Uncertainty gets a seat at the “big table”

by Judith Curry

On Nov 17, the U.S. House of Representative’s Committee on Science and Technology Subcommittee on Energy and Environment is holding a hearing on “Rational Discussion of Climate Change: the Science, the Evidence, the Response.”

I have been invited to present testimony for this hearing.  I have been specifically asked by the minority (Republicans) to discuss how we can go about responding to the climate change issue in the face of uncertainty, dissent and disagreement.

Subcommittee on Energy and Environment – Hearing

2325 Rayburn House Office Building (WEBCAST)

November 17    10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

A Rational Discussion of Climate Change: the Science, the Evidence, the Response

Witnesses:

Panel I

  • Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone, President, National Academy of Sciences
  • Dr. Heidi M. Cullen, CEO and Director of Communications, Climate Central

Panel II

  • Dr. Richard B. Alley, Evan Pugh Professor, Department of Geosciences and Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Dr. Richard A. Feely, Senior Scientist, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, NOAA
  • Dr. Benjamin D. Santer, Atmospheric Scientist, Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Panel III

  • Mr. Jim Lopez, Senior Adviser to the Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Rear Admiral David W. Titley, Senior Adviser to the Deputy Secretary, United States Navy
  • Dr. Judith A. Curry, Chair, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology

An interesting selection of people. I am particularly interested in the other people on the Response Panel.  I have met Jim Lopez previously at some NOAA Workshops, he is should have some very interesting things to say.  I am personally very interested in what Rear Admiral Titley has to say.

What is more interesting who was NOT invited.  The list does not seem to be dominated by people that have been associated with the IPCC TAR and AR4. I am the sole invitee allowed by the minority party (the Republicans).  Interesting.  I have testified previously (here and here) for the then minority party (Democrats). The more I think about who wasn’t invited, they more interesting this becomes. Think of all the people that they could have invited, but didn’t.  Is it finally time for a rational discussion on climate change?

And finally, I would like to publicly thank Anna Haynes for the thorough investigation of me that she did for sourcewatch. This will save me a lot of grief in terms of having to explain receiving funds from an oil company (seriously).

454 responses to “Uncertainty gets a seat at the “big table”

  1. AnyColourYouLike

    Don’t go down any dark alleys with Santer, Judith!

    Seriously, good luck with this.

    • Agreed. Based on the previous behaviour (see climategate emails), Santer is likely to have a trantrum midway through Dr. Curry’s testimony. :)

  2. David L. Hagen

    Judith
    Re: Rear Admiral David W. Titley Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy, Director Task Force Climate Change
    Impact of Climate Change on the Military July 27, 2010 Statement

    Navy Task Force Climate Change Facebook

  3. AnthropoceneEndGame

    For D. Titley see ‘Military considers global warming threat’ by Ty Tagami, (Atlantic Constitution), and, ‘Climate Change on Navy’s Radar’ (Navy.mil)

    Why do you think the Republicans would pick Dr Curry to testify?

    • Great question. T’would seem to be omminous. Perhaps they what won the House are sending a message of what is in store for the next two years. Since they be starting with her, mayhaps they be going to turn the conversaation in a reasonable direction. I should add, a “reasonable direction” without money, since we be broke, and out of money too.

  4. Dr. Curry,
    Congratulations. You will be a refreshing voice and will not depend on stage managed effects to make your points.
    Best wishes,

  5. David.
    That quote from Dr Holdren in Rear Admiral Titley’s statement is excellent.

    “We must avoid the unmanageable, and manage the unavoidable.”

    Succinctness is a real virtue.

  6. I’m really disappointed you don’t get more oil money than that! Nevertheless, congrats on seat at the hearing.

  7. You are well chosen, I’m impressed.

  8. Black carbon reduction seems like the logical first step to me. Relatively cheap, duel purpose since it is a known health hazard the money won’t be wasted regardless of what the climate does, and as a bonus it would help reduce uncertainties in models.

  9. A very interesting task, Judith. It probably helps to have in mind all the areas of uncertainty before considering the response.

    Doing so gives us some clues as to the reasons why climate change has prompted such heated debate. IMHO it should be prompting heated debate. My reasons are as follows:

    1. There is still a great deal of debate about both the extent to which climate change is anthropogenic and the contribution of various anthropogenic causes. For example, James Hansen has in recent times suggested that soot is playing a greater role than previously thought. Pielke Sr views land use change as being a significant contributor. The role of aerosols is some way from being settled.

    2. There is still a wide range of uncertainty about climate sensitivity to CO2, as noted by the IPCC AR4. Allied to this, there is a great deal of uncertainty about how long it will take to double atmospheric CO2, partly because of uncertainty about the future course of emissions and partly because of uncertainty about future rates of CO2 takeup by the biosphere. The time taken to reach climate “equilibrium” (I put this in quotes because we all know that there is no such thing in relation to climate, but we also all know what I mean) after CO2 levels are doubled is also highly uncertain.

    3. There is a wide range of opinion as to what the proper response should be to the range of possible scenarios. This depends partly on which scenarios one views as more likely, partly on one’s political views, partly on what action one considers likely on the part of others and partly on technical questions such as appropriate discount rates. In addition, there is a great deal of difference of opinion as to the cost and effectiveness of various low carbon energy sources. The cost and effectiveness of various sources will differ widely also, depending on the geographic location proposed.

    Given all the above, it is inevitable that there will continue to be heated debate about the issues (note the plural) for some time to come. However, this does not mean that no action will be taken in the meantime.

    The wide range of opinion makes it much more difficult to make policy changes that will have broad support. One avenue that seems most promising is the “no regrets” policy approach. Focus first on policy changes that make sense to everybody (or at least most people) regardless of their position on the various undecided issues. This gives a head start while allowing time for the uncertainties to be narrowed.

    Some examples that might be applicable to the US:

    1. Obtain authoritative figures for capital and ongoing costs for various electricity generation options. Ideally this should canvas the sources of the costs, opportunities to reduce costs and the sensitivity of the answers to any assumptions. As an example, it would be possible to reduce costs and speed up implementation of low carbon electricity supply by reducing the opportunities for special interest groups to hold up planning approval.

    2. Commission studies to examine a range of energy production scenarios for the US out to, say, 2050. The studies should identify the costs, impacts (including but not limited to CO2 reduction) and strengths and weaknesses of the different scenarios, as well as commenting on their feasibility in terms of build rates, public acceptability etc. Note that this study would build on, but be separate from, the process outlined in point 1.

    3. More research to narrow the uncertainties outlined at the beginning of this post.

    4. Look for “no regrets” options that make sense regardless of the uncertainties. I have to say this is going to be hard! But, for example, mini nuclear reactors for isolated communities might be something that makes sense to most people. Improved vehicle fuel efficiency is hard to argue with. Higher energy efficiency standards for new housing (and commercial buildings) is another one. Appliance efficiency is another. Upgrading the grid is probably another.

    • AnthropoceneEndGame

      “Is it time for a rational discussion?” Yes, but don’t count it. I’d be concerned with ending up a tool.
      Look at the line up of speakers. Do you see any deniers sitting at this table? What JC has to be thinking is obvious: will she become the Republican’s ‘Deva Doctor of Uncertainty’ that they can cite to PREVENT any rational ‘response’ (like empowering EPA to further their efforts at rule making for carbon emission controls) .
      Given Dr Curry’s recent media attention, this is going to be a make or break discussion for her, especially if actual policy is influenced by these testimonies.

      • Do you HAVE to keep using the term deniers? Serisously?

      • Well, if people are going to throw around the term ‘CAGW’ without ever defining what ‘C’ means (and if it means catastrophic then they have to give an example catastrophe), then denier seems fair to me.

        I try and avoid using the term on this blog out of general politeness, but by return I’d regard people using CAGW as impolite, especially if it is used as an undefined rhetorical device.

      • Hi Andrew. You may have a point there. No one can prove that the warming will be catastrophic. In that case, we can divert funding from climate science to nuclear reactors so we can become energy independent, a truly laudable goal.

      • I think your estimates of the amount of funding that goes into climate science are a little high..

        For the record, I am a fan of nuclear power, although I’d prefer to see breeder reactors used (recycling being a good thing in my book).

      • I agree with you on breeders. I would also like to see the government encourage verbally, but not with subsidies, R&D on thorium. What the government can do is pledge to not over over the cliff on regulations and to speed approval of designs. We need to find a place to test these things for worst case scenarios – both U and Th ones. JMO.

      • Roddy Campbell

        Andrew – CAGW is just shorthand, non-pejorative (when I use it anyway) for those who believe AGW will, if we dont start mitigating sharpish and keep the temperature rise under, say, 2c, very probably lead to extremely unpleasant and expensive, to the point of catastrophic, outcomes for humans.

        There are a lot of people (I include myself) who believe in AGW but who are not convinced by either the ‘very probable, or the ‘extremely unpleasant…. catastrophic’, or perhaps both.

        Belief in CAGW leads to increased belief that we MUST mitigate seriously soon, even if it costs a fair bit – it’s urgent.

        If you like, I believe in WG1, but not in WG2 or 3 would be an approximation.

      • Well, I see it like this – based on geological and ice core records, a rise of global temperatures of 2K implies a sea level rise of at least 6m. And the same records show that sea level rise can be worryingly fast (as in meters per decade).

        That’s the biggie as far as I am concerned – there is no way, essentially, in which mitigating that amount of sea level rise could be cheaper than lowering CO2 emissions. You can more or less come up with mitigation scenarios for pretty much all other warming impacts – some easier than others – but mitigating the kind of sea levels we expect to see means relocating a fair chunk of the planet’s cities, which does not come cheap.

        Oh, and there is an outside chance that we’ll trigger a permafrost-methane release feedback loop that causes temperatures to rise perhaps 6+K in a couple of decades. How likely? No idea.. do you feel lucky?

        Now, if you could convince me that sea level rise would be extremely slow, that there are certainly no triggers or tipping points, and that any hydrological impacts would be minimal and easily mitigated, then I’d agree that spending money to prevent AGW would be a lower priority. But that would require proving that the climate will behave differently than it has in the geological past.. so good luck!

      • I would characterize a rapid sea level rise of 6M in response to warming as CAGW. Currently I see no hard scientific evidence to support such an outcome. The work that has been done in this area (AR4WG2) has error bars the size of Texas. Uncertainty levels to the point of broad speculation.

        I believe the water cycle is far more complex than has been characterized in AR4 and we don’t really know the outcome with any certainty. We do know that sea level rise has been taking place for 10,000 years and accelerating over the last 500 years.

        http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/sl_hist_intro.html

      • I’m sure that geologic records are fine and dandy. But being just a little more close to our own time home we have actually observed a different set of numbers.

        Even the IPCC estimate that with a 2K rise , the seal level increase would be less than 1 metre. And since all the places likely to be affected are tidal, and used to rapidly varying actual sealevels, I cannot imagine is going to be much of a problem.

        If you can handle a tidal range of 21 ft per six and bit hours (London Bridge), you can sure handle a chaneg of 3ft in 100 years with aplomb.

        Your worry is ill-founded.

      • Talk to the Whitehouse, Andrew. Their approved term is now ‘global climate disruption’ Talk to Hansen. He is still going on about turning Earth into Venus.
        Frankly there is is an odd shyness by many in the AGW community to admit that at its core theirs is a movement about catastrophe and apocalypse.
        Or do you also think that the AGW is vastly over blown?
        Or will you deny that there is any talk of cliamte catastrophe by activists in the AGW community?

  10. Judith

    Could you PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE show them the following graphs for the global mean temperature anomaly trends?

    a) For the period from 1880 to 2000 (120 years)

    http://bit.ly/cDRQxM

    The above data shows the following results:

    1) 30-years of slight global cooling from 1880 to 1910
    2) 30-years of global warming from 1910 to 1940 by about 0.45 deg C
    3) 30-years of slight global cooling from 1880 to 1910
    4) 30-years of global warming from 1970 to 2000 by about 0.45 deg C

    Note that the two global warming rates and duration of the 20th century were identical.

    b) For the period since 2000 (10 years)

    http://bit.ly/aDni90

    The above data shows the following result:

    Little global warming since 2000.

    Thank you.

    Girma

  11. Judith,

    Have a good time!

    I’ll be real interested if any word on salinity changes and atmospheric growth advancements.
    So far science has yet to touch the wind layering speeds. Our planet rotates at 1669.8km/hr at the equator yet there is little wind at the planet surface. So, the wind has to be traveling at the same speed and the slowing is layering out away from the planet.

    • I think there’s something you ae missing here..

      There is no friction at the edge of the atmosphere – since by definition you are up against vacuum. So the ‘edge’ can just rotate with the rest of the planet.

      • Actually there is.
        Space isn’t quite a true vacuum and there us great amouts of friction with dust particles and small debris.

      • Fair enough.

        How does this friction compare to the mass of the atmosphere? Bear in mind that that earth’s rotation has not slowed to zero over the course of 4.5 billion years, so it cannot be that great.

      • Honest answer? Don’t know.
        Is this debris off off our rotating planets and sun in the solar system or it it from outside the solar system we are travelling through? Again I do not know.

        If I was privy to the NASA data or was able to get them to look at collecting the data.
        This would be like pulling out my own teeth with pliers.

      • Why on earth would you need data from NASA?

        You have a hypothesis: Namely that there is a frictional effect at the boundary between the Earth’s atmosphere and space (for convienence, you could place this at 100km altitude); I suspect that there are equations in fluid dynamics that could tell you what sort of frictional force this would be expected to generate, were the gas in side this moving with the Earth and the outside stationary. I’d go for the 1D or 2D case first.

        This would be a major simplification, but would give you a starting estimate as to if it was a significant issue.

      • If you consider a smooth, vertical cylinder in a fluid. Begin to spin the cylinder. The mass of the fluid along with the friction between infinitesimal layers of the fluid will set up a rotational gradient. The inner layers will have a greater rotational velocity than the outer ones. This is summed up as the concept of viscosity. This technique is used to measure viscosity. The company Brookfield makes these and other sorts of viscometers.

      • But, of course, what happens of there is no or negligible friction at the outside of the fluid, and the system is allowed to run to equlibrium?

      • Andrew,
        You have no idea how close to the right answer you are!
        Think about demishioning wind speeds in the atmosphere.
        Our concept of measured windspeeds is EXACTLY opposite to ACTUAL windspeeds.

      • Andrew – The inner angular speed(s) remains the same after the system achieves equilibrium, inner is faster, outer slower. However, the fluid in question will heat due to friction between the infinitesimal layers concentric to the cylinder.

        If we could be a point on the surface of the cylinder, the fluid near to us would appear stationary, kind of like the air near the surface of the Earth appears to be stationary, sans wind. The jet stream would correspond to the outer layers of the fluid. Even though the outer layers appear to be moving more slowly that inner ones to an outside observer, they would appear to be moving faster relative to a point on the cylinder. It does not matter there is no hard “outer wall” around the atmosphere.

      • OK, I got this completely wrong. I withdraw this entire statement.

      • My model correctly predicted a lower atmosphere matching the speed of the Earth’s surface, but failed to account for a myriad of other features :)

  12. Dr. Curry: Allow me to add my good wishes, and congratulations for your recognition.

    I can’t read the tea leaves for this meeting based on its title and guest list, but I do hope that it works out to be a positive contribution.

  13. Like the others, good luck and clear thinking!

    Don

  14. So, will you admit when you’re wrong when you’re cross-examined by the majority committee member, or insist that “details don’t matter” and accuse them of being “mean girls”?

  15. So much for keeping the politics out of science.

  16. Be sure to tell them AGW is real. Start with that and end with that, please.

  17. Judith,

    You weren’t invited because you are a bridge builder.

    You were invited to be a wedge.

    • Who invited her? The invitees didn’t invite her to be a wedge. They are looking for ideas on how to make a penny do the work of a dollar. AKA – The BIGGEST Bang for the Buck! Where to put the least and get the greatest return.

  18. cagw_skeptic99

    Knowing what you know, and knowing what you don’t know, and making the difference clear when writing or talking, is a wonderful talent. Claiming to know what they didn’t really know is what caused so many problems for so many prominent players in the CAGW game.

    I hope the hearings are well covered on CSPAN, and wish you the best. Keith’s predictions that some folks will be bent out of shape, if I understood his prediction, is right on. Maybe their attitudes will be better after they recover, if they do.

  19. Dr Curry,
    I hope the meeting is a productive one. Would it be too much to expect a report/minutes type post from you once you return?

  20. “Is it finally time for a rational discussion on climate change?”

    I’ve seen you try to ‘rationally’ debate climate change at Realclimate. Frankly, I was stunned that a scientist of your standing could contribute such ill thought out, illogical ‘arguments’, then run away when your errors were pointed out.

    If you think your attacks on the IPCC process are helping move the debate forward, then I’m afraid your hubris has got the better of you.

    You might also want to consider what your new friends in the Republican party believe.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1328366/John-Shimkus-Global-warming-wont-destroy-planet-God-promised-Noah.html

    • ‘ Silk ‘
      I disagree with the AGW science and views frequently expressed by Dr Curry. If you whish to comment on Dr. Carry personally rather than her science, than you should do it by using your real name, not hiding behind a fictitious one.

    • It would indeed be nice to keep anonymous personal attacks out of this otherwise civilised forum.

      • Silk points out the hazards of posting a drive-by comment at RC. the people who are trying to “take me down,” this is what they have?

      • Well, the hazards of making inaccurate statements and sweeping assertions and not being able to back them up.

      • Yes, as you can see by “Michael”.

        Watch out, the more you make sense, the dumber the retorts. If it has not already happened, I am sure pretty soon you will be discredited for grammatical or spelling errors.

        Notice though that when they do make the dumb retorts, it is without a link to the proof.

        I also like how they think they can score points by asking for proof of what is self evident. They seem to think that sceptics questioning the uncertainty in the actual science worked so well they will ask for proof of everything (first feedback loop topic).

        If it hasn’t started yet, I am sure the hatemail is not very far in the future.

    • Dear Silk
      I have seen your comments here and there and I was stunned too.

    • Hummmmmmm… me thinks thee have a posterior motive in such swaaking gasifications, might thee have had some pork and beans last eve? Plop! Plop! Fizz! Fizz! Oh! What a relief it issssssssssss1

    • Hey Silk, the Bible is probably about as accurate WRT global warming as computer models. I guess it’s just a matter of where your faith lies.

    • I’ve never seen Dr. Curry in attack mode; present examples pkease. You obviously have gone into depth into any of her articles; this is one of the calmest and most open blogs with detailed analysis of uncertainty and scientific principles. Compared to the sophomoric tone of many sites, her’s is a pleasant surprise. And I don’t really think she is a denier, but has enough scientific skepticism to ask relevant questions ask the issue.
      Hubris? You’ve got to be kidding. If you want hubris, talk to Gore and Cameron.

  21. Dr. Curry
    I whish you good luck with your testimony, but hope it is the start of the ‘CO2 cause’ demise.
    Relevant information can reduce degree of uncertainty which always will be present.
    The information is there and available, but climate science surprisingly has failed to find or even look for it. Once your deliberations are over, it may be of some benefit to take another look at :

    and ask a question or two.

  22. Richard S Courtney

    Dr Curry:

    I offer my sincere good wishes that you have a useful and productive input to the hearings.

    Climate change is a serious problem. All governments need to address it.

    As I have stated in other threads of your blog, you and I disagree about the AGW issue: you remain convinced that AGW is a real effect with potentially significant effects while I remain convinced that it is not. And I think this disagreement goes to the heart of the uncertainties for policymakers that are provided by the AGW issue.

    As in all science, it is possible that our understanding(s) may prove to be wrong. And efluxion of time will prove whether your opinion or my opinion concerning AGW is correct. Until then, it is important that undue certainty concerning AGW is not allowed to distort government policies in ways that would increase the risks provided by climate change.

    Since the Bronze Age all governments have acknowledged that climate has always changed everywhere, and it always will.

    So, throughout the millennia since the Bronze Age all sensible governments have adopted the policy of preparing for bad times when in good times.

    (It is not known how that policy originated but religious scriptures explain it as having first been adopted by Pharaoh because it was suggested to him by Joseph with the Technicolour Dreamcoat).

    It is a sensible policy because people merely complain at taxes in good times. But they revolt if short of food in bad times.

    And it is the most tested government policy in all history. It has withstood the test of time much longer than any other political policy in history.

    The problem with undue certainty in AGW is that it encourages governments to abandon that tried and tested policy by constraining the range of possible future “bad times” for which governments should prepare.

    AGW asserts that the world will warm and, therefore, consideration of the effects of cooling is not needed. But effects of cooling would be much worse than effects of warming.

    Furthermore, people live in local climates. Nobody lives in a global climate. And if AGW were to be a real problem then its effects would not be the same everywhere. The science of AGW is – at present – so uncertain that it cannot predict local effects.

    For example, the CCSP report provided indications of precipitation over the continental U.S. ‘projected’ by a Canadian GCM and a British GCM. Where one GCM ‘projected’ greatly increased precipitation (with probable increase to flooding) the other GCM ‘projected’ greatly reduced precipitation (with probable increase to droughts), and vice versa. It is difficult to see how provision of such different ‘projections’ “can help inform the public and private decision making at all levels” (which the CCSP report says was its “goal”).

    Hence, I think it is important to explain to the politicians that the uncertainties of AGW science require that politicians adhere to the age-old policy of preparing for bad times when in good times. And the possible future ‘bad times’ include the entire range of past climate conditions known to have been experienced in each locality.

    Richard

    • stop revealing my testimony (part of it, anyways) :)

      • Richard S Courtney

        Dr Curry:

        I apologise.

        I observe your ‘smiley’, but I would not have posted my views if I thought I would be ‘stealing your thunder’ in any way.

        My post presented my views that I have repeatedly presented in other places as a genuine attempt to be helpful to you by providing those views for your consideration when preparing what you would wish to say at the hearing.

        If my posting those views here has detracted from your presentation then I am truly sorry and I stress that was not my intention.

        Richard

    • ‘Uncertainty’ in climate science does not mean we don’t know things about the climate.

      Uncertainty means how sure we are, of things that could happen.

      Handling uncertainty and living with it, is a population distributive task – in other words – whether or not governments should get involved in managing and responding to ‘climate change’ is a valid democratic question.

      • Richard S Courtney

        Shub:

        You respond to my post by saying:

        “Handling uncertainty and living with it, is a population distributive task – in other words – whether or not governments should get involved in managing and responding to ‘climate change’ is a valid democratic question.”

        Yes, I completely agree. Indeed, that was the crux of my post that said;
        “Climate change is a serious problem. All governments need to address it.”

        The point at issue is how should governments address climate change in the light of the AGW-hypothesis and the uncertainties concerning what is – and what is not – known about climate change. As I see it, and as I said;
        “Since the Bronze Age all governments have acknowledged that climate has always changed everywhere, and it always will.
        So, throughout the millennia since the Bronze Age all sensible governments have adopted the policy of preparing for bad times when in good times.”
        And, importantly,
        “The problem with undue certainty in AGW is that it encourages governments to abandon that tried and tested policy by constraining the range of possible future “bad times” for which governments should prepare.”

        All opinions – including my opinion on this – may be wrong. I like to be proved wrong because that is when I learn, so I would welcome observation of any flaw in my argument.

        Richard

      • You’re absolutely correct about “preparing for bad times when in good times” – not taking issue with you about this, that is what good governments do, or should. The issue today is not this however. The new leadership and majority of the House are looking for ways to put what little money is available to BEST use in the bad times of the present. They’re not focused on anything but NOW. They’re wearing blinders and only looking in one direction, the current and next year’s Federal Budget. They’re hoping the good Doctor will help them find the answer to their biggest problem. One thing about sitting on a fense, you can see both sides. (Well, some people think you can);-)

      • Richard S Courtney

        Pascvaks:

        Thank you for the clarification you provide saying;

        “The new leadership and majority of the House are looking for ways to put what little money is available to BEST use in the bad times of the present. They’re not focused on anything but NOW. They’re wearing blinders and only looking in one direction, the current and next year’s Federal Budget.”

        OK. Taking that as being correct – I have no way to determine if it is or not – then climate science has nothing of value to contribute to the discussion.

        If the AGW hypothesis is true (which I doubt) then actions taken this year or 10 years in the future will have such similar effect that any effect of the delay would be too small for its to be discernible. So, if money is tight this year then ‘do nothing about AGW now’ is the only sensible action and, therefore, consideration of what climate science is now saying is irrelevant (except that climate science indicates no reason for immediate action).

        Richard

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        You’re lying. Climate science is not indicating there’s ‘no reason for immediate action’. NOAA, NASA, AGU, NAS, etc are saying just the opposite. In fact EPA is already ‘doing something’ by setting rules for carbon emissions.
        The big black elephant ‘in the room’ that will not be present at the table with Curry is the energy mafia. Of course they don’t want action.
        The certain ‘bad times’ they’re preparing for (peak oil) is right around the corner. See The Empty Tank by former oil geologist Leggett .

        I think the ‘scientific’ views of the global energy cartel need a separate discussion in this blog. Those views have certainly influenced the elected officials who called for this climate change hearing (sourcewatch checked on JC; someone needs to check how much money each politician received from the energy mafia, the black elephant).

      • AEG

        Don’t pull your punches my friend..enough of these mealy-mouthed words….say what you truly mean…!

        You baldly accuse Mr Courtney of ‘lying’. No qualifications, no ‘if’s or ‘but’s but a direct statement that he is stating something that he actively knows to be untrue. This is a serious matter.

        Can you justify your statement? Is there anything in Mr Courtney’s reasonably worded and cautious remarks that you know as a verifiable fact is untrue..and that you can prove that he does too, but has chosen to state something else?

        Because if you cannot justify it, I suggest that you modify your assertion to something less inflammatory. It is perfectly acceptable to state your belief that somebody is mistaken or has interpreted facts incorrectly or is unaware of important new fact A.

        But to accuse somebody of lying is qualitatively in a different league.

      • So quick off the draw. Was Andrew lying when he said that there is no imminent catastrophe coming in the cliamte?

      • So true. But the Art of Politics being what it is really all about will ever attempt to allocate a little to any cause or purpose as insurance against being called wrong and unsympathetic –even though the amount of such money be insufficient to keep a mouse alive for a fortnight.

        But, really, if the AGW mob were really serious about the impending demise of the world by the end of the century, don’t you think they’d have more cake sales, raffles, and aluminium can collection drives than they do now. It can’t be as bad as they say, or they’d all be going to church too. When things get bad, people pray.

      • Actually, CAGW owes its existence to the fact a lot of people don’t, any more, because they don’t think they believe in God. But they have persuaded themselves, by perverse extension of uncontroversial science, of the essential turpitude of mankind. CAGW evangelism is an act of propitiation, an indulgence-seeking displacement activity in which the penitent act is all the more appealing for being highly leveraged. “If we ALL do our little bit,” as the familiar sermon goes, “my little contribution to it will have all the virtue, all the propitiatory power, of the whole”. Let’s face it, as a way of saving mankind and your own soul, this is a whole lot more congenial than crawling to Canterbury on your hands and knees with someone you’ve just paid for the service whipping you to a pulp, or whatever they used to do in the 14th century when they wanted to attract favourable divine attention. In those days, when you wanted an indulgence, you paid for ALL of it!

      • CAGW is the chattering classes at prayer.

      • “If the AGW hypothesis is true (which I doubt) then actions taken this year or 10 years in the future will have such similar effect that any effect of the delay would be too small for its to be discernible. So, if money is tight this year then ‘do nothing about AGW now’ is the only sensible action and, therefore, consideration of what climate science is now saying is irrelevant (except that climate science indicates no reason for immediate action).”

        `Do nothing about AGW now´ is a misconception about what we are actually doing. We are actively putting tons of radiative gases into the atmosphere and the concentrations of those gases are rising. We are actively changing the composition of the atmosphere. Since one of the basic tenets of science is that actions have consequences, I fail to see how `do nothing about AGW now´,which really translates as: `take no steps to stabilize emissions and allow GHGs to continue to rise´ is `the only sensible action´.

        It must make sense to you if you believe that climate science is `irrelevant´ and `indicates no reason for immediate action´.

        Yet you are in fact advocating we allow GHGs to rise unimpeded. What do you imagine will be the consequences of that action? And based on what science?

      • Sarah,

        Currently AGW by CO2 is merely a hypothesis without scientific proof. The foundations of the hypothesis seem to be very sound, but so far, no one has been able to provide the proof that the “real world” is working in accordance with the hypothesis OR us humans haven’t yet been able to fully understand and quantify ALL of the natural elements along with the human created elements making up the complexity of the Earth’s climate.

        So since the hypothesis hasn’t been proven, we must accept the null hypothesis of CO2 isn’t a significant factor affecting the Earth’s climate. Therefore, it makes no sense to implement any policies which curtail or modify the release of CO2 into the atmosphere.

        Now, if you can provide the solid scientific proof that the hypothesis must be accepted within a 95% confidence level, I will be very excited to see it.

        Please don’t make the mistake that others have by reiterating the foundation of the hypothesis.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        You’re also lying. The climatologists actually studying global warming have come to a conclusion diametrically opposed to your claim. I assert that you know this, but chose to lie about that FACT.

      • Oh dear, oh lor. You are at it again. These accusations of lying really are getting tedious, and reflect very badly on you.

        You state that

        ‘The climatologists actually studying global warming have come to a conclusion diametrically opposed to your claim. I assert that you know this, but chose to lie about that FACT’.

        But as far as I can see, AllenC ames no claims at all. Indeed he explicitly states that he’d be very inetrested to see an evidence that proves the AGW hypothesis. So, for that matter would I.

        So to justify your assertion, you must show which claim you suppose AllenC to have made, provide evidence to disprove that claim and then show evidence that AllenC knew of all of this.

        A tough challenge. Are you up to it? Or does anonymity confer the right to make unpleasant slurs on sincere posters without fear of having to stand up and be counted?

      • Judith, can we have a ruling on this lying business? Even Churchill had to settle for “terminological inexactitude” in the House. This comment, like its predecessor, is empty of any contribution to the debate. It is all bath water, and no baby. Surely enough’s enough?

      • So the science *is* settled?
        In my experience people who immediately call everyone they disagree with ‘liar’ are projecting.

      • “So since the hypothesis hasn’t been proven, we must accept the null hypothesis of CO2 isn’t a significant factor affecting the Earth’s climate. Therefore, it makes no sense to implement any policies which curtail or modify the release of CO2 into the atmosphere.”

        One could of course suggest that we are thus conducting that very `real world´ experiment. By ensuring that GHGs increase we will be able to observe how global temperatures behave- thirty years from now should be sufficient to determine whether or not the AGW hypothesis is correct. If it is correct, global mean temperature will rise. Would this constitute `proof´- for you?

        Given that it is impossible to describe the climate system without recourse to the function of CO2 in relation to temperature (the Greenhouse effect) I would question the wisdom of accepting the null hypothesis as correct.

        Uncertainty cuts both ways. You must show that the null hypothesis- CO2 is not a significant factor affecting the Earth´s climate- in order to justify no curtailment or modification of the release of CO2 into the atmosphere. I doubt you can do that, but if you can, I would be delighted- indeed relieved -to see the `proof´.

      • The GHG effect of CO2 is not linear, it trails off asymptotically as the concentration increases. A doubling of CO2 from pre-industrial levels will not result in a doubling of the GHG effect. This is well known and scientifically accepted.

      • Really?

        Assuming that what you say is true, then how do you explain the fact that Venus – which after albedo is taken into account receives the same amount of radiation at the surface as Earth – happens to be much, much hotter?

        (The answer being that the atmosphere is not a single sheet; adding more carbon dioxide increases the height at which it reached radiative equilibrium, thus increasing surface temperature due to the presence of an adiabatic gradient. Hence adding more CO2 will always lead to a temperature increase)

      • “The atmosphere of Venus is 96.5% CO2 and with virtually no water (very different from Earth).

        The surface pressure is about 90 times higher than on Earth.”

        And you believe that we can compare Venus to Earth?

      • Dear Richard
        You said: “Climate change is a serious problem. All governments need to address it.”

        I formulated:
        “whether or not governments should get involved in managing and responding to ‘climate change’ is a valid democratic question.”

        There is a difference between the two. You (appear to) automatically assume the right of governments to take action citing ‘climate’ as a reason and declare that such action is ‘needed’.

    • Hence, I think it is important to explain to the politicians that the uncertainties of AGW science require that politicians adhere to the age-old policy of preparing for bad times when in good times.

      It sure wouldn’t look consistent for Prof. Curry to be telling the politicians on what policy they should adhere to since Prof. Curry says that scientists should not get involved in policy.

      • Some hints to the approach I am taking. The previous two panels are taking about why we should respond (and possibly pushing the UNFCCC agenda, which they view as part and parcel). My panel is response. The other two speakers are presumably talking about the areas of resource management and defense/military issues. I am not dealing with the why (other than to say there is uncertainty and scientific disagreement, at least some of which is not irrational). And I certainly am not going to present any kind of “solution.” in fact a major theme of my presentation is that there is no silver bullet solution to this wicked gigaton problem. And then I propose an approach for reframing the way we should be thinking about the problem (including actually defining what the problem(s)/challenge is), reconsidering the scientific targets (where the research $$ are focused), and how we might approach finding solutions (no gigaton solutions, just thousands of megaton solutions and millions of kiloton solutions).

      • Prof Curry – thanks, but your being on a “how should we respond” makes it very difficult in light of your policy disavowal. I will wait to see what you have regarding “no gigaton solutions” since I don’t understand what you mean here – but my read of you so far is that you have issues of uncertainty regarding “what we know regarding anthropogenic contributions to warming” and regarding say “what models might have to say about the future warming from continued emissions globally or locally” and that scientists should stay away from offering policy advice – that seems to remove you from offering your advice on “no gigaton solutions” – whatever that may be. It looks like being on a response panel is the wrong panel for your views – you are perhaps better served to be on a “what we know” panel i.e. the other two panels.

      • well you will have to wait to see what I say. I don’t advocate or even mention a single “solution” (which i regard is a “what”), other than talking about adaptation and energy policy in very general terms. so maybe my little hint didn’t help much :)

      • actually response turns out to be the better place for me, wait and see

      • Best to keep them (and us) guessing. You might actually get to say something at the hearing.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        Adaptation and and energy even in general terms are both policy recommendations. You’ve ‘slit your own throat’ here, since you said you’d stick with the science only. I don’t get \you. But I understand hypocrisy.

      • These words are mentioned, i am not recommending anything specific. I did not say i stick with the science only. I engage at the science-policy interface. I do not advocate or recommend specific policies.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        You can’t propose a ‘solution’ if don’t have a problem. I’m probably missing something extraordinarily wicked here, but if I had to guess the problem and solution would have to do with:
        Where should the government allocate research $ for climate change research given such statistical ‘uncertainties’.
        Georgia?
        Okay, I’m just being silly. And pragmatic.

      • “You can’t propose a ‘solution’ if don’t have a problem. ”
        Is the most accurate thing you have posted here, only not for the reasons you might think.

      • David L. Hagen

        Judith
        Compliments on “actually defining what the problem(s)/challenge is), reconsidering the scientific targets (where the research $$ are focused)”

        Recommending reformulating IPCC’s mandate to a general unbiased scientific research program:
        From:

        The role of the IPCC is . . .understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.

        To:

        The role of the IPCC is . . .quantitatively understand all natural and human impacts on climate, and the scientific basis of benefits and risks of both natural and human influenced climate change, their potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation, especially for transport fuels and development.

        In particular, encourage a “red team” funded to explicitly target the numerous uncertainties and marginalized theories that have been swept under the carpet. E.g., the foundational chicken and egg causation/phase issues:
        Does temperature raise CO2 OR CO2 raise temperature?
        Do clouds cool/warm or does temperature change increase/reduce clouds?

        This may help reduce current alarmist biases and give serious attention to the needs of and impacts on the critical need for development in the 2/3rds world.

  23. Monckton didn’t get another invite. Maybe they realised how irrational he is.

    • It is unfortunate that lord Monckton’s unquestionable scientific ability and expertise in the field of climate science is somewhat tainted by his political views. It should be noted that he as the science adviser to UK PM Margaret Thatcher (scientist in her own right) was among the first to highlight CO2 as a greenhouse gas. However as a true scientist, as years went by and he did more and more research, he realised that although CO2 is greenhouse gas, its influence is minimal. He was also among the first to point out that CO2 increase follows temperature rise, not the other way around as many of the AGW promoters would have us believe.

      • “…lord Monckton’s unquestionable scientific ability and expertise in the field of climate science …” I just threw up a little bit in my mouth. I really would be surprised if our host held Monckton in such high regard.

      • Monkton is not by any means a scientist, and has no scientific training.

        I think the rest of your post is more fantasy than reality.

      • Dear Dodds

        Do you believe that only scientists have scientific ability?

      • No. Silly question.

      • Then why do you try to dismiss Monckton for not havong scientific trainong?

        You may have other reasons for doing so..which you should elucidate. But it is completely inconsistent that within 25 minutes you should assert that a lack of scientific training is no barrier to having scientific ability..apart form in Mockton’s case.

        So either you fail to see the logical contradiction of these two positions, or you have other unfavourable remarks to make about goggle-eyed Chris.

        Which is it?

      • I said that Monkton is not a scientist and has no scientific training.

        He might have scientific ability in spades, but without the relevant training we’ll never know. I might have the ability to be a champion downhill skiier, but since I’ve had no training in the area, I’ll never know.

        Understand?

      • Dear Dodds,
        Read back to vukcevic’s original comment. He said that Monctkon’s scientific ability was unquestionable.

        Your comments on whether he is a scientist or has scientific training are irrelevant, since they have no bearing on his scientific ability.

        You should read more carefully.

      • Fair enough, shall we settle for Monkton having had zero scientific training, which would undoubtedly shown him to have vast scientific ability, had he not chosen to do classics instead?

        Obviously, of course, he knows nothing about climate science, that’s a given, and any opinions that he does have can be safely ignored.

      • No we could not settle for that. A person can have scientific ability with no formal scientific training.

        If Monctkon can be ‘safely ignored’, why doesn’t the climate science consensus community do it?

      • Wow!

        For somebody with such apparently limited abilities in science, public presentation and politics, y’all sure do make a big fuss about the guy when he talks about ‘climate science’.

        Some guy at some technical college or poly in Wisconsin (or somewhere else cold) spent about six months just going through one of Monckton’s presentations word for word. I wonder why he bothered? And he couldn’t even do much of a job of that…it took his Honour Lord Chris about twenty minutes to get him to withdraw it.

      • OK – Monckton is a dissembler of science. He does not have a clue about how to do science, only to use bits and pieces to construct an argument. One problem is that he tends to make stuff up and/or misunderstand the science, but he has the added bonus of picking the information he wants. Even when his mistakes are pointed out, he persists with his mistaken thoughts.

        He’s a sophist, not a scientist.

      • You may wish that is so.

      • Monckton was not science advisor to Thatcher. That claim is as bogus as his claim to be a member of the House of Lords.
        Monckton may well have scientific ability, he is clearly a very clever guy, but it would be nice if he put it to better use instead of dissembling, spreading misinformation and misrepresenting the work of real scientists.

      • He served in Conservative Central Office and worked for Margaret Thatcher’s Number 10 Policy Unit during the 1980s. …….

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Monckton,_3rd_Viscount_Monckton_of_Brenchley

        As we have come to expect, Viscount Monckton’s recollection of events makes for interesting reading.
        He begins with the claim that: “I gave her advice on science as well as other policy from 1982-1986, two years before the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] was founded”, pointing out that the prime minister’s policy unit at that time had just six members and that he was “the only one who knew any science”. Monckton then goes on to suggest that “it was I who – on the prime minister’s behalf – kept a weather eye on the official science advisers to the government, from the chief scientific adviser downward”.

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jun/22/thatcher-climate-sceptic-monckton

      • Sure, he certainly worked in the policy unit. But there is no evidence that he acted as her scientific adviser either in a formal or informal capacity. I’m not a fan of Thatcher by any means but her scientific credentials were far greater than his.

      • The reason people go to such lengths to debunk Monckton despite not taking him seriously is that he appears to have influence.

    • Neither did Romm, Hansen or Monbiot. This committee might actually be looking for something other than a hyper-partisan scarefest. Finally.

    • On snide, dear me.

      How can anyone that is such a clever and entertaining documentary author be irrational?

      Isn’t that statement of yours irrational in and of itself?

  24. Don’t forget to mention ‘The Hockey stick Illusion’ A W Montford.

    As I saw a hockey stick graph used last night at Reading University, including the controversial proxi reconstructions…The last 1000 years, no mediaeval warm period and the observed thermometer temperature’s on stitched on end.

    The person showing the graph was Professor Arnell, lead author, 2nd, 3rd and 4th reports, so hockey sticks are still being used, without any caveats of recent issues with the statitistical methods used to create them.

    http://www.walker-institute.ac.uk/people/index.htm

    Part of part of a group advicing the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

    http://www.walker-institute.ac.uk/offering/index.htm

    “Advising the UK government
    We are involved in a major programme to provide advice to the UK government on how to avoid dangerous climate change. The programme is led by the Met Office in a consortium with the Walker Institute, the Tyndall Centre and the Grantham Institute at Imperial College.

    I have lost trust in these graphs, following climategate and reading this book. I hope that this issue could be brought to the attention of the politicians and scientist who even now are probably unaware of the full story of Mcintyre’s and Mckitrick’s efforts. (including recent rebutalls to Deutsche Bank)

    Hopefully this would allow constructive and impartial debate about this issue, hopefull scientists outside of these fileds can look at the detail of this from both sides of the debate, so that we can all get some final resolution to the ‘ hockey sticks’ issue.

    Whilst only a small area of climate sicence, these graphs were iconic (and are still used ) as part of the presenation that the earth’s temperature now is unprecedented.. This narrative leads to it must be ‘us’ causing the warming, because the graph shows the warming is unprecedented..

    This is in doubt, perhaps you could explain, the nature trick and the correct meaning of ‘hide the decline’

    ie proxies that are supposed to be thermometers of the past, do not match in the present with observed temperature reading (they actually fall) thus a reasonabl postiotio is that they cannot be relied on to show past temps.

    And the trick, was just to cut out the proxy temps, when they inconveniently went down, and stitch the observed temperature readings in their place..

    ‘The Hockey Stick Illusion’ put the case far more eloquently and in context and detail than I.

  25. Also the graphic where the proxy temperature are cut off, when they start falling, which is lost in the presentation of all the other lines on the graphic.
    ie ‘hidden’ in plain view -
    not drawning attention to that later data has been removed (as the emails show, because it did not fit the consensus presentation that was wanted.

    thus makeing it a sales ‘pitch’ rather than a presentaion of all the data (some of which did not support the consesnsus required)

    thus the scientists, as described in the Wrigley pre-kyoto have perhaps steeped over the line and are acting as policy advocates – not just presenting the science.

    All I am sure with ‘nobleand good intentions’ but that is not the issue.

  26. I, too, wish you the best of luck. However, I suspect that in the New Year, when Republicans like Issa and Sessenberger take control of House committees, we will see a very different line up of experts who will testify. I wonder if you will be invited back again.

  27. My views as an individual

    [1] What the elected representatives ought to do, ought not to be implemented via unelected bureaucracy.

    [2] The EPA finds CO2 a ‘dangerous’ substance which is a value judgement. This judgement therefore largely rests on the supposed impacts of presumed climate change. The EPA has argued however that, all the major projected catastrophic danger from climate change turning out to be baseless or fabricated – the Himalayan glacier melt, the loss of the Amazon forest and collapse of African agriculture – somehow does not impact its value judgement of danger.

    How?

    [3] The Interacademy Council stated in this about non-peer-reviewed literature:

    “Blogs, newspaper articles, press releases, advocacy group reports, and proprietary data were thought by many to be inappropriate.”

    “The IPCC should strengthen and enforce its procedure for the use of
    unpublished and non-peer-reviewed literature, including providing more specific guidance on how to evaluate such information, adding guidelines on what types of literature are unacceptable, and ensuring that unpublished and non-peer-reviewed literature is appropriately flagged in the report.”

    The IPCC responded as follows. In a document titled “Decisions taken by the Panel with regards to recommendations of the IAC’, it responded as follows:

    “Blogs, social networking sites (e.g., Twitter, Facebook), and visual media do not currently meet the standards for use in scientific assessments and developing key findings in IPCC Reports, and are therefore not acceptable for use.”

    and

    “In the absence of other sources, newspapers and magazines may provide limited ancillary information for an assessment, but not for key findings.”

    Where is the IPCC position on use of literature by advocacy groups and environmental pressure groups? Why did it fall through the cracks? Why does the IPCC seek to trivialise the discussion by talking about Twitter and Facebook?

    Is that what it understood from the IAC report?

    The use of exaggerated and unsubstantiated prose from environmental pressure groups – whose sole reason of producing ‘literature’ is so that it finds its way onto more credible platforms and legislative language – has to be stopped.

  28. Judith,

    Something for you to take with you.
    The failings of “observed science”.
    How much stored energy is there in a grain of sand or oxygen molecule(any molecule for that matter). Our planet rotates at 1669.8 km/hr at the equator.
    We can not feel it, touch it or see it. But stop the planet suddenly and that piece of sand is moving at 1669.8km/hr from planetary rotation. Quite a bit of energy for a piece of sand so add in all of the trillions upon trillion of air molecules and sand particles not to forget water molecules and that is a mind boggling amount of energy just on the surface of the planet all traveling at 1669.8km/hr.
    Next add in the trajectory energy of 18.5miles a second to be shot around the sun.
    Lastly add in the movement of motion of our solar system at 300km/sec.

    That grain of sand and molecule has an unbelievable amount of stored energy.

    Joe

    • H’mmm

      How, exactly, in detail, are you going to stop the planet suddenly and liberate this energy? Where are you going to stand to stick your metaphorical arm out?

      The laws of conservation of momentum are well known and have been so for many years.

      • I am not about to liberate this energy.
        Since we don’t feel this energy or see it, we ignore it as non existant.
        A psuedo-science if you will.
        So, current physics is not included in motion.

        One day, you should experiment with a coil spring, that is an extremely good proxy on how to store energy, compress mass, change density and release energy (gases act like a coil spring)in a planet through rotational motion.

      • Thanks – I am familiar with basic mechanics.

        I merely point out that without a ‘static’ reference frame – and however one of those might be constructed within the existing universe, your point falls into the category of irrelevant.

        I have no idea what your last two sentences are supposed to indicate,

      • I’m sorry they went over your head.
        The mechanics was a small piece in showing how to make water with the atmosphere and rotation.

      • Joe – apologies..posting after my bedtime.

        I did of course understand your last two sentences re springs.

        I should have said that I have no idea what your remarks about ‘psuedo science’ ‘current physics’ meant. Apologies again.

      • Thanks.
        Physics labeled centrifugal force a psuedo science. The coil spring is not suppose to be possible with the current physics LAWS.
        This also means our wind speeds are close to lined up with the rotational speed.
        I did not mean to offend you either.
        Joe

  29. BTW, this would be an excellent opportunity to build bridges to the other scientists on the panels.

  30. Dr Curry, A person that is dedicated to telling the truth is not a wedge to people also dedicated to the truth and is not a tool to those of a partisan nature unless the truth could be considered a tool. I am suprised that there are so many negative comments regarding your invitation.

  31. Congratulations indeed. However, you are on the wrong panel (responses) and dead last so you will be lucky to speak and certainly rushed. Cicerone and Cullen will say the science is settled. Alley and Santer will say the evidence is overwhelming. Titley will say it is a national security problem.

    You are not an expert on response so might want to segue back into science and evidence. (I would do this by disagreeing respectfully with Cicerone, the big science gun here.) Given the uncertainties research is the only rational response, or some such. In any case this is a lame duck Congress so you are really speaking to the next one. Above all be pleasant, and brief, but firm, but you know that. I would include a long written statement. Have fun.

    • AnthropoceneEndGame

      I’ll bet you’re dead wrong. I’ll bet the first panel WILL discuss ‘uncertainties’ because that question will be thrown out to the first panel as the first shot by the politicians influenced by Big Energy.
      There is overwhelming evidence the planet is warming. We live on a planet with a greenhouse effect. Even if the current warming is ‘natural’ (it’s not) how do you justify a doubling of atmospheric in x number of years and tell current generations you’re willing to live with the ‘uncertainty’ of how that will impact temps? Unless I’m mistaken the last time we had 600 ppm CO2 was the PETM. You can google your heart out and find out what conditions were like THEN, but you will be long dead when we reach these carbon dioxide levels. Tell me here you’re confident future generations can muddle through that scenario.

      • “Unless I’m mistaken the last time we had 600 ppm CO2 was the PETM. You can google your heart out and find out what conditions were like THEN, ”

        Amazing, we know what the conditions (6C temp increases ) were like 55.8M years ago, but really struggle to determine the conditions of a measly 800 years ago. I did not realize this.

      • Yup. Even with documentary and archaeological evidence to guide us, we still don’t know what happened in the Middle Ages. Ain’t science wonderful?

        But take heart…there’s a guy in Pennsylvania who has a top secret mathematical potion (at least he’s never let anyone see the recipe), which we will all drink and have a perfect understanding of the answer by drilling into old trees in Siberia or somewhere. Wow – I mean WOW!

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        On arch in the Middle East see Climate Change: Environment and Civilization in the Middle East (2004).
        You mean wow?

      • Why don’t you just gimme the highlights here and now? Then everyone else will be able to quickly grasp your point too.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        A hydrogeologist and an archaeologist went to the ME. The both drank a secret potion, drilled cores into trees and WOW! I mean WOW!
        Always read the primary sources yourself, or people can make up stupid stories, like you do.
        Yup.

      • The fact that you think this drivel advances your cause reveals the same want of forensic insight that allows you to confuse opinion with science.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        Drivel? You’re just as irrational here as the other gossip columnists. I get a hearty laugh every time I post a reference. The knee-jerk response is to discredit the reference, even though the deniers don’t bother to read it. Tell me all about my ’cause’! Tell me you can actually understand science.

      • AEG

        At last we can agreee on something! You would argue, I am sure, that since it is not a primary source, we should completely ignore the pap produced by the IPCC..and especially its advice for policymakers.

        Sounds like a splendid idea to me.

        Will you write to Gav and Mikey at RC telling them of your view, or shall we just let them find out by osmosis? I’m sure they will be very interested to comment on it.

      • What ridiculous pap you post.

  32. Judith,

    just be honest to yourself and remember that you’re not responsible for what others think of or do with your testimony (in Congress or in the blogosphere).

  33. One of the real sleeper issues which could transform the debate is that it is perfectly possible to provide nuclear power at a cheaper price than coal. What red blooded free marketeer wouldn’t jump at that?(Don’t answer, I know, one whose electorate is full of coal miners)

    The main reasons nuclear is currently more expensive in the US and EU are (1) the high cost of obtaining planning approval and delays in this process; (2) the extremely high safety standards required and (3) the risk premium demanded by investors (27% according to a 2009 MIT report). All these factors can be addressed. Gen III reactors have far higher levels of intrinsic safety, making current levels of regulation superfluous.

  34. I was hoping they would grill some people like Mann. The world needs to see from their own mouths, just how crumbly their ‘science’ is. It was a significant moment when Prof Jones admitted that there had been no statistically significant global warming since 1995.

    Perhaps this will come later – I don’t know the procedures.

    • It was a significant moment when Prof Jones admitted that there had been no statistically significant global warming since 1995.

      It wasn’t significant at all. With a noisy date series like global temperatures you need a sufficient length of time to establish a statistically significant trend at 95% confidence, and the period 1995-2010 is slightly too short.
      That doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been significant (in the general sense) warming since 1995.

      Jones also said we have had a statistically significant warming tend since 1975.

      • Well, I beg to differ, the impression has been given of a relentlessly increasing set of temperatures, the fact that global temperature has been flat for 15 years is significant. The length of time required to reach 95% confidence limits obviously depends on the amount of warming involved – which is clearly extremely small right now.

        There is no useful meaning in talking about significant warming “in the general sense”, as opposed to the statistical sense. Imagine you went to the doctor and he told you that there was no statistically significant evidence that drug X would be of any benefit, but nevertheless it would be a good idea to take it, and here is the list of side-effects!

      • There is a difference between ‘statistically significant’ and ‘flat’.

        That’s what seperates your comment from being correct.

      • I think I hear the sound of straws being clutched at.

        It would be very hard to persuade the man in the street that there is a difference. Nor that if there is one it matters at all.

        And in the days when popular belief in AGW is falling, and the politics are also mostly turning against it as a serious issue, it is support from Joe Sixpack and Jennie Spritzer that you need.

        So run it past me again in simple terms.

        The temperatures – despite predictions of ever increasing warming – are generally pretty static across the last 15 years? And because of this Joe and Jenny’s taxes are going up? And they should stop flying anywhere on holiday because it is evil It must be true because the climatologists conference in Bali said so. Hmmmmmmm??

        Nice one if you can sell it, but it is not immediately apparent how you will do so.

      • It would be very hard to persuade the man in the street that there is a difference. Nor that if there is one it matters at all.

        You obviously have a low opinion of the man in the street. It does matter because they are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THINGS.

        The temperatures – despite predictions of ever increasing warming – are generally pretty static across the last 15 years?

        No, please read again what I wrote above. Temperatures by every single measure are higher than 15 years ago. The point about statistical significance is whether this represents a genuine trend or is just attributable to random variation. 15 years is too short a period to determine this – in fact the question to Jones mentioned the 15 year period precisely for this reason. Look at the last 16 years and you do get a statistically significant trend. In fact we have had statistically significant warming for 35 years.

      • No, please read again what I wrote above.

        Or rather what I wrote below

      • You are wrong in your assertion about my views of the abilities of the man in the street. Indeed, as one myself – I literally am the Man on the Clapham Omnibus as part of my living – I have a high regard for him.

        And one thing the MITS has is a very sensitive bullshit detector. And whether you decide to SHOUT AT ME IN CAPITALS or not, that detector is going to remain unconvinced that there really is a huge difference between random variation over 15 years and statistical significance.

        And it might also ask the very reasonable question of exactly how long need the data be before you are able to determine whether it is significant or not? The answer of ….just another bit longer than we have today..is not satisfactory. After a while it starts to sound like the refrain of the business going bust ..forever telling its creditors that the cheque is in the post.

      • OK, apologies for shouting – I just felt it was a point which really needed to be stressed.

        I’ve tried to explain as clearly as possible the meaning of statistical significance, I’m not a statistician myself so maybe someone else here can explain it better. But can you not see quite a big difference between “this is just random stuff, we don’t have to worry” and “this is a real trend, there is something going on here”?

        Your last question is a fair one. Tamino did a very good piece a while back showing exactly how to calculate how long you need to get a significant trend, but it doesn’t seem to be available any more. But Jones did say that the trend over the last 15 years came very close to statistical significance, so the answer “just a bit longer than that” is actually a fair one. If you think that this is a bit too convenient then you are actually correct – the reason Jones was asked about the period since 1995 is precisely because it is the maximum period which would not show statistical significance. Those who posed question knew precisely what the honest answer would be and they knew that they could spin it to make it appear to TMOTCO that Jones had said something which he actually didn’t. For anyone who wonders why scientists might be reluctant to engage with the public, the way that Jones’s perfectly honest answers were completely misrepresented in some quarters provides an excellent example.

        Which brings me to my final point. I have no problem with you applying your bulshit detector to anything I say – I don’t pretend to have any authority on this subject and wouldn’t expect anyone to take what I say purely on trust, but I would ask that you also apply it to those on the other side of the argument. If someone tells you that a prominent climate scientist has said something that a) seems to support that individual’s personal view and b) appears to be contrary to the scientist’s known views on the subject, wouldn’t you BS detector lead to to wonder whether the scientist’s views were being fairly represented?

      • Temperatures by every single measure are higher than 15 years ago.

        andrew adams: I understand how you can say that but speaking as something of a Man In The Street myself, who then goes and consults one of the numerous temperature graphs available, I feel cheated when I see a bumpy plateau for the past 15 years, one that either side can spin as mildly increasing or decreasing depending on where the endpoints are chosen.

        The problem, though, is worse for the the AGW side. That graph should be, even if bumpy, a clearly ascending one — maybe not as strongly positive as the twenty years before that but unmistakeably ascending. Yet it is not.

        So, sure, I take the point that this plateau could be nothing more than a noisy lull before global warming sinks its hooks into out poor planet again.

        In the meantime though, for this man in the street, going on about how the past X years are the warmest in recorded history smacks of PR damage control.

        For me it says that your side is unable admit to any hiccups and will eschew the straight talk that none of your models predicted the current lull in temperatures but if we hang in there for another Y years, we will see it’s just a blip and AGW will be made whole.

        Maybe it will, but until that time excuse me for not being impressed. I can easily imagine AGW becoming an endless exercise in goalpost moving.

      • Huxely,

        Unfortunately that’s just the nature of the data. It’s noisy, and in the short term natural variations can outweigh the long term trend, so you really need to look at longer periods to make any conclusions.
        If you look at the GISS temperature chart it shows the 5 year moving average (red line) which makes things a bit clearer, and you can see that there has unquestionably been a strong warming trend since the 1970s and this hasn’t changed since 1995. But even then you can see short periods during that time when temperatures have fallen.

      • oops, just noticed I spelled your name wrong, sorry

      • No, the temperatures are not static over the last 15 years. What Jones said is that we cannot say with 95% certainty that the temperature rise – note, temperature rise – over the last 14 (not 15) is not a freak trend.

        We could, at the time, be 90% certain.. and statistics use longer periods normally. No-one measures these trends in 14-year spans.

      • Yes there is. No experimental data consisting of real numbers is ever flat. The global temperature data is in fact quite noisy. The reason that 15 years is too short a period to generate a statistically significant result, is precisely because the trend is so small!

        I assumed that I was talking to people who would understand that ‘flat’ did not mean a sequence of values identical to the last decimal point, but a sequence of values that did not have a statistically significant trend!

        You talk as though statistical significance doesn’t matter, but it is there to prevent us using wishful thinking to find trends in data.

      • I’m astounded by the cherry-picking.

        15 years is such an arbitrary number.

        At 16, 17, 20, 40, 80 or 160 years you can reach and surpass the 95% confidence level on the evidence.

        Why would people go with the contentious and all-but meaningless 15?

      • State of the Climate in 2008
        National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
        National Climatic Data Center
        As appearing in the August 2009 issue (Vol. 90) of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS).

        “The trend in the ENSO-related component for 1999–2008 is +0.08±0.07°C decade–1, fully accounting for the overall observed trend. The trend after removing
        ENSO (the “ENSO-adjusted” trend) is 0.00°±0.05°C decade”

        They don’t seem to agree we have reached 15 years of no warming at this point. They don’t agree that there has been true warming however. I suppose the counterargument to present day warming would be we have been cooling since 1998, just for those that think ENSO should be included.

        “The simulations rule out (at the 95% level) zero trends for intervals of 15 yr or more, suggesting that an observed absence of warming of this duration is needed to create a discrepancy with the expected present-day warming rate.”

        This makes 15 years sound rather unarbritrary as to its importance.

        “Near-zero and even negative trends are common
        for intervals of a decade or less in the simulations, due to the model’s internal climate variability.”

        This would indicate that a decade is not very important and drawing conclusions at this point would be premature.

        I know I addressed this all to Bart despite all my comments not being directed to him. My apologies Bart, I was saving space.

      • steven

        No need to apologize.

        I like to understand where people are coming from, and you’ve furnished me with information I had been missing. I’m grateful.

        So, this 15-year figure from simulations is the basis for trying to fit 15 years of data from actual observations to a curve?

        And every fifteen year trend in the past 20, except for one, corresponds to this projection, and that one only just misses hitting statistical significance?

        Sounds like they’ve met 95% bang on, then, doesn’t it?

      • If you wish to argue if 15 years is sufficeint time to determine a trend I would note that in this paper NOAA calls a ten year period a trend. I assume they chose their wording carefully.

        Yes, you are correct in that up to this date the models have not been falsified by the trend.

      • I’d have to look at NOAA’s work, or at least a comprehensive explicit statement for why they settled on /decade, before I was comfortable with claiming I understood what they mean.

        Also, I haven’t the energy of youth nor the time of the retired to commit to generating the running 10 year figures over the past 160 years, nor even to compare the discrete 15-year and 10-year periods.

        Decade sounds like a term of convenience, in any case.

        15 years sounds like they had an objective reason, which you’ve supplied: simulations predicted the significance of 15 years.

        Always nice to walk away from a conversation feeling like an old nagging question has been explained.

        Thanks again.

      • Well, I beg to differ, the impression has been given of a relentlessly increasing set of temperatures, the fact that global temperature has been flat for 15 years is significant.

        As has been pointed out, the fact that the trend is not statistically significant does not mean that temperatures have been flat. It means that it can’t be stated with 95% confidence that the increase we have seen in temperatures over the last 15 years is not due to random variations in the data rather than a genuine trend.

        To take your doctor analogy – if he told you that the last two people who were given this treatment got better then you would probably conclude that this was too small a sample size to give a meaninful indication of the treatment’s effectiveness. But that wouldn’t alter the fact that they did get better. If he then pointed out that surveys with a much larger sample size did show a statistically significant benefit then you would probably be convinced.

      • As an inverse problem the absence of statistically significant lower stratospheric cooling is problematic,insofar as the devils staircase is obvious eg UNFCC expert assessment 2010.

        New analyses of both satellite and radiosonde data give increased confidence relative to previous Assessments of the complex time/space evolution of stratospheric temperatures between 1980 and 2009. The global-mean lower stratosphere cooled by 1–2 K and the upper stratosphere cooled by 4–6 K from 1980 to about 1995. There have been no significant long-term trends in global-mean lower stratospheric temperatures since about 1995. The global-mean lower-stratospheric cooling did not occur linearly but was manifested as downward steps in temperature in the early 1980s and the early 1990s. The cooling of the lower stratosphere included the tropics and was not limited to extratropical regions as previously thought

      • My understanding is that this probably due to increased ozone levels and the mid and upper stratosphere continue to cool.

      • The odd thing is that many (obviously statistically illiterate) people are in fact more impressed with anecdotal evidence of the efficacy of a purported treatment than they are with statistical evidence. This is especially likely if the evidence relates to someone they know.

        For an especially bad recent example, look at recent anti-vaccine campaigns.

      • You are of course correct, although I’m not sure it is that odd. The saying “lies, damn lies and statistics” has quite a lot of resonance wit the public and people tend to be suspicious of arguments based on statistics when they appear to contradict what they can see with their own eyes.
        Not completely rational, but to an extent understandable.

      • David Bailey: “…the fact that global temperature has been flat for 15 years…”

        Not according to the transcript of Phil Jones’ interview with the BBC.

        “B – Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming

        Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.”

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8511670.stm

        So Jones is saying that the trend since 1995 is +.12C/decade, which to the layman doesn’t mean the same as “flat”.

      • “So Jones is saying that the trend since 1995 is +.12C/decade, which to the layman doesn’t mean the same as “flat”.”

        Here we have, a bold warmist – the physicist John Cook (don’t know which specialty though) declaring ‘don’t come to me with your p values, show me the physics’ and you are trying to say that there is a ‘trend’ based on a statistically insignificant rise?

  35. Dr C
    When we don’t know, or we realize that we don’t know – we fear.

    The UNFCC/precaution business is a formalization of this natural logic.

    Fear is a good protective mechanism for short-term gains, but a bad foundation for long-term action. Curiousity, exploratory behaviour, skepticism and a ‘come-what-may’ pioneering spirit are better guides to ascendancy long-term.

    An alternative to the worldview and shackles imposed by UNFCC type of thinking is required.

    No scientist wants to be seen as the one who said “we are not entirely sure that bad things will happen”. This short-term protective mechanism, borne of fear of irresponsible utterings about the whole of humanity, while is to be expected, paves the way silently for fear becoming the long-term foundation for all policy action. This cycle needs breaking.

  36. Dr. Curry-

    I think the phrase is-

    “Break a leg!”

    Best wishes!

  37. Congratulations, Dr. Curry. I look forward to following the hearing.

    You ask the question:

    “Is it finally time for a rational discussion on climate change?”

    Any sign that a rational discussion will break out is encouraging, but I would think that a two hour panel for a lame duck committee should only be the beginning. As I would expect (and hope for) more such sessions next year in the new congress, what I wish to see in this hearing is that it is possible for scientists to be partisan advocates of only the science – including the uncertainties. That would create a base model for continuing the education of the politicians on this topic. Given my dark view of human nature I don’t think it’s really possible, but here’s hoping…

    As an aside, Dr. Curry, why do you think that you were invited as the only contribution of the minority? What message is being sent, and to who?

    • re your last question, I have no clue. Note, the agenda is set by the majority party and the minority party is allowed to invite only one person, that is the way things work in the U.S. congress.

      • The Republicans will be interested in your views on the IPCC. The Democrats will be interested in your views on AGW. And you will get a lot of the “have you stopped beating your wife” type questions. Good luck.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        Why was Dr Curry invited by the Repos? Try and find a climate scientist who thinks AGW is a ‘fraud’. Spencer already testified and he’s been vocal about his personal politics.
        You can try and shoot down the polls of climate and their beliefs on AGW (97% agree) but maybe these polls are fairly accurate after all. There’s simply too small of a pool of ‘skeptics’ to chose from. To answer the Q of why: desperation.

      • If anyone is displaying desperation here it would be on the part of the Democrats, who could be seen as convening a last-ditch attempt to push a green agenda before the House composition changes.

        I certainly hope that the inclusion of Dr. Curry is a sign that the Republicans may understand that what is needed is discussion of the uncertainties, both in science and in policy, as opposed to partisan advocacy. I also hope that the Democrats see this as well, particularly as they won’t be setting the hearing agenda for the next two years.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        So climate change is a green agenda? That’s a laugh. Maybe Dr Curry is stepping into a…Green Party….trap. Time for tea.
        What you’re really hoping for is that this hearing is just a big waste of time.

      • Actually, I’m pretty sure that AGW is considered science – possibly overhyped and potentially flawed, but still science. The current green agenda would be more along the lines of political ideology masquerading as necessary mitigation. I understand that difference. Do you?

        If this hearing is about the science it stands a chance of not being a waste of time, and that’s what I really hope for. Of course, if the hearing turns out to be only for the purpose of pushing a political agenda, then yes, I would hope that it’s a waste of time.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        Who should they Republican majority select to testify for a similar hearing down the line?
        Never mind. It won’t happen.

      • @AnthropoceneEndGame -

        What is closer to reality is, “There’s simply too small a pool of skeptical scientists who are _willing_ to testify”. ’97%’ is a manufactured number. Dr Judith has great courage to take a public stance to keep the AGW debate in the realm of science; away from dogma. I suspect there is a silent but large percentage of scientists who agree with her but feel that speaking out would harm their careers. Climategate revealed (and still does) to what degree the keepers of the CAGW faith are prepared to stoop to protect their ‘Truth’.

        The central issue to the conflict is whether scientists are prepared to quantify uncertainty of CAGW then honestly and accurately communicate that uncertainty to the world (no spin, no massaging, no bias). They need to stop taking the position that the science is ‘settled’ and that confidence is absolute when their own findings indicate otherwise. No more ‘hiding the decline’…

        Good luck, Dr Judith.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        What you suspect is probably wrong since you have no evidence. Go with the numbers.

  38. I hope the hearings take things like this into account:
    some extracts, very worrying – In Germany

    http://notrickszone.com/2010/11/11/branding-of-science-dissenters-has-begun-clearing-the-path-to-a-climate-science-pogrom/

    Subject: Deniers of climate change in the coalition government

    The so-called “climate change sceptics” or “climate change deniers” for years have been a permanent fixture in American politics. Their influence on American politics is not insignificant. They are mainly supported and funded by the fossil fuels industry like Exxon (Esso) or Koch Industries. Now it appears that their influence is now growing in Germany and in Europe. In the past weeks various press releases and other reports have appeared in the “Financial Times Deutschland” and news magazine “Der Spiegel” about on how certain climate change deniers were given a discussion forum by the CDU and FDP Bundestag’s factions and that some parliamentarians of the ruling CDU and FDP factions were sympathetic to the ideas put forth by climate denier Fred Singer. This and a range of other activities by the so-called climate sceptics in Germany compel us to ask the German Government for its assessment.

    We ask the German Federal Government:

    6. Is the German Government aware of who financed Mr Singer for his activities? Is the Federal Government aware of the funders who – like Exxon und Koch Industries in den USA – fund the activities of the climate change deniers in Germany?

    7. Does the German Government share the opinion that events involving Mr Singer provide a forum for the pure interests of the fossil fuel industry, and thus enhance their unscientific work and non-serious activities?

    8. Are there voices within the German Government who question the anthropogenic causes of climate change?

    10. Is the German Government aware of whether climate denier conferences are also being financed by public funds, for example by the Liberal Institute of the Friedrich-Naumann-Foundation?

    11. Fundamentally, does the German Government approve of the use of public funds for spreading the ideas of climate deniers like Fred Singer?

    http://notrickszone.com/2010/11/11/branding-of-science-dissenters-has-begun-clearing-the-path-to-a-climate-science-pogrom/

    lubos motl:

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2010/11/pogrom-against-german-climate-realists.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LuboMotlsReferenceFrame+%28Lubos+Motl%27s+reference+frame%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

    “A letter not too tastefully titled “Deniers of climate change in the coalition government” (it used to be “Jewish elite spoiling the Aryan lives”) signed by the whole Parliamentary faction of the Greater Green Party was sent to the government one week ago.

    In the letter, the green people complain that the influence of climate skepticism is rising in the U.S. as well as Germany where some people even dare to listen to Fred Singer. Imagine the crime! ;-)”

  39. Dear Judith

    Goodness me – they’ve given you quite a lot to cover:

    ‘………..discuss how we can go about responding to the climate change issue in the face of uncertainty, dissent and disagreement.

    ‘responding to climate change’ – Unfortunately you will be dragged into the policy debate with all the problems that this will bring you at the meeting, amongst your peers and in the blogoshere. Science will meet politics I’m afraid unless you’re very nimble.

    ‘In the face of uncertainty’ – You will need convincingly to identify where those uncertainties lie. A difficult task considering the likely views of those that will have spoken before you although you have the edvantage of going last!

    ‘….dissent and disagreement’ What is the nature of the disagreement? Perhaps the easiest bit to cover but you will need to be wary of being dragged into the political debate again. Maybe best to stick to identifying the areas of scientific disagreement perhaps.

    Hope you have a thick skin – you know what they say about pleasing all of the people all of the time. I look forward to reading all about it.

    Good luck and my very good wishes.
    Rob

  40. Oh, that’s easy. We can deal with ‘uncertainty, dissent, and disagreement’ by pulling the certification of any broadcast meteorologist who isn’t an alarmist.
    =====================

  41. Lord BeaverBrook

    Don thyne armour, temper thy steele and ride gallantly into the unknown.

    I wish you well for this venture and hope that it is a ‘Rstional Discussion’ and just remember that those who speak last preserve the moment.

  42. WARNING HUMOROUS MOMENT!

    Panelists, have your spit balls at the ready.

    WELL? Sorry.

  43. Michael Larkin

    This agnostic still retains his scepticism, but if there can’t be a sceptic at the hearing, you’re the fairest of the non-sceptics.

    IMO, there should actually be a balance between all shades of opinion if such committees, now or after the lame-duck period, are to be most effective. So in that kind of a gathering, I’d see there being an important role for you in any event.

    I hope you are given the chance to say what you feel you need to say and that there isn’t some agenda in play which renders that irrelevant.

  44. Request that Congress hire an independent engineering firm not associated with big oil or academia to conduct a five year experiment to determine if the earth is currently warming or cooling. Having a known baseline is the first step.

    • AnthropoceneEndGame

      That’s rich, ‘hire an engineering firm’ to do climate research for the next 5 years. If the engineers confirm the planet is warming, we can hire psychotherapists to intervene and design a nuclear energy program for the country. Tell us how you’re feeling, Redbone.

      • It is obvious that the current method of research on AGW is deeeply flawed and highly prejudiced. Penn State, UEA and NASA/GISS have created a royal mess and are not independent, quite the opposite, are highly dependent upon government funding.

        Put out an open contract proposal for competitive bid and see if we can get some new ideas and players. An independent engineering firm, bidding on a one time fixed rate contract, is much more likely to be impartial than the current academic mess.

  45. Dr. Curry,
    Congratulations. I see there is a web cast – any chance it’s going to be on C-SPAN?

  46. Good luck Judith. If you get the chance to pull climate authoritarian Heidi Cullen’s ponytail, do it for all of us.

    http://www.weather.com/blog/weather/8_11392.html

    “If a meteorologist can’t speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the AMS shouldn’t give them a Seal of Approval.”

    In other words:
    “Toe the line meteorologists or else we’ll get you blacklisted.”

    Whisper something in her ear about freedom of speech as you give that hair a good hard yank, OK?

    • Pretty funny. Bart Verheggen states at his blog:

      “Her unfounded allegations are insulting for the whole profession.”

      ‘Climate science’ is *not* a profession. It is a scientific discipline.

      It is precisely such people who are however ready to demand others’ heads citing professional and licensing criteria.

      • I would say that climate science is much closer to priestly status than discipline, from how we see it defender behave here and elsewhere.

  47. Expect the worst, hope for the best, have fun.

  48. Steve Fitzpatrick

    I think a very different panel would be assembled if the hearing were to take place after January 4, 2011. In fact, I bet there will be. It is very hard for me to see this hearing as more than a parting political shot by the lame duck House majority. Count on lots of shrill statements of future doom and demands by each speaker for drastic cuts in our “immoral” use of fossil fuels…. and lots of dire “the end is near” newspaper headlines the next day. The only end that is near is that of the current majority.

    I am sure you will add some thoughtful analysis to the hearing, of course, but based on earlier statements by the other panel members, I expect yours will be the only voice of reason.

  49. The subject is very young and very complex. Any human influence comes atop the ever-present potential for dramatic natural change, and dramatic natural change is the geological norm. CO2 is only one variable of many. The possibility of greater future knowledge, for instance from satellite and deep space mission sensing and detection of physical parameters within and outwith the geosphere, revising the significance of the current CO2 dominated paradigm.

    Political decision makers should recognise the possibility not only of uncertainty within the limits as concluded by the IPCC in its current models, but that the entire climate science paradigm may radically change as knowledge progresses. This could be in the form of persuasive evidence from such as the CERN Cloud Experiment, or it could just come from a sudden and unexpected drop in temperatures, solar activity, magnetic disruption , major volcanic episode or whatever.

    The bottom line is that NO_ONE really knows what the temperatures will be in 90 years time. or even 40 or 10 years time, up, flat or down.

  50. Why do you think the Republicans would pick Dr Curry to testify?

    The question is not easily answered because Republicans, like Democrats are not of a unified mind set. IMO, the “mood” of voters in the United States is moving towards frustration and anger over the degree of pointless, meaningless rhetoric from both parties that does not offer real potential solutions to the real problems facing the United States.

    1. Is human created additional atmospheric CO2 a real concern or threat to the United States?
    –Answer- potentially, but to what specifically degree we really do not know yet.

    2. Are there steps that the US Congress could be taking today that would greatly mitigate this issue, and at the same time not damage/slow an already stalled US economy?
    –Answer- potentially yes. If Congress was to pass legislation promote the standardization of the designs or nuclear power plants (3rd, 4th generation, or thorium reactors), vastly reduce the bureaucratic regulatory processes that currently make construction slow and expensive, and immediately begin design and construction of said plants, it would both reduce CO2 emissions and help the US economy. It would help the economy in the short term by creating jobs across the full spectrum of the work force for the design and construction of these plants. Over the long term it would greatly reduce the outflow of US capital to purchase petrochemicals from international sources.

    I am bewildered at why this obvious solution is not being discussed and immediately implemented. The only reason I can think of is that the “environmental lobby” is misinformed about the modern nuclear plants and how safe and clean they really have become.

    Judith– you have an opportunity to put into the public domain reasonable, real solutions to real issues. Please do not waste this opportunity by playing it safe and giving vague answers.

    • and btw….I have zero ties to the nuclear power industry, but am an engineer and economist by education.

      • I have yet to see anyone do what I’d regard as a full analysis of the problem from an engineering perspective and NOT see nuclear power as a major part of the answer.

        The goal of energy policy (and I am aware some people would dislike the term) should be to secure a plentiful supply of cheap energy with minimal externalities. Given these 3 constraints (Size, Price, Impact), you can either choose what your pre-existing favorite is and try and twist the criteria to fit, or accept the criteria and find a solution.

      • Indeed. Here’s a good example of accepting the criteria and finding the optimal solution http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/09/emission-cuts-realities/.

  51. Are we going to be able to watch this live on the Internet?

  52. Excellent discussion, good luck on Nov.16

    I’ve read the Sourcewatch entry, and 3 questions come to mind:

    Just wondering, and by no means making implications, but how much revenue does your consulting company get from the fossil fuel industry? What percentage of your personal income is generated from that revenue? What is the likely potential in the future?

    I have no idea how such consulting works, and it is very likely standard operating procedure, but I would guess such public concerns may be voiced to dispel any substantive conflicts of interest.

    • Suggest you may want to hold your breath while you wait.

    • How much oil money does it take before you would cast aspersions on the integrity of the recipient? Is there a set amount? Who decides when the oil money is used for “good” purposes and who decides when it is nefarious? We can make a very long list of everyone that has taken oil money directly and indirectly and declare them all evil prostitutes of oil money. There will be few scientists and even fewer politicians that escape such scrutiny. Or we can allow me to decide who took the “good” oil money and who the evil ones are. What we can’t do is allow you to make that determination because you may not agree with me. Perhaps we would just be better off assuming everyone is honest until proven otherwise and argue the points they make.

      • “Just wondering, and by no means making implications”…

        What you do, did, and done was make implications. The only way to not is to not wonder out loud, or on a blog. To say you ain’t and then to do don’t cut the mustard. You said it and you did imply.

      • Ouch. Sounding defensive. Maybe I’m naive, but perhaps it’s standard industry procedure to take consulting jobs for unknown sums and then be objective. I’m in medicine and we have strict rules about such disclosure.

    • Having done quite a lot of consulting myself – both as self-employed and as part of a much bigger consulting organisation, the true answer is that you work on the job you are being paid for.

      Barristers (Rumpole is my example) describe themsleves as ‘like taxicabs waiting for hire’. In general they take the first job that comes along when they are not occupied elsewhere. The nature of the client is almost irrelevant.. a consulting assignment is a job to be done, and you work on that to the best of your ability until it is complete. Then you move to the next.

      It is difficult to accuse ‘consultants’ in general of having conflicts of interest because they occasionally take money from sector A or B. No more than if the cab driver is found to have taken a criminal or the Archbishop of Canterbury around town.

      Where there is potential for CoI is if the ‘consultant’ is not that at all. But insted takes either large retainer or salary from such a client. The relationship is then closer to paid employee than independent consultant. Or chauffeur in the cab driver’s case.

      You should not confuse the two. Doing so shows that you have no real understanding of the subject you make such a fuss about

      • Latimer

        If there is any field where disclosure and CoI, and the unstated area of client confidentiality, are more significant than in Tony61′s profession of medicine, it is surely in Rumpole’s profession of law, no?

        Even in IT consulting, often seen as so unprofessional as to be scatterbrained in stereotypes, one seldom retains a good reputation if one makes some types of disclosures about past clients, sullying their names, or if one claimed to be independent and offer all viable solutions when making a bid only to turn out to be a shill for a particular application or system, or far more likely to be a specialist in a narrow list of applications and systems.

        There’s no shame in specialization. A consultant should want the market to know their special expertise. If someone’s a specialist in supporting a particular type of case or argument by a particular set of methods, what is the harm of this being well-known?

        Though this isn’t what Tony61 asks here (http://judithcurry.com/2010/11/10/uncertainty-gets-a-seat-at-the-%e2%80%9cbig-table%e2%80%9d/#comment-10762), and the questions have been asked and answered before elsewhere by Dr. Curry (though I did not find the link as easily as it would take to be the 30th person to ask), and nowhere near as relevant or interesting as here (http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/currycv.html).

  53. Well, I caught your Anna Haynes reference. Have you seen the video of her in her most famous job?

    No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!!

  54. Hi Judy – Best wishes in your testimony. My experience in this venue resulted in the written and oral material

    Pielke, R.A. Sr., 2008: A Broader View of the Role of Humans in the Climate System is Required In the Assessment of Costs and Benefits of Effective Climate Policy. Written Testimony for the Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality of the Committee on Energy and Commerce Hearing “Climate Change: Costs of Inaction” – Honorable Rick Boucher, Chairman. June 26, 2008, Washington, DC., 52 pp. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/testimony-written.pdf

    Oral presentation- http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/pielke_oral_testimony.pdf

    I look forward to reading your written testimony, and the oral presentation with Q&A on your weblog!

    Best Regards Roger Sr.

  55. Dr Curry,
    Congratulations, I have great confidence that you will represent the issues, challenges and uncertainty! This is the kind of news that improves my confidence that climate science is finding its way back from black magic toward rational enlightenment.

  56. Dr. Curry,

    This is very curious. I asked you this on November 7, 2010 at 12:59 am:

    “You volunteered recently that you have been contacted by a politician/s. You allowed Mosher to post an (illegally obtained) email. So now I am going to ask you, very nicely, in the spirit of transparency and openness, to post a legally obtained email (or emails) that you received from the politician/s. Feel free to obfuscate their details, and name their name/s.”

    Your answer, on November 7, 2010 at 3:33 pm was:

    “I don’t recall ever receiving an email from a politician, other than mass mailings.”

    And

    “I haven’t been paying much attention, I don’t know what is being investigated.”

    But over at Collide-a-scape on 4 November 2010 you said this:

    “And the specter of investigations into this situation (not just the emails, but more broadly) in the U.S. with the new Republican congress clearly has at least Mann worried, as per his WaPo editorial.”

    So you were paying attention. Now you volunteer on 10 November 2010 that you have in fact been invited (by Republicans) to provide testimony to a U.S. House of Representative’s Committee on Science and Technology Subcommittee on Energy and Environment.

    A web-site, Knoxnews.com, reported about the hearing on 8 November @ 10:30 am. Your name was not on the list at that time.

    Enquiring minds would be grateful if you could please clarify the timeline. When exactly did the committee (or politicans) contact you for the first time to request your attendance at this hearing or to ask whether or not you would be interested in participating? Could we please see that email? Unlikely as it may be, if presented with credible evidence I will accept that you were contacted for the very first time on Monday (8th) or Tuesday (9th), that is, after I posed my question to you.

    Either way, I find your claims about “not been paying much attention” and not ever having been contacted by email by a politician inconsistent with how events have unfolded over the last week or so, especially given that you stating above that you have testified twice before for the minority party.

    Maybe I should also contact Santer, Feely and Alley to see when they were first contacted.

    Good luck with the testimony, I hope everyone works towards making the dialogue productive, and that some misconceptions/misunderstandings can be ironed out.

    • You must be retired! You’ve GOT to be retired to play this game! I’ll be you even remember what you had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, on 9-11-01. Well in a few years you won’t, believe me. And by then you won’t even care, believe me.

    • Mapleleaf— your question(s) seems to seek information regarding the meaningless issues. I would value your response to my post at 10:31.

    • MapleLeaf
      You are asking from the lady too many personal questions, but hiding behind fictitious name. That is bad manners.
      Hopefully you will be ignored.

    • Roddy Campbell

      Maple I’ve had some curious blog conversations with you, but your questions to Judith are REALLY weird. Are the pills not working? :)

      There’s a conspirator behind every tree (ring).

    • Wow, why all the personal attacks? If this is all on the up-and-up, why not let Judith respond? Are you guys really so afraid of the answers to these questions?

    • Maple Leaf,
      It has been a while since I spoke to you. But I have noticed that you are getting ‘wierder’.

      Why don’t you come out and simply say why you want this kind of information and what your hypothesis is?

    • i don’t understand your questions. here’s an easy answer: i was the last person to be invited onto these panels.

      • The New Majority could ask only one, for the Old Majority said “There Can be Only One!”. And you were the One and Only.

      • “i don’t understand your questions”

        Sorry, but you need to please do much better than that. This is too important. Some specifics (i.e., a timeline) please. If you do not wish to divulge details here you can email me. Thanks.

        I’m sure people here would expect (neigh demand) the same openness had it been , for example, Trenberth making the same claims as JC has been regarding politicians and energy committees etc., especially if he were painting himself as an “honest broker”.

      • Mapleleaf
        JC may or may not email you. But you posed your questions in an open forum and you need to answer questions coming at you in the same open forum as well.

        Why do you ask these questions?

        Share with us your thought process – be open and discuss them. Then they can be ‘understood’ and then perhaps JC ‘can do better’.

      • Shub

        It looks like Mapleleaf is making a ‘sauce for the gander’ argument by demonstration.

        Those protesting his manner, questions and conduct add to his evidence, if they have ever supported like manner, questions and conduct of others, to his mind.

        He’s making an accusation of double-standards and hypocrisy by pretending the behavior of those he mimics.

      • Agreed. But there is not much protesting even though his questions
        are a bit of the “do you have a tremor” kind – Anna Hayes style.

        I am really curious to know where he is going with this.

        JC is likely being called in by the majority party – as a ‘nip in the bud’ strategy – as kforest points out below – very likely. But Mapleleaf here seems to be working up a different angle indeed.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        Perhaps Maple Leaf is a mini-mashey? ;-)

      • Where he is going?

        It appears Mapleleaf is mirroring McIntyre starting circa 1992, so if you think he plans that far ahead, look to where McIntyre is at now, and reverse the players, to see where Mapleleaf’s course will take him by 2028.

        As for why Dr. Curry is being called to the table, it appears there’s far more paranoid conspiracy theory in all this second-guessing than actual familiarity with the process. The best guess is that Dr. Curry is clearly the best person available for the role.

      • Dr. Curry is clearly the best person available for the role.

        No kidding. I expect a vigorous game of racquetball.

      • “It appears Mapleleaf is mirroring McIntyre starting circa 1992, ”

        Not a chance. Mapleleaf lacks the intellect, he lacks the integrity, he lacks the knowledge, and he lacks the wit. But most of all he lacks a case.

        Not to mention that as a Canadian I strenuously object to his wrapping his pseudonymous self in my country’s flag!

      • It may be comforting to think of him as more of a Torontonian wrapping himself in his hockey team’s jersey. Hardly the same thing at all. Or possibly of a brand of cured meat products.

        Also, I see no evidence to support the claims of lack of intellect, integrity, knowledge, or a case.

      • Why is the timeline relavant to the issue? If a democratic member of congress had written to her would it make a difference to the science in your opinion or is it simply that you immediately devalue someone’s data or their opinions because of the company they keep?

        I notice that you have failed to respond to my prior question…why….do you not like to respond to real specific questions with real solutions?

      • maple leaf, all i i know is that this hearing was mentioned to me a few weeks ago, with my participation as a possibility. it was confirmed a few days ago. they sent me a copy of the press release, everyone else on the panels was named, my slot was listed as TBD. this is all i know. i still don’t understand the point of your questions. I didn’t volunteer to do this. I had no idea this was going on before i was contacted by someone on the house committee. I am not plotting with the republicans or the democrats. Politically I am an independent. I made campaign contributions to Obama, this is public knowledge. I have previously been asked to testify by democrats (who were the minority party at the time). exactly what claims have i been making about politicians and energy committees? I am not painting myself as an honest broker, although I have refused to advocate for any specific policies. I have declared my values several times in the blogosphere: clean green energy, economic development, and “world peace.” go talk to anna haynes (sourcewatch), she dug and didn’t come up with anything.

      • Dr. Curry,

        Thanks for your reply. We seem to be talking past each other. Understandable, communication on the web is not always easy. Anyhow, thank you for clarifying.

        I do not care about your political leanings, nor am I trying to find some ‘dirt’ on you, or suggest that you are plotting with the Dems or Republicans. I was just trying to reconcile some of the things you have said about the hearings and about never having been contacted by politicians, because that did not seem to be consistent with your statements here and elsewhere in recent weeks, and with what you told me on Sunday. That is all.

        I’ll leave you in peace and quiet, so you can now call off your attack dogs. All the best and good luck next week.

      • It is a matter of public record that I have testified previously. I didn’t consider a congressional staffer qualified as a politician, since they are not elected officials.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        A slightly anti-climactic end to this fascinating forensic edition of CSI: Climate Hearings!

        I was waiting for Dr Curry to say, “…and I’d have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you pesky Canadians!” :-(

      • When Mike Mann was at the University of Virginia and the US House Republicans came calling, he had this to say:

        “Thanks–yes, we seem to back in the days of McCarthyism in the States. Fortunately, we have some good people who will represent us legally pro-bono, and in the best case scenario, this backfires on these thugs……”

        :)

      • “A slightly anti-climactic end to this fascinating forensic edition of CSI: Climate Hearings! ”

        More like climate herrings. Red ones.

    • What a bizarre post, Maple Leaf

    • Mapleleaf:

      I don’t understand your point with these questions.

      Are you trying to say that anybody calling for transparency with regard to data and code must publish their email?

      Are you trying to say that anybody calling for engaging skeptics must publish their email?

      Or are you trying to say that because someone leaked CRU email, that all climate scientists should publish their email?

      Why don’t you tell us exactly what you are getting at.

      • Maybe Mapleleaf is working with that crack(ed) journalist over at Source Watch?
        Similar styles and all of that……

    • It is any scientist’s duty to put his/her knowledge to the god of the country and humanity, regardless of who is in power. If Dr. Curry believes and thinks she knows that the AGW is a danger than it is her duty to act, even actively seek the role of a witness at the hearing.. If she thinks that the AGW is reality but its dangers are grossly exaggerated than again it is her duty act according to her convictions. It would be unreasonable to assume that Dr. Curry is a sceptic regarding the AGW.

    • MapleLeaf, you make a terrible inquisitor. The problem is, you keeping asking for an email. What if she was invited by phone? Mail? Also, it is probable that it was not a politician who contacted her, but a staff member of the committee. These staff members for not work for any politician directly, but for the respective chamber at large.

      Therefore you need expand your request. Request any and all records of communications between the United States Congress, any member of, or employee of, and Dr Judith Curry.

      Better yet, make an FOI request to congress. That way it is all official.

  57. PolyisTCOandbanned

    These are the guys I would like to have seen invited:
    -Huybers
    -Wunsch
    -Von Storch
    -Zorita
    -Webster
    -Emanuel

  58. Dr Curry
    Good luck. I can only hope that you’ve never returned a library book late or threw away a can that should have been recycled. You’ve just put a kick-me sign on your behind. The plain-spoken truth is not appreciated in Washington. You’re entering an arena that is almost as vicious as faculty politics.

  59. Richard S Courtney

    Latimer Alder:

    Thank you.

    Blogs contain far, far too much behaviour of the kind provide by AnthropoceneEndGame.

    Richard

    • AnthropoceneEndGame

      I’m not here for kiss-kiss, the stakes are far too high. If you have a problem with what I’ve stated, make yourself clear. You have no idea how I’m behaving, and you’re not my daddy.

      • Au contraire, mon brave, we have an excellent example of how you are behaving from this very blog.

        You earlier accused Richard S. Courtney of lying (November 11, 2010 at 10:21 am). Not by implication, not by mistake, but in those very words. I made it very clear what the problem with what you had stated us and called on you to either put up or shut up. You have chosen to do neither, but have written this aggressively phrased post instead.

        I conclude that you either have no evidence to back up your accusation, or are suitably unprincipled not to care whether you have or not. Perhaps you think that hectoring, bullying and mudslinging is a substitute for rational discussion?

        I leave it to others to judge how much weight they should give to any of your views in future. But credibility and respect once lost is a hard thing to regain. Tara.

      • You are possibly taking this blog and the entire issue far too seriously.
        Which sort of undermines your pose as a reasonable person completely.
        ‘True believer’ really does see to fit you far too well, sadly.

  60. Here is short ‘preview’ from the forthcoming hearing.
    Subcommittee chair:
    I thank you all for sacrificing some of your valuable time to attend this hearing.
    I shall ask two short questions, you may respond individually or elect a spokesperson.
    Panel I: Thank you, we are for consensus of the opinion.
    Panel II: ditto.
    Panel III: ……….
    Chair: Panel III, are you not for consensus?
    Panel III: We have no consensus on consensus, sir.
    Chair: Lets proceeded then. Here is question 1:
    - Is there any particular reason for the global temperature to rise by approximately the same amount and at the same rate for two periods 1910 -1940 and 1980 -2000.
    Panel I & Panel II: consensus opinion here is: no reason whatsoever, just a coincidence.
    Panel III: We have no consensus on the matter, but also see no reason whatsoever, just a coincidence.
    Chair: Here is question 2:
    - Is there any particular reason why the global temperature fell during period 1950 -1980 while the recorded anthropogenic CO2 emissions rose at fastest ever rate.
    Panel I & Panel II: consensus opinion here is no reason whatsoever, just a coincidence.
    Panel III: We have no consensus on the matter, but also see no reason whatsoever, just a coincidence.
    Chair: I hereby declare these hearings successfully concluded. I see no particular reason to take any more of your time. Thank you all for coming.

  61. Dr Curry,
    I look forward to your testimony. Frankly, however, I feel you are very likely going to be facing a very hostile committee.

    As you may be aware, the current committee chair, Representative Bart Gordon (Democrat), announced his retirement prior to the November election. Mr. Gordon represents the Tennessee’s 6th District which surrounds Nashville (Al Gore’s home town). Mr. Gordon’s seat was lost to the Republican party this November; hence, Mr. Gore’s lucrative link to this committee is coming to an abrupt and timely end.

    Furthermore, looking at the roster, I think it likely the tone of the meeting will be something along the lines of the “science is settled” and “we must do something now”. The listed players have too many connections to the democratic party and have too much to lose in terms of lost funding and prestige.

    Under the circumstances, I would advise caution. For all practical purposes, the most radical members of the democratic party leadership (read Ms. Pelosi) are likely to view this as an “last ditch” opportunity to smear skeptics generally and you in particular. Furthermore, the democrat’s political tone is currently one denial, defiance, and striking out. Much like a teenager caught coming home from a drinking binge.

    Thinking beyond your November 17 testimony and towards the committee’s activities next year. I have been very impressed with the integrity of the Republican minority leader Ralph Hall of Texas. It is my personnel hope Mr. Hal, or a person of equal integrity, l will assume the chairmanship next year

    Regards,
    kforestcat (Chattanooga, Tennessee)

  62. Richard S Courtney

    Shub Niggurath

    I apologise if this response is out of sequence. For some reason I am having difficulty getting the ‘Reply’ facility to work.

    You write to me saying:
    You said: “Climate change is a serious problem. All governments need to address it.”
    I formulated:
    “whether or not governments should get involved in managing and responding to ‘climate change’ is a valid democratic question.”
    There is a difference between the two. You (appear to) automatically assume the right of governments to take action citing ‘climate’ as a reason and declare that such action is ‘needed’.”

    Sorry, but that is emphatically NOT my position and it never has been.

    I stand by the truisms that
    “Climate change is a serious problem. All governments need to address it.”

    But I do – and I always have – objected to the distortion of that truism into excuses for actions which are not needed.

    For example, in a peer reviewed paper that I published in 2001 about the SRES analyses in Chapter 2 of Working Group III of the IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR), I wrote this:

    “If that seems like pseudo-science, then the Chapter contains worse. The Chapter states that, “Most generally, it is clear that mitigation scenarios and mitigation policies are strongly related to their baseline scenarios, but no systematic analysis has published on the relationship between mitigation and baseline scenarios”. This statement is in the middle of the Chapter and is not included in the Chapter’s Conclusions. Failure to list this statement as a conclusion is strange because this statement is an admission that the assessed models do not provide useful predictions of effects of mitigation policies. How could the predictions be useful if the relationship between mitigation and baseline is not known ?

    Also, the only valid baseline scenario is an extrapolation from current trends. The effect of an assumed change from current practice cannot be known if there is no known systematic relationship between mitigation and baseline scenario. But each of the scenarios is a claimed effect of changes from current practice. So, the TAR itself says the scenarios are meaningless gobbledygook.

    The Chapter is honest about one thing, though. It openly admits why it pretends such mumbo-jumbo is science. Its Introduction states that the Chapter considers “societal visions of the future” that “most share a common goal: to explore how to achieve a more desirable future state”. There are many differing opinions on what would be a “a more desirable future state” (c.f. those of Mussolini and Marx) but the Chapter does not overtly state its definition of “desirable”.

    And the Chapter concludes: “Perhaps the most powerful conclusion emerging from both the post-SRES analyses and the review of the general futures literature is that it may be possible to very significantly reduce GHG emissions through integration of climate policies with general socio-economic policies, which are not customarily as climate policies at all.”

    Simply, this conclusion of Chapter 2 of WG III TAR calls for changes to socio-economic policies that are not climate policies (at very least, this conclusion provides an excuse for such changes). And the Chapter’s Introduction states that these changes are intended to achieve “a more desirable future state” based on “societal visions of the future”.

    This conclusion derived by the method that generated it for the purpose stated in the Chapter is an abuse of science. Indeed, it is not science to make predictions of how to change the future by use of selected scenarios when “no systematic analysis has published on the relationship between mitigation and baseline scenarios”: this is pseudo-science of precisely the same type as astrology. ”

    (ref. Courtney RS “Crystal balls, virtual realities and ‘storylines’ ”, E&E (2001) )

    Richard

    • Dear Richard
      I think we are very much in agreement. In my initial reply to you, I think I focused a bit on the “governments need to address it” too much, (and maybe even misread it?).

      I am all for governments to ‘address the issue’ – a phrase I am reading more strictly and carefully now. My problem however arises with another truism – which I am sure you’d agree with too – is that governments rarely will ‘address an issue’ without seeing a need to ‘get involved’, on behalf of its citizens.

      Why I brought it up is a different question – governments reflexly assume their right and legitimacy to meddle with the climate issue. Scientists and policy makers need to guard against this – and inform goverments of the requirement, if at all, for their involvement and whether it deserves high-level attention.

      • Richard S Courtney

        Shub:

        Thank you. I agree that we seem to be in agreement.

        However, you say;
        “Why I brought it up is a different question – governments reflexly assume their right and legitimacy to meddle with the climate issue. Scientists and policy makers need to guard against this – and inform goverments of the requirement, if at all, for their involvement and whether it deserves high-level attention.”

        Perhaps, but I do not think I am competent to assess that. What I would say is that we each think what we do is important (why else would we do it?) and I can think of no reason why anybody (including scientists and politicians) would be imune from a desire to act which that thought inevitably provides.

        Anyway, I think I have now clarified any ambiguity in what I wrote, so I will now retire from this discussion unless and until somebody makes a new critique of my views.

        Again, thank you for your questions that have forced me to recognise the lack of clarity in my original post.

        Richard

  63. Dr. Curry

    Once again, thank you. I’ve found reading this posting informative and rewarding. As you’ve survived two previous visits to the table (after field work in the Arctic, no doubt a picnic in the park) I’m certain your next will be something to look forward to.

    You’ve provided insight into the Hurricane Wars, and the process, your work and the scope of the work in the broader science, with admirable parsimony and clarity.

    Figure 5 in the 2007 presentation nicely answered for me questions nagging me for a long time about the creche of hurricanes; specifically why it is losing its former well-defined shape?

    The forty year trend lines got me to thinking about the shape of the next two projected on the growth of the creche. By 2080 — a mere 70 years from now — it may be that the creche will be defined as, “90% of the Atlantic from 10 degrees South to 30 degrees North.” Hurricanes may in 70 years be expected to fall as frequently on Ireland and England as on Haiti and Cuba, on Rio de Janeiro as Florida, on Spain as on Mexico, on France as Louisiana. What full-barreled Typhon shot along the equatorial cannon loosed from Tartarus on the coast of Africa, gathering power all the way, will strike islands and coasts in threescore and ten?

    Inevitable? Maybe no.

    Probable bounded by disturbing uncertainty, by the mass of evidence you have presented at the table, and more accumulated by research since? Yes.

    It makes me think back 80 years. In those days, two icons of American life were born, one embodying Probability, the other Uncertainty.

    The first casino in Las Vegas Nevada, the North Room, opened in 1931, based on open Probability and managing the reduction of Uncertainty.

    The first Drive-In Theater in Camden, New Jersey showed a movie in 1932, as free from Probability as could be imagined and it shone much brighter and rose much faster than any casino of its time as did Drive Ins for the next forty years, but subject to all the Uncertainties of weather and audience taste, real estate prices and passion pit morality issues, inherently unmanageable traits.

    Compare where Las Vegas is today, what it has achieved, its scope and its success, with the slender nostalgia for the Drive-In’s of yesteryear. Uncertainty is no foundation for success, even of the brightest prospect.

    So it is with hurricanes, and all of climate, really.

    Insurance companies do not lay off Uncertainties, but only Probabilities, or else they go the way of the Drive In. Where there is Uncertainty, the whole population must absorb its cost, as no insurer could.

    As important, and more overlooked, is Period Doubling, the Chaos Theory concept.

    Are we looking at an increase of 5 hurricanes per year from 1970 levels, or a doubling?

  64. Good Luck Dr. Curry,
    Hopefully their questions will focus on more than the flawed data.

    IMO for what its worth, if they can restrict the IPCC to provable and properly Peer Reviewed Science and eliminate IPCC politics and policy authority, the IPCC has a chance to recover some credibility. If they can’t do this, the USA should simply pull out of all future IPCC involvement.

    ========

    The New York Times

    http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2010/09/23/23climatewire-rep-issa-would-lead-climategate-probe-if-hou-44766.html

    “Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the ranking member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said a probe of the “Climategate” scandal will top his environmental agenda…”

    “I do have a back-burner investigation that I’m going to want to have completed, and that is, we paid a lot of money to have international evaluation, most of it done in Britain, that turns out to have been less than truthful in some of the figures,” he said. “We’re going to want to not investigate to get our money back, but we’re going to want to have a do-over of good numbers so that everyone can have confidence.”

  65. For the public at large and politicians, the broad outline of what we know is the most important message to convey, at least as to the thrust and direction of policy (paraphrasing Herman Daly).

    It’s what we know that’s most important, rather than the intricacies of the uncertainties.

    This is compounded by the fact that “uncertain” to a layperson means “I don’t know”.

    http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/what-we-know-is-most-important/

    • Dr. Bart, actually, as a card carrying member of P.A.L., I am more interested in the uncertainties. What we are quite comfortable with, CO2 forcing, UHI, etc. is well known. What is interesting is looking at the mysteries and trying tounderstand them now, so that we can make GOOD policy decisions.

    • I’m glad that you know so much about the public at large’s knowledge of uncertainty.

      Maybe it is different in your country, but in UK, many of the PAL are perfectly able to deal with this concept with great aplomb and facility. Hence the continued popularity of gambling in all its forms.

      If you can reasonably successfully bet on the full card of 7 races at Sandown Park without losing your shirt, then you have demonstrated an excellent grasp of the concept of uncertainty.

      I’d also submit that this experience means they would probably make a better effort of assigning objective numeric probabilities to data than the IPCC members who came up with their 90% + assessments.

      We already have evidence from the Space Shuttle enquiries that the parties most involved in a situation are often the worst at assessing the risks. NASA engineering managers assessed the risk of catastrophic loss of the Shuttle as 1 in 100,00 launches. More independent analysis suggested the true figure was closer to 1 in 100.

      So I think a little more respect for the PAL’s abilities re uncertainty would be in order – and perhaps a little less for the IPCC guys who undoubtedly all have a dog in the fight.

      • “If you can reasonably successfully bet on the full card of 7 races at Sandown Park without losing your shirt, then you have demonstrated an excellent grasp of the concept of uncertainty.”

        If you can reasonably successfully bet on the full card of 7 races at Sandown Park without losing your shirt, then you are almost certainly a bookmaker.

      • This is of course true! :-) I had a short foray into the gaming world as an IT consultant, and rapidly learnt that the only person to be in a casino was the house. (Nothing to do with Hugh Laurie).

        But there are some individuals who can make a living of a sort as professional gambler on the gees. And many more who bet a little but regularly, and who don’t lose too much.

    • Michael Larkin

      This is compounded by the fact that “uncertain” to a layperson means “I don’t know”.

      Hmm. If it doesn’t mean the same to a scientist, then I’m baffled as to why not.

      In 2007, Louise Woodward was declared “the most notorious criminal convicted in Massachusetts”, at which the British media expressed incredulous amazement. The fact is, no one to this day actually knows what happened to poor baby Matthew, her conviction notwithstanding.

      I don’t find it surprising that attitudes to the case differ in the US and in Britain. Each has a dog in the fight. To many of us Brits, Woodward came across as credible. To many in the US, perhaps unfamiliar with British modes of behaviour under stress, the reverse seemed the case.

      Some in the CAGW case, are, as it were, on the “US side”. On balance, they think anthropogenic CO2 is guilty as charged. Others are on the “Brit side”. Me, I’m still, as ever, sitting on the fence. (About both cases, as it happens. None of the expert witnesses called in the Woodward trial seemed to offer unchallengeable evidence of either impropriety or innocence. It’s quite possible they believed their opinion was correct, and were excellent and objective evaluators. As so often, experts disagree; but at least witnesses on both sides, expert or otherwise, were actually allowed in court).

      WRT to CAGW, experts disagree on what can be taken as “knowledge”. It appears to me the main common ground is that there have been temperature and anthropogenic CO2 rises, though even there, there is at least some dispute as to accuracy of measurements. And, in the event that the case should be proven, experts disagree as to the sentence.

      I didn’t ask for this soap opera to be broadcast. But since it is being broadcast, and the verdict has effects for me and all laypeople, you’ll pardon me if I’ve got hooked and am more than a little concerned about the outcome.

      I’m not encouraged when I hear scientists trying to discourage discussion of uncertainty and concentrate on broad outlines for the poor dears who wouldn’t be able to handle the unnecessary clouding of issues. I say, let’s damn well get it all out on the table, warts and all. If the picture’s confusing, so be it; there is a message to be drawn from that.

      I don’t believe scientists are behaving in a principled way if they don’t express uncertainties regardless of whether they lean a particular direction. Uncertainty, any uncertainty, DOES imply lack of absolute knowledge. Why would anyone want to gloss over that? Why does it take a layman to point that out to scientists?

      CAGW proponents may be right, but wanting to play down uncertainties raises suspicions that “scientific truth” isn’t the only factor in play. And as long as those suspicions continue, they will continue to be their own worst enemy.

      So Judith, you be the good and principled scientist I take you to be and ignore partisanship. Tell it like it is and let those “above your pay grade” as you put it, be the ones who evaluate it. Don’t deny them the right to do that, a right they have been entrusted with by the votes of the American people. You are actually talking to around 300 million of those, and not just to committee members. Don’t listen to a few partisans, on whichever side, who want you to filter what the American people have the right to hear – your opinions, qualified by your uncertainties. Despite disagreeing with you on a number of issues, I support your being true to yourself.

      • Michael,

        This is compounded by the fact that “uncertain” to a layperson means “I don’t know”.

        Hmm. If it doesn’t mean the same to a scientist, then I’m baffled as to why not.

        Surely because there can be various different levels of uncertainty, whereas “I do/don’t know” is more black and white . Surely you would agree that some things are more uncertain than others?

        Nor do uncertainties neccessarily prevent us from taking important decisions. It’s interesting that you brought up Louise Woodward – of course in this or any other criminal case we can never “know” that he accused is guilty – have have to come to the best conclusion we can based on the totality of the evidence. Certainly when I was on jury service some of the evidence we had to consider contained very big uncertainties but taken together it was still compelling enough for us to send someone to prison for the rest of their life, which was definitely not a decisions any of us took lightly.

        Of course I agree that scientists should properly express what uncertainties there are, but I don’t neccessarily accept the assumption that they are not doing so already. Certainly the IPCC reports provide caveats where they feel it is neccessary. What Judith Curry sees as a failure to express uncertainties on the part of other scientists they probably see as an overstating of the uncertainties on her part.

        Take climate sensitivity for example. The IPCC states a range of 2 C- 4.5C, which as I understand it represents the mainstream view and in itself indicates a fair amount of uncertainty. Judith Curry seems to think that there should be more uncertainty at the lower end, others who specialise in this field are of the strong opinion this would be incompatible with the evidence from past climate change. They are entitled to defend this view and treat the level of uncertainty on this question as they see it, they are not bound by Judith Curry’s view.

    • Richard S Courtney

      Bart Verheggen:

      You assert:
      “It’s what we know that’s most important, rather than the intricacies of the uncertainties.”

      Hmmmm. Mostly not. In most matters it is the things of which we are not certain that can deleteriously affect the results of actions we decide to take.

      Every action has an effect, and it is not our certain knowledge that gives an unexpected – often unwanted – effect: the uncertainties do that.

      It is foolish to give most consideration to the certainties before deciding an action. And it is wise to consider what the result of the uncertainties may be.

      If you don’t believe me then try rolling over in bed and asking, “How was it for you tonight, Darling?”

      Richard

  66. Good luck Judy, have fun.
    One thing i’ve noticed in my life is that gentle humor can work like magic to dull the swords of both critics and authorities.
    Plus, as George Carlin taught us, humor and laughter often double as a type of Trojan Horse that can allow memes, otherwise filtered out by the seive of beliefs, to slide behind that otherwise impenetrable wall and, once behind that wall, to blossom, to bear fruit to affect change.
    We’re behind you, we’re all in this together, Bob

  67. Whenever politics are involved, whether on the local or national level, I have prepared myself for walking into a Den of Lions; prepared to face questions that question my veracity and relevance. Still, I have been “blindsided”. Having learned form one experience to next, I prepare myself by asking my friends to question me beforehand with questions aimed at my credentials, personal history, and track record. Then, ask me some questions about the facts. In part, what I have learned, that investigations are played out as at a theater (the Shakespeare ” all the world’s a stage…”. Hopefully, all the above is not new to you and accept my humblist: Go Girl!

  68. Judith

    I was interested in your statement–”I have refused to advocate for any specific policies.” Why? Isn’t policy implementation the most important thing at the end of the day? I would think this is especially true on the issue of climate change when it would be so easy to implement decisions with the best of intentions that are economically inefficient.

    • there are no silver bullet solutions. this is a massive wicked problem. i don’t think that the kinds of analyses have yet been done to support robust decision making. further, there are three separate but not unrelated problems involved: climate change, energy policy, and ocean acidification, each of which has multiple additional dimensions (particularly climate change and energy policy). we need some clarity on how to think about this whole situation, rather than scientists advocating for a particular silver bullet solution.

      • Thanks for your response, and while I agree that the two issues you point out are deeply related (climate change should probably be a sub set of energy policy), it is personally frustrating when it appears (IMO) that we are at a unique point when the issues truely converge and we have the opportunity to do things highly beneficial in multiple areas. Unfortunately, we do not seem to be going down that path.

      • actually, vulnerability to extreme weather events (natural variability or AGW or just weather) is a huge issue in terms of vulnerability, that isn’t going to be fixed by energy policy

      • but isn’t there a distinction between “weather policy” which is really a part of “infrastructure management” and “AGW” which would be a subset of “energy policy”?

      • Richard S Courtney

        Rob Starkey:

        You ask Dr Curry:
        “but isn’t there a distinction between “weather policy” which is really a part of “infrastructure management” and “AGW” which would be a subset of “energy policy”?”

        I cannot answer for Dr Curry, but I think any such distinctions are mistaken. And, at present, only adaptation policies – not AGW mitigation policies – make sense. I explain this as follows.

        Some environmental changes are inevitable. For example, for the last 10,000 years the South East of England has been sinking into the sea and Scotland has been rising up from the sea in response to the end of the last Ice Age, and this will continue. Sea defences need to be continuously updated if the South East of England is not to sink below the waves.

        Other environmental changes are not predictable. Climate changes fall into this category. However, the range of past weather extremes is known and governments need to prepare for recurrence of past weather extremes.

        For example, if New Orleans is situated below sea level (and it is) then the levees that protect it from the sea need to protect against known weather extremes. If those levees are designed to not withstand events that occur on average about every 30 years then New Orleans can expect to be flooded. And the levees were built like that and New Orleans was flooded when hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.

        This is an important illustration. Governments should prepare for – not ignore – what may happen in the bad times. As I said in my first post in this thread, assumption of AGW leads to preparation for warming and not cooling. But cooling would be a more severe problem than warming.

        There is a severe risk in preparing for warming and not cooling. And there is most risk in preparing for neither but trying to control the climate of the planet instead.

        In essence, this is what the UK Parliament’s House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs said in its report on climate change. That Select Committee criticised the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for its bias, called for an independent review of climate science, and declared that it would be cost effective to deal with effects of any climate change and to ignore calls for actions such as the Kyoto Protocol.

        (The UK Government responded to that report from the UK Parliament’s House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs by asking Sir Nicholas Stern (an economist) to assess the costs if all ‘worst-case’ scenarios for global warming were to come true. He did this and published his report in November 2006. Subsequently, several ‘Green’ groups claimed the ‘Stern Report’ provides ‘proof’ that AGW is a problem: it does not.)

        The preparations for extreme weather events need to consider effects on agriculture, industry, housing and transport.

        Drought, heat waves, cold snaps, frosts, warm periods, cool periods, and storms have always happened. They always will. And governments need to be ready for them. In the past all sensible governments have been ready for them. Now, some governments – including the UK government – are preparing for a more limited range of climate changes based on computer models that project AGW. Choosing such limits has risks that can have expensive and disastrous outcomes (as the people of New Orleans discovered).

        So, in practical reality, the only thing a national or local government can do is to adapt to changes in weather extremes (i.e. changes to climate) by sustaining appropriate assets. They do and usually with little cost.

        For example, I live in Cornwall in the extreme SW of England where we get snow on average one day in four years. Cornwall spends almost nothing on preparing for snow. The needed snow-ploughs, other equipment and staff training would not be warranted by the costs of not having them: it is cheaper to cope with the chaos caused by snow when it happens. And it most recently happened last February. The chaos was immense and the people stranded on Bodmin Moor made the national news. If snow were to become more frequent in Cornwall then the local government would find it cheaper to prepare for it than to cope with it.

        The greater frequency of snow in the North of England means that the local governments there find it cheaper to prepare for it than to cope with it.

        In both cases, if climate change altered the frequency of snow then the costs would adjust over decades as the frequency of snow changed. And the local governments would adapt by changing their snow policies when that became cost effective.

        There are no known long term climate effects that require changes to government policies that could not be similarly dealt with by adjustment as costs are observed to change.

        In the event that some evidence of the existence of potentially catastrophic AGW then policy actions to mitigate AGW would be warranted, but no such evidence exists at present.

        Richard

      • However, the range of past weather extremes is known and governments need to prepare for recurrence of past weather extremes.

        This analysis assumes (a) that change will be continuous, rather than abrupt and unexpected, (b) that change will be predictable, (c) that adaptation to such changes is both possible and cost-effective and that (d) cost, rather than public safety, will be a driver.

        No evidence is provided for these assumptions.

        How would society prepare for unanticipated multi-year drought in a key agricultural region? How would society prepare for unexpected extreme heat in a city that had never known it? How would society prepare for an unpredicted hurricane landfall farther north than any time in recorded history? I’m not asking you to concede that any of these events are likely, but to account for them in your analysis.

        Understand that by pushing these decisions off until after extreme events take place, you are saying society should undertake neither mitigation nor adaptation. I am at a loss as to how one can claim such an approach is”sensible,” let alone desirable.

      • Richard S Courtney

        PDA:

        My assumptions are the only rational ones based on the experience of all human history, whereas yours are merely unfounded scares.

        You ask me:
        “How would society prepare for unanticipated multi-year drought in a key agricultural region? How would society prepare for unexpected extreme heat in a city that had never known it? How would society prepare for an unpredicted hurricane landfall farther north than any time in recorded history? I’m not asking you to concede that any of these events are likely, but to account for them in your analysis.”

        No society could prepare for such eventualities but would have to cope with one if it happened. The cost of preparing for every possible but extremely improbable eventuality would be so crippling that the entire society would collapse.

        Fortunately, there is no possibility that such events would occur suddenly and without warning as a result of AGW.

        As my “analysis” said;
        “In the event that some evidence of the existence of potentially catastrophic AGW then policy actions to mitigate AGW would be warranted, but no such evidence exists at present.”

        Richard

      • The cost of preparing for every possible but extremely improbable eventuality would be so crippling that the entire society would collapse.

        Absolutely true.

        Fortunately, there is no possibility that such events would occur suddenly and without warning as a result of AGW.

        A sweeping assertion, presented without evidence. Define “no possibility.”

        no such evidence exists at present

        What would this evidence look like, if it did exist? How would you know if you’d found it or not?

      • PDA,

        Richard Courtney beat me to it, and in a way I’ve already grappled with it further down.

        But let me pick up your questions, which I didn’t see at all as rhetorical, or as necessarily connected with AGW (perhaps I read too quickly):

        ‘How would society prepare for unanticipated multi-year drought in a key agricultural region? How would society prepare for unexpected extreme heat in a city that had never known it? How would society prepare for an unpredicted hurricane landfall farther north than any time in recorded history? I’m not asking you to concede that any of these events are likely, but to account for them in your analysis.’

        The first one — ‘unanticipated multi-year drought’. In Australia droughts in key agricultural areas are expected in due course, but their timing is not known. How do we prepare for them as a society? Badly. But the better farmers assume that next year is going to be bad, and store hay as silage, keep their dams as high as they can, don’t get over-extended at the bank, and so on. In fact, in SE Australia we seem to have had ten-year droughts followed by heavy rain about every fifty years since the late 1890s and there is rough evidence of the sequence having started in the 1840s. Were a drought sequence to occur because of AGW (there is no evidence that what we have experienced is so linked) then things would be tough. But I guess we are used to things being tough. Agricultural production increased in the dry areas in the last drought, because farmers adjusted to lower rainfall and lower irrigated water entitlements, and improved their productivity.

        ‘extreme heat’ … ‘hurricanes’… Don’t these things happen from time happen anyway from time to time? I was in London when the worst hurricane for 300 years uprooted trees , huge trees, in Central London. I’ve been in towns in Australia where it snowed on Christmas Day (mid-summer for us). If these things were to happen more regularly because of AGW, wouldn’t we adapt? Richard Courtney provided a neat little example about snow in two parts of England.

        The evidence seems to show that humans are good at adapting. I think we would be able to do it again.

        And if I could be persuaded through good argument and evidence that AGW was real, unprecedented and dangerous I’d look , not for mitigation, which is beyond any national government and quite beyond the UN, into more far-sighted adaptation.

      • The evidence seems to show that humans are good at adapting. I think we would be able to do it again.

        I think the evidence is incontrovertible that humanity has adapted to changing circumstances exceedingly well. Individual humans, however, have not always been able to do so. My suggestion is not that the human race would go extinct.

        The problem with mitigation is that it’s a poor strategy to deal with a changed climate where the specific locations of things like droughts and extreme heat will be impossible to predict. When we don’t know what to prepare for, preparation is not a sensible strategy. Again, I am not asking you to concede that a chaotic, unpredictable climate will of necessity happen; rather, that the “wait-and-see” mitigation model would be imprudent if it were to happen.

      • And climate scientists have zip credibility on this topic.

      • The evidence seems to show that humans are good at adapting. I think we would be able to do it again.
        I agree, which is why economic alarmism due to mitigation efforts seems to be misplaced.

      • You offer not one shred of evidence that we will experience a tipping point of weather extremes. Each and every allegation of AGW alarmists about weather has turned out to be false.

      • It is remarkable that after 30 years of intense work, the alarmists have not been able to come up with a single testable prediction about climate that has been subsequently verified by observation of the real world.

        Even more so when you consider that a few successes like that would have been spectacular and very visible evidence for the correctness of their case. I could imagine headlines like ‘Climate Science Vindicated – 5 year predictions shown to be accurate within 20 percent. A triumph for climate modellers and the world’s most powerful computers’.

        Surely it could have been possible to run the models that supposedly tell us of all the horrible happenings in a hundred years time for just a little bit – say 5 years – do the measurements and so give us sceptics something concrete to gainsay our doubts. Though not a slam dunk, such an exercise would certainly have been a great advantage to the warmist cause.

        And it really is such an obvious thing to do, I wonder why it hasn’t been tried ere now? Can it be that the confidence in the models is not as high as publicly stated, or that the models are not as good as thought.

        Or that the researchers do not have the cojones to put their balls on the block, preferring to deal in predictions that are untestable within a normal human lifetime?

        The problem with the latter strategy is that as the years go by and the dreaded consequences do not appear, the whole field will lose what tattered credibilty it has left.

        Eventually the future comes to be the present and the futurologists abilities (or lack of) are laid bare for all to see. Climatologists seem to be trying to delay this process forever.

        It is starting to look very very suspicious. Is the Emperor really wearing any clothes?

      • Sir Professor Hopkins (Grantham Institute , Reading University – Meteorlogy)

        Climate Models – Still lousy

        http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2010/7/25/hoskins-climate-models-are-lousy.html

        Also look up the Guardian interview with Lovelock, and his thoughts on GCM’s

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        Really? Energy policy isn’t going to fix vulnerability? Perhaps. But lowering carbon emissions isn’t going to hurt, especially if we move rapidly to alternatives.. I read your ‘Local Warming: Consequences of Climate Change for Atlanta’ where you state and I quote:
        “We need to continue with aggressive efforts to reduce carbon emissions…”
        As I’ve argued elsewhere, we need to consider both mitigation AND adaptation.
        I think you’d agree.

      • Isn’t going to hurt?
        What embarrassing tripe.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        Yes , there is a ‘silver bullet’ solution since it all leads back to the same problem that’s not so wicked after all: carbon emissions. We don’t live in the tropics where the problems of deforestation exist. We live in a country with the highest carbon dioxide output on the planet based on our technology. This impacts the atmosphere and the oceans based on our dependency on massive quantities of fossil fuels from around the planet. WE all know this. If you haven’t put that together in your head, I’d suggest you defer to the EPA for this hearing.
        Remember though, you’re testifying on science, not policy(!)

      • And so that silver bullet, for a problem you do not offer a scale for, involves the US doing what?
        Does your silver bullet do anything about CO2 in the atmosphere?
        But more importantly:
        Many things effect the atmosphere. The question is this:
        Is the change as significant as the cost of your silver bullet?

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        It’s not my silver bullet. Climate scientist have been calling for this for over a decade.cSpend a few precious minutes at EPA’s website to discover what YOUR government is already doing about carbon emissions. If you don’t like it tell them. Tell Dr Curry too, she liked Obama. I think these efforts need to be applauded and vigorously enhanced via stronger policy directives from the Whitehouse.

      • The only effective alternative energy we have that works and lowers CO2 is nuclear. the AGW community by and large rejects that in favor of junk that does no work.

      • Actually I agree with you on this one, AEG. There is a silver bullet. Nuclear power production can be cheaper than coal-fired power production, if there is sufficient government will. At present it is more expensive in the US because of (1) the extraordinary lead times to obtain all the various approvals necessary; (2) the unnecessarily rigid safety regime to which nuclear power generation is subjected; and (3) the risk premium demanded by investors (currently 27%, according to a 2009 MIT study). On point (2), the current safety regime was devised for reactor technology of the 1970′s or earlier. Modern reactor designs have far higher levels of intrinsic safety, making much of the current regime redundant for new reactors.

        Replacing coal-fired generators with nuclear generators as they reach the end of their useful life, under a sensible regime of approval and safety, seems to me like a “no-brainer” answer to everyone’s problems. Put the new generators on the same sites as the old ones. Even the people living nearby will benefit greatly, from cleaner air and lower radiation levels (yes, coal-fired generation produces a lot of radiation, from the uranium in coal).

      • Richard S Courtney

        AnthropoceneEndGame:

        You assert:

        “Yes , there is a ‘silver bullet’ solution since it all leads back to the same problem that’s not so wicked after all: carbon emissions. We don’t live in the tropics where the problems of deforestation exist. We live in a country with the highest carbon dioxide output on the planet based on our technology. This impacts the atmosphere and the oceans based on our dependency on massive quantities of fossil fuels from around the planet. WE all know this.”

        Firstly, let me deal with your assertion saying:
        “WE all know this.”

        OK, you say you know that. But more people say they all “know” Santa Claus exists, and they have more evidence for saying that than you do for your saying you know “carbon dioxide output on the planet based on our technology … impacts the atmosphere and the oceans based on our dependency on massive quantities of fossil fuels from around the planet.”

        Importantly, your ‘silver bullet’ would kill billions of people.

        The use of fossil fuels has done more to benefit human kind than anything else since the invention of agriculture.

        Most of us would not be here if it were not for the use of fossil fuels because all human activity is enabled by energy supply and limited by material science.

        Energy supply enables the growing of crops, the making of tools and their use to mine for minerals, and to build, and to provide goods, and to provide services.

        Material Science limits what can be done with the energy. A steel plough share is better than a wooden one. Ability to etch silica permits the making of acceptably reliable computers. And so on.

        People die without energy and the ability to use it. They die because they lack food, or housing, or clothing to protect from the elements, or heating to survive cold, or cooling to survive heat, or medical provisions, or transport to move goods and services from where they are produced to where they are needed.

        And people who lack energy are poor so they die from pollution, too.

        For example, traffic pollution has been dramatically reduced by adoption of fossil fuels. On average each day in 1855 more than 50 tons of horse excrement was removed from only one street, Oxford Street in London. The mess, smell, insects and disease were awful everywhere. By 1900 every ceiling of every room in Britain had sticky paper hanging from it to catch the flies. Old buildings still have scrapers by their doors to remove some of the pollution from shoes before entering

        Affluence reduces pollution. Rich people can afford sewers, toilets, clean drinking water and clean air. Poor people have more important things they must spend all they have to get. So, people with wealth can afford to reduce pollution but others cannot. Pollution in North America and Europe was greater in 1900 than in 2000 despite much larger populations in 2000. And the pollution now experienced every day by billions who do not have the wealth of Americans and Europeans includes cooking in a mud hut using wood and dung as fuel when they cannot afford a chimney.

        The use of fossil fuels has provided that affluence for the developed world. The developing world needs the affluence provided by the development which is only possible at present by using fossil fuels.

        We gained our wealth and our population by means of that use.

        The energy supply increased immensely when the greater energy intensity in fossil fuels became available by use of the steam engine. Animal power, wind power and solar power were abandoned because the laws of physics do not allow them to provide as much energy as can be easily obtained from using fossil fuels.

        The greater energy supply enabled more people to live and the human population exploded. Our population has now reached about 6.6 billion and it is still rising. All estimates are that the human population will peak at about 9 billion people near the middle of this century.

        That additional more than 2 billion people in the next few decades needs additional energy supply to survive. The only methods to provide that additional energy supply at present are nuclear power and fossil fuels. And the use of nuclear power is limited because some activities are difficult to achieve by getting energy from the end of a wire.

        If you doubt this then ask a farmer what his production would be if he had to replace his tractor with a horse or a Sinclair C5.

        So, holding the use of fossil fuels at its present level would kill at least 2 billion people, mostly children before 2050. And reducing the use of fossil fuels would kill more millions, possibly billions.

        That is not an opinion. It is not a prediction. It is not a projection. It is a certain and undeniable fact. Holding the use of fossil fuels at their present levels would kill billions of people, mostly children. Reducing the use of fossil fuels would kill more millions or billions.

        Improving energy efficiency will not solve that because it has been known since the nineteenth century that improved energy efficiency increases energy use: as many subsequent studies have confirmed. (if you do not understand this, then Google for Jevons Pradox)

        So, in a period of a few decades we have moved from the tried and tested climate policy that has stood the test of time since the Bronze Age, people like you are trying to replace it with quasi-religious political madness which – if not stopped – will pale into insignificance the combined activities of Ghengis Khan, Adolf Hitler and Pol Pot.

        Your ‘silver bullet’ is a call for the most evil activity ever imagined.

        Richard

      • Oh please.

        Believe it or not, there are ways to both increase total, per capita energy usage that do not involve digging stuff up and burning it. The idea that economic development has to be put on hold to prevent global warming is a complete strawman born of what can only be described as Luddite ignorance.

        Others have already noted that the large scale adoption on nuclear power would fix most of the emissions over a few decades, by phasing out coal; hardly a strategy to reduce the world to penury. Indeed, your approach, with total fossil fuel reliance, leaves swathes of the world vulnerable to shortages.

      • Richard S Courtney

        Andrew Dodds:

        Your response consists of presenting nothing but ‘straw man’ arguments.

        For example, you say to me:

        “your approach, with total fossil fuel reliance, leaves swathes of the world vulnerable to shortages.”

        But I did NOT suggest “total fossil fuel reliance”. I wrote:

        “That additional more than 2 billion people in the next few decades needs additional energy supply to survive. The only methods to provide that additional energy supply at present are nuclear power and fossil fuels. ”

        And you assert;

        “Others have already noted that the large scale adoption on nuclear power would fix most of the emissions over a few decades, by phasing out coal; hardly a strategy to reduce the world to penury.”

        Yes, they have made that fallacious point, but I specifically rejected that, too, when I wrote:

        “And the use of nuclear power is limited because some activities are difficult to achieve by getting energy from the end of a wire.

        If you doubt this then ask a farmer what his production would be if he had to replace his tractor with a horse or a Sinclair C5.”

        Other examples are legion.

        And you assert;

        “Believe it or not, there are ways to both increase total, per capita energy usage that do not involve digging stuff up and burning it.”

        No, I do not believe it because it is not true. Indeed, I specifically refuted it in what I wrote where I said;

        “The energy supply increased immensely when the greater energy intensity in fossil fuels became available by use of the steam engine. Animal power, wind power and solar power were abandoned because the laws of physics do not allow them to provide as much energy as can be easily obtained from using fossil fuels.”

        If you know of some feasible alternative to nuclear power and fossil fuels then patent it and make a fortune.

        Importantly, I would welcome your addressing my arguments instead of knit-picking details by presentation of ‘straw-men’.

        Richard

      • ‘Straw man’ from a person who invokes visions of genocide..

        In any case, I know of no feasable alternative to nuclear power (at the moment) for large scale energy supply on a sustainable bases; transport can be addressed through synthetic fuel routes as appropriate. There does not exist sufficient fossil fuel of any kind for the entire world to enjoy 1st world living standards for longer than a decade or two; hence such a development strategy leads only to a blind alley, never mind the adverse climate effects.

      • Richard S Courtney

        Andrew Dodds:

        Your comment is facile.

        I did NOT ” invoke visions of genocide”. I explained the inevitable effects of constraining the use of fossil fuels at their present level.

        I again ask you to stop making straw-man arguments and to address my arguments (if you can).

        And I think you are trying to side-track from my arguments (because you find them inconvenient truth?) when you make a completely false assertion saying:

        “There does not exist sufficient fossil fuel of any kind for the entire world to enjoy 1st world living standards for longer than a decade or two; hence such a development strategy leads only to a blind alley”

        No! Absolutely not.

        There is no foreseeable end to oil supplies. Oil reserves have been ~40 years supply throughout the last century and will remain at ~40 years supply throughout this century. This is because oil companies need a planning horizon of ~40 years. So, oil companies do not pay people to look for oil when they have 40 yeas supply, but they do pay people to look for oil when they have less than 40 years of reserves.

        And then there are tar sands, etc.

        Importantly, there is at least 300 years supply of coal (estimates vary up to more than 1000 years). And coal can be converted into liquid and gaseous products.

        Nobody can know what energy supplies will be needed 300 years in the future. 300 years ago transportation relied on horses, and it would have been possible to then calculate that today’s transport systems would be impossible because there is not sufficient land to grow all the hay needed to feed the horses. But modern transport systems do not use horses.

        Using your ‘logic’, 300 years ago the use of horses should have been constrained and this would have inhibited (probably prevented) the developments which have provided our modern industrial civilisation with all its immense benefits.

        So, in addition to requesting you to stop presenting straw-men, I also ask you to stop presenting fallacious side-tracks.

        Please address my arguments.

        Richard

      • Well, I don’t see how it is a side track to not want development to go up a blind alley. But there you go.

        As I said, there are insufficient fossil fuels to allow the world to consume at first world levels.

        That would require – assuming first world means Europe and not the US – of the order of 100 billion barrels of oil per year, sufficient to use all identified resources (not reserves, resources), within 3 decades max. Coal might stretch for 4-5 decades. It’s no good looking at current levels of usage if it’s development you are interested in.

        And we are already hitting the point where the transition to lower grade resources means higher prices. To me this is the fundamental problem: as long as we rely on fuels for which the primary determinant of price is the price to extract (as opposed to nuclear fuels where the main determinant is the technology used), we will see higher prices and slower development. As well as higher environmental impacts.

      • Richard S Courtney

        Andrew Dodds:

        I see you are continuing to try to avoid my arguments by attempting to continue the side-track of fossil fuel exhaustion.

        I have already given you a complete answer to your side-track but here I will address your ignorance (be it real or feigned) of reserves and resources because that may interest onlookers. After that I will not answer anything else from you unless it addresses my arguments (which none of your posts has done).

        Resources is the amount of a mineral that can be obtained using existing or potential technology.

        Reserves is the amount of a mineral that can be obtained at economic cost.

        Consider three people who each own a field.

        Person A has one diamond on top of his field but none buried in it.
        Person B has 10 diamonds at 10m depth under the surface of his field but no other diamonds.
        Person C has 100 diamonds at 100m depth under the surface of his field but no other diamonds.

        The resource is 111 diamonds (i.e. [1+10+100] diamonds).

        But the reserve is one diamond because it is much cheaper for Person A to obtain his diamond for sale than for persons B and C to obtain theirs. Hence, Person A can undercut the price for a diamond of persons B and C so there is no point in their mining for their diamonds.

        Then Person A obtains his diamond and sells it.

        After that the resource is the remaining 110 diamonds.
        But the reserve increases to 10 diamonds because Person B can now profit from mining his diamonds and selling them, and he can undercut the price that Person C can offer for his diamonds.

        When Person B has sold his diamonds the resource reduces to 100 diamonds.
        But the reserve increases to 100 diamonds because Person C can now profit from mining his diamonds and selling them.

        However, this assumes there is sufficient demand for diamonds to permit Person B and then Person C to sell his diamonds. It is possible that, for example, Persons A and B could sell their diamonds but Person C could not sell his because some alternative to diamonds would be cheaper than the costs of mining his diamonds. In this case, the reserves would be zero when Persons A and B sold their diamonds.

        You are thinking people use resources of the Earth (such as fossil fuels) like microrganisms use the nutrients in a Petri dish. But that is a false analogy.

        The microorganism only has the medium that it uses from the dish. But people do not.

        We did not run out of flint, or antler bone, or bronze, or iron, or …
        When things are plentiful they are cheap and nobody bothers to look for alternatives.
        When things become scarce they get expensive in time to find them and in money to purchase them.
        When things get expensive people look for alternatives to them.
        And the alternatives often prove to have advantages.

        So, resources available to humans can be considered to be infinite for all practical purposes.

        But there are always people who fail to understand this.
        They think the Petri dish says something about the human situation, but it does not.

        In the nineteenth century they said that growth of civilisation was nearing its end because increased transportation could not be sustained as there was a limit to the land needed for hay to feed the horses. But modern transportation does not use horses.

        In the twentieth century they said the world would be starving by year 2000 because it would be impossible to feed all the people. But there are now more people than they predicted and there is more food available per capita than at any time in human history.

        And now they conduct similar extrapolations and fail to see that their extrapolations are as misleading as all the similar previous ones.

        Therefore, let me give you another analogy.

        An optimist looks at a glass and says it is half full.
        A pessimist looks at the glass and says it is half empty.
        An economist looks at the glass and says it is too big.
        An engineer looks at the glass and says it has built-in redundancy.

        Human resources have a lot of built-in redundancy that human ingenuity has always exploited.

        And I see no end to human ingenuity in the foreseeable future.

        Richard

      • Alternatives such as?

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        It’s not ‘my silver bullet’, silly. Tell the EPA how evil they are. Tell Dr Curry too, she wants carbon emission controls as well. The EPA is writing rules almost as fast as you can type out your next extended and tedious opinion essay in this discussion.
        btw what’s probably the real ‘evil’ here is to continue to believe fossil fuels have a future for our species. For peak oil see The Empty Tank by Leggett.

      • Richard S Courtney

        AnthropoceneEndGame:

        It was the ‘silver bullet’ you asserted should be used.

        And you cite Leggett?
        Do you mean Jeremy Leggett whom I demolished in a debate at the Geological Society in 1995? That was the biggest Pyrrhic victory of my life.

        Legget was then the Head of Climate Division of Greenpeace Europe and he was on the Board of the Geological Society. He used his position on that Board to ensure the Annual William Smith Discussant Lecture was about global warming. He was the main speaker for the motion and I was invited to speak against it.

        A few months before the event Leggett had published a personally defamatory article about me. So, I saw no need to ‘keep the gloves on’ in the debate and I tore his arguments to shreds.

        The speakers in the debate were to meet the members of the audience in the Library immediately after the debate, but Leggett was so embarrassed at his failure that he picked up his papers and ran (yes, ran) from the building before anybody could speak to him. (As one person said, “Leggett legged it”).

        But three things then happened.

        Legget refused to provide his paper for publication in the Journal of the Geological Society, and, thus, prevented the publication of the paper I had presented.

        The Geological Society sacked Legget from its Board because of his refusal to provide his paper.

        Greenpeace Europe sacked Leggett from his post as Head of its Climate Division (he went off and set up a solar panel company).

        Greenpeace decided to not engage in public debate of climate issues again but, instead, to campaign about it.
        This latter point was a disaster: I would have preferred to lose the debate than to have had that happen because the sceptical position is easily won in any rational debate of AGW.

        So, no, I have not read The Empty Tank by Leggett because I have useful things to spend my time doing.

        Richard

  69. Like Richard Courtney, I think that governments do have and should have an interest in dealing with climate change. And doing so on the basis of what is ‘sort of’ known is what they have to do most of the time. Let me give two examples. Australia’s eucalypts (there are hundreds of ssp) produce leaves that are full of volatile oil. In bushfires the oil plus the general dryness of the forest can cause intense and extraordinary heat, consuming everything. Many lives have been lost. Many inquiries are held. Yet we go on living with eucalypts in our streets and in our gardens (I do my best to get rid of them in mine, but that is now difficult, for obvious environmental politics reasons).

    Shouldn’t governments do something about this problem? Yes, but it is extremely difficult, because of the intersecting politics and ideologies of it all (‘we must think of native habitat — what will the kangaroos/koalas/birds do?’ eg).

    Governments have over the years dealt with the desire of people to build houses on flood-plains, helped by insurance companies, which won’t insure you in some areas. But we know a good deal about floods and their reach. That’s pretty straightforward.

    There has been something of a push by our governments to prevent people building next to the sea-shore, on the basis that sea-levels may rise quickly. My own view, based on the data, is that such a prospect is pretty unlikely. But then I’m not the government, pressed by green groups, the AGA crusade and worried citizens. What would you do?

    My advice would be that governments worry about ‘adaptation’, rather than ‘mitigation’, and if that came up I would suggest that Judith go down that path. But suggesting that governments should get of anything to do with climate change — no, that’s overdoing it.

    • Sorry, for ‘AGA’, in my second-last para, read ‘AGW’.

    • Like Richard Courtney, I think that governments do have and should have an interest in dealing with climate change.

      Why? I’m sure I could find an algorithm that “proved” earthquakes were caused by jumping Chinamen. Should the government’s strategy for protecting the people of California involve Chinamen mitigation?

      • Robinson,

        I think you’ve come in late. Both Richard Courtney and I have been talking about the kind of climate change that human societies have always had to deal with, not ‘human-induced climate change’, which we refer to as ‘AGW’. Our preference there is adaptation.

      • I do apologise. Because you used the term “climate change” I immediately smelled a rat. I think perhaps you mean “climate variability”. The problem with the term “climate change” is that it’s weighed down with an associated value system, whereas “climate variability” is more implied understanding that change is mostly natural. In terms of variability I do agree with your points, but no more so than government should have contingency plans for any other kind-of event. I don’t believe government needs a mitigation strategy of course. Adaptation is far more efficient and has served mankind well for tens of thousands of years.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        So climate change is natural and we simply adapt. We’ve adapted for thousands of years according to you. This implies we’re adapting to something. What would that be? How should the government respond to whatever your claiming we can adapt to?

        Here’s the most important Q: Based on what authority should any of us believe that you even know what you’re talking about?

      • Michael Larkin

        Why call on “authority”? Authority is no guarantee of correctness. Authority walks with a swagger and carries a big stick, but what’s that got to do with anything?

      • Based on what authority should any of us believe that you even know what you’re talking about?

        This is a fallacy of defective induction, otherwise known as argumentum ad verecundiam. You are effectively saying I’m incapable of absorbing and articulating the available information and making up my own mind because I haven’t received training at a climate Madrasah. I do have a first class honours degree in a scientific subject however, which I think demonstrates some ability to reason and articulate a body of knowledge, at least to the satisfaction of the high priests of the academic body I graduated from.

        With respect to government contingency planning and adaptation, you seem to be suggesting that scientists are capable of predicting the direction of variability and that government’s are capable of mitigating or controlling those variables with policy. You seem to be suggesting that government’s can engineer some desirable outcome. But you are unable to articulate with any certainty (1) what the outcome should be, (2) the causes of variability, (3) the distinction between the fact of the matter and your interpretation of the facts (your value system) in terms of some desirable state.

        I would like you to tell us (1) what the most desirable climate on Earth is (you can’t articulate a policy of mitigation and engineer a solution without this information), (2) how you know that temperature changes are man-made in the absence of results from the climate astrologists (Mann & Co), which are entirely spurious, (3) if there is change, to what extent it is beneficial given that the biosphere thrives under increasing precipitation, temperature and CO2 and (4) why you think that any mitigation effort will make any difference whatsoever to the outcome, given that reasonable efforts to reduce CO2 output will almost certainly result in economic collapse (at least insofar as those reductions are sufficient to change “global temperature”).

        You can’t answer any of these questions of course. The final statement I would like to make is that scientists should stay out of politics. The problem with the scientific establishment today is that it seems to be of the view that it can manufacture evidence to suit policy, rather than letting the evidence go where it will, informing policy if that seems desirable. When we have scientists publishing work on a Fenton Communications run website and Al Gore trolling the world earning millions for promoting their work, I think we are justified in raising all available eyebrows. Indeed not being critical of the current state of affairs seems to me to be extremely hazardous to ethical norms in science.

    • AnthropoceneEndGame

      Your analysis, adaptation over mitigation, completely discounts the uncertainty of the future with atmospheric carbon levels drastically elevated compared to now. This means you’ve discounted the potential temp impacts on future generations. You also can’t tell us of if ocean acidification will worsen with a doubling of CO2, but we have good modelling to suggest it does not look good.
      Both adaptation and mitigation are warranted.
      Note that a lot of what you read here by deniers emphasizes climate over ocean impacts (acidification), which are undeniable.

      • And the dreaded consequences of the PH of the ocean becoming marginally less alkaline on average (from 8.2 to 8.1) are what exactly?

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        See this pdf available online (Oceanography v17, #3, 2004): ‘The Ocean in a High CO2 World’

      • Pure supposition. I don’t expect it’s difficult to write and have accepted any paper, no matter how cretinous, concerning the nefarious effects of CO2 on anything. Indeed I read an article in NS about volcanic cones collapsing and destroying cities due to Global Warming. Such idiocy is commonplace in the scientific community these days. In the past I would have considered such references authoritative. These days I feel justified in brushing them aside as pure propaganda.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        Good for you! I’m going to brush you aside too as someone with a simple opinion that’s next to worthless, since you ‘read an article’. Please don’t be offended.

      • The article was published in 2004 ..likely written in 2003 or 2002.

        In the succeeding seven or eight years, how many of the predictions it makes have been verified by actual comparison of the state of the oceans then and now? I’d be delighted to see some observational proof.

        And since you place such great reliance on predictions of what will happen rather than observation, can I interest you in my tips for the next meeting at Sandown Park?

        3:00 – ‘Very fast horse’
        3:30 – ‘Speedy nag’
        4:00 – ‘ Tail up and winning’

        Just send loads of cash and you’ll get the last three……..

      • A crap paper. Experiments done with atmospheric CO2 ppm in the thousands shows no dangerous changes in the sea water pH.

      • I note that you have still neither put up nor shut up on calling Mr Courtney a liar. Despite being twice asked to do so. :-(

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        You’re right, he’s either lying or ignorant.

      • Richard S Courtney

        AnthropoceneEndGame:

        State one lie you think I have posted here or withdraw and apologise.

        Your offensive, abuse and silly comments are wasting space on this thread.

        Richard

      • That is the whole point of Professor AEG. It is called trolling.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        You’ve filled pages here with your opinions (without providing evidence/citations), so don’t lecture me on what’s silly offensive or abusive, like you with
        “climate science indicates no reason for immediate action”

        I can make up tripe too, and repeat the lie until my eyes bleed: “9 out 10 doctors tell me I should get the tumor removed from my bowel. I don’t have cancer. I don’t have cancer. I don’t have cancer”….

      • Richard S Courtney

        AnthropoceneEndGame:

        Following two people making unsolicited demands that you withdraw your unfounded assertions that I have lied, I made the same demand.

        Your have responded by saying to me:
        “You’ve filled pages here with your opinions (without providing evidence/citations), so don’t lecture me on what’s silly offensive or abusive, like you with
        “climate science indicates no reason for immediate action”.”

        But I have provided several citations and references in this thread and in others. Your claim that I have not is a demonstrable lie.

        When I said that “climate science indicates no reason for immediate action” I was responding to a question from PGA about the need to take action in this and/or the next fiscal year. Climate science as expressed by the IPCC says I am right. If the AGW hypothesis is correct, and if the IPCC worst-case projection is correct, then completely reducing anthropogenic emissions of GHGs now or in 3 years time would differ in the amount of global warming by 0.03 deg.C which is too small for it to be discernible.

        So, your attempted justification for your untrue assertion that I have lied is
        (a) your presentation of a blatant lie
        and
        (b) your quotation of a statement I made that is demonstrably true.

        Withdraw your unfounded assertion and apologise.

        Richard

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        You’ve filled pages here with your opinions (without providing evidence/citations), so don’t lecture me on what’s silly, offensive or abusive, like you with
        “climate science indicates no reason for immediate action”

        Every reputable scientific research institution on this planet has concluded the complete opposite. YOU know this. So either they’re lying or you are. Or you’re ignorant.

      • You are projecting again.

      • Not to speak for AEG, but he may mean something like this:

        “When things are plentiful they are cheap and nobody bothers to look for alternatives.
        When things become scarce they get expensive in time to find them and in money to purchase them.
        When things get expensive people look for alternatives to them.
        And the alternatives often prove to have advantages.

        So, resources available to humans can be considered to be infinite for all practical purposes.

        When resources are plentiful and cheap, alternatives tend to be underutilized.

        When some resources become scarce, or demand increases, or tastes change among near substitutes, exploitation of alternative resources increases.

        As budget cannot cover the price of all resources, purchase decisions shift so some resources become unused, effectively ceasing to be resources.

        A cataclysmic event is almost by tautology one where no exchange parties are willing to make will satisfy their wants or avoid their miseries. There is not always time or will to avoid cases where plentiful resources can be considered to cease to be available, ie to cease to exist.

        Human ingenuity, technology, changing taste, all have a latency rate, which cannot be predicted; all such mechanisms may be overwhelmed by the pace of unanticipated (as opposed to predicted) events.

        There is no such thing as an infinite resource.

        Though I suspect AEG means something else.

      • Richard S Courtney

        Bart R:

        No, that cannot be what AnthropoceneEndGame meant because he first made his untrue allegation that I had lied a day before I said the things to which you refer.

        AnthropoceneEndGame is merely attempting to disrupt sensible discussion.

        Anyway, I did NOT say there is “an infinite resource”.

        I said that;
        “So, resources available to humans can be considered to be infinite for all practical purposes”
        and I explained that.

        And if he were disputing that then he would have stated what he thought was the flaw in my argument: he would not merely make an untrue assertion that I had lied.

        Richard

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        Are you still the technical editor for COALTRANS INTERNATIONAL? Or did sourcewatch get your bio wrong?

      • AEG

        Richard S. Courtenay has published a pretty comprehensive bio. on the Denizens thread. Suggest that you read his – and others – before you dig yourself into an even bigger hole.

        And those of us who have published our bios there might begin to wonder why you use an alias and have not so published.

        If we were cynical we might think that it is you who have something to hide…not those you so readily accuse.

      • Huh.

        I’ve published my bio, and yet this act has not imparted on me the divine grace to question the lack of a published bio for any other correspondent.

        Was there kool-aid being dispensed that granted this omniscient clarity of right and wrong? Does it come out of the “Post Comment” button, or via email?

        And heck, I’m a cynic, too, and yet.. nope. Still nothing. Not a tingle. Not a whisper. Don’t seem to notice AEG having anything to hide.

        Is it what’s in his pocket?

      • This further reply is meant to Bart R’s post mentioning Kool Aid etc.

        Bart – yes I have indeed read your bio at the denizens thread.

        And I also note that you do not care to hide behind anonymity, nor to cast ad hom aspersions on other people’s credibility.

        In UK we have a saying ‘sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander’, which is a rough equivalent of ‘what goes around, comes around’

        AEG seems not to have heard of that telling phrase. And if there is one thing that I hate worse than bad science, it is hypocrisy. Maybe this – and calling people liars without justification – is acceptable behaviour in NA. It certainly is not in UK.

        No idea what Kool Aid is, so can’t comment further. Like Band Aid with ice?

      • Richard S Courtney

        Bart R:

        Your post to Latimer Alder that mentions Kool Aid is disingenuous.

        AEG asked if I was “still the technical editor for COALTRANS INTERNATIONAL?”

        Latimer Alder responded to that by
        (a) pointing out that I had already provided the answer to that question in my ‘bio’ on the Denizens thread
        and
        (b) observing that it is unreasonable for AEG to demand personal information from another when AEG is unwilling to provide any personal information about himself because, as Latimer Alder said;
        “If we were cynical we might think that it is [AEG] who have something to hide…not those [he] so readily accuse[s]“.

        Your reponse is to say that you have provided your bio, and “this act has not imparted on [you] the divine grace to question the lack of a published bio for any other correspondent”.
        So what? That does not diminish Latimer Alder’s points in any way.

        Also, I notice that you posted your bio to just before you posted your response to Latimer Adler’s post and long after Latimer Adler had made his post. If we were cynical then we could suspect that timing indicated your bio was provided in response to Latimer Adler’s post and as a method to enable your response to it.

        Richard

      • Richard and Latimer

        Good that we can discuss this so nicely.

        I published my bio when I published my bio. There is life outside this blog with demands more pressing than what is, after all, not my bread and butter, and it never occurred to me that there might be a time limit on such a short scale.

        While still basking in the bioluminescence of posting, I took up then to review this thread, as I was hoping to be enlightened further by rejoinders and expansions.

        Though I am mistaken. I very much do hide behind anonymity, and have high regard for the practice. There are many valid and practical reasons to endorse this mode, so long as it is not abused (which is within the judgement of our host to moderate, as set out by the rules of the website).

        You may find some who believe me to be very “ad hom” in my manner, though I believe I let pass ten jibes for every dart I cast myself. Maybe what I say makes more of an impression?

        I’ve lived in the UK, though not for a long time, and I’m comfortable with the idioms there.

        Kool-aid is a beverage made from artificially coloured and flavoured sugar mixed into water, popular in America, and associated with the Jim Jones Cult, who famously were murdered by their leaders, who suicidally joined them, by drinking a communion of grape kool-aid laced heavily with poison. And it’s fun at parties.
        The American idiom, “drink the kool-aid” generally refers to converting to belief in an obviously (from the point of view of the user) dangerous or inferior system.
        For example, to drink Al Gore’s Kool-Aid, or to drink George W. Bush’s Kool-aid. (The latter would almost never be found in American vernacular, as it just sounds wrong to the American ear.)
        It’s a bit of a dated expression, like “Where’s the beef?” or “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”

        My mild-mannered rebuke was based on the tenets expressed by Dr. Curry in posting the Denizen’s page, as a resource very different from the open threads. While there’s nothing illegitimate about the ideas you express, they do seem exploitative in a way not in the spirit of the Denizens page, form my admittedly old-fashioned perspective.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        The bigger ‘hole’ here is is being dug far and wide by King Coal. If I was cynical I might believe that energy interests hire people to spread disinformation and doubt about AGW at blogs like this one. Do you think this is a reality?
        Try sourcewatch. I don’t trust bios at blogs.

      • @AEG

        Have you stopped beating your wife yet?

      • Richard

        No arguing your point that time does flow in one direction.

        Hence the reason for the phrase, “something like” to indicate an example.

        However, we seem to have missed each other like straw men passing in the night. You didn’t mean to claim infinite resources existed, when you said “infinite for all practical purposes”, and I didn’t mean to to omit ‘for all practical purposes’ when I said “There is no such thing as an infinite resource.”

        Glad we settled that miscommunication.

        As for your conclusion, I cannot pretend to know the mind of another, so do not know if AEG’s opinion of the number or type of flaws in arguments he perceives of your posts amounts to evidence of intentional duplicity within them. However, given his phraseology, it does seem that this is the meat of his matter.

        I welcome alternate theories.

      • Richard S Courtney

        Bart R:

        You say to me:

        “As for your conclusion, I cannot pretend to know the mind of another, so do not know if AEG’s opinion of the number or type of flaws in arguments he perceives of your posts amounts to evidence of intentional duplicity within them. However, given his phraseology, it does seem that this is the meat of his matter.”

        But you did claim to know (at very least, you suggested) what AEG meant, and Ipointed out that your claim was impossible unless AEG has a time machine.

        Now you say you “cannot pretend to know the mind of another”. But
        1. you imply that AEG may be correct that my posts contain a “number or type of flaws in arguments” although neither he nor you has stated what those “flaws” might be
        and
        2. you insinuate that I have posted “intentional duplicity” merely because AEG has posted fallacious assertions that I lied.

        You and he seem to me to be ‘birds of a feather’ but he lacks your subtlety.

        Richard

      • Richard

        Please, do not shoot the messenger.

        You asked of him explanations he would not, by my reading, furnish further.

        I felt it worthwhile to offer my interpretation of what a wider readership more familiar with the mode of discourse AEG is using might read from his posts.

        I’ve made no effort to stalk the prior posts of either of you, other than happenstance, so could not confirm AEG’s opinions of you or of himself, nor yours of yourself or him.

        You’re two guys arguing, and I’m just egging you on, in case you’ve missed each other’s nuance.

        I’m not suggesting I’m above the tactics you’ve read into my posts in this thread. I’m merely not interested enough to put in the work it would entail on what for me would be a derailment.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        When I read junk like this, I can come to only a couple of conclusions. Either the poster is a liar or ignorant:
        “Since then, the issue of AGW has displaced all other ‘environmental’ issues but has not gained any scientific evidence to support it”.

        What do you think?

      • Richard S Courtney

        AnthropoceneEndGame:

        OK. State the evidence for AGW that exists.

        Many people, including me and the IPCC would like to know of it.

        State it. Reference it. And explain it in your own words. Otherwise you again demonstrate that you are both a liar and ignorant.

        You have repeatedly slurried this blog with your posts but you have yet to make a single constructive point.

        Richard

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        So King Coal and the IPCC are in a agreement that there’s no evidence for AGW (!) Truly funny.
        Repeat the big lie until your ears bleed, or go to IPCC and read until your brain explodes. Or read Pielke’s paper cited below for a primer. You’re wasting time here, but your propaganda is amusing.

  70. Political Junkie

    Off topic here, but DR. J’s (For basketball fans, it’s not Julius E!) appearance on a panel at Purdue with Roger Jr. and Andy Revkin is now available in video on the net. Worth looking at!

    Watch it and see if moderator Elizabeth still thinks of the panelists as her “dream team!”

    • Yes, just been watching it and Judith’s presentation was excellent, delivered with obvious sincerity, a very important attribute which gets sensed intuitively by an audience. My one suggestion is that delivery in a slightly slower, more measured tempo, looking up more frequently, would improve it still more.

  71. Judith,

    I always feel that the knowledge base I have gained cannot go any further then boom some statement or thought opens a whole new section.

    Our knowledge and theories of the atmosphere are so backwards. REALLY!
    Easy to prove too!!!

    Gotta go, Joe

  72. This posted as a reply to one of AEG’s rants, but was meant as comment on its own:
    Dr. Curry,
    Enjoy that seat but make sure the chair is not pulled out from under you:

    http://notrickszone.com/2010/11/11/branding-of-science-dissenters-has-begun-clearing-the-path-to-a-climate-science-pogrom/

    The true believers are not going to act reasonably. The true believers have no sense of scale, and sense of constraint in all too many cases.

  73. Bryan Seigneur

    Uncertainty, aye, that’s what the universe is made of. There is little certainty, only good probabbilities. Who’s dissent and disagreement? Yours?

  74. The skeptics will have a seat at the table whether the alarmists want them to or not.

    It has already begun and can not be reversed. The skeptics AUDIT of the work of Dr Mann was just the beginning. If faith in the science is to be restored there has to be openness and trust which is not there now.

    For example:
    Quality Controlling huge databases is not a peculiar problem of climate science and you don’t need to be a climate scientist to do it.

    The temperature data of the world needs to be audited by professionals who know data and how to guarantee it’s accuracy. So far the amateurs [in data quality] have done an amateurish job. Dr Mann was and is an amateur and he bungled the tree ring data he used. A professional data quality control expert proved that he was wrong and the world benefited from it.

    The problems with the present temperature data are many and easily verified.

    1) The metadata is a mess and we don’t even know the quality of many of our station’s data because it’s location and site set up is incorrect. At least 60 % do not meet the CERN requirements which should be the gospel.

    2) The process of adjustment needs to be thoroughly scrutinized because it seems to favor warming. Adjusting well located sites up in temperature seems wacky to me.

    3) UHI needs to be adjusted for correctly. Just adjusting for it isn’t enough it needs to be done correctly. Just saying we correct for it “TRUST US” isn’t good enough.

    Anthony Watts and others have the expertise in weather which is what climate is made up of and it is senseless not to use him to fix what is broken.

    The loss of faith in the existing climate science is well deserved and it is time to call in the EXPERTS TO FIX IT.

    These experts need not and SHOULD not be climate scientists because they have too much vested interest in a particular outcome.

    The public will soon demand that the climate data be quality controlled just like mine sample data or any other. That will be painful for the climate scientists but mandatory if trust is to be restored

    I make my living with accurate science which works and it pains me to see what a mess the amateurs have created.

    • AnthropoceneEndGame

      What were the results of that ‘audit of Mann’s work’?

      • Direct and indirect results

        a. Complete loss of faith in ‘The Hockey Stick’ which contributed to

        b. Major sceptical distrust of the IPCC and all its works which led to

        c. Loads of FOI requests which were the catalyst for Climategate which has led to

        d. Judith’s initiative to engage with sceptics and maybe to

        e. Her invite to Washington next week.

        And all triggered because Dr Mann couldn’t/wouldn’t employ a valid statistical method nor publish his data and method in enough detail to allow confident reproduction. And because Steve McIntyre is a persistent big guy who is not taken in bu handwaving flimsy arguments.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        See this which is available online
        “Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2000 Years’ (2006, NAS).
        No faith required!

    • Excellent set of remarks.

      The basic data on which all of climatology rests is obvously in a complete mess. How it is possible to draw any reliabel conclusions from it at all escapes me.

      Like the old IT expression says

      Garbage In, Garbage Out

  75. A word of advice. You may not be walking into a friendly concave; i.e., someone may attempt to tarnish your credibility. (Been there, had that happen.) One of the standard techniques “to rattle” an expert witness is to ask a question that an expert would immediately recognize as completely absurd but yet the non-expert might regard as an entirely reasonable inquiry. If you are not prepared for such an ambush, you could be made to appear as flustered or unstable or irrational. Just be on guard, keep your cool, and watch out for roads that fork. And good luck.

    • AnthropoceneEndGame

      Here’s a Q that might rattle:
      We’re at 390 ppm CO2. How would a doubling of current atmospheric CO2 levels impact global temps and the oceans?
      Discuss the uncertainties in this GHG scenario.

      • How about:

        Global temperatures would warm a little – as per Arrhenius – mostly by an increase in the nighttime minima by a degree or so. Crops would grow more abundantly with both slightly higher temperatures and more CO2 to work with. Reducing the threat of global famine. Energy usage would be reduced as less domestic heating is needed in the densely populated NH. And fewer Brits would need to jet off to Spain for their hols as Brighton, Bournemouth and Torquay would truly become like the Riviera.

        By then also, videoconferencing would allow climatologists to have their annual (but very shrunken due to continued failure of grant funding) bashes via internet, and not having to subject themselves to the privations of travelling to Bali every time they want to write a big, largely irrelevant and even less studied book

        And as has been seen recently, the polar bears would thrive. Back in the old cold bad days, they were at terrible risk of extinction, but now their populations are increasing rapidly. Good old warming! – a win/win for us all. Even those cuddly polies.

      • Wow. Off track and without basis.

        “..mostly by an increase in the nighttime minima by a degree or so..”

        Forgive the ellipses, but that interesting parameter is superfluous and underdeveloped at the same time. Why mention it? If mentioned, how support it? Do you have a computer simulation model? ;)

        “Crops would grow more abundantly with both slightly higher temperatures and more CO2 to work with.”

        Uh.. wow. If temperature or CO2 were the limiting resources on all crop growth, if precipitation patterns didn’t alter to increase crop stress, if all crops uniformly preferred the new conditions and all pests did not. What a dreamy world that would be! Have you been reading Lord Lawson’s speculative fiction, or is this from Star Trek?

        “Energy usage would be reduced as less domestic heating is needed in the densely populated NH.”

        It takes more energy to cool by air conditioning than to heat, by a wide margin. Blackouts and brownouts due to usage happen during heat waves, not cold snaps. How could you expect anyone to succumb to such a specious confabulation?

        “..fewer Brits would need to jet off to Spain for their hols as Brighton, Bournemouth and Torquay would truly become like the Riviera.”

        Why do so many people persist in this delusional gloss from ‘warming’ to ‘tropical paradise’?

        Become like Haiti in hurricane season (which is growing longer) and yet still have substantial chance of heavy snow every few winters due to the movement of the Jet Stream, perhaps you mean?

        And.. polar bear numbers are increasing rapidly!?

        This outright mistake has been addressed time and again by people who are familiar with polar bears first hand through field work and living in their habitat.

        Only two polar bear populations are considered not in peril or in grave peril, and they have only about 1,000 bears in total.

        It takes so little time to research and deflate the claim of polar bear population increase as to render holding that opinion either willful ignorance or outright infamy.

      • Those cuddly polies..

        You can find more at http://pbsg.npolar.no/en/status/status-table.html.

      • Re polies.

        The best estimate that I can find for the 1950s total population is 5-10, 000. Today, after 50 years of a warming world even the numbers you cite show between 20 and 25,000. Seems like a growing population to me. Can you demonstrate that there are now fewer polar bears than there were 50 years ago?

        And any slight local declines year on year, are, of course, not statistically significant.

      • Latimer

        The best estimate anyone can find for the 1950′s is 5-10,000, because no one counted polar bears except by the number they killed during a hunt. It’s a pure guess with neither methodology nor review, so invalidates meaningful comparison on that basis alone.

        Polar bear hunts in those days were reportedly not much different in attitude or effect from bison hunts of a previous century. It wouldn’t be surprising if there were so few as 5,000 polar bears in the 1950′s as a result, but there may have been ten times that number.

        Today, after 50 years of a closely-regulated hunt meant to encourage their recovery (which again, with no valid starting number, we cannot well judge the success of using your method), polar bears are once again apparently dwindling (using the methods of an international organization, which you can examine by going to their website) as if they were the subject again of an unregulated hunt.

        It’s not that you can’t be right. Some Inuit hold an opinion similar to yours about some polar bear populations.

        It’s that you can’t be demonstrated to be right by virtue of the dubious quality of the source you have chosen to use, while the best available evidence seems to be interpreted by scientists who have done first hand field work to say that you’re likely wrong.

        Who am I going to believe? Someone who resorts to a 5-decade old guess he Googled and some handwaved statistical jargon, or a large group of credentialed researchers who have actually seen real polar bears in the Arctic?

      • I’m quite happy for you believe the number that the ‘credentialed’ researchers have come up with in their recent counts. (Though I just wonder exactly what credentials you need to be able to recognise a f…g big white polar bear – even my four year old granddaughter can do that without Mummy’s aid – the same as being a credentialed climatologist?). And I won’t dispute that either. They have been there and I haven’t

        But you submit that we do not know the numbers 50 years ago. Let’s assume you are right. You cannot therefore make any statemants at all about whether numbers are increasing or decreasing. You can have no meaningful discussions about the effect of ‘climate change’ on polie bears. You cannot photoshop a picture of a polar bear of an ice floe and make it an adevrtising icon for AGW.

        No doubt, with your passion fro full disclosure and evidence, you will now join me in alerting the general public and media to the fallacy that they have been sold this last ten years, and to make it clear to them that anything discussing polar bears is purely propaganda and is based on no evidence whatsoever.

        Where shall we start? RC, NYT, Grauniad? I shall let you write the first post, but will be in the wings waiting to back you up.

      • The only fallacy I can detect is this ‘polar bear numbers are increasing’ claim.

        The website I referenced by the link above is very forthright in its uncertainty and unknowns.

        They make no claims about the 1950′s, other than that they have no meaningful data that far back.

        Spend a few hours visiting their cite, and let me know if you find the fallacies you’ve predicted.

        As for posts, I post only here. Other blogs do not amuse me.

      • Sure. It is not possible, according to you, to make have any meaningful discussion about whether polar bear numbers are increasing decreasing or staying static. The data does not exist to say one way or the other. A scientific paper about today’s data says nothing about the past…and hence no trends can be discerned. Zip, zero, nada, null, hold the trends…….etc etc

        Therefore they should not be used as poster bears for ‘climate change’. D’accord?

      • It is possible to lead a horse to water. You have to understand the horse to make it drink.

        It’s not possible to have meaningful discussions of polar bear numbers in a range of dates based on the 1950′s guess you provided without understanding polar bears better.

        It’s perfectly reasonable, based on all evidence available, to draw many rational conclusions about polar bear numbers and population trends now.

        Morbidity, physiological measures of stress, prey and habitat dynamics, historical sightings and physical evidence including DNA, and far more are available to researchers, who do this science as a full time profession, so have access to more information and methods than anyone who has never been within a hundred miles of either a polar bear in the wild nor in a quarter century inside the confines of a well-stocked research library.

        That once your own argument is proven in error leads you to conclude that all other arguments cease to have meaning is hardly a good habit of science, rather of obfuscation.

        In this way, polies appear to be a poster bear for at least the flaw in your “if-I-can’t-be-right-then-they-all-must-be wrong” approach to climatology.

      • Blackouts and brownouts due to usage happen during heat waves, not cold snaps.

        To the extent this is true, it is because a lot of heating is provided by gas rather than electricity. Your contention that it takes more energy to cool than to heat is not supported.

      • Alex Heyworth

        “Your contention that it takes more energy to cool than to heat is not supported.”

        Actually, my contention is the Thermomechanical Principle.

        It takes one unit of energy to heat one unit of temperature.

        It takes at least two units of energy to provide one unit of temperature of cooling.

        With current technology, that number is closer to 2.5:1, because there are few perfectly efficient machines.

        There are endless quibbles, such as effect of insulation and heat pumps, how much cooling vs. how much heating is needed, passive solar warming and passive cooling, and so on, but at the end of the day, the blackouts and brownouts tell the tale.

      • Even if you are correct about the thermodynamics, I fail to see its relevance to the discussion. Can you show that there are more installations that will need extra cooling compared with those that use winter heating? This would certainly not be the case in Western Europe where air con is a rarity – generally limited to ‘public buildings’ while nearly all buildings of any sort use winter heating.

        So what may be true in Miami is not true in London or Latvia or Lyon.

        Equally In Western Europe, our electricity power supplies are generally much more reliable than in the US/Canada, and large scale power cuts are a definite rarity. This is probably because our good neghbours in France had the good sense to invest heavily in nuclear power a while back…reliable, low emission electricity.

        Do not make the mistake of extrapolating your local conditions to the rest of the world. It may or may not be true.

      • Latimer

        I’m sure my local conditions aren’t like the rest of the world.

        The Thermodynamics is correct, of course. It’s Thermodynamics.

        However, the original posit was that somehow a believed slight increase in night time minima would translate into “less domestic heating needed” as a benefit.

        As the original claim was yours, by all means, show me the data you base your claim on, and I will be glad to amend my argument appropriately.

        You’ve already, it appears, conceded that energy-intensive North America falls within the domain of my argument, so there is no special need to provide data except for Europe.. and Asia.. and the Middle East.

        With projections for future HVAC trends, of course, if you’d be so kind.

      • I have no evidence for my assertions about what will happen.

        But neither do you and neither does the science of climatology. I have some reasoned arguments about what will likely happen to energy usage in N. Europe being based on my life experience of living there. My only other extended stay was across a cold winter in Rochester, Minnesota in the early 1990s. And in that particular case, winter heating was extremely important to keep the population alive. Few people would die if aircon failed (the US was well populated before it was invented), but many would if the heating failed.

        You may argue that it is different in Miami, and I can’t dispute that.

        But I would equally argue that I have just as much evidence as to how the future will play out as any climatologist. They may have some wonderful and complicated models (a topic I am a little familiar with -see my bio), but these have never been validated against reality in any meaningful way (backcasting is not validation, it is tuning).

      • Latimer

        The point is, you made the unsubstantiated claims. You purport reason, yet use unreasoned methods of argument, more like propaganda than like science.

        Similarly, you speak of an absence of counter-arguments, though it’s apparent you are familiar with many of the counter-arguments and merely seek to tilt the playing field to your advantage.

        Why do that? It’s not the technique of someone seeking to better understand, but rather to obfuscate, so far as I can tell.

        Why not name the thing, and refer to a link where the thing you dispute has been debated?

        When you say few people would die in the US if air conditioning failed, this betrays immense ability to ignore heat-related fatality figures, while employing specious logic.

        Certainly if not familiar with American examples, such as have famously affect New York not infrequently, you must recall Spanish or Greek heat waves with their attendance incidents of mortality?

        If you thought winter in Rochester was bad (which it’s fairly bad, true), you ought try summer there in the Land of Lakes, when you don’t have resort to a lake to cool off.

        And models, wonderful things that they are, are not limited in valid applications only to predicting future events. As valid is disproving impossible outcomes, or establishing whether an apparently complex system collapses into a simpler system under constraints, and on and on.

        I’m absolutely certain it’s true there are mistaken uses of models, bad uses of models, poor uses of models, unreliable uses of models, and models that fail to predict for all cases, but deprecating the entirety of the toolset because it isn’t a genie from a bottle is simply inverse wish-fulfillment.

        Find a specific use of a specific model. Enumerate its failings. I’ll be glad to hear about that.

        Otherwise, over-generalizations are always wrong.

      • @BartR

        I think you are beginning to take this all far too seriously. The anonymaous slime-hurler and serial mendacist AEG asked us to suggest some cosnsequences of increasing CO2 levels. I gave an opinion with some reasons for that opinion. I also note that I was the only contributor who rose to that challenge.

        I did not claim that it was the only possible interpretation of the future. I did not write an essay in the Final Examination for Admission to the Inner Temple of the Sacred Lodge of the True Flame of Climatology. I would likely have gone to the trouble of spending ten minutes on it rather than five if I had been so doing. I am not expecting a phone call from Grand Vizier Pachauri to ask me to the next matriculation ceremony. And I wouldn’t accept his invite if so made. I wouldn’t belong to any club that would accept me as a member…and certainly not that one.

        The serious point, if there is one at all, is that any warming would have good characteristics as well as less good. Unless you have better information, there is no reason to believe that the global average temperature in 1960 was ‘ideal’. Nor in 1970 or three weeks ago last Tuesday fortnight nor in 2015 or 2115….the climate changes and we and other species adapt to it. There was no ‘Golden Age’, and there won’t be one in the future. But overall, warmer is better than colder.

        Believing otherwise – that all change is necessarily bad change and to be resisted, is a deeply conservative philosophy. Surprising among supposedly ‘progressive’ believers (or so they characterise themselves).

        Enough. Football time. Come on the Shots!

      • Of course I take nonsense seriously. I’m an absurdist.

        Why must any warming have good as well as bad characteristics?

        I understand the aesthetic appeal of a philosophical argument of symmetrical goods and bads, of one door opens as another closes, and so forth, but they are based on models of karmic wheels and mansions of many rooms; these do not well model the situation.

        More like the situation is running your car without brakes, headlights, seatbelts or air bags in the dark. Faster does not equal better, nor does suddenly and unpredictably slower, too, mean better either.

        What matters on this voyage is not the destination but the journey.

        Assuming no near-term uncontrollable calamity, the balance of probabilities for human influence on the climate may be expressed as:

        p(Safe Climate) + p(Better Climate) < p'(Thermomechanical Cataclysm) * p'(Acidosis Cataclysm) * p'(Botanical Cataclysm) * p'(Zoological Cataclysm) * p'(Societal Cataclysm) * p'(Extreme Variability Cataclysm) * p'(Net Marginal Effects Cataclysm)

        Even if the odds of cataclysms of temperature/currents/winds/precipitation/water levels, and of chemical changes in water or land, and of shifts on plant populations or animal populations, and of adverse social reaction, and of too extreme weather, and of some cumulative breaking point of all of the above combined are each so low as 10%, the odds of a safe or better climate remain below 50%. If the odds of all of these were so high as 50% each or higher, then a safe or better climate is less than 1% likely.

        Arguments for several of these cases put their odds above 80%.

        Uncertainty does not favor the safe or better result either, as one cannot insure against Uncertainty, so there is no proper way to fix a hedge price, and all Economic decisions will be demonstrably sub-optimal. Taken to the seventh power, the drag on the world economy of failing to diminish Uncertainty attendant with rising GHG emissions far exceeds the wild estimates of supposed costs of mitigation and avoidance.

        How is there reason to care about some golden age ideal, when there is so much evidence of probably not being able to maintain the benefits of the current age?

      • @BartR

        We can agree on one thing. Your statement:

        ‘Of course I take nonsense seriously. I am an absurdist’.

        rings very true

      • Actually Alex, cooling loads are most always higher then heating loads in most buildings. But you are right that the majority of heating in the NH is done by other then electricity, so Bart R’s contention is void.

      • But to what extent is this due to a higher temperature differential? Obviously, the cooling load will be higher if it is 40C outside and you want to maintain 20C inside than the heating load will be if you want 20C inside when it is 10C outside.

      • I had mentioned ‘endless quibbles’, no?

        Even in areas where the majority of heating is electric, it’s still a truism that brownouts and blackouts follow heatwaves, not cold snaps. Check the records for California.

        Also the warmer the hemisphere gets, the more rapidly populations will develop a taste for A/C, which replaces heating at in excess of a 2.5:1 energy cost, so it is an inevitable trend. Even if ‘warming’ meant the best possible kind of warming per the optimistic view, as opposed to more extreme variation of temperatures that seem likely, such as happened last winter in the Northern Hemisphere, with heat records in North America and snow in Europe and Asia, so a scenario with both higher heating and higher cooling costs.

        Also, the temperature differential is a bit of a red herring, unless you’re in a climate that regularly hits -20c or lower, unless your preference in abodes is drafty old uninsulated wrecks like the British love to occupy.

      • ‘Why do so many people persist in this delusional gloss from ‘warming’ to ‘tropical paradise’?’

        I made no such assertion. But viewed from UK, we can look easily to our southerly neighbours in France and observe that their overall warmer climate brings a more pleasant ambience to the place.

        If you have some actual evidence (rather than just unvalidated computer models) then please bring it to the table. If not, then please suggest to me exactly why the climate of the Loire Valley should not be a good template for what we might expect in SE England in the warmer future.

      • Wow.

        Where to start?

        Loire Valley

        Not on an island.

        Influence of proximal mountain ranges, as opposed to the increasingly stormy Atlantic.

        Influenced by winds that originate in the Sahara and cross the Mediteranean, as opposed to a more and more vagrant Jet Stream that maliciously dumps snow on the British Isles as a whim.

        Sure, you _could_ end up like the Loire Valley, if you could move the Sahara to Spain, convince the Jet Stream to behave itself, backfill the English Channel, and maybe get some real mountains.

        Don’t get me wrong, I love SW England, and think Cornwall very nice especially around Penzance, where I have pleasant memories of the soft ice cream at Land’s End, but even if SE England got the Loire Valley’s climate, it’d still overboil it until it was ruined.

      • Sorry – you are discussing things that influence weather, not climate.

      • This is true.

        Overboiled cabbage is more a weather phenomenon than a matter of climate. ;)

      • Cabbage cooked correctly – steamed for just a few minutes – then served with butter and caraway seeds is, to my mind one of the finest vegetables you can get.

        It is pretty d…d good too when served with spinach and a cheese and mustard sauce. Next time you’re passing LHR drop by and try some chez moi. You will also be able to enjoy our Loire Valley-like climate. Ciao :-)

      • I’m prepared to believe that for us in Britain a warmer climate might actially be quite pleasant. Maybe we will enjoy the kind of conditions Mediterranean countries experience now. But what happens to those Mediterranean countries, and indeed others elsewhere in the world?

      • They will change. They will not be so cold at night.

        They will adapt..just as life has adapted since its arrival on the planet however many millions of years ago that was. A two foot increase in average sealevel is only eight standard housebricks deep. Humans are good at building sea walls. We can protect against tides that go up and down 21 feet every seven hours (R. Thames at London Bridge). 24 inches over a century is trivial in comparison.

        Even New Orleans – built in one of the craziest places for a city it is possible to imagine – survived for two hundred years below sealevel in a hurricane zone. And yes I did go there and could never quite get used to the fact that at the bottom of Canal Street you climbed a long flight of steps to get up to the Mississippi.

        Get real, and stop believing that small changes in weather or climate will bring the end of civilisation as we know it. They won’t.

      • They will change. They will not be so cold at night.

        And suffer from severe droughts or floods, mass displacemenst of people, damage to ecosystems, with all the associated impacts of food production, water availability, health etc.

        They will adapt..just as life has adapted since its arrival on the planet however many millions of years ago that was.

        You know that 97% of species that ever existed on the earth are extinct right?

        A two foot increase in average sealevel is only eight standard housebricks deep.

        A completely meaningless statement unless you actually understand the impact of that kind of sea level rise. It’s essentially just an argument from incredulity.

        We can protect against tides that go up and down 21 feet every seven hours (R. Thames at London Bridge). 24 inches over a century is trivial in comparison.

        A 24 inch rise would render London’s current flood defences useless.

        Even New Orleans – built in one of the craziest places for a city it is possible to imagine – survived for two hundred years below sealevel in a hurricane zone.

        But things are going to be rather different from how they were iduring those 200 years.

        Get real, and stop believing that small changes in weather or climate will bring the end of civilisation as we know it. They won’t.

        You are the one who needs to get real. Your complacency is astounding.

      • @andrew

        You make so many contentious points that I will confine myself to two.

        1. You ask – do I know that 97% of all species that have ever lived are extinct?

        Answer: Yes I do. I have known this since I was a teenager. I later shared a flat with a guy who was Richard Dawkins’ research assistant and is cited as ‘a genius’ in the introduction to Dawkins first (and arguably best) book ‘The Selfish Gene’. We spent a long time discussing such things over fine Scotch whisky. I am familiar with the discussion.

        But your remark still begs the question – ‘so what’? What actual significance do you believe this number to hold? It merely reflects the fact that species evolve to suit changed circumstances and that circumstances have changed a lot in the history of the Earth.

        If you can find some deeper significance, please let me know, because at the moment it has escaped me.

        2. You accuse me of not understanding the impact of a two foot increase in sea level. Well, I have been asking people on various blogs exactly what such implication might be for nearly two years now. I’m sure that they all know, and are just disobliging enough to not want to tell me. But you seem like an open and obliging sort of cove, so please give me your views on this point.

        What are the global practical implications of a two foot rise in sealevel?

        2a. You say that such a thing would overwhelm London’s flood defences if it were to happen today. You may be right, though I think that the Thames Barrier might have enough contingency built-in, and the river walls are already built with quite a margin for error.

        But even if you are right, we have 100 years to do something about it. We would need to add three to four feet on the existing sea/river walls which are about 25 feet high (and were built in Victorian times by navvies with little or no powered help). Adding another layer of twenty or so bricks on the top is not an impossible task. Come next year, when construction for the London Olympics will be nigh on complete, there will be a local glut of skilled construction workers.

        This is not a big deal. It is not beyond our abilities or technology to handle. And we have four or five human generations to do it.

        Please give me your best understanding – in practical, not just shroud waving – terms of where my analysis is wrong. Thanks.

      • “..mostly by an increase in the nighttime minima by a degree or so..”

        Forgive the ellipses, but that interesting parameter is superfluous and underdeveloped at the same time. Why mention it? If mentioned, how support it? Do you have a computer simulation model? ;)

        I do not have a computer simulation model that has been shown by the congruence of its predictions with observations of the real world that it has any worth as a tool on climate studies. And neither does anyone else. If you know of a previously secret one hiding away in a cupboard somewhere, please let me know. If it can indeed make predictions verified by subsequent observation, then it may be worth taking seriously. Until then, the models are just another way to turn electricity into heat.

        Regret that I don’t understand the rest of your point at all. Where do ellipses figure?

      • Ellipses, the little dots that indicate words were cut, but an attempt made to preserve to relevant meaning of a passage.

        They don’t figure for much, but courtesy matters to me, as I’ve noticed it does to you.

        However, if you have no supporting data, experiment, evidence of any kind, nor logical reason to make what is then by definition a specious claim.. why would you make the claim?

      • I just meant that I didn’t understand your post at all. Which parameter do you think is interesting and unsupported at the same time?

      • The specification of ‘mostly .. nighttime minima’, as a constraint on exactly when the warming would occur and to which (already arbitrary) component of weather observations.

        How is the particular choice of nighttime arrived at, and why does it matter?

        Likewise, why only minima? Why not time-weighted average, or maxima, or intermittent peak, or so forth?

        It’s very specific, as if the product of a theory or hypothesis, but the hypothesis is unstated.

        Unstated hypotheses are deeply troubling in science, non?

      • My reading around the subject has led me to understand that the increase in daily average temperatures that has been asserted is primarily due to the nightly minima increasing rather than an increase in the maxima.

        In other words – it isn’t really getting hotter…just less cold. Which I understand is a non-scientific statement, but good enough for my purposes in the general terms that somebody posed the original question. If you know better, please correct me. But otherwise it stands. Football time!

      • Ever try grabbing the non-magnetic end of a bar magnet?

        Weather stations, based on an outdated technology-driven approach to weather monitoring, are tracked by minima and maxima.

        These measures are pretty limited, so forming an opinion based on the limits of technology a century ago frames the argument too narrowly to be of much use.

        You can understand the sophism ‘not getting hotter, merely less cold’ to be anything you like, especially if it’s good enough for the purposes of confusing the discussion, but it hardly addresses the original question.

    • Folks

      Can we focus, please?

      Dr. Curry’s on ‘Response’ in these panels.

      There are therefore no questions that won’t be both completely absurd and entirely reasonable at the same time from someone’s point of view.

      At the same time, a Response panel ought be spared passive prognostication-type questions, as that’s for the first panel.

  76. The premise seems to be dissent or skepticism is to be justified while acceptance is the norm. Bollocks.

    To this: “uncertainty, dissent and disagreement” branding I would add “unwarranted confidence in unfinished science, results gained from unbalanced research, positive feedback signature in the research/grant loop”.

    No reason “normal” should be so one-sided.

  77. Bad Time questions.

    As it’s become the sport to speculate on the ill-will of the process, I’ve allowed myself to be diverted into the following malicious entertainments:

    X, it is noted that you testified strongly for one position during a previous administration; today, you testify strongly another nugatory way when invited during this administration. Are you a waffler, or is your opinion based on who is in power?

    X, it’s quite natural and normal for people who have not devoted themselves to public service to have outside interests, perhaps academic, perhaps business, and yet to be willing to testify. There’s no accusation of bias in that fact. How might the responses you propose enrich your business or academic organizations, versus the responses you oppose help your competition?

    X, we understand of course you speak as a scientist. As a scientist, can you discuss the merits of the Cap and Trade proposal with special reference to international diplomatic, national sovereignty, and foreign balance of payments issue?

    X, the Chinese tout their ‘Single Child’ policy as a form of CO2 mitigation. Can you tell us why morally and ethically it is wrong to impose any form of mitigation on American families?

    X, you have spoken of not one single solution but of hundreds or even many thousands of responses. You are in favor then of massive increases in the complexity of laws and regulations and consequently the size of government?

    X, mumble..mumble illustrative mumble..mumble explanatory mumble.. mumble. What do you say to that?

    So, anyone care to top my list? ;)

  78. Bart V wrote:

    For the public at large and politicians, the broad outline of what we know is the most important message to convey, at least as to the thrust and direction of policy (paraphrasing Herman Daly).

    Perhaps from your perspective it is. But. with all due respect, such advice is reminiscent of those who advocate “let’s just focus on the scary stuff”.

    It’s what we know that’s most important, rather than the intricacies of the uncertainties.

    Ah. And are there no “intricacies” or (Gaia forbid) nuances to what “you know”? If not, why not?

    This is compounded by the fact that “uncertain” to a layperson means “I don’t know”.

    Well, as a “layperson”, I do know the difference between “uncertain” and “I don’t know”. Please do correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that you may be suggesting that “uncertain” is another of those words like … hmmm … well, “trick” which in the lingua franca of “climate science” apparently carries a connotation (if not denotation) completely foreign to anyone with a reasonable command of the English language.

    That being the case, could you please translate “uncertainty” – which is at long last on the public table (along with dissent and disagreement) – from “climate scientese” to English. Thanks.

    And while I’m here … I do have to say that I am appalled at the presumptuousness and arrogance of those (on both sides of the climate divide) who are taking advantage of this post from Dr. Curry – whose only question was : “Is it finally time for a rational discussion on climate change?”- to diminish her obvious ability to think (and speak) for herself.

    That being said, two hours for eight speakers/presenters = 15 minutes per speaker, and assumes the (highly unlikely) absence of any questions** (and verbose preludes thereto) from any committee members.

    ** I would be very, very surprised if we hear no echoes of the recent evangelistic claims made by the likes of Abraham, Mashey, Mann and their ilk,
    in Committee members’ questions (and/or their preludes).

    Will this hearing make a difference? Colour me skeptical. But I have total confidence that Dr. Curry will give it her best shot. And more power to her!

    • hro001,

      You’re doing your very best to misunderstand everything I said. Please read my complete post before attacking strawmen.

      • I think Hillary has it right. In your post, your ‘rationale’ for saying “the broad outline of what we know is the most important message to convey,…”, is based broadly on two pillars

        1) no one understands the special meaning of ‘uncertainty’ in climate science
        2) Talk the same way as you do to your fellow scientists and your message will fall on deaf ears.

        Both are pretty weak reasons.

        The second reason above, also implies that you should be aware of what effect your message is having, and modify the form of your communication accordingly. This is counter-intuitive, anti-scientific communication and propaganda garbage slowly fed by media activists to scientists over many years and nothing more. Scientists should not second-guess how others might percieve what they are saying – that is not their business. They should do the research and report on it honestly – and that should be more than enough. Conscious self-monitoring and message modification is only tantamount to dishonesty – just say it like it is and your audience will make what it wants. Things don’t work out sometimes – but that is life. If what you are saying is congruent with reality, folks will get other cues and will come around your message automatically and eventually – dont do marketing crap as scientists.

      • Shub,

        My main point is that lay people in general (not you of course) confuse uncertainty with knowing nothing. Therefore a message framed around uncertainty will fall on deaf ears, because the audience will hear: “They don’t know.”

      • Bart,
        Well above, in this same thread, I wrote:

        “Uncertainty’ in climate science does not mean we don’t know things about the climate. Uncertainty means how sure we are, of things that could happen.”

        which is similar to your formulation, and I think we are in agreement thus far. But your perspective diverges here on, going forward.

        You appear to think, that even with the uncertainties at hand, if the potential outcomes are bad:
        - democratic/social/international means of handling such information and acting on them should be fully supported
        - information of what is actually known should be clearly presented to the public (repeatedly, if needed) etc

        I do not agree with either.

      • Shub,

        What do you have against your second point?

        For what reason don’t you want to see the public being well informed?

      • The crux of the problem is – information of ‘what is actually known’ is different from a skeptics’ perspective than a consensus perspective.

        For a skeptic, this information includes information about uncertainty i.e., “how sure we are about what”.

        Your original consensus position is the exact opposite – it calls for a leaving out the “intricacies of the uncertainties” and “not talking to lay people in the language of scientists”.

        When I was in school, in the beginning of my professional/science training – I used to think like this, reflexly. Because my work involves interacting with people who do not know the technical stuff on a daily basis – about the technical stuff – the underlying attitude toward this problem can be quite important, quite separate from the external appearances maintained.

        You may not convey everything to the public, but it is very important to convey the impression that you are trying to do that very thing.

        For a scientist – everything is known, to varying degrees of certainty. The structure of knowledge allows them to accommodate new stuff, which can sometimes overturn previous knowledge, quite painlessly.

        This is the pure state, innocent, with no ‘bad conscience’, no attachment save to the process of gaining knowledge itself (unless you are the propounder of a theory and grew attached to it).

        This is likely why we see, being proclaimed by climate scientists in the phase of the debate, over and over again – “I don’t know why we are being blamed, we are only trying to increase knowledge and find out stuff”.

        This is because the structure of knowledge, for the ‘real world’ is different. If you give people prescriptive advice, people will take your advice literatlly and invest time, money, effort and lives in it. Of course, if they are not idiots, they will watch for reaffirmation, – profits, expected outcomes materializing, graphs going up or down. But they are going to be *pissed off*, even if your prescriptive advice came true if they got the feeling that you being economical with ‘the truth’ (which for them means ‘what you knew’).

      • Dr. Bart, I call BS. Again, the arrogance of your field is shining bright like the Christmas Star. Most Western lay people are not ignorant, and that is a problem for your field. You still feel the need to lead by authority, instead of leading by facts and letting the people decide from their own experience and knowledge. We all make decisions in our own lives with quite a bit of uncertainty If you could actually mature a bit, and trust your own science and the people then you just may start to see that the lay people are your equal, not blithering idiots as has been parrotted for far too long by your camp.

      • DeNihilist,

        Your humility is making my heart melt.

      • Bart Verheggen wrote:

        You’re doing your very best to misunderstand everything I said. Please read my complete post before attacking strawmen

        And yet you provide no evidence in support of your claim that I’m “attacking strawmen”. But I do find your “doing your very best to misunderstand” a rather amusing exercise in projection – considering the rather glaringly obtuse “readings” you (and others of the CO2 as primary culprit committed ilk) have demonstrated in your many comments here.

        Nor did you acknowledge that I was responding – not to your “complete post” – but to your own (presumably recommended) takeaway/summary of that post.

        Perhaps you should have re-read your own comment (to which I was responding – the full content of which was included in my reply) before handwaving away my comments with an inappropriate, dismissive and delegitimizing characterisation of me and my questions.

        But you knew that, didn’t you?!

  79. Video training from previous hearing with Lord Monckton. Inslee says that we don’t need ‘fake Lords’, we need real scientists. Monctkon responds that such an intemperate Majority would seek only to throw brickbats which he is ready to face – as a politician with a thick skin.

  80. David L. Hagen

    Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. highlights uncertainties of human impacts on climate:

    Because global climate models do not accurately simulate (or even include) several of these other first-order human climate forcings, policy makers must be made aware of the inability of the current generation of models to accurately forecast regional climate risks to resources on multidecadal time scales.. . .
    We recommend that the next assessment phase of the IPCC (and other such assessments) broaden its perspective to include all of the human climate forcings. It should also adopt a complementary and precautionary resource- based assessment of the vulnerability of critical resources (those affecting water, food, energy, and human and ecosystem health) to environmental variability and change of all types. This should include, but not be limited to, the effects due to all of the natural and human caused climate variations and changes.

    Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell, W. Rossow, J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian, and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union. Greenhouse Gases, Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009

    • AnthropoceneEndGame

      ‘Pielke highlights uncertainties of human impacts on climate’
      No, the paper highlights the need to consider other factors besides man-made atmospheric releases of CO2. He sounds pretty certain of the impacts:
      “The evidence predominantly suggests humans are significantly altering the global environment, and thus climate, in a variety of diverse ways beyond the effects of human emissions of GHGs, including CO2.”

      • I think Dr. Pielke, Sr. will be simultaneously repulsed and humored at your attempts to speak for him.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        No one cares what you think Pielke thinks.
        So how exactly are humans significantly altering climate? Read the citation co-autohred by Pielke. You might be repulsed.

      • Pielke is one of my favorite character in this soap opera dubbed climate science. He plays the dedicated scientist looking for causes of uncertainty and trying to contain their values. His arguments are over data not personalities. I would tend to agree with you that he may not fit into the catagory skeptic other then he shows the skepticism expected of a scientist. Why do you suppose he often gets called a liar and a denier?

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        I don’t know. I’m just amused that deniers and skeptics cite him as though he sided with their agenda.

      • Michael Larkin

        Anthro,

        “I don’t know. I’m just amused that deniers and skeptics cite him as though he sided with their agenda.”

        Interesting you’re differentiating between sceptics and deniers. Somewhere, in some small area of your awareness, you’re registering the fact that there’s a spectrum of opinion and differences in the degree of understanding on the one side.

        Likewise, there’s a similar spectrum on the other side. One can lay the two spectra end-to-end so that they’re continuous from one extreme, though the middle, and out to the other extreme. It’s symmetrical.

        The people at either extreme have difficulties conceiving of this distribution, tending to see a restricted binary value. They have the tendency to misinterpret the nuances. Since no one can be anything but completely for or against, they miss the richness of the mix. They have difficulties with evolving in an intellectual sense; with growing and changing and learning.

        It’s a travesty.

  81. Judith,

    Big table? Rather it is the government table, therefore table at the seat of power.

    Not big.

    A big table would be you in a chair around the table of a consortium of first rate private research universities that replaces the IPCC.

    That would be a BIG table.

    John

  82. This morning I awakened thinking, what would be an appropriate response to climate science uncertainty: better statistics. I would make a poster and bring a tripod to place a blown-up picture of Josh’s August 21, 2010 cartoon Heisenberg Rules regarding McShane & Wyner “You can have the handle or blade but not both” as an illustration of uncertainty in climate science. Humor and icon to emphasize the point: a huge component to climate modeling is statistics. Part of statistical modeling is the inclusion of data counter one’s claim and how one handles that negative. Increasing transparency. Food for thought.

  83. Michael Larkin

    Dr. Curry,

    Much enjoyed you and Pielke at the Purdue event, but the lady who introduced it needs to stop using the term “denier” and also to check facts – the emails have not yet proven to be stolen, and the “independent reviews” weren’t. But as I said, you and Pielke showed the sensible side of AGW proponents. There’d be a lot more togetherness all round if people like you had more say. Then we might actually get somewhere instead of all this acrimonious bickering.

  84. One common theme already coming through from the Denizen’s thread is that all those who have so far identified themselves as ‘sceptics’ have significant experience and expertise in other related fields, as well as decent scientific training. We’ve all practiced not just as academics, but as engineers, medics, senior IT guys, industrial scientists etc. in the ‘outside world’

    We all look at climatology from the outside – using our skills and knowledge of other practices and processes and of how things are done elsewhere. And we are pretty much unanimous in our condemnation of the shoddy standards in the field of climate science. In my own field of IT what I know from Cliamtegate and others tells me that their practices are ‘not fit for purpose’

    Be it in statistics or data collection and retention or modelling or verification or anywhere, skilled professionals in the relevant discipline view how climatology does things and find them wanting. I have yet to find a single citation where such an expert says that the practice in climatology is ‘world class’. Many, like me, say that is poor or even worse.

    And yet, AFAIK, the only people who ever get to ‘assess the state of the science’ of climatology are climatologists themselves. There is no outside input into the IPCC process…it is fellow climatologist only. Too often we hear that ‘if you aren’t a climate scientist, you are not entitled to an opinion’. Even if a review is called (eg UEA/CRU) it is conducted largely by fellow academics, not by those with specialist knowledge of individual relevant topics.

    I’m not entirely sure what this means for your discussion of uncertainty next week. But to me it says that, no matter what the climatologist’s level of self-certification that they are all doing a great job and all is tickety boo in their field, there must be a huge doubt if this is generated only by the guys living in the goldfish bowl. And who have never experienced the joys of life in the open sea.

    It cannot be right that there is no outside scrutiny at all. And it is no way to reduce uncertainty.

    I also note that few AGW believers have seen fit to introduce themselves as yet. I wonder if their bios will prove me wrong, or reinforce my point?

  85. The one time outside experts did look at an aspect of AGW, the Wegman report on MMB98, the result was less than impressive.

    Would the various statements by the National Science foundations/societies/institutes around the world qualify as a review by a wide range of scientists, or are such statements just the product of the few climatologists within such bodies?

    • Richard S Courtney

      Izen:

      You ask:
      “Would the various statements by the National Science foundations/societies/institutes around the world qualify as a review by a wide range of scientists, or are such statements just the product of the few climatologists within such bodies?”

      According to Lindzen’s cogent analysis in his 2008 paper published in Physics & Society, the answer to your question is ‘neither of those’.

      His paper was originally prepared for a meeting sponsored by Euresis (Associazone per la promozione e la diffusione della cultura e del lavoro scientifico) and the Templeton Foundation on Creativity and Creative Inspiration in Mathematics, Science, and Engineering: Developing a Vision for the Future.

      It is titled;
      “Climate Science: Is it currently designed to answer questions?”
      and it can be read at

      http://icecap.us/images/uploads/ClimateScience-arXiveRSLindzenRev3a.pdf

      It is a fascinating, entertaining and shocking read, and its abstract says:

      “For a variety of inter-related cultural, organizational, and political reasons, progress in climate science and the actual solution of scientific problems in this field have moved at a much slower rate than would normally be possible. Not all these factors are unique to climate science, but the heavy influence of politics has served to amplify the role of the other factors. By cultural factors, I primarily refer to the change in the scientific paradigm from a dialectic opposition between theory and observation to an emphasis on simulation and observational programs. The latter serves to almost eliminate the dialectical focus of the former. Whereas the former had the potential for convergence, the latter is much less effective. The institutional factor has many components. One is the inordinate growth of administration in universities and the consequent increase in importance of grant overhead. This leads to an emphasis on large programs that never end. Another is the hierarchical nature of formal scientific organizations whereby a small executive council can speak on behalf of thousands of scientists as well as govern the distribution of ‘carrots and sticks’ whereby reputations are made and broken. The above factors are all amplified by the need for government funding. When an issue becomes a vital part of a political agenda, as is the case with climate, then the politically desired position becomes a goal rather than a consequence of scientific research. This paper will deal with the origin of the cultural changes and with specific examples of the operation and interaction of these factors. In particular, we will show how political bodies act to control scientific institutions, how scientists adjust both data and even theory to accommodate politically correct positions, and how opposition to these positions is disposed of.”

      Please note the statements in the abstract saying;
      “Another is the hierarchical nature of formal scientific organizations whereby a small executive council can speak on behalf of thousands of scientists as well as govern the distribution of ‘carrots and sticks’ whereby reputations are made and broken.”
      and
      ” In particular, we will show how political bodies act to control scientific institutions, how scientists adjust both data and even theory to accommodate politically correct positions, and how opposition to these positions is disposed of.”

      These are issues that the ‘Subcommittee on Energy and Environment’ needs to be made aware of, but it seems unlikely that Dr Curry could raise them in her presentation to that Subcommittee except perhaps as a reference to Lindzen’s paper in her written submission.

      Richard

      • The Lindzen paper is truly shocking and highights everything that is wrong with the politicization of climate science.

  86. Judith wrote: “Is it finally time for a rational discussion on climate change?” Are you joking? Politicians are like lawyers presenting a case in an adversarial court proceeding. They are usually interested scoring points with the jury (mostly major campaign donors these days), not in a search for “truth” or “justice”. I don’t mean to imply that they are totally uninterested in truth or justice, but their first responsibility is to present a good case. Every Democratic witness was invited for a particular political purpose and that purpose will become clearer if you can gain access to their written statements before the hearing.

    The purpose of Panel I may be: Cicerone will be there to sell the latest collection of five! NRC climate change reports (all of which treat the IPCC consensus as settled science) and research priorities (how to manage inevitable climate change). Cullen is probably there to explain how innocent citizens have been misinformed by the “theft of private email” and the IPCC’s trivial mistakes. She has a blog at: http://www.climatecentral.org/breaking/heidi_cullens_blog_posts. Google and Eric Schmidt are important funders of Climate Center (and probably a link to Al Gore.) Her short resume includes one publication with Mann.
    For example, see: http://www.climatecentral.org/breaking/blog/is_new_global_warming_poll_cause_for_despair

    On Panel II, Alley and Santer may be present to tell us that the science hasn’t changed and to counter any negative publicity about the decade-long “pause” in warming and lack of a hot spot in the upper tropical troposphere. If the Democrats wanted a discussion about the consensus, they would have put you on this panel. It would be interesting to ask Steve for the reviewers comments on the rejected M&M paper updating Santer methodology, and offer to include them in the record of Santer tells any whoppers about the hot spot.) Freely is probably there to “inform” us about the latest threat, ocean acidification. (Do you think he will say anything about the fact that almost all evolution occurred when CO2 levels were >1000 ppm?)

    Under normal circumstances, few senators or reporters are likely to stick around or pay attention for at least three hours to hear a third III – probably the third hour of the hearing or later if there are interruptions. Your reputation may change this. Lopez and/or Titley may have been invited because they have friends or advocates on the committee. At the last? hearing (where Lord Monckton appeared), every Democrat complained that the Republicans could not find one “real” scientist to rebut the scientists they invited. Lisa Graumlich appeared at that hearing and her written testimony about the Oxburgh committee said: “http://globalwarming.house.gov/files/HRG/050510climateScience/graumlich.pdf “We saw not evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climate Researchy Unit and had it been there we believe that it is likely we would have detected it.”

  87. My prediction is that the Democrat Representatives will be pushing the line that uncertainty should be responded to by earlier and more forceful action, because of the precautionary principle.

  88. Whatever Roger Pielke’s views on CO2/CAGW, he does call for the concurrent study of rival hypotheses. We have yet to see climate science do this. Instead we have a bizarrely two-dimensional, Swiftian (Littlendian/Bigendian) argument, relying to an unsatisfactory degree on subjective assessments of uncertainty, raging as a result.

    Until climate science tries this (traditional, but to it, novel) approach (which may mean little more than rescinding the Team’s fatwa on many lines of existing research), comparison of hypotheses, with CO2 enjoying no “primus inter pares” status, is impossible, and the field cannot be audited for parsimony. My suspicion is that to do so would be to relegate “uncertainty” to a second order of importance. Either way, it is wrong to commit ourselves to the “uncertainty” regime of assessment as a first resort, BEFORE this elementary restoration of traditional scientific method has taken place. Restore the scientific method, assess the result, look at the uncertainty that remains AFTER this process, and THEN, as a LAST resort, apply an uncertainty regime.

    Sorry for the CAPS – still not confident with italics.

    • For italics – type . Then type the text you want to be italic. Then to switch the italics off, type . The basic syntax is the same for all HTML tags, see below the box for posting in.

  89. D’oh! Difficult to type the keys you want to illustrate without them being treated as HTML tags. What I meant was

    For italics, type (less than sign), then (i), then (greater than sign) – see example in last line of sample HTML tags. Then type your text. Then to switch off, type (less than sign), followed by /i, followed by (greater than sign).

    Hope that all makes sense.

    • Thanks Alex here goes…

      • no it didn’t! I give up – the practice of writing without need for emphasis is an instructive one, so I’ll have to crave indulgence for my caps, and make them as infrequent as I can.

        Maybe my browser just doesn’t want to play….

  90. @-Richard S Courtney

    Interesting paper by Lindzen which doesn’t deal with the science, but expounds a version of sociological history. The gist seems to be that since the 60s science has become prone to telling its political sponsors what they want to hear. In the case of climate science this means ‘scare’ stories about AGW.

    -”This paper has attempted to show how changes in the structure of scientific activity over the past half century have led to extreme vulnerability to political manipulation. In the case of climate change, these vulnerabilities have been exploited to a remarkable extent.”

    The irony is that this would seem to be exactly what the sponsors of this paper, the Templton foundation and Euresis, would want to hear as conservative, free-market advocacy groups.

    • Richard S Courtney

      Izen:

      You say;
      “The irony is that this would seem to be exactly what the sponsors of this paper, the Templton foundation and Euresis, would want to hear as conservative, free-market advocacy groups.”

      Yes, I agree, and that is why I stated where Lindzen originally presented his paper and linked to that instead of linking to it in Physics & Society.

      But, of course, that in no way detracts from the evidence he presents for his cogent and entertaining thesis.

      Richard

  91. @-Richard S Courtney-
    “But, of course, that in no way detracts from the evidence he presents for his cogent and entertaining thesis.”

    It is certainly entertaining – and revealing.
    He seems to claim that position statements on AGW from scientific bodies, such as the AGU statement -
    “The Earth’s climate is now clearly out of balance and is warming….. are best explained by the increased atmospheric abundances of greenhouse gases and aerosols generated by human activity during the 20th century.” which Dr Curry endorsed,
    -are the result of climatologists infiltrating the organisations and vetoing any less explicit statement of AGW.
    Or he claims it is the result of ‘political correctness’.
    A revealing phrase, as it is a clear partisan term used by one side to disparage statements they regard as coming from an excessively liberal position.

    Presumably from that perspective it was ‘political correctness’ that imposed the attitudes of science towards acid rain and the ozone hole.
    Or were those ‘real science’ in a way that AGW is not ?

    • Richard S Courtney

      izen:

      You dissemble when you write:

      “It is certainly entertaining – and revealing.
      He seems to claim that position statements on AGW from scientific bodies, such as the AGU statement -
      “The Earth’s climate is now clearly out of balance and is warming….. are best explained by the increased atmospheric abundances of greenhouse gases and aerosols generated by human activity during the 20th century.” which Dr Curry endorsed,
      -are the result of climatologists infiltrating the organisations and vetoing any less explicit statement of AGW.
      Or he claims it is the result of ‘political correctness’.
      A revealing phrase, as it is a clear partisan term used by one side to disparage statements they regard as coming from an excessively liberal position.”

      It does not matter if Dr Curry or anybody else agrees with that AGU statement. The facts are that
      (a) the climate system is, always has been, and always will be “out of balance” and, therefore, it is always warming or cooling
      and
      (b) that very many scientists have different views on what “best explains” why the climate system is warming at the moment and why recent warming seems to have significantly reduced about a decade ago.

      It is a political judgement (n.b. not a scientific judgement) to report one of those views and to fail to mention any of the others. Indeed, the statement you quote is advocacy of one particular view and is not science.

      Lindzen’s paper provides a clear and cogent explanation of how and why organisations such as the AGU have adopted advocacy of this one particular view instead of reporting – or even indicating – the nature of the totality of the pertinent science.

      Incidentally, the ‘acid rain’ scare in Europe in the 1980s was based on very, very bad ‘science’ that has since been completely discredited.

      Richard

      • @-Richard-
        “Incidentally, the ‘acid rain’ scare in Europe in the 1980s was based on very, very bad ‘science’ that has since been completely discredited.”

        Really ?
        I thought the Turner et al paper on DMS emissions from algal blooms showed it only provided about one third of the sulphur that rain out in countries adjacent to the North Sea.

        AKAIK there has been nothing that refutes the constrains and damage caused by acid rain on plant growth first found in research in the 1960s.

        Perhaps you have links to more recent work that really discredits this science, allowing all that scrubbing technology to be removed from power stations and the SOx/NOx cap and trade system to be abandoned.

      • Richard S Courtney

        Izen:

        The forests were expanding across Europe throughout the 1980s. Waldsterben (i.e.forest death) was a myth. It did not happen. Nobody disputes this.

        Facts are facts. Evidence is evidence. But you are entitled to believe whatever you want: we live in a free society. However, your beliefs do not change what reality is anymore than the blatherings of AnthropoceneEndGame convince anybody of his views.

        Richard

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        “Waldsterben was a myth”
        This is a lie. I don’t remember the forests in the Jizerna forest expanding, unless Bohemia for you is a town in western Texas. Please blather more about the benefits of European coal burning.

        I’m not trrying to convince anyone of my views. But I’m convinced that you have no idea what you’re talking about.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        More fun and amusement from King Coal. Of course ‘the acid rain scare’ was based on ‘bad science’.
        Did that ‘correct science’ happen to absolve the European coal industry from any responsibility in the matter?

      • Richard S Courtney

        AnthropoceneEndGame:

        Your stalking of me on tis blog is getting progressively more pathetic.

        Yes, it did “absolve the European coal industry” from the accusations of that false scare. Waldsterben was not happening: the forests were expanding.

        And that is why the ‘acid rain’ scare is forgotten. Nobody now remembers it unless reminded of it.

        Similarly, the AGW scare will be forgotten by the endof this decade.

        Now go back to your paymasters and tell them you got your bottom smacked again. They need somebody better to do their stalking for them. Preferably they should hire an adult if they want somebody competent.

        Richard

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        Courtney, it’s not stalking it’s a pursuit of scientific truth and reality, and you just don’t like that. I don’t work for an energy cartel and I don’t make up garbage and cite myself. You must be used to that, and for years. Do you get paid for this ? Is this why you threaten attorneys when you spew nonsense about sulphur dioxide from coal plant not being resposnbile for acid rain? Is your goal to make the ‘AGW scare go away in ten years for a paycheck now? We can only guess, King Coal.

    • Dr Curry does not endorse

      “The Earth’s climate is now clearly out of balance and is warming….. are best explained by the increased atmospheric abundances of greenhouse gases and aerosols generated by human activity during the 20th century.”

      Dr Curry has explicitly questioned the IPCC AR4 formulation of the above claim. In fact, she ‘advocates’ a move away from physical climate science merely trying to measure “human influence”.

  92. I met Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone, President, National Academy of Sciences, a few years ago when in Washington, DC to celebrate NASA’s 50th year anniversary. I suspect that he is responsible for much of the problem.

    If possible, Judy, you need to get two key paragraphs from former President Eisenhower’s farewell address of 17 Jan 1961 into the record:

    http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ike.htm

    “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.”

    “Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

    The bold sections of his speech show how space sciences and later climate sciences were dominated by government funds and then used to manipulate public policy .

    Good luck!
    Oliver K. Manuel

  93. Judith:
    RE: Root of the Problem

    Western science and Western forms of government face a self-inflicted crisis: Loss of public confidence caused by unbridled greed and selfishness and by the abuse of federal science as a tool of propaganda.

    Immediate action is needed 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.

    Dr. Marvin Herndon suggests that the die for the present disaster and the decline of Western science was likely cast in the early 1950s, when NSF (National Science Foundation) started using a system of anonymous reviews to decide federal funding of science proposals.

    [J. Marvin Herndon (2009) “American Science Decline: The Cause and Cure”] http://tinyurl.com/2uokfmk

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

    • AnthropoceneEndGame

      I wonder if NASA would think you, rather than Cicerone, are “the problem”. What do you think?
      You take a potshot at him without explaining why he’s the problem, so there’s no need to be offended, right?

    • Anthropocene,

      1. Dr. Ralph Cicerone is a climatologist and President of the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

      2. NAS reviews budgets of federal funding agencies like NASA, DOE and EPA for the US Congress. NAS has abused that responsibility and used its control over federal funds to convert government-funded science into a government propaganda machine that deceived the public about:

      _a.) The Sun’s origin
      _b.) The Sun’s composition
      _c.) The Sun’s source of energy
      _d.) The Sun’s influence on Earth’s climate

      I confronted him at the meeting on Thursday 26 June 2006 by publicly asking him and then by giving printed copies of these question to Dr. Ciscerone and to members of the Space Science Board:

      Question for the Space Science Board

      Can the Space Science Board help NASA move away from the untruths that are wrecking our economy?

      • Earth is bathed in a steady flow of heat from Hydrogen-fusion in the Hydrogen-filled Sun.

      • Solar neutrinos from Hydrogen-fusion melt (oscillate) away before reaching detectors.

      • Earth’s climate is immune from cycles of solar activity (sunspots, flares, eruptions).

      • Therefore CO2 from our economic engines caused global warming.

      Oliver K. Manuel
      Emeritus Professor and Former
      NASA PI for Apollo Lunar Studies

      http://www.omatumr.com

      REFERENCES:

      1. P. D. Jose: 1965, “Sun’s motion and sunspots”, Astronomy Journal 70, 193-200.

      2. R. W. Fairbridge and J. H. Shirley: 1987, “Prolonged minima and the 179 year cycle of the solar inertial motion,” Solar Physics 110, 191-220.

      3. Theodor Landscheidt: 1999, “Extrema in sunspot cycle linked to Sun’s motion”, Solar Physics 189, 413-424. http://bourabai.narod.ru/landscheidt/extrema.htm

      4. O. Manuel et al: 2005, “Isotopes tell origin and operation of the Sun” http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0510001

  94. Correction

    I confronted him at the meeting on Thursday 26 June 2008 by

  95. Noblesse Oblige

    The cast of characters at the November 17th gathering reminds one of Alice at the Mad Hatter’s tea party, complete with unanswerable riddles.

  96. A graph that could be useful is Lucia’s plot of the IPCC models’ actual temperatures (rather than their anomalies) discussed here:

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2009/fact-6a-model-simulations-dont-match-average-surface-temperature-of-the-earth/

    One thing that might help put the economics into perspective would be an assessment of the economic and environmental impact of another Little Ice Age event. Those people who think that the global climate has a mind of its own would at least feel that both sides of the coin were being considered, rather than simply the dangers of warmth.
    There is also the horrid question : Are the current climate models definitely the only models that can ‘pass’ a reality test e.g. would a model that incorporated Roy Spencers thoughts on water vapour feedback fail to function?

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