temporary effect perhaps because tropical low-level clouds transmitted more light energy as the Asian Brown Cloud developed, but the effect is now saturated and could reverse if the Asian industries clean up!

      The only question left is why has net COs-AGW been low? The answer that seems to fit that question is Miskolczi’s GHG stabilisation model: total [H2O] falls to get constant IR optical depth corresponding to 1.87 average absorption events per photon emitted from the surface, a physical constant from the minimisation of free energy!

      So, a lot has been happening but the expected CO2-AGW effect can’t be proved even though you measure extra IR absorption by CO2!

  111. Steve Milesworthy

    Do you therefore expect Susan Solomon to be cast into the wilderness for saying this year that the likely non-anthropogenic:

  112. Steve Milesworthy

    2nd attempt: You say:

    “The entire framing of the IPCC was designed around identifying sufficient evidence so that the human-induced greenhouse warming could be declared unequivocal,”

    Do you expect Susan Solomon to be cast into the wilderness for saying the likely non-anthropogenic:

    “stratospheric water vapor probably increased between 1980 and 2000, which would have enhanced the decadal rate of surface warming during the 1990s by about 30% as compared to estimates neglecting this change. “

  113. One only has to look at Dr Michael Mann’s latest rant in New Scientist to see that scientists are way too outspoken in their opinions and delve way too far into political advocacy.

  114. I absolutely do not name any individuals here, for many reasons. The primary one being that the problem is with the SYSTEM. That some people used the system to for their own personal advantage is not surprising or particularly problematic (who can blame the graduate student appointed to be a lead author for the IPCC from using this to their advantage). The problem was the positive feedbacks and lack of checks and balances in the system, and how the whole thing snowballed.

    • However, at the heart of the IPCC is a cadre of scientists whose careers have been made by the IPCC. These scientists have used the IPCC to jump the normal meritocracy process by which scientists achieve influence over the politics of science and policy. ….. When I refer to the IPCC dogma, it is the religious importance that the IPCC holds for this cadre of scientists; they will tolerate no dissent, and seek to trample and discredit anyone who challenges the IPCC.

      Reading this, one might be under the impression that it is the people – but it looks like we have no problems with the people who are all peace-loving or in fact find their behavior natural and understandable, its their governments that are the problem.

    • You are exactly right, Judith.

      The problem is THE SYSTEM.

      Not their pawns.

      With kind regards,
      Oliver K. Manuel

    • Douglas Chang

      When the premise is held sacred, normal scientific checks and balances come to be regarded as heretical and blasphemous challenges to the infallible faith.

      It seems to me that if a “scientist” has to turn his or her scientific hypothesis into a religion to protect it from legitimate challenge, he or she should remove their books, papers and outcome pre-ordained computer models from the science lab and take them over to the neo-Scientology building, where they most appropriately belong.

    • “(who can blame the graduate student appointed to be a lead author for the IPCC from using this to their advantage). ”

      I do. It’s called the science comes first and foremost above personal gain. It’s too easy to just dismiss human failings as just that, excusable failings. There is no excuse! What these people are doing is selling their scientific integrity for money and power. Most scientists I know and have met for over 30 years love science for science’s sake, not the money.

      Scientists who sell their soul for money are corrupt — period. A disgrace to science at the least. It also leaves a very bad taste in the mouths of the public who learn about this. All science is scared. They get enough of this from politicians.

      • But it’s slow and insidious and systemic. You gradually change your views in a direction which is favorable to your financial survival. Or, the scientists that had a particular view in the first place get funded and become the prestigious ones. The incentives can bend the consensus even if no scientists are corrupt.

    • Well then Judith, you have a communication problem, as you’ve managed to convey exactly the impression which you now disavow.

      • People read my post with a whole host of preconceived notions, and filter out some things and amplify others. That is what happens when emotionally involved people intake information. The context of my post is much much broader than the little wars going on regarding individual scientists. Everyone seems to have missed one of my main points: the scientists themselves aren’t personally pushing a green agenda; rather they are caught in a green political machine (UNEP/UNFCCC) and the whole system has made it advantageous for the scientists to support it.

      • This point was missed because it was not made. There is no mention of a “green political machine” in the previous post. It’s all about “dogma,” feedback loops, and the silence of your peers.

        It’s fine if you want to make this post about the system. Just kindly do not pretend you wrote things you didn’t write in the last post.

      • Well, I assumed my readers knew something about enviro advocacy groups, whose role was clearly discussed in my post. Take this opportunity to try to learn about the broader situation. Believe me, this situation is not defined by Michael Mann, Willis Eschenbach, or whoever you think is of importance in all this.

      • Judith, it was perfectly clear to me and others that your post was opinion, not hard science. Has it occurred to you that those yelling “prove it” are not (merely) trolling you, but might actually lack the ability to distinguish between the two? That they might not know a falsifiable hypothesis if they tripped over it? I suppose, then, it shouldn’t surprise us that what passes for their science has turned out on closer inspection to be mostly opinion.

        Might pay you to label future op posts as “Opinion”, in the hope of reducing the volume of vapid bickering.

      • “Vapid bickering” is an excellent description. They don’t get it. They seem think that she is playing the same game they are. That she is trying to be RIGHT, when what she is actually doing is exploring and trying to get others to explore with her.

        Much of the climate debate is like that. Participants pretending that they are (almost) always right and portraying the opponent as (almost) always wrong. And that is dogmatic behavior in practice. The RealClimate guys are the masters of this playing the utterly futile game while looking mostly reasonable to the casual observer.

        Judith, you’re doing the right thing. If enough of the right people refuse to play these stupid power games for long enough, they will have to change their ways eventually. Not least because the public, the taxpayers, will be unwilling to support them.

      • Another suggestion – when writing opinion, and not wishing what you write to be mistaken (however willfully) for hard science, it might be best to avoid importing from science metaphors like “positive feedback”. I think “unholy alliance” captures what you are trying to say just as well, without allowing the specious inference that you are making a scientific argument.

        Similarly, the passivity in the face of error for which you reprove your profession might well described as a “conspiracy of silence”, without attracting reasonable calls for “proof”.

        However one sure way to preempt this sort of nonsense would be to write a post revealing what you yourself would do or say differently if you could turn back the clock. It would make a good way to mark the anniversary of Climategate.

      • Well, I have been writing about what I think the climate community should do differently for the past year. What I have written on these topics has received a fair amount of attention, but not from climate scientists.

      • I know you have been writing about what your profession should have been doing post-Climategate, but isn’t the whole point of this that the profession you reprove, and of which you are part, should have been doing and saying a lot of things for the last 20 years – not just since Climategate – that it didn’t. Shortly after Climategate Willis Eschenbach made this point with more vehemence than I choose to, but it was a good one. That you must have personal regrets regarding the decades you have participated in climate science is an unavoidable inference from your writings – might it not be best to grasp the nettle and reveal at least some of those regrets, and the scientific reasons for them? Your trolls attack you for not naming names – I’m far more interested in you naming evidentiary junctures in the trajectory of climate science at which, with hindsight, you believe scientific objections ought to have been voiced, whether by you or someone else, and what you now think of the conclusions that escaped such attention. Your reproof would then become, not a “mea culpa”, but the, er, “nostribus culpae”, it perhaps should be. Even your most ardent critics would find it hard to attack such a position. They’ll hate you all the more for it, but that’s rapidly becoming the benchmark of your blog’s success.

      • Why the conspiracy of silence is the point I have been trying to understand.

      • Again, I don’t want to go all Willis on you, but weren’t you in some form part of the CoS? So if you don’t understand it, what chance have the rest of us?

      • Michael, I don’t get that impression at all. The impression I get is that a lot of people are nit-picking and turning Judith’s wording inside out instead of addressing the issues she’s raising.

      • The nitpicking is rather important. Feedback machines are predicated on getting the causation correct, in a reasonable fashion. If Judith would like to fix the feedback machine, she needs to focus like a laser beam on exactly the problems. The system is made up of parts and you can’t fix the system by focusing on a “cadre” if there is no cadre to be found. And if you find the cadre you must fix the broken parts of that cadre, like if you think that cadre is malfunctioning for reasons that are selfish, that is much different from fixing a problem where the malfunction is coming from an outside component. I can applaud Judith for asking these questions, if i thought the problems she sited are the most likely, or even probable. I don’t really. I think more effort and investigation is needed before coming to these conclusions.

  115. ..they will tolerate no dissent, and seek to trample and discredit anyone who challenges the IPCC.
    Outcome: Sceptics storm the IPCC’s Bastille !

  116. Dr Curry, in my humble opinion you cannot publish a controversial blog post and then not be available in the following 24-48 hours to answer questions or reply to comments. This comment section is a mess, which is symbolical in a way.

    Couldn’t you have posted this at a later date when you had more time for a short back-and-forth with people like Eric Steig or Bart Verheggen?

    • Neven, do you really think it is your place (or any commenter’s) to dictate someone’s schedule? If you find the post or the comments objectionable, navigate to another internet venue post-haste.

    • Dr Curry, in my humble opinion you cannot publish a controversial blog post and then not be available in the following 24-48 hours to answer questions or reply to comments

      Neven: Actually she has barely been absent 24 hours, much less 48 hours.

      It’s hard for me not to conclude that all these complaints about Dr. Curry and her essay are because the complainers don’t like what she has said, but lack substantive rejoinders.

      Furthermore, I agree with Tom Fuller that it’s not the place of commenters to dictate a blogger’s schedule. If we don’t like it, we can go other places.

    • Well, part of the problem is the nested comments system.

      It’s elegant for relatively small numbers of comments. For long comment sections with replies to replies, it’s just chaos.

      • Unwashed Heathen

        Nah, no problem, it’s easy for us to just skip over the troll comments. Having a mouse with a scroll wheel makes it trivial. I doubt I’ve burned a calorie.

  117. (Sorry to repeat this. I misposted it as a reply where it was not fully relevant.)

    I’m trying to sort out some of the hostile reactions to this blog post. As an outside observer who is quite sympathetic to Judith, I find her description interesting and plausible. But I agree that she offers no firm evidence. And it’s almost by definition a more or less one-sided view of a situation that is rife with conflict. But that’s OK by me. It’s her opinion, not some officially sanctioned absolute truth.

    Taken as such, her account is not particularly inflammatory. She does not imply evil intent or character flaws beyond normal human failings. Above all, she is critiquing a social process, belief systems and institutional weaknesses. (Note: I wrote this before she commented on it herself.)

    The attempts to discredit this blog post by exaggerating its perceived nastiness will not work for anyone who is not a member of the tribe. It looks like drama queen behavior. It leaves the impression of a hyper-sensitivity to criticism that’s typical of people who are used to being shielded from unpleasantness.

    As a strategy, it is fatally counterproductive because the average person will not be impressed. A good recent illustration is here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/11/02/the-full-tamino/. This kind of thing is a sure win for Anthony Watts whether he is right or wrong, simply because he is respectful of those who disagree with him. His opponents shoot themselves in the foot by condemning him and have no clue why it hurts so much.

    • It looks like drama queen behavior. It leaves the impression of a hyper-sensitivity to criticism that’s typical of people who are used to being shielded from unpleasantness.

      That’s right. All this indignation — “Where’s your proof?”, “That’s your opinion” — is silly.

      Dr. Curry has written an essay, an editorial; she has not written a scientific paper or a mathematical proof.

      The idea that no one is allowed to have an unfavorable opinion of the behavior of some climate scientists unless they can show some ironclad chain of proof either demonstrates a profound ignorance of the Western tradition of civil discourse or, more likely IMO, an assumption of privilege, of being above criticism, that is plain and simple arrogance.

      • Oh, that’s ridiculous.

        No one – especially a bunch of anonymous commenters – has the power to say what opinions one is “allowed” to have (nor any inclination, if I may speak for myself). You, on the other hand, are saying that no one is allowed to ask Dr. Curry the basis for such sweeping assertions as

        The entire framing of the IPCC was designed around identifying sufficient evidence so that the human-induced greenhouse warming could be declared unequivocal, and so providing the rationale for developing the political will to implement and enforce carbon stabilization targets.

        This is not an opinion. It is a statement of fact. Statements prefaced with “I think that…” or “it seems to me that…” would carry a different weight than the bald assertion than “the policy cart was put before the scientific horse, justified by the precautionary principle.”

        You’re all supposed to be dedicated to the idea that scientists’ work should be subject to critical review. Now, when a scientist is putting up a statement on her blog, with a comments thread, any critical response is derided.

        Any you have to gall to accuse others of “arrogance.”

      • PDA: Feel free to ask Dr. Curry for amplification or contest what she said. But this “That’s not proof” stuff is silly. By all means have at it.

        But keep in mind it is an essay, not a scientific paper. Not everything is perfectly qualified with an “I think that” and so forth.

        Her claim about the IPCC struck me as so obvious as to require no qualification. Do you really contest that the IPCC was set up as the scientific arm to support the UNFCC treaty’s concern with the negative effects of climate change?
        ***
        Of course, Dr. Curry could handle such comments in the forthright, time-honored climate change blog manner of censoring comments, deleting them, or banning posters as we find at blogs like RealClimate, ClimateSight and others run by real scientists.

      • Feel free to ask Dr. Curry for amplification or contest what she said.

        Gee thanks, Huxley, I’ve been doing that for the past 24 hours or so. I expect she’ll publish some sort of follow-up at some point. Meanwhile, ain’t nobody here but us chickens.

        Do you really contest that the IPCC was set up as the scientific arm to support the UNFCC treaty’s concern with the negative effects of climate change?

        No, of course not.

        Do you really think that’s the same as saying “The entire framing of the IPCC was designed around identifying sufficient evidence so that the human-induced greenhouse warming could be declared unequivocal, and so providing the rationale for developing the political will to implement and enforce carbon stabilization targets?”

        Really?

      • PDA, I think you may be misreading the implication. I think what Judith is saying is not that anyone wanted to fabricate or distort evidence for political ends. Instead, she is implying that there was already a firm belief that AGW was real and a separate belief that science would proceed in the direction of greater certainty, thus providing the required evidence.

      • “the policy cart was put before the scientific horse” tends to contradict your interpretation.

      • I think it’s a matter of how deliberately the swapping of cart and horse was done. However you interpret it, the practical result is the same. The perceived need for policy drives the need for research that is expected to provide the basis for that policy.

      • An additional point which has been raised by Roy Spencer is the setup of the IPCC working groups. If WG1 were to conclude that AGW is non-existent or negligible, the rest of them would be pointless. That could be considered a hint as to what was expected from WG1.

      • Right, which is clearly not an implication “that anyone wanted to fabricate or distort evidence for political ends.” They just wanted the money, I guess.

      • Do you really contest that the IPCC was set up as the scientific arm to support the UNFCC treaty’s concern with the negative effects of climate change?

        Yes, absolutely, I contest it. IPCC predates UNFCCC and therefore IPCC could not be set up in relation to UNFCCC.

        To the modest extent they are formally connected, it is the other way around. If you read the UNFCCC text:

        article 21.2:

        The head of the interim secretariat referred to in paragraph 1 above will cooperate closely with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to ensure that the Panel can respond to the need for objective scientific and technical advice. Other relevant scientific bodies could also be consulted.

        indicates that UNFCCC was set up in the expectation that it could call on IPCC.

        There is no doubt that concern about climate change is behind the formation of IPCC, but in fact IPCC was first constituted to report on whether those concerns were justified.

        The suggestion that IPCC conclusions were preordained to support UNFCCC is plainly false.

        The idea that they were preordained at all by any force other than the forces of observation and reason is also false in my opinion. Being an allegation of an ethical failure of a large scientific community, it is an extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary evidence, but at least it doesn’t depend on time travel.

      • Alex Heyworth

        Definitely got this one right, MT. The IPCC was set up in 1988, UNFCCC didn’t start until 1992 (first opened for signature), came into force 1994.

      • The statement that the IPCC wasn’t about policy when founded is absolutely preposterous. Between 1988 and 1992, the IPCC simply played the role of both IPCC and the later founded UNFCCC.

        It’s not hard to see why. See the history of the IPCC, e.g.

        http://www.ipccfacts.org/history.html

        You will learn, for example, that the IPCC was founded by 2 entities: the World Meteorological Organization and the U.N. Environment Program. While the former used to be a nearly purely scientific institution, the latter is a U.N. policy institution. The IPCC has always been about the policies linked to science. It’s been designed to abuse the science for a predetermined policy goal.

        Whether the pure-policy UNFCCC treaty was signed in 1992 in Rio is secondary. The UNFCCC itself grew large. There are many other money-wasting tumors in the society and the scientific establishment that grew over the two decades. But all of them arose because there was a decision of policymakers that certain policies should be adopted which also determined which kind of science they should have paid for.

        This new kind of science grew by an order of magnitude in the last two decades.

      • The entire framing of the IPCC was designed around identifying sufficient evidence so that the human-induced greenhouse warming could be declared unequivocal, and so providing the rationale for developing the political will to implement and enforce carbon stabilization targets.

        This is not an opinion. It is a statement of fact. Statements prefaced with “I think that…” or “it seems to me that…” would carry a different weight than the bald assertion than “the policy cart was put before the scientific horse, justified by the precautionary principle.”

        ————

        What Judith ascerts is correct. Go and look at who founded the IPCC and why. Start with Maurice Strong.

      • M: Oh look, this isn’t an argument.
        A: Yes it is.
        M: No it isn’t. It’s just contradiction.
        A: No it isn’t.
        M: It is!
        A: It is not.
        M: Look, you just contradicted me.
        A: I did not.
        M: Oh you did!!
        A: No, no, no.
        M: You did just then.
        A: Nonsense!
        M: Oh, this is futile!
        A: No it isn’t.
        M: I came here for a good argument.
        A: No you didn’t; no, you came here for an argument.
        M: An argument isn’t just contradiction.
        A: It can be.
        M: No it can’t. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
        A: No it isn’t.
        M: Yes it is! It’s not just contradiction.
        A: Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position.
        M: Yes, but that’s not just saying ‘No it isn’t.’
        A: Yes it is!
        M: No it isn’t!
        A: Yes it is!
        M: Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.
        (short pause)
        A: No it isn’t.

      • PDA,
        The logical question is when will the climate science establishment start actually discussing and arguing, and not simply dismissing things they do not like?

      • @PDA

        I agree entirely about anonymous commentators like those who cowardly hide behind pseudonyms like ‘Tamino’, ‘Stoat’ or ‘PDA’. Shocking and shameful behaviour.

        But I note also that your beef is that your responses are publicly derided. In an open forum like this robust and critical debate is the norm, so get used to it.

        It is possible that you are only used to posting on highly moderated fora like RC and cronies, where only like-minded, dogma-reinforcing remarks are published. Anything critical is deleted prior to publication by the High Priests that Judith refers to.

        So. Welcome to the free world. But you will have to leave your sensitivities at the door.

        Steve Jones

      • Unwashed Heathen

        I think I love you.

    • In an essay the author supports her points; she is not required to prove them.

      Dr. Curry does support her points. The Climategate emails are facts showing that prominent climate scientists have conducted themselves with bad faith. It is another fact that, other than Dr. Curry, no scientists other than skeptics stepped up to condemn this bad faith behavior. Meanwhile other scientists have rushed in to defend and excuse the bad behavior, sometimes at official levels.

      These facts are curious. They require explanation.

      Dr. Curry offers an obvious one — another fact –funding for climate scientists requires their work to be taken seriously. It doesn’t strike Dr. Curry as an unreasonable inference that therefore climate scientists will close ranks and present their work as dogma in order to maintain or increase funding. That does not sound unreasonable to me or many other civilians in this debate either. It explains much of what is happening with the Climategate scientists, with the IPCC, and with many pro-climate change blogs.

      Of course, gryposaurus et al. are welcome to disagree, but they should provide alternative explanations rather than complain that Dr. Curry’s essay is not a proof.

  118. The accusations (of bias, dogmatism and lack of integrity) raised by Curry are unfounded and insulting. This is not the way to build bridges. It’s a way to burn them.

    http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2010/11/05/judith-curry-building-bridges-burning-bridges/

    • Bart,

      The IPCC consensus was obtain by bullying out the dissenting voice. Many scientist were forced out of the IPCC process. Roger Pielke sr and Chris Landsea are a few example of what happens to scientist who did not agree with the dogmatic vision of the IPCC.

    • We’re all biased to some extent. The most biased are typically the ones claiming to be unbiased. They are unable to counteract their own bias since they don’t see it.

    • Truth hurts, ya know?
      From the sidelines, we see:
      AGW promoters getting rich and/or building careers off of circular reasoning, confirmation bias and endless whitewashes, with a great deal of argument by arrogance tossed in.
      Dr. Curry is not the only scientist who sees what we great unwashed see.
      To paraphrase what someone said about this, it does not take a scientist to recognize a load of bs.
      AGW- the idea that we are undergoing a global climate disruption caused by CO2 and that those brave souls who identified the problem also have the cure for it, is easily recognizable bs.
      If that burns your bridge, it was not much of a bridge.

    • “This is not the way to build bridges. It’s a way to burn them.”

      LOL!!! Yeah, right! Climate scientists now want to build birdges! Give me a break. They have not only burned bridges, they have symbolically burned discenting scientists at the stake.

    • Bart,

      I have a feeling this is the aim.

      The more Curry writes, the more it seems that there is something driving her which is not science. Does she feel insufficnetly recognised by her peers, or unjustifiably left off the IPCC ‘table’?

      I have no idea, but this post is a long long way from science, or even well argued opinion.

      • What drives me is a concern over the integrity of the science. I have no interest in being at the IPCC “table.” I was a contributing author to the TAR and a reviewer. I was asked by a lead author for AR4 if i was interested in being a contributing author, and I said no. When the IPCC received the Nobel Prize in 2007, I staked no claim (even though this was worth one year of free parking at Georgia Tech for the participants :) I have received more than my share of recognition by my peers in the past. What I have done is pretty much insure that I don’t receive any in the future (which should tell you exactly how much I care about that.)

        This post is about the sociology of climate science. I’m sure you haven’t missed the news over the past year, where the public reputation of climate science is pretty much in the toilet. As a climate scientist, I am concerned about that and trying to understand what happened and why.

      • In the toilet? Well, it’s all relative, with science generally reating very highly on public measures of trust. Politicians can only dream of the kind of trust levels that science and scientists still enjoy.

        There has however, been some lessening of this . Some of it self-inflicted, some through lazy reporting and some through a concerted campign to this end for reasons other than science.

        Though I do find it hard to understand how broad-acre allegations of “corruption” are going to reverse this.

        And this is where I find it hard to see hoew you are helping at all – your injudicious use of language is confused, confusing, inflammatoryy and provocative. Take “corruption”. What do you actually mean?? There are grades and types. Minor or major? The type that is a change from the orginal, or the one associated with illegality, money in brown paper bags and sleaze?

        You can be sure that when you write “corruption” in a public forum , a good number of people think the latter.

      • well, there are scientists and then there are climate scientists. There are certainly some of the latter that do no enjoy much in the way of public trust.

      • Unwashed Heathen

        Once it became plain to the casual observer that *some* scientists were getting in bed with (or were trying to become) policymakers, politicians, and enviro extremists, casual observers started to tune them out.

        And this happened *bef0re* ‘climategate’, IMO.

    • Unwashed Heathen

      The accusations are supported by damning evidence. The interested public sees this even without Judith’s opinion.

  119. I like how realclimate take their idea for blog from somewhere else but never acknowledging where they take it from, at least when they don’t agree with it:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/11/science-narrative-and-heresy/#more-5308

  120. Fantastic Article — thanks for posting an honest and balanced view.

    There are a number of factors which ensure IPCC failure:
    – they have completely overstepped their authority
    – they have failed to properly reflect the scope of their objectives
    – they have violated their own subscribed methods for research reviews
    – they have failed to oversight standard practices like a statistical analysis review prior to publishing
    – they have not maintained a consolidated repository of data and have not ensured its ongoing validity and integrity
    – they refuse to openly share the research data and code for external review and analysis
    – they have failed to properly explain the context of their conclusions in an insightful way
    – they have allowed bias and outrageous claims to become published forecasts

    Scientific pursuit and the UN are like Oil and water. The IPCC is dictating environmental policy instead of acting as a resource for information and its policies are nothing short of juvenile.

    The easiest way to fix the situation is to simply disband the IPCC and an international watchdog group needs to be created to ensure Eco-loons don’t run out and hack the climate.

    After counties start managing their own research its possible they may find a way to share it in an intelligent way.

    The IPCC experiment has proven that we’re clearly not ready for a UN Science organization with this level of scope.

  121. Blog traffic is very high, and I also have a lot of other things on my plate. If anyone has a burning question that they want me to reply to, pls send me an email.

    • Traffic must be high! Still, considering your frequent parcipitation in all your other threads and the rather provocative nature of this post it is disappointing you chose to publish it at a time you would not be able to answer questions.

      Private defenses or explanations in email are not satisfying to the public nature of the sweeping condemnations you have presented.

  122. labmunkey and others, your back and forth with the various Barts, sharpers, etc is taking up a lot of space and shedding no light. I have some sympathy for the desire not to let a scientific falsehood lie unrebutted, but that’s not the case here. The warmists don’t like the opinions JC has expressed. Their response has been to criticise it as if it were a scientific paper, when clearly it’s not. Shouting “where’s your proof?” in response to anything they don’t like marks them out as infatuated teenagers, whatever their true ages. Those of us who need to have long since formed our judgements about the grotesque workings of their minds – can we not now simply move on, and get our blog back – please?

  123. There is much one can learn from this comments thread. Very revealing.

  124. Judith,

    I am on my BB so must be short.

    Wow! A strong essay that supports the foundations of the strongly advancing climate science reformation / renaissance that is rapidly replacing the problematic biased climate science of the past 20+ yrs.

    John

  125. Wel, it’s the 5th November, the bonfire is piled high, the barrels of gunpowder are carefully placed under the floor of the debating chamber and the stage is set for the big fireworks display.

    Who get’s to push the red button this time?

    Great opinion piece Judith, and so funny to read the huffing and puffing of the people who have been busily engaged in the character assassination of their opponents all these years. Those who like to dish it out are almost always the same ones who can’t take it back.

    Suck it up boys, hell hath no fury.

    Oh and as for climate being complicated, well, it will seem like that if you stuff it into a pre-designed boxcar driven by a trace gas. It actually pretty simple stuff, here’s the summary:

    The Sun variably warms the oceans, cloud cover permitting, the oceans warm the atmosphere, the atmosphere affects but does not control the rate of oceanic energy emission, and then it loses energy to space.

    A new, more complete and more coherent climate science is being developed by agenda free minds, and the co2 driven model is obsolete.

    Thanks for playing.

  126. Like others, I would be glad to see this thread move to what I thought was its intended purpose. And also like others, I didn’t read the original post as a denunciation of an entire scientific community except in two respects.

    First, the orthodoxy ignored the CRU emails, and where they are mentioned at all by the orthodox, it is only to excuse, minimise and point out that three enquiries have cleared those concerned of any wrongdoing. But any reading of the enquiry reports makes one scratch one’s head at their inadequacy. You would never pay anyone to do such a sloppy job.

    Second, IMO anyway, learned societies have no business making political statements disguised as scientific ones, and thank goodness my own one has a constitution that forbids it. The danger in doing so is obvious, and the Royal has since had to backtrack more than a little, and others are engaged in inspecting the damage. None of them uttered a word about the CRU emails, or the inadequacies and errors of the IPCC reports as they were pointed out. Why not? Because they had committed themselves to the orthodoxy.

    To me that was the burden of Judith’s pot, and although ‘dogma’ is a religious metaphor I think it had a reasonable place in what she said. It can look ore like religion than science.

  127. Getting back to the subject of last night’s discussion, Real Climate Scientists made quite an unforced error in not immediately denouncing the lack of openness evidenced in the ClimateGate files. Such a move would have immediately protected the reputation of climate science at large. The irony here is that the behavior revealed in the e-mails and computer source code was aimed specifically at protecting the Hockey Team’s various hockey stick reconstructions, and those graphs are barely even peripheral to climate science.

    The hockey sticks are, however, central to selling the need for drastic and precipitous action to the public. If Joe Sixpack were to get the idea that the temperature during Roman or Medieval times was higher than it is now, he might decide there’s no need to trip all over ourselves to “do something” right this minute–in my estimation he would be correct. The policy side of the climate debate needed that visual to sell the idea of unprecedented, catastrophic damage and convince Joe of the necessity of Andy Rivkin’s “Cap and Ka-Ching”.

    By remaining silent, Real Climate Scientists have allowed the whole field to sink into disrepute. That could have been prevented by just stating the obvious–albiet at the cost of Michael Mann’s, and a few others’ careers.

  128. Oh dear, for ‘pot’ in my last para, read ‘post’.

    • I keep asking, and have yet to get an answer…what exactly is a “Climate Scientist”? I don’t see any Ph.ds in “Climate Science” being given out at Princeton. I see atmospheric science…which allows one to comment on that science of current weather. But what “science” exactly allows one to make sweeping generalizations about the state of the entire Earth from millennial hence, and somehow be able to predict the exact year by year future in the present. The whole thing is so colossally absurd, so incredibly based on nothing, that one has to accept it as the most humorously entertaining spoof ever written, worthy of a lost work of Doug Adams!

  129. Maybe “sink into disrepute” is a little strong. How about “slump into disfavor”?

  130. Judy,

    As a climate outsider but having seen the IPCC insiders operate and attack close colleagues, you have done a valuable service by illuminating this sorry chapter in atmospheric science.

    Dick

  131. Want an argument?

  132. Re: jrwakefield (undefined NaN NaN:NaN),
    Actually, Rex didn’t get thrown out of the CBC; he still hosts Cross Country Checkup on radio, and (??) his occasional video editorials on TV. Here’s the offending episode, just after Climategate broke: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgIEQqLokL8

    4 minutes. His usual good one-liners, like: “the science has got into bed with advocacy, and both have had a very good time!”

  133. They may be unnamed and certainly infamous but through their unprofessional behavior, they will take their permanent place in case studies for courses about abuses in the scientific process.

    John

    • History will judge the RealClimate Scientists (and quite a few of the Real Climate Scientists), and their disimulating behaviour.

      How apt they share an acronym with that other august body of play actors, the Royal Shakespeare Company.

      Much Ado About Nothing, A Misummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest (in a teacup) all rolled into one.

  134. Well, I figured this would happen…everyone’s trying to backpedal on Alarmism and say “they made me do it”. Your target is the IPCC…but remember, some 50 of the top US Science Agencies signed on in a public letter upholding their “findings”. The whole Scientific Establishment should be called to task for this fiasco, that imitates the Lysenko Affair.

  135. JC:
    Blog traffic is very high, and I also have a lot of other things on my plate. If anyone has a burning question that they want me to reply to, pls send me an email.

    Hahahahahaha!

    Good one Judith!

  136. Eduardo Zorita chimes in and agrees that “Curry’s reflections are too broad-brushed” and add to the polarization.

    http://klimazwiebel.blogspot.com/2010/11/judith-currys-blog.html?showComment=1288912416465#c7926519983120968473

    • Self reflection isn’t comfortable, but as we approach the 1 year anniversary of the “event,” some self reflection is in order. While it may temporarily look like its increasing the polarization to the climate scientists that are most centrally involved, until we air these issues and scientists and their institutions do some self reflection, this problem isn’t going to go away. Blaming it all on the “deniers” doesn’t work any more. Failure to do this reflection and make improvements to our institutions will end up making climate science mostly irrelevant, and discounted in terms of the actual decision making.

      • I can’t believe that Eduardo Zorita is serious when he questions Judith Curry’s self-evident points. He even claims that no climate scientists advanced their careers by their links with the IPCC. They sacrificed sleepless nights for the mankind, or something like that. Wow.

        Even a year ago, I would expect to remain much closer to Eduardo than Judith in November 2010. Well, it would be a wrong expectation.

        The IPCC has been by far the single most efficient way to advance – and guarantee – the career of the climate scientists (and even scientists in many adjacent disciplines) who got associated with the panel. Because of this very affiliation, they were suddenly viewed as “essential”, “unfirable” etc. – it would be wrong even if the IPCC didn’t have the alarmist bias.

        In the Czech Republic, because of the IPCC, it just looks like – media-wise – that there only exist two professional climate scientists, namely the same Metelka and Tolasz who sacrifice themselves and accept all those laborious trips to beaches in Indonesia, South Korea, and other places. Metelka is a standard alarmist while Tolasz is a von-Storch-like moderate. But both of them travel to the same places. ;-)

        Of course, it’s so hard work, Eduardo. They must also raise their hand and agree that Rajendra Pachauri should stay, because the possibility for him to leave isn’t even on the ballot. No other people would surely sacrifice themselves by agreeing to raise their hand if the only award were vacations in tropical Asia.

        The ClimateGate could have been the first moment when the insane irrational growth of the benefits for the people linked to the panic began to decelerate – or be reverted. People who have joined the field, with any attitude, in 2010 may have been driven by the passion to learn. But at least 90% of those who joined any climate-related organization before November 2009 were surely largely driven by their personal benefits. And I don’t really have solid evidence indicating that the number is below 100%.

        There is another axis here in which the people may have gotten polarized – i.e. revealed their genuinely real differences. So far, we would only talk about the crusader vs. skeptics divide. However, there’s another divide – about the question whether climate science (and the community) itself should be given the funding and advantages it is getting. It’s not quite the same question. After all, it may be important if it is ultimately going to agree that the Earth will not get burned, right?

        I think that Eduardo is just defending some group interests of the community – a community that has grown unreasonably large and rich for unfair reasons. It’s been swimming in the money and media interest to such an extent that Eduardo doesn’t even seem to realize that the vacations in Indonesia and elsewhere actually cost money – and non-climate scientists have to work hard (and not just raise their hand or copy links to existing articles) to earn such things. Most people never visit Indonesia, ever.

        Dr Curry’s description of the climate community today may be broad-brushed – but it’s because this is exactly how the reality looks like, too. The hysteria has fanned unreasonably high advantages for this particular discipline – and indeed, not only the most vocal fearmongers but also many other people have benefited from this dynamics and many of them even began to take it for granted.

      • That’s just a touch too post-modern for me.

        No one is entitled to their own facts, and too often criticism of climate science has been opinion out-stripping fact by a very wide margin.

        I understand the point you’re making – essentially, be your own harshest critic. I agree. But that cannot extend to untrue and politically/ideologically motivated critique (often found together in this context).

        In my experience, trying to mollify such criticism by accepting it does not satiate its’ proponents, but only emboldens them to greater outrages against reality.

      • Ok, take one of my premises and tear it down with “facts.” This is about having a discussion and trying to develop our individual and collective understanding of the situation. If this is post modern, then you have been buying too many factoids that aren’t facts and can’t be established as such in any event.

      • But Dr. Curry, it would have been nice if you had included a few more “facts”. You essay is sweeping generalizations and assumptions. Extraordinary claims without even ordinary evidence.
        In my humble opinion.

      • I don’t find them extraordinary at all. She is describing social dynamics that, to the best of my knowledge, are common in science, and especially politicized science.

        It’s extraordinary only to those whose frame of reference is one side of the climate change issue. In my humble opinion.

      • You don’t find it extrordinary that 97% of the experts in a large and varied field of science and virtually every national academy in the world have been taken in, knowingly or unknowingly, by a small cadre of self promoting scientific dictators in the IPCC?

        The kind of social dynamics that she is relying on have an implausibly small chance of perpetrating such a large lie on such a large scale as this proposal. We are not talking about one fake paper on genetics, or one research department corrupted by a large and generous donor. We are talking about 97% of an entire scientific discipline.

        Sorry, but a few nasty emails about a handful of self appointed auditors is not the level of evidence required to buy the thrust of this post.

        Call me skeptical, but I want to see the data.

      • You speak as if Judith were agreeing with the conspiracy theorists who believe AGW to be a plot to introduce a communist world government.

        First, she never talked about deliberate lies. Nor do I. That’s a straw man.

        Second, we are not talking about AGW theory being totally at odds with the truth. It’s a matter of dubious scientific practice, over-confidence in results, arrogance, elitism and bullying.

        As for being “taken in”, note that Judith herself admits that she chose to believe the IPCC until relatively recently. So did I, by the way, but I’m not a climate scientist.

        Third, your 97%, if I remember correctly, is the percentage of climate scientists who believe that the anthropogenic component of recent climate change is “significant”. A more relevant number might be the percentage who believe that the IPCC is correct or has underestimated AGW. That’s about 82%, again assuming that I remember correctly.

      • Let me amend the comment about lies. As I’ve mentioned on the blog before, there is evidence that Real Climate posts deliberately misleading information.

        http://judithcurry.com/2010/09/18/open-thread-recent-challenges-to-the-credibility-of-climate-science/#comment-1610

        I have a couple more examples, perhaps not as clear-cut.

      • Judith,

        You said that IPCC “doesn’t tolerate” any criticism. A very strident statement.

        Eric Steig replied that he’s done exactly that, and had a very welcoming response.

        One premise “torn down” – but only because you hyped your claim to the point it was a caricature of reality.

      • Har.
        JC’s personal experience, and that of many others, documented to the gills, says otherwise. Softball process critiques don’t count, I’m afraid.

      • Judith,

        The too broad generalizations, the overconfidence with which they have been expressed, the repeat failure to provide any evidence and the excuses that you are simply raising issues for discussion, are rather more likely to raise anger and astonishment from *scientists* than encourage self-reflection.

        Over at C-a-S you said…

        When I think about building bridges, frankly RC doesn’t score too high on my list in terms of whom I think it is of fundamental importance to build bridges wit [...] A few climate scientists who have their knickers in a knot over what I am saying, well I’m not losing sleep, especially since none of them have tried to meet me half way.

        I believe you are misunderstanding which bridges you are burning and the extent of the burning… you’ve even lost climate scientists who were and remain severely critical of the IPCC and ‘alarmism’ long before you came on the scene… Zorita, Annan… never mind the majority who broadly support the IPCC and consensus or err on the side of ‘alarmism’.

        At this rate… you’re gonna be alone apart from the ‘skeptic’ choir who are hearing what they want to hear. That would be a shame.

      • Lazar, trust me, the body of climate scientists is much larger than the people you are exposed to in the blogosphere. In fact, I just got an email from someone running for for a council position in a professional society, that wishes he had used my statement for his platform. But like i said, I am not interested in being a sheep in the IPCC herd. I am interested in exploring the difficult issues that are facing my field. And if people don’t like it, well that is too bad. And the people that like it the least, are probably the ones most in need of self reflection.

      • I am interested in exploring the difficult issues that are facing my field

        … by making sweeping, unsupported, hyperbolic generalizations and refusing to provide evidence?

      • … by pretending to be able to read minds (motivations)?

      • Judith,

        I agree with what you wrote in this comment (nov 5th 8:40).

        I just think that the way you’re going about is not constructive to the goal you’re pursuing; quite to the contrary.

      • Bart, thanks for your comments. But if I wasn’t raising these issues from the “inside,” would they be discussed at all by those inside the system? The fact that I don’t see others raising these issues after one year is a concern. My post has hopefully stimulated some of this reflection. Can you suggest another path? Something that wasn’t tried during the past year to raise awareness of these issues and reflection?

      • You said that you were offered a IPCC lead author role (?).

        Maybe that would have been a fantastic platform from which to make change and cultivate allies.

        I suspect much more productive than running a blog throwing out sweeping generalisations into the public sphere (reminiscent of “fossillized brains”, I’m afraid) .

        As others have pointed out, you are already alienating scientists who share your concerns. I think your strategy is a serious mis-judgement.

      • No, a lead author for the AR4 enquired if was interested in being a contributing author.

      • Still, a very useful position to provide feedback about the process and ally with others who had the same concerns.

        So, what has been the IPCC ressponse to your criticims and ideas? Did they just ignore you?

        Eric Steigs experience makes it sound like dialogue is not only possible, but welcome.

  137. As for the critics here of Dr J’s essay that say she is too broad in her critical analysis / statements, well broadly speaking, your criticisms are way too broad.

    As to criticisms about her creating greater polarization, au contraire, her essay is crystallizing scattered positions into a unity. A unity needed to rebuild scientific integrity that replaces the debris field that is all that remains of post-modern problematic ‘settled / consensus’ climate science.

    It just takes one voice and Judith is not the first. She will not be the last to do so.

    John

  138. Hi Judith

    One cannot assign blame to scientists alone nor is it necessarily constructive to focus on individuals; the IPCC is a political rather than scientific entity.

    I recently gave a presentation to the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment in London, “Is Carbon Trading and Investment the next Sub-Prime Crisis?” which prompted the audience to revisit (and some to recant) their belief in man-made global warming and draw parallels with the sub-prime crisis. Click here for the podcast (sound and slides) of the presentation: http://www.outersite.org/?p=436

    Individuals respond to incentives and in the sub-prime crisis, everyone involved was incentivised to perpetuate the myth that mortgage backed securities warranted AAA ratings.

    The IPCC exists to assess and address “human induced” climate change. Climate science funded on the same premise. Politicians who have supported the AGW theory have much to lose should it be abandoned. A carbon industry has evolved and would have no raison d’etre without AGW. The media has a attracted large audiences through apocalyptic prophesies.

    $billions have been spent proving and promoting the AGW hypothesis.

    Your feedback premise goes way beyond the science.

    • David L. Hagen

      Clive Menzies
      Re: “Politicians who have supported the AGW theory have much to lose should it be abandoned.”
      AGW is being abandoned. They lost. See:
      Day of reckoning for climate voter

      Over two dozen lawmakers who favored efforts to clamp down on heat-trapping emissions were swept away on Tuesday’s anti-incumbent wave, ushering in a new class of Republicans who doubt global warming science and want to upend President Barack Obama’s environmental and energy policies.

      Reversing Judith’s systemic science corrupting fund amplified feedback cycle will require further international efforts to vote out alarmists and vote in pragmatists seeking to implement good stewardship of our economies, and our environment while caring for the poor.

  139. Just to add my tenpennorth. I’d be interested in views on this explanation of why the AGW house of cards is crumbling so fast. And why Climategate had such a shattering effect. It is not intended as a scientific paper, but, like Judith’s above, as a broad brush essay.

    Groupthink, Nobel Cause Corruption and Hubris. Success, in all its forms, came too quickly for the main participants. From anonymous grad student to the author of the paper that was going to save the world in a few short months. Thence to Lead Author for IPCC and the Nobel Prize. The absolute pinnacle of recognition for any scientist.

    In any field of endeavour, those who become overnight celebrities nearly all reflect later that they were ill-prepared for it and acted poorly. It is only those who get there slowly by paying their dues on whom the mantle falls easily and naturally.

    The warmists found that very quickly they had become Masters of the Universe. Their every word was listened to with great respect, the media reported all their ideas without any serious questioning, the United Nations and national governments passed legislation based on their theories and a senior US politician mad a feature film of their ideas. Why should they not feel themselves to be near bomb-proof and infallible?

    Not all of their ideas were well thought through or reproducible or soundly documented, but hey, they were yesterdays’ news…they needed to get on to the next achievement. No point in going back and crossing every ‘I’ and dotting every ‘t’. The details probably weren’t important and anyway they were emabarked on the noble cause of saving the planet from destruction. And founding a whole industry composed of fawning acolytes too. Conferences, jollies, interviews, CV burnishing opportunities……

    Lord Kelvin must have felt the same too in about 1900. Having wrapped up thermodynamics one of the most lauded physicists of his day said

    ‘The grand underlying principles have been firmly established…further truths of physics are to be looked for in the sixth place of decimals’

    and very soon afterwards the pesky Einstein started to investigate the photoelectric effect which led to the discovery of the completely revolutionary world of quantum physics. Kelvin’s reaction is not recorded, but Einstein is now viewed as the even greater scientist.

    For the warmists, it was not a new discovery that led to their downfall of their house of cards…but the persistent investigation of its foundations – which were found to be wanting.

    Faced with some pretty simple requests for data that could be used to demonstrate the truth of their case, they consistently stonewalled. As a matter of policy seemingly implicitly or explicitly agreed among many individuals across many institutions. This, as Sherlock Holmes might have remarked, was an extremely curious thing to do, and begs the question – ‘why?’

    For a successful set of world class scientists, releasing their data for independent minds to look at should have been a no-brainer. A little tedious administrative work perhaps – like clearing out the cupboard under the stairs that you’ve been meaning to do for ages, but nothing too onerous – that’s why you have grad students like Ian Harrison :-) – and the independent reviewer will come back with another further endorsement of the rightness of your work. And you’ve probably gained yourselves a free and talented mathematician to work on your behalf. Win Win!

    So why didn’t they? Too busy might have been a sensible excuse initially, but when matters got serious and legal issues started to raise their head, then the Law does not accept ‘too busy’ apart from under very specific circumstances which are laid down in detail. So no score on that excuse.

    ‘We haven’t got the data any more’. Which would be a pretty damning admission for anyone who claims to help foretell the future evolution of the planet’s climate. Academe may still be littered with badly organised nutty professors bumbling around scattering important evidence into the coal scuttle, but the big bad world doesn’t take kindly to such nonsense. Out here, we have to keep records safe and secure on pain of prosecution, and are not in a mood to give the warmists a pass.

    But my theory is that they had as a terrifying example the history of Cold Fusion. It is arguable that the big mistake that Fleischman and Pons made was to publish their experimental details in enough detail to allow others to try to replicate them. And when this was tried, it failed. So the obvious conclusion in a field where you know that the underlying work is ‘shaky’ is to refuse to release these experimental details. A tactic which had been successfully used until very recently.

    But refusal to release is only a tactic, not a strategy. And it seems that they never bothered to think about what a strategy might be. So when Climategate occurred they had absolutely nothing to say. Their silence was deafening. They could not respond, since such an event was outside of their experience. Their well-tried tactic of refusal to admit anything had been blown to smithereens with one direct hot. And even worse, it was extremely likely that it was one of their own who had set the charge off.

    Today they are still scrabbling among the wreckage, trying to salvage something from the ruins. Their own defenders. Muir Russell, Peen State, Oxburgh, Monbiot etc have been shown to have little stomach for the fight. They go through the motions but it is clear that their heart is no longer in it. Even the praetorian guards at real climate do little more than discuss minor details any more.

    Their cause is already doomed…it will just take a few more years for all life to be extinguished and for the process of cleaning up the mess that science has become because of their efforts to begin. And to remedy the great political and economic wrongs that have been done at their bidding.

    • To Latimer Alter

      Yours is an excellent analysis and the analogies are on the mark.

      I have near zero confidence in long term surface temperature trends to be used to detect changes of a few degrees even those produced by trusted friends and colleagues. The trends are too dependent on subjective techniques of selecting base stations and objective methods in filling in missing data from adjacent stations. It is frankly an ill posed problem.

      Dick

  140. One answer to the positive feedback problem is to demand that AR5 be written by a group of authors who are completely independent from those of earlier reports. I was outraged to discover that CRU’s Tim Osborne, who is prominently featured in the Climategate emails, is an author for AR5.

  141. Dr. Curry – I just read your essay, and since you seem to be getting some flack for your comments, let me add my two cents: I thought it was excellent – and unusual. Academics (and I am one) are in my experience pusillanimous creatures, and sadly, values such as truth and integrity tend to get pretty watered down somewhere in the competition to survive and prosper. What I would like to point out is that it seems that some of the same issues you are discussing in climate science are affecting other branches of science – notably medicine: pharmaceuticals have been throwing millions at doctors and medical researchers for more than a generation, and partly as a result, about one in three people in the United States is taking prescription drugs. If you look into the science, you begin to see patterns of behavior that are strikingly similar to the what is being discussed in climate science: manipulation of research, improperly conducted studies, political machinations and influence, and so on, to the point that I read in a recent article in the Altlantic that a very highly regarded researcher in this field claims that up to 90% of these studies are either flawed or totally inaccurate. Strikingly, the precautionary principle also raises it’s head, and probably for the same reason it shows up in climate science: action – drug use – is urged with great frequency despite the fact that our understanding of the situation – in this case various chronic diseases and how to deal with them, is often quite incomplete. Nor do we fully understand how these drugs act in the body – particularly long-term. But that’s OK, you see, because the drugs are quite safe, and it’s better to use them than to risk a heart attack, for example. Also, really nothing to be concerned about, a lot of people are making serious money from the way things are working. Despite the FDA, how safe and efficacious these drugs actually are is surprisingly unclear because the money is on the side of proving efficacy, not finding problems. Well, I won’t belabor the point – but it seems to me that as serious as the implications of the politicization and weakening of standards in climate science is – with its major implications for global energy policy – climate science isn’t the only area where this is happening, and I hope someone is taking notice, because science is now central to human societies and these changes do not bode well for our future if allowed to proceed unchecked.

    • Excellent observations and conclusion. But I’ve never seen anyone come up with a truly neutral way to assign resources for research and its validation. Other, perhaps, than positing some imaginary purely rational and unbribable authority figure to do it. Such ideas as a Journal of Negative Results rather beg the question: who chooses which studies to retest, and who pays?

      Grant-seeking is a blood sport, and governments have skin in the game, even aside from being the Piper-payers. They frequently have overt or tacit justifications for policy that they want bolstered.

  142. Judith,

    In light of our prior agreement, will you ammend the stt…

    they will tolerate no dissent, and seek to trample and discredit anyone who challenges the IPCC

    … please?

    Here’s data point two;

    “I don’t think I got quite such a rapturous response as Eric did, with my attempts to improve the AR4 drafts, but I certainly didn’t get trampled and discredited either – merely made to feel mildly unwelcome, which I find tends to happen when I criticise people outside the IPCC too. But they did change the report in various ways. While I’m not an unalloyed fan of the IPCC process, my experience is not what she describes it as. So make that two anecdotes.”

  143. Michael | November 5, 2010 at 7:11 pm | Reply
    ‘Judith,
    You said that IPCC “doesn’t tolerate” any criticism. A very strident statement.
    Eric Steig replied that he’s done exactly that, and had a very welcoming response.
    One premise “torn down” – but only because you hyped your claim to the point it was a caricature of reality.’

    One exception to the rule does not tear down a premise.

    • sdc;
      Disingenuous. There have been many, even lead authors, whose requests to make the conclusions in the final report actually reflect their research have been refused, resulting in their requests to be removed from the contributors lists. Also refused, so that some threatened lawsuits, and had the IPCC right to the courthouse door before their request were granted. Judith is not a “one exception”; she is an example of the actual rule: disagreement is suppressed and/or hidden.

      • I said nothing about Judith being ‘one exception’…re-read the post, it was a response to ‘Michael’s’ example of Eric Steig which was put forward as an example to ‘tear down’ one of Judith’s premises.

      • Sorry, sdc; I lost track of the quotation nesting! Steig’s “exception”, IAC, wasn’t much of one. It was grudging and limited, implicitly a one-off for which he should be suitably grateful and now go away and don’t bother them any more. IMO

      • Steig’s criticism was made by a person inside the system, working within the system (review of the IPCC). Such critics and modes of criticism have a much easier time than others.

  144. corr: “their request for removal”

  145. Russell Seitz

    Having talked to Feynman about climate modeling hype in ‘nuclear winter” s heyday, and been to Cargo Cult country as well , I can testify to the strong structural correspondence of the Melanesian cult’s signature artifacts and that wonderful cultural construct, the Wegman Rep0rt.

    Upon promise of payment of many pigs, a Tanna or Ambrym Bigfella would erect a DC-3 mock -up out of shrubbery, making up for the absence of engines in the woven wicker nacelles by having his entourage of virtual graduate students copy and append aerodynamically correct propeller blades , carved out of tree fern trunks.

    Since the vast majority of Kustom villagers had only seen aircraft in flight, discussion of DC-3 /C-47 operational details on The New Hebrides Public Talking Drum Network was limited, and since all things considered, senior political and religious figures regarded the non-functional shrubbery aircraft to be good as the real McCoy, the virtual grad students were never compelled to fly one over an active volcano, or subpoenaed for the blueprints.

  146. JC: “When I refer to the IPCC dogma, it is the religious importance that the IPCC holds for this cadre of scientists; they will tolerate no dissent, and seek to trample and discredit anyone who challenges the IPCC.”

    You are developing a persecution complex. Who has been “trampled” on? Being criticized in a blog does not count as being trampled. Having your e-mails stolen or having an Attorney General come after you is a little closer.
    As soon someone refers to their opponents as dogmatic priests they lose credibilty in my eyes at least.

    Just as with evolution there is a spontaneous grass roots opposition to climatology. Just as some biologists disagree over whether to engage creationists in debate or treat them as the enemy, so too competent climatologists disagree about how to react to deniers. But there is also well a financed corporate campaign to discredit climatology similar to the disinformation campaign waged by the tobacco companies.

    But the biggest factor in the public apathy or skepticism toward climate change is the economy. Public concerns about other environmental issues has also waned.

  147. Gang;

    Are we all reading way too deep into the issues. Is it far simpler than we realize?
    I think it is all about $100 Billion in tax the UN wants to collect. The IPCC is really just a pawn of the UN. This is the real reason for the need to eliminate as much contrary scientific talk as possible.

  148. JC, they rejected your paper? A week ago you wrote:

    “From my perspective, the most interesting (and potentially important) development on the uncertainty front is the preparation of a special issue in the journal Climatic Change (founding editor Steve Schneider) entitled Framing and Communicating Uncertainty and Confidence Judgments by the IPCC. I have been invited to submit an article, and I have accepted.

    So I am submitting an article to a mainstream journal criticizing the IPCC (in my invitation, it was noted that they expect me to submit a critical paper). I view this as strong evidence that I am not an apostate, by working within the system to try to change the system. ….”
    http://judithcurry.com/2010/10/29/uncertainty-and-the-ipcc-ar5/

    And yet, a week later, you write:
    “they will tolerate no dissent, and seek to trample and discredit anyone …”

    Did that third reviewer get you? What happened in that week?

  149. Thank you again Judith,
    Your brave and thoughtful views on the state of climate science and the role of the IPCC have been illuminating. The childish protests and demands from insiders to “Provide scientific proofs” for your every word and opinion have served as a fine catalyst to support your conclusions.

  150. Those “childish demands” are actually a common and despicable tactic: distract attention from your own lack of proof by demanding every opposing statement be fully derived from basics and documented by “approved” references.

    In this case, the goal is to avoid acknowledging that the burden of proof is on AGW, not its critics; in fact, AGW is such an extraordinary claim that it would require extraordinary evidence to be accepted. But there isn’t even decent ‘ordinary’ real-world evidence available, of course.

  151. Great….well, science is skepticism. I am a skeptic and i 99% agree with you.

  152. AnthropoceneEndGame

    Here’s a question that seems confounding to many. I never get a satisfactory scientific response from skeptics.
    We inhabit a planet with a GH effect and atmospheric carbon levels are steadily climbing. If the planet’s atmosphere, according to many skeptics, is warming from ‘natural processes’, how could it be beneficial to continue to release greenhouse gases (let’s say we double C in x number of years) on a planet that’s warming? Won’t that just enhance the alleged ‘natural warming’?

  153. AEG;
    the putative CO2 enhancement is minute, at the tail end of a logarithmically declining effect curve. Further, warming is GOOD, within all the bounds of historical experience, which exceed even the ridiculous projections of the CRU video games. Humanity and the bulk of other species thrive in warmer climes.

    Hope and pray the overdue end of the interglacial doesn’t deliver the opposite; death and deprivation will become the norm for a long, long, time.

    • AnthropoceneEndGame

      As I said, Brian H., I never get a satisfactory SCIENTIFIC response when I ask the question. You supplied nothing but opinion.
      Here’s Dr Curry opinion on the Q of CO2:
      “Carbon dioxide, all things being equal, will contribute to a warming planet”.

      Where do you suppose she gets her science from?

  154. David L. Hagen

    JoNova details the funds driving global warming research Climate Money

  155. 592 comments. That doesn’t bode well for any attention being paid to this one.
    You are not ‘being helpful’ about ‘protecting the agenda’ via an insistence on scientific accuracy if the agenda is not scientifically accurate. Any time ‘investigation’ is perverted by a desire to see certain results come out of it…it’s not an ‘investigation’ at all.
    So : why the ‘labeling’ of you and your opinions ? I believe that likely to be part and parcel of advertising techniques used in perpetrating a fraud ! Certainly dispassionate evaluation would not generate such. Q.E.D.
    Now that is an idea which is not likely to generate much sympathy at first blush. Nonetheless I blog upon that sort of perversion when I cover politics and systematic ‘framing’ which is a technique covered in ‘Moving the Overton Window’ – a system of changing what people perceive as reasonable rather than a debate where one deals with established facts.
    It’s rather like using mathematical rules to understand English grammar – one has nothing to do with the other.
    It’s disorganized, not including information only pointing in one direction – and definitely unscientific…but I keep a file which illustrates both the points which you are making and the folly of using Poisoning the Well Argumentation in any ‘discussion’ which is trying to yield a truthful result : it won’t.
    In the Topical Index at opitslinkfest.blogspot.com then, I have 2 files relevant to this
    Climate in Contention
    Perception Alteration
    The Dec 4 2009 entry is startling and does not seem sane. More debunking is needed to appreciate the importance of that : which is in the Morning post November 22 and the green link about The NPT ands the nuclear power TRAP.
    Who would have thought that there was a link between foreign policy and carbon credits ?
    Oh. It should have been obvious, shouldn’t it ?
    International Tax on the Use of Fire.

  156. As with just about everything involving who gets to have power over the rest of us, the mainstream media is the key.
    They have the choice to either expose or suppress the truth , and such is their almost 100% ‘progressive’ groupthink, their obsession with the superficial ‘look’ of things, and their disdain for their role in democracy, that they choose according to their ideological agenda.
    They choose suppression of the truth.
    Having chosen thus, they must find ways to discredit the truth-seekers no matter what credentials these pesky people hold.
    The positive feedback came about when the IPCC chose to make a few ordinary scientists and their theories, into the arbiters and high priests of the grand plan for everything the rest of us must do for the next hundred years and onwards.
    Having put all the earth’s eggs in the one basket, the IPCC and the lazy and fearful politicians they have duped, face an existential dilemma.
    They must protect their own creations , their chosen ones , against the truth-seekers—- or go down with them.
    And under their IPCC protection , the chosen ones dig the hole ever deeper by the day. The journalists of the mainstream media could actually do their jobs, and reveal the truth as it unfolds, but they won’t because they’re in the hole —and the hole gets bigger every day—amplification.

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