Lisbon Workshop on Reconciliation: Part IV

by Judith Curry

Fred Pearce’s article in the New Scientist is creating a stir in the climate blogosphere.  Fred, a participant in the Workshop, wrote:

But the leaders of mainstream climate science turned down the gig, including NASA’s Gavin Schmidt, who said the science was settled so there was nothing to discuss.

Across the spectrum, participants were mostly united in disagreeing with Schmidt. Climate science, they said, is much less certain than the IPCC mainstreamers say, and peace can be found only if all accept what they dubbed “the uncertainty monster”.

Gavin Schmidt has taken exception to this characterization of his response, who replies (in an email to the New Scientist that was widely circulated, see here for my source):

In the piece entitled “Climate sceptics and scientists attempt peace deal,” Fred Pearce includes a statement about me that is patently untrue.

“But the leaders of mainstream climate science turned down the gig, including NASA’s Gavin Schmidt, who said the science was settled so there was nothing to discuss.”

This is completely made up. My decision not to accept the invitation to this meeting was based entirely on the organiser’s initial diagnosis of the cause of the ‘conflict’ in the climate change debate. I quote from their introductory letter:

“At this stage we are planning to have a workshop where the main scientific issues can be discussed, so that some clarity on points of agreement and disagreement might be reached.  We would try to stay off the policy issues, and will also exclude personal arguments.

“The issues we have in mind are Medieval Warm Period, ice, climate sensitivity, and temperature data.  We would hope to have smaller groups discussing these in some detail, hopefully with scientists who are very familiar with the technical issues to lead the discussion.”

Since, in my opinion, the causes of conflict in the climate change debate relate almost entirely to politics and not the MWP, climate sensitivity or ‘ice’, dismissing this from any discussion did not seem likely to be to help foster any reconciliation.

At no point did I declare that the ’science was settled’ and that there was nothing to discuss. Indeed, I am on record as saying the exact opposite:
http://www.realclimate.org/ index.php/ archives/ 2009/ 12/ unsettled-science/

Pearce might well note that even I am included in the “spectrum” that “disagree[s] with Schmidt”!

Fred Pearce did not interview me for this piece. I should like to request that in future, if my views are of interest, that he (or anyone else) should actually ask me directly. I am not hard to contact.

Yours respectfully,

Gavin Schmidt

PS. I am not a ‘leader of mainstream climate science’ either.

Schmidt, Joe Romm and William Connolley are all tripping over each other to claim the science isn’t settled, and of course Gavin didn’t say that.

At the meeting, I recall hearing something like this, but by the time this got to me, who knows how it might have been mangled.  I understand that Schmidt sent an email reply to Ravetz, declining the invitation.  Tallbloke apparently actually saw the email.   I recall some discussions about this, maybe Tallbloke can clarify.

Well the punchline seems to be this.  Mainstream climate scientists seem to want to loudly proclaim that the science isn’t settled.  And prefer not to be labeled as a “leader of mainstream climate science.”  A very good thing.

Note to “deniers:”  looks like you are currently denying unsettled science :)

975 responses to “Lisbon Workshop on Reconciliation: Part IV

  1. “Deniers” of evolution are also “denying unsettled science,” so…?

    But I think this is a good reason why scientists are careful with whom they debate. Having “dialogue” with people who will misrepresent your positions for political or rhetorical gain is not conducive to understanding and is best avoided. Unfortunately such misrepresentations are the rule rather than the exception in the climate skeptic community.

    WMC points out this particular rhetorical game: “He isn’t using the phrase accidentally or carelessly). It is a feeble attempt at a double bind: is the science settled? ha ha, then you can’t be a scientist because real science is never settled. Is the science not settled? Oh great, then we don’t need to do anything until it is.”

    • Yes, the stoat on misrepresentation. That one is going in my museum.
      ===============

    • Try it the other way round to see the real game:

      Gavin writes that the attribution of the last 50 years of warming is unequivocally established as due to humans to a certainty of 90% and hence the only real conflict is political. To any observer like Pearce this can be summed up as saying “the science is settled”. But hey, he blusters, I didn’t say 100% so don’t pretend I did! Impressive nit-picking!

      I agree though that Gavin isn’t a science leader, he is a mathematician with enough knowledge of climate to fiddle about with a climate model that doesn’t represent the real world either spatially or temporally and which is is verified merely by bad hindcasting of a single variable in a sea of variables. Computer modeling isn’t even a scientific endeavour because it isn’t real experimentation or data collection.

      • OK JamesG, end all computer modelling for anything and see where you get.

        Really, what’s with all the neo-Luddite fainting spells over computer modelling??

      • Michael,
        I think a better take on what JamesG is saying that modelers need to stop demanding to have it both ways, and to stop pretending that their models are a perfect representation of reality for policy purposes.
        If we go with your empty strawman, then we are not allowed to actually critique anything, but then that is the goal of the AGW community, no?

      • Show me a quote where a modeler ever claimed a model perfect.

        Call me

        Skeptical…… ;-)

      • dolormin,
        How many times do we read that the models rule out everything but CO2 to account for current climate?
        That implies a complete (perfect) state of knowledge represented in the models.
        Are you Schmidt as a sock puppet hiding behind dissembling and parsing?
        You guys get to claim everything is settled, until quoted as calling things settled, then you have a little hissy fit.
        You shouldn’t get to say it is unsettled but then choose what can be critiqued at the same time.

      • So you making up claims that you cannot back up.

        Basically you are a typical climate skeptic.

      • On the second day I was on this blog, a modeller claimed exactly that.

      • “Show me a quote where a modeler ever claimed a model perfect.”

        This is just another ridiculous strawman. All I did was give a fair representation of the state of the GISS model. As a computer modeler I am far from ending computer modeling as Michael seems to have somehow interpreted. But, and this is of crucial importance, there are a heck of a lot of things that just cannot be modelled adequtely at the present time. Trying is one thing but pretending your efforts are adequate when they plainly aren’t is more about politics than science, maths or computation.

      • No one with even the faintest idea of modelling thinks, hints, suggests or any way implies that they “perfect representation[s] of reality”.

        The word ‘model’ – says it all. Look at a dictionary.

      • Then talk to those who make a living scaring policy makers int granting them huge budgets and imposing laws based on them.
        Please continue this bs line of defense. It only shows your side for what it is.

      • Michael,
        They call their computer runs “experiments!” I read a modeler make a startling statement. Here’s the gist – “We tweaked the model and not only did one output get closer to observational data, so did another. This was when we knew we were working with something real.”

        Muddle-headed thinking – like calling computer runs experiments – leads these guys to lose touch with reality. They cannot tell what is real and what is not.

      • Michael, you are right (I hope), and I think that the contrary examples given are mainly colloquial langage, or exageration to vulagrize or get “a story” for the journalist. Not too important imho. But I build numerical models all the time, mostly finite element. In fact, it pays my bills. At there are models you can trust for critical dimensioning, solid models, useful models, and experimental models. some subpart of climate models could fall in the “fully trustable” to “solid”, but they do not predict surface temp. Even for long term average, I would never put any GCM (or other technique that pretend to give a prediction for the actual earth system) above “useful”. In fact, from the validation I have seen and the difference with “naive” 1D models or purely phenological extrapolations/fits, you will have to argue a lot before I accept to let them go out of “experimental”. Imho, “experimental” is not sufficient for policy decision, only to guide further research. Would the code I work with or produce be equivalent, we could maybe hope to sell them to some advanced research center (academic or industrial, some industries do pretty experimental and far from applicaion stuff). But never ever for production center…

      • Too bad, for producing Twin-Earth’s climate sounds like fun.

      • I do not know if you intend sarcasm here, but, at this time, GCM really are used for “production”. Production of attributions and of future scenarios that the cornerstones of CO2 policies (well, at least they are presented as this to the public. I guess an economist or historian may have something to say on the real motives, investigating monetary and political consequences compared actual reduction of CO2 emissions.

      • I do not know if you intend to minimize your criticism, but you have just backtracked from “GCM do not predict climate” to “GCM are used for attribution.” Perhaps you are presupposing that since GCM can only do forecasting, they are only “experimental”.

        In that case, what you’re saying seems to entail that to be of “production quality”, models should be able to make predictions. In other words, the models should be able to reproduce the Earth’s climate.

        Recalling the scale of the endeavour should suffice to show that this desideratum is a bit farfetched.

        ***

        Your guess entails that economists and historians can uncover real motives. I’m not sure that’s the job description of economists or historians. As a way to attribute intentions, it’s not far from formulating a forecasting hypothesis, don’t you think?

      • Latimer Alder

        ‘In that case, what you’re saying seems to entail that to be of “production quality”, models should be able to make predictions. In other words, the models should be able to reproduce the Earth’s climate.’

        Joe Sixpack comments that there’s not much f….g point in having them at all if they can’t do even that! Unless they are there as job creation schemes for otherwise unemployable climatologits.

      • I thought it was Latimer Adler that kept on repeating that claptrap.

        Joe Sixpack should beware with what names he signs his comments, then.

      • Oh, this is something I should maybe not say, because it is the dark side of modeling, nothing to be proud of but as it exists, let’s go:

        sometimes a numerical model is applied outside its domain of application, maybe so far that we know we will be lucky to get a result not completely different from reality. Sometimes we are lucky and the garbage out is not too far from experiment. Sometimes some tuning is done to get it closer, sometimes nobody care to tune, sometimes there is no control experiment. Customers ask it (or do it themselves), because they do not have better tools at hand, and, even if the garbage if far from reality, it can be useful: it produce very nice, animated color plots with a very serious-looking FE mesh that can help an engineering department sell a project to management better (don’t panic, they are not insane, they know they misused the model and usually have an experimental curve to back them up, at least if it is a production project ;-) )

      • Kai,

        And I’m sure you’ve seen, as I have, that a model can behave quite well to a point, after which it diverges exponentially from reality – and, upon investigation, it’s found that one small variable was left out, or something similar.
        The difference between models and the real world is that the real world has to exactly obey all of the laws of physics all of the time, including the ones which might still be unknown. A model will still ‘work’, even if it violates one or more laws.
        If we are to believe the models, we need to find some way of validating them properly. If we can’t do that then we can’t afford to put too much trust in the models.
        Sorry, but them’s the breaks.

      • This is a way to see it. On my side, I consider that science as a whole is a model, there is no fundamental difference between numerical models and physical laws, except the degree of validation and thus trust. It is a hierarchy of models, from fundamental law, to phenomenological law, to numerical models using those laws (and usually numerical approximations) a to build a numerical model which can not fit in a more classical mathematical expression.

        Each level from this pyramid of models takes its justification from the exactness of mathematical derivation from the level below, and testing against experiment.
        Fundamental laws are at the base, and takes their strenght from a lot of experimental validation and (there I differ from more classical view) from a sense of symmetry, elegance and esthetic satisfaction in the mind of physiscists/scientists. This last bit is important, it guides the research, and introduce creativity in science, but, in the end, experiments have the last word….at any level of the pyramid.

        This is a fundamental point for GCM I think, because one can derive a false sense of security from numerical model “that are derived from fundamental principles”. It is, imho, not justified once the numerical model becomes complex enough, because the most part of the model is not from fundamental laws, but from numerical approximations, parametrisation, and a lot of interraction between different modules and physics. In the end, different models based of the same first principles can leads to wildly different models, provided that different types of approximations were used.

        The only sane way the is diagnostic (checking if some global conservation laws are not broken by the model, – this can catch bugs and inadequacies of the numerical methods) and extensive validation (this catch inadequacies in modeling, which involves approximation and elimination of some factors, to obtain a tractable model, and is always present even for particle physics simulation, which directly use first principles (model an idealised version of an experiment).
        When dealing with natural systems (like climate), one do not start from first principles, and there is no way to control experiments….so validation is crucial, and the more complex the model is, the more factors it takes into account, the more diverse validation should be.

      • Sometimes the model itself can be correct, but wrongly used. I have this sort of situation with some research I’m involved in – I’m not going to reveal what it is, as I’m working on a paper which I hope to get published – but it’s nothing to do with climate.
        Essentially the model is used to determine the probability of some rare event from various input parameters. For various reasons, the relationship between these parameters and the event cannot be reliably measured in the real world, hence the model. The model itself is a simple one, making direct use of first principles.
        The problem comes in how the model is used. One of the input parameters (the key one) is varied whilst keeping the other parameters constant. The thing is, the other parameters are dependent on the key one, and so it’s invalid to hold them constant (well you can, but just don’t expect the right results)
        This has, unfortunately, escaped the notice of many researchers in various parts of the world for many years and, as a result, virtually none of the existing papers on the subject can be considered to be correct.

      • We know they aren’t perfect. But the real issue is are they adequate for the purpose they are intended? Computer modelling is one of the things i do for a living. Many, if not most, of the results from my efforts are within 1% error. I don’t expect that in such a hugely difficult problem such as modeling the Earths climate. From my experience there are far too many independent variables that need to be somehow made dependent and the grid sizes are far too huge.

        Some of the modelling though seems to be reasonable, ie when they focus on smaller, solvable problems. eg coupled models trying to predict effects of ENSO, though whether they do more than a human brain could do with a few graphs, a lot of savvy and no model at all, is another issue.

        Apart from that I’m sorry for derailing things again.

      • Fools rush in where angels…?

        ‘Sensitive dependence and structural instability are humbling twin properties for chaotic dynamical systems, indicating limits about which kinds of questions are theoretically answerable. They echo other famous limitations on scientist’s expectations, namely the undecidability of some propositions within axiomatic mathematical systems (Gödel’s theorem) and the uncomputability of some algorithms due to excessive size of the calculation’

        Irreducible imprecision in atmospheric and oceanic simulations
        James C. McWilliams *
        Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-156

        http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709.long

      • JamesG:

        Gavin writes that the attribution of the last 50 years of warming is unequivocally established as due to humans to a certainty of 90% and hence the only real conflict is political.

        Never mind for 20 years of that 50 years that Gavin mentions, it was actually cooling and for the last decade for all practical purposes (meaning there was no statistically significant warming for that decade), holding steady. It’s been warming unequivocally for just 20 of the last fifty years , and he conflates that to 50 years.

        This is an obvious exaggeration of the facts on Gavin’s part, and is not defensible.

    • It is a feeble attempt at a double bind: is the science settled? ha ha, then you can’t be a scientist because real science is never settled. Is the science not settled? Oh great, then we don’t need to do anything until it is.”

      Boris, you understand that the first position is a comment on science, and the second on policy, right? right???

      And I’d like to add also that evolution “deniers” are a more uniform bunch that (c)AGW ” deniers. For those who doubt Tyndall’s effect, you may have a point. Those who estimate differently climate sensitivities or doubt significant human consequences from a CO2 doubling are certainly not equivalent to evolution “deniers”. More along those who say that human intelligence arm race was sexual selection instead of survival selection, or people arguing wheter or not sapiens incorporated genetic material from neanderthalis. Maybe similar to the aqua ape adepts for the more extreme of climate deniers who still accept physics as measured in laboratory.

      Even those aqua apist are not labelled “deniers” in the evolution debate. Only challengers, originals, sloppy scientists, dreamers or, at worst, crackpots.

      There is only one reason why “deniers” is (or instead, was, because it is changing fast lately) used much more liberally in climate science: political implication for policies. This is a good proof that the fight is using science as weapon, but is not mainly about science (while, for evolution, it is, because the implication are not policies but philsophies/religion)

    • JCurry, a thought from the bleachers: moderating inappropriate comments with strike-throughs instead of deletions is not really moderating.

      • I made the same point about a week ago. I recommended snipping, which is what, as example, RealClimate does.

        Perhaps my opinion was ignored because I could be just another mental patient who loves to play with scissors.

      • If RC is snipping then it’s a recent phenomenon. My experience is that their snipping is what I would call deleting the comment

      • I’ve read it for years, and they have always edited some comments.

        Total deletions were once goners. Now they put them in the bore hole, and you can read the voices of opposition there.

      • Snipping runs the risk of changing the meaning of the original statement. It is not an honest form of debate.

    • Science is never settled
      Embrace uncertainty
      (fill in your trivial point here)

      It seems these people are using trivial cases to argue why climate science can be excused for producing some sloppy work and at the same time justifying using the results to both define a problem and its solution.

  2. “At the meeting, I recall hearing something like this”
    “Tallbloke apparently actually… “

    Apparently maybe someone sort of saw something that might have contradicted what Schmidt has said about his response but maybe you misheard?

    “Note to “deniers:” looks like you are currently denying unsettled science”

    Is the greenhouse effect “settled science”? If not are people who claim it doesn’t exist “denying unsettled science”?

  3. If the science is not settled, why is it totally locked out to anyone outside the profession?
    I would take it anyone without a degree is not capable of thought and logic.

    • “locked out?”

      What do you mean? There are tons of open access peer reviewed climate science articles available, and quite a lot more at your nearest academic library. Many scienctists also include links to their raw data, and more raw data is available from institutions that produce said data.

  4. So you have no issue with a journalist attributing a statement to a scientist that the journalist did not themselves hear.

    Another opportunity to mount your trusty steed and attack scientists while ignoring a possible case of poor journalism misrepresenting science.

    And they wonder why people doubt your motives. The bounders.

    • “while ignoring a possible case of poor journalism misrepresenting science.”

      If Gavin Schmidt didn’t want his position misrepresented it’s obvious he shouldn’t have written an email which may have been seen by someone else and whom may have told Dr Curry that he might have written something to the effect of “The science is settled”.

      This is another clear case of poor communication by scientists. Gavin Schmidt is a mean, bad man who did a bad thing.
      JC moderation

      • JC moderation

        Oh interesting but innuendo abstracted by about three levels suggesting the same individual is a liar is just fine in the actual post.

      • sharper00,

        At least Judith admits that it’s not an impossible case of poor journalism.

      • Actually, she doesn’t admit that at all, just maybe that it got mangled on the way to the journalist. That’s just unfortunate. Only climate scientists engage in dubious professiuonal practices.

        And Judith, as is her way, can’t resist but having a final little snark at the nasty groupthink scientists.

      • If it was mangled on the way to the journalist and the journalist did not know that it would be bad journalism to publish the story. Perhaps this is an example of Post Normal Journalism – when the truth is complex and cannot be known without a revolution in the technology, go with what you have.

    • I have no idea what Pearce heard, he may have heard this directly from Ravetz, or may have seen the email received by Ravetz. I am not making any judgement on Pearce; what i find interesting here is the “mainstreamers” distancing themselves from “the science is settled.” That is what my post is about.

      • “what i find interesting here is the “mainstreamers” distancing themselves from “the science is settled.””

        Schmidt’s letter references this realclimate article from December 2009

        http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/unsettled-science/

        How does his letter contradict what’s there? If nothing then what’s new or notable about his letter?

      • Unless and until Gavin takes the courage to publicly discuss the uncertainty problem at least as framed by the IAC, whatever he writes in blogs and letters about himself being cleaned of that sin will only be a futile attempt at whitewashing. More than declarations, it’s the company that one keeps…

      • Huh??

      • Michael – shouldn’t be too difficult to understand…who cares what a self-styled non-leader says about “the science is settled” when uncertainties have been forgotten or misinterpreted by the IPCC? And what is the credibility of anybody still pretending there has never been an “uncertainty” issue un climate science?

      • Read the IPCC report and then came back and tell me about how the IPCC report ignores uncertainty.

        Better yet, read the contributers comments on the IAC report and tell us about how some of them think that the IPCC reports systematically downplay the high-end risk uncertainty.

      • The IPCC report assumes that they are dealing with statistical uncertainty (other than uncertainty associated with emission scenarios). They fail to understand the broader dimensions of scenario uncertainty as well as the existence of flat out ignorance on a number of topics, plus the ambiguity associated with arguments for the warming made from the perspective of natural variability.

      • Yeah, that’s right Judith, they’re never considered there are things they don’t know.

      • right, thats why the come up with “very likely” confidence levels.

      • The most impressive part about the IPCC reports is how truly huge uncertainties in the individual inputs somehow become very narrow uncertainties when combined. It is totally innumerate.

      • Why is this all of a sudden a rallying cry for skeptics? If the IPCC estimate of CS is wider than 2-4.5 degrees C, then policy makers should be more worried about the effects of a 6C value (or higher) of climate sensitivity. It is probably true also that a widening of uncertainty would add far more plausibility to the high end sensitivities given that the lower bound is somewhat better constrained by observations.

        It seems that skeptics who have jumped on to the “uncertainty” bandwagon have close to a binary idea of AGW–either it’s true or it isn’t. More uncertainty, in their minds, means it is more likely untrue, and therefore more advisable to delay mitigation or simply prepare for adaptation.

        Meanwhile, the opposite would actually be true. If the uncertainty bounds are widened, then truly catastrophic warming is more likely. When the likelihood of extreme damage goes up, calls for mitigation become more persuasive and pass muster against a wider variety of economic scenarios.

      • If the uncertainty bounds are widened, then truly catastrophic warming is more likely.

        Well isn’t that some twisted logic. Yes, because the uncertainty of an event is between 0 and 100% we should act on the 100%. So I guess you will demand we spend trillions on an asteroid protection shield since the odds of the earth getting hit with an extinction sized event is between 0 and 100% in the next 100 million years.

      • You are conflating the uncertainties associated with a range of possible outcomes with the chances of a single outcome.

      • Boris –
        You’re conflating AGW with CAGW and calling it all AGW. That “C” makes a world of difference.

        More – you’re assuming that ONLY warming is a possible outcome. But “widening the uncertainty” also opens the door to cooling, which is NOT impossible and would require entirely different policy actions.

      • Oh, please!

        Why not just give CS a value of 100C and be done with it.

      • Boris:

        If the uncertainty bounds are widened, then truly catastrophic warming is more likely.

        Are you sure you don’t want to rephrase that?

      • You are conflating the uncertainties associated with a range of possible outcomes with the chances of a single outcome.

        What crap. Ok, let me rephrase this.

        There is a zero to 100% chance of a large earthquake somewhere on the planet in the next 100 years which will kill hundreds of thousands of people, so we should spend trillions moving all our habitation from active tectonic zones.

        That close enough to your reference?

      • You still don’t seem to understand. If the chances climate sensitivity is 6C are moved up from .5% to 2%, then that would be a GREATER cause for action given the severe consequences associated with a 6C degree rise.

        So, to make your analogy fit, if the chances of a 9.0 Earthquake within the next 50 years in LA went from .5% to 2%, then that would make taking action to mitigate such an event MORE valuable.

      • You still don’t seem to understand.

        I understand very well that you are trying to turn greater uncertainty into greater certainty. That’s known as an oxymoron.

        If the chances climate sensitivity is 6C are moved up from .5% to 2%, then that would be a GREATER cause for action given the severe consequences associated with a 6C degree rise.

        What consequences? Always with the ASSUMPTION that increasing average of the yearly mean is bad. That 6C rise could be going from -16C in winter to -10C. That’s still freezing. What you don’t understand is that there is NOT any increases in heatwaves, therehas been NOT ONE weather or climate event connected/because of/or made “worse” because of our CO2. Not one.

        So, to make your analogy fit, if the chances of a 9.0 Earthquake within the next 50 years in LA went from .5% to 2%, then that would make taking action to mitigate such an event MORE valuable.

        So you are going to start a movement to move all peoples from active tectonic zones? Hundreds of thousands have died, will die in the future. Yet your focus is on a highly uncertain threat which not one person has died from.

        That’s the big difference. Your side cannot cite one single event or series of events or changes in trends associated with our CO2 emissions.

      • 6C is a huge difference in global average temperature and will cause huge, widespread problems with civilization, especially since temperatures over land could reach twice that much.

        Apparently you are not aware that 5C is the difference between an ice age and an interglacial.

      • Michael – are you arguing that if uncertainties are mishandled in both directions, somehow the resulting mess is justified? :-)

      • No, just that uncertainties extend in both directions (doh!), yet for some strange reason, certain groups only consider it exists in one direction. Sceptics – ha!

      • Am sure the IAC, Oxburgh, Watson and everybody else I have mentioned will be happy to know that uncertainties have been over- and under-represented in similar terms. Go ahead then, do make them aware of this important detail they all missed.

      • From Sharperoo’s link:

        In the climate field, there are a number of issues which are no longer subject to fundamental debate in the community. The existence of the greenhouse effect, the increase in CO2 (and other GHGs) over the last hundred years and its human cause, and the fact the planet warmed significantly over the 20th Century are not much in doubt. IPCC described these factors as ‘virtually certain’ or ‘unequivocal’. The attribution of the warming over the last 50 years to human activity is also pretty well established – that is ‘highly likely’ and the anticipation that further warming will continue as CO2 levels continue to rise is a well supported conclusion. To the extent that anyone has said that the scientific debate is over, this is what they are referring to. In answer to colloquial questions like “Is anthropogenic warming real?”, the answer is yes with high confidence.

        Is there a large body of evidence that disagrees with this, or a large number of experts who were duped into agreeing to it?

      • This is a classic case of “talking past.” AGW has a number of internal outstanding questions, so Gavin can say the science is unsettled. But the IPCC position, which he here endorses, is precisely what the skeptics mean when they say the AGW proponents are saying the science is settled. So as far as skeptics are concerned he is clearly saying the science is settled in that sense.

      • Fascinating logic.

        Express statements of uncertainty from scientists is carefully parsed by ‘skeptics’ and shown to be an express statement that the ‘science is settled’.

        I’ve tried to be open-minded, but my visceral contempt continues to grow.

      • “Highly likely” is not an expression of uncertainty, as that word is normally used. It is an expression of certainty.

      • Yes, it is highly likely that two times two equals four.

      • This is the fascinating logic:

        http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php?a=195&p=2

        Saying out of one side of the mouth that the science isn’t settled, but out the other side of their mouths it is 90% certain so we must act.

        Seems to me that the meaning from AGW is clear, “the science is settled” for all intent and purpose.

      • And they would be wrong to say that this means anything is settled. Pointing out what scientist agree on does not = settled. Those are important words. It is therefore a strawman. Try using different terminology, ie, “I don’t believe that *so-and-so* is a correct assumption by the IPCC. And here is why…” If that cannot be accomplished, then it is not the other’s problem.

      • It’s when you try to put some significance to those statements that trouble begins, but the discussion usually follows the “I know these things, so I know much more than these things” form. Facts have very different characteristics compared to generalizations and extrapolations, etc.

        So far, what we have that says the planet’s (poorly defined) temperature is increasing is based on proxy data, a physics based model for GH gasses’ role, and CO2 levels correlation. In a climate discussion, what we don’t have is a clear definition of climate, a validated causal structure for climate, or anything other than proxy data. The big problem with AGW is it means different things in different contexts, and the usual mistake is to take it as true in all contexts.

      • Judith this is a red herring beloved of those who wish to argue personalities, deal in sound bites and play with ‘gotchas’ , usually as a diversion to discussing anything sensible or substantive.

      • I have no idea what Pearce heard,
        = = = = == = = = ==
        Nor any interest in ensuring people are not taken out of context to inflame the situation. That would be the job of someone seeking to build bridges.

        what i find interesting here is the “mainstreamers” distancing themselves from “the science is settled.”
        = = = = = = = = = = = =
        What is the most recent quote you can find from a mainstream figure that is broadly in agreement with the mainstream who has said “the science is settled”, just to see how commonly it is used.

  5. Anyone who invokes the ethereal “consensus” of scientists’ opinion in a logically fallacious argument from authority, to close down a discussion with a dissenter, is implying: that the science is in and that scientists agree.

    In other words, that ‘the science is settled’, even if there are minor details to be worked out.. “spats”, as one might call them. This is the net effect of invoking the “consensus”. There is no other conceivable reason for ever making reference to it.

    Gavin Schmidt:

    Regardless of these spats, the fact that the community overwhelmingly supports the consensus is evidenced by picking up any copy of Journal of Climate or similar, any scientific program at the AGU or EGU meetings, or simply going to talk to scientists (not the famous ones, the ones at your local university or federal lab). I challenge you, if you think there is some un-reported division, show me the hundreds of abstracts at the Fall Meeting (the biggest confernce [sic] in the US on this topic) that support your view – you won’t be able to. You can argue whether the consensus is correct, or what it really implies, but you can’t credibly argue it doesn’t exist.

    • In that link you provide, the argument is over whether there is a consensus or not. Are you saying there isn’t? Like I pointed out at KK’s blog, that is why he is asking the person to provide the body of evidence that counters the consensus that has formed over the few conservative tenets in the IPCC. This does not equal argument from authority, or settling science. It is only asking that debate contain evidence. If that cannot be provided, it hardly up to Gavin to pretend that it exists merely to continue a scientific conversation that goes nowhere.

      IOW, if someone is trying to call into question a consensus, it is up to them to show why. The inability to do that may be infuriating, but that it is not Gavin’s fault.

      • No, grypo, that just isn’t reasonable. I don’t have to prove that a consensus doesn’t exist in the same way I don’t have to prove that God doesn’t exist. Like Trenberth, you’re attempting to shift the burden of proof. It’s certainly a bizarre approach, but I do see a pattern forming.

      • The burden of proof for what? That there is a consensus amounts most experts? If you’d like to argue that there isn’t, or show the large hidden stockpile of evidence that shows why they are all misguided, please do so. Meanwhile, the people who understand what is being debated can move on to what to do. I’ll just repost here what I did at CaS because I’m just repeating myself anyway.

        Gavin quotes Hulme:

        “The central battlegrounds on which we need to fight out the policy implications of climate change concern matters of risk management, of valuation, and political ideology. We must move the locus of public argumentation here not because the science has somehow been “done” or “is settled”; science will never be either of these things, although it can offer powerful forms of knowledge not available in other ways. It is a false hope to expect science to dispel the fog of uncertainty so that it finally becomes clear exactly what the future holds and what role humans have in causing it.”

        And you can hear his views on public policy. If you guys can’t recognize the difference between something being “settled” scientifically, and people’s opinions on what constitutes enough certainty to act, then this argument will go nowhere. Drop the rhetoric. Stop forcing words down your opponent’s throats. ”Settled” means something, and is a trick (a long standing one). His, or anybody’s, opinion on “what is enough” is about values and ethics. That is where the debate is. Perhaps the Lisbon pow-wow should have asked that question instead.

      • Perhaps the Lisbon pow-wow should have asked that question instead.

        And perhaps…just perhaps, identifying common ground on the scientific front, without the political baggage of policy and personalities, might be a good way to work into “that” question.

        Just sayin’

      • grypo:

        The burden of proof for what? That there is a consensus amounts most experts?

        Yep. We’ve chopped down the “2,500 scientists agree” consensus already. That one’s been toast for ages. Got any others?

      • The only reason anyone would need to use the consensus appeal is if there are significant points of scientific disagreement. Rather than list a bunch of methodological problems with the research, I’ll just point out that global average temperature proxy methods are still in dispute in the literature. Get the basics right first, then talk to me about what you think you know.

      • grypo –
        The “proof” of a LACK of consensus is the continued existence of this blog.

        As for “evidence” – it’s more than abundant if you bother to actually look. You don’t even have to go to WUWT – there’s plenty of it right here.

      • Yes, we saw that in the dragonslayin’ thread. There sure seems to be a lack of consensus about the greenhouse effect.

        As there is a lack of consensus about the theory of relativity:

        http://www.conservapedia.com/Counterexamples_to_Relativity

        There seems we can see a problem with talking about consensus without saying by whom and about what.

        But even then, I am sure that I can find someone, somewhere over the Internet that disagree with that.

      • Given the true meaning about the word “consensus” you may be correct. It would probably be correct to state:

        “that there is overwhelming agreement in the climate science community that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that increasing the percentage of atmospheric CO2 will ultimately result in warmer temperatures if all other factors remain constant”

        I would suggest that there is much less agreement regarding the rate of any warming, whether warming is bad, or what governments should do in terms of policies.

      • Willard – interesting – and I’ll agree that there’s ALWAYS someone who will disagree about ANYTHING.

        But wrt relativity, there are also scientists who are finding “holes and uncertainties” in the theory. Relativity is not “settled science” either. And it has a lot better pedigree than CS. :-)

      • Jim,

        The concept of pedigree is interesting. According to you, how do we establish the pedigree of a theory?

        If relativity theory is not “settled science”, would you say that there is no such thing as settled in science?

        In that case, what would have Gavin meant?

        Here is a hint:

        http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/unsettled-science/

      • randomengineer

        It is only asking that debate contain evidence.

        This is intellectual bankruptcy of a degree that even Enron would envy and Mike Judge puts in movies. The consensus position is shaping the research such that non-consensus research can’t even get funding. Then, when anyone wishes to debate anything they’re told to reference real “evidence” as per peer reviewed papers. Then you come along and say obviously they have no debate since there aren’t any peer reviewed papers. Duh. Of course the circular logic herein doesn’t appear to be noticed by the bankrupt.

    • Gavin has a deep need to have things settled irt to his funding and political influence and social status, but he is not about to pen the floor to those who agree with him that the science is settled but disagree as to how it is unsettled.
      The AGW promotion community only wants things unsettled to the extent that it yields them more resources.

  6. Joe Lalonde | February 4, 2011 at 8:51 am | Reply

    If the science is not settled, why is it totally locked out to anyone outside the profession?
    = = = = = = =
    Yeah we find the same snobbery with cancer researchers. Another area in dire need to more blogger science.

  7. What I would like to hear Romm, Connolley, Schmidt, Eli respond to, is the number of non-skeptic that have pointed out a lot of climate scientists’ continuous mistreatment (hiding, equivocating, forgetting etc etc) of uncertainties.

    As it happens, for a completely unrelated reason I have recently collected at Omniclimate quotes and links to statements by Mike Hulme, John Beddington, Vicky Pope, Myles Allen, Hans von Storch, Robert Watson, Lord Oxburgh, Oxburgh’s Scientific Assessment Panel, panel member Prof Michael Kelly, Sir Muir Russell and his Independent Climate Change E-mails Review, plus of course the InterAcademy Council.

    They all repeat the same concept, that the public has been repeatedly mislead, and that uncertainties widely acknowledged in the scientific literature suddenly keep evaporating when a policy paper needs to be written or the science of climate change communicated to the masses.

    If Romm, Connolley, etc etc want to seriously deal with the “uncertainty” issue (something the IAC dedicated a whole chapter to!) then they should get their heads together about a widely-acknowledged problem, that is undermining the science/policy interface. And they should get out of their superlative fests, where warmist statements are VERY true, skeptical statements are ABSOLUTELY false, men are REAL men, women are REAL women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri are REAL small furry creatures from Aplha Centauri.

    ps yes, the last bit is not mine

  8. Gavin Schmidt:
    Your challenge is not a fair one! Most sensible scientists working in the climate field, not the famous ones, the ones that just do the work, would not risk their career by saying something that is against the ‘consensus’. You know why. What they really have in mind no one really knows. But we do know that many people agree that current model, including the ones you use in your publications, has a lot of problems. Trusting these models would not be a preference for many of these scientists. Putting our future on these models is dangerous. It may be harsh, but it is the real reality.

    • Hook – You say “Most sensible scientists working in the climate field, not the famous ones, the ones that just do the work, would not risk their career by saying something that is against the ‘consensus’. ”

      From this very blog http://judithcurry.com/2010/11/03/reversing-the-direction-of-the-positive-feedback-loop/#comment-7499

      “I was highly critical of IPCC AR4 Chapter 6, so much so that the Heartland Institute repeatedly quotes me as evidence that the IPCC is flawed. Indeed, I have been unable to find any other review as critical as mine. I know — because they told me — that my reviews annoyed many of my colleagues, including some of my RC colleagues, but I have felt no pressure or backlash whatsover from it. Indeed, one of the Chapter 6 lead authors said “Eric, your criticism was really harsh, but helpful — thank you!” “

      • And yet I personally know a dozen or more atmospheric scientists who would not buck the “consensus” because they wanted to continue their careers. Most of them are no longer doing the same kind of work – they found other places that didn’t insist on adherence to a “consensus” view that they didn’t believe.

  9. To set the record straight:

    Because I was an ad hoc member of the invite committee I got an email asking my advice on who to invite in lieu of Gavin Schmidt and some other prominent people who had declined. The organisers inadvertantly included Gavin’s response on that email, and when I was asked one evening in Lisbon why certain people weren’t there I gave a quick praisee, including a brief reference to Gavin’s response. This made it’s way to Fred, hence the reference in his blog piece reporting on the conference.

    I would just stress at this point that what I said constitutes my opinion and not what Gavin said verbatim. However I would also like to say that Gavin’s complaint to the New Scientist does not include any praisee of the passage in his original response which gave rise to my brief summary. I therefore reject Gavin’s claim that I ‘made stuff up’, and respectfully suggest that we can lay this one to rest if in a spirit of openness Gavin simply reproduces his response so people can see for themselves what he said.

    If I am assailed by accusations that I have wrongfully maligned Gavin with my brief summary comment I may feel obliged to defend myself with a closer paraphrase.

    • “If I am assailed by accusations that I have wrongfully maligned Gavin with my brief summary comment I may feel obliged to defend myself with a closer paraphrase.”

      Why the delay? Presumably you have the actual quote available to you and you can reproduce it at any time, therefore you can settle the matter immediately by reproducing it.

      Why is there a need for further accusation before you’ll do so?

      • I would be better if Gavin simply reproduced it himself to clear the air.

      • Gavin is presumably aware of what he wrote and has unambiguously and publicly stated his position.

        I would think the onus is now on those who claim something akin to “The science is settled” to produce their evidence, I see no reason why Gavin would need to further “clear the air”.

      • tallbloke says:
        “I would also like to say that Gavin’s complaint to the New Scientist does not include any praisee of the passage in his original response which gave rise to my brief summary. I therefore reject Gavin’s claim that I ‘made stuff up’, and respectfully suggest that we can lay this one to rest if in a spirit of openness Gavin simply reproduces his response so people can see for themselves what he said.”

      • Er yes I don’t think there’s any reason he would include that, why would he?

        He has however clearly stated “The science is settled” is “completely made up” as far he’s concerned. You don’t get any clearer than that.

        You claim to be in possession of evidence which contradicts Schmidt yet won’t produce it until he makes further effort to demonstrate he didn’t say it. So far there’s no evidence at all he did say it and plenty of evidence against, so why is the onus on Gavin?

        Why all the implication and innuendo? Either he said it or he didn’t and he says he didn’t.

      • I respectfully suggest that we can lay this one to rest if in a spirit of openness Gavin simply reproduces his response so people can see for themselves what he said.

        No need for onuses to be allocated. Just publish the data.

      • You were happy enough to put your own interpretation on Dr Schmidt’s e-mail when you were trying to gain favour with the others at the conference though. You do come across as rather desperate to fit in (‘Climate Scientist of the Year’ FFS), is this one of those after dinner stories that is now returning to haunt you?

        You say ‘Just publish the data’ – let me ask you, do you publish every e-mail you send? Why not?

      • If someone mischaracterised something I said in an email, you bet I’d publish it to prove them wrong. What easier way of refuting someone is there than to confront them with the prima facie evidence?

        By the way, Steve Goddard was busy grabbing his camera and misheard the award I gave Judith , which was for ‘New Climate Blogger of the Year’, in recognition of her integrity, determination, style and sheer hard work.

      • Who voted for the ‘Climate Blogger of the Year’ award?

      • Louise– I believe the award was given under the concept of humor

      • I would like to defend Tallbloke on this one. The issue of why none of the mainstreamers showed up (closest was von Storch) was an obvious topic of discussion at the Workshop. Apparently of those that were invited and declined, only Schmidt gave a reason that wasn’t something like a travel conflict, or too busy. So this was discussed. I heard this originally from Tallbloke (who saw and apparently has a copy of the email). The general issue of the mainstreamers not attending was discussed by Ravetz, I don’t recall him saying anything specific about Schmidt.

        With regards to Tallbloke “fitting in.” Tallbloke is well known to Ravetz. He is a reasonable guy, an interesting one, passionately interested in the research problem he is working on (no judgement here on whether it is useful or not), with a “life of the party” type personality. Peter Webster and I actually hung out with Tallbloke on Saturday, touring around Lisbon. Characterizing Tallbloke as trying desperately to fit in is not a correct interpretation.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        Louise has an unfortunate tendency to try to denigrate and discredit people (actually sceptics) she has never met, by projecting some low-life quality or stigma on to them – thus I was a sexist, Tallbloke is some hanger-on trying to “fit in”. I find this tactic extremely ugly, and it probably says more about Louise than any of her targets.

      • “I respectfully suggest that we can lay this one to rest if in a spirit of openness Gavin simply reproduces his response so people can see for themselves what he said.”

        Fred Pearce has already published and attributed a statement to Gavin, why in the spirit of openness would he not provide the evidence supporting that statement?

        You claim to be in actual possession of evidence which supports Fred Pearce’s article, why in the spirit of openness would you not release it?

        Why does it fall on Gavin who has already in no uncertain terms denied he made any such statement and already provided evidence he holds no such position to provide even further evidence he didn’t say it?

        “Just publish the data.”

        Yikes.

      • You make some persuasive arguments.
        I’ll reflect further on it before acting.

      • Don’t swing; ball is in the other court.
        ===================

      • see Gavin’s comment further down thread

      • You would think That gavin would publish his mail showing his exact words.

        he hasnt.

        Not sure what To make of that.

        But given that he has asked for Fred to retract, I suppose he invites Tallbloke to set the record straight.

        Tall’s giving him the chance to publish his own words and frame it anyway he wants.

        Clock ticks.

      • He did that already – see below

      • Ball is still in the other court. Unless it’s on its way home, now. Disgraceful. Fred oughta be outraged.
        ===============

      • Fred shoulda had more sense than to publish tittle tattle as if it was fact.

      • I hope to God Fred is both following this conversation and sure of the provenance of his story.
        ====================

      • I’ll repeat what I’ve said about Gavin possibly resenting shovel wielding while the hole is so deep. Check your tool, and the depth.
        ==============

      • See my response to Gavin thanking him for permission. His response is posted on my blog:

        http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/gavin-schmidt-response-to-lisbon-invitation/

      • Sharperoo –
        For the last 20 years (the effective life of the Internet) it’s been considered VERY bad form to publish the content of private emails without permission, which is what Gavin very probably assumed his to be. You’re asking Tallbloke to break common Internet courtesy just for your own satisfaction/curiousity. I find that to be rude, crude and uncalled for. And not atypical of the residents of your side of the dance floor.

        I know – Climategate. Whoever released those emails was also rude, crude and uncalled for, regardless of which side of the dance floor they inhabit. But those emails should have been released as a matter of law in any case, so the end effect is the same. That they weren’t released under FOI was a legal matter that was never pursued (another failure – of the legal system this time).

      • “You’re asking Tallbloke to break common Internet courtesy just for your own satisfaction/curiousity. “

        Tallbloke’s interpretation of the email already forms part of a Scientific American article. Furthermore Tallbloke has defended the article stating he has evidence that supports it.

        To say that “common Internet courtesy” would then prohibit him from actually showing the evidence is frankly ridiculous.

      • > I know – Climategate. Whoever released those emails was also rude, crude and uncalled for, regardless of which side of the dance floor they inhabit.

        This is what special pleading looks like, Will.

      • Wait, aren’t you “Will”? There’s no sock-puppetry going on here, is there?

      • No, SimonH, my remark was meant for a commenter who signs his comment with “Will”.

        Will used the concept of special pleading in another thread.

    • That’s the way to set a record straight: threaten to set the record straight.

      • I’m thinking on the hoof, being cautious because of it, and giving the person who says ‘stuff was made up’ the opportunity to resolve the issue to everyone’s satisfaction in one easy post.

      • You mean you passed on some malicious comments of your own as if they were Dr Schmid’ts and now you’re trying to cover your tracks because Fred Pearce actually listened to you and published what you said?

        You seem to be spending an awful lot of time wallowing in the reflected glory of “I was invited to a respected conference” that you don’t seem to have recognised that when you speak to a journalist, they might actually publish what you say.

      • “you passed on some malicious comments of your own as if they were Dr Schmid’ts and now you’re trying to cover your tracks ”

        Unwarranted accusation #1

      • What, turnabout suddenly isn’t fairplay?????

      • Gavin might resent someone wielding the shovel despite the depth of the hole.
        ===============

      • I was thinking that somewhere a broom is missing its witch, but unwarranted accusation works, too.

      • It’s not hard to understand why the deflating balloon goes whizzing around the room.
        ===========

    • Tallbloke:

      “If I am assailed by accusations that I have wrongfully maligned Gavin with my brief summary comment I may feel obliged to defend myself with a closer paraphrase”

      And thus starts the 2011 ‘Gavingate’ :)

    • Mate, you are gutless. Publish the information or climb back into your hole.

    • By giving a precis (sic) you have misrepresented Gavin ‘s position, you should apologize or prove you were right.

    • for others who may be wondering, praisee = precis (a brief summary)

  10. “At the meeting, I recall hearing something like this, but by the time this got to me, who knows how it might have been mangled. I understand that Schmidt sent an email reply to Ravetz, declining the invitation. Tallbloke apparently actually saw the email. I recall some discussions about this, maybe Tallbloke can clarify.” – JC

    Shorter Judith; this fitted in nicely to my preconceptions, so I found it easy to believe.

  11. If the science is not settled, then can we get our money back, end the EPA move to destroy the American economy, and start letting civil engineers and meteorologists do their jobs again?
    And especially, if the science is not settled, can we stop with the apocalyptic clap trap that everyone of those opinion leaders quoted above have been peddling for so long?

  12. Latimer Alder

    If ‘the science isn’t settled’, then why the need for the extremely heavy handed moderation at Gavin Schmidt’s Real Climate blog, and at Fred’s other gig at The Guardian?

    And how come this blog survives and thrives without it?

    Just wondered……

    • Yes, but RC moderation.

      • Latimer Alder

        ??

        Sorry, I don’t do telepathy. Pls xplan.

      • Go read the bore hole.

      • Still no telepathy available on my planet. Yours?

      • Latimer
        The ‘bore hole’ is where they put posted comments that they don’t think meet the exacting standards of RC. Read into that what you like.

      • RC Moderation is, eventually, the issue for every denier.

        It’s like Godwins Law Mk II.

      • I don’t know about any deniers, never having met or corresponded with one.

        But it does seem odd that the blogs with the heaviest-handed moderation are those of the supposed ‘mainstream’, and those which tolerate a more questioning approach are not part of the consensus.

        Because I’d sort of expect that if the consensus blogs were so self-evidently right, they would welcome every challenge as another little objection to be hurled into intellectual oblivion with a well-argued rebuttal, never to be heard of again. Cowering away and refusing to engage does not give me any overwhelming confidence that their position is secure and unassailable.

        Instead the exact reverse. More like circling the wagons than sallying forth to preach the good news. I wonder why they feel the need to do so?

        And on a personal note, I took it as a badge of honour that I was eventually banned from Komment macht Frei at the Guardian. It saves me having to read the alarmist drivel that passes for discussion over there. Far better to engage with a diversity of views here than the rigid warmist orthodoxy they require at CiF.

      • Latimer Alder – In my experience, it is those such as I recently quoted from sites such as WUWT, for example “I am violently opposed to the warmistas, their beliefs and their crusade to tax and control me. Let my language make it plain that I believe that this is a war. No reconcilliation – no surrender.” who post at places like RC with the intention to disrupt who regularly and justifiably get banned from those sites.

        They frequently use words such as liar, fraud, cheat, scum, commie, marxist, etc (and those are just the ones that aren’t really foul). Do you really expect these to be answered reasonably by scientists because that’s not what their originators intend?

        If you go to sites such as skeptical science, people who willingly want to discuss the science are engaged in debate. Trolls are not.

        What else would you expect?

      • I wasn’t referring to banning individual contributors for bad language or unpleasant behaviour. Each blogista must draw their own line about their level of tolerance and where the limits of acceptability lie.

        No argument with that – as ‘guests’ of the blogista, one must adhere to the rules of the house. But I’d also point out that if a guest finds the rules too lax for their choice, they must either lump them or leave. If find remarks at WUWT too strong for your stomach, then go elsewhere. Or complain about them to Anthony Watts, not to us. Its his blog, he sets the rules. Not Judith, or any of us.

        But I was thinking more about comments that simply never appear at heavily pre-moderated blogs. They just never see the light of day in discussion, in ‘boreholes’ or elsewhere. Not for reasons of taste or decorum, but purely because they do not advance the view of the blogista(s) or their paymasters.

        It still seems to me that this a self-defeating strategy. First it shows an intellectual weakness, not strength. And secondly it does not give a real workout to their case. Any team that only ever plays behind closed doors to its own adoring fans is always in danger of a nasty shock when it eventually comes out blinking into the sunlight.

      • Worse, that they’ll blow the damned cave up in their anger.
        ============

      • Louise– There are posts at this site that have shall we say….a marginally accepted position. What do you do when you see them? Scan and ignore

        Many posts have unsupportable views, but as long as they are not hateful, why delete? It makes it appear that a site is only allowing information that the site suuports. RC does appear to give that impression imo

      • Moderation is for blog owners who don’t want comments to spiral into an out of control free-for-all about nothing in particular, full of petty point scoring, bilge and bunk.

        And yes, there is effectively no moderation here.

      • The misuse of Godwin’s law is turning it into a defense for any boorish or suppressive behavior.
        I do not believe that is what Mike had in mind when he made his observation.
        Since he was involved with the founding and legal counsel to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, I think twisting his observation about internet conversations into a defense of what places like RC and Romm’s blog do is a bit of distortion.

      • I don’t have an issue with RC’s moderation – it’s their blog, they can do what they like.

      • I agree with you… as I said above – their blog, their rules. But the rules they adopt seem to be entirely counter-productive. Just wondered why they felt the need to do it. And nobody has yet come up with much of an answer……….

      • I think it’s pretty clear that they don’t want to spend time defending research outside of refereed journals. The blog is obviously to bolster the position in the public’s eye – more like a series of press releases.

      • Latimer Alder

        Harold

        I think you are right. Perhaps they feel that their blog is a useful conduit for the general public to be communicated *at*, rather than *with*.

        I guess the strapline

        ‘Climate Science from Climate Scientists’ also gives the game away that their ‘communications model’ is purely unidirectional.

        Not a forum for discussion, debate and persuasion like this one, but a pulpit from which they can declaim the ‘correct and approved’ message.

        Of course they are entitled to run their blog anyway they want. But I guess they shouldn’t be too surprised or disappointed to find its reach and influence waning as other, less prescriptive and didactic fora come to the fore.

      • Latimer Adler,

        While moderation is a fascinating subject, it’s not exactly the topic that is being discussed right now.

        This rhetorical device serves as a hook to coatrack your pet subject.

        Even Joe Sixpack Esq could agree that you are in fact trying to divert attention to what matters right now, that is the content of this very blog post.

        “Yes, but RC moderation” is as common as “yes, but Climategate”.

        In your case, it’s a bit less common than “yes, but what Joe Sixpack thinks” and “yes, once upon a time I was a chemist but I’ve spent 30 years in IT, so.”

        This last paragraph was off topic. See how easy it is to do.

      • Latimer Alder

        ‘It’s not exactly the topic that is being discussed right now’

        Clearly not. My remark of 2 1/2 sentences a few hours ago has only produced 17 replies from 7 different contributors. Pretty obvious that nobody else is interested.

        I’ll just note that the very first reply came from you, presumably raised from your slough of indifference to the topic.

        And as far as I can remember I haven’t mentioned this topic anywhere for quite some time, so I hardly think it qualifies as my ‘pet subject’. Happy for you to prove me wrong.

      • You’re conflating indifference with relevance, Latimer.

        Even Joe Sixpack can spot that trick.

      • Whatever.

      • Latimer,

        You introduce RC moderation in the discussion. This subject is not the topic of the post. I point it out.

        Some of the 7 people explained to you that “yes but RC moderation” is the usual trick to bash at RC. It can be rehashed in almost every single thread. Even Joe Sixpack can see that.

        In fact, some the the 7 different people did exactly that: they used your hook and did some more bashing at RC.

        I am saying to you this is off-topic. In fact, I already told you that while moderation is a fascinating subject, it is not the subject of this thread.

        Yet you reply that it still might be interesting.

        That you talk about whatever suits your fancy is not helping Joe Sixpack, Latimer.

      • I am surprised that you have appointed yourself as the arbiter of what may and may not be discussed here.

        When I last looked, the moderator here was our host, Dr Curry. And while I am delighted to accept her adjudications in any matters relating to her blog, I don’t believe that she has granted those powers to anybody else. If so, I’m sure she would have announced it.

        I fear that you will have to hold your nose and look aside if anybody else is cheeky enough to post on matters that you personally feel may be off topic. In this case, six other bloggers were not of your view.

        Those whose previous experience has only been of highly moderated blogs where a rigid adherence to dogma and authority is a requirement for being heard can sometimes find a less regulated environment takes a while to get used to. But those who persevere come to appreciate it after a while.

      • Again, you’re conflating the fact that people took your bait as evidence that it’s related to the topic at hand. And again, you count bloggers who simply explained to you why “yes, but RC moderation” is a common trick that even Joe Sixpack can recognize.

        I am not surprised you open your comment with yet another topic. The way it is introduced deserves due diligence. And the way it conflates arbitrating with commenting is also interesting. Perhaps another time.

        Joe Sixpack does not seem to like it when someone keep shifting topics like that.

      • @willard

        For soemthing that you suggest is not related to the topic at hand, you seem to be spending a lot of mental and emotional energy discussing it.

        Just a shame that in all your condemnation of what you think I wrote to so inflame you, you don’t actually appear to have grasped my central simple point.

      • “Yes, but RC moderation” is obtuse. Yet explaining “yes, but RC moderation” spends too much energy.

        A nice double bind, Joe. With yet another topic, this time targeting my own person.

      • @willard

        I’ll leave others to figure out what (if anything) you were trying to convey.

        It’s baffled me, but perhaps you are used to an audience who are impressed by dense and obscure rhetoric. I’m not, and have other things to do.

      • I see nothing wrong in Latimer asking the question about why CiF needs to have such heavy moderation. Or real climate. Especially when the main argument is about whether the science is or is not settled. I also note that he states that he has no complaint about such moderation existing… just wonders why it is felt to be necessary. It is a big turn-off for many ‘neutral’ observers.

        In my life experience, when somebody tries to prevent or divert discussion of a topic, it doesn’t usually mean that they are confident masters of the subject..more likely that they are on shaky ground.

        BW, Joe

      • Joe,

        I am surprised that you exist. I thought Latimer said that you were only a rhetorical trick.

        Do you happen by any chance to be acquainted to Man of the Street or John Doe?

        ***

        I heartily agree with you that diverting discussion does not bode well. I fail to see how Latimer’s “question” is related to the topic raised by the main post. In fact, if I read correctly what he says afterwards in this very interesting thread, I fail to see how this is not a rhetorical question.

        Perhaps you do not see it’s a rhetorical question because you are only a rhetorical trick yourself, Joe Sixpack?

      • An example of RealClimate moderation, 2007. A regular commenter, a fairly emphatic advocate of AGW, wrote the comment:

        Why is Roger Pielke Sr continuing to promote himself as some kind of wunderkind here? [edit – please no personal comments]

        So a regular commenter, one who generally strongly agrees with climate science, said something personally insulting of Dr. Pielke Sr.

        Now, Dr. Pielke Sr. and the folks at RealClimate have dueled many times. When Dr. Pielke allowed comments on his blog there were some pretty nasty things said there. So Dr. Pielke apparently began moderating just like any lovely old curmudgeon would: damn near everything except himself.

      • @willard

        My biography has been well discussed earlier in this blog.

    • Slaying a greenhouse dragon

      This has been another simple answer to a simple question.

      • Care to elaborate?

      • After Slaying a greenhouse dragon how much traction do you think the author/book/concepts will get with either the sceptic or the AGW side of the dance floor?

        How much might they have gotten if not for that exposure?

        Think about cockroaches and light.

        And then apologize to Dr Curry.

  13. Look who’s spinning the But You Said That Science Was Settled:

    > Is there some new issue on GW and huricanes? Is somebody somewhere claiming that GW will lead to fewer or less strong hurricanes? WHAT? Utter nonsense! It is not logicaly possible. the link between GW and hurricanes is settled science. it’s like the laws of newton, it’s like F=ma. Nobody could argue that GW leads to fewer hurricanes. don’t they know that 2+2 =4? these sceptical greek chorus idiots; are they talking about wind shear, or long term cycles. Hmm is there a test we could set up.. maybe a hypothesis.. a prediction.. and then test, yes test the theory?

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/04/ocean-cooling-not/#comment-31207

    • Here’s another…

      “…And I’m going to show you the latest science, which now doesn’t leave the question unsettled anymore this is now settled science, it is now settled science that there is not a problem with our influence over Climate. The science is in, the truth is out and the scare is over.”

      — Christopher Monckton. 10/14/9 Minnesota Free Market Institute presentation

  14. On reading his letter above, my opinion of Gavin Schmidt took a turn for the better. In particular his acceptance that the science is not settled (if that is what he meant) and that he does not regard himself as a ‘leader of mainstream climate science’. If he goes on at that rate then ‘reconciliation’ may not be so inaccessible after all.

    • I think you’ll be disappointed.

      Gavin still seems to be focussed on science, while the gathered ensemble seemed to enjoy wallowing in po-mo bunk.

  15. interesting discussion also going on at collide-a-scape about “settled”

    http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2011/02/03/climate-whine-fest/

  16. Since, in my opinion, the causes of conflict in the climate change debate relate almost entirely to politics and not the MWP, climate sensitivity or ‘ice’, dismissing this from any discussion did not seem likely to be to help foster any reconciliation.

    Granted, he did say “almost entirely”, but this statement seems to deny that there is conflict over any aspect of the science. That is over broad and while it doesn’t use the exact words “the science is settled”, well…

    • No, what he is saying is that there is scientiffic debate and scientific uncertainties (and they are sorted out by doing science) none of which was indentified in the intro letter. (IMHO, however wrote that letter needs to take some classes in writing-for-clarity)

      OTOH, there are a range of conflicts thrown up in the public sphere, especially blogs,which have almost nothing to do with science and are mostly political in origin.

      • Sorry, Michael, but I have a hard time parsing that statement to mean anything other than debate about the MWP, climate sensitivity, etc. is politically motivated.

        Certainly there is a huge amount of conflict that is political – policy is purely a political question (although hopefully informed by the science). That being said, can you really say that there is no legitimate scientific debate on paleoclimate and climate sensitivity?

      • I’ll try to be clearer – there are scientific issues in climate sensitivity etc. (but “ice” – WTF?).

        What Gavin is saying, and I pretty much agree, is that the public conflict (AKA ‘debate’ in some quarters) is not much to do with the scientific debate about those issues, but is political talk that dances around the issues which are, in effect, just symbols to be attacked.

      • Michael,

        It isn’t an issue of clarity…Gavin explicitly stated that the conflicts are political rather than about about climate sensitivity or the MWP (FWIW, I agree with the WTF about “ice” – someone could have done their homework better).

        The invitation specifically said the conference was to address scientific issues and not policy. I don’t see where his statement can be construed to admit that there are scientific disagreements to be reconciled.

    • this statement seems to deny that there is conflict over any aspect of the science

      How on earth did you get from there to that? Truly ‘mazin’. You obviously have never read Gavin Schmidt.

  17. If Gavin wants to refute the claim, the process is simple: post the email where he declined the invitation.
    I wonder why he has not done that?

    • Somebody got the email. Why haven’t they reproduced it?

    • Simple.

      1. he will then claim its a private mail.
      2. he might atack the organizers
      3. The debate over what he meant exactly will ensue.

      i would suspect that there is something that comes close to ‘the science is settled” but not those words exactly or something that implies the idea.

      No I have not seen the mail. And did not ask to see it.

      The paraphrase I heard was Gavin did not want to attend because policy discussion were off the table.

      From my standpoint this was not a topic of discussion. I heard it on day one and noboby talked much about it after that.

      • Gavin has (below) asked Tallbloke to post exactly what it was that he used to base his precis on.

        Surely the most sensible way to proceed? Tallbloke must have used something and Gavin is giving his permission to Tallbloke to post whatever that is (including a private e-mail).

      • Gavin | February 4, 2011 at 11:34 am | Reply

        Tallbloke, feel free to post my response to the email in full.

        = = = = = = = = = = = =
        So even 25 minutes after Gavin had given permission to publish the email we have Mosher porojecting neferious objections he imagines Gavin will use to block the publication.

        Sums up “skeptics” rather neatly.

      • A whole 25 minutes? In a fast moving thread with mushrooming replies? And you think Mosh’s oversight “sums up skeptics”.

        Mosh is correct, I did say as part of my summary characterisation of Gavin’s response that ‘He said he wasn’t coming because policy discussion is off the table and anyway the science is settled’.

  18. “Since, in my opinion, the causes of conflict in the climate change debate relate almost entirely to politics and not the MWP, climate sensitivity or ‘ice’, dismissing this from any discussion did not seem likely to be to help foster any reconciliation.”

    Utter nonsense, is it possible very few still support the IPCC consensus?

    At least someone admits the science is flawed / incomplete.

    • Maybe this is indictive of some of the problem – flawed and incomplete seen as interchangeable terms?

      Since all science is incomplete, it’s all flawed (I assume you are implying wrong)??

      • Your argument depends totally on your assumption of the meaning of / in this context. So yes it is a lot like the real problem at hand; towit assumption-led conclusions.

        Why don’t you just admit you have a gut feeling about AGW and you are a pessimist at heart. You could say something like; ‘it would be fortunate indeed if the only thing chimneys emit turns out to be benign or even beneficial, but experience tells us that’s unlikely’.

        Now that’s a perfectly respectable stance that avoids coating rampant guesswork in a flaky mathematical veneer.

      • Interesting point Michael, I could have been more careful with the choice of terms but they illustrate what I’m seeing and are not intended to be inflammatory.

        Dr. Curry has done an excellent job of framing the issues. The issue that jumps out at me is the fact that the IPCC and Climate Science was tasked with the study of AGW and not funded to study and quantify the climate system as a whole.

        Because the Climate System is not fully understood, assumptions related to AGW are highly suspect. The missing aspects of Climate Science are numerous but being addressed to one degree or another.

        New funding to understand the Carbon Cycle, Water Cycle, Salinity, etc. are examples. Its one thing to say all Science is incomplete as a respectful nod to the Scientific Method, its quite another to claim a consensus of understanding without the facts.

        IMHO, its not unreasonable to conclude flawed in the face of the logic related to the “consensus” of opinion. Its worth noting, the IPCC and Climate Scientists freely admit the missing information so maybe I’m missing the point.

      • To be fair, I should have said:

        At least someone admits the consensus is flawed and the science incomplete.

    • “Utter nonsense, is it possible very few still support the IPCC consensus?”

      With over 60% of both Americans and Brits agreeing man is causing dangerous climate change, every single national scientific academy in the world endorsing the IPCC’s conclusions, and only a few scientific institutions disagreeing, I think we can safely say no, not really. Don’t you?

      • HUH!!! 60% of WHO?
        Brits – maybe.
        Americans? You’re dreaming.

      • I’ve looked over the “polls” for quite a while especially related to the Junk AB32 California legislation and find the Polls are poorly designed or designed to reveal political bend and little more.

        In the US, the vast majority feel Climate related legislation is not an issue worthy of support. If one were to spin the question design to reveal the percentage who feel industry should do a better job of managing poisons, the percentage would be 100%.

        CO2 isn’t a poison, however, the unnecessary emissions are wasteful.

        The issue isn’t about Climate Science from the general publics perspective in the US, the issue is about waste and inadequate thinking.

        CO2 isn’t causing inadequate decision-making!

  19. Dear Professor Curry,

    Thank you for keeping the discussion of the climate scandal alive. Thanks to the persistence of you and others who have challenged the “settled science” claim, we now see admissions:

    “Climate science . . . is much less certain than the IPCC mainstreamers say, and peace can be found only if all accept what they dubbed “the uncertainty monster”.”

    Climategate is somewhat like Watergate. The root of the problem is near the top, where the flow of public funds is controlled.

    But the climate scandal is broader, international in scope, involving leaders of the political community as well as leaders of the scientific community. It will be harder to resolve.

    Much more is at stake.

    Thank you, Professor Curry, for your persistent efforts to get to the bottom (actually the top) of the problem.

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

  20. “Since, in my opinion, the causes of conflict in the climate change debate relate almost entirely to politics and not the MWP, climate sensitivity or ‘ice’, dismissing this from any discussion did not seem likely to be to help foster any reconciliation.

    At no point did I declare that the ’science was settled’ and that there was nothing to discuss.”

    Uh, ya you did. That is what the “the causes of conflict in the climate change debate relate almost entirely to politics ” part means.

    The level of cognitive dissonance/deceit found in this guy is nothing short of astounding.

  21. “At least someone admits the science is flawed / incomplete.”

    Isn’t science, by its very nature, flawed and incomplete ? Any scientist, and those interested in science, would agree, surely – and that includes Climate Science.
    Is the Theory of Evolution complete or perfect ? No. Just like the Theory of AGW, there is unanimity and no other valid competing theory.

    • “Isn’t science, by its very nature, flawed and incomplete ?”

      JMurphy,

      OK. Thanks for the update.

      So why should I believe in AGW rather than not believing in it?

      Andrew

  22. Gavin says: “Since, in my opinion, the causes of conflict in the climate change debate relate almost entirely to politics and not the MWP, climate sensitivity or ‘ice’, dismissing this from any discussion did not seem likely to be to help foster any reconciliation.”
    But he is wrong. Conflict in the climate change debate (and most of the Climategate mails) do not deal with political objections (conservative, libertarian or whatever) but with specific scientific objections raised by the likes of Steve McIntyre and Ross Kittrick. It is about the MWP, the possible effecto of UHI on instrumental temperature records, arcane mathematical discussions about the way principal component analysis is implemented in some scientific papers, the use of data of disputed or uncertain validity (e.g. Chinese met stations), the legitimacy of eliminating diverging tree-ring data, the release of actual raw data on which calculations have been based, the possible neglect of negative cloud feedbacks in the estimation of climate sensititivy, the claim that recent warming is unprecedented in a millennium, and so on. No one in that context has disputed that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, no one has denied that the greenhouse effect exists, and most if not all have not disputed the reality of recent warming (2nd half of 20th century) even admitting UHI effects. And as far as I can see, no one disputed these points among the people invited to the ‘reconciliation’ workshop.

  23. Having only been to this site a couple of times in the past, I’m not aware of the moderation policy but am surprised to see such accusations as accusing someone of “cognitive dissonance/deceit” (based, as far as I can see, on the poster’s own interpretation of someone else’s words) being allowed. Shame.

    • Yeah, you likely much prefer the ‘moderation policy’ at RealClimate, where one is not permitted to question the pronouncements of the Almighty Schmidt in any substantive fashion.

      The cognitive dissonance in Schmidts words is plain. If you disagree with that assessment, make your case rather than calling for the opposing view to be censored.

    • Latimer Alder

      I wonder exactly how you expect a blogospheric discussion to be conducted?

      Over cucumber sandwiches (sans crusts) and weak tea at the Vicarage, with language carefully moderated in case the Rector’s unmarried and super-sensitive sister is in earshot?

      Or robustly and vehemently as befits the (supposedly) ‘Most important problem that humanity has ever faced’?

      If the former, I suspect that this blog may not be to your taste. But many others have read and contributed here without falling ill with a fit of the vapours at the robustness of the discussion?.

  24. Judith
    I followed one of your links to climateprogress and was shocked at the tone of most of the comments. Many of them were particularly critical of you and there were some threats to invade Climate etc and ‘set them straight’!!
    On a more serious note, I see little scope for reconciliation at the moment.

    • well I am even more shocked by the post by Joe Romm, someone I actually used to work with on a few things.

      • Judith,

        Your continued feigning of ‘shock’ about what others say is wearing a bit thin, when you are the queen of nasty innuendo and snide remarks.

        But then, nothing has really changed from the days of “brain fossilization”. You’re still making intemperate remarks about your scientific colleagues in public forums, you’ve just taken aim in a different direction.

        I reached the conclusion that your contributions to ‘debate’ are ethically dubious.

      • Clearly a ‘set them straight’!! comment…

      • Michael,
        That is some rather bold grimacing by you, from yet another anonymous internet self-declared hero.

      • He couldn’t be the infamous Michael…Mann, could he?

      • LOL!

        I think you’ll find that Michael Mann isn’t prone to wild, Curry-esque accusations in the public sphere.

      • NAH he isnot Mann enough

      • Michael

        I’m afraid I have to defend Judith here.

        You state she is “the queen of nasty innuendo and snide remarks”.

        Can you back this up with anything (except nasty innuendo and snide remarks)?

        Max

      • Oh, where to start!

        Well there’s this post for starters, where she finished a post on the apparent, and now known to be very real, false accusations against Gavin Schmidt, with a little dig at climate scientists in general.

        Then there’s the broad allegations of corruption and fraud from Judith against scientists in the IPCC, which when she was challeged to back up these very serious claims with evidence, we got ‘ um…er…I’ve been misunderstood’ . No apology of course.

        Her continued mealy-mouthed jibes at a certain ‘young PhD’ (we all know who she means) who is only interested in using science to advance his career.

        Some people, not me, might call Judith a nasty piece of work.

        I’ll remain polite and say that her conduct has been ethically dubious. Ethically challenged, if you prefer.

      • Seems to me that hypersensitive souls who are so upset by such trivial slights – real or imagined – should find another topic to be interested in.

        Because otherwise it will all end up in tears before bedtime for them.

        Meanwhile the rest of us can get on with discussing what some have hysterically described as ‘the most important problem humanity has ever faced’ without playground games of ‘he said/she said’, and loudly complaining that not everybody always agrees with them….and that its just not fair…..

      • Stiff responses to accusations of scientific fraud is hardly a matter of being “hypersensitive”. If proven true, the accused scientist will end up teaching elementary science in a community college for a pittance, with no opportunity to do research.

        Judith should put up, or shut up, when she makes claims that insinuate such.

      • Latimer Alder

        Did I miss something?

        Who has been directly accused of fraud? Are they sung Judith? What is she supposed to have said? And what is his/her defence?

        Seems to me that you too should put up or shut up when making unpleasant claims…in this case about JC.

      • JC;
        “These scientists have used the IPCC to jump the normal meritocracy process by which scientists achieve influence over the politics of science and policy. Not only has this brought some relatively unknown, inexperienced and possibly dubious people into positions of influence, but these people become vested in protecting the IPCC, which has become central to their own career and legitimizes playing power politics with their expertise…These scientists have used to IPCC to gain a seat at the “big tables” where they can play power politics with the collective expertise of the IPCC, to obtain personal publicity, and to advance their careers”

        OK I’m open on this question – are these broad brush, completely unsupported by evidence allegations, a result of dubious ethics, or an integrity deficit?

      • It is a criticism of the IPCC, it is not a criticism of individual scientists. It is scientists working within the system to maximize their personal advantage and influence. It is a criticism of the institutions, not of the individual scientists that manage to thrive in it.

      • Yet your words read exactly the opposite – the IPCC abused by scientists who have “used the IPCC” for their own personal benefit.

      • Michael and Judith

        If I may interject myself here, Michael, I’d suggest that, rather than making empty and unfounded accusations, you actually read what Dr. Curry wrote about the IPCC and the integrity of the scientists in her seminal blog on this topic last November:

        http://judithcurry.com/2010/11/03/reversing-the-direction-of-the-positive-feedback-loop/

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

        This all is pretty clearly stated and makes sense to any impartial observer, especially after the “hockeystick” fiasco, Climategate and other revelations.

        It’s certainly not climate science per se that is corrupt, nor is it the climate scientists, in general. It is the highly politicized IPCC process, which has corrupted a small cadre of scientists, who have used this corrupt process to gain positions of influence and who misuse their positions of expertise to protect the IPCC against criticism.

        Denying that this is the case will not make it go away. It will only exacerbate the situation and further weaken the credibility of the IPCC and, unfortunately, climate science, in general. It may eventually lead to IPCC becoming totally irrelevant.

        Dr. Curry has made some very astute suggestions concerning what needs to be done to reverse the “direction of this positive feedback loop” (as she described it).

        My advice to you: read this (as openmindedly as possible). Then let it sink in. Then read it again, if necessary.

        It is very much to the point.

        And it should clear up any confusion you may have on this issue.

        Max

      • And she also wrote what I posted above – that scientists were using the IPCC to advance their careers wtc.

        I’d suggest you go back and read that ‘seminal post’ which was an awful load of tripe, full of unsubstantiated allegations of malfeasance.

      • Nice try, Michael.

        But there’s no substance here.

        Get specific.

        Max

      • Latimer Alder

        I’m sure Judith’s shoulders are broad enough to allow her to be able to cope with your remark.

        And the high regard in which she is held by many here will fortify her should she weaken in her resolve to directly tell the truth as she sees it.

        It would, of course, be open to her to do so from behind a pseudonym, but she has the cojones to speak as herself.

    • RobB – equally shocking are the tone of many of the commenters over at WUWT. For example “I am violently opposed to the warmistas, their beliefs and their crusade to tax and control me. Let my language make it plain that I believe that this is a war. No reconcilliation – no surrender.”

      This is not an unusual type of comment but represent at least 20% of the views there.

      One thing is quite clear – there are blogs from both (extreme) sides of this debate. Pointing to either and saying “look how horrid they are over there” doesn’t actually achieve much.

  25. Bad Andrew and Hector M. – I believe you would both find answers to many of your accusations/questions/doubts over at Skeptical Science :

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/

    • JMurphy,

      I can only conclude that you are linking us to “flawed and incomplete” information. That doesn’t help.

      Andrew

      • Since when did linking to science not help ?
        Did you have a problem with anything in particular at Skeptical Science ?

      • JMurphy,

        You argued earlier that “all science is flawed and incomplete”.

        If that is true why is your link of any value?

        Is that not your position? What is your position, if I am mistaken?

        Andrew

      • Those who are interested/work/involved in science, acknowledge its limitations but/therefore/so continue to be interested/work/involved in science because they know the value of science. Those who know that, will be interested in learning more.

        Richard Feynman : “The principle of science, the definition, almost, is the following : The test of all knowledge is experiment. Experiment is the sole judge of scientific ‘truth’. But what is the source of knowledge? Where do the laws that are to be tested come from? Experiment, itself, helps to produce these laws, in the sense that it gives us hints. But also needed is imagination to create from these hints the great generalizations — to guess at the wonderful, simple, but very strange patterns beneath them all, and then to experiment to check again whether we have made the right guess.”

      • Well that just about rules climatology out from being a science then. Nobody ever does any experiments at all.

        As ever, Feynman spoke with great clarity and integrity.

      • Yes, climatology is more of a real soft science, like social sciences and economics. None of which can produce controled emperiments to test hypothesis.

      • “the value of science”

        JMurphy,

        What specific value does your link have, considering the universally acknowledged yet unspecified limitations?

        Andrew (Goalpost Chaser)

  26. Can anyone here tell us if the present state of cliamte science has improved meteorological methods?
    If so, how?

  27. hunter, a quick look at WIKIPEDIA came up with this :

    Meteorology is the interdisciplinary scientific study of the atmosphere that focuses on weather processes and short term forecasting (in contrast with climatology).

    Climatology (from Greek κλίμα, klima, “region, zone”; and -λογία, -logia) is the study of climate, scientifically defined as weather conditions averaged over a period of time, and is a branch of the atmospheric sciences.

    • Pointing out one of the ratholes – weather is chaotic and can’t be predicted reliably much into the future. Climate is an average of weather (whatever that means). If weather were random instead of chaotic, averaging would buy you something, but here it leads to another chaotic situation which can’t be predicted reliably much into the future.

    • How is climate manifested?

  28. Tallbloke, feel free to post my response to the email in full. It will be better if you do so, so that it is clear exactly what you received and read. For reference, the full invitation (06/Oct/2010) was as follows:

    Dear Dr. Gavin Schmidt,

    We have been following your activities with regards to the science of climate change, the controversies and the challenges, etc.

    We are writing to you now about a proposed workshop on the issue, which we are hoping to organise for next January, the 26th to 28th. It will be sponsored and financially supported by the Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen of the European Commission’s DG Joint Research Centre, and will take place at the C. Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon.

    We have been trying to find a way to begin to overcome the polarisation on this issue, which as you know has already done great damage to the cause of coping with climate change, as well as to the reputation of science itself. At this stage we are planning to have a workshop where the main scientific issues can be discussed, so that some clarity on points of agreement and disagreement might be reached. We would try to stay off the policy issues, and will also exclude personal arguments.

    The issues we have in mind are Medieval Warm Period, ‘ice’, climate sensitivity, and temperature data. We would hope to have smaller groups discussing these in some detail, hopefully with scientists who are very familiar with the technical issues to lead the discussion.

    Since the topics are so sensitive we would have Chatham House rules unless the consensus desires otherwise; and there would be some public report of the proceedings.

    We are just now finalising the invitation list. I do hope that you find this a useful activity to engage on.

    With very best wishes

    Sincerely-

    The organising Team

    • Gavin, it will be better if you post what you sent. That way it is clear what you sent and meant.
      ========

      • If Gavin were to post it, there are folks that will say he has edited it or will refuse to believe it is the actual real McCoy. Better that Tallbloke posts what he based his precis on.

      • Gavin, it would be better if you post what was sent.
        That way it is clear what went and was meant.
        ========================

      • To paraphrase : If Gavin were to post it, there are people who will say he that he has edited it, or will refuse to believe it is the actual real McCoy. Better that Tallbloke posts what he based his precis on.

      • The only way this is going to work out happily is if both versions agree exactly, as they should. Then we will know what was sent and was meant, and what was got and was thought. Nice, huh?
        ================

      • Besides, the provenance of Gavin’s is assured. The other version’s is a little more uh, shall we say, ‘uncertain’.

        So let’s have the certain one first. The original, so to speak. Then we can compare to establish ‘certainty’ in the provenance of the latter.
        ============

      • …assuming the post above is actually from Gavin and not from an interloper! Damn conspiracy again!

    • Gavin – it would be best if both you and Tallbloke send copies of what you wrote to Dr. Curry so that the samples don’t appear to influence the other. Such a double-blind exchange would go far toward keeping the conspiracy hounds of the blogosphere at bay.

      • Send it to the recipient of a prize that throws climate science in the trash can, accepted from one of the parties in this whole fiasco? Get real.

    • Dr. Schmidt,
      You seem to need to have it both ways. Why don’t you just post the exchange yourself?

      • hunter – it may be the case that what Tallbloke saw was an edited version of whatever Dr Schmidt sent. If Fred Pearce has based his comments on Dr Schmidt’s non-attendance on whatever Tallbloke reported that he saw, it is important to know exactly what Tallbloke saw.

        I agree that having both Dr Schmidt and Tallbloke post their own versions is best, that way, if there are any differences these will be apparent. If there aren’t any, then a discussion of the interpretation of Dr Schmidt’s words is probable.

      • Louise, the provenance of Gavin’s is stronger. He should take the gallant offer of first post from Tallbloke, and frame his meaning as he likes. Then Tallbloke can confirm or deny identity of the two emails. If it is confirmation then the debate over meaning should progress. If it’s denial, then there is a whole can of worms to open and digest, but the first step is clear. It is Gavin’s.
        =============

      • kim – I disagree.

        As the debate is actually about Tallbloke’s precis then I think it is most important that we see what that precis is based on – simple.

      • Riiiiight, Louise, the argument is about this derivative thing off to the side, and not on what Gavin wrote and meant. Nice try.
        ====================

      • The issue at this time is the e-mails. If there is an ethical question that comes out of the posting of the e-mails, that is a new issue. Right now, I would grant that both parties have acted in good faith irt this e-mail exchange.
        If either wants their position crystal clear, all they should do is post he exchange.
        Dr. Schmidt seems to have a different definition of ‘the science is settled’ than what would be commonly used. He could clarify that further as well, if he chooses to.

    • Gavin, thank you for permission to post. I appreciate your openness in regard to this issue, and I hope the discussion which follows can remain reasonable and objective. My own observation is that this will hinge around the question of what constitutes “The scientific community” and whether or not my summary was fair or not.

      Let the chips fall where they may and the discussion commence, I have posted on my blog so that Judith is not accused of anything unfairly, but I have closed comments, so as not to fracture the debate here.

      http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/gavin-schmidt-response-to-lisbon-invitation/

      • The email you’re quoting is entirely consistent with Gavin Schmidt’s letter ,a comment of his I read prior to the publication of the SA article and of course the realclimate piece linked above.

        Aside from the fact Gavin’s known position is not consistent with “The science is settled” the only way you could extract that interpretation from that response is if you’re very very keen for that to be what was said.

        I think it’s likely you didn’t realise that your summation would be repeated much less published but I consider it baffling you’ve continued to defend its accuracy.

      • None of the seemingly important ‘conflicts’ that are *perceived* in the science are ‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community, rather they are proxy arguments for political positions.

        Oh, yes, that really appears to be an acknowlegement that there are valid differences of opinion within the scientific community.

        I’d be interested to see where McShane and Wyner, Spencer, Curry, and Webster fall “between the science community who are focussed on increasing understanding, and people who are picking through the scientific evidence for cherries they can pick to support a pre-defined policy position”. After all, “no ‘conflict resolution’ is possible” between those two divides.

      • “Oh, yes, that really appears to be an acknowlegement that there are valid differences of opinion within the scientific community.”

        Firstly there is no divergence between what Gavin wrote before the SA article, what he wrote in the letter in response to the SA article and this email that tallbloke has now quoted.

        Consequently any interpretation you want to apply applies equally well to everything he’s said on the topic both in public and private.

        The problem is that tallbloke claimed to have a “private” email which contradicted Gavin’s other statements. This has now been shown not to be the case.

        Secondly you cannot arbitrarily interpret people words or insert your own meanings into what they’ve said especially when they’ve clarified what they’ve said or produced a pattern of statements that makes it clear what they’ve said. If someone says “The science is not settled” and later says something that if you strain hard enough could be “The science is settled” then you have a very very poor case for contradiction.

        The “conflict” around topics like temperature data in the blogosphere is almost entirely non-scientific in nature. I suggest reading WUWT any day of the week for yet another “proof” the temperature data is all fraud or wrong. If you think these analyses are valuable then you need to research the topic more and learn why they’re not instead of agreeing with anything that produces an answer you like.

        Are there valid differences of opinion in the scientific community? Yes and this is acknowledged by everyone but gleefully stuffing yet more straw in the debate. Does that mean every criticism of climate science that can be found on blogs represents a “valid difference”? No.

      • “Secondly you cannot arbitrarily interpret people words or insert your own meanings into what they’ve said especially when they’ve clarified what they’ve said or produced a pattern of statements that makes it clear what they’ve said. If someone says “The science is not settled” and later says something that if you strain hard enough could be “The science is settled” then you have a very very poor case for contradiction.”

        A bit revisionist on the timeline there Sharper. I characterised it first, then Gavin clarified it.

        I interpreted Gavin’s words before he clarified it.

        Sharper00 said:
        “Are there valid differences of opinion in the scientific community? Yes and this is acknowledged by everyone ”

        Gavin said:
        “None of the seemingly important ‘conflicts’ that are *perceived* in the science are ‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community”

        Seems you have a disagreement with Gavin to sort out.

      • “A bit revisionist on the timeline there Sharper. I characterised it first, then Gavin clarified it.”

        Gavin has stated his position on whether the science is “settled” publicly at least a full year before this incident. He also posted his reasons for not attending the conference before the SA article was even published see:

        http://rabett.blogspot.com/2011/02/that-ol-devil-rabett.html

        The only one (conveniently) confused about the timeline of events is you.

        “Seems you have a disagreement with Gavin to sort out.”

        The level of honesty I’m willing to attribute you in this matter is dropping like a rock. I’ve outlined the difference and anyone engaging in an honest discussion can see there’s no conflict between what I said and Gavin’s words.

        If you’re going to insist on the opposite and double down instead of acknowledging a mistake then you’re welcome to.

      • I’m not going on something else Gavin said a year ago that I never saw, I’m going on what he said in response to the invite to Lisbon which is what I summarized as him saying that the science is settled, and what you say. I think your attempt to judge me on something else Gavin said which I never saw is unreasonable.

        Sharper00 says:
        “Are there valid differences of opinion in the scientific community? Yes and this is acknowledged by everyone.”

        Gavin said:
        “None of the seemingly important ‘conflicts’ that are *perceived* in the science are ‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community”

      • “I think your attempt to judge me on something else Gavin said which I never saw is unreasonable.”

        As I’ve stated I can see how you came to that conclusion at the time but I cannot see how you’ve continued to defend the conclusion or how you could claim that the email in your possession would contradict anything Gavin had said in public.

        Instead of saying “Oops, you know what I read the email quickly and thought that’s what he said. I didn’t realise people were going to publish it in Scientific American or I’d have put a lot more thought into it. Now that I’ve seen the other things Gavin wrote I can see why he’s annoyed” you’re instead deciding to defend your original interpretation.

        “Gavin said:”

        Gavin said none of the “seemingly important”, “conflicts” are genuine scientific controversies and he’s right. Temperature data is not controversial nor is there a scientific conflict. Sea ice is is not controversial nor is there a scientific conflict. Paleo climate is not controversial nor is there a scientific conflict.

        Those “conflicts” all live on in the blogosphere not the scientific literature.

      • “I cannot see how you’ve continued to defend the conclusion”

        I haven’t. I’ve just let it stand.

        “or how you could claim that the email in your possession would contradict anything Gavin had said in public.”

        I haven’t made any such claim.

        “Instead of saying “Oops, you know what I read the email quickly and thought that’s what he said. I didn’t realise people were going to publish it in Scientific American or I’d have put a lot more thought into it. Now that I’ve seen the other things Gavin wrote I can see why he’s annoyed” you’re instead deciding to defend your original interpretation.”

        I haven’t seen the other things that Gavin wrote. I see no need to defend my original interpretation because i think Gavin’s response to the invite confirm it.

        “Gavin said none of the “seemingly important”, “conflicts” are genuine scientific controversies and he’s right. ”

        I disagree, and anyway, that’s not what he said. This is what he said:

        Gavin said:
        “None of the seemingly important ‘conflicts’ that are *perceived* in the science are ‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community”

      • Sharper00 summarized the difference well when (he/she) said The “conflict” around topics like temperature data in the blogosphere is almost entirely non-scientific in nature. Gavin Schmidt stated in his letter to the New Scientist that the stated topics – Medieval Warm Period, ice, climate sensitivity, and temperature data – were not held to be in any significant dispute in the scientific community.

        You may feel that they should be in dispute, but the fact remains that they are not.

      • “Gavin Schmidt stated in his letter to the New Scientist that the stated topics – Medieval Warm Period, ice, climate sensitivity, and temperature data – were not held to be in any significant dispute in the scientific community“.

        As in settled?

      • Are there valid differences of opinion in the scientific community? …

        I would add there is no apparent need for a reconciliation between those with these differences of opinion.

      • Tallbloke has already addressed some of this, so I’ll just hit the remainder.

        The “conflict” around topics like temperature data in the blogosphere is almost entirely non-scientific in nature. I suggest reading WUWT any day of the week for yet another “proof” the temperature data is all fraud or wrong. If you think these analyses are valuable then you need to research the topic more and learn why they’re not instead of agreeing with anything that produces an answer you like.

        Interesting…I bring up McShane and Wyner, Spencer, Curry, and Webster and you comment about unscientific conflicts in the blogosphere. Are you linking them or is this just a coincidence? And for what it’s worth, I’m neither a denizen of WUWT nor do I consider the instrument record a “fraud”.

      • “Interesting…I bring up McShane and Wyner, Spencer, Curry, and Webster and you comment about unscientific conflicts in the blogosphere. “

        Is the “conflict” the Lisbon conference was seeking to address between “McShane and Wyner, Spencer, Curry, and Webster” and the climate science community?

        I bring up unscientific comments in the blogosphere because that is what is what dominates the “conflict”.

        If you’re going to say “But if you ignore the unscientific parts of the debate, leaving only the scientific parts then Gavin’s statement means there’s no conflict in the scientific parts!” then you’re torturing the context in order to produce the answer you want.

        It’s pretty clear that Gavin is talking about the unscientific aspects of the debate which is precisely why he felt a scientific conference to resolve them was pointless.

      • Is the “conflict” the Lisbon conference was seeking to address between “McShane and Wyner, Spencer, Curry, and Webster” and the climate science community?

        Here’s the list of example conflicts from the invitation:
        “Medieval Warm Period, ice, climate sensitivity, and temperature data”.

        McShane and Wyner’s work touches on the MWP. Curry’s brought up questions around climate sensitivity. Webster has questioned the attribution of early 20th century warming. Sorry, I can’t think of anyone for “ice”, but I think you should be getting the picture.

        It’s pretty clear that Gavin is talking about the unscientific aspects of the debate which is precisely why he felt a scientific conference to resolve them was pointless.

        No, he’s claiming that the scientific aspects don’t exist other than as a proxy for political positions.

      • “McShane and Wyner’s work touches on the MWP. Curry’s brought up questions around climate sensitivity. Webster has questioned the attribution of early 20th century warming. Sorry, I can’t think of anyone for “ice”, but I think you should be getting the picture.”

        As scientific controversies go a single paper, a hurricane specialist asking questions about climate sensitivity on her blog and a post on the same blog by Webster (assuming this is what you’re referring to) is some mighty weak sauce.

        To go further and characterise these as the “conflict” in the climate debate is nothing other than ridiculous.

        “No, he’s claiming that the scientific aspects don’t exist other than as a proxy for political positions.”

        Specifically on those topics and specifically in relation to the “conflict”.

      • To go further and characterise these as the “conflict” in the climate debate is nothing other than ridiculous.

        I’d explain the concept of an example, but I’m afraid it’s pointless.

      • Tallbloke is not to blame here. He is just some nobody blogger bigging up what he thinks he read in an email.

        Pearce should have approached the person who reputation he was about to trash and gotten an actual quote or reaction.

        No one would expect skeptical thinking or benefit of the doubt from a skeptic blogger at a skeptic bloggers party, well no one other than Pearce it seems.

      • And you need to take something to quell your bilious distemper.

      • I doubt anything exists that would bring dorlomin back from the edge. Such fanaticism extremism is absolute.

      • Tallbloke, you’ve done nothing but throw burly in the water and watched the sharks feed. But that’s how this forum works doesnt it? Judith says, ‘I wonder about the fascist leanings of mainstream climate scientists – any comments’. and then she sits back and whats the feeding frenzy but the right wing chumosphere. And when people complain about her sleazy tactics she goes all coy “who me? I just asked a question”. Sure..

        And now you are doing it. Well done!

  29. The only way to clarify what happened on the way to Pearce is if the full chain is made public, précis included, preferably by Gavin and tallbloke

  30. I just googled the phrase “The Science Is Settled”. Dishonest and banned Wiki-contributor William Connolley and politician Al Gore get a lot of initial hits. If I’m going to attribute the phrase to anyone, it has to be Al Gore. He’s said it so many times that, when I read the phrase, his voice saying it echo’s in my head (and yes, it hurts). The press of course has run with it over the years. Here is just one headline:

    Copenhagen: The Science Is Settled; The Policy And Politics Aren’t

    “The Science Is Settled”!!! Why not! It’s short, pithy, it’s what the politicians who “care” about the environment have been saying since forever, and is clear in meaning, even though the truth is more complicated than that. But the press doesn’t like complicated. Yes, Gavin IS on record dismissing that phrase. You may argue his actions bely his dismissal of the term, but I would counter that he is just defending he and his colleagues work. It’s what more scientists should do, regardless of whether they are proven right or wrong in the end.

    Now… question, did the press ever report his commentary on “The Science Is Settled”?

    No. This flew way under the radar. It’s too complicated!

    In closing I would say that it may not be the fault of climate scientists that this phrase is so commonly bandied about when discussing climate change. But their actions, in labeling anyone who questioned the certainty of any detail as “deniers” doesn’t help the case that the DO think the science IS settled.

    • From Gavin’s heart to your ears:

      http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/unsettled-science/

      Google:
      “science is settled” site:realclimate.org

      • Yet the post quotes Mike Hulme who says:

        “S]cience has clearly revealed”

        Clearly Revealed vs. Unsettled

        Cage match comin’ soon! ;)

        Andrew

      • There seems to be a disconnect between what Dr. Schmidt claims about science and what he practices in his profession and his blog.

      • dp… Did you miss the part where I said “Yes, Gavin IS on record dismissing that phrase. “?

      • I posted the earliest known specific evidence of the point stated from Gavin himself to help hammer home your point. Something you failed to do. Now we know your statement is right and where we can find evidence of that. You’re welcome.

      • Have you missed the volumes of writing where he explains exactly that the science is settled and that anyone who questions his apocalyptic claptrap is a denier?

      • Yes, I have missed that. Perhaps you could point to some of them?

      • I for one don’t recall seeing Gavin’s name on statements like this

        http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/141453-scientists-put-aside-politics-and-focus-on-climate-science

        I have had arguments with Gavin that have pointed out big differences between us regarding how we each reason about uncertainty. And I agree that his style on the blog often comes across as arrogant and authoritarian (some people like it, others don’t). But I do not regard Gavin as one of the ringleaders of “the science is settled” crowd. (whereas several people on the latest letter have made such public statements).

        Also, I seem to recall Gavin mostly using the word “contrarian” and not denier (I may be wrong about this).

        So if you want to tar and feather someone over “the science is settled,” pick somebody else.

        The statement made by Fred Pearce is puzzling, and I’m surprised he didn’t contact Gavin about it, to see exactly what he said and why (would have made for a more interesting not to mention accurate story).

      • It appears that Gavin S. is a reasonable person after all. My friend (radun) posted one of my links on his blog, and his answer was perfectly reasonable and civilised as you can see here , acknowledging natural variation.
        Talking of natural variation, this one should be of some interest:

        http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/PDO-ENSO.htm

      • “Authoritarian” !?

        Do you know what the word means?

        You have a way with the English language….and it’s not good.

      • Dr. Curry, I don’t understand your defense of Gavin. I read his email and it is clear he was saying the science was settled even though he did not use those words.

        Gavin wrote: “None of the seemingly important ‘conflicts’ that are *perceived* in the science are ‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community, rather they are proxy arguments for political positions.”

        In every possible sense, his statement is not true. Conflicts in the science are real and not just “perceived.” The fact Gavin is unwilling to admit they exist is the very same thing as saying “the science is settled.”

        Gavin also wrote: “No ‘conflict resolution’ is possible between the science community who are focussed on increasing understanding, and people who are picking through the scientific evidence for cherries they can pick to support a pre-defined policy position.”

        Again, this is completely wrong. Gavin has no evidence skeptics are “picking through” evidence to “support a pre-determined policy position.” McIntyre has no predetermined policy position in mind. Neither do many of the other attendees. McIntyre and others have found errors which have advanced the science and increased understanding. McKitrick has published studies which have increased understanding. But here’s the problem: Gavin does not like where these advances in our knowledge lead and so he is unwilling to give these researchers any credit or even be civil in their presence.

        No, Gavin gets does not get a pass here. He clearly wrote the science is settled even though he did not use those words.

      • As far as AGW is concerned he basically used the words in the document he references to New Scientist to distance himself from “settled science” http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/04/lisbon-workshop-on-reconciliation-part-iv/#comment-38689

      • HAS, exactly. Gavin is clearly a “the science is settled” kind of guy. I don’t see the point of pretending he is not.

      • Once only on the horns of the dilemma, but now gored.
        ====================

      • Yes hunter, we are all quite well acquainted with your dogmatic beliefs on how awful climate scientists are.

      • Interesting read, I agree with the begining, start to think “wait a moment” in the middle and disagree at the end. I fact you can almost scale yourself on a denier-skeptic-lukewarmer-warmist-alarmist scale based on where you start to disagree : from the “at the moment I saw the author’s name” to “oh my Gaia, Gavin has been bought by big oil”;-)

        But, whatever your degree of skepticism/denial and hence your appreciation of Gavin piece, having been written in decembre 2009, it comes just a tad too late….

    • I did a bit of digging into the settled science quote last year. Even Al Gore is hard to pin down as ever having made this statement. I think I’ve tracked down one example from him but this may not be a direct quote. Politicians, activists, and organizational spokespersons (for UNEP or the EPA) have however used very similar language, or made references to AGW being as settled as anything can be in science (gravity is a favored comparison). Climate scientists, Gavin Schmidt included, have been more careful and nuanced, though we can argue about what all the talk of consensus is saying “in effect”.
      In sum, “the science is settled” is a strawman, even if you can dig up examples of someone saying it from time to time. But as a strawman it often bears a close resemblance to the real thing.

      • This being said, I really do dislike strawmen. Even if Al Gore can be caught using this language somewhere I still consider it incorrect to proclaim “Al Gore says the science is settled”, because in the vast majority of cases he talks instead about the (Oreskes) consensus. It’s even worse when someone leaves the subject undefined in a statement like “they say the science is settled”. Focus on the actual language used and address that. As for Pearce in this case, maybe he was referencing an email but I’m not even sure if that would be appropriate. I would agree that he probably deserves a bit of a yellow card here.

    • I suspect it’s important to distinguish between a policymaker and a scientist. Someone’s done the homework on “the science is settled” already.

      The science is settled

      • Connelly also put nicely why there is such vehement resistance to give up the “settled” strawman:

        It is a feeble attempt at a double bind: is the science settled? ha ha, then you can’t be a scientist because real science is never settled. Is the science not settled? Oh great, then we don’t need to do anything until it is.

  31. The USA EPA seems to know that The Science is Settled. And, as we are strictly on a Science-Based Policy trajectory, there’s got to be some scientists behind this knowledge somewhere, don’t you think?

    EPA Chief Goes Toe-To-Toe With Senate GOP Over Climate Science.

    U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson today defended the science underpinning pending climate regulations despite Senate Republicans’ claims that global warming data has been thrown into doubt.

    “The science behind climate change is settled, and human activity is responsible for global warming,” Jackson told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

    • The EPA based their finding on the IPCC FAR conclusions (many of which have been discredited) and model results (which are NOT data).

    • The Science is Settled, it says so on the EPA Web site:

      Statement on Litigation on EPA Endangerment Finding.

      The question of the science is settled.

      And, of course, the EPA relies solely on Climate Science.

      • The EPA must be some of the ‘contrarians’ Gavin was talking about then ;-)

      • What the EPA is doing is an example of STUPID policy implementation in the US. The EPA’s actions will result in no measureable change in climate, and billions in additional costs. Hopefully it will be ultimately be stopped

      • Uh huh – just like the “Polar Bear” finding that was based on the same models and completely avoided the actual data that contradicted both the models and the finding.

    • Gingrich is putting his seat on the line and should bear in mind that the EPA was the creation of the GOP.

      Results of ORC International Gallup poll (PDF) (February 2, 2011)

      * Americans want the EPA to do more, not less. Almost two thirds of Americans (63 percent) say “the EPA needs to do more to hold polluters accountable and protect the air and water,”…

      * Americans do not want Congress to kill the EPA’s anti-pollution updates…

      * The majority of Republicans – and all Americans – oppose the former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s plan to dismantle the EPA…

      • Regretfully, I agree with Gingrich.

        The decision by EPA’s chief – to ignore science and declare CO2 a dangerous pollutant anyway – suggests that the EPA chief is simply an “agent of the apparatus” commonly called “apparatchik” in the old USSR.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apparatchik

        Closing down agencies (NAS, EPA, NASA, DOE) that have been converted into “agents of the apparatus” may be the only way left to resolve the climate scandal and restore constitutional government.

        Regretfully,
        Oliver K. Manuel
        Former NASA Principal
        Investigator for Apollo

      • Frankly I wish you were either silent or on the other side of this issue.

  32. Judith

    If “leaders of mainstream climate science” accept man made global warming is “unsettled science”, why advocate for policy based on “unsettled science”?

    • OK, why do people like you advocate a policy of doing nothing when the science is unsettled, and sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 may be higher than the IPCC “most likely” range of say 2-4.5C?

      Hmmm?

      That knife cuts both ways, buddy.

      • Nope, that knife is dull on one side and sharp on the other. I looked and felt.
        ===================

      • Where’s your proof?

        There’s a body of evidence that the sensitivity may well be much lower than the IPCC range. Including the continuing “lack of warming” for the last 10-15 years (depending on which data set you use). Your contention has neither validity nor credibility.

      • So you’re saying the science is settled?

        Or not?

        Again, that knife cuts both ways.

      • Feel it! Sharp on low sensitivity, dull on high sensitivity. Trust your senses, not your imagination.
        ==========

      • No, your knife is dull. History is a bitch – especially if you don’t know it. And the history of science says the science is NEVER settled. That’s the nature of the beast. Anyone who uses the expression simply labels themselves as ignorant of what science is and what it does – and how it does what it does.

      • Jim; isn’t it reasonable to ask what “science” you are talking about here? The existence of electricity can be proven, alien life cannot. All “science” is not the same.

      • Not to open an argument, but do you really believe that the “science is settled” wrt electricity? That there’s nothing new to learn? That there are no open questions?

        There was a recent comment that implied the solidity of the theory of relativity – and yet I know of at least two serious challenges to that “solidity”.

        If it’s “science” then it’s NEVER settled – at least in my lifetime or yours. And probably not for the next 10,000 – or more likely, 100,000 years. Climate science is still in it’s infancy. It’s no more an exception than “electricity” or relativity.

      • Because the cost of doing nothing is not well established, and the price of doing what the AGW community wants is crazy high, while the benefits of those policies are at best marginal.

  33. > some public report of the proceedings.
    Still to be anticipated, or is this it?

    • Well, the workshop organizers are preparing a summary report for the Gulbenkian foundation. I assume that it will be distributed to the participants, at which time I will post (and presumably others that participated will post on their blogs as well.) I have no idea when to expect the summary report.

      • If you told Eli who was writing it, the Bunny could do a pretty fair job telling you what will be in it.

      • Well Angela Pereira seems to be the main person coordinating this, good luck figuring out what will be in it.

      • Allow Eli a wild guess:
        ——————————————–
        One of the major shames about what seems to be a climate change sham is really about the work some governmental and non-governmental organisations have done and citizenry commitment etc. to help with reducing our footprint in the planet. Probably, the major issue that forces us as individuals to take action is health and in so far, no socio-environmental issue like climate change has given rise to such international political and institutional movement, and societal initiatives, including governmental and non-governmental ones, devising strategies in sectors like Energy and so on – for instance, biodiversity maintenance does not have that power! So, Climate Change was often used as the pragmatic and moral justification to do something about sectors that anyway needed a boost to be revamped! We still need to clarify, how instrumental this was for those involved.

        In the recent past, climate change was THE argument to improve our relations with the planet, with nature; with each other. This whole charade regarding the science that underpins it is a major frustration for those who had embraced a battle about the most needed change of gestures, values and perceptions about the use of natural resources, justifying such change with that science! This issue is not about uncertainty or about ignorance in science. It is about framing and instrumentalisation of science.

        I ask, after this example of credibility, what do we do now? Probably, it would have been better to use knowledge that are more congenial with human nature after all, intuition, wisdom, common sense, responsibility and above all respect for each others.
        ———————–

        Wanna bet?

      • The above was posted by Angela Pereira almost exactly one year ago – good find, Eli.

      • Can’t a bunny have any fun???

      • A sham is, indeed, a shame.

  34. I’ve just read Pearce’s anecdotal piece at NS (a site I normally avoid) and I suspect based on what I read and what I know, Pearce has watered his article well with snippets of mental energy and a little bit of fact. The mental effort dominates.

    It is hard to know what the significance of his article is, who is audience is, and what his message is. My take is it is a backdrop for larger shadows to fall upon and nothing more. I fervently hope it is true that God does not take from one’s life those moments spent reading drivel.

  35. Gavin

    The attribution of the warming over the last 50 years to human activity is also pretty well established

    Gavin is the warming “over the last 50 years” unprecedented or anomalous?
    Here is the global warming for the most recent warming compared to the previous warming.

    http://bit.ly/9lp8q3

    In both warming phases, the global warming was about 0.45 deg C in 30 years.

    The second phase is nearly identical to the first one both in magnitude and duration.

    As the recent warming is not anomalous because the current record is similar the the previous one, why the alarm?

  36. From RC:

    The phrase “the science is settled” is associated almost 100% with contrarian comments on climate and is usually a paraphrase of what ‘some scientists’ are supposed to have said.

    I have heard that phrase more times than I can remember, but, as far as I recall, never from a ‘contrarian’.
    One person I can definitely remember having uttered those words is John Prescott – the ex Deputy PM of Britain.

  37. David Suzuki boldly declared that “politicians who never see beyond the next election, are committing a criminal act by ignoring science.” He went on to suggest that today’s youth should find a way to jail these politicians since, as we all know, global warming is “settled science” and anyone who doesn’t fall in line is a heretic who deserves jailing.

    http://www.bloggingcanadians.ca/ConservativeBlogs/David_Suzuki_Politicians_Who_Ignore_Global_Warming_Should_Be_Jailed/

    He’s used the “settled” on more than one occation.

  38. “the causes of conflict in the climate change debate relate almost entirely to politics and not the MWP, climate sensitivity or ‘ice’ ”

    Sounds like Gavin is saying there are no issues to debate about the science related to these issues. “Settled” would be a reasonable way to characterize his position. Instead of the ridiculous semantic gymnastics over whether he has actually used that term or not, simply focus on what he wrote. His own communication “settles” this silly debate. He doesn’t think there is anything to debate about these scientific issues.

    • No, he’s saying in current science there is no need for a reconciliation on those things. New science on the MWP, climate sensitivity or ice is being done all the time. He’s probably one of the scientists actually doing that science; and if not actually doing the science, one who is closely following new developments. On his blog he has posted articles about new developments in the science on ice and sensitivities many times. I remember reading several of them. He would not do that if he thought the “science was settled.” What would be the point?

      • Gavin is fishing looking for “evidence”, something to twist into claiming our CO2 is responsible. It is clear, these guys are saying the default position, the null hypothesis, is we are causing the climate to change. That means in their view the science is settled. Ask Gavin if that basic premise is settled or not.

      • Nope, I think he is just trying to skip over the mess he and Mann stepped into in disappearing the MWP to push the HS.
        Move on, nothing to see……..

  39. Pielke Sr. has an interesting and relevant post on his blog, rebutting a recent letter to Congress by the usual GHG-based AGW alarmist authors — Mann, Santer, Oppenheimer, Trenberth, Sommerville, Manabe, Washington, etc.

    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/comments-on-the-hills-post-scientists-ask-congress-to-put-aside-politics-take-fresh-look-at-climate-data/

    Ironically the alarmists are asking for a “fresh look.” Hypocrisy personified.

    • If Congress took a fresh look, they would be less convinced than ever of the dangers of global warming. This is false bravado on their part.

  40. Just want to jump into the fray here and say that while I too am looking forward to seeing the email response from Gavin (you got the greenlight, tallbloke, so let’s have it), it’s a bit immaterial to the larger flub by Fred (whose work I admire). And that is that any second-hand interpretation should have been confirmed in a call/email to Gavin. Even a paraphrase of something that was supposedly said or written.

    So if Fred took Tallbloke’s word at face value, that’s a major flub. But I have to say that part of me thinks (as I wrote in my post) that Fred was trying to be cute in that throwaway line. That said, as Bart discusses in his own post today at his site, Fred should have known that the “science is settled” phrase has a lot of baggage, and that maybe not everyone would get the dig, if in fact, he was writing with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

    Anyway, I look forward to Fred’s response to all this.

    • Yes, TallBloke…please do post the email as you were threatening to do earlier.

      Keith Kloor, I agree. Can you spot the other flubs in Fred’s piece? You are focused on the most egregious one, which makes sense, but there are more. And why the delay? Fred has very known about his flub since Thursday evening UK time, Friday morning at the latest. NewScientist had an entire day to take action, they have done nothing. Unacceptable.

      And under no circumstances should JC be considered an “honest broker” to whom Schmidt and TallBloke should send the email in question as some are suggest8ing here– content of this site is ample evidence that JC has no interest in being an “honest broker”, all she has succeeded in doing the last while is burning bridges, not building them. If you are looking for a legitimate honest broker try Bart Verheggen.

      Wtill waiting Tallbloke…..

      • None of the seemingly important ‘conflicts’ that are *perceived* in the science are ‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community

        If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s a quack duck. Gavin fits. Sure looks like another way of saying “settled” to me.

      • Well yes, that’s the sentence which jumped out at me, and stuck in my mind when I characterised Gavin’s response. I notice that’s the part he didn’t recapitulate in his complaint to New Scientist.

      • Pity this sentance didn’t ‘jump out at you';

        “the science community who are focussed on increasing understanding” – Gavin.

        Confirmation bias at work.

      • Gavin’s ‘scince community’ which by denying the real conflicts in data and interpretation excludes dissenting scientists will only increase its confirmation bias induced by its consensus.

        Which is why we have got to where we are.

      • The actual dissenting scientists – lindzen, spencer, etc – aren’t excluded. They regularly publish, and while they’re frequently shot down when subjected to analysis by their peers, they’re treated as serious attempts.

        I think you meant to say “dissenting blogscientists” …

      • dho, you fail to appreciate the brilliance of blog-science.

        Disagreeeing means that you are right!

    • steven mosher

      Funny,

      At the Q&A I asked fred why the IPCC doesnt just publish errata for some of the blunders like newspapers do. His answer was that newspapers dont like to do that.

      Heck we all make mistakes.

      • It’s possible that since the IPCC authors are volunteers, with there being a minimum level of funding for administrative support, and that this funding and effort centers around the periodic publishing schedule for reports, that there’s no money for on-going publishing of official errata.

        What you have, though, is a lot of people involved who, when problems are uncovered, saying “oh yeah, 2035 was a boo-boo”.

        Nice to see that you agree that these widely-denounced bits of various IPCC reports are simply *blunders* that could be easily dealt with by the publication of *errata*, which implies that overall they’re unimportant and not the “proof” of “science fraud” that the noisome denialsphere make them out to be.

      • An errata is on the list of future tweaks to the IPCC process. Participants have requested it.

  41. From that “Fresh Look” letter:

    “The debate about climate change has become increasingly ideological and partisan. But climate change is not the product of a belief system or ideology. Instead, it is based on scientific fact, and no amount of argument, coercion, or debate among talking heads in the media can alter the physics of climate change. “…

    “Major international scientific organizations in disciplines ranging from geophysics to geology, atmospheric sciences to biology, and physics to human health – as well as every one of the leading national scientific academies worldwide – have concluded that human activity is changing the climate. This is not a “belief.” Instead, it is an objective evaluation of the scientific evidence. “

    Is that not, my friends, saying “The science is settled”??????

    PS. I love this nugget:

    As an open letter from 255 NAS members noted in the May 2010 Science magazine, no research results have produced any evidence that challenges the overall scientific understanding of what is happening to our planet’s climate and why.

    Pielke of course produces peer reviewed science that CLEARLY falls outside this rubric! He writes:

    First, two excerpts separated by a few paragraphs illustrates an inconstant claim of the above individuals. They write

    “It is not our role as scientists to determine how to deal with problems like climate change. That is a policy matter and rightly must be left to our elected leaders in discussion with all Americans. But, as scientists, we have an obligation to evaluate, report, and explain the science behind climate change.”

    but then later state

    “We and our colleagues are prepared to assist you as you work to develop a rational and practical national policy to address this important issue.”

    My Comment

    It’s actually hard to find a more self-contradictory statement!

    Man… This is fun!

  42. Sonicfrog,

    You and Pielke Snr are clearly distorting. To the rational reader at least, the scientists are saying that they wish to assist the policy makers in making informed decisions about the science so that they can develop the appropriate policy. Policy makers cannot do that of they are not informed about the science– and right now there is a huge gap between the Republican’s ideological and partisan impression of climate science and what the scientific literature and data/observations are actually saying. That knowledge gap needs to be bridged and that is where the scientists can help.

    And Pielke Snr should not cast stones, to my knowledge, he has tried several times to influence policy. Hmm, still no comments allowed on PielkeSnr’s blog….so no one can question or challenge his assertions and rhetoric.

    “…have concluded that human activity is changing the climate.”

    Yes, that part of the science is settled…read the recent scientific literature, also read Chapter 9 in AR4. And even Lindzen, Spencer and (FWIW) Curry would agree that adding CO2 will warm the planet. Now if you wanted to argue exactly how much we have changes the climate and how much more we are likely to change it in the future, then you might have had a point. Too late now.

    “Man… This is fun!”
    I wish that I could say playing whack-a-mole against contrarian spin and distortion and quote mining is fun, it is not. And just so that you know, this is not a game Frog…sad that you seem to think it is.

    Now I best be off before Judith permits one or more of her rabid followers make veiled threats again, besides no use trying to argue ideology using facts and reason.

    • MapleLeaf, the problem is that there is not a “huge gap between the Republican’s ideological and partisan impression of climate science and what the scientific literature and data/observations are actually saying.” What there is is a huge debate and a lot of uncertainty. Your so-called “facts and reason” are in fact also an ideological position. The weight of evidence is in the eye of the beholder. I look at the same evidence you do and come to an opposite conclusion. Facts and reason are like that.

    • Mapleleaf –
      Your assumption of rationality is misplaced. There are no rational humans – including you.

      That letter was a naked attempt at intrusion into policy the making process under the guise of benevolent scientific leadership.

      As for Pielke’s site – to my knowledge, he’s never opened comments. So he can’t be accused of being partisan in that respect.

      Now if you wanted to argue exactly how much we have changes the climate and how much more we are likely to change it in the future, then you might have had a point.

      That is only one of the points – you seem to have missed the others.

    • “Policy makers cannot do that of they are not informed about the science”

      Yeah, right!

      “And even Lindzen, Spencer and (FWIW) Curry would agree that adding CO2 will warm the planet.”

      Lindzen, for one, is on record as saying that adding CO2 is more likely to lead to warming than cooling – a position I happen to agree with.

      Who’s distorting and spinning now?

    • “…have concluded that human activity is changing the climate.”

      Yes, that part of the science is settled…read the recent scientific literature, also read Chapter 9 in AR4. And even Lindzen, Spencer and (FWIW) Curry would agree that adding CO2 will warm the planet.

      Saying humans are changing the climate and then blaminng CO2 for that change is false. The biggest changes in the climate from humans is from deforestation and human encroachment. (huge dams, river diversions for irrigation, etc.). Blaming CO2 as the only source of that change diverts attention from these other, far more serious, issues. Whether you meant to imply that or not, that’s the meaning of your post.

      No one even knows if “warming the planet” is even bad? That’s just an ASSUMPTION on the part of the alarmists. Summer not changing, no increases in heatwaves, not as cold winters, longer growing seasons looks quite good to me.

    • Well, yes, human activity is changing the climate. As a skeptic, I am 100% ready to accept it this as settled.

      Problem is, even if we had cold fusion in 1900 and never exceeded pe-industrial CO2 level, human activity would still be changing the climate. Such quasi-tautology is maybe true beyond doubt, but is also useless for the debate at hand.

      What is relevant is if CO2 coming from fossil fuels change the climate more than other human activities (urbanisation, agriculture, deforestation, hydrological engineering), more than incontrolable natural events that are happening or are expected to happen in the time frame considered for CO2 policies, and even more important, if the expected consequences from CO2 induced climate change are expected to be worst than the policies proposed.

      I hope that nobody is saying that those questions are settled, but, as a skeptic, I go much further than not settled: I think that the uncertainty around those questions is so high that the only policies defendable are the no-regret one, the one that could be defended without even raising CO2 issue. in fact, at this stage, imho, climatology is an interesting science, but is almost useless in the context of policy-making….except as way to shape public opinion…

      • well, useless is wrong: I agree that CO2 has been identified as a possible problem. What is lacking is “easy”solution which would allow the use of the precautionary principle (without easy solution, precautionary principle is a terrible trap), so imho the logical conclusion is no-regret policies and further study – certainly not guilt-relieving policies and economic redistribution, which seems to be the current approach…

    • Let’s look at the exact wording of the 12 scientists:

      “It is not our role as scientists to determine how to deal with problems like climate change. That is a policy matter and rightly must be left to our elected leaders in discussion with all Americans. But, as scientists, we have an obligation to evaluate, report, and explain the science behind climate change.”

      “You and Pielke Snr are clearly distorting

      Are we???? If it is not their role as scientists to determine how to deal with problems like climate change, then why are they trying to get involved? I mean, do the 12 scientists on the list think most of the Republicans haven’t already heard and seen the evidence that they would present???? They are “Deniers” after all! What, suddenly they are going to listen? A few of those on the list have, MANY TIMES already testified to Congress and the Senate about the urgency of the problem, and that action must be taken NOW!!!

      And here is the second part of the statement:

      “We and our colleagues are prepared to assist you as you work to develop a rational and practical national policy to address this important issue.”

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they shouldn’t participate in the debate and in the formulation of policy. That is their call, not mine. I simply think it’s stupid and unconvincing to pretend that they are not trying to have policy shaped to combat climate change.

      PS. And yes, it IS fun to watch people make the same mistakes, including labeling people as “deniers” and “contrarians”, as it only make you look a bit petty and confrontational.

      PS. And Pielke Snr should not cast stones, to my knowledge, he has tried several times to influence policy.

      To my knowledge, he has never claimed NOT to have done so, whereas, the group of 12 do. So, your stone just missed the mark… badly.

    • huge gap between the Republican’s ideological and partisan impression of climate science and what the scientific literature and data/observations are actually saying.

      The real problem is almost the exact opposite of what you describe. The said ‘science’ is politically funded, and thus ideological and partisan to start out with. Being state-funded, it is inherently biased towards producing conclusions favouring state control.
      It would require an angelic conpiracy of immense proportions for this to not be the case.

  43. Well, if someone says something to the effect of, “The only remaining source of conflict concerns what to do about emissions, not the science”, one might be forgiven for construing that as, “there is nothing in the science left to discuss”, and it doesn’t require a great leap from there to, “the science is settled”.

  44. Tallbloke, you got some ‘splaining to do, based on the email response from Gavin that you posted at your site.

    But like I said earlier, Fred ought to have gotten this straight from the horse’s mouth. Like Ronald Reagan said, Trust, but verify. :)

    • It seems to me that Gavin’s response is a far better example of conflict resolution than the workshop proposed or managed to accomplish.

      Personally, I’d much rather have him working on solving more climate related questions that finding his old emails.

  45. As a lifelong Democrat, it is with deep regret that I conclude that this endless debate over CO2-induced global warming will not be resolved unless the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives has the courage to close agencies (NAS, EPA, NASA, DOE) that ignored their mandate and became “agents of the apparatus.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apparatchik

    Constitutional government cannot survive if government agencies are allowed to participate in hiding or manipulating experimental data.

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

  46. For reference, my full email response was as follows:

    Thanks for the invitation. However, I’m a little confused at what conflict you feel you are going to be addressing? The fundamental conflict is of what (if anything) we should do about greenhouse gas emissions (and other assorted pollutants), not what the weather was like 1000 years ago. Your proposed restriction against policy discussion removes the whole point. None of the seemingly important ‘conflicts’ that are *perceived* in the science are ‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community, rather they are proxy arguments for political positions. No ‘conflict resolution’ is possible between the science community who are focussed on increasing understanding, and people who are picking through the scientific evidence for cherries they can pick to support a pre-defined policy position.

    You would be much better off trying to find common ground on policy ideas via co-benefits (on air pollution, energy security, public health water resources etc), than trying to get involved in irrelevant scientific ‘controversies’.

    (The last line may not have been seen by ‘tallbloke’). I am at a complete loss to see how this email could be interpreted as implying that ‘the science was settled and there was nothing to discuss’.

    The game of telephone (or ‘chinese whispers’ in the UK) is lots of fun at parties, but it’s a dumb game to be playing in the politicised sandpit of the climate change ‘debate’.

    • Spin, Spin Spin. Gavin spins the wheels. Lets see.

      None of the seemingly important ‘conflicts’ that are *perceived* in the science are ‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community

      code talk for “the science is settled”

      than trying to get involved in irrelevant scientific ‘controversies’.

      code talk for “the science is settled”

      Want to to try and explain yourself again Gavin?

      • “code talk”

        Ah! Gavin is actually speaking in a secret code understood by you! Naturally when Gavin’s claims about what he said contradict your understanding of his “code” then Gavin is the one putting a “spin” on things.

      • His claim that “irrelevant scientific ‘controversies’.” applies to AGW means skeptic questions or challenges to make controversy is “irrelevant”. Do you know of any other science which proclaims that controversy and skepticism is “irrelevant”? People say that only when they don’t want their faith under a microscope. Same as “settled”.

      • What skepticism and controversy would that be then? The kind that claims that there is no information content in climate proxies and in the next breath thata thousands of studies show the MWP was warmer than current temps? The kind that claims there’s been no warming since 1998 and simultaneously that the temperature data is fraudulent? The kind that claims that GCMs are rubbish and that all the recent warming has been due to the sun? The kind that believes utter nonsense like that the sun is made out of iron, volcanoes emit more C02 than humans, there is no greenhouse effect, that the ocean is cooling, sea-level isn’t rising, and that legitimate papers that contradict their wild claims actually support them? The kind that has the vast majority of scientists contributing to the literature in the field from every corner of the globe shaking their head in disbelief? That?

        Sorry, but if that’s ‘skepticism’ and ‘controversy’ I’d hate to see what hacks throwing mud against the wall would look like. Reputable scientists are as right not to dignify such silliness with responses no less than biologists are right not to debate creationists. The ‘skepticism’ in question is rooted in belief, rather than evidence, and therefore scientific responses are incommensurate.

        Note that this does not mean that evolutionary biology is ‘settled science’ whatever that’s supposed to mean. Very far far from it. Just that the questions of the real truth seekers do not align closely with the closely held hopes of ideologues (or desires of moneyed special interests for that matter)

      • No, this kind of challenge to AGW:

        https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/kswanson/www/publications/2008GL037022_all.pdf

        Scientific theories rise or fall on discriminatory evidence. That is, what is happening must have only one explanation which fits the theory. AGW is not the only possible mechanism for the changes we see (which are no different than changes in the past before our use of FF). Gaven et al are claiming that this warm tend can ONLY be explained because of our emissions of CO2. They are unwilling to look at any natural alternatives because the IPCC is clear, a priori the IPCC has proclaimed that 90% of the temperature increase is because of our CO2 emissions. That’s where the “settled” come from and ingrained in their thinking.

      • “The kind that believes utter nonsense like …that legitimate papers that contradict their wild claims actually support them?”

        Do share with us the way in which this paper/letter undermines the mainstream understanding of anthropogenic forcing on the climate jrwakefield. Surely that petard of yours can be hoisted the more vertical?

    • Thank you for posting this.
      For those many of us watching this play out, the real issue is whether or not CO2 is going to cause a climate catastrophe.
      There seems to be a wide range of diverse opinions on this from scientists.
      – Do you see this question from your perspective?
      -Do you see it as a valid scientific question?
      -Are you satisfied that all your community is trying to do is to prove if humans influence climate by way of CO2?

    • Gavin, quoting his own email:
      None of the seemingly important ‘conflicts’ that are *perceived* in the science are ‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community…
      …irrelevant scientific ‘controversies’.

      Note esp the scare-quotes – ‘conflicts’, ‘controversies’.
      So Gavin doesn’t understand how this is read as him saying there is a consensus, that science is settled on the ‘A’ in (C)AGW ??

      This is such garbled communique from ‘Gavin’, I cannot but wonder: was that really RC’s Gavin Schmidt, or just some trolling prankster? Note too his later use of the word “politicised” (ie British spelling).

    • Here, dear reader, you see what happens when one engages in the fallacy of begging the question.

      Misunderstandings abound.

  47. I have to admit I was quite surprised by Fred’ comment anyway.. and other comments about ‘cranks’ – what were the rules again..

    Neither were of any great help with respect to ‘reconciliation.

  48. Well, if there is one thing that is clear in climate science, its that numbers and meanings of words can always be adjusted after the fact to obtain the desired result.

    Andrew

  49. Based on what I have read here, the meeting was finally closer to what Gavin hoped it to be than what the original invitation led to expect.

    Another point is that Gavin’s statement “rather they are proxy arguments for political positions” is in many cases true, but it should not be taken to imply that arguments made on this basis would be of little value. In reality opinions presented by people are often much more valuable and justified than the arguments they choose to present in their support. In particular non-scientists are often much more capable in forming general views and conclusions than in analyzing systematically the factors affecting these views.

    This statement has in my thinking a strong connection to the analysis of Jerome van der Sluijts on the limitations of the linear model of interaction between science and society.

    • That is a very perceptive comment. Because this sort of meeting hadn’t been attempted before, the organisers allowed some flexibility in the lines of discussion, and this was fruitful as the tables tended to become filled with people interested in specific aspects; science, standards, policy etc. This created an air of covering broad ground, and as a first ‘getting to know you’ kind of meeting, it was successful.

      • One reason a meeting such as this one hasn’t been attempted before is that its fundamental premise is one of argumentum ad temperantiam. It is indeed curious to see how many posters here themselves fall victim to this logical fallacy.

        That this is the case is reflected in the incessant chatter that has followed on the heels of Pearce’s attribution to Gavin of the line that “the science is settled”. From this meme arises the notion that all science is always wrong, and that somehow the truth lies between a consensus position and a maverick one.

        This is rarely the case.

        Oh, there are many scientific ideas that are incomplete, or that might shift in understanding from a current position, but these facts in no way can be taken to mean that there is any validity in every opposing theory, or to mean that the basic fundamentals of a field are not well understand for all practicable purposes.

        That these simple facts seem to fly over the heads of so many here illustrates the high level of scientific illiteracy of many on this blog.

    • steven mosher

      Here is a run down on the meeting.

      DAY ONE:
      1.self introductions took half the day.
      2. Introduction to non violent communication.
      DAY TWO.
      Practice sessions with 5 tables of people. We selected 2 topics to discuss
      amongst ourselves and report back to the group.
      My table picked these topics at random from a long list generated
      by the whole group
      A. Data Standards and Transparency.
      B. Natural variability.

      Day 3. First half. The tables tried to prepare one paragraph that they thought
      could be a common ground of sorts. These statements were read to the group as a whole, debate ensued. Nice and civil. No “agreed” upon statements were issued. one of the things people had issues with was
      “agreed upon statements” like scientists signing letters saying
      “we all agree to this”

      Gavin could actually have picked a policy issue to discuss. would have been interesting

      • Gavin could actually have picked a policy issue to discuss. would have been interesting

        Perhaps, but not necessarily something he’d consider to be good use of his time.

        There seems to be some sense that Gavin should’ve felt *obligated* to attend the conference. Those who agreed to go seem to think that the conference was Terribly Important … and I do have to wonder if this feeling on tallbloke’s part was a contributing factor to his misinterpreting Gavin’s e-mail explaining why he didn’t feel the conference would be a good use of his time.

      • As I understand Gavin’s response, it appears the invitation he received actually included a restriction against policy discussions.

      • Not at all. The organizing committee were all social scientists.

      • Judith, the invite letter clearly stated;
        “We would try to stay off the policy issues”.

        That is the point Gavin specifically disagreed with and he said so with extreme clarity.

      • That is an unfortunate mis communication; the policy process (specifically the decision-analytic framework and decision making under uncertainty) was a big topic of discussion (which is a central topic in post normal science); specific policy solutions (e.g. carbon sequestration, whatever) were not. The organizers did not do a great job of framing the invitation, and the workshop evolved in a different way from the invitations that were made. The workshop should have been framed as challenges and reconciliation at the science-policy interface, which is what the organizers are expert in.

      • Gavin’s reply should then have alerted them to this issue.

        He then gave them an unambiguous pointer to where he thought productive discussion lay;

        “You would be much better off trying to find common ground on policy ideas via co-benefits (on air pollution, energy security, public health water resources etc), than trying to get involved in irrelevant scientific ‘controversies’. ” – Gavin Schmidt.

      • “You would be much better off trying to find common ground on policy ideas via co-benefits (on air pollution, energy security, public health water resources etc), than trying to get involved in irrelevant scientific ‘controversies’. ”

        It’s beyond me how Gavin could have been so naive as to imagine that statement could not possibly be misconstrued as suggesting that there’s nothing left to discuss in the science.

      • Yes, Gavin should fine-tune his mind-reading skills particualrly in relation to those who may mis-represent or mis-understand anything and everything he says.

        Given that he is such a nice patient guy who does an enormous amount of outreach work (gratis, mind you), why are some so keen to give him a good kicking on the flimsiest of pretexts?????

      • Taxpayers resent your ‘gratis’. And the partisanship is illegal.
        ========

      • Thanks for your obscure response kim.

      • My specialty. Often, the message only gets through encoded.
        =============

      • I like to think of myself as being a nice guy, who has the interests and well-being of others at heart.
        As, I’m sure, do you.
        As, I’m sure, does Gavin.
        But how’s that relevant to this discussion?

      • I meant to add: something about ‘stand’, ‘heat’ and ‘kitchen’ – I forget how it goes exactly.

      • You would be much better off trying to find common ground on policy ideas via co-benefits (on air pollution, energy security, public health water resources etc), than trying to get involved in irrelevant scientific ‘controversies’.”
        > It’s beyond me how Gavin could have been so naive as to imagine that statement could not possibly be misconstrued as suggesting that there’s nothing left to discuss in the science.

        I imagine he’s not naive at all.
        And nor was he misconstrued – ie does think the CAGW argument for political action is settled, and is disinclined to discuss that with dissenters. He is just angry at being correctly reported on this, so takes refuge in setting fire to the strawman that had him claiming every last detail of CAGW science is settled.

      • I agree, I’m surprised they didn’t try to engage Gavin in some sort of dialogue.

      • Dikran Marsupial

        Oh, the delicious irony! ;o)

      • Judith,
        I think that, what happened is symptomatic of the present situation. People who know little about the science want to lead the discussion to science instead of being happy to discuss on issues they understand as well as scientists.

        We are seeing that on your blogs all the time.

      • Or yet another example of social scientists blundering into the physical sciences and making a right cock-up of it.

      • Pekka,

        Yes, quite a few people come here with quite a few misconceptions.
        For example, who mistakenly think that the concept of ‘back-radiation’ somehow violates the 2nd law, or who confuse absorption and emission with absorptivity and emissivity or heat-content with temperature, and not necessarily the same individuals.
        Some of these people learn something when these things are pointed out to them – unfortunately some don’t, and just continue to make a lot of noise.
        The thing is, these are not restricted to just one side of the debate.

  50. I’ve been struggling with this post for a good portion of the day. My understanding was that the workshop in Lisbon was intended as a meet and greet and to see if a “low key” meeting between those who support the IPCC consensus and those who are Skeptical of the IPCC consensus could have a civil exchange in an open forum.

    Pretty simple stuff, can we agree to be civil.

    Hans von Storch, a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and James Risbey of CSIRO made the effort to attend but the leaders of mainstream climate science turned down the gig, including NASA’s Gavin Schmidt.

    Personally, I could care less about Gavin Schmidt but to the point, the supporters of IPCC consensus didn’t show.

    This begs a few questions:
    • Is there anyone left who supports the IPCC consensus?
    • Is the IPCC and Climate Science community so inbred that they don’t care?
    • Was the planning for the meeting staged in a way that encouraged lopsided attendance?
    • Do the supporters of the IPCC consensus want to fix the divide?

    I stated long ago, the only way to fix this situation is to admit to every citizen in the world that the IPCC and the UNFCC have miserably failed and, in the face of it, they are being disbanded until future notice.

    When one considers, this is the first time in human history that all countries have focused on a single issue we all share. The IPCC and UNFCC failure is this regard is an abomination. They need to be disbanded, countries need a “time-out” and then need to gather again to see if they can get it right the next time.

    Probability of second chance success is about 50% but it beats what we’ve got.

    These issues are simply to immense and potentially beneficial to be wasted on fools. Enough is enough!

    • I’m fairly sure those organizations who are using the Tobacco Strategy to delay action would be more than pleased with your suggestion!

      I would also note that the main failure of the IPCC and UNFCC is due to the conflicts caused by the inability for countries to agree on what to do about emissions.

      • No. The IPCC failed to make its case because it didn’t have one. Every government with any sense realized that cutting CO2 emissions was a death sentence for their economies. That’s why they have paid lip service to the AGW community. The last Canadian Liberal government gave great fanfare signing Kyoto, and then did absolutely NOTHING about it. Why? Because they did not want to distrupt the economy.

        Now we have stupid governments, like the Liberals here in Ontario, who think they are doing the ‘right thing’ attempting to curb emissions with the Green Energy Act, erecting windturbines and solar panels all over the place with the direct consequences of killing the economy, driving up electricity prices to unaffordable levels, and not one molecule of CO2 has been reduced. Falures abound in AGW.

      • Again, you point to issues with the approach to solving the issue of emissions.

        The IPCC did indeed make their point, according to virtually every national science council.

      • Doesn’t mean they are right, just good a con job.

      • Good post.

        “Cutting CO2 emissions” sounds great.

        But there have been no actionable proposals to accomplish this that would even theoretically result in any measurable change in global temperature, even when using the 2xCO2 climate sensitivity estimates of the models cited by IPCC.

        Certainly direct or indirect carbon taxes will have no impact on our climate – no tax ever did.

        A politician’s pledge to hold AGW to “2 degrees C maximum” by reducing CO2 emissions is also not an actionable proposal, but simply an absurd statement, because it is neither actionable nor realizable.

        The dilemma here is: we are not able to change our climate at will, no matter what we do.

        So we had better get ready to adapt to anything nature is going to throw at us rather than fretting about our GHG emissions.

        At the same time we should reduce waste, eliminate true pollution, increase energy efficiency, decrease our dependence on imported fossil fuels, etc. – because these all make sense, and can be achieved through “actionable” proposals.

        Max

    • I agree, John. Enough is enough.

      It is time for Congress to stop funding only one side of the debate.

    • A “time-out”would be so beneficial from my perspective and they are using my tax dollars to pay for this foolishness.

      For instance:
      • why do we need 40+ climate models when the point is to create one good one for the benefit of the world?
      • why isn’t the programming done by competent programmers who know the benefit of modular programming?
      • what current structure needs to be changed so we don’t end up with the lame results?
      • what segments of the climate system need to be prioritized for study and what is the best way to approach the research in an international way?
      • what discipline of Science does Climate Science relate to and what Scientific body is oversight to the Peer Review process; Standards?

      The list of needed changes is nearly endless — add some points from your perspective

      • • why isn’t the programming done by competent programmers who know the benefit of modular programming?

        Likely the costs, it would drive up the costs to build the models. But it certainly is a major issue in my view. It would be benificial if the source code was made public. They would likely get FREE debugging from the public (Microsoft has used that approach for decades to debug their code) .

        I can only imagine how much spaghetti code there is. It’s so easy to happen when changes happen over a long period of time, and new code is added, but you have to keep old code in place for fear of making something stop working. It’s an unfortunate consequence of changes to logic and added features and little time to go back and do it from scratch. But at some point the code gets unreadable, and convoluted, and a rewrite is required to move ahead. Something as complex as climate must be a nightmare to write and debug, and frustrating when it doesn’t work as it should.

      • …It would be beneficial if the source code was made public.

        Yes indeed. They’re publicly funded, hence they’re public property. So what excuse couldthere be for continuing to hide them?

      • Oops – comment above refers to the source code for climate models.

      • Another argument from ignorance. The source code for many models is freely available, for example the Community Climate Earth System Model and the GISS model. Google is your friend.

      • Is that code debugged by interested people outside the climate community?

      • Point taken, thanks. But only most ?
        And view from easterbrook not all that rosy.

  51. though I am inclined to think it was a rather an attempt at a rather lame joke, on paraphrased on Fred’s part rather than any great fault by Tallbloke… ie by the Chatham House rules should anything have been attributed to anybody

    • Hi Barry,
      My take on the results from Miller which were confirmed by Galaev in 2003 is that they were measuring something real. What it is, we don’t know. Please don’t try to characterize me as a ‘crank’, I’m a qualified engineer with a degree in the history and philosophy of science.

      Einstein said this of Miller’s experiment:
      “My opinion about Miller’s experiments is the following. … Should the positive result be confirmed, then the special theory of relativity and with it the general theory of relativity, in its current form, would be invalid. Experimentum summus judex. Only the equivalence of inertia and gravitation would remain, however, they would have to lead to a significantly different theory.”

      — Albert Einstein, in a letter to Edwin E. Slosson, July 1925

      Given that our best instrumentation confirms general and special relativity, we are left with the puzzle of what Miller and Galaev were measuring. I simply post about interesting puzzles and don’t worry overmuch about how they contradict each other. It’s all good stuff we can learn from, and any of these theories may be revived by some unexpected experimental result.

      http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2010/01/12/confirmation-of-transmissive-medium-pervading-space/

    • Since Gavin did not attend, the rules do not apply. That’s the way I see it at least.

      Gavin was invited to an event exploring the possibility of civil discourse. Gavin’s refusal was a refusal to attempt to be civil. As you can read from Gavin’s response, it was clearly “The science is settled. I can’t learn anything from them. I’m not coming unless we talk about policy.” This is clearly a cop-out. Gavin knows full well the science is unsettled and that they have been losing the climate debate in the peer-reviewed literature.

      • What planet are you from?
        Name your three best examples of the mainstream climate consensus (eg IPCC) losing in the peer-reviewed literature.

  52. • Do the supporters of the IPCC consensus want to fix the divide?

    How do you bridge a divide with attendees like Steven Goddard (who believes that it snows dry ice in antarctica therefore proving all textbooks on physical chemistry wrong, and that arctic sea ice volume is drastically increasing), or Tallbloke (who rejects the last 90-ish years of physics, starting with Einstein, and insists that the ether is real), etc etc?

    Some things just aren’t possible.

    • “Steven Goddard (who believes that it snows dry ice in antarctica therefore proving all textbooks on physical chemistry wrong, and that arctic sea ice volume is drastically increasing)”

      And that Venus’s temperature is a actually result of atmospheric pressure rather than the greenhouse effect.

    • “Some things just aren’t possible.”

      All things are possible, its Science ; )

      My point was in relation to the simple idea of agreeing to a civil dialogue as stated.

      Assuming there are a number of Scientists who are willing to openly support the IPCC consensus in public (which I doubt but I could be wrong), have they openly demonstrated their unwillingness to resolve a scientific debate? If yes, why would any Scientist in their right mind choose that path?

      Individuals are routinely dismissed by the scientific community but the community rarely ducks a scientific debate!

    • steven mosher

      Very simply. I have in the past called tallbloke a ‘sun nut’, Nostradamus, etc.

      When we met I Found some way we could find common ground.
      First was an offer by me to stop calling him names.
      Second was an offer by me to help him express his ideas in graphics.

      When It came to his “theories” I repeated by desire to see his data
      and his methods. And I suggested that he lay out clear grounds for falsifying his ideas. he agreed that these were reasonable requests.

      Very easy to find common ground.

      • When I met Mosh I immediately liked his depth of knowledge on technical subjects and his willingness to listen. He still makes stuff up sometimes (like saying alternative hypotheses got discussed at Lisbon), but we are on a much better footing than we were before.

        I’m working on the quantification Mosh. Looking good. ;)

      • steven mosher

        alternative hypothesis were discussed, you took the time to explain your stuff to me. Maybe I mispoke and you took me to mean at group level. We also ( at my table) discussed natural variability..

        I think many people dont get that these discussions were just a form of TRAINING in conflict resolution and not INTENDED to actually answer anything or resolve any conflict.

        The goal As I saw it was to instruct people in Non violent communication.

        It worked. I did not strangle the instructor in non violent communication and I left you-know-who alone

      • Ah, ok, with you now. Yes I meant in the formal sessions, and yes, we did discuss natural variability there. It’s just that I don’t regard natural variability as an ‘alternative hypothesis’ but an obvious reality which should be fully integrated into models anyway.

      • steven mosher

        OMG And here after listing to dhog, the arbitor of rationality, I thought you were irrational. go figure.

      • Heh,
        Dhog is such a fun guy once you get to know him. Or so I’ve heard.

      • Tallbloke’s statement about natural variability is no different than the position of mainstream science, so I’ll concede his request is rational.

        What’s not rational is his implication that natural variability is “an alternative hypothesis”. It’s an observation, and the observed range of natural variation in response to (say) solar cycles are incorporated into modern climate models.

        Natural variation due to redistribution of heat through mechanisms such as ENSO show up as emergent properties of at least some of the models (GISS Model E, for instance).

        So, exactly what is tallbloke suggesting that isn’t part of the mainstream science that’s being done?

        Now, if he’s suggesting that natural variability is an “obvious reality” as in “all observed warming is due to natural variability, and rising levels of CO2 have nothing to do with it”, that’s *not* rational, and it’s also something that Mosher knows to be false.

      • What’s not rational is his implication that natural variability is “an alternative hypothesis”

        No. That’s what Mosh implied not me.

        “Now, if he’s suggesting that natural variability is an “obvious reality” as in “all observed warming is due to natural variability, and rising levels of CO2 have nothing to do with it”, that’s *not* rational”

        No, I’m not suggesting that either. Or at least, not the natral variability you have in mind. I concede that the error bands are so wide and uncertainty so great that any of several factors could be predominant, including co2, although for many reasons I doubt that.

        My rationality is that since natural variation before man set fire to coal was able to swing temperature up and down a lot, it probably still can.

    • Sorry, dhogaza, you missed the point.

      The question was: “Do the supporters of the IPCC consensus want to fix the divide?”

      I believe the facts show that the answer is “NO”.

      And I believe that their behavior shows that the reason for this is that they truly believe “the science is settled” (even though they now waffle around making such a statement, because it is so silly).

      Or could it be that they are, in fact, not really so sure that “the science is settled” and afraid this might be exposed in the process of “fixing the divide”?

      Do you have any real ideas why the so-called “mainstream” group do not want to try some sort of reconciliation with those that are rationally skeptical of their position?

      If so, let’s hear them.

      Max

      • Do you have any real ideas why the so-called “mainstream” group do not want to try some sort of reconciliation with those that are rationally skeptical of their position?

        I see no evidence that folks like Tallbloke or Goddard are rational. See the problem?

        Now, if you want to research an example of *real* reconciliation of rational skepticism with mainstream science, spend some time googling for information on the UAH vs. RSS satellite temperature reconstruction fight that went on about 10 years ago.

        Remember, when UAH said their reconstruction showed that there was no warming and that the surface station record was wrong, while RSS, having found errors in the UAH analysis, put forward their own reconstruction showing broad agreement with the surface station record?

        There was a conference to hash it out, near the beginning of W’s administration, among other things.

        And, at the end, there was reconciliation in regard to Christy and Spencer’s errors. When a five-person NAS committee was formed to investigate the various temperature records, Christy, on the committee, signed on to the finding that the surface station record was broadly as accurate as the satellite reconstructions.

        Now, I think everyone knows that Christy and Spencer haven’t changed their *political* opinions regarding policy as a result of this reconciliation of temperature records. Nor have they dropped their non-mainstream views regarding things like negative feedbacks and other stuff that will save us from the mainstream view that climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 is about 3C.

        Anyway, treat yourself to a history lesson. You’ll learn something about what “reconciliation” means to scientists …

        It’s not about throwing out everything known about physics and agreeing that the sun’s made of iron (for instance), just to be nice.

      • dhogaza

        Afraid you have not answered the question that was raised, but only skirted around it.

        The fact that Christy/Spencer did accept the criticism of the UAH record (errors resulting from satellite drift) showed that they were, indeed, ready for “reconciliation” on this topic (possibly after some nudging). The satellite/surface records did get a bit closer to one another after UAH made the corrections, but the satellite record still shows a slower rate of warming than the surface record, after this correction was made (despite IPCC claims to the contrary). This despite the fact that GH warming in the troposphere should be greater than at the surface.

        Now to the “other side”. There have been many studies showing that there has been a spurious warming signal in the surface record, especially in the latter part of the 20th century, due to the UHI effect and other factors. Yet the defenders of the surface record are not looking toward solving this problem or any sort of “reconciliation”. Instead they simply deny that it exists and make token adjustments which have no real impact.

        That’s the “history lesson”.

        Now to the question that was raised.

        Can you answer it?

        Max

      • The question was: “Do the supporters of the IPCC consensus want to fix the divide?”

        Define “the divide”. As far as I can tell the attendees at Lisbon didn’t even get that far.

      • Apparently there is about to be a civil war between combative ice scientists. Without a reconciliation, they’re going to start throwing snowballs at one another.

      • Since I proposed the statement above I’ll explain what I meant by the following:

        Personally, I could care less about Gavin Schmidt but to the point, the supporters of IPCC consensus didn’t show.

        This begs a few questions:
        • Is there anyone left who supports the IPCC consensus?
        • Is the IPCC and Climate Science community so inbred that they don’t care?
        • Was the planning for the meeting staged in a way that encouraged lopsided attendance?
        • Do the supporters of the IPCC consensus want to fix the divide?

        “Personally, I could care less about Gavin Schmidt but to the point, the supporters of IPCC consensus didn’t show.”

        Actually, I do care if Dr. Schmidt is not treated in a respectful way but my comment was intended to allude to a bigger issue — why wasn’t there a bigger attendance from those who support the IPCC consensus.

        • Do the supporters of the IPCC consensus want to fix the divide?

        The object is understanding and Scientists rarely have issues with dialogue related to scientific principals and conclusions. The divide in Climate Science is the inability to openly address the principals in relation to the conclusions. Unfortunately, this divide has been a tenant of the debate since Jones basically said, he refuses
        to give the data to people because they will just find something wrong with it.

        This fundamental divide is in fact unscientific and largely unsupportable. The inability to address this and the foolish name calling on the blogs and in the news separates those who support from those who are skeptical about the “settled science”.

        So, I’ll ask again, do the supporters of the IPCC consensus want to fix the divide?

        IMO, the answer is No but I’d love to know what they specifically mean by “settled science”.

      • note: I should have included a h/t to Dr. Curry who has devoting an extraordinary effort to turn this into a rational discussion. I’m very disappointed Lisbon wasn’t a resounding success!

      • note: I’m also very disappointed with my spelling, grammar, and proofing today.

    • “Tallbloke (who rejects the last 90-ish years of physics, starting with Einstein, and insists that the ether is real)”

      Why don’t you read his blog again – properly this time?
      Or do you actually enjoy the thrill of jumping to the wrong conclusions after having read one or two lines?

      • Tallbloke also loves Miles Mathis, who has “proved” that in certain circumstances, pi = 4 …

        Where do you think I’m getting this stuff, if not from his blog?

      • You can’t be getting much sleep

      • I bought Miles’ book, it’s a blast! :)

        Perhaps Dhogaza needs to realize that it’s possible for a philosopher of science to derive interest and enjoyment from someones work without being committed to all its propositions.

      • Which suggests you’re committed to *some* of its propositions, which in itself is enough to put you in the science crank category.

        Not to mention various other things you subscribe too, some of which another poster kindly listed some posts back …

      • Fine, you stay busy with your closed mind categorisation of people and I’ll get on with my stuff. Some people do it, others talk about it.

      • He’s crazy. The true value of pi is the ice cream.

      • Some people do it, some see right through it
        Some wear pi-jamas, if only they knew it.

        -zappa-

      • Sorry. No. You’re plain wrong. The true value of pi is in the cherries therein!

      • My Daddy always asked the waitress what color the pi was.
        ========================

      • Latimer Alder

        Would it be quicker for you just to publish the (rather short) list of things that you do actually approve of?

        Then we can be sure not to mention anything else that may upset you while you are making one of your occasional visits to this blog to point out the errors of our ways.

        We seem to have manged perfectly well without an authorised list of topics and views so far, but maybe that’s just our innate liberalism and curiosity showing through.

      • Tallbloke rides a Matchless. Nobody who does that can be a bad guy. I’m a Harley guy myself but I used to race a Matchless about 45 years ago. Marvelous old machine!

      • Excellent, which model did you race? I have some great pictures of a G50 that came to Montlhery a few years back. Made your chest shudder with the noise as it flew past the fencing 5 feet away.

      • It was a G80 as I recall. It was heavily stripped down for desert racing – anything that could fall off was removed (except me). Being a 4-stroke it had a very low carbon footprint and while it would shake the earth it did very little damage to the climate (tortured attempt to remain on topic!). Here’s a picture of Malcolm Smith on a similar one http://www.motohistory.net/images/MalcolmonMatchless.jpg

        Back to Fred – do you know if he ever saw a copy of the original post you got a copy of? Is it likely he used your quip as the basis of his depiction of events?

        I’m curious to see, not that it matters a rip, if Gavin shows up in the fjords of Norway. I’m also curious why these various clan gatherings are not held in places where climate is considered a serious problem: The Kingdom of Tonga, Myanmar, Seychelles, Maldives… All good examples of what is at stake if we spend trillions the wrong way.

      • Nice photo!
        Here’s mine

        The G80
        80 mph
        80 mpg

      • This is the first I’ve heard of Miles Mathis. I have no idea whether Tallbloke subscribes to any of his mathematical ideas. The whole thing is a side issue in any case.

        But I will say that I think Mr. Mathis ought to stick to painting. Googling discloses him to be a young man and a decent artist — as well as a native of Texas. I’m not saying any of these facts is connected to his views on mathematics. But when I think of the state most often associated with deficiencies in education…

    • steven mosher

      Actually brdiging a divide with Steven is also easy.

      If you ask around you will see that Steven and I have fought on WUWT.
      every time he posted.

      What did steve talk about at the conference?

      The common ground. He talked about his green lifestyle and how he thought that both sides could find some common ground there.

      As to science?? On the last day he asked a question that was science related.

      It was easy to find common ground with Steven. he talked about his work as a programmer. He’s working on GPU code, so we chatted about programming 3D ( I started in 3D back in 1985 and shipped the first 3D graphics board for the PC) We also chatted about his days in The valley when he worked at racer graphics.

      So finding common ground was easy.

      extending that common ground to something more substantial? I’m not sure either way.

      Heck even you and I could find common ground, we both believe in AGW.
      You’d think that was a start

      • The common ground. He talked about his green lifestyle and how he thought that both sides could find some common ground there.

        As to science?? On the last day he asked a question that was science related.

        Doesn’t sound like a particularly efficient way to make progress on figuring out how to make progress on settling the debate on climate *science*, on bridging the divide regarding the *science*, which was the supposed goal of the conference.

      • It was stated from the start that it was likely we would have ‘talks about talks’ rather than solve substantive issues. In a three-legged race, you have to practice walking before you can run.

        The conference was a success on many fronts and I don’t feel time was wasted. Those who weren’t there can make their own judgements if they wish, but should recognise they are seeing the event filtered through a glass darkly by the milieu in which they are embedded.

      • the debate on climate *science*, on bridging the divide regarding the *science*

        This makes it sound like the *science* is some disinterested, sincere and honest process, rather than the politically-funded and hence politically motivated activity that it largely is, riddled with deception, secrecy and dirty tricks, as clearly showed by Climategate – which, far from drawing criticism from the climate establishment, has elicited only whitewash after whitewash from them.

    • How do you bridge a divide with attendees like Steven Goddard (who believes that it snows dry ice in antarctica therefore proving all textbooks on physical chemistry wrong, and that arctic sea ice volume is drastically increasing), or Tallbloke (who rejects the last 90-ish years of physics, starting with Einstein, and insists that the ether is real), etc etc?
      Some things just aren’t possible.

      Subtext : anyone who thinks CAGW is not settled science is a nutter/immature/etc, so we are justified in ignoring them. We need only talk to consensusing adults.

  53. Barry Woods – if you don’t attend the meeting, you are not covered by the Chatham House rules

    Dhogaza – conflict resolution is useful only when people have seemingly irreconcilable differences. Otherwise there is no need for “conflict resolution”. By not attending, Gavin has demonstrated that there really is a lot of need for conflict resolution, unless he or you or anybody else is actually capable to explain whose interests are better served by perpetrating the conflict any further. Those are the interests that have been given an advantage by Gavin refusing to go to Lisbon.

    • He has no irreconcilable differences with the scientists who do work on ice, climate sensitivity and temperature reconstructions. So why would he attend? Better to leave his seat at the table to a scientist who thinks they have irreconcilable differences with the scientists who do work on those three.

  54. Re : Gavin Schmidt, tallbloke, Pierce, Dr. Curry and all other contributors:
    Talk-shops seldom resolve anything.

    As the old Galileo said some 400 years ago: In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.

    Mind you, many start their reasoning with a wrong premise, and that equally applies to the ones at the top of the ladder as the NASA’s Gavin Schmidt, all the way down to the basement of science, where I usually find myself.
    Note to Dr. Schmidt in case he comes across this post:
    If you have no doubt that your science is correct, do not compromise!
    If you have even slightest doubt than ‘flexibility’ may do a bit less of a lasting damage to your carrier.

  55. I agree with what Gavin wrote, and esp his last paragraph seems important, and I thought that that would have been an important part of this meeting.

    His words have nothing to do with the egregious “science is settled” strawman.

    • Why does it not surpise me that you would consider skepticism of AGW to be “irrelevant.” You are just reenforcing that the “science is settled.”

  56. Correction : career.

  57. Correction to above: career.

  58. I posted this over at the Rabbett site in reference to a comment there:

    Regarding tallbloke’s credibility: take a look on his website for a plug for the book by Miles Mathis titles, “The Un-Unified Field and other problems. Why Einstein’s and String Theory’s quests for unification were doomed: the fields were already unified, and have been since 1687.”

    I admit that I have not read a single page of this book. I decided it was not worth the time after I clicked around on Mr. Mathis’ website where his home page has the article, “THE GREATEST STANDING ERRORS IN PHYSICS AND MATHEMATICS”.

    Intrigued, I scrolled down to see that Mr. Mathis has corrected the standard theories and explanations in the fields of:

    Relativity,
    Calculus,
    Quantum Physics,
    Electromagnetics,
    Gravity,
    QED and QCD,
    and Other Mistakes.

    I was particularly interested in seeing that the true value of pi is 4!

    Dr. Curry, if you happen to read this, would you mind explaining how anything that tallbloke has said or “brought to the table” is worth considering for reply.

    How would you respond if one of you Georgia Tech students was a proponent of someone who has discovered the true value of pi?

    Stu

    • I don’t make it a habit to judge people based on a book they mention on their website, particularly without knowing why they mentioned this book (note Tallbloke has a degree in the history and philosophy of science, so I imagine that he reads books about the history and philosophy of science.)

      • I would tend to agree with you if we’re talking about preferences of fiction to read. But, when somebody is making statements of a technical or scientific nature, especially when they are at odds with accepted understanding, then I would like to know if they are naive, ignorant, inquiring, playing devil’s advocate, are possibly the next Einstein.

        No, there is no direct reference on tallbloke’s website stating that he accepts that pi = 4. But, the following is his recommendation regarding Mathis’ book:

        “I did consider the hardback but as there is no index, and kindle e-books are searchable, I went the high tech route. My fiancee kindly downloaded it to the Kindle e-book reader I bought her for Christmas. Now I just have to prize it from her fingers long enough to read Mles’ (sic) highly entertaining and thought provoking material.

        The first edition of the paperback is on back-order from Amazon UK here.
        There are only two copies of the hardback left, an astute investment at £24.22 if you ask me.

        Most of the material is out there for free at milesmathis.com too, but I think Miles deserves a bit of our cash, for writing things like this:”

        So, I don’t see why Dr. Schmidt or any other credible scientist, engineer, or thinking person would waste their time to attend a conference that invited someone like that.

        I’m afraid that the science is settled: pi = 3.1415…..

      • I found Miles’ work on Bodes Law very interesting. From a philosophy of science perspective, I find it helps if you are able to suspend the inner chatter of the mind which agrees/disagrees with specific points and allow someone else’s unconventional thought develop its thesis across a broader spectrum of subjects within a framework. Sometimes you find a consistency arises which makes you more thoughtful before dismissing someone as a crank.

      • Case in point – I find Feynman’s bongos to be a large influence on why I enjoy reading his material. It makes if far more interesting to me to have abstractions interleaved with otherwise dry content. I have no interest in learning to play or to advocate bongos and Feynman’s fascination with them has not been on influence. I have to say the same about Romm and Tamino. Crazy talk, but you have to read it to try to understand the writer’s position.

      • Would you say the mechanisms of how gravity works is “settled”? There is a big difference between a mathematical fact and a theory.

      • I guess we’re close to seeing if Bode’s Law is actual science or just numerology based on the recent announcement of the Kepler observatory results.

        But, that does not give a pass to the totally erroneous proof that pi = 4. Or, much, if not all, of the other insights that are in the book.

        As to gravity, I’d say yes that the science of gravity is settled given sizes and masses not too near the extremes. Observation agrees with theory to well within experimental error. Predictions can be made that agree with experiment.

        So, does pi = 4 matter?

        Yes, it means that I don’t need to pay any attention to whatever else comes from that source. There is a very high likelihood that it is bogus. And, when one is seen trying to defend the bogus, …

      • Nullius in Verba

        I found myself intrigued enough to look it up. Not because I think there’s any serious possibility that pi is 4, but because I’m interested in examples of how reasoning can go wrong, and lead to alternative world views based on different assumptions. They can be enlightening about the assumptions we ourselves make in the ‘correct’ derivation.

        In fact, while there’s a lot of stuff in there that’s argued by analogy or handwaving, and which therefore isn’t useful, the pi=4 thing is based on a geometrical argument already known to mathematicians. Lebesgue spaces and p-norms are well known, and his construction effectively assumes an L^1 space leading to the taxicab geometry, rather than the more usual L^2 space that gives Euclidean geometry. He also seems to have problems with velocities being contained within a tangent space that doesn’t fit inside the space of the curved trajectory, which I would agree is a bit counter-intuitive.

        What he has done is to recognise some rather deep (and valid) mathematical questions about the way calculus and dynamics are derived, and apparently in the absence of anyone filling in the gaps for him, and without the appropriate background training in mathematical methods, has invented his own answers.

        I don’t propose that anyone take his answers seriously, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to be learned here. There’s a problem with the way he’s been taught, and glib dismissals fail to recognise and deal with the issues he has problems with. Was it just luck that we passed over the same gap in the explanation without stumbling? Can we learn anything about our own blindness to such crevasses by studying those that fall into them?

        And when it is a public policy issue on which we propose to force a solution on people who don’t agree, is it right that we steam-roll over their concerns in the firm conviction that their opinions don’t matter because *we* know we’re right?

      • No, science is not settled on anything. Wenn will dogmatists understand that?

        The only damage to science is dogma, not “cranks”. Cranks, even when being completely wrong, are not doing any damage.

      • Cranks only do damage if you are trying to do a “truth to power.” Get rid of the “truth to power” strategy and cranks become irrelevant, and skeptical arguments and uncertainty become important pieces of information in developing robust and resilient policies.

  59. Hey Stu,

    Has Tallbloke questioned the value of pi?

    If so, can you point me to the quotation?

    Thanks.

    Max

  60. My reaction to Tallbloke’s posting of Gavin’s email:

    It is not irrational to interpret that sentence in Gavin’s email as implying that the “science is settled.” But looking at the whole statement, it seems that Gavin is trying to figure out what this meeting is about, and why it would make any sense to go. I also found the original invitation to be somewhat strange, but I decided to go since I had been reading the papers of Ravetz, Funtowicz, van der Sluijs et al. and wanted to meet them. I guess i would have expected the Workshop organizers to write back and try to establish some sort of dialogue about this with Gavin, but apparently this did not happen.

    The main issue remains Fred Pearce attributing a “science is settled ” statement to Schmidt. Even if Pearce saw the email, and thought it appropriate to paraphrase it as “science is settled,” a journalist should know better, especially since that it is a highly politicized phrase.

    So, a tempest in a teapot. But it raises the broader issues of how the climate establishment reconciles the “science is NOT settled” with a consensus that is tied to a specific emissions target to avoid a 2C temperature increase. Is the science settled “enough” to justify this emission target aimed at not exceeding this specific temperature increase? If you are claiming it is sufficient, your statements about science being settled or not are ambiguous and misleading (don’t be surprised when people misinterpret them).

    If the science isn’t sufficiently settled (and it isn’t), this kind of decision analytic framework is exactly the wrong approach to be taking. Robustness and resilience are the appropriate decision analytic frameworks for the level and type of uncertainty that we have. Using these analytic frameworks would produce much more sensible polices and reduce the perceived necessity for fighting this particular battle with climate science as the proxy. Note this topic was the subject of my recent AGU talk. http://judithcurry.com/2010/12/17/agu-fall-meeting-part-ii/

    • You’re right. It was not irrational; it was quite rational. That’s why the irrationality defense usually fails.

    • It seems to me that it all depends on what is really meant by “science”, and also, what is actually meant by “settled”. . . . And then there is the question of what the real meaning of the word “is” is.

      • Yes, that’s an excellent suggestion – let’s have some definitions here.

      • As my old philosophy of mind tutor said:

        “The study of the philosophy of language is a bit like going to a good restaurant…. and eating the menu.”

      • On the other hand, in my doctoral thesis I formulated a new theory of scientific language, which I use to diagnose confusions in the climate debate. Debate, unlike climate, is a language intensive process.

      • Excuse my flippant parlour jokes David. It’s important, and the use of language forms to set terms of debate is a large part of the climate dispute.

      • Given your empty-minded defense of style against substance it is not surprising that you think form is all. As has been discussed, you find things “interesting” that are obviously completely bonkers. If cows were horses pigs would fly is the sort of thing that is not worth wasting time on (but as the thread on the Greenhouse Dragon shows, given the least encouragement the Black Knights of the Blogs can waste a lot of everyone’s time on stupidities)

      • Eli, how much do you know about the logic of complex issues? I have a textbook if you are interested: http://www.stemed.info/reports/Wojick_Issue_Analysis_txt.pdf The dragon issue is obviously complex, no matter who is right. I would love to see an issue tree of the discussion going on here, as we are now into posting 2 & 3. Of course all the prior stuff on radiative physics also fits in. It is a hell of an issue.

        Also, “stupidities” is not a counter argument.

      • Enough to know that reality is a sword that cuts through marshmallow logic.

      • Your joke has merit, Tallbloke. Analytical philosophy (my Ph.D. field) is based on what is called the “linguistic turn,” which is the idea that philosophical problems are conceptual confusions. What I found is that there are lots of conceptual confusions in the policy world, where I basically practice applied analytical philosophy. See http://www.stemed.info/engineer_tackles_confusion.html
        A philosopher making money! Imagine that.

      • steven mosher

        I think another part of the issue was posing the opposition as “merchants of doubt”. If the skeptics sell doubt, what do we sell?

        They are more like merchants of confusion

      • No Mosh,
        Some things we are sure are uncertain, and so are you.
        Other things we find interesting and speculate about.
        Yet other things we accept as well understood.

        It only looks like confusion as you leaf through posts waiting in the moderation queue. The conversational threads are reasonably coherent. Apart from the merchants of salt of course. But if you choose to single out the ‘unconventional’ views on either side you can make it all look pretty bad. So what’s your point?

      • What does that make of people like Sir Paul Nurse, Sir David King and many other scientists, not to mention non-scientists like Gore and Pachauri, whose very public and very blatantly wrong pronouncements on the science must be very toe-curlingly embarrassing to the cause?

        Aren’t they more like merchants of confusion?

        Why aren’t you distancing yourselves from them?

      • “If the skeptics sell doubt, what do we sell?”

        Global Warming, Mr. Holmes.

        Andrew

    • “If you are claiming it is sufficient, your statements about science being settled or not are ambiguous and misleading”

      Only for those willing to present it as misleading because it supports their argument.

      Firstly we have the problem that whenever any climate science makes a reference to denialists or the existence of bought-for opinion within the debate this interpreted broadly (by you and others) as applying to everyone expressing any contrary opinion.

      Secondly we have the problem that if a scientist expresses something with confidence in a particular context they’re attacked for failing to provide the level of detail and confidence associated with another confidence e.g. a scientist makes a statement which appears in the media but they’re also expected to somehow both speak clearly and capture the degree of precision found in a large scientific publication.

      Thirdly we have the problem that if a scientist expresses anything other than sure-fire certainty in any context they’re attacked for pushing policies dependent on something which lacks sure-fire certainty (where naturally “pushing policies” is yet another type of poorly supported attack)

      I see these as adding nothing to the debate.

      • Sharperoo: the problem that whenever any climate science makes a reference to denialists or the existence of bought-for opinion within the debate this interpreted broadly (by you and others) as applying to everyone expressing any contrary opinion.

        By far the biggest and and most obvious bought-for opinion is the ‘consensus’, paid for as it is by the state, the organisation that stands to benefit most from a widespread belief in CAGW.

      • “Secondly we have the problem that if a scientist expresses something with confidence in a particular context they’re attacked for failing to provide the level of detail and confidence associated with another confidence e.g. a scientist makes a statement which appears in the media but they’re also expected to somehow both speak clearly and capture the degree of precision found in a large scientific publication.”

        Yes, this is wrong.
        Just like when a scientist is pitted against someone who is well-versed in political debate, it’s not difficult to figure out who’s going to come off second-best.
        Like Lindzen vs Dessler: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9Sh1B-rV60

    • > So, a tempest in a teapot.

      Who could have guessed?

    • “But it raises the broader issues of how the climate establishment reconciles the “science is NOT settled” with a consensus that is tied to a specific emissions target to avoid a 2C temperature increase. Is the science settled “enough” to justify this emission target aimed at not exceeding this specific temperature increase? ”

      Since no scientist in almost any field will ever say the science in the field is settled, we can now see you are arguing that we should never set policy based on science.

      Either we set policy on still improving science or we never set policy.

      You are being a bit too blatant with your goals here. Try again.

      • Try learning something about the policy process and decision making under uncertainty. Then come back and we can talk about it.

      • “Is the science settled “enough” to justify this emission target aimed at not exceeding this specific temperature increase? ”
        Its a great line. An excellent example of begging the question, especially the quote marks.

        You take doctor Schmidts almost tautological position that there is more to learn and turn it into more doubt fodder. But in a way, like everything since the November elections, in vain.

        The decision has been taken, there will be no substantive action on climate this congress. 4 years, 2 ppm per year so about 8ppm maneuver room has been removed.

        We are now leaving the era when small steps taken with limited pain would buy time and prepare so that if we needed to take bigger actions we had time and space to make them less painfully. Now we are becoming responsible for actions taken and actions not taken.

        The voices calling for delay on action have now assumed responsibility for those calls. We will now all sit and wait on the data as it comes in.

        Oh we will argue on the internet because, well because its what we all do, all of us climate nerds, pro and anti. We will shout, call each other names, point to papers, declare ourselves good people and cast aspersions on the other side never reflecting on the ironies therein.

        But we will wait and the data will continue to come in.

        And eventually decisions will have to be made.

        Its not 2001 anymore, our decisions matter now.

      • “Its not 2001 anymore”

        True, the winters are rapidly heading back to the 60’s

      • Did the southern hemisphere see such flooding in the 60s while snowstorms dropped their own precipitation in different places up North, and was the Hudson Bay freezeover a month late back then as well?

      • Latimer Alder

        Point of order – there was a ginormous flood in Brisbane in 1974. Some say it was even worse than the recent one. So the answer to your first question

        ‘Did the southern hemisphere see such flooding in the 60s?’.. is ‘yes’…assuming that you will allow the 60s to stretch as far as 1974.

        There were plenty of bad floods beforehand as well. In this case, Google is your friend. Brisbane has a history of bad floods. No especial reason to believe that recent events signify anything unsual.

        http://www.bom.gov.au/hydro/flood/qld/fld_history/brisbane_history.shtml

      • The Wyvenhoe Dam was built when, and in response to what, exactly? Did the southern hemisphere experience such widespread extreme floods in the 1960s?
        A reminder; “the winters are rapidly heading back to the 60′s”. Thanks in advance.

      • Latimer Alder

        I have no idea.

        You asked a question. I supplied the answer. Which didn’t seem to be the one you wanted.

        As to your two new questions, I’m sure that you are dying to tell us all what the answers are. Perhaps you have done a comparative survey of all the Southern Hemisphere (big place !!) and the rate of flooding between the 1960s and now. And are just bursting to share it with us? No doubt it is just a preliminary to your magnum opus which covers the NH as well.

        Your quotation is without a source, so I have no idea of its relevance to anything. Just saying ‘a reminder’ is of no help to me. Please be more specific about what you are attempting to remind me of and why? It is certainly not a quotation I recognise or endorse. Telepathy may exist at The Grauniiad but hasn’t arrived here yet.

      • The Brisbane flood level was higher in 74. The one in 1893 dwarfed both.

        Lives have been lost, so the coroner will be taking an interest in such questions as whether last month’s event was:

        a/ unpredicted
        b/ unpredictable
        c/ unusually severe

        before looking at whether the dam was managed appropriately in all the circumstances. The string of warnings from pre-AGW hydrologists that the Wivenhoe was kept too full in light of the major event they expected to recur about 35 years after the last one will no doubt be assessed against the dam managers’ (and their political masters’) decision not to release until it was too late.

        Warmists latching on to these events to give life to their moribund myth would be well advised to wait for the coroner’s report.

      • The Brisbane flood level was higher in 74.

        What was the name of that dam they built in response to the 1974 flood, again?

      • Wivenhoe. Why?

      • In general, one builds a dam that has a flood-mitigation component with an expectation that it just might, given historic rainfall and flood data, result in lower levels on the darn flood gauge.

      • JCH it’s not clear if you are replying to me or to dhogaza. If to me, can you be clearer about your point?

      • To understand the effectiveness of the flood-mitigation system, you have to actually compare the flood events.

        You have not done that.

        The inquiry will do that.

      • I’m still not clear who is replying to whom. dhogaza asked the name of the Wivenhhoe dam. I supplied it, but imagined there was more to the question than a simple request for information. So far it seems there wasn’t. The name of the Wivenhoe is common currency, as one would expect for a dam which was massively vented at the height of a major precipitation event in which several people died. So I still can’t understand why I was asked to name it, but I did.

        Now, is there a point to all this?

      • In 1974 there was one big dam in that catchment, the Somerset. Its mitigation effect was withheld from the 1974 flood. The floodwater it withheld did not reach the city flood gauge. That was one of the big reasons they built the Somerset Dam: to achieve a lower level on the city flood gauge so as to protect property and lives.

        So in terms of the dam’s performance, you need to compare the 1974 flood and its relevant rainfall with previous floods and their relevant rainfalls. It is a complex analysis, and Australian engineers and meteorologists and hydrologists have done it many times.

        They will do it again for this inquiry. They are not going to look at the BOM graph and simply conclude the 1974 flood was higher than recent the mid-January food.

      • Did the southern hemisphere see such flooding in the 60s while snowstorms dropped their own precipitation in different places up North, and was the Hudson Bay freezeover a month late back then as well?

        And CO2 did all that? You can make that connection?

      • We are now leaving the era when small steps taken with limited pain would buy time and prepare so that if we needed to take bigger actions we had time and space to make them less painfully. Now we are becoming responsible for actions taken and actions not taken.

        Alarmist nonsense. There isn’t even any evidence that changes in the climate coming in the next 100 years will be bad. Unless, that is, we head back into a Little Ice Age again. Now that would indeed be bad.

      • “Unless, that is, we head back into a Little Ice Age again.”
        Not alarmist at all.
        And full of skepticism.

        Lol.

      • And just as likely as any “hot” future. We know that cold kills.

      • Here’s a guy who tried to bet Richard Lindzen that global temps would not be cooler 20 years in the future, after hearing about this: “Richard Lindzen says he’s willing to take bets that global average temperatures in 20 years will in fact be lower than they are now.”

        Lindzen said, “sure, I’ll make that bet – at 100:1 odds in my favor”. Later, he said he’d go as low as 50:1 in his favor … hardly a strong statement of faith that temps would actually drop over the following 20 years, or a particularly strong statement supporting his claim that he was willing to take bets.

        So, jrwakefield, here’s your chance to put your money where your mouth is. Will you propose an even-odds bet to the guy who tried to bet Lindzen?

      • I already have such an even-odds bet running from 2005-2020 for $1000

        Looking good at the moment.

      • 2005-2020. Okay.

        I’ll bet even odds on the period starting in 2005 vs the period ending in 2020, minimum 5 year period.

        For instance the average of 2005-2009 vs 2016-2020 (average over 5 year period). Or if you prefer, 2005-2012 vs 2013-2020 (average over 8 year period).

        GISS and HadCRUT average, using the versions active in 2020 (I’m assuming the HadCRUT Arctic problem will be fixed by then). Major volcano cancels bet (unless it doesn’t affect the outcome i.e. the period with the volcano is warmer than the other one).

      • I’ll bet on warming. $10k. Even money. Deep Climate’s rules. Any denialist takers?

      • So, jrwakefield, here’s your chance to put your money where your mouth is. Will you propose an even-odds bet to the guy who tried to bet Lindzen?

        Since I don’t have a crystal ball, I make no claim of what WILL happen, unlike proponants of AGW predicting what WILL happen in 100 years. They are the ones who should be betting their own money, not ours with their destructive policies.

      • All these “bets” on what is going to happen with the adjusted, variance-corrected and otherwise manipulated “globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature anomaly” are interesting but slightly silly IMO.

        This index has shown an increase of 0.04C per decade since it started in 1850, so a general increase is probably what we are going to continue to see over the long term.

        Looked at more closely however, it has warmed and then cooled slightly in a cyclical fashion roughly like a sine curve on a tilted axis, with a total warming/cooling cycle time of about 60 years and an amplitude of plus/minus 0.2C.

        So, if it continues this pattern, it will continue to show a “lack of warming” for the next 20 years and then start warming again for the next 30 years.

        But, long term, I’d put my money on slight warming (as we’ve seen since 1850).

        “Farmers’ Almanac”, anyone?

        Max

      • The Cheshire Cat grins ‘cuz he likes your odds, Manacker.
        ==================

      • That statement is just silly!

      • We have no policy anywhere to move people from active tectonic zones, yet we know the real threat and lives lost.

        Policy is not a blanket that automatically gets implemented on ANY threat. The DEGREE of threat must be weighed, and not just the direct consequences of the threat, but the economic and social consequences.

        AGW has not shown to have ANY viable threat, it’s not even been shown to be a threat at all. It’s been all pure speculation. Speculation has no probability value.

      • I’ve been involved in emergency planning for my organization and my province. A prudent organization / government plans for both the low-impact high probability threats as well as the high-impact low probability threats and those in between. A saying of those involved in emergency planning is: “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”

        As to AGW being a viable threat, even the DoD Quadrennial Defense Review Report of 2010 lists global warming as an official threat to US national security.

        From the 2010 report:

        The U.S. Global Change Research Program, composed of 13 federal agencies, reported in 2009 that climate-related changes are already being observed in every region of the world, including the United States and its coastal waters. Among these physical changes are increases in heavy downpours, rising temperature and sea level, rapidly retreating glaciers, thawing permafrost, lengthening growing seasons, lengthening ice-free seasons in the oceans and on lakes and rivers, earlier snowmelt, and alterations in river flows.

        Based on this threat, the DoD is planning how to respond.

        You may disagree with the DoD’s assessment of the risk of AGW. You have a right to your own opinion. The expert opinion differs. Guess whose opinion I value more?

      • shewonk

        How is that you spew your bile freely at your blog about Judith and yet, nonchalantly appear here to comment as well?

        Your mere appearance itself does not disturb anyone, but does it not disturb you, your dissonance? After all, the ‘cadre’ here are just a bunch of ‘climate dunces’ and ‘deniers’ and the ‘denialist chums of Curry’?

        What can be gained in interacting with such inferior beings at all?

        You come here and offer your serious opinions and expect them to be taken for their worth, but yet, your own posts dehumanize and delegitimize skeptical ideas and skeptics, day in and day out. In fact, this constitutes fodder for many posts.

        I love the cynical but I would love to watch you turn on your own brothers for a while as well. Otherwise your participation in blogs such as this, smacks of hypocrisy.

      • One-sided bile is one thing. But Shewonk does something far worse : she completely censors posters she does not like but has no answer for, a la Gav & Co over UnrealClimate.

        And as to You may disagree with the DoD’s assessment of the risk of AGW. You have a right to your own opinion. The expert opinion differs. Guess whose opinion I value more?, my guess is that, being a state flunkey and apologist for untrammeled political controls over society, you value the opinion of those ‘experts’ with whom you share a paymaster.

      • I was not aware that shewonk was censoring posts.

        That is ironic, considering how bitterly she complained that her posts were being knocked off at CA, to begin with.

      • Punk, the truth is that you are the only poster I have ever moderated. The only one. Even Mosher gets free rein to post whatever he wants at my place. :) I just had it up to my craw with your continual unsubstantiated smears and besides, you were starting to really bother my usual and most favoured commenters.

      • Oh, hankie, hankie.

      • shewonk has diagnosed Judith Curry’s politics, she has even figured out Curry’s motives. Curry’s posts are an “act”, designed to attack climate scientists of the consensus.

        This is all a part of something apparently called ‘dog whistle politics’, implying obviously that commenters participating at this blog are like dogs.

        Why does she think then, that this is a credible platform for debate to offer her learned opinions in? Quite surprising that shewonk should think it credible to offer her thoughts to unthinking mutts.

        She starts the entire discussion off with clear and unequivocal references to climate scientists. Now, after people discuss individual scientists like Mann, she tries to rein them in. Dogwhistle then retreat, chum then retreat.

        Quite the act.

      • Shewonk hasn’t said things about me that are any more negative than Michael Tobis’ statements about me. Both are welcome to comment here, provided they abide by blog rules. If Shewonk behaves better over here than at her own blog, well that is a good thing; other commenters are of course free to interpret her comments in the context of what she writes on her blog.

      • My dog doesn’t know how to whistle. He is a standard Dachshund, but can do a passable purr when contented.

        Is the ability to whistle breed specific?

      • Doesn’t the owner whistle to the dog?

      • Any particular tune?

      • No, I think most dogs will whistle if they run off the edge of a high enough cliff ;-)

      • Shub, not surprised to find you here. I try to substantiate everything I write about participants in this climate war, quoting their writing and words for the record and providing examples to back up my opinion. If you think that dehumanizes “skeptics”, so be it.

      • I checked out your blog, shewonk. Quite a preoccupation with Dr. Curry, you seem to have. One catty comment after another directed at Dr. Curry either by yourself or one or another of that klatch of old-biddies that are attracted to your site. My estimate?–bunch of Queen Wanna-Bees jealous that Dr. Curry’s site is getting all the “buzz.”

      • Hey Mike, great comment! Do you understand what ironic means?

      • “Ironic”? Hmmm… I think I know what the word means, shewonk. Isn’t that a term used to refer to those, in certain thermorrhoid climate-polyp circles, who use the Orwellian term “denier” for cheap propaganda purposes and then pretend the term has no subliminal associations with the term “holocaust denier?” At least, that’s how I’ve always used the word “ironic.” It’s worked for me, shewonk.

      • I am surprised to find you here.

        Maybe because I have some standards.

        I don’t think you say anything unsubstantiated. Your attacks are personal and arise as a result of assumption of bad faith. Maybe you can snap out of it someday.

        You aim to critique McIntyre. But that degenerates to personal attack. I admit, it is not an easy thing to do, to attack a single person, for his ideas. But it can be done.

      • What about the increased snowfall and freezing temperatures? Don’t forget them!

      • You may disagree with the DoD’s assessment of the risk of AGW. You have a right to your own opinion. The expert opinion differs. Guess whose opinion I value more?

        You are assuming that all these changes are because of our CO2 emissions. Change happens, the error is your ASSUMPTION, with no evidence, that these changes are anything other than normal variation.

        The FACTS are sea level rise has not accelerated, it’s 1.74mm/year over all since 1900, that’s 6 inches in 100 years, just as it has done for the past 10,000 years of human history. There is no increase in heat waves, that record is still in the mid 1930’s, and a longer growing seasons is good.

        The issue isnt planing for this or that, it’s the spculative nature of the EXTREME claims by the AGW community, generally for political reasons. Is there a plan in case we plunge into a new ice age? Just as likely to happen.

    • I will have to disagree that his comments is a tempest in a tea pot. It’s to the core of the entire controversy. If the “gatekeepers” didn’t have this view that the science is settled there would be no “deniers” and skepticism would be welcome with open arms, and you would not even have a need to blog on the topic.

      • “there would be no “deniers” ”
        Yeah right.

        Cause other sciences dont have there hidebound contrarians.

        You really think that if every i was dotted and t was crossed there would still not be people out there with conspiracy theories and arguments?

      • We arn’t refering to the normal fringe groups who think 2012 is the end of the world. Please do NOT lump me, or people like me, in with those nutcases. I’m refering to normal science. If it were not for the gatekeepers and The Team hording information, making pronouncements through the IPCC, and outlandish unverifiable speculative claims of future climate, pronounements that the science was settled, 90% certainty (a number pulled out of the air), there would not be this environment we find ourselves in now. The warmists started this (for political reasons), we skeptics are trying to keep some kind of science in climate science.

      • “We arn’t refering to the normal fringe groups”
        Really.
        “If the “gatekeepers” didn’t have this view that the science is settled there would be no “deniers” ”
        This statement is actually poppycock. All science has its fringe elements. But then again accuracy is not needed for so noble a cause as the ‘climate skeptics’. Its also interesting how your post is one long whining argumentum ad hominem. Its all about how wronged you are and why science is all about personality.

        Kind of like you dont have a point beyond being disgruntled and hitting well hashed out memes.
        A vague mushy attack on ideas about science rather than a firm clear rebuttal by posting clearly stated physics.
        Reread your post, do you realise that anyone from 9/11 troofers, creationsists to UFOs built the pyramids people could have written it practically word for word (just a few small changes).
        Conspiracies are easy ;-)

      • So no attempt to show that JRW is wrong then? Just some stuff about conspiracies and ‘memes’.

        I honestly thought we had left that word behind among the few remaining CiFers, but now it pops up here again – whatever it is supposed to mean. Perhaps it’ll go away again soon.

      • Prove what wrong, that there is a nefarious group of ‘gatekeepers’ holding out all the brilliant science?
        I cant prove there is no alien lizards controling the US congress either.

      • The gatekeepers were exposed in the climategate emails. Gavins email is just more of the same, keep skeptics at bay and keep the faith protected.

      • “keep skeptics at bay and keep the faith protected.”
        Its a lovely mental get out clause. In an age when any scientist can publish online if something of worth gets rejected you succor yourself with the imagined host of wondrous science that is being kept out, bit like the internet argument ‘the lurkers are with me’.
        CO2 is a greenhouse gas.
        There is more of it getting into the atmosphere.
        We are observing an increase of surface temperature that is consistent with increased greenhouse effect and we have other measures such as Harries 2001 that are consistent with this.
        All the conspiracy theories, all the begging, all the pleading, all the squealing about evil cabals of scientists are not going to change this. They may make you feel on an emotional level that you are doing something to make the bad news go away, but they are not changing the science.
        All that is left is to debate the scale of what the changes are likely to be and take actions.
        Temper tantrums and conspiracy theories are not really part of that debate. Nor are people who believe they are over turning the theory of relativity, people who belief in CO2 snow and people who believe blogs about their pet nit picks are game changing.

        Now the real sceptics, the people who have hard questions about specific aspects that they can frame in a scientific manner and place bounds round the impact of their assertions, they are not only welcome but indispensable part of the real debate. Sadly some of them seem to be drowning out the signal in noise. Se la vie, that is not my look out.

      • Dolormin, you say, “We are observing an increase of surface temperature that is consistent with increased greenhouse effect and we have other measures such as Harries 2001 that are consistent with this?. Why don’t you enlighten us with the data that supports your statement. Now, be careful with your references.

      • We are observing an increase of surface temperature that is consistent with increased greenhouse effect

        Nope. There has been no increase in Summer TMax, nor an increase in heatwaves. In Canada, Summer TMax has in fact been DROPPING. Heat waves here were more numerious in the mid 1930’s.

        What has changed is winters are getting less cold.

        So explain how our emissions of CO2 is not increasing TMax.

        And here we have this paper questioning the sensitivity of CO2

        http://www.ecd.bnl.gov/pubs/BNL-90903-2010-JA.pdf

      • PS – forgot to add that it is good to see you admitting that scepticism is a ‘noble cause’.

      • Yes. The conspiracy you CAGW troofers often advance is that politically-funded climate science doesn’t have a pro-politics bias, because scientists are just so damn disinterested, objective and honest. Like we saw in Climategate.

    • It’s a little distracting, when we should be discussing what should be done to limit the temperature increase to 2C. If it is even possible considering the enertia in the production of electricity worldwide, simply too many coal and natural gas fired plants to replace overnight.

      You have been pretty good about arguing that there is a greenhouse effect, but you have let a lot of other nonsense go unchallenged.

  61. How many people are going die of cancer before the science is settled enough?

    Oh, sorry, time warp there.

    How long are people willing to wait to take actions that while limiting carbon dioxide emissions would also help to reduce consumption of finite resources and reduce emissions of other pollutants?

    • How many people are going die of cancer before the science is settled enough?

      We know for a fact people die of cancer, there is no evidence anyone has died from CO2 emissions.

      • How long are people willing to wait to take actions

        Tell you what, you stop using anything that comes from fossil fuels, that includes power, heating your home, driving or transit anywhere, no food except what you grow with no fertilizers, no clothing, no medical treatment, no plastics of any kinds (which means your computer). Do that for a year and tell us how your life was.

      • I hope you are not suggesting that no action be taken to reduce fossil fuel usage until everyone has stopped using fossil fuel for any purpose?

      • And you are going to set policy forcing people to reduce? To what economic and social damage? Or is that not considered, everyone is just collateral damage in the goal to “save the planet”? Go ahead and be the first to test your consequences. Show us how it can be done before you preach to everyone else.

      • To what economic and social damage?

        I don’t think the science is settled on that.

      • Well maybe that should be considered before embaking on any “mitigation” efforts because the economic consequences is not worth it and will just lead to civil unrest.

      • That’s ignorant, mitigation can be done without dire economic consequenses and social unrest.
        If you factor the full cost of buring carbon into the price, it becomes more expensive that the alternatives.

      • I guess you don’t live in Ontario. We have the Green Energy Act, putting up wind turbines, solar panels, shutting down coal fired plants which producevery cheap power, all in the name f cutting CO2 emissions.

        The results? Our power bills have DOUBLED in the past 7 years, and expected to increase at least 65% in the next 4 years. People here haveto choose between paying hydro or feeding their kids. Homes near wind turbines are worthless, no one wants to live anywhere near them.

        Then there is the UK, where energy poverty is growing fast, now in the millions. The elderly riding buses all day to keep warm, buring books to heat their homes.

        The EU carbon market is rife with corruption and abuse, people making billions.

        Then there is the demand for carbon taxes which will drive up the costs of everything including food.

        Then there is the diversion of food into biofuels, driving up the price of food world wide (precipitating the unrest in the Middle East).

        So don’t tell me there are no economic consiquences to mitigation efforts.

      • In the UK, we’re now paying around £1.30 a litre for unleaded. Most of this is tax.
        I’ve now reached the point where I have to choose between going to work and heating my home.

      • Then why do people have to lie about it?
        For example, the Stern Report stated that the cost of hurricanes would rise to 1.3% of GDP (US)
        After publication, this figure was quietly ‘corrected’ to 0.13%

      • Is there supposed to be an analogy there somewhere?

        Does that also mean that the fact that people drown in water makes water vapour dangerous then?

        First rule of toxicology: the poison’s in the dose.

      • Yeah well, the challenge was absolute.

      • Only in your mind

      • Well, to be exact, the challenge was “there is no evidence anyone has died from CO2 emissions”…….the key word being emissions…..so, if we all agree that man-made emissions create 100% C-12 carbon, and all the CO2 in the vat was the CO2 variety, then Eli collects……

      • What do you, and most other readers of this blog, understand by, “CO2 Emissions”?
        The stuff that comes from beer vats? Nah, didn’t think so.

      • Nice try. The challenge is no one has died because of emissions of CO2 that is claimed to cause AGW. Care to take that bet?

      • Gee, so now you are cutting and trimming. The answer depends on whether you think that any part of a variety of recent disasters were related to atmospheric carbon contamination. Eli’s answer is probably, and increasingly so (c.f. heat wave in Russia, etc.)

      • Eli, congratulations on your promotion to Hare Weatherman.

      • Bob, be careful. Blog rules prohibit calling anyone “hare-brained”.

      • That “heatwave” in Russia wasn’t. It was a localized few days in the Moscow area. Sibera had a cooler than normal summer at the same time. The claim is also that France’s 2003 heatwave was because of AGW. Except that too was a localized few days in August. Berlin was a normal summer. In fact, Paris in 1947 had a worse heatwave than 2003. So there is no AGW signature in the heat wave record. So which AGW events are killing people? Cold in the UK?

      • Eli, you got cause and effect bassackward on the Russian heat wave and fires: the “carbon contamination” was clearly caused by the fires – not the other way around.

        Max

      • Kindly explain how it is that a blocking high in summer, aka heat wave, is related to AGW, but a blocking high in winter, aka cold snap, is ‘just weather’

      • My analogy is to the tactics used by the tobacco industry in their fight against regulation. “The science is not settled …”

      • Oreskes is so 20th Century. Tobacco tar causes cancer, but anthropogenic CO2 doesn’t cause Catastrophic Global Warming. Carcinogens and Climate are two vastly different arenas. Analogies between the two only appear with the most superficial glance. And can be sustained only by the blind.

        Of these two, tell me which science is settled again?
        =============

    • Are you joking?

      I reckon we know a wee bit more about how cancer works than how the climate works.
      The results of all our failed theories about cancer are long buried.

      • We do? Yet we cannot predict whether any given person will get a certain type of cancer, and good, targeted treatments are still elusive. Sorry but having spent part of my research career on cancer research, I can tell you that there are many uncertainties – yet we know enough to warn people about the dangers of smoking.

      • Yes. We may not know much about cancer, but we know even less about the climate – yet we advocate spending trillions on it’s ‘treatment’
        Yes, the dangers of smoking are well-established by rigorous research, which shows a RR of > 20.0 at the 99% confidence level, together with a well-established dose-response and plausible biological mechanism. That’s about as close to ‘settled science’ as anyone could hope for.
        Now contrast that with the ridiculously weak and poorly-researched EPA findings on ETS (‘second-hand’ smoke).
        Yet which one has become the subject of draconian legislation? I’ll give you a clue – it’s not the former.

      • No, he’s pretty right.

        There is still heaps we don’t know about cancer – that’s why treatments are still often only partially effective, and not at all in too many cases.

      • Sorry, I’ll rephrase my last sentence: “The results of many of our failed theories about cancer are long buried.”

  62. I surmise that Bart R has nothing to add.

    • *blink*

      Was someone making you warm again, willard?

      One really can’t be expected to explain wanting nothing to do with that every time it happens.

  63. The “science is settled” phrase apparently is not the creation of deniers, but is echoed by none other than AGW’s leading spokesperson Al Gore; on March 22nd, 2007, before Congress, he used the exact phrase.

  64. My information is from the NPR website: the quote is “…the science is settled, Gore told the lawmakers…”.

    • Except there are no quotation marks. Without those, it is a reporter’s paraphrase of what he said. Could be what he said, but might not be what he said.

      The science is settled, Gore told the lawmakers. Carbon-dioxide emissions — from cars, power plants, buildings and other sources — are heating the Earth’s atmosphere. – NPR

      As to the paraphrase, all we can know is the reporter think Al Gore told congress that science is settled on the conclusion that CO2 from those sources is heating the Earth’s atmosphere.

      The paraphrase, if it accurately captures what Al Gore said, would apply to no other aspect of climate science.

      While I fear venturing out in the no man’s land of what Judith Curry is doing here, she has said some of the same things. She is attempting to wrest some sort of agreement among the arguing tribes on the greenhouse effect in order to move the debate on Climate Etc. to issues where the science is not “as” settled.

      • Howling Winds

        Thanks for the clarification. I tried to get a full audio of Gore’s presentation but was unable to do so.

  65. Why, it’s obvious. Gavin’s words mean exactly what he says they mean.
    =========================

  66. =========================

    A summarization of several years of Kim’s contributions to intelligent discussion.

  67. d, the public wants back through the looking glass.
    ==============

  68. On the specific topic of this article, the conclusion seems to be our Gavin wants to have it both ways.
    He wants to say it is settled that man is causing major global warming, but when accurately reported as saying this, he objects and wriggles out of it by saying some mere details of this consensus are not settled.
    Heads or tails, he wins.

    • But Dr Curry has already said that the physics of gasseous radiative transfer is effectively ‘settled’.
      If that is so we can deduce the effects of the extra water vapor and carbon gasses in the atmosphere.
      If not then I take it you have issues with doctor Curry and her own version of the ‘settled science’ meme?

      • ” Mind you once the winds do pick up a denser gas, it could be more powerful due to the density.”

        Eh? Care to point me to which part of an introductory meteorology text book I can find this gem.
        And what do you think the relationship between air pressure and wind is?

      • “If that is so we can deduce the effects of the extra … carbon gasses in the atmosphere.”

        We may be able to deduce the effects in a test tube, but the atmosphere is a completely different kettle of fish.

      • But Dr Curry has already said that the physics of gasseous radiative transfer is effectively ‘settled’.

        You are confusing events and mechanisms. Events are measured, actually be seen to occur, hence “settled” is meaningless because events are fact. Mechanisms, the explanation (theory) for the events, is NEVER settled. It is common for the AGW faithful to mix the two up, deliberately I might add.

    • 1 As to whether or not the science is settled, Gavin wants to reserve the right to answer either Yes or No, whichever is more expedient at the time.

      2 (Settled) radiative physics is only one part of climatology.
      And that the effects of feedbacks, water vapour etc may yet prove to be deducable, does not make the CAGW issue settled.

      • “As to whether or not the science is settled, Gavin wants to reserve the right to answer either Yes or No,” Really now? Dig yourself a deeper hole for me now, show me where what he says is different to how any scientist would respond to almost any field.

      • Gavin says as far as political action is concerned, the science is settled. Hence his non-appearance at the Lisbon do.
        When this is correctly reported as his position, he begs to differ, saying he never said every detail is settled. Straight-talk it ‘aint.

      • This
        “As to whether or not the science is settled, Gavin wants to reserve the right to answer either Yes or No,”
        Becomes this
        “Gavin says as far as political action is concerned, the science is settled. ”
        You are struggling to develop a nuanced narrative here that is consistant. You clearly believe Dr Schmidt is saying something but you seem a little unclear what it is or where.
        Please provide a quote from doctor Schmidt that you are basing this opinion on so we can start somewhere a little more tanglible than where this thread began with Pearces interpretation of Tallblokes interpretation.

      • Doloroman, you are struggling to find confusion where none exists.
        Gavin thinks
        (a) for political action purposes, CAGW science is settled (ie settled enough)
        (b) there are still details and issues in CAGW thinking that could be improved

        Do you (or anyone) dispute either of the above ?

        He was correctly reported as turning down the Lisbon workshop on the grounds of (a). He objected to this on the grounds of (b).
        Disingenuous, surely.

      • “Doloroman, you are struggling to find confusion where none exists.”

        I take it you feel above the onerous task of providing quotes.

        This is alright. Interpreters of interpretations need not sully their purity with actually showing what is being said. We can all take it as a cast iron fact that your interpretation is the only truth one needs.

      • Doloromin, your refusal to tackle or challenge any any actual points anf claims I make above, duly noted.
        Likewise your unwillingness to take on board on the conclusion; you have no answer, yet won’t change your mind.

      • You are refusing to clearly back up your claims.

        This is alright. We expect you to make claims and not back them up.
        That would be asking too much.

      • Either challenge something or accept the conclusion.

      • Until you actually produce a quote we can start looking at and understanding it is like most skepticism. Based on assumption and hearsay.
        Intepretation of interpretations.
        I do apologise for asking a “skeptic” for some evidence. Graceless of me.

  69. My opinion is the parsing of words to associate phrases to people that obviously to not wish to be characterized as supporting these phrases is exactly the sort of action the workshop should have been stressing to avoid. Since what goes on in Gavin’s mind is best known by Gavin, it is his opinion of what he thinks that carries the most weight and the only proper response should have been an apology and a request for a short summary phrasing of his reasons.

    That being said, I don’t see how anyone can think we are far along enough in the science to only be worried about mitigation techniques when the stratosphere isn’t cooling, the troposphere has no hot spot, the oceans are accumulating no heat, and the historical response to forcings have exhibited only 40% of that expected.

  70. This kind of drive-by violates the principles of intellectual integrity.

  71. Judy,
    After reading much of the furor about the nuances of Gavin’s beliefs, I want to stress that my thoughts about all this are not ‘settled’. I have absolutely no doubt, however, that the whole dispute is ridiculous. It would be inaccurate to say that I think Gavin and his friends are being silly. Rather, I think they have been acting foolishly.

    I don’t think this has been a waste of time. Instead, I consider it to be completely unproductive exercise. And I don’t care if anyone is confused by this, but I am deepy concerned that there be no misunderstandings.

  72. I’ll bet on warming. $10k. Even money. Deep Climate’s rules. Any denialist takers?

    What’s your definision of “warming? Cause I’ll bet you that heat waves will NOT increase over the next 20 years.

  73. Dear Dr Curry,

    I haven’t really been reading your blog for a while (partly because my interests are more philosophical and political than technical and I’m not a climate scientist), so, reading some of the comments today and yesterday is rather shocking as regards their nastiness and rudeness, to you personally in particular. I hope this is exceptional.

    Gavin Schmidt can parse his words and insist on his ‘interpretation’ as much as he wishes but his meaning is absolutely clear – despite his ‘uncertainty’ post made after ‘climategate’ had outed him: that global warming is happening, that this is caused, in the main, by human made GHGs, that, if mankind does not halt these GHGs, catastrophe will follow and that this is ‘settled science’ and the ‘consensus’.

    The latter is brought in, however, not because Gavin et al needs us to confirm this science (for why should he? Do we have advocate blogs like Real Climate, defending physics, for instance?) but rather, because he needs us to agree with his misanthropic policy wish list – by convincing us, somehow, that because there is only one ‘scientific consensus’ there is therefore (and here the ‘fraud’ happens) only one answer – his and his ilk’s – which, however he parses, means an attack on the present development and therefore well being of the developed and the underdeveloped of this world.

    By embracing a putative ‘crises’ he not only give himself meaning, fills a void, but, also, he hopes, levers the world towards what he wants. But mankind can reject his simplicities.

    Worse, because Gavin et al, are so convinced they know how the world should be ( they deny this, of course, but when ever was being able to know themselves one of their virtues?) they design the science, at least in terms of the ‘message’, to be conducive to those ends. It, therefore, becomes, and has become, a purely political endeavour and, hence, about as scientific as ‘historical materialism’.

    Some people would do well to acquire an intellectual conscience. And learn humility. And some politeness.

    • Lewis, I understand where your general concerns are coming from. However, blaming all this on Gavin Schmidt is inappropriate. In terms of actually learning something from the past year, Gavin has learned more than many others IMO, to whom your criticism would be better directed.

      • Perhaps, I should parse my words? And get a little less disgusted with what, when it is not sophistry, is damned rudeness to yourself and others? But, no, I sincerely believe and perceive what I have expressed.

        That is to say, the politics is prior to the science. Why else Real Climate? And why not ‘Real Physics’, for instance?

        That Gavin has ‘changed’ is not really the point – and I’m sure he would deny he has. At this moment we have all the hounds of hell rushing on Fred Pierce’s neck for a normal journalistic habit of depending on a source for an interpretation of an actors attitude – and such a pathetically minor thing – and then we have Gavin Schmidts email confirming that interpretation is valid – and for you logic, ‘deepclimate’ naifs out there, that an interpretation is ‘valid’ doesn’t mean it’s necessarillary the right interpretation! – I’m just up to my back teeth with such underhand sophistical jumping at putative weaknesses, which only betray a weakness and emptiness of those who indulge in them. Is it a mystery that a certain section of the commentariat have these occasional fits when they discover some tiny, petty, minor alleged error? J’appelle une chat une chat.

        And what is ironic is that in the case of Fred Pierce they alienate one of their own – again.

      • Actually, with McIntyre’s confirmation that Pearce read the email, this helps clarify the situation. Pearce’s paraphrase of what he read was not an irrational interpretation of what was written. I am also surprised that they have made such a big issue of this. I am particularly interested in Joe Romm’s outrage, certainly Joe Romm seems to think the science is sufficiently settled to implement far reaching energy policies. I guess Joe Romm thought that Gavin as victim and Curry as evil story line was more tempting than emphasizing that main stream climate scientist objects to having “science is settled” statement attributed to him.

      • J’appelle une cat une chat!

      • Where is this from, though? I didn’t find it in the piece.

        “Actually, with McIntyre’s confirmation that Pearce read the email, this helps clarify the situation. “

      • Yep, I just got it. Interesting.

    • “I’m not a climate scientist” [but….]

      “his misanthropic policy wish list”

      “here the ‘fraud’ happens”

      “an attack on the present development and therefore well being of the developed and the underdeveloped of this world”

      “a purely political endeavour and, hence, about as scientific as ‘historical materialism’.”

      And for irony…

      “reading some of the comments today and yesterday is rather shocking as regards their nastiness and rudeness” “Some people would do well to acquire an intellectual conscience. And learn humility. And some politeness.”

      I am very glad that such experts in the extended peer review community like Lewis Deane are helping to build bridges and improve science. That such experts are able to read the minds of climate scientists makes the process faster and more scientific. It would definitely be wrong to call such persons ‘denialists’.

  74. Wow … I’m sure the esteemed host will not let Lewis Deane’s reprehensible attack as go unanswered.

    Meanwhile let’s return to the subject of quotes and paraphrases by journalists.

    The GWPF version of Traufetter’s der Spiegel piece has this:

    “The uncertainties in climate models are researched completely inadequately. The science establishment attempts to conceal this fact from the public,” said Curry.

    http://www.thegwpf.org/science-news/2361-climate-war-continues-despite-reconciliation-meeting.html

    Can you confirm the accuracy of the quote (since it may have been double-translated)?

    Thanks!

    • DC, I will own up to the first sentence. The second sentence doesn’t sound like something I would say. I have criticized the IPCC for overconfidence and inadequate treatment of uncertainty. With regards to attempting to conceal this fact from the public, this is definitely something i would not say (my positive feedback loop explains my opinions on this general issue). With regards to Traufetter, I spent quite a bit of time with him in Lisbon, and developed a great deal of respect for him. There is probably some nuance that got lost in the translation.

      • Whether or not you said it, Professor Curry, the root of the problem was that “The science establishment concealed facts from the public.”

        The problem now is that the public doesn’t know if “The science establishment is being honest on anything.”

        Leaders of the science establishment have only themselves to blame for the current situation.

        Agencies that participated in the use of science as a tool of government propaganda will probably have to be closed down before leaders will get serious about addressing the problem.

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

      • Well then shouldn’t you ask him to correct it with whatever you actually said? And perhaps Traufetter can clarify exactly what his notes have you saying in the original English before his translation into German? For instance, some of the automatic translators from German have “Established research”:

        “The uncertainties in climate models are still being researched completely inadequate, and the established research attempts to conceal that fact from the public.”

        Apart from the grammatical mistake, is that closer to what you meant? Notice that Traufetter’s original is one sentence (unlike the GWPF) and a direct quote (unlike Tallbloke’s mistaken paraphrase of Schmidt’s email), so this was definitely represented as one continuous exact quote from you. You must have said something reasonably close to one of these, but what exactly?

        As you can see from Oliver Manuel’s follow up comment, it’s important that you get to the bottom of this and clear this up quickly.

        To be clear – there are at least separable issues here:
        – First, what you said exactly.
        – Second, whether in hindsight you stand by it.
        – And third, whether the statement stands up to scrutiny.

        But one thing at a time.

      • I did check out your first “Positive Feedback” post. I’m not sure how it relates. There are a number of vague and unsubstantiated attacks on IPCC WG1 scientists i.e. “substantial element of schoolyard bullies, trying to insulate their shoddy science from outside scrutiny and attacks by skeptics, over concern with their press and media attention, discrediting skeptics …”.

        Are these the scientists who are “concealing this fact” from the public?

        Perhaps it would be helpful for you to focus on what you actually did or would say, in the exact context of the quote by Traufetter, rather than what you wouldn’t say, or referring to some other long post of uncertain relevance.

      • I probably spent about 20 hours total at a table with Traufetter (in the workshop, at meals). I don’t remember every word I said. It was chatham house rule anyways, so his quotes of me probably come from my written statements on Climate Etc.

      • andreas fuchs

        @ curry
        Right or wrong, I was not amused to read this sentence in one of the most imortant magazines in Germany with millions of readers.
        Could you try to clarify? By the way, I would prefer the second translation.
        And I was not amused to see you at youtube with a shirt in your hands comparing IPCC with a dustbin. But I confess it works to reconciliate with the people around you.

      • I cannot clarify the statement since i don’t read German. As I said earlier, I spent many hours sitting at the same table as Traufetter. Under Chatham House rule, i assume he did not use anything that I said during the workshop. My public statements (tens of thousands of words) on this general topic can be found at Climate Etc. I have said once and I will say it again: I have seen one translation of the quote. I accept the first sentence (something i would say), i do not accept the 2nd sentence, which may have gotten lost in translation. You will have to ask Traufetter exactly what the source was for that statement, and to clarify what I am alleged to have said.

        WIth regards to the youtube video. The cartoon on the Tshirt that was presented to me as a gift had nothing to do with the IPCC. That cartoon was drawn by Josh shortly after the CRU emails were released and I posted my first two essays on that issue (a response to my call for transparency in the data).

      • andreas fuchs

        @ curry
        Almost funny, seeing you misquoted by Traufetter and Gavin Schmidt by Pearce and Tallbloke. But don’t worry, you are not the first scientist presented by Traufetter in SPIEGEL in a strange way.

        @ pekka
        Your translation is quite well, but the first part sounds a little bit sharper in the original. I think, “conceal” is better than “keep quiet”. As a german I understand the original, but my english is not good enough to make a better translation than yours.

      • It is not at all clear that I have been misquoted by Traufetter, given the translation issues. In any event, this is a general topic that we definitely discussed. He clearly captured 1 sentence correctly, and apparently the first half of the 2nd sentence. At issue is the last half of the 2nd sentence. none of the translations I’ve seen captured something I might have said, at least in that way. I am not personally interested in pursuing this further, it appears to be an issue of translation.

      • af, I told my friend Peter Bocking that I hoped this whole mess would end in ridicule, and not in anger. His reply was that too many had died already.

        You should adapt to the ridicule. It is much the better choice.
        ====================

      • I know German enough to tell that the translation is not accurate, if not totally wrong either.

        The original sentence is “Die Unsicherheiten in den Klimamodellen sind noch vollkommen unzureichend erforscht, und die etablierte Forschung versucht, diesen Umstand vor der Öffentlichkeit zu verschweigen”

        My translation would be “The uncertainties of the climate models have not been studied sufficiently at all, and the established science tries to keep quiet about this situation in public.”

        Somebody with better knowledge of both English and German may wish to improve on my translation, but I believe that it is more accurate than that given above.

      • Dikran Marsupial

        “The uncertainties of the climate models have not been studied sufficiently at all, and the established science tries to keep quiet about this situation in public.” reminded me of this:

        ;o)

      • I consider myself fairly fluent in both English and German (I translate both professionally). I would change:

        “have not been studied sufficiently at all”
        to
        “have as yet been quite unsufficiently studied”

        otherwise I agree with your translation.

      • thanks for your professional translation. well thats not the way i talk, but i am prepared to accept that i would have said something like “have as yet been quite insufficiently studied.”

      • surely you mean “insufficiently”?

        What about

        “have yet to be adequately studied”?

    • How is my attack ‘reprehensible’? Pray tell.

  75. Oh common…all them fancy pancy words, it’s all very clear; Schmidt saw who was coming to town (M&M) and decided that he didn’t want to breath the same air, or possibly worse, to be captured on youtube having a glass of Port together with the Antichrist.

  76. Am I alone in not really caring what Gavin Schmidt thinks or doesn’t? Or says he does..or doesn’t. Or might do …or not.

    He and his team have had their day in the sun and are just fighting a rearguard action against the inevitable slide into obscurity of their cause. The weather, politics, uncertainty and public opinion have all turned against them.

    Even their visiting cheerleaders here are just going through the motions.

    • The issue is blaming an individual for the actions or general statements of group with whom the individual associates with.

      People blame me for stuff all the time and misrepresent what I say. I let it go (most of the time). I let my actions and statements that I write here on the blog speak for themselves.

      What i find interesting about all this is that they didn’t let it go, but rather a number of people rushed to voice their outrage about “science is settled.” that is interesting in itself, which is the main point of my post on this issue.

      • William Newman

        I find it interesting, indeed puzzling, how the “the science is settled” claim seems to draw some IPCC-aligned advocates like moths to a flame.

        I know it’s all too normal to coyly avoid disagreeing with shrill overstated soundbites that score political points. So I see sad normality when NPR-paraphrasing-Gore-testimony http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9047642 say it, and when the EPA chief says it in her own testimony http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2010/02/23/23greenwire-epa-chief-goes-toe-to-toe-with-senate-gop-over-72892.html , and then other IPCC-side advoates don’t want to own it even as they avoid disowning it.

        (I can also understand not feeling responsible for disowning every irresponsible fringe clown who happens to reach some of one’s own conclusions. But I think that’s a weak excuse for figures like Gore and the head of the EPA who are not fringe, but honored and powerful.)

        Even in my cynical view, though, it seems abnormal to wade in to defend the shrillness instead of loftily refusing to discuss it. Gavin http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/unsettled-science/ stakes out the goofy claim “the phrase ‘the science is settled’ is associated almost 100% with contrarian comments on climate and is usually a paraphrase of what ‘some scientists’ are supposed to have said.” Almost 100%? Today two of the top ten hits on Google for “science is settled” show NPR and _The Atlantic_ using the phrase approvingly, describing congressional testimony and Copenhagen respectively. I don’t know how to wind Google back to 2009/12, but the Gore/NPR story is old 2007 news, so I it was probably at least as prominent 14 months ago. And (back to today) the first Google hit is Connelley http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:William_M._Connolley/The_science_is_settled collecting many actual quotes like “I think that the scientific debate has now closed on global warming” and hammering on the point that they are not “the science is settled” in so many words. What’s up with that?

        I doubt many people reading that Connelley page will be convinced that “the science is settled” is unfair as a summary of various of the direct quotes he lists. And if they learned (from some other page) of the links I gave to the NPR Gore soundbite (2007) and to the EPA chief’s congressional testimony soundbite (Feb 2010, “The science behind global climate change is settled, and human activity is responsible for global warming.”) they could be further disillusioned. (Connelley, last edit 5 May 2010, says “there are no known examples of its use outside the skeptic press”.)

        So I am puzzled why Gavin or Connelley would stake out the claims linked to above. I can understand a temptation to avoid criticizing such shrill overstatements. But why defend the untenable position that the shrill overstatements are a figment of one’s critics’ imagination?

        “The Sun with half the East at heel is risen from lands of morning;
        His warming dries the rivers up, his smoke benights the air,
        And he that stays will die for naught and home there’s no returning.”
        The polar bears on the sea-wet floe sat down and photoshopped their hair.

    • I agree. The damage has been done.

      The damage will, unfortunately, not be undone until leaders of the science establishment step forward and accept responsibility for abusing science in exchange for government support.

  77. The great irony, as Shub has pointed out elsewhere, is that here we have alarmists fighting like cats and dogs to make sure it is well understood that the science is not settled.

    Whew, talk about through the looking glass.
    =========================

  78. The science was settled, adored on a wall
    Until someone noticed, it had a great fall.

    How could it fragment, that century thick shell?
    Buttressed radiatively effective as well.

    Thick yes it was, but brittle alas,
    Shattered as bits of laboratory glass.
    ==================

    • Very nice, Kim. (The buttressed line is rough to read.) In the beginning of Phenomenology of Mind, Hegel has a scene that is a bit like this. A great, established idea slowly rots from within then suddenly collapses, perhaps like a crystal palace, but it has been too many years since I read it.

  79. Keith Kloor said: “But like I said earlier, Fred ought to have gotten this straight from the horse’s mouth. Like Ronald Reagan said, Trust, but verify.”

    Keith’s criticism here is unfounded. I can confirm that Fred Pearce read Gavin’s email to the organizers declining the invitation to the conference, because I (by chance) happened to be sitting with Pearce when he was provided with a copy of Gavin’s email and observed him reading it carefully.

    • Who provided it to him?

    • Steve, thanks for this clarification.

      • So that, in fact, Tallbloke, unbeknownst to him, somewhat put the cat among the pigeons needlessly – it wasn’t a second hand report, but Fred Pearce’s own interpretation?! Ah well, it all comes out in the wash!

      • Everyone who reads the email passages sees what it says. It’s code talk for “the science is settled” which is what is implied for public consumption. Which means Gaven et al are twofaced, wanting the public to hear one thing (its settled), while at the same time knowing amoungst themselves that it is not.

      • It’s a metric for the dissonance. Gavin may well think the science is settled, but can no longer claim it in public. Oh, what a tangled web.
        =================

      • My mother had a stoke that damaged a visual reasoning center. She sees codes in everything: because the stroke has rendered her nuts.

      • And no one on the planet says things in code, tring to hide their true meaning, right. Hell, my wife talks in code very day, says one thing, but means something different.

        And you claim I’m “nuts”…

      • Ah well, not exactly. I got Fred to read it out loud to Steve and Ross. So he couldn’t make notes at the same time. And we had a couple of beers, which may be why he didn’t remember it very clearly later.

      • It might be worth making more public that you have no compunction about sharing emails (that were not even addressed to you) with random dinner companions and journalists over beer. That is unusual enough behaviour to warrant noting on your blog, and perhaps mentioning to your girlfriend/wife/partner/colleagues/friends.

      • tallbloke, why do you say Pearce didn’t remember it clearly? I read the email and I think Pearce interpreted absolutely correctly. In fact, Gavin made two separate statements clearly indicating the science was not up for discussion and he only wanted to talk policy.

    • That makes it worse, he could have quoted Gavin Schmidt directly from the email but instead chose to paraphrase without contacting him to confirm its accuracy.

      Whatever interpretation you want to apply to his words the fact remains that Gavin doesn’t consider the “The science is settled” a correct interpretation of what he said, to report him as having said that is therefore wrong.

      • And why, exactly, do you think Pearce had a personal copy of the email to quote directly from?

        And how, exactly, would you interpret what was written in that email?

        As kim said above –
        The great irony, as Shub has pointed out elsewhere, is that here we have alarmists fighting like cats and dogs to make sure it is well understood that the science is not settled.

        Ten years ago I was told by your side of the dance floor that the “science was settled” and there was “no debate.” Did y’all lie then or have you learned that there IS a debate? And if there IS a debate, then why would Gavin write what he wrote?

        Your inconsistencies destroy your own arguments.

      • “And why, exactly, do you think Pearce had a personal copy of the email to quote directly from?”

        Pearse read it and “read it carefully” according to Steve McIntyre. He could have made notes or, you know, remembered the contents.

        “Your inconsistencies destroy your own arguments.”

        Well you know I long ago realised you can’t force people to think along rational lines or to interpret things properly so I wouldn’t dream of trying to convince you of anything other than what you need to be convinced of.

        However, if you think “The science is settled? Aha then it’s not science!” versus “The science is not settled? Aha then we can’t do anything about it!” is some sort of clever refutation of anything then that’s really your own business.

      • However, if you think “The science is settled? Aha then it’s not science!” versus “The science is not settled? Aha then we can’t do anything about it!” is some sort of clever refutation of anything then that’s really your own business.

        I always know when somone’s holding the wrong end of the stick when they start making up nonsense like that. If anyone has said that (other than you) I’d like a reference. I need a good laugh.

      • Sharperoo: the fact remains that Gavin doesn’t consider the “The science is settled” a correct interpretation of what he said

        So Gavin doesn’t think the science is settled anough for mega political action ?
        I think not.

    • Dikran Marsupial

      If Pearce had been given a copy Gavin’s email, it exonerates him of the charge of not getting it straight from the horses mouth, but only at the expense of eliminating the excuse of ignorance for the rather nuanced interpretation of Gavin’s motives (which were made quite explicit in the email, namely that he didn’t attend because disagrement about the scientific issues was not at the heart of the problem – I would agree with him).

      However, it shouldn’t be a big deal, Pearce misrepresents Schmidt (rather ironic given the topic of the meeting), Schmidt writes a pretty moderate letter of complaint, hopefully Pearce appologises and agrees to run such statements by Schmidt in future to make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future. Problem solved.

      The real problem with the AGW debate is that too few participants appear to know the difference between scientific debate and a rhetorical debate – it shouldn’t be about winning, it should be about truth-seeking.

  80. Steve,
    My main point still stands: Fred should have checked with Gavin directly to make sure he was interpreting the email correctly. The “science is settled” is a loaded phrase. Fred ought to have take extra care on that one, even if he was just paraphrasing in an offhanded manner.

    • And who provided it? Tallbloke, not Ravetz, right? Or someone else?

    • Keith – Having read the email as posted on Tallbloke’s site, I would have interpreted it exactly the same way regardless of what Gavin’s after the fact explanation might have been. If Gavin didn’t mean to say that then he shouldn’t have written what he did the way he did. Blaming this brouhaha on anyone but Gavin is foolishness. But I will give him points for being willing to have the email posted openly.

      • “If Gavin didn’t mean to say that then he shouldn’t have written what he did the way he did. “

        This is classic stuff. Gavin Schmidt specifies a list of reasons he doesn’t want to attend a conference, people later get hold of it and present it as meaning something he didn’t intend and you say the problem here is that Schmidt should be sure to write in such a way as to preclude any interpretation but the one he intends.

        That is simply not possible. Anyone’s words can be twisted to mean something else. Those genuinely interested in what’s being said look at the context, those looking to score points make the words mean whatever they need them to mean.

        “Gavin’s after the fact explanation”

        In this case the “after” is “after a journalist published an article attributing a statement he didn’t make to him”.

        If you think about it for just a second and at least try to consider the possibility he wasn’t saying “The science is settled” then he’d hardly need to dispute that interpretation before it was made would he?

    • KK,
      It is a loaded phrase to be attributed to someone, but not so much to be used by someone?

    • “I would have interpreted it exactly the same way regardless of what Gavin’s after the fact explanation might have been”

      That’s fine for you, but Pearce is a professional journalist and should have known better.

      Besides, how does Gavin’s long list of what should be discussed jibe with Pearce’s claim he said “there was nothing to discuss”? Naturally, people presumed Pearce hadn’t actually read the email, because his precis was clearly at odds with the actual reasons.

      Even I thought Pearce couldn’t get it so spectacularly wrong on his own. But I was wrong.

      • DC: Even I thought Pearce couldn’t get it so spectacularly wrong on his own. But I was wrong.

        Quite so – he didn’t get it wrong.

      • And why do you think professional journalists of any stripe are telepathic? Or any more capable of interpretation than anyone else?

        Pearce read the email and interpreted it as he did – prior to any “explanation” by Gavin or anyone else. If you read it differently, then it’s your interpretation – which is an “after-the-fact” 20/20 hindsight interpretation – with bias.

        I don’t have a dog in this fight. I just find it ridiculous that those who are up in arms about the idea that the “science is settled” are those who’ve been telling me for ten years the the science IS settled.

        Y’all should get your story straight. OTOH, you’re a lot more entertaining this way.

      • And why do you think professional journalists of any stripe are telepathic? Or any more capable of interpretation than anyone else?

        I don’t. That’s why I have this expectation that some journalist quoting something that someone else says actually *quotes* them. You know, like in their own words, which Pearce had read.

        These attempts to defend Pearce are telling.

      • William Newman

        (Assuming you’re the same dhogaza…) Did it violate your expectations when you read the journalism which convinced you that
        “Lindzen is on record as saying he doesn’t believe in what might be labeled ‘catastrophic tobacco smoking’.” ? http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2010/07/01/the-good-the-bad-the-ugly/#comment-9911

  81. Reality check … is there any credible doubt that Gavin thinks
    (a) CAGW is settled/established beyond a reasonable doubt, enough to warrant xillion-dollar social upheavals ; even though
    (b) not every last detail is settled
    ?

    If not, is there any cause for surprise that he would decline to join the Lisbon workshop where his (a) stance is not an unquestioned given ? And that, therefore, he would say and mean as much in his invitation-declining email ?

    The only mystery is why he claims to have been misrepresented.

    • We can easily test Gavin’s state of mind. Hold a similar conference here, with the goal of “dialog” with skeptics and his “team” and see who decides to come. Wanna bet none of them will? And with this controversy hanging over their heads they won’t even reply to any invitation, they will just ignore them. That will be enough to show us who they really are.

  82. Keith,
    I don’t know if anyone else has raised this, but if you were a journalist at a “Chatham House” rules private conference, and people started discussing and passing around the private email of another invitee who had declined the invitation, how would you react?

    To me, this is a major part of the story here.

    • Based on what I know about who went to dinner with whom when, Pearce saw the email over dinner after the workshop was completed. So this communication occurred after the workshop, and relates to something that was written before the workshop. So this exchange of information would not be covered by Chatham House rule, IMO.

      • Dikran Marsupial

        Hardly casts a conference on reconcilliation in a good light though, does it? It just supports what Gavin wrote about the science not being the problem.

      • I would contend it’s Gavin’s unwillingness to discuss science that is the problem. For example I’d like to know how we can be sure ‘enough’ about the IPCC conclusions to start decarbonizing when the error band of the energy balance measurement at the top of the atmosphere is around six times the claimed signal from additional airbourne human produced co2.

        If anyone else can help with this I’d be grateful, because there don’t seem to be many answers on offer from the proAGW side.

      • what Gavin wrote about the science not being the problem.

        ie, he thinks it’s settled.
        And is not prepared to even discuss that.
        Which explains why he wasn’t in Lisbon.

        But nevetheless complains about any of this being mentioned.

    • I completely agree.

      We must have been writing and posting at the same time or I would have posted a reply to your comment.

  83. I read over all the comments and it occurred to me that someone owes Dr. Schmidt an apology for all the silliness.

    Personal correspondence from an invited guest to the organizing committee should never be aired in public.

    The conference, as I understand it from a prior post here, was to open a dialogue between those who support the IPCC consensus and those who are skeptical of the IPCC consensus. Basically to never a civil dialogue in the hopes of future debate based on Trust and mutual respect.

    Also, its customary to check with all parties prior to publication.

    Several people really screwed this one up!

    • correction to para 3 last sentence (s/b):
      Basically to have a civil dialogue in the hopes of future debate based on Trust and mutual respect.

      • Hi John,
        I’ve offered to apologise to Gavin if that’s what he wants.
        However the offer is conditional. Details here.

        http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/gavin-schmidt-response-to-lisbon-invitation/

        It’s a mutual respect thing.

      • You specifically disclosed the contents of Gavin’s email (or rather your interpretation of its contents), this is presumably the act you would be apologising for.

        Gavin wrote an email outlining why he didn’t want to go to the conference but you feel his reasons are incorrect.

        What does Gavin need to apologise for? Even if you think he’s wrong then he’s simply wrong. Why does he need to reverse his opinion on the matter and why is it any way related to a need for you to apologise?

        Either you need to apologise or you don’t. Gavin’s reasons for not attending are his own either right or wrong.

      • It would be respectful, both to yourself and to others, to read TallBloke’s link before you fly off the handle, er, uh, respond.
        =============

      • The issue isnt that he didnt want to go or why, the issue is the comment shows his state of mind. And that is as far as they are concerned the science is settled, no one need question them. He is clear, skepticism of AGW is irrelevant. Nice statement from a “scientist”.

      • Dikran Marsupial

        Conditional appologies are essentially worthless, you are either have made an error and are sorry or you are not. It seems to me the antithesis of mutual respect to try *in public* to shame Dr Schmidt into agreeing to give an appology for what he wrote *in private* before you will give the appology that you owe.

      • Read what I wrote. I haven’t asked him to make an apology.

      • Dikran Marsupial

        Sorry that is just pedantry, O.K., so you don’t want him to applogise, just admit that he was wrong for something he wrote in a private email. That doesn’t change the fact that a conditional apology is worthless; if you think you had mischaracterised his position, you should applogise anyway, without conditions, without waiting to be asked. If you don’t think you mischaracterised his position then why offer to give an insincere appology? Surely unconditionally apologising for ones errors is a pretty obvious step towards reconcilliation?

        N.B. Even if Schmidt is right in his characterisation of the skeptics, that does not imply that the science must be settled, simply because there are areas of real uncertainty in climate science, but they may not be the issues on which he percieves skeptics generally attack.

      • Speaking of pedantry, these are tangled webs you are caught in. Are you ‘working deliberatively within imperfections’?
        ==================

      • Dikran Marsupial

        nice timing (I had just posted my appology), and I appreciate the irony! ;o)

      • Dikran Marsupial

        I do however unreservedly appologise for having misread your artcile, mea culpa (genuinely).

      • Dikran, no problem, this debate is moving at high speed, and the glare of the headlights is disorientating. I know where I stand, and what I stand for. I’m just trying to avoid being knocked down by traffic coming from both directions while I’m stuck in the middle of the road.

      • “Dr Schmidt into agreeing to give an appology for what he wrote *in private* before you will give the appology that you owe.”

        Schmidt has given the same reasons in public both before and after the SA article so it’s even worse than that – he’s expected to reverse and then apologise for his own opinion!

      • Lisbon Workshop on Reconciliation in the Climate Debate

        Based on my reading, I’ll try to be as factual as possible:
        • you were invited to help with the list of attendees
        • you accepted and made recommendations
        • you inadvertently received Dr. Schmit’s email response to the invitation (inadvertently in the sense that it should not have been circulated or should have been considered confidential)
        • from your post: “The original summary (similar to that which Fred posted) was made by me at the Lisbon event in response to a question concerning the absence of prominent AGW proponents.”
        • from your post: “I would just stress at this point that what I said constitutes my opinion and not what Gavin said verbatim.”
        • Fred Pierce then quoted your public statement?

        Is it reasonable to assume that personal correspondence between an invited guest and an organizing committee should be treated with confidentiality?

        The central purpose of the workshop was related to Reconciliation. One would think all aspects would have been very carefully managed and the invitation more focused on the objectives (its very dry and poorly worded IMO).

        If it were me Tallbloke, I just apologize in the hope of diffusing the situation. All invited guests have the right to reject and the reason should be theirs to explain.

        Note: I’m still uncertain why the attendance was so lopsided.

      • What is it with Claimate catastrophe promoters and the need for their e-mails to be held secret?
        The only problem with Gavin’s e-mail is that he does not like how reasonable people read it.
        His arogance is the most interesting part of this, next to his cowardice.
        His defenders are painted into so many corners that I wonder how muchpaint there is and what a blue print of this room might look like.

      • Nah, it needs to be unconditional, you screwed up and must make amends.

        There is not but evil to be found reading other peoples mail.

        Aloud to others and you are gossiping.

        I may be going farther down the slippery slope than warrented by the evidence in question, but it is all a he said she said tempest.

  84. John from CA
    Gavin requested an airing of his correspondence.

  85. That’s why it’s important to know:

    Who provided the email (for the third time)? Who else saw it?

    And do McIntyre and Curry think it’s all right for someone else’s private email to be openly discussed and then passed around – at a “Chatham House” rules private conference ostensibly designed to foster trust and reconciliation, no less?

    As far as Pearce goes, John from CA is entirely correct. Pearce was doubly unprofessional.

    • Nice one there, Deep Climate,

      Always ready to hold up people to their standards.

    • Ah, the nesting is very confusing here. So I see that Judith Curry thinks it’s OK because the Gavin’s email was written before the conference, and passed around after the conference.

      Well, the point is it would be highly inappropriate under any circumstances, but especially in connection with a conference supposedly to foster reconciliation and trust.

      • The dinner conversations and activities appear to have generated more news than the conference itself.

        It’s a shame that news was contradictory to the purpose of the conference.

      • All quite apt; what the world must be reconciled to is the unsettledness of the science. What, the shadows aren’t real? And yes, watch out for the anger. That’s why I tout ridicule so much.
        ==================

      • Essentially, DC thinks it’s highly inappropriate to hold Gavin to what he says and thinks. This is just like the anger felt at the Climategate exposes – based on the idea that politically correct troothers should be beyond criticism.

      • DC, i said nothing about “OK”. your original question and my response is about a technicality re Chatham House rules. Please do not take my statement as an answer to another question that you did not ask. I don’t think this episode violates chatham house rules. with regards to the original email. Gavin’s response to an invite from the organizing committee was either sent to an individual or to several members of the committee; I suspect that he would not be surprised that his email would be discussed among members of the organizing committee. Tallbloke was a member of the organizing committee. So the fact that he had knowledge of this email should surprise no one, although he actually ended up with a copy of the email by mistake (schmidt’s email was apparently not originally sent to Tallbloke.)

        Now as to the “ethics” or “courtesy” or whatever of Tallbloke discussing the contents of the email with participants and actually showing it to Pearce. Does Gavin seem offended that this was discussed? doesn’t seem like it; he stands by his words and is happy to make them public. In the wake of climategate does Gavin assume that somebody might talk about his emails, someone whom the email wasn’t originally sent to? Almost certainly. Gavin is mainly offended by Pearce’s interpretation and use of the words “science is settled”.

        Why people are making such a big deal of this, I can’t imagine. I mainly find it interesting who thinks that such an interpretation is a travesty.

      • Why people are making such a big deal of this, I can’t imagine. I mainly find it interesting who thinks that such an interpretation is a travesty.

        That’s pretty close to saying that Tallbloke’s allowing Pearce to read Gavin’s e-mail, and Pearce’s misrepresentation (easy to avoid by a direct quote, for which he would’ve properly have gotten permission from Gavin before doing so, permission which, as you point out, Gavin presumably would’ve given seeing as he asked Tallbloke to publish it here, and when Tallbloke only published *part of* it, published the whole thing himself) *was* OK.

        Now … how about Tallbloke’s telling us all that it was he who interpreted the note for Pearce, and letting us believe that Pearce was in essence quoting him, when the reality is that apparently he gave it to Pearce to read?

        Is that bit OK, too?

      • My eyes X out in risus indignation and my mouth widens in raucous awe.
        ============

      • No you are putting words into my mouth that I did not say. Pearce is entitled to his own interpretation of the words that he read (note many who have read the email interpret it in the same way as Pearce). A direct quote from the email would have been better. An interview with Schmidt would have been better yet.

      • Yes, the latter two would have been better than the intentional slur, and falsehood, he rationally wrote.

        People should study the the failed email-based prosecution of the two fund executives. The jury did not buy the popular “interpretations”. Because the two executives wrote a lot of emails which added context, and had a long track record of memos and other writings that became clear evidence the popular “interpretations” were total BS.

      • It is heartening to know that we have reached a stage where it is a slur to say that the “science is settled” and attribute it to a climate scientist.

      • yes, this was the point i was making in my main post.

      • Dikran Marsupial

        well of course it is, it would imply that the scientist involved was unware of the limitations of science in establishing causal relationships regarding the real world, especially in a system where designed experiments are not possible (so you can’t test the predictions of a theory following some intervention).

      • When he didn’t say it, a point completely lost on you, and Fred Pearce knows a large group on the internet use the phrase as a battle cry, and have made a habit of falsely accusing scientists of having said it, yes, it was an intentional slur.

        Nothing “irrational” about it.

      • I think the issue highlighted here is that scientists are (finally!) getting sick to death of journalists and others mis-representing and mis-quoting them, and all the attendant fabricated controveries.

        Good on them.

      • Except in this case what the scientist is sick and tired of, is his own duplicity clearly emerging from accurate reporting (ie, gettting Gored on the horns of his dilemma, as someone earlier mentioned).
        Or do you suggest Gavin does NOT think the science is sufficiently settled, and only wants to discuss WHAT political action to take on the basis of this settled state, not debate IF it should be taken, thereby conceding there is no such settlement?
        If so, what explanation would there be for ducking the Lisbon workshop?
        (And he surely knows his strawman protesations about not thinking every last detail of CAGW is settled, prove zilch).

      • do you suggest Gavin does NOT think the science is sufficiently settled, and only wants to discuss WHAT political action to take on the basis of this settled state, not debate IF it should be taken, thereby conceding there is no such settlement?

        No answer from Michael or Grypo, so I’ll take that as agreement that Gavin DOES think it’s settled enough.
        Which means Pearce got it spot on.

      • (note many who have read the email interpret it in the same way as Pearce).

        Yeah, and many of them defend the anti-physics in “slaying the green dragon”, too.

        So?

      • “many defend the physics in ‘slaying the green dragon’?” An exageration I think. On this blog, the defenders (apart form the authors) seem to be very much in the minority. Do you always make things up?

      • Agree. Much Ado About Nothing.
        P.S. my article on the stratospheric warming is here:

        http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/docs/00/56/34/77/PDF/SSW.pdf

      • dhog: Pearce’s misrepresentation

        What misrepresentation? Gavin’s anger lies in being accurately represented. Hence his weaseling about not thinking every last detail being settled.

      • What misrepresentation? Gavin’s anger lies in being accurately represented.

        Oh, this must be why he posted the full e-mail here, then.

        You are just a punk.

      • First of all, Tallbloke was not identified as a member of the organizing committee in any communication I’m aware of. The statement of purpose was signed only by Ravetz and Pereira. So it seems that Tallbloke’s involvement only came to light after Gavin objected to Pearce’s article and Tallbloke was identified as the source. Are there any other members of the organizing committee we should be aware of?

        Second, I’m sure both Gavin Schmidt and Jeremy Ravtez would not expect that a member of the Organizing Committee would discuss invitee private response with others outside the Organizing Committee, and I would imagine they were both surprised and upset that this happened. And I don’t even know if Gavin knows his email was passed around. Of course, once Gavin’s response was misrepresented by Pearce, he wanted to correct the record. But I don’t think he was “happy” about his reasons being discussed and misrepresented.

        Third, it has to be said that Tallbloke’s story keeps changing. Perhaps he could provide a complete list of everyone he showed or sent the email, and who he merely discussed it with.

      • Second, I’m sure both Gavin Schmidt and Jeremy Ravtez would not expect that a member of the Organizing Committee would discuss invitee private response with others outside the Organizing Committee

        Tallbloke himself said he *accidently* got a copy, which makes it sound as though the Organizing Committee wasn’t meant to see such e-mails at all …

      • Deep Climate,
        I think the issue fundamentally comes done to lack of professional courtesy. Dr. Schmidt and other supporters of the IPCC consensus shouldn’t be put in situations where they have to defend a simple rejection to an invite.

        Scientists routinely dispute the work of fellow scientists but they typically have the courtesy of discussing the differences before publishing. If journalists would follow suit, it would go a long way to reestablishing a framework for open dialogue about important issues.

        I don’t think anyone was being malicious but its really bad form.

      • “shouldn’t be put in situations where they have to defend a simple rejection to an invite.”

        If Gavin had made a simple rejection, I doubt there would have been anything much made of it.

        “Sorry, on holiday that week” – Simple

        “Sorry, have to patch up some old FORTRAN code which is falling over” – Simple.

        “No ‘conflict resolution’ is possible between the science community who are focussed on increasing understanding, and people who are picking through the scientific evidence for cherries they can pick to support a pre-defined policy position.” – Uh-oh… not so simple

      • If Gavin had made a simple rejection, I doubt there would have been anything much made of it.

        What he did do is make a suggestion that he felt would improve it.

        Why did you leave that last bit off when you published the e-mail here?

      • I think that is all to obvious.

      • Hi Tallbloke,
        I’m not picking on you and have enjoyed your posts over the past few years.

        I’ve tried to be factual and open minded. I’ll leave the rest to your judgement.

        Best,
        John from CA

      • No problem John, everyone is entitled to speak freely. I’m a believer in openness and directness in debate. Thanks for your thoughts on the matter.

      • ianash: Yeah tallbloke … You’ve been caught in a low act
        The ‘low act’ being …? Accurately reporting that Gavin’s reasons for non-attendance is that he feels the science is settled enough for political purposes, and is thus opposed to debating it?

        dhogaza: Lying when off the company dime shouldn’t be a problem for tallbloke.
        Did he tell a lie here, or is that just a lie of your own?

      • Yeah tallbloke, Gavin should have made stuff up just to make you feel better. You’ve been caught in a low act. You are a man with no credibility. I will be writing to your employer to highlight how ethically bankrupt you are.

      • Lying when off the company dime shouldn’t be a problem for tallbloke.

        On the other hand, he did list his employer as his professional affiliation for the conference records, probably to puff his importance.

        The U might not be quite so happy about that.

      • Actually, no. The E.U. J.R.C. did that for me without my knowledge. Something I pointed out on Deltoid yesterday.

        Your tone implies a threat. From a pseudonym.

        How brave.

      • Your paranoia implies a threat. I made no threat. And I didn’t realize that “tallbloke” is your real name.

      • tallbloke

        All this going for your throat, is simply because you sounded conciliatory when you initially revealed that you were Pearce’s source.

        ‘dhogaza’ is clearly threatening that your university will be contacted.

        At the same time, I am pretty sure he fully supports NASA as it fights off FOI requests that would reveal Gavin’s activities at Realclimate, in working hours.

        As Realclimate puts it, Pearce is at the heart of the ‘media meltdown’ that happened after Climategate. Losing one important media bastion, nay two, Guardian and the New Scientist. You know the rage is always bubbling beneath the surface since. It has been seeking a target for a long time now.

        dhogaza is extremely pissed off that Gavin’s view was misrepresented in the New Scientist? Please. The article pretty much pans the Lisbon conference. How come he is blinded to that?

        Skeptics attending a conference that is not the Heartland? sponspored by the EU? Another source of legitimacy. Therefore another source of rage. Conference participation and conference talks, publications, newspaper and magazine articles – these are sources of entry and historical recording legitimate public discourse.

        A ‘hook of nefariousness’ was needed to peg the whole conference on. Fossil-fuel funding was one, conference participants discussing private emails over emails – aaah! gasp! eeevil!!!

      • ‘dhogaza’ is clearly threatening that your university will be contacted.

        I’m doing no such thing.

        You people are despicable.

      • Whatever. However, don’t forget the accused has the right to know the identity of his accuser.

      • My thoughts, directed at the Pearcegate article at Deltoid:

        Another way of looking at it was Tallbloke was trying to take the heat off of Fred Pearce…

        It looks like Fred DID read the email. and paraphrased it into ‘the science is settled’. I think he probably regrets it now, don’t you..

        Why attack TallBloke – FRED is a grown up journalist, he wrote the words, fully aware of how it would be perceived. He could have commented on Gavins email in many other ways.

        I don’t know if you are all aware of this, but attacking Fred Pearce, appears to a sceptic like me thet the pro AGW crowd are ‘turning on each other’

        Fred writes for the Guardian the most PRO AGW paper in the UK, George Monbiot and the Guardian have no less than 2 Deniars Halls of Shame.

        Pearcegate, is a massive own goal.

        A flip comment that could have been ignored, turned into something else that actually shows up the worst in the pro-blogosphere.. If you can’t keep Fred Pearce onside and the Guardian.. what next, disown Roger Harrabin, Roger Black (oh Romm did that allready)

      • It looks like Fred DID read the email. and paraphrased it into ‘the science is settled’. I think he probably regrets it now, don’t you..
        Regrets getting it right…??

      • Hopefully not…!

        fred is pro AGW! ‘they are turning on the media that supports them

      • Fred came across to me as a well balanced intelligent individual. I take people as I find them, and give as good as I get.

      • Barry that’s projection on your part (which probably explains why you have nothing to say about the behaviour of those responsible for this little debacle)

        Poor journalism deserves critique. End of story. We’ll leave the ‘sides’ to you.

      • This gives me a great idea. Thanks dave clarke

      • DC: you criticize Pearce for putting words into Gavin’s mouth; now you do the same to me. Brilliant. There are 4 issues here:

        1. Did Tallbloke and Pearce violate Chatham House Rule? I say no.

        2. Was Tallbloke wrong to have shared his summary or actual text of Gavin’s email? Personally, I wouldn’t have done it. Was it wrong for Tallbloke to talk about this issue? Well, its not surprising that he talked about this. Does anyone in this day and age really expect emails not to be forwarded or discussed? When I first came to Georgia Tech, my Dean warned me about email. He told me “Don’t say in anything in an email that you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the Atlanta Journal Consitution.” After Climategate and Wikileaks, it is hard to be indignant about someone discussion someone else’s email. Gavin probably doesn’t expect his emails to be kept private, and he doesn’t seem worried that this wasn’t.

        3. Should Tallbloke have shown the email or discussed with a reporter? Well, if he had said “this is definitely off the record, you can’t write about this, you should really go to the source” then this wouldn’t have caused a problem. Tallbloke tried to do this in some sense by not allowing Pearce to write anything down.

        4. Did Pearce violate journalistic ethics? I am not a journalist, there is some discussion of this over at Keith Kloor’s place. It was arguably sloppy journalism to have adopted Tallbloke’s framing of Gavin’s statement, and not to follow up with Gavin.

        So the individual steps that added up to this were minor transgressions at best, the end result (in the short term) was a blogospheric kerfuffle that lasted a weekend, with no harm to Gavin’s reputation.

        The longer term impact of this event could be important. The gauntlett has now been lain: no more science is settled, unless you are talking about a very few specific pieces of the science (and not the IPCC’s attribution statement). I expect Gavin and Joe Romm to speak up publicly if they hear journos or politicos or other scientists making this or a similar statement.

        An example of another misquote with some interesting longer term ramifications was the infamous “brain fossilization” misquote. My blood pressure was elevated by 30 points for 2 days. But the end result was a catharsis for the hurricane community: we stopped bickering in public and started cooperating and collaborating productively with each other. You might even call it reconciliation.

      • The gauntlett has now been lain: no more science is settled, unless you are talking about a very few specific pieces of the science (and not the IPCC’s attribution statement).

        Maybe they’ll start afresh with this one:

        Droughts, Floods and Food

        And these severe weather events are exactly the kind of thing we’d expect to see as rising concentrations of greenhouse gases change our climate — which means that the current food price surge may be just the beginning.

      • Judith, As someone present at the Lisbon meeting the claim that Gavin Schmidt was not attending on the grounds that the “Science was settled” was already circulating on the first day of the conference. One of the other attendees asserted the “science is settled” statement to me as fact. I questioned this, since it seemed completely out of keeping with what the articles of Gavin that I have read. My interlocuteur then found another attendee to back up this claim. It is clear to me that rumours about Gavin’s email were being disseminated from the beginning of the conference if not earlier. The fact that my fellow attendees were so eager to believe the rumours rather undermined my hopes for the meeting at a very early stage. (Chatham House Rules prevent me from identifying the two attendees in question on this blog).

        Best wishes, Bill Hartree

      • Have we seen statements from Drs Schmidt and Romn that the IPCC attribution statement is not settled?

    • For the record.
      I did not see the mail
      I did not hear it read.
      I was told it existed
      I suggested that it not be discussed.

      But you have given me a most excellent idea. Thanks, i’ll let you know
      how it works out.

  86. Noone is asking Gavin to apologise foe anything.
    We’re simply pointing out his duplicitousness.

  87. Punksta said: “We’re simply pointing out his duplicitousness”.

    Amongst a welter of interpretations of interpretations that would raise eyebrows at a creative writing seminar, you are pointing out Gavin’s duplicitity??

    I can’t see evoltion will not treating your genes kindly.

    • check: you are pointing out Gavin’s duplicitity??

      And why should he not be called to account ? – he initiated a very obviously false claim of misrepresention. That’s what this whole thread is about.

  88. The evidence from the I-squared debate shows that Gavin isn’t very good at discussing things in a live forum….

  89. In the interests of saving precious energy resources, here’s the precis, in pseudocode:

    while (true){
    science != settled;
    if (gavin && convenient) {science = settled; attack_fred();}
    }

    (A team at the Met Office are working on a Fortran port)

  90. OK.

    Nobody wants to be quoted today as having said “the science is settled”.

    But did anyone really say this and, if so, who and when?

    US President Bill Clinton said in 1997 “the science is clear and compelling”.

    Robert Watson in 1997 is quoted “the science is settled – and we’re not going to reopen it here.”

    Naomi Oreskes, from the University of California, noted in an article in Science in 2004:
    “there is a scientific consensus on the reality of anthropogenic climate change.

    In December 2004 the RealClimate blogsite stated: “One could debate whether overwhelming consensus is adequate grounds for action on climate change, but there are no grounds for debating whether such consensus actually exists.”

    In an October 2005 op-ed article Dr Kurt M. Cuffey stated “Mounting evidence has forced an end to any serious scientific debate on whether humans are causing global warming”.

    In January 2006 economist John Quiggan wrote on his blogsite: “There’s no longer any serious debate among climate scientists about either the reality of global warming or about the fact that it’s substantially caused by human activity”

    Coby Beck on the “Few Things Illconsidered” blogsite stated it this way in April 2006: “Global warming is definitely happening and it is definitely because of human activities and it will definitely continue as long as CO2 keeps rising in the atmosphere.”

    Al Gore told the US Congress in March 2007 “the science is settled”

    James E. Hansen worded it a bit more cleverly and eloquently before US Congress in April 2007: “crystallizing scientific data and analysis reveal that the Earth is close to dangerous climate change, to tipping points of the system with the potential for irreversible deleterious effects.

    The Union of Concerned Scientists stated in February 2009: “there is now an overwhelming scientific consensus that global warming is indeed happening and humans are contributing to it”

    US President Barack Obama stated at COP15 in Copenhagen in December 2009: “the reality of climate change is not in doubt”

    Former UK Environment Minister David Milliband, stated last year: “I think that the scientific debate has now closed on global warming”

    Lead writer and columnist on The Times, Camilla Cavendish also wrote: “The science debate is effectively over”

    OK. Most of those quoted above are not scientists, but politicians, columnists, blogsites and others. And they worded it a bit differently (although the message was clear).

    Max

    • Exactly,
      Yet what in the world do they actually mean “the science is settled”. What potion is the proof?

      I freely admit some of it makes sense as aspects but not sufficient for the UNFCC conclusions.

      I guess we should allow the UN efforts to stumble along in the hope some of it can finally be insightful?

      NOT on my tax dollar and I suspect every other soul in the world agrees. We must have some evidence this foolishness has been properly structured or you can expect we will make sure the plug is pulled from all future funding!

      Unless the UN understands we demand accountability and will pull the plug unless we get proper Science and structure, they will never work on the worlds’ behalf.

      This in a nut shell is exactly what is wrong with this picture and its up to us to fix it.

      The fun part, every Scientist agrees.

  91. Judy,

    I have to wonder if some of your commenters ever dealt with the media before. Compared to standard journalistic practice, Pearce’s summary of Gavin’ e-mail is remarkably accurate. Some of these foks need to clue into the real world.

    • Stan,
      Our comments indicate you have the morals of a weasel. Its sadly not uncommon in the media but hardly an excuse to “cop” an attitude in a sacred space.

      Any chance I can donate to your education?

      John

  92. This all seems to have degenerated down to “who said what” and “pin the tail on the donkey”. IMHO that’s a waste of time, let the courts decide :)

    Reverting to the original point of the post we have:

    ”Well the punchline seems to be this. Mainstream climate scientists seem to want to loudly proclaim that the science isn’t settled. And prefer not to be labeled as a “leader of mainstream climate science.” A very good thing.

    “Note to ‘deniers:’ looks like you are currently denying unsettled science”

    I’m not sure that Gavin Schmidt is really conceding that much. Looking at the RC blog entry entitled “Unsettled Science” that he references in his letter to New Scientist to support his statement that he doesn’t think the science is settled we find at comment 108:

    Ed Miliband, the UK Climate Minister was quoted in the Times Online today as saying “The science is clear and settled. ” Al Gore has been quoted as making similar remarks.

    Can anyone point me to a quote from climate scientist disowning or reprimanding such policicians?

    [Response: It depends on what the context is. If they are talking about hurricanes and climate change, then there are plenty. If they are talking about attribution of recent warming to human activity they are fine. The only error is when people either pro or con overextend such statements to encompass the whole scientific enterprise. – gavin] [my empahsis of course]

    • Well, HAS, this thread actually started off with “who said what?”

      But I agree it is pretty silly to spend much time arguing about it.

      Does “a consensus exists” equate with “the science is settled”? Semantics, I’d say.

      Feigned outrage, hurt feelings, claims of duplicity, and all that stuff are really pretty silly. Lots of folks have said (in one way or another), “the science is settled”, but of course it never is.

      Pearce seems to have summarized it fairly correctly.

      There was no “reconciliation” because a) one side (the “mainstreamers”) were not adequately represented by their own choice and b) no one really wanted to have a “reconciliation”.

      So those present agreed to disagree cordially (?) – and, hey, that’s already a positive first step, right?

      But isn’t this all a bit of a “tempest in a teapot”?

      Max

      • The teapot holds a lot of tempests: Billygate, climategate, debategate, …, Gavingate.

      • Hi Max

        It is wasting bandwidth, but its does provide a sidelight onto the personalities at play and why reconciliation is not likely to be the road to redemption.

        This is both a political and scientific issue. So those that think the science is not as strong as often gets represented (and I’m one) and worry that poor policies may result, have two modes of redress, political and scientific.

        On the politics I must say I don’t think the skeptical side are doing too baldy. The nature of the problem (effects long-term, costs immediate) tends to mean nations are cautious in their response, and there has been enough noise around the the quality of the science to allow some dragging of the chain.

        The problem though is the right kind of science to better inform decision making isn’t being done, and there is a strong inertia behind the existing programmes.

        The political priority if you are skeptical is to redirect the national science investment into higher priority areas that will help inform the decisions we will have to make. In this there is a reframing of the debate that needs to occur to get any change, and I think that involves focusing the science priorities on the needs of the decisonmakers.

        Accordingly skeptical scientists should be developing an alternative programme that demonstrably deals with the issues policy makers are going to have to face, and that also confronts the inadequacies of the current settled science.

        Others have talked about what this might look like – regional impacts, measurement quality, reduced funding to GCM modeling (consistent with their strength in testing subsystems rather than forecasting climate), and more empirical work and modeling of those systems that have a large impact on areas of risk.

        To repeat, the programme needs to evidence based in its link to the policy priorities, and not just special pleading. The use of terms like “settled science” are political and have a purpose that extends into selecting science priorities.

        On the science side there nothing like skeptics producing good quality research to help redress the imbalance, particularly if it addresses those areas where the science is said to be settled. This may not be as hard as it seems since the settled science has tended not bother much about uncertainty, high quality measurement, and other statistical niceties.

        A separate agreed programme among skeptical scientists to cooperate to advance specific areas would help because it would focus attention on how the science isn’t settled, and focus the use of scarce resources to best effect. In some ways Dr Curry has been doing this using this blog, but it needs to translate into a more formal effort.

        Sorry about this rather whimsical OT comment.

      • Hi HAS

        I’d agree with most of what you wrote, particularly that the

        inadequacies of the current settled science

        are a key concern.

        We are asking “policymakers” to make decisions that will cost us trillions of dollars (which will no longer be available to solve other urgent problems) in order to chase a will-o’-the-wisp based on “inadequate current science” (as you put it).

        Seems like a sure-fired loser to me.

        I’d think the best approach would be to back off from the current hysteria about anthropogenic climate change as the most urgent problem that has ever faced mankind to a more reasoned and rational position.

        In this regard, I’d have to agree with Bjorn Lomborg.

        Conserving scare resources – yes.

        Reducing waste – yes.

        Increasing energy efficiency – yes.

        Reducing dependency on costly imported fossil fuels (from unfriendly nations) – yes.

        Eliminating real pollution – yes.

        Ensuring a low-cost energy infrastructure for the billions of people who do not enjoy this today – yes.

        Preparing for any adaptation measures to any impacts of changes in climate that may become necessary if and when they do – yes.

        Worrying about the possible AGW impact on our planet’s climate by taking drastic “just in case” mitigation actions today – no.

        As demotivating as this may seem to some, I think that climate scientists have to get used to the idea that the “inadequacies of the current science” (i.e. the many great uncertainties associated with the mainstream position that AGW represents a serious threat to humanity) underscore that AGW is not the greatest challenge facing mankind today, as some would have us believe.

        We should back off to a more reasoned position.

        (And it is my firm belief that this is what is occurring today, in part as a result of the actions of people like Judith Curry.)

        Max

      • All I would really add to that is to reinforce the investment in understanding the key risks and the uncertainties around them.

        I’d add that risk management techniques do cover most of the key points:
        * Avoid (eliminate)
        * Control (mitigate)
        * Accept
        * Transfer (insure)
        Improved information helps with all those, including risk and uncertainty identification and quantification

      • Yes, improved information helps.
        But are climate scientists in the main sincerely trying to improve information?
        Or are they, as we see the IPCC cadre do in Climategate, simply trying to get science to support their political and other agendas?

    • HAS | February 5, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Reply
      This all seems to have degenerated down to “who said what” …

      ====
      HAS,
      Catch a ride and spend some time reading the blog and related comments before posting more horse “stuff”.

      Heaven knows we have more than enough droppings in here including mine.

  93. Judith,

    I think you post now needs a new punchline.

    Something along the lines of;

    Note to skeptics; looks like we should start being skeptical about what the skeptics say :)

    • Michael

      My advice:

      Be rationally skeptical of what anyone says.

      Especially someone who’s trying to sell you a bill of goods.

      Max

  94. Note to skeptics; looks like we should start being skeptical about what the skeptics say :)

    A strange comment, given that Gavin was correctly reported, his complaint clearly just a petulent water-muddier.

  95. This endless thread, with 771 comments so far, has bifurcated into the two basic aspects of the debate. First, the meta-scientific question of what it means to say the science is settled. Second, a political blame game for raising that issue in the first place. The former is useful, while the latter is not. It seems that attribution of opinion is almost as difficult as attribution of warming. Perhaps there is a message here, something about confusion due to complexity.

    • This is not a small tempest in a teapot. It’s the core belief of the AGW community, whether they publicly admit it or not. Offshoot influencial organizations continue to use it and preach it.

      “”Science is Settled”: EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson told Senate Republicans today that the science behind climate change is settled, and that human activity is to blame. Society of Environmental Journalists”

      http://sierraclub.typepad.com/greenlife/2010/02/index.html

      Suzuki here in Canada continues to use it.

      They use the phase to force governments to act. If they all of a sudden stop using it they are in deep trouble. “Didn’t you people say the science was settled, now you say it isn’t?” Can you imagine the repercussions of this admission after years of preaching it? That’s like the Pope saying “Well, we aren’t settled if there is a god or not.”

  96. Subtitle:

    Fred Pearce has Andy Revkin’s whole life pass before his eyes.
    ====================

  97. Or

    With Speed and Violence: Why Journalists Fear the Big Cutoff in Climate Science

  98. Gavin Schmidt sees Michael Mann’s whole life pass before his eyes.
    =======================

  99. What a tempest in a tea cup.

    But, oh-so illuminating!

    This thread, especially the comments, is a microcosm of all that is wrong with the rotting corpse of climate ‘skepticism’, as it is practised on blogs.

    A polite decline to an invite, even including some constructive comments, sees Gavin Schmidt subject to some pretty sloppy reporting, which leads to the inevitable blog flame-war where the usual suspects ascribe all kind of perfidy to GS. When the error is revealed, they then barrell merrily along in the same vein, but now ‘interpreting’ his actual words to still mean exactly what was mistakenly attributed to him……with the added twist of blaming him for allowing them to ‘interpret’ as they were determined to do.

    It’s a familiar scene – some minor misunderstanding or false interpretation (accidental or mischeivious), repeated and amplified in the skeptics echo-chamber, corrections ignored or discounted, leading to confabulation, ‘interpretations’ and disingenuiousness to maintain the fiction.

    I’ve no doubt that in the coming months we will encounter, here and elsewhere, comments referring to ‘when Gavin Schmidt said that the science is settled’ .

    • Yes, it’s complete crap. My favorite part is how Curry et al 2011 is just realizing that no one wants to have the “settled science” meme pinned to them. But perhaps some good could come of it. They now know (or admit to knowing) what mainstream science is saying. Read the tenets of the IPCC, with the updated Copenhagen work. Now make arguments on what to do about it. Explain why. Let the people decide whose values and ethics are more in line with theirs. This is where the real debate has been taking place.

    • You have missed the point, Michael. As skeptics understand the concept, Gavin did say the science is settled. He has said it repeatedly. This thread is the essence of “talking past” one another, playing out before our eyes. What abstract terms like “settled science” mean depends on what you believe.

      • Why can’t you people understand the difference between “settled” and phrases like weighted evidence and high confidence. This concept is rather easy. If you can’t let go of the “settled” rhetoric, just admit it so we can rightfully ignore it.

      • Skeptics can’t let go of the “settled” rhetoric, because we are objecting to it. See also “highly likely, “weight of evidence,” “vast majority,” etc. It is a loaded language created by the AGW camp.

      • Thank you for admitting it.

        And the “AGW camp” didn’t create that language.

      • Ridiculous. Enough said.

      • Grypo, I do not understand what you think I have admitted to, so perhaps you can explain your remark. This is fundamentally a political debate. These meta-scientific claims and appeals to authority are political slogans. Skeptics have to object whenever they are made, lest they stand by default. The weight of evidence is a political issue, not a scientific one.

      • I surmise that gryposaurus is talking about this:

        > Skeptics can’t let go of the “settled” rhetoric, because we are objecting to it.

        Another reason to refuse to let go of the “settled” rhetoric is that contrarians it.

        Contrarians objecting to something: who would have guessed?

      • Erratum:

        > Another reason to refuse to let go of the “settled” rhetoric is that contrarians **invented** it.

        There, better.

      • Yes. I see it as a rhetorical tool, fairly well embedded in contrarian mythology of the climate science community. It is not used to describe a basic agreement on certain facts, but a projection of close-mindedness, anti-science, etc. And because of the double-bind of “science-is-never-settled” vs “we-know-nothing” scientists can never really disavow it either. But more importantly, it’s difficult set climate-gate-like narratives without this mythology. So why would they give it up? Only to accept surrender? Stop “truth-to-power”?

      • But the “contrarians” did NOT invent it, Willard. were you apart of the “debate” in late 2000? I was – and the words “the science is settled” and “the debate is over” were most certainly being used then, but NOT by the “contrarians”. They were usually used in conjunction with the “consensus” garbage. I still have copies of some of those emails – buried someplace on a floppy disc.

      • Jim,

        Let’s assume, for simplicity’s sake, that the Establishement came up with “the Science is Settled” and “The Debate is Over”. That is, the Establishment used the words first. What does it change from the fact that contrarians are using this as an anti-slogan?

        Perhaps you doubt that contrarians have not invented this use of the Science is Settled as a rhetorical device. Here is a random example:

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/14/phil-jones-momentous-qa-with-bbc-reopens-the-science-is-settled-issues/

        Now, this is a blog post presented as an **annotated version** of this:

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

        Try to find “settled” in this transcript. I bet you won’t find any “settled” there.

        Now, tell me: who’s using the Science is Settled game in that example?

        If you want more examples of that, please feel free to ask.

      • Willard –
        The title of the post was Phil Jones momentous Q&A with BBC reopens the “science is settled” issues Now – read that carefully. It does NOT say that Jones saidthe science is settled – only that he opened up the issues that pertain to the phrase. Also, if you read the post, you’ll find that Watts summarizes the Jones interview and one of the points he (Jones) makes (indirectly) is that The science is not settled, however unsettling that might be.

        At no point does Watts accuse Jones of saying that the science is settled in either the present or past tense.

        BTW – in thnking about this subject, I realized that I’d heard the phrase in 1993 – when I was interviewing a brand new high tech company. I saw a poster on the wall that touted UARS (spacecraft) science as the final proof of GW. Since I’d worked the UARS program and was the Ops Engineer and the science puke, I knew that was not true. But the interviewer insisted on the veracity of that poster – and that the science was settled. We agreed to disagree – and that I wouldn’t fit with their company. Still wouldn’t – but they’re no longer in business, so it’s a moot point. :-)

      • Thank you, Jim, for making my point:

        > [I]f you read the post, you’ll find that Watts summarizes the Jones interview and one of the points he (Jones) makes (indirectly) is that The science is not settled, however unsettling that might be.

        If you read that post, you’ll notice that it’s not Watts that has written it, but Goklany.

        If you read me correctly, you’ll notice that the Science is Settled game played by Goklany show exactly how contrarians are using this rhetorical device.

        Thank you, Jim, for making my point.

        Enjoy your bold statements,

        w

      • If you read that post, you’ll notice that it’s not Watts that has written it, but Goklany.

        My bad – I knew that and slipped a cog.

        If you read me correctly, you’ll notice that the Science is Settled game played by Goklany show exactly how contrarians are using this rhetorical device.

        My point was (at least originally) that the “contrarians” did not invent the Game but that the warmists invented it to use as a club against those who dissented.

        BTW – I note and appreciate your lack of usage of the “denier” label.

        Also BTW – the bold was accidental – didn’t mean to shout at anyone there.

      • Oh, please, get a gryp. And go gripe about it. Aren’t you glad the science isn’t settled? Except, of course, your part.
        ================

      • Actually, I think there is an interesting point here. These are protestions of innocence over the massive train wreck that the Global Warming Express has become. And those innocenti have a point, corrupted though they were; the Casey Jones’ who didn’t watch their speeds were the financiers and the politicians.
        ================

      • Protestations by
        Hoi Innocenti Polloi.
        Hark, ye Herald sing.
        ===========

      • > What abstract terms like “settled science” mean depends on what you believe.

        Actually, its meaning also depends on what you think the other camp believe. Yes, it’s circular. As with other conventions, generally.

        The trick here for contrarians is to refuse anything that contradicts what they say Gavin said, and more generally what the establishment says. And then to go on about the need to conciliate, the talking past another, etc.

      • These terms are basically political slogans, of the other camp, so yes a lot depends on what we think the other camp means. But we know pretty well what they mean. There is nothing circular about it however, just politics as usual.

      • The circularity is being discussed in a logic book published a bit before David Wojick wrote his thesis. Philosophers should know which one. A classic.

      • grypo –
        After working with scientists for nearly 40 years, the first time I ever heard the phrase “the science is settled” was from a pair of alarmists (actually “catastrophists”) arguing that I should become a believer. Then they recommended an alarmist book that said the same thing – repeatedly. That was 11 years ago. In that 11 years I’ve yet to hear a sceptic say those words, but I’ve heard many, many alarmists, both scientists and non-scientists, insist that it’s so. It’s solely an alarmist (AGW camp) concept, creation and contention.

      • William Newman

        I worked in science through a Ph. D. in chemistry. I don’t remember specifically how much the term “settled science” was used, but it’s the kind of term I would be comfortable using myself. E.g., when trying to explain to someone how microwave “radiation” is an unlikely candidate for causing cancer, I might say that it’s rather well understood how low doses of ionizing radiation can cause cancer, and the key part is not “radiation” (which microwaves are) but “ionizing” (which microwaves are not). (So low doses of microwave radiation *might* be a cancer hazard — but similarly, sleeping oriented north-to-south instead of east-to-west *might* be a cancer hazard, or watching a lunar eclipse might be a cancer hazard. It’s really, really not the way to bet, so you should demand solid evidence before taking it seriously.) I’d be more likely to say “well understood” than “settled science” but I’d consider the two phrases nearly synonymous in many contexts, including this one.

        So if you’re looking for really unusually bad behavior in this dispute, I’d recommend looking at other behavior. One possible candidate would be not just the use of terms like “settled science,” but the use of goofy definitions of those terms followed by doing a sloppy job in applying those definitions, e.g., sloppiness in nose-counting when applying a goofy nose-counting definition of settled science. Another candidate would be calling one’s opponents “deniers.” I have been involved in several disagreements about what’s pseudoscience, and I’ve seen several others from the outside, with plenty of bad faith to go around, but this is the first one where a major faction went all Godwin’s Law in that particular way. (Disputes related to heritability do sometimes go Godwin, but not nearly as hard as this dispute, and not with that particular slur.)

        Or you might look at misbehavior which is all too common in ordinary pseudoscience disputes, but which in the physical and biological sciences is very uncommon on the funded academic side: e.g., triumphalism about unfalsifiable claims, and circling the wagons around various kinds of data hiding (e.g., remarkably lackadaisical formal investigation of CRU even after FOIA violations, and broad enthusiasm for promoting the formal results into an informal full “nothing to see here, move along” exoneration).

      • William Newman – that I can find, the quote that started all of this was made by Al Gore.

        What was actually said:

        “First, I am convinced that the science is solid, saying the that climate is warming at a more rapid rate, that this is due in large measure to a dramatic increase in the volume of greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere, and that nobody knows exactly what the consequences are going to be or when they’re going to be manifest, but, on balance, it won’t be all that long and they won’t be good.” – Vice President Al Gore, 1997

        “…the science is solid. …”

        On the internet I believe it was was changed to the battle cry:

        The science is settled. – Al Gore

        In the climate debate it is now a pejorative. Climate scientists have to avoid saying it. If the opposition can conjure the quote from a series of words that do not include “The Science is settled” that tells you how obsessed with it they truly are.

        After the speech Al Gore was asked about the human contribution to warming, and he said he thought the debate on whether or not humans are contributing to warming is over. That’s one debate, not every debate.

      • “the science is solid” – Al Gore

        More like

        “The science is solidified”

        It certainly needs the Senokot currently being administered by Climate etc. If the anal retention goes on too much longer, a full blown enema will be required.

      • Tallbloke – have you yet found the courage to apologise to Gavin Schmidt for distributing a private e-mail to a bunch of guys you were having dinner with?

        Just why did you take a printed copy of his e-mail with you to dinner and just why did you think you had a right to give it to Fred Pearce (given that you have already stated that you believe that you received it in error)?

      • “Just why did you take a printed copy of his e-mail with you to dinner.”

        I didn’t take a printed copy of his e-mail with me to dinner.

        Get your ‘facts’ straight.

      • “why did you think you had a right to give it to Fred Pearce”

        Let me refer you to a post on collide a scape:

        > Real jounalists report the news. It is news that Schmidt refused to come. His reasons are also news. Putting those reasons out for
        > scrutiny is precisely what journalists are supposed to do.
        > I think, deepclimate, you people are going to have to get over the closed shop, old boy network, assumptions you have been operating
        > under to date if you are to have a hope of restoring the public credibility of “climate science”.
        > Pearce’s job is not to hide Schmidt’s decline, it is to expose it and the muddled thinking which underlies it.

      • Once again – I ask you ‘what right did you have to give a private e-mail that you received in error to a journalist’?

        i.e. WHAT RIGHT DID YOU HAVE?

      • Clearly ‘reconciliation’ can’t have been your motive

      • Louise-
        What climategate, wikileaks and similar events have proven, without question, is that NOTHING that passes through the internet is “Private”.

        Grow up, Louise and join the modern world.

      • “Once again – I ask you ‘what right did you have to give a private e-mail that you received in error to a journalist’?”

        “Clearly ‘reconciliation’ can’t have been your motive”

        Clear logical thinking isn’t one of your strong points Louise Anonymous. Assuming you have some.

        Think I’m going to submit to being cross examined by someone as muddled and vituperative as you?

        In your dreams.

      • No chance this comment will be picked up in a top post.

        Too reconciliatory, perhaps.

  100. Sure, M; did you see him cling to the shaft even as it exits with ‘weather a thousand years ago’?
    ==================

    • Even for me, that one needs clarification. As ‘Thinking Scientist’ has pointed out at the Bish’s, Gavin has pitched Michael Mann’s Crook’d Stick out the bus window and under the wheels with his remark about ‘weather a thousand years ago’. Unfortunately, he has held fast to the handle of that shaft and is not letting go.
      ======

  101. Michael
    I am sure the posts at the scientific consensus blogs that are baying for Pearce’s blood are not part of this microcosm/echo chamber.

    The warmth in the Medieval period is,
    not global,
    not as warm as today,
    uninteresting,
    unimportant,
    ‘temporo-spatially heterogeneous’,
    and now,
    only a part of the weather of the Medieval period?

    • Shub,
      You know, I’d say that’s a pretty good summary of the MWP – except you got two bits wrong. Climate scientists don’t find it either uninteresting or unimportant. Oh, they probably don’t just regard it as ‘weather’, either, as it seems to have lasted for quite some time.
      But the “not global, not as warm as today, ‘temporo-spatially heterogeneous'” parts seem more or less accurate, based on the scientific papers I’ve read on the subject (you have read some, surely?).
      BTW, a google search for the phrase “temporo-spatially heterogeneous” only finds hits in medical literature for that exact phrase, it doesn’t seem to be used in climatology as far as Dr Google can see… even a search for similar phrases only comes up with hits that appear to be in the biological field.

      • It’s worse than that, Bob; Gavin shows us where Mann himself admits that no dendro reconstructions don’t validate to before 1500 AD. And we all know about the magic of Swedish Clay Dwarves.
        ==================

    • There’s more than enough papers published on the MWP that shows it was world wide. China, South America, South Africa, Japan, Alaska, etc. It was “warmer” than today in that the summers were the same as today, but winters were short and mild.

  102. The supposed 20th century warming is also temporo-spatially heterogeneous. It only appears in the output of mathematically dubious area-averaging computer models.

    • It’s truer to say that assertions like yours (“the supposed 20th century warming”) appear only in comments from self-described climate-change skeptics.

      • Truer than what? I am a skeptic. Moreover, I have studied the mathematical foundations of the area averaging statistical models. Have you? Several basic requirements of statistical sampling theory are violated. And by the way, the mathematical foundations of science are part of my Ph.D. training. There is a scientific literature on this, and as I read it the weight of evidence says the statistical models are no good.

        The vast majority of recent climate research simply assumes the precise correctness of the 20th century mean temperature profile generated by these wonky models. It may be one of the greatest blunders in history. The satellites have systematically contradicted these computer statistical models since 1978. Why are we still using them? Because they support AGW, that is all.

      • David, I see Winter backed off when you presented your creds. He put his foot in his mouth, didn’t he? It’s pretty funny – his bullying sure dried up quickly, didn’t it?

      • SteveGinIL,

        Do you have evidence to disprove that expressions like “the supposed 20th century warming” appear only in comments from self-described climate-change skeptics, which are in fact contrarians?

        As for David Wojick’s credentials, it might be more prudent to, how shall we say it, pay due diligence before bragging about them.

  103. Two points about Schmidt’s disclaimer:

    1.) The link he gave doesn’t work

    Indeed, I am on record as saying the exact opposite:
    http://www.realclimate.org/ index.php/ archives/ 2009/ 12/ unsettled-science/

    2.) Regardless of his RC post/comment (I can’t find out which), this

    [quoted from the invitation…]“The issues we have in mind are Medieval Warm Period, ice, climate sensitivity, and temperature data. We would hope to have smaller groups discussing these in some detail, hopefully with scientists who are very familiar with the technical issues to lead the discussion.”

    Since, in my opinion, the causes of conflict in the climate change debate relate almost entirely to politics and not the MWP, climate sensitivity or ‘ice’, dismissing this from any discussion did not seem likely to be to help foster any reconciliation.

    Is he joking?

    This is gobbledegook for, “The science is settled, so I won’t go.”

    “…conflict… relate[s]… not to the MWP, climate sensitivity or ‘ice’ ”

    How is that not saying the science is settled?

    Conflict = unsettled. No conflict = settled.

    In a few extra words, Schmidt said “Why did I need to go? There is no conflict in the science, only in the politics.”

    What am I missing here? It looks like Gavin mealy-mouthing, trying to appear to deny he said this, while still retaining deniability with his buddies at CRU/Mann U.

    • “The link he gave doesn’t work”

      You need to remove the spaces from it, it works fine.

      “Conflict = unsettled. No conflict = settled.”

      No.

      “It looks like Gavin mealy-mouthing, trying to appear to deny he said this, while still retaining deniability with his buddies at CRU/Mann U.”

      Then it would have been awfully silly for him to have written public comments expressing exactly the same sentiment as his email before the SA article was published then wouldn’t it?

      But sure don’t let anything factual get away of a good conspiracy theory, they work better that way.

  104. Two points about Schmidt’s disclaimer:

    1.) The link he gave doesn’t work

    Indeed, I am on record as saying the exact opposite:
    http://www.realclimate.org/ index.php/ archives/ 2009/ 12/ unsettled-science/

    2.) Regardless of his RC post/comment (I can’t find out which), this

    [quoted from the invitation…]“The issues we have in mind are Medieval Warm Period, ice, climate sensitivity, and temperature data. We would hope to have smaller groups discussing these in some detail, hopefully with scientists who are very familiar with the technical issues to lead the discussion.”

    Since, in my opinion, the causes of conflict in the climate change debate relate almost entirely to politics and not the MWP, climate sensitivity or ‘ice’, dismissing this from any discussion did not seem likely to be to help foster any reconciliation.

    Basically, he is stroking everybody.

    This is gobbledegook for, “The science is settled, so I won’t go.”

    His words: “…conflict… relate[s]… not to the MWP, climate sensitivity or ‘ice’ ”

    How is that not saying the science is settled? It isn’t not saying it..

    Conflict = unsettled. No conflict = settled.

    In a few extra words, Schmidt said “Why did I need to go? There is no conflict in the science, only in the politics.”

    I am not missing anything here. It is pretty much Gavin mealy-mouthing, trying to appear to deny he said this, while still retaining deniability with his buddies at CRU/Mann U.

    It is about the same game as “hide the decline”, but with words instead of graphs.

    • You’re right, of course, SteveGinIL – there are many ways to say the same thing.

      In December 2004 the RealClimate blogsite (Gavin?) stated: “One could debate whether overwhelming consensus is adequate grounds for action on climate change, but there are no grounds for debating whether such consensus actually exists.”

      Sounds to me like “the science is settled”.

      Max

      • Why are so many people intent on equating the existence of a scientific consensus with the phrase “the science is settled”? I don’t find them conveying the same thing. And at other (most?) instances, the latter phrase carries a lot of baggage (stifling dissent, denying uncertainty, unscientific attitude). Merely pointing out the existence of a consensus does not at all necessarily equate to those nefarious things.

        Suggestion to all: Either define what you mean by these terms or stop equating the two, thereby muddying the waters.

      • Bart,
        You guys really think you can have it both ways?

      • OK

        I take a ‘consensus’ to mean that those subscribing to the consensus all agree about something. (Consensus- agreement of – opinion, testimony etc OED).

        In this case it is some propositions about climate and the warming thereof. That they all agree that such propositions are correct presumably means that in their eyes they are settled questions. For if they were not to be settled, then surely they could not all be agreeing that they are correct.

        If you can come up with another interpretation – preferably in simple language that I can understand, please show me. But otherwise, consensus means what it always has done.

      • Bart,

        I can’t speak for others, but my problem is not with the statement that there is a scientific consensus, rather it is with this:

        None of the seemingly important ‘conflicts’ that are *perceived* in the science are ‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community, rather they are proxy arguments for political positions. No ‘conflict resolution’ is possible between the science community who are focussed on increasing understanding, and people who are picking through the scientific evidence for cherries they can pick to support a pre-defined policy position.

        The declaration that there are no “important” conflicts in the “real sense” is ridiculous. He is defining all scientific disagreement (not just cranks) as proxy arguments for political postitions. He does not use the phrase “the science is settled”, but he certainly seems to de-legitimize any position not his own.

      • @bart Verheggen

        I agree that “the science is settled” can convey a different meaning from “consensus” but I don’t think this is quite the point. To me it’s always been pretty clear that members of the so-called “team” have gone out of their way to convey the impression that the “science is settled” is the message they wish to convey, whether or not they have used the actual words.

        A quick visit – and it needs to be quick because I suspect this feature will disappear very soon – to the “borehole” at RC will confirm to any interested party that there is a “consensus” of scientific opinion at odds with the “team” in various regards. The fact that they choose to relegate such opinion to the “borehole” when it contradicts their position seems to me to indicate that the rather more political “science is settled” meme is indeed the one to which Gavin Schmitt, Eric Steig and others subscribe. Actions sometimes speak louder than words.

    • Another quote from RealClimate (Schmidt and Rahmstorf)

      http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/07/barton-and-the-hockey-stick/

      “The real question we are faced with is not whether humans are changing climate. The science on this is clear, and decades of research have culminated in a scientific consensus on this point. The real question now is what we need to do about it.”

    • With RC, of course, there is no way to know if it was Schmidt, since they hide behind anonymous authorship of the individual articles.

      How is that acceptable, anyway?

  105. SteveGinIL –

    Unsettled Science
    Filed under: Climate Science — gavin @ 3 December 2009

    Posts by Gavin.

  106. A very interesting set-to. A dubious interpretation of an email is published as as an indirect quote. The author of the email protests that the intepretation is wrong, because his email was about the difference between the political and the scientific and, in his view, it’s the political issues that actually need to be addressed in any effort at reconciliation. (What is there to say about ‘reconcilling’ the science other than, ‘keep on observing and calculating’- a game which, so far, has heavily favoured the AGW hypothesis?) But the crowd here shouts back in scorn, ‘you did say the science is settled, you did, you did’.

    If Tallbloke or Pearce thought that was what Gavin’s email said, they should have presented it as their interpretation of what he said– apparently a lot of people here would agree. But it’s not tenable as a report of an indirect quote, especially given Gavin’s track record of saying that much in the science is not yet settled. (How could it be otherwise, when scientists’ actual work tends to focus on the unsettled part?)

    As for the bigger issue, lots of science is settled– and some isn’t.
    Some scientists chew on the edges of what’s settled to see if it might yet unravel. That’s about the most constructive construal we can give of figures like Lindzen, Christy, Spencer et al. They are contrarians, pursuing marginal ideas that aren’t proven wrong yet, but aren’t well-supported either. By contrast, the IPCC has presented a conservative take on the overall balance of evidence. The view that’s now supported by the evidence is that AGW is occurring. Is that conclusive? Not 100%, but little in life is. Will it be disastrous? Well, muchg that we depend on depends on the climate. Those of you eager to bet our children’s future on there being no real threat strike me as silly and arrogant. Wild acccusations of conspiracy and deceit reinforce that view. I suggest you drop the paranoid fantasies and dig a little deeper into the science.

    • Those of you eager to bet our children’s future on there being no real threat strike me as silly and arrogant.

      Those of you eager to squander our children’s future economy on a speculative threat strike me as silly and arrogant, as well as reckless.

    • Bryson Brown

      An interesting comment, but a bit off the topic here.

      We are discussing whether or not Gavin Schmidt has gone on record in the past that “the science is settled”, which he now denies but the record shows he has done repeatedly.

      Just that simple.

      All the rest is beside the point.

      Max

      • Latimer Alder

        So it was settled back then, but isn’t any more? What changed?

        Climatology is a very confusing art when even the great self-declared experts don’t know what they know or don’t know or did once but don’t know whether they’ve remembered it again – or perhaps not. Maybe they do on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays and not on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Monday is, of course, Early Closing Day.

        But its good for me to know that they are all certain about whatever it may or may not be.

  107. A veritable hockey stick of comments, very impressive.

    So did Gavin say I’m not coming, because:
    a) the science is settled
    b) the scientific community owns the science, and discussing the scientific issues with others is merely political activism
    c) a and b
    d) F. Pearce esq. is an unreliable journalist
    e) How dare you bet your grandchildren’s future on something as transitory as scientific integrity?

    (Please delete all emails pertaining to this discussion)

  108. Max, you’ve missed the point– ‘science’ as a whole is never settled, but some particular questions are. So digging for examples of things Gavin thinks are settled does not justify the non-quote from Pearce. What Gavin said was that the issues that divide the denialist camp from climate science are political, not scientific. (Similarly, the issues that divide creationists from evolutionary biology are religious, not scientific.) Consider the previous comment about ‘speculative’ threats– no scientific point is made (it’s just assumed that climate ‘science’ has no authority at all, but no alternative take on the science, with real evidence and real calculations, is presented at all). Worse, no consideration is given to the fact that worse economic damage will result from climate change if the views of most working climatologists are correct. Lacking any serious, scientific reason to think they’re wrong, it’s downright silly to assume they are and then claim the moral high ground, declaring you’re acting in the interest of future generations.

    • Diversionary double-talk, Bryson. Forget about creationists (that is not the topic here, as you know full well).

      Gavin said the science was settled; now he denies it.

      It really doesn’t matter that much what Gavin said, anyway – the science is never settled.

      But here we are talking specifically about the scientific evidence supporting the premise that AGW, caused principally by human CO2 emissions, has been the primary cause for past warming and that it represents a serious potential threat for humanity and our environment.

      This hypothesis has yet to be validated by empirical data based on actual physical observations or reproducible experimentation and has not yet successfully withstood any attempts at falsification, so (unlike your example of “evolution”) remains an uncorroborated hypothesis, rather than “reliable scientific knowledge” (or, even less, “settled science”, despite what Gavin has stated in the past).

      To your statement regarding this hypothesis:

      no alternative take on the science, with real evidence and real calculations, is presented at all

      You’ve got the cart before the horse here. It is up to the proponents of a scientific hypothesis to come up with supporting empirical data to validate it, not up to those who are rationally skeptical of this hypothesis to come up with data invalidating it, as I’m sure you can see.

      Of course, the suggestions of secondary effects “too fierce to mention” are simply speculations until the premise itself can move from being an uncorroborated hypothesis to “settled science”. And we are a long way from that today, Bryson. The uncertainties are just too great.

      Max

  109. Bryson,
    It’s astonishing but apparent at this late date that some of the ‘skeptics’ posing snarky questions (i.e., ‘was it settled before but not now?”) and perhaps Dr. Curry herself, and certainly Fred Pearce, have simply failed to *read* the article by Gavin from Dec 2009 called ‘Unsettled Science’ that has been linked to already, in numerous forums, since then.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/unsettled-science/

    • we read it in exactly the spirit in which it was written:
      A demand that skeptics stfu and stop pestering the great enlightened lords of climate.
      Too friggin’ bad: it ain’t gonna happen.

  110. So if you and Schmidt are arguing that the science is ‘unsettled’ and thus there is no cause for government action, then we are in agreement. End of debate.

  111. Even simple points seem to escape you, Greg: There is settled science and there is unsettled science. At this point enough is settled to justify regarding the risk of continued emissions over the next 50 years as extremely high. We might just get away with it–but the odds look very bad. At the same time, we can use energy much more efficiently than we do, reducing the need to rely on expensive imported oil, and reducing the cost of substituting energy sources that don’t pose the same risk to the climate. It’s win-win, or, if your side wins politically, lose-lose: continue depending on imported energy and lose out in competition with countries that do use energy more efficiently and develop the energy industries of the future.

    • You present very alluring, win-win solutions, Bryson, and it is hard to argue against them. But as always the devil is in the detail of how these objectives are achieved. Making the consumer pay for expensive subsidies for windmills will not result in cheaper energy. It will skew the energy market and put more people into fuel poverty. There are other examples, but you should get my drift.

    • So the science *is* settled after all? ;)

      You say, “At this point enough is settled to justify regarding the risk of continued emissions over the next 50 years as extremely high.”

      This is where we (and I think most skeptics) disagree. Until uncertainties and error margins are greatly reduced, no policy action is justified. That’s what this debate is about; not semantics.

      You say, “At the same time, we can use energy much more efficiently than we do, reducing the need to rely on expensive imported oil…”

      Again, I disagree. If the argument is that we need to find an alternative to imported oil then okay and the marketplace is the best place to make that happen if the government will get out of the way.

      But any benefit from reducing imported oil is a non sequitur. The argument here is over human impact on climate and whether there is justification for government action. The answer today is, “No.”

      You say if your side succeeds it’s win-win but if mine does it’s lose-lose. Again I disagree. Your premise is that there is in fact a risk but that risk has yet to be substantiated. What you fail to account for is the cost of draconian cuts in CO2. World economies almost entirely depend on fossil fuels. Reducing CO2 emissions without a suitable alternative will have a dire impact on world economies and destabilize international relations. We already fight wars over abundant energy resources.

      • GregP,
        The Bryson’s of the world are reducing themselves to drooling gobbldey-gook at a rapid pace.
        None of their bs is sustainable under even the most casual review.
        Instead they rely on demeaning the opposition and hiding behind whole hay fields of straw man arguments and word parsing.

    • ‘At this point enough is settled to justify regarding the risk of continued emissions over the next 50 years as extremely high’

      Which risk? Risk of it being a degree or so warmer on average, and hence longer growing season for crops and fewer deaths from cold in the winter? Or of Thermageddon? End of humanity as we know it. Complete extinction of all lifre on Earth? Even those little bacteria that thrive in sulphurous hot springs?

      Simply saying that ‘the risk is very high’ without describing the risk, nor how you arrived at that quantification is merely shroud waving. It might sound good on TV, but when analysed it is content free.

      Try harder with some real justification for your view.

      • Latimer,
        We the great wicked skeptical scum are expected to buy into their interpretations of the future, even as the complete lack of eveidence for their positions pile up.
        We are supposed to believe their declaration of a global climate catastrophe based on trivial changes in world temps, while ignoring the evidence that their claims lack actual data and that their cures are far worse than the potential problem.
        The reality is that the imposition of AGW policy demands is disaster-disaster:
        The creation of a poor quality power grid that works at intermittently at great expense, huge destruction of open lands, and permanant impoverishment of the third world.
        We are supposed to ignore the utter failure of every AGBW inspired initiative and the lack of any predictive ability of climate science and accept their bloviating posturing as some sort of compelling call to action.

      • Latimer Alder

        OK – now I understand. After your kind explanation I now see the huge error of my sceptical ways and will immediately join Greenpeace and FoE.

        I must also apologise to my local Greenie and Transition Town fanatic to whom I have occasionally been disobliging.

        I need to travel some miles to his house to do so in person, so will save energy by hitching a ride with my local branch of Porcine Aviation powered by Deep Green Wishful Thinking technology.

    • We might just get away with it–but the odds look very bad.

      Really? Show us the calculation of those odds.

  112. I see lots of bold assertions about ‘bs’ here, but the only publishing scientists still rejecting action on climate change are a small minority whose hypotheses, over and over, have not stood up to examination. You can still bet that they’re right, if you like, but it’s pretty silly (not quite as silly as betting against special relativity). The body of evidence for AGW is very strong; most ‘skeptical’ arguments are (to quote Pauli) not even wrong. And the externalities associated with FF burning aren’t limited to climate change, as I hinted above: who funded 9/11, after all? It seems to have been wealthy Saudis… Factor in the costs of the war in Iraq and massive military expenditures to protect oil supplies and windmills look cheap at twice the price.

    • Bryson– What “action(s)” does the science tell you the United States should be taking??? Do you think wind mills are the answer?

      • Rob

        We’ve gone through this one before.

        Bryson cannot come up with any specific actionable proposals to change our future climate, because there are none.

        Those that have been proposed (such as Hansen’s trillion dollar shutdown of all coal-fired power plants in the USA by 2030) would have no measurable impact on global temperature (whatever that is) by 2100.

        That’s based on replacing coal with nuclear. If you want to replace it with windmills, double the price tag (but there will still be no temperature impact).

        It’s all hot air – no substance.

        Max

      • Max– at the end of the discussion, it all comes down to what you propose to do regarding what we know about the science.

        Yes, I do understand the economics, but I find it amazing that those that argue for immediate action (such as closing down all coal fired power plants) are unwilling to actually discuss the economics of their ideas, or their ideas period.

      • Rob

        You are right.

        The process should start with a validation (with empirical data based on physical observations or reproducible experimentation) of the model-based hypothesis that AGW has been the primary cause of past warming and represents a serious threat to humanity and our environment.

        This will entail clearing up all the uncertainties surrounding this hypothesis, notably the expected temperature impact of doubling atmospheric CO2, with and without the net “amplifying or mitigating effects” of any postulated feedbacks, as pointed out earlier by Dr. Curry.

        It will mean that the impact of natural climate forcing factors (a.k.a. natural variability) will need much better definition than we have at present.

        It will also include scientifically refuting the apparent falsification of the above “dangerous AGW” hypothesis, which has resulted from the observed “lack of warming” of our planet over the past decade (atmosphere, at both the surface and troposphere since 2001, sea surface temperature since ARGO measurements were installed in 2003), despite record increase in atmospheric CO2, as measured at Mauna Loa, by demonstrating with empirical data where the “missing energy” is hiding.

        We are a long way removed from having these points all cleared up.

        Until we do, it is totally premature to talk about any proposals to reduce human CO2 emissions in order to “change our climate”, as there is no valid scientific reason to do so or to even believe that we can.

        Invoking the “precautionary principle” or the concepts of “post-modern science” is simply a obvious cop-out for avoiding the scientific process. And it is transparent.

        Max

    • The body of AGW evidence is very *weak* (model output isn’t evidence).

      And if fossil fuel burning is eliminated today, we can expect *more* wars over artificially scarce energy resources and with countries not willing to play ball. So if nuclear energy is the answer, do we support nuclear power plants being built throughout the Middle East (say Iran?) to give them alternative energy? I’m sure Israel would be happy with that… Maybe every country the US has issues with gets stuck with wind farms and our buddy countries get nuclear? ;) And what amount of social unrest can we expect in the US as we plunge from our current government-sponsored depression into an economic Dark Age?

      Transitioning to a non-FF based economy would be great but it needs to happen of its own accord through the marketplace; not through government interference. If the cost of FF’s are allowed to go up resulting from supply and demand and the government permits alternative energy technologies (maybe thorium reactors or possibly Venter’s promising biotech) to enter the marketplace, then we’ll be weaned off oil over time and avoid the inescapable societal crash if alarmists have their way.

      Until H/AGW can be substantiated beyond a reasonable doubt by climate scientists with real (not simulated) evidence, *NO* government action to curb this alleged problem is justified and doing so will cause more harm than good. I don’t need a computer simulation to tell me that.

      If the government wants to embark on a policy path to eliminate US dependence on foreign oil in the interest of national security, that’s a different animal that requires no input from climate science.

      And whatever alternative to oil emerges obviously will be implemented on a massive global scale and will inevitably bring with it its own set of ‘catastrophic’ problems… and the sky will keep falling because, as AGW alarmists have already demonstrated, needlessly scaring people is very profitable.

      • Nice post.

        It is clear to me the message behind AGW is us wicked First World peoples consuming too much and having a high standard of living. Their goal is to end that, not “save the planet”.

    • The body of evidence for AGW is very strong; most ‘skeptical’ arguments are (to quote Pauli) not even wrong.

      You people keep saying that, but I never see any of this “strong evidence” What in the climate or weather has changed because of our CO2? You have evidence that there are more storms? No. More hurricanes? No. More heatwaves? Nope, sorry no increase there either.

      Then you go on this ran about funding 9/11, makes me wonder what your hidden agenda is.

  113. Model output is not the sole source of evidence for AGW. The basic mechanisms are all settled matters– the physics of GHGs is well understood, and its implications of reduced outgoing radiation are inescapable. Cooling of the stratosphere and increased downwelling LW radiation, clear fingerprints of GHG warming, have been measured. The existence of positive feedback mechanisms is supported by paleclimate data including glacial cycles and their implications for climate sensitivity. Increases in CO2 are clearly anthropogenic (isotopic studies show increased C12/C13, indicating a fossil source), and warmer air evaporates more moisture, driving one positive feedback mechanisms. Models attempt to put these mechanism together– and there are certainly challenges there. But the models do show real skill when tested against data not used to tune them– and they show large-scale climate patterns that reflect what really happens. So there are known, settled mechanisms, and strong evidence for positive feedbacks– just as the models suggest.

    As for alternative energy, conservation and efficiency are the starting points– lighting, heating and transport can all be much more efficient, and payback times for these investments are not long. (Why else would Walmart, Dow and other big companies be so enthusiastic about them?). Wind power on a large grid can be very reliable, as can solar-thermal. When did Americans decide they just can’t change or improve anything? That’s not the attitude in other parts of the world, and they will wind up eating your lunch if you don’t step up and take on the challenge. Consider the German economy, which is now out-performing yours handily– despite their huge subsidies for photovoltaic and other alternative energy sources (and maybe in part because of them).

  114. Sorry, Bryson, you are on thin ice.

    Basic GH physics: YES. (2xCO2 ~ 1C, logarithmic)

    Model simulations based on theoretical deliberations: YES. (2xCO2 ~ 3.2C, with assumed feedbacks)

    Empirical data based on physical observations or reproducible experimentation: NO. (2xCO2 with feedbacks = ?)

    Uncertainties regarding the validity of paleo-climate data (too easily manipulated, falsely measured, etc.)? YES.

    Uncertainties on the net effect of clouds (as a feedback or natural forcing)? YES.

    Uncertainties on whether or not the overall net impact of feedbacks will be “amplifying or mitigating”? YES.

    Uncertainties on the magnitude and mechanisms of natural climate forcing factors (a.k.a. natural variability)? YES.

    Uncertainties about the magnitude and cause of longer-term past climate fluctuations (MWP, LIA, etc.)? YES.

    Uncertainties about the cause for the shorter-term oscillations in the global temperature record (similar to a sine wave with 60 year total cycle time, plus/minus 0.2C amplitude on a tilted axis with 0.04C per decade overall warming)? YES.

    Robust statistical correlation between atmospheric CO2 and “global temperature”? NO. (More of a “random walk”, statistically speaking).

    So, all in all, it appears highly uncertain that AGW, caused principally by human CO2 emissions, has been the primary cause of past warming, or that it represents a serious potential threat to humanity or our environment.

    And that, Bryson, is what we are talking about here.

    Max

  115. Manacker, playing curve-fitter without a causal account of the ‘sine’ cycle you can test (and based on how many of your ‘cycles’) is pointless.

    As for CO2 doubling sensitivity, it’s pretty well constrained on the low side– 1.5 C being a minimum, about 3.0 giving the best fit, and higher values possible. And the constraint isn’t model-based; without that level of feedback we can’t account for paleclimate responses to orbital changes. Of course you reject the data– but there are multiple proxies, the advance and retreat of continental glaciation is not in question, and neither is the tie periodic shifts in Earth’s orbit. Feedbacks have to positive for glacial cycles to be driven by these changes– and the temperature changes required are well documented.

    As for correlation– you’re confusing year to year noise in the surface temperature as heat moves around in the climate system with the documented increase in net heat, most of which winds up in the oceans. The evidence of greenhouse warming, from cooling stratosphere to polar amplification, especially in the north, is clear– and the well-grounded feedbacks are on the positive side, from water vapour to albedo.

    A real skeptic examines the evidence seriously– and looks hard at the case on both sides instead of cherry-picking long-since refuted points to defend a sinking ship. I’ve seen a lot of nonsense passed around here without any of the locals calling it out, from silly stuff about ‘climategate’ (talk about hoaxes) to claims about deliberate fraud and financial motives (while the Koch brothers go on funding denialist think tanks and the ‘populist’ tea party…).

    If you’re so confident of your case, you should see if there’s anything in it you could actually publish in a serious journal. If you know anything about the history of science, you’ll know how much credit goes to someone who overturns a major theory or consensus. There are hundreds of hungry young researchers ready to bring down AGW if they could build an argument against it that actually worked. But of course it’s easier to float checks than it is to provide the cash to back them up.

    • I’ve seen a lot of nonsense passed around here without any of the locals calling it out, from silly stuff about ‘climategate’ (talk about hoaxes) to claims about deliberate fraud and financial motives (while the Koch brothers go on funding denialist think tanks and the ‘populist’ tea party…).

      Since UAE, Jones and others admitted that the emails were real, your “hoax” accusation is false.

      As for Koch – it’s his money. Your concern with how he spends it is misplaced. Perhaps you’d like to discuss where the alarmist money comes from?

    • So if CO2 increases cause the 20th century global warming then clearly changes in the CO2 concentration should dominate the global temperature signal over that period (CO2 lagged, but not much one suspects, and potentially non-linear)?

  116. Bryson

    There you go again with our models can’t explain paleo-climate changes (glacial cycles) unless we interject a 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of 3C.

    That is an argument from ignorance, not scientific evidence. And paleo-climate data is suspect to start off with.

    It is certainly not “constrained on the low side” to 1.5C if you ask Spencer or Lindzen. They would have it around 0.5 to 0.6C, based on satellite observations (rather than paleo-climate reconstructions or model simulations).

    Face it, Bryson, the uncertainties are simply too great to make any firm statements.

    The greatest uncertainty is the impact of clouds – do they exert a natural climate forcing and, if so, what is the mechanism or driver for this? Or are they simply a feedback with surface warming and, if so, is this strongly positive (as assumed by all the models cited by IPCC) or strongly negative (as observed on a short-term basis over the tropics by Spencer and Braswell)?

    Model studies using super-parameterization for clouds have come to the conclusion that their net overall feedback with surface warming is negative, rather than positive.

    Since IPCC figures that clouds add 1.3C to the 2xCO2 climate sensitivity (from 1.9C including all feedbacks except clouds to 3.2C including cloud feedback), it is obvious that if the net feedback is negative rather than strongly positive, this would have a major impact on the 2xCO2 impact.

    Then there is the uncertainty of the impact of natural variability (or forcing). IPCC assumes that this is essentially negligible, but is this really so?

    Your statement about the oceans is not borne out by the observed data: ARGO measurements have shown a net cooling of the upper ocean since they replaced the old inaccurate expendable XBT measurements in 2003.

    At the same time the atmosphere at both the surface and the troposphere has cooled slightly since 2001.

    In other words, our planet has cooled.

    And all this while atmospheric CO2 levels have increased to record levels.

    In a leaked email Trenberth has referred to this unexplained “lack of warming” as a “travesty”. He has also stated in an interview that the “missing heat” may be going out to “space” with “clouds” acting as a “natural thermostat” (sounds almost like Spencer + Braswell, doesn’t it?).

    At the same time, the UK Met Office has attributed the recent “lack of warming” (despite record increase in CO2) to natural variability.

    So Bryson, you see that the uncertainties are just much too great to make any sweeping statements on the 2xCO2 climate sensitivity.

    Max

  117. PS BTW Andrew Dessler (a firm believer in potentially catqastrophic AGW) has recently conceded that the net feedback from clouds might be negative, rather than strongly positive as assumed by all the climate models cited by IPCC.

  118. Cloud feedback is not assumed strongly positive. Water vapour certainly is– but that’s in the physics; clouds are known to be an important uncertainty. Dessler 2010 shows a possibility of a slight negative feedback, but a much higher probability of positive feedback. But Lindzen et al. have assumed a strong negative feedback, invoking a couple of mechanisms (the iris & the recent tropical-only calculations) that have not survived scrutiny by other scientists. See Lauer et al. 2010 for some empirical evidence reinforcing high-sensitivity results. As for ocean heat content, Argo hasn’t been in the water long enough to show a clear signal, and there have been problems with the data, including a significant correction (you do recall the correction to the UAH satellite record after years of insistence that their data showed the surface temp record trends were completely wrong?). Trenberth was saying that we need a better accounting of how heat moves around, not that present forcing isn’t positive. Most heat does wind up in the oceans, and ocean heat content continues up (Levitus et al 2005 and 2009, Lyman 2010 and more). You can cherry-pick short-term trends and outlying results if you like, but that’s not a serious way to look at evidence. And the paleoclimate results do show net positive feedback; without it Milankovitch cycles can’t drive glacial cycles– and the timing of those is very clear.

    Take a real look at the literature instead of just picking and choosing short-term ‘trends’ and outlier studies. The consilience of evidence in support of AGW is very strong and the IPCC take on the situation is conservative, not ‘alarmist’. Worse, if nothing is done and we simply burn all the fossil fuels we can get on hands on, we’re headed for way more than 2xCO2.

    One last question: how many of the hottest ten years in the instrumental record occurred within the last twelve years? Once you’ve checked, ask yourself if that’s what you’d expect in a cooling trend, and have a look at the ratio of record high temperatures to record lows. Oh, and don’t forget that daily lows and winter temperatures have increased faster than daily highs and summer temperatures– another GHG warming fingerprint.

    • Bryson

      You wrote:

      Cloud feedback is not assumed strongly positive.

      Let’s do a quick check on that. AR4 WG1 Ch. 8 (p.633) tells us

      Using feedback parameters from Fig. 8.14, it can be estimated that in the presence of water vapor, lapse rate and surface albedo feedbacks, but in the absence of cloud feedbacks, current GCMs would predict a climate sensitivity (±1 standard deviation) of roughly 1.9°C ± 0.15°C (ignoring spread from radiative forcing differences). The mean and standard deviation of climate sensitivity estimates derived from current GCMs are larger (3.2°C ± 0.7°C) essentially because the GCMs all predict a positive cloud feedback (Figure 8.14) but strongly disagree on its magnitude.

      OK.

      Ignoring assumed net cloud feedback, 2xCO2 CS = 1.9°C

      Including assumed net cloud feedback, 2xCO2 CS = 3.2°C

      So including the assumed net cloud feedback (which you say is “not assumed strongly positive”) increases the 2xCO2 CS by +1.3°C.

      If we assume instead that the net cloud feedback is neutral, we have a 2xCO2 CS = 1.9°C.

      So if we assume that it is “slightly negative” (as Dessler has conceded could be the case), we would have a 2xCO2 CS of slightly “less than 1.9°C”, let’s say ~1.5°C.

      And if we assume it is strongly negative (as Spencer + Braswell have observed over the tropics) we would have a 2xCO2 CS of significantly “less than 1.9°C”, let’s say 0.6-1.0°C.

      Spencer’s recent paper (in press) in Journal of Geophysical Research based on CERES observations over the global ocean suggests a 2xCO2 CS well below the IPCC lower limit (90% certainty) of 1.5°C, actually closer to 0.6°C.

      http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/05/strong-negative-feedback-from-the-latest-ceres-radiation-budget-measurements-over-the-global-oceans/

      So, Bryson, you can see that the uncertainties on 2xCO2 CS are great (as Dr. Curry has stated elsewhere) – yet they are crucial to the whole premise that AGW, caused primarily by human CO2 emissions, represents a serious potential threat to humanity or to our environment. Certainly at a 2xCO2 CS of less than 1.5°C this would not be the case.

      Max

      • Max

        Not to mention model errors and the recent criticisms of the uniform prior Bayesian assumptions made by AR4 WG1.

        Anyway as I said before but got ignored by Bryson, if CO2 is the dominant cause of global temperature increases then it is surely a necessary condition that the increase in CO2 (lagged etc) shows strongly in the global temperature record.

        Putting aside all this fancy stuff, it’s the kind of basic thing we expect if we say “A is the dominant cause of B”.

  119. Bryson Brown