Lisbon Workshop on Reconciliation. Part X: Alarmists vs Deniers

by Judith Curry

On Jan 28, a group of climate scientists supporting the IPCC consensus wrote a letter to members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senators.

On Feb 8, a group of scientists skeptical of the IPCC consensus countered with their letter to members of the U.S. Congress.

The group supporting the consensus describe their opponents as follows:

Climate change deniers cloak themselves in scientific language, selectively critiquing aspects of mainstream climate science. Sometimes they present alternative hypotheses as an explanation of a particular point, as if the body of evidence were a house of cards standing or falling on one detail; but the edifice of climate science instead rests on a concrete foundation. 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.

The assertions of climate deniers therefore should not be given scientific weight equal to the comprehensive, peer-reviewed research presented by the vast majority of climate scientists.

The skeptics describe their opponents as follows:

The eighteen climate alarmists (as we refer to them, not derogatorily, but simply because they view themselves as “sounding the alarm” about so many things climatic) state that the people of the world “need to prepare for massive flooding from the extreme storms of the sort being experienced with increasing frequency,” as well as the “direct health impacts from heat waves” and “climate-sensitive infectious diseases,” among a number of other devastating phenomena. And they say that “no research results have produced any evidence that challenges the overall scientific understanding of what is happening to our planet’s climate,” which is understood to mean their view of what is happening to Earth’s climate.

To these statements, however, we take great exception. It is the eighteen climate alarmists who appear to be unaware of “what is happening to our planet’s climate,” as well as the vast amount of research that has produced that knowledge.

Well, if this isn’t postnormal science, I don’t know what is.

Judge Judy’s verdict:  Score one for the “deniers”.  Rationale:

1.  The consensus scientists attempt to dismiss the skeptical scientists by calling them “deniers.”  By contrast, the skeptics refute the statement made by the consensus scientists that there is no scientific evidence that refutes the consensus, and are not disrespectful in the process.

2.  The skeptics have come up with a relatively impressive list of signatories, with 2 NAS members (compared to 6 on the consensus list).  Many of the people on the skeptics list are not people that are easily dismissed

3.  The consensus scientists fired the first “shot” in this insane little battle.

It wouldn’t matter if this was a victimless war.  The chief victim is climate science and its credibility.

287 responses to “Lisbon Workshop on Reconciliation. Part X: Alarmists vs Deniers

  1. No, Judy, the chief victim will be the credibility of all government science.

    • E.g., could be there be any validity to the accusation that our government (perhaps through HAARP) and/or others are secretly altering weather patterns?

      http://www.haarp.alaska.edu/

      Earlier I could dismiss such rumors as conspiracy rubbish, but Climategate has revealed unexpected dangers from a scientific/political alliance.

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

      • When you see comments like this on your blog, Dr. Curry, you may feel a slight sting. That’s pride messing with you. Forget pride. Pride only hurts, it never helps.

    • Government science, as I understand it, began with the Manhattan Project. Unlike others on the skeptics side, I am not averse to government actions in general; I weight the intervention in each case independently, not having an overall meme.

      But in regards to science, I see the history since WWII as being one of feeding at the trough. I think government, with its seemingly bottomless pockets, as being hugely distorting factor in science. And I think it has held science back, by creating such things as “consensus” – which usually means the ones who have dipped into Fort Knox the deepest.

      “Consensus” really means orthodoxy.

      Skeptics speak of it sometimes as a religion or a dogma. Orthodoxy might be a better term.

      When scientists were banded together in smaller, less well funded groups – or even acting individually as they have for most of science’s history – orthodoxy is much harder to establish.

      Orthodoxies tend to bully. This is true in climate science as much as it has been in any other scientific discipline.

      Orthodoxies also tend to label those who disagree as heretics, no matter what exact term they use. In climate science it is “deniers.” The orthodox, with their funding, have a big advantage. And the climate orthodoxy certainly never failed to use that advantage. With their “NASA” and “GISS” and “IPCC” orthodoxy credentials being waved in everyone’s faces, their assertions were everywhere for just about 20 years. With all the travel and conferences and newspaper science writers available due mainly to governmental funding (even funding the conferences themselves), it afforded the orthodox story to be told and retold, so many times the public were subject to a one-sided discourse. The old propaganda saw is that if you repeat something often enough, it becomes true in the eyes of the listening audience.

      The non-orthodox did not have a bandbox from which to argue. The public didn’t hear the other side of the story, the flaws in the logic, the studies that dared to disagree. I posted in IX how two climatologists near retirement dealt with the risk of losing funding – one kept his clear conscience till the end and was more or less run out of town on a rail, while the other kept silent until he had his pension. Heresy is not something relegated to the Middle Ages, it seems.

      Only the advent of the Internet – and blogs in particular – allowed the non-orthodox a voice.

      Only Climategate – in full flame during the Copenhagen Conference – undercut the orthodoxy enough for the public to wake up and hear that there was something crooked in Denmark. Copenhagen was another government funded love-fest for the orthodoxy. But Climategate and the conflicting self-interests of the haves versus the have nots that shot it down. The political unity was shattered. The monopoly on information was shattered even more. And the world has been a different ballgame since then – except that the government money is still flowing.

      And distorting.

      But, due to the blogs and the political disunity and the outing of the shameful behavior of the orthodox infighters, the funding is being threatened like never before. And the orthodoxy does not like it one bit.

      (BTW, the Climategate files can be likened to when in a movie the captured hero secretly records the chief villain admitting to his dastardly deeds, and then the villain is undone when the recording is broadcast.)

  2. This little dustup is further evidence we need a Majority Report and a Minority Report assessing current status of climate science. It is getting harder to tell which side is in the majority.

    • There only needs to be one report – who is to choose between two. The whole issue is how to come up with one trustworthy one.

  3. ..

    Oliver, when did you become a believer that any government science had credibility to lose?

    Judy

    While I don’t disagree with your score, are you saying (please forgive the irony that follows, one is not suggesting this is anything like your actual or even perceived stance, it is meant as a device of rhetoric not as a reflection of your position nor an attack on yourself, whom I know to be reasonable) you take great exception to the people of the world preparing for massive flooding from extreme storms of the sort being experienced with frequency, as well as the direct health impacts from heat waves and climate-sensitive infectious diseases, among a number of other devastating phenomena?

    It’d be hard to be against preparing for these outcomes by reasonable measures, regardless of climate theories, as they’re likely to happen at some intensity regardless of the truth of cAGW, either way.

    Wouldn’t the serious and important policy approach to these questions be the victims of ‘Alarmists’ and ‘Deniers’ muddying the waters with careless and discourteous bickering?

    • definitely agree with the last sentence, but the fallout is worse than that, it makes scientists look like politicos and not scientists (its not just the advocacy, but the “denier” stuff) and reflects poorly on the scientific community

      • Oh, I don’t think politicians will regard people who carry on disputes in such fashion with increased sense of fellow-feeling, small worry there.

        Another irony.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        The “fallout” includes efforts to prosecute Michael Mann for fraud because someone didn’t like a statistics routine he used.

        Choose your friends carefully.

      • Hmmmm… not because he enriched himself by deceiving people?
        Not because he suppressed critiques of his work and dodged FOIA requests?
        Choose your martyrs carefully is good advice, too.

      • When Michael Mann publishes something he uses his name. Unlike some people who apparently like to hide behind pseudonyms. But, and this is the important point that some people should heed, he is NOT a public figure under the libel law.

      • Jeffrey Davis,
        Mann is a public figure, and the test for libel slander is extremely tough. But extra points to you for implied threats.
        As to my pseudonym, I have what I consider to be very good reasons to use it. I have used it for a number of years, and have discussed why I use it with any blog host or hostess that has asked. If our hostess would like me to explain my reasons, I will be happy to do so.

      • Mann is most definitely NOT a public figure. Certain people have attempted to make him notorious. That’s why we have libel laws.

        There are people who should be thankful that though every prospect displeases, Mann is not vile.

        Cheers.

      • Mann is accused of improperly using government grants by lying on his applications.

      • And the actions of UV in stonewalling would have served Nixon well.

      • No. He hasn’t been accused of anything. And he isn’t being prosecuted. Get your facts straight. Otherwise, someone might confuse your statements with climate science.

      • Mann is suspected of improperly using government grants. And he isn’t being prosecuted – yet.

        We’ll see how that works out for him.

      • Jim shows again the denialist tactic is – when caught in a lie, modify the lie…

        But never apologize for lying.

      • Why should I apologize for something I didn’t say?

        OTOH, accusing other of things they didn’t say an alarmist tactic, isn’t it.

      • Jim,

        You are making people make bold statements:

      • Heh! Sorry about that – I see where it happened. My kingdom for an edit function? Well, maybe not that…

      • stan: Get your facts straight.

        Mann certainly has withheld documents from FOIA and been accused of it. With UVa’s help in stonewalling — hunter’s reference — plus technicalities he has gotten away with it so far. But the wheels of justice are grinding on, as they did with Nixon, and I wouldn’t count on a Mann victory.

        But yes he has been accused.

        http://www.c-ville.com/index.php?cat=141404064432695&ShowArticle_ID=12681701113900458

      • As has Pat Michaels and Fred Singer. (According to the link you provided.)

        “Accusation” is such a cheap word, yes? If accusations were horses we’ couldn’t breathe for the smell.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        I said (clear as day) “efforts to prosecute”.

      • …it makes scientists look like politicos and not scientists (its not just the advocacy, but the “denier” stuff) and reflects poorly on the scientific community

        Dr. Curry: Exactly. A key strength of the scientific community is the authority that derives from its commitment to objectivity. Behaving like politicians means being perceived as politicians and that’s a large self-inflicted wound for scientists. It’s not good for scientists and, I would say, it’s not good for society.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        You all elide too much.

        A scientist is a scientist while the science is being done. Then, parent, citizen, fellow bowler, parishioner, voter, etc. A person doesn’t give up their other roles and/or duties by virtue of doing science 8am-11pm.

        The letter does not advocate policy. No tax scheme. It simply said to avoid bad science. A scientist has a duty to warn the public if their findings demand it. Science does not exist apart. Scientists do not exist apart. Knowledge is there for our betterment

        Your deracinated scientists have never existed. Einstein signed on the letter to develop the bomb because political realities demanded it. Hell, Teller passionately argued policy throughout his life. Maybe it’s ownly right-wind scientists who get to argue policy. Or pro-smoking scientists and their ilk.

      • Jeffrey Davis: Huh? Perhaps you don’t read carefully enough.

        Dr. Curry was referring to the “denier” issue, which combined with its bookend term, “alarmist”, is the subject of this post. Both words function to poison the well for the opposing side.

        Those scientists used that term:

        Climate change deniers cloak themselves in scientific language…

        Dr Curry is not taking issue here with the substance of their criticisms, but with their tactic of using a snarl word to denigrate the other side.

        To her that makes those scientists seem like politicos because it sounds like a classic political smear tactic. In her view, sounding like a politico “reflects poorly on the scientific community.”

        I quite agree.

      • Perhaps a more genteel phrase would have served better. Perhaps, “Paid disinformation specialists.”

      • “Your deracinated scientists have never existed. ” Precisely. And precisely why we came up with the Scientific Method, and should stick to it.

      • The Scientific Method isn’t a magic power. It isn’t an oath of office. It doesn’t absolve people from duties. It isn’t like a priest in a confessional. If a scientist discovers something wretched is in the offing, he has to let the rest of us know.

        If, for example, scientists discover that paid agents who formerly worked for hire to spread disinformation about one issue (e.g. tobacco’s link to cancer) are using the same tactics about another issue of social import (say, the effect of trace industrial gases upon global temperature) those scientists have an obligation to let the rest of us know.

        There’s nothing in the Scientific Method that says one word about that.

      • What a peculiar post. I merely observe that the reason we have the Scientific Method (and the reason we need to stick to it and not, for instance stray into Post-Normal Science) is to render the human imperfections of those who practise science nugatory.

        If one were indeed to discover “that paid agents who formerly worked for hire to spread disinformation about one issue (e.g. tobacco’s link to cancer) are using the same tactics about another issue of social import (say, the effect of trace industrial gases upon global temperature) those scientists have an obligation to let the rest of us know.”, then anything he did with that information would be journalism, not science. If one wanted to do something scientific with that information, one would have to discard all the irrelevant stuff about who pays them, what they have done in the past, etc., and refute their science – using the Scientific Method.

        That’s its beauty, you see – not its magic, nor any of those other things you mentioned, but its beauty – in that it allows you to stop fretting about who paid whom, what their motivations are, and concentrate ALL your efforts on disconfirming their science. So much simpler, and ultimately more productive, than brandishing logical fallacies.

      • “That’s it’s beauty”

        It’s like Catch 22. As the Marvell poem said, “Had we but world enough and time.” We could examine every crank, ginned-up theory the disinformers could come up with.

        Science, however, isn’t an end in itself. It’s a tool to increase human happiness. Disinformers aren’t interested in human happiness. They’re interested in their pay.

      • Part of the problem is that a small minority have in fact been acting as politicos rather than scientists. You’re right, it DOES reflect badly on science in general. After Climategate and then this affair, I have to wonder if we would not be better served with an open source model to replace the last several decades of peer review.

        WUWT, CA and Lucia’s Blackboard work in part because they place everything out there. O’Donnell placed his code out for the world to examine and replicate. Open source works for the software world because errors can be found, corroborated and fixed quickly and easily. Alleged errors can be corroborated or refuted by anyone with sufficient expertise and skill.

        I don’t like what I see in “post normal” science but I like the perversion of the peer review process and self-serving prostitution within science (as Dr. Lewis complained about in his resignation letter to the APS) even less.

      • In regards to: “The chief victim is climate science and its credibility. ” That is untrue IMO– The chief victim is the American taxpayer.

      • Latimer Alder

        And the UK. We waste zillions on ‘Green Energy’ subsidies as well as funding buffoons like Phil Jones and his useless crew. And the national joke of the Met Office.

      • Just as a small reminder, it is not only US taxpayers (without cap&trade for instance) who get to open their wallets. For instance in EU, countless new ‘green jobs’ have been created – with taxpayer money – for countless climate change institutes, newly established goverment agencies, research programs etc, not to forget the countless “CO2 adaptation companies” mainly selling their services to public sector.

        Same goes for subsidies for ‘renewables’ and biofuels: imagine e.g. Germany: hardly an ideal place to build solar power at a first glance, but surprisingly, they are anyway paying 2 billion Euros in subsidies per month for it, and end up less than a percent of their electricity from it — and zero during nighttime of course.

        This is all thanks to IPCC and Kyoto protocol.

      • Anader–while I agree and accept that funds are being wasted in multiple countries on the issue of climate change, I believe it is only appropriate to worry about what you can effect. I can not impact tax policies in the UK, so I do not care about it.

        The same is true about infrastructure issues in 3rd world countries that have corrupt governments.

      • Rob,

        I agree on that with you. Apparently we are on the same boat. This somehow reminds me of the aftermath of the Cancun conference, where many promises were made to transfer our money abroad for mitigation of ‘climate change’. Hopefully and probably it ends up like most of the promises made by the West after major natual disasters, like the big tsunami and more recent Haiti — despite promises, very little was actually donated. This is not to say we should’t have helped more in the latter case.

        A big question here is anyway what current actions mean for the 3rd world – how I see it is that it can’t be good as most of the initatives (like renewables) just rise the price of energy- which in my mind just translates into poverty.

    • It’d be hard to be against preparing for these outcomes by reasonable measures, regardless of climate theories, as they’re likely to happen at some intensity regardless of the truth of cAGW, either way.

      Exactly. These things will happen to a greater or lesser extent anyway, besides earthquakes, tsunamis, mega volcanic eruptions, wars etc, besides the not-quite-zero probability of a meteor/asteroid strike.
      And you don’t exactly help the peoples of the world to deal with such eventualities by first impoverishing them.

      • Peter317

        “..you don’t exactly help the peoples of the world to deal with such eventualities by first impoverishing them.”

        Well said.

        Nor by increasing their dependence on expensive, centralized and fragile systems that when they break down make any disaster worse.

        You want to reduce the poverty of peoples of the world, invest first in the technical and business education and empowerment of women, then in intelligently fighting the most easily reduced of the serious diseases endemic among the poor by empowering them with local control over means of production of low cost preventative measures including clean water and treated bed-nets and medicines, then by doing the same for the lowest cost (ie human-powered) means of transportation.

        Coal burning existed for centuries before increases in quality of life or longevity followed, and the correlation for it with human wellbeing is poor compared to book-learning, bed-nets and bicycles.

      • >Coal burning existed for centuries before increases in quality of life or longevity followed, and the correlation for it with human wellbeing is poor compared to book-learning, bed-nets and bicycles.

        Well said.

        Speaking of the fight poverty, here are some experiments:

        Bed nets. Better than bad. Good.

      • willard

        Gold star.

      • And it’s about at this point that you presume to know what’s best for everyone, and start prescribing what they should and should not do?

      • Peter317

        It’s about this point that I doubt even more that I know what I’m talking about, if bright people like yourself are so easily gulled into clearly false and unsupported arguments, and redouble my skeptical investigations into science and what light it can shed, such as demonstrated by Esther Duflo’s use of experiment and objective measure.

        Which is how I came across observations and measures suggesting very few understand what is impoverishing people, and certainly none of the solutions require we burn more carbon.

      • Dang, Bart, you say something I agree with and then you screw it up.

        You want to reduce the poverty of peoples of the world, invest first in the technical and business education and empowerment of women, then in intelligently fighting the most easily reduced of the serious diseases endemic among the poor by empowering them with local control over means of production of low cost preventative measures including clean water and treated bed-nets and medicines, then by doing the same for the lowest cost (ie human-powered) means of transportation.

        For example, what purpose is there in the invest first in the technical and business education and empowerment of women if there’s nowhere for them to work when they’ve gotten educated? And provision of the required jobs and/or businesses WILL involve burning more carbon.

        And then there’s your local control over means of production of low cost preventative measures including clean water and treated bed-nets and medicines. By what magic do you imagine that ANY kind of production is carbon free? Believe me, we haven’t gotten to the “perfect machine” stage of civilizaton yet. Nor do the materials for that “production” appear out of thin air. They cost – in carbon.

        Even mass producing bicycles is not a “carbon-free” enterprise. Nor would your human powered society be anywhere near carbon-free.

        I agreed with your first comment – but your second one just screwed the pooch. We can, of course, continue this conversation, but I’d suggest you first think through the implementation of your ideas. They ARE good ideas – but they’re NOT carbon-free. They have a lot of ramifications that you apparently haven’t quite gotten to yet.

      • Jim

        I’m going with the product of years of my own experience and the experiences of others related to me in the course of those years. As this is argument from authority or some variation of secret knowledge, and therefore doesn’t belong in this blog of skeptics, and I don’t see this blog as the place to exploit vulnerable people who need help to pad my case, a practice I always find distasteful in others, I’m hoping to drop it.

        Our friend willard was good enough to provide a starting point for people with a serious interest, and I’m not going to dilute its value by suggesting others or spending a lot of time developing climate arguments on the backs of the poor.

        Let me only say that though your argument does not match well my experiences nor what I have heard, I’m not going to rely on that, and though your argument extends my unintentional deviation into exploiting the precarious situation of the vulnerable and so I wish to avoid going further into, it is enough I think to point out that it appears to be pulled out of a mysterious black box that has no known inputs and no known sources, no way to test and no way to confirm, so as a skeptic I am satisfied to dismiss it on that alone.

        Where is your proof that all jobs worldwide need intensive carbon emission?

        This astounding claim on its face seems ridiculous, as if one claimed that all love lives needed sawdust, or all social settings required clarinet music.

      • Bart,

        I would agree that perhaps all jobs worldwide don’t need carbon emissions. Indeed I’m very optimistic that by the time 2100 rolls around we may well have a virtually limitless supply of energy from nuclear fusion…..or something else none of us yet know about perhaps?

        What seems to me to be certain, however, is that cheap abundant energy fuelled the industrial revolution that has resulted in the greatest improvement in the health, education and general standard of life that homo sapiens has so far enjoyed……in those areas of the world lucky enough to have been the beneficiaries of this abundant energy.

        Surely to deny the developing world the same improvements we enjoy already, by virtue of demonising fossil fuels is, frankly, patronising, paternalistic and just plain wrong. Determinism is a very important part of this process and one which I think the third world are entitled to discover without any more preaching from us.

        Bart, I’m not sure I’ve really explained myself very well here and, in any case, this really isn’t the venue for this discussion.

        Suffice to say that I’m sure we can both agree that it’s one big can of worms.

      • Saaad

        “..cheap abundant energy fuelled the industrial revolution..”

        Really? In a historical or eco-historical context, this claim is false.

        Coal (and wood) used in the industrial revolution were used for centuries before the industrial revolution, and were in terms of man hours quite expensive for the engines of the start of this period. The relative economy of the earliest steam engines was terrible, and required immense wealth and recklessness to fuel.
        Their economic attraction was in the concentration of capital, increasingly freeing the owners from having to negotiate with labor, focusing decision power into fewer hands which could then use that as leverage to gain a larger share of the benefits of industry.

        The industrial revolution was not one of the benefits of technology, but of the relations of people and money resulting from technology.

        While there was also “improvement in the health, education and general standard of life,” observed, it is easy to show that industrialization does not correlate well with those changes, and cheapness of energy does not correlate with those changes at all.

        More to the point, you’re proposing that you’re a skeptic, and that I’m a skeptic, and that as one skeptic to another your assertion should be accepted at face value just because you offer it, without proof, evidence, mechanism, hypothesis or development of any sort.

        You just have a feeling it is so.

        Your feeling conveniently also benefits your argument, by sheer coincidence.

        One notes the high correlation between the feelings of supposed skeptics absent evidence of any sort and their pre-decided ideas about how great they are for all those poor fools who don’t happen to share them.

        You’ve explained yourself very well, in that regard.

      • Right into the 1950s, there were many farms in the United States that did not have electricity. And there were still farmers who used animal power instead of tractors. There were a wide variety of animal-powered farm implements. Farmers could process milk and seed using machines that did not need fossil fuels.

        Many New England factories were powered by water.

      • Bart– it would be correct to state that cheap energy greatly helped to fuel the industrial revolution.

      • Bart,

        At no point did I attempt to suggest that we were both sceptics, nor was I saying that we shared the same views on the importance of cheap and abundant energy to improved standards of living. It was already clear from your previous post that we disagree about this. I was merely suggesting that this was a can of worms that is best discussed elsewhere. Clearly it is a can of worms – you have just confirmed it.

        The anger you show in your closing remarks is surely inappropriate. I would suggest that it is you who is displaying your “pre-decided ideas about how great they are for all those poor fools who don’t happen to share them.”

        I believe I have been reasonable, and you have not. Perhaps a little more tolerance and civility would help your cause.

      • Hmmmm…….the long term reduction in the cost of energy over time is important. I am sorry you do not agree. But attacking someone for holding the opinion contrary to yours seems rather….counter productive.

      • Bart- You wrote—“Where is your proof that all jobs worldwide need intensive carbon emission?”

        The answer is that all jobs most certainly do not need intensive carbon emission, but many do rely on carbon emissions and many more are dependent upon low cost electricity.

        The fact is that significantly lowering CO2 emissions would be very expensive since alternative forms are more expensive.

        Overall- you seem to keep thinking about the poor of the world in 3rd world countries, but those people are NOT the responsibility of the people in the United States or the EU. The world is not governed by some one world government who goal is the betterment of humanity. Please stay in reality and propose ideas based on a world governed by INDEPENDENT nations that look out for their own citizens.

      • Rob Starkey

        You make an assumption and a big one, that you’ve properly defined ‘cheap’.

        Before cell phones, radio bandwidth was incredibly cheap — heck, prior to regulation, it was FREE as air!

        It was by making this limited resource part of the marketplace that its value could be realized in an orderly manner. Absent the monopolistic practices of the big telecommunications trust reassembled under a weakened regulatory framework by successive governments in the pocket of the trust interests, the mobile industry can be describe as a thriving business that advantageously employs hundreds of thousands and benefits hundreds of millions.

        You say that it is a fact that significantly lowering CO2 emissions would be very expensive.

        I say, backed by Dr. Ross McKitrick’s published works though I do not approve his exact methods, that it is a fact that significantly lowering CO2 emissions could be not only inexpensive in America and in the EU — far less expensive than Cap & Trade — but also a direct immediate net benefit to the pockets of over 70% of Americans and Europeans, including the poorest, and an indirect long term benefit to America in new jobs and better ones, a more efficient market and a freer and fairer one, and who knows, possibly even it might have some effect on the climate over the course of a thousand years.

        Jobs dependent on subsidies, on pilfering from the shared common resource without compensation to those who have not consented to this ransacking of the common wealth, are mispriced.

        This misprision (excuse the pun) skews the prices of goods and gives false signals to the marketplace.

        It is not really ‘cheap’, it is theft and bad business.

        So please, excuse my perceived anger with those counseling to the picking of my pocket.

        Further to being theft, it unbalances the free market, changing balance of decision power in favor of the thieves, and throwing more out of work than it employs, making the whole market more expensive for all actors, not less.

        And I’ve seen poverty in America as grim as much of the poverty of the 3rd world, so do not think I do not speak of America when I speak of the poor.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        “Nor can certain harmful effects of deforestation, or of some methods of farming, or of the smoke and noise of factories, be confined to the owner of the property in question or to those who are willing to submit to the damage for an agreed compensation. In such instances we must find some substitute for the regulation by the price mechanism. But the fact that we have to resort to the substitution of direct regulation by authority where the conditions for the proper working of competition cannot be created, does not prove that we should suppress competition where it can be made to function.”

        Identify the author and win a prize!

      • Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom

      • Published March, 1944.

      • Hayek? He won a Nobel prize. That means you must automatically hate him!

      • Jeffrey Davis

        So, isn’t it odd that Hayek recognizes the need to price and control externalities and yet the “scientists” and mouthpieces for the carbon extraction industries don’t? Well, that’s not odd. What’s odd is that supposedly “conservative” people side with one industry and its tycoon/gangsters over rational policy.

        Or is it the new orthodoxy that Hayek isn’t a real conservative?

      • That was at least the orthodoxy held by the author of “Why I Am Not a Conservative”. (1960-F.A Hayek)

    • Bart,

      “Oliver, when did you become a believer that any government science had credibility to lose?”

      This isn’t about my beliefs.

      The cohesiveness of our society will weaken as the public continues to lose confidence in government pronouncements of scientific findings.

      What foolishness ! Almost everyone has a thermometer. If world leaders had scientific documentation of a real threat to society, who would believe them now?

      That danger seems to have been overlooked by leaders of the scientific community who are trying to cover up evidence of data manipulation.

  4. I agree that this is post normal science. Now picture the client receiving two diametrically opposed viewpoints. The outcome may come down to either a beauty contest, boxing match score card: 26 for fighter X and 24 for fighter Y, or, worst of all, who appears to be the nicest: (s)he is such a nice guy/gal. I don’t believe climate science will suffer in the long run, just a redirection of funding towards weather forecasting vs statistical general circulation models that predict the future. Emphasis on relatively short term forecasting; ie, over the next 3 to 5 years, will come way before 2030, 2050, 2075 or 2100. Regarding how to deal with uncertainty, we see clearly that post normal science does not have a ready answer; it can be corrupted from the gitgo. There are really no time shortcuts. Everybody has to be patient. Usually answers don’t fall out of the sky: you have to earn them.

  5. I’m trying to figure out what you would have 18 people that actually really study climate do if they believe that there will be extensive damage to “current” “normal” human society due to changes in climate.

    Should they not write letters to Congress?

  6. I ask for another judge.

    The “skeptical” letter clearly made reference to them being called “deniers” in calling the others “alarmists”. Equally so, the former group could have said: “climate change deniers (as we refer to them, not derogatorily, but simply because they are denying well established facts and strongly evidenced explanations of so many things climatic”).

    They both try to dismiss the other by using a derogatory name. Why you condemn one and not the other is beyond me (but would be enough reason to ask for another judge in Dutch court – as Geert Wilders successfully did-, as it shows the judge may be biased).

    The former group sais that the claim of the second group are scientifically of much lower weight. That is not something that can easily be verified, but checking by proxy (e.g. http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2009/02/08/who-to-believe/ ) makes it quite clear. See also Chris Colose’s argument in the previous post here.

    If you want to judge it by who supports either position, be my guest, but then please be complete. (e.g. http://www.logicalscience.com/consensus/consensusD1.htm )

    • Bart,
      Is that second link to a blog you control?

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Bart, you say:

      The “skeptical” letter clearly made reference to them being called “deniers” in calling the others “alarmists”.

      It does no such thing. It makes no reference, clear or otherwise, to anyone being called a “denier.” I have no idea where you got the idea it did from, but it couldn’t have been from anything in the letter.

      I think you owe some people an apology.

      • Brandon,

        You’re right, it didn’t literally refer to that. But reading in between the lines, the implication is almost shouted out at the reader. The almost sarcastic sounding explanation in between brackets underscores it. I guess people have very different sensibilities in this debate.

        I have no clue what you ask me to apologize for. Have I insulted anyone?

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Bart, you are being ridiculous. First you said the “letter clearly made reference to them being called ‘deniers.’” You didn’t give any evidence to support this, and it obviously did not do what you claimed. When I pointed this out, you responded by saying it is clear if you read between the lines. What kind of nonsense is this? You make a bold claim which is obviously untrue while offering no evidence or explanation. When refuted, you basically repeat the claim in a way which is harder to disprove, once again without evidence or explanation.

        You claimed the letter writers tried to dismiss people by using a derogatory name, and you ask if you insulted anyone? Not only is what you said insulting, it implies dishonesty (ad hominem). Yes, you insulted people.

        Unless you can actually show “the implication is almost shouted out,” you’re insulting people without any basis.

  7. Michael Lenaghan

    “The skeptics have come up with a relatively impressive list of signatories, with 2 NAS members (compared to 6 on the consensus list).”

    A small correction; the consensus list had 8 NAS members:

    Gretchen Daily,* Stanford University
    G. Brent Dalrymple,* Oregon State University
    Peter Gleick,* Pacific Institute
    John Kutzbach,* University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Syukuro Manabe,* Princeton University
    Pamela Matson,* Stanford University
    Harold Mooney,* Stanford University
    George Woodwell,* The Woods Hole Research Center

    *Member of the National Academy of Sciences

    • Thx, will change my post.

      • …eventually…

        Actually, as is typically the case, the losers of this round are the denialists (unless of course you count policy outcomes wherein the size of the respective wallets come into play). Most particularly that is a consequence of their violating the cardinal rule of contrarianism: own your bs. If they had wanted the the high ground, it was theirs for the taking after what I would agree was a pointless and counterproductive digression in the original letter. Instead they dropped ‘alarmists’ not once but twice, and managed to try to redefine the english language in the process (sorry fellas, words mean things). Appending weasely disclosures to an open letter just screams dishonesty. Ehem.
         
        Not to mention, the good guys won simply by inclusion of this gem:

        The fruits of the scientific process are worthy of your trust.  This was perhaps best summed up in recent testimony before Congress by Dr. Peter Gleick, co-founder and director of the Pacific Institute and member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.  He testified that the scientific process “is inherently adversarial – scientists build reputations and gain recognition not only for supporting conventional wisdom, but even more so for demonstrating that the scientific consensus is wrong and that there is a better explanation. That’s what Galileo, Pasteur, Darwin, and Einstein did. But no one who argues against the science of climate change has ever provided an alternative scientific theory that adequately satisfies the observable evidence or conforms to our understanding of physics, chemistry, and climate dynamics.”

      • Ok, if science is inherently adversarial, then why call your opponents deniers? In terms of an alternate theory, try natural variability (lots of people proposing that one and publishing papers on it). And then there is the whole issue of “dangerous”, which is the really adversarial part, lots of science to argue there.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        “Ok, if science is inherently adversarial, then why call your opponents alarmists?”

        Fixed that for you.

      • a problem with the logic on that one. The people who said science is adversarial used the denier word.

      • A problem with not measuring each with the same measure on that one. Please use similar criteria for different groups. Both terms are deemed derogatory.

        Don’t do upon others as you don’t want them to do upon you. (or something like that)

      • Jeffrey Davis

        The deniers are using the term “fraud” for one of your colleagues. Do you think Michael Mann committed fraud? (No, half-tones, please. Yea or nay. If Mann has to hire a lawyer, there’ll be no half-tones then. In for a penny, in for a pound.

      • you are lumping a huge number of people coming from different perspectives into one group “deniers”, and then attributing what some of them say to the entire group (I forget what that particular logical fallacy is called). I haven’t carefully considered the “evidence” re Mann and even if I had, i would see no reason to personally sit in judgment on this. I am not going to defend someone just because the belong to the same professional societies that I do, nor am I going to attack that person based on what others say about him. I

      • You cavil at “rudeness” but don’t blink at efforts to prosecute Mann because someone disagrees with his use of a different statistical subroutine than they would have chosen.

        If Cucinelli can bring an indictment, it will be our Dreyfuss Case and hiding from it won’t help.

        His rationale for asking for 10 years of emails? “… knew or should have known [that they] contained false information, unsubstantiated claims, and/or were otherwise misleading. Specifically, but without limitation, some of the conclusions of the papers demonstrate a complete lack of rigor regarding the statistical analysis of the alleged data, meaning the result reported lacked statistical significance without a specific statement to that effect.”

        That isn’t just a colleague. That’s you and any scientist who ever discussed a blind alley via email.

        “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”
        Revelations 3:16

        But I’m sure your efforts to bring everyone to the appropriate levels of civility needn’t include witch hunts.

      • Jeffrey,
        irt ‘Dreyfuss’(Dreyfus)- is Mann jewish?
        If Mann gets indicted, it will be because there is reasonable evidence he committed fraud or deception at a level that rises to criminal activity.
        From the deceptive way he and the U Virginia are acting in avoiding lawful FOIA requests, I would say they are doing nothing that reasonable people would consider shows innocence.
        You might want to study the history of the Dreyfus case a bit before you drag him into this mud.

        http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/Dreyfus.html

        Not one aspect of what is happening in Virginia is simlar to the Dreyfus case. No secret courts, no closed processes by the AG, no lack of due process.
        In fact the only secretive deceptive behavior is that of Mann, the UV and defenders of both.

        Is historical illiteracy a requirement for AGW belief?

      • Hunter,

        Not because of Mann’s Jewishness, but because climate scientists were seen as scapegoats.

        Cheers.

      • No one is pushing to prosecute him over choice of a subroutine. On the other hand, falsification of data to obtain government research grants and destruction of evidence to avoid FOIA requests (if those happened) are whole other matters. PSU chose to conduct a whitewash “investigation”; I think an independent investigation is sadly warranted although care needs to be taken that that there is no presumption of guilt.

      • There is a worthwhile discussion of the use of “denier”, “alarmist”, “warmist” etc here: http://www.climateconversation.wordshine.co.nz/2011/02/never-the-twain-shall-meet/

        This was in response to a comment on a previous article, a comment in response to heated debate on derogatory labels: For what it’s worth, my investigations are revealing to me that there are many more genuine AGW sceptics with valid arguments than I had been led to believe. I will no longer use the term denialist or denier and apologize for any offence I may have caused. In exchange I would ask that people please refrain from using the terms “warmist” or “alarmist”.

        I personally think we should drop such labels as it serves no purpose other than to create an antagonistic us versus them mentality. I prefer the terms “AGW proponent” and “AGW dissenter” – terms which reflect the position adopted vis-a-vis the scientific hypothesis rather than the (perceived) ideology.

      • I prefer the terms “AGW proponent” and “AGW dissenter” – terms which reflect the position adopted vis-a-vis the scientific hypothesis rather than the (perceived) ideology.

        Mike Jowsey: That’s good! I’ve been looking for neutral terms for both sides in this debate. I even tried “AGW proponent” for a while but after “climate change” seemed to become the preferred term I switched to “climate change advocate” but I’m not satisfied with that either.

        Anyway thanks for the link and the thought, and a thumbs up to Richard Treadgold, author of that link.

      • The referenced ‘deniers’ dont deny the climate, climate change, AGW nor natural variability. Alarmists are the deniers. They are denying the natural variability.
        Besides, ‘alarmist’ as a word is quite accurate, unlike the word ‘denier’.

      • I really hope you’re referencing McLean given it’s comical intellectual bankruptcy. Indeed, we await with baited breath that paper that’s going to lay out the mechanics by which natural variability can explain the strong 40 year temperature trends, a cooling stratosphere and measurements of ongoing and outgoing radiation. Mainstream science struggles not in the least in explaining these things, bit dogonit, that ain’t good enough… for people that don’t like the policy implications.

        As to scientific opponents, these are not described by your unreconstructed tribalism. To my knowledge James Annan’s work on bounding sensitivity is not accepted by the majority of the community, though I don’t know that he’s ever been branded a denier. That is the adversarial nature of science and I suspect you are more than fully aware of it’s vibrancy in the mainstream of climate science.

        Denier on the other hand is reserved for those who wish not to be a part of the scientific endeavor but to subvert it. And it is a moniker that they have worked very hard to earn.

      • By your definition, I would say there’s deniers on both sides.

      • Majorjam,
        You are so tidy, with the denier scum in their nice little back of the bus. Yet your ignoring the reality of variable weather makes you sort of a..dare I say it, ‘denier’ yourself?

      • Denier on the other hand is reserved for those who wish not to be a part of the scientific endeavor but to subvert it. And it is a moniker that they have worked very hard to earn.

        Every time people like you make statements like that you expose yourself for what you really are. Nice example of why AGW is a dogma faith based belief system.

      • Latimer Alder

        Boys – it may be latenight dirtytalk time over there in Yankland (yanking seeming to be the verb du choix for you).

        But it’s just on elevenses here, and I’d rather drink my cuppa and eat my Rich Tea in contemplation of an intelligent debate than be reduced to reading unpleasant, smutty and irrelevant remarks. I can probably write them better than either of you, but there is a time and a place and this ain’t it.

      • My turn to withdraw my comment. Appreciate the gentle reprimand, Latimer.

      • Mike,

        Reading back over the comments, I can’t see that you were to blame, except that perhaps the best response to what you saw, would have been to label the offending comment as offensive spam, and let Judith remove it, and possibly the ban the person responsible.

      • Thanks for the good advice, David.

      • I’ve deleted that thread closely, my recommendation is not to reply to him, and i will just delete offending comments as they appear.

      • My apologies, Dr. Curry. Your fine blog did not need my intemperate and juvenile comments. I’ll not (or least, do my level best) descend to ianash’s level again. Though, heaven knows, that guy is provocative.

      • Yes – I’m very proud that I managed to resist joining in.

      • It’s always v. tempting – I got drawn into a long and pointless exchange with D64 here a while back…..I really wanted to let loose on ianash today but, thank goodness, I resisted.

        As long as Dr Curry can continue to moderate where required and as long as ianash is denied the oxygen of response, hopefully s/he will either settle down and discuss the topics or go elsewhere.

      • Dr. Curry,
        Sorry about my post above. I will just ignore the troll in the future.
        If my suggestion is too out of line, please delete.

      • “Ok, if science is inherently adversarial, then why call your opponents deniers?”

        All apples are green.
        My hat is also green.
        Therefore my hat is an apple not a hat.

      • Ok, if science is inherently adversarial, then why call your opponents deniers?

        This from the woman who insists that CO2 is actually a GHG, and started multiple threads trying to debunk the “Slaying the Green Dragon” meme?

        What is your word for these people – who apparently are a significant percentage of your supporters – if not “denier”?

        In terms of an alternate theory, try natural variability (lots of people proposing that one and publishing papers on it).

        Yeah, the people who claim that mainstream climate science says there is no such thing as natural variability.

        How about a comprehensive list of papers that you think show conclusively that recent warming is due to natural variability (which, of course, contradicts your claim that CO2 as a GHG is established and the crap you see in “Slaying the Green Dragon” is bogus).

        You can’t have it both ways. If the recent multidecadal warming trend is due to natural variability, then you need to explain away the fact the CO2 is a GHG, either by rejecting much of physics (as in “Slaying the Green Dragon”), or by … well, how exactly? What’s your ouiji board suggestion that slurps down excess energy on earth due to CO2′s being a GHG while just coincidently matching the natural variability that’s really causing warming?

        Physics, please.

        And then there is the whole issue of “dangerous”, which is the really adversarial part, lots of science to argue there.

        Now you’re being honest. It’s the policy consequences you fear, for ideological reasons.

        Just be upfront and state it, and you’ll regain some credibility in the reality-based universe. My own position is that the science is largely correct, but being realist I know we’ll do nothing about it. Pity, that. But it’s the truth. But my being able to admit that reality doesn’t lead me to reject science.

        Unlike you.

      • Whoa there! I’m as skeptical as anyone of the AGW hypothesis but you need to get your facts straight before you go charging off like this. CO2 is indisputably a GHG — the question is what the magnitude of its effect? More to the point, what is the magnitude of the effect of CO2 from industrial processes compared with natural forcings?

        Irrelevant and negative slanders don’t help the skeptic side any more than RealClimate’s intransigence and childish behavior help the AGW proponent side. Dr. Curry has demonstrated a willingness to consider scientifically based arguments and mathematical reasoning (something RC claims to do but doesn’t). You should take that into account before going into attack Chihuahua mode.

      • You dont need to prove the CO2 effect to be zero to prove there is natural variability involved as well. Your thinking is completely polarized, only black and white. If you had any understanding on the basic science you would understand it is all about the magnitudes.

      • @dhogaza

        There is no dichotomy between acknowledging CO2 as a Greenhouse gas and having a legitimate debate over its level of influence on current climate variations.

        My understanding is that for levels of warming to approach the catastrophic there are a whole suite of forcings that have to head in a positive direction – CO2 on its own cannot cause catastrophic warming in the sort of concentrations homo sapiens can produce. It strikes me that this is the primary area for debate.

        You are right that the concept of how to deal with climate change is a political rather than scientific. This is why I would be most happy if the scientists would concentrate more on their area of expertise and leave the policy making to others with more commensurate qualifications.

        Of course, the ultimate arbiter of all policy is us, all of us, the taxpayers. Which I guess is why this debate is so energised.

      • Ok, if science is inherently adversarial, then why call your opponents deniers?

        What do you call people who insist the world is only 6,000 years old?

        (hint: “idiot” and “ideologist” isn’t necessarily more flattering than “denialist”)

      • And what do you call people who are making fallacies even worse than the typical strawmen?

        Now go back trolling the Tamino’s and RealClimate.

      • In terms of an alternate theory, try natural variability

        How is that an alternative theory? By definition if the warming is not caused by human GHG emissions (and other related activities) then the cause must be “natural variation” but that covers any number of different factors which influence our climate. Natural changes to our climate don’t happen for no reason – if you want to make a credible case for an alternative cause for GW you are going to have to propose a specific mechanism which is responsible and provide evidence to support it. Merely claiming “natural variation” is just hand waving.

      • You are getting somewhere. Natural variation is not understood. Merely claiming it’s not ‘natural variation’ is just handwaving.

        You get kudos for an honest question elsewhere. Aaaaand credibility, woot, woot.
        ==============

      • Nothing I said implies that natural variation is not understood. Obviously some aspects are better understood than others but that doesn’t mean we know nothing.

      • You miss the point. To attribute the recent warming to CO2 it is necessary to handwave away natural variation. This is done with an ignorant hand.
        ==============

      • Sorry, don’t know what happened to my original reply.

        No one is waving away natural variation. We can see it in the fact that although there has been a significant warming trend since the mid-70′s temps have not gone up in a straight line. Look at the GISS temperature record for example. See the dip in the early 90′s? Pinatubo eruption. The spike in 1998? El Nino. The drop in 2008? La Nina and solar minimum. Lots of natural variation there, it’s just that the signal from increased CO2 forcing has overcome the effects of natural variation over the longer term.
        Want to look back a bit further? Early 20th century warming? Increased solar activity with a bit of help from low volcanic activity. The LIA? Maunder minimum. So you see it is perfectly possible to make a case for modern warming being caused primarily by CO2 without dismissing natural variation.

      • Lots of natural variation there, it’s just that the signal from increased CO2 forcing has overcome the effects of natural variation over the longer term.
        Want to look back a bit further? Early 20th century warming? Increased solar activity with a bit of help from low volcanic activity. The LIA? Maunder minimum. So you see it is perfectly possible to make a case for modern warming being caused primarily by CO2 without dismissing natural variation.

        Don’t buy it. For years now, I’ve listened to those who claim solar activity is too weak to influence climate. Now you’re trying to tell me that this is the alarmist explanation? It may actually be true – BUT now I want you to explain why it hasn’t been in the literature from the alarmist side. Or did I miss that? That is possible.

        In any case, the early 20th C warming was as great and as fast as the late 20th C warming – without the excuse of CO2. Sorry, but simple logic says – your theory is blown.

        Aside from that, you failed entirely to mention ocean circulation.

        As I said, I don’t buy the story.

      • Don’t buy it. For years now, I’ve listened to those who claim solar activity is too weak to influence climate. Now you’re trying to tell me that this is the alarmist explanation? It may actually be true – BUT now I want you to explain why it hasn’t been in the literature from the alarmist side. Or did I miss that? That is possible.

        I would very suprised if any climate scientist has ever said that solar activity was too weak to influence climate. They may well have said that solar activity over the last 50 years has been too weak to explain the recent warming, which is a different thing. There is certainly literature which shows a correlation between solar activity and temperatures in the early 20th century, and as far as I’m aware there is agreement between advocates of AGW and skeptics that the influence of CO2, if any, on early 20th century warming was very small so the question of whether the literature is from the “alarmist side” is moot.

        In any case, the early 20th C warming was as great and as fast as the late 20th C warming – without the excuse of CO2. Sorry, but simple logic says – your theory is blown.

        Logical fail.

        Aside from that, you failed entirely to mention ocean circulation.

        I certainly mentioned ENSO. I wasn’t aware that I was required to produce a comprehensive catalogue of every single natural influence on our climate.

      • I’m gonna nitpick here –

        aa said -
        I would very suprised if any climate scientist has ever said that solar activity was too weak to influence climate. They may well have said that solar activity over the last 50 years has been too weak to explain the recent warming, which is a different thing.

        Not different at all. You need to read what you wrote there because it’s self-contradictory.

        I’ve been specifically told for most of the last 10 years that solar activity could NOT have produced “warming” – no reference to “recent” or early “20th C” – or any other warming.

        There is certainly literature which shows a correlation between solar activity and temperatures in the early 20th century,

        Yes, there is – in archaeological literature. But I’d like to see your references in the climate literature.

        and as far as I’m aware there is agreement between advocates of AGW and skeptics that the influence of CO2, if any, on early 20th century warming was very small

        Yes.

        so the question of whether the literature is from the “alarmist side” is moot.

        No. If you can’t show it from the “alarmist” side, then your argument is just hand waving.

        Now for the meat –

        You’re claiming that the “early 20th C” warming was due to in some large part to increased solar activity but the “recent 20th C warming” was due only to CO2?

        Then how do you explain away the fact that solar activity has been increasing over the last 100 years to an intense peak with Cycle 22 (which started in 1986). If the lower level of activity in the early 20th could cause the observed warming at that time, why could the continuing increase in solar activity over the last 100 years NOT provide additional warming up to and through the late 20th C? Followed, of course, by the present lack of solar activity, accompanied by a lack of continued rapid warming?

        Your apparent claim that solar activity over the last 50 years has been too weak to explain the recent warming, just doesn’t hold water – or warming either.

        Nor does your claim that the signal from increased CO2 forcing has overcome the effects of natural variation over the longer term. since the CO2/temp connection has not been evident for the last 10-15 years.

      • Can you tell us the points that show natural variability is in fact understood?

      • Latimer Alder

        I;’d be fascinated to know what caused the Ice Ages – why they came, why they oscillated, and why they went away (if indeed they have).

        Y’know – big,very temperature related, relatively recent major climate changes….tens of degrees, not a piffling little tenth here and two tenths there.

        Any decent climate theory must be able to explain these macro level changes to even have a hope of being believed at the micro/decadal level.

        Please enlighten me.

      • Hi Anderew

        Thanks for the link. It is full of ‘possible ‘explanations for thing like Ice Ages, but no actual evidence or proof.

        So fine – I don’t think anyone suggested that there weren’t plenty of things that may have caused the Ice Ages. There may be a dozen or more different effects (which since they are not anthropogenic- by definition) we need to call ‘antural variation’.

        But until you can come up with a real understanding of what DID go on, not what MIGHT have gone on, then pouirng scorn on ‘natural variation’ is completely inconsistent with what little is actually known.

      • hunter,

        My replies to Kim and Latimer show that there are at least some things we know.

      • So, if natural variation is not understood, how can ‘skeptics’ claim that natural variation explains observed warming?

      • Invoking Mr. Natural requires no explanation, which is why he’s the right tool for the con job.

      • Yes, it’s the all purpose non-argument.

        It’s ‘natural variation’ is the sure fire sign that they haven’t a clue.

      • Michael,
        We don’t have to explain anything.
        Skeptics think what is going on is exactly what the records show: Not much to be worried about.
        Believers think there are great portents in the tea leaves. We think the tea leaves just mean it is time for a fresh cup.

      • Latimer Alder

        The wrong way round mon brave.

        Let me just recap as I understand it.

        You have climate scientists who claim to understand climate in such detail and with such precision that they believe they can unequivocally state that all warming (slight or on-existent though it may be) over the last hundred years can be unequivocally attributed to CO2.

        And yet they do not understand ‘natural variation’ at all. They do not know how to explain the onset and ending of the many Ice Ages. They cannot explain how CO2 levels got to approaching ten times their current values in prehistory. When it comes to ‘natural variation’ the have nothing to say.

        So far, so good – but throwing a very unpleasant spotlight on the question of just how good is their understanding of today’s climate in reality.

        But now you want to use their inability to explain ‘natural variation’ as a stick to beat the sceptics with? Bizarre in the extreme. ‘We haven’t done any work on natural variations, so that proves even more that CO2 is the culprit’.

        Many a detective story has started where the dumb plod sees the corpse in the room, the gun with the fingerprints on and immediately assumes suicide. Only for the heroine to take a closer look and deduce that it was a carefully planned murder.
        I fear that you and the alarmists are currently playing the role of the dumb plod.

        By not looking for anything else, you weaken the case for CO2 as culprit, not enhance it.

      • Incomplete knowledge is not the same as ignorance (luckily).

      • Insufficient knowledge is practical ignorance.
        ==================

      • Latimer Alder

        True. And Mr. Rumsfeld once put that very well in a speech that was widely lambasted by those who failed to grasp its essential important point.

        But I don’t see the relevance to my earlier remark. AFAIK, climate scientists do not even have a theory why any of the things I described happened. Let alone any actual experimental/historical/geological work. Happy (and fascinated) to be proved wrong.

      • But the term ‘sophomore’, for relatively young students, means ‘wise fool’.
        I would say that the cliamte consensus is demonstrating the concept of ‘sophomore’ quite well.

      • You have climate scientists who claim to understand climate in such detail and with such precision that they believe they can unequivocally state that all warming (slight or on-existent though it may be) over the last hundred years can be unequivocally attributed to CO2.

        No they don’t claim that. Early 20th century warming most likely owes much to increased solar activity and low volcanic activity. The more recent warming since the mid-1970s are considered to be primarily caused by human activity.

        And yet they do not understand ‘natural variation’ at all. They do not know how to explain the onset and ending of the many Ice Ages. They cannot explain how CO2 levels got to approaching ten times their current values in prehistory. When it comes to ‘natural variation’ the have nothing to say.

        Maybe you’re just not listening.

        But now you want to use their inability to explain ‘natural variation’ as a stick to beat the sceptics with? Bizarre in the extreme. ‘We haven’t done any work on natural variations, so that proves even more that CO2 is the culprit’.

        I said nothing about any inability to explain natural variation. And I certainly did not claim that no work had been done on the subject, indeed it would be an odd claim because it isn’t true.

        The point I was making, as you obviously missed it, was that “natural variation” is not in itself an explanation for GW, it merely amounts to saying “not CO2″, which is not an alternative theory. An actual alternative theory would describe where the extra energy in our climate system over the last thirty odd years has come from and would be subject to the same burden of proof as AGW.

      • Actually Andrew, I think that natural variation is the default explanation for GW, GC and G “anything to do with climate variation”. The word “natural” covers the range of influences, some known, some as yet not understood, which are not influenced to any great degree by man. CO2 is clearly one of these natural influences and one which 99% of people here would completely accept.

        The new kid on the block is the idea that CO2 concentrations are a major driver of climate change, to such a degree that man’s introduction to the climate system of additional CO2 is causing an unusual and potentially dangerous “unnatural” warming trend. This is not the default position, this is a new hypothesis. As such, the burden of proof rests here.

      • Then a major step forward would be for all those saying that ‘natural variation’ is the cuase of observed warming , and just say – ‘I don’t know’.

      • Good point. Of course same would apply to those, who claim that the recent warming is caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Cause they dont know either.

      • I think most sceptics would likely say that natural variation is the most “likely” reason for observed changes in climate, beyond the as yet unquantifiable temperature signal one would expect to observe from an increase in CO2, assuming it will one day be clearly discernable from the “noise” of the rest of the natural variations.

        I don’t think that equates to “I don’t know” – I think it says “show me the money”.

      • Then please explain what is causing the ‘natural variation’.

        juakola – AGW specifies a causal mechanism based on accepted physics.

        What is the causal mechanism in ‘natural variation’ ?

      • @ Michael:

        “Then please explain what is causing the ‘natural variation’.”

        OK, my best shot….

        Natural variation is caused by an interaction of, at least, the following (and I’m going to miss out heaps I’m sure): Solar Radiation, Cosmic Radiation, fluctuating magnetic fields, ozone, albedo, Madden Julian oscillation, cloud heights, types and densities, water vapour, CO2, methane, SO2, ENSO, AMO, aerosols……

        Lots more I’m sure, so please feel free to point out all those that I missed.
        Bottom line – the ultimate cause of all climate on our little blue marble is the Sun. Take the Sun away and there is no climate change, at least in any sense that is relevant to us.

      • @Michael:
        Saaad has already given the natural aspects of warming.

        Yes, there is physics behind AGW but not in a fashion that it would explain how much warming CO2 causes a.k.a climate sensitivity. For example clouds are poorly understood. But this is completely another topic and clouds are currently being discussed elsewhere.

      • That’s no explanation, just a ragtag bunch of maybe’s – ‘it’s everything!’.

        Again, please give a coherent explanation of observed warming, according to the theory of ‘natural variation’, indicating the causal mechanism.

      • The point is, there is no coherent explanation for the 20th century warming, neither with AGW nor without. You’re asking the impossible.

        But parly ocean circulation patterns definitely explain some of the most recent warming, like the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. If you want references here is some:
        ftp://www.iges.org/pub/delsole/dir_ipcc/dts_science_2010_main.pdf

        http://www.bccr.no/acdc/filer/242.i3yGAl.pdf

        Whether these variations are forced or ‘unforced’ remains as a question mark to me. More things seems to be unclarified than already is. But undoubtedly this kind of noise is in the mix. There might be even longer patterns as well which we wont be able to detect for a long time (the paleo data might actually suggest there is).

      • Well that’s progress – you admit to havin no coherent explanation.

        So no more arguing that observed warming is ‘natural variation’.

      • Your position of dismissing “natural variation” does not make sense.

        “Climate scientists” know that there have been climate changes in the past. They are uncertain as to the cause of the prior changes, but see that they were of a degree similar to or greater than; the changes occurring today.

        If “Climate scientists” wish to assign a specific cause to the changes occurring today, it becomes necessary for them to attribute the current changes to a specific provable cause so as to differentiate today’s changes from those of undefined origin in the past.

        It is not the responsibility of those who do not propose a hypothesis to demonstrate the specific cause of the natural variation. It is the responsibility of those who propose a hypothesis to demonstrate that it is true and repeatable.

        It is further the responsibility of those who propose that actions be taken as a result of their hypothetical position to demonstrate that their proposed solution makes sense to the society that will have to implement their proposed policy solution.

        It terms of climate science, neither the case for CO2 creating a potential emergency for humanity has been demonstrated, nor the proposed solution of stopping emissions of CO2 been demonstrated to improve the situation effectively at a reasonable cost as compared to alternatives.

      • Rob, I will respond to your points because they are fair ones , but I have run out of time right now.

      • Rob,

        I’m not dismissing “natural variation” per se, I’m just claiming that it does not amount to an alternative theory for the warming we have seen since the mid 1970′s. Which is not to say that there have not been discernible natural influences on the climate during that time, as I mentioned in my reply to Kim.

        I don’t actually disagree with a lot of the things you say. Yes, climate scientists do know that there have been changes to our climate in the past and that it has previously been warmer than it is now, although the rate at which the temperature has been increasing is certainly unusual. And if they want to assert a particular cause for the current warming then they have to, as you say, propose a hypothesis which is testable (I’m not sure about “repeatable” as we don’t have another earth to test any hypothesis on) – this is the case whether the supposed cause is human-induced or “natural”.

        I also agree that if someone can demonstrate that this hypothesis is flawed they are not obliged to provide an alternative. But Judith did suggest a supposed alternative theory, so we are entitled to judge it accordingly.

        And of course if a course of action is proposed then those proposing it have to make a case that it will actually have a desirable and beneficial effect.

        So it’s only really your last paragraph that I really take issue with. On the first point scientists have clearly made the case for CO2 creating a potential (and bear in mind that “potential” is a fairly low bar to set) emergency for humanity. It is summarised in the IPCC reports with references to the relevant underlying literature, it is clearly stated in the summaries published by the various national science academies. Some people obviously take issue with the case being made but no one can deny that there is a coherent and testable case for AGW (well actualy people do deny it but they shouldn’t).

        As for the costs of stopping emissions of CO2 compared to alternatives, well obviously that’s more difficult to quantify, although efforts have been made such as Stern. But then it isn’t always a a question of the monetary cost of mitigation verses that of adaptation because some things simply can’t be addressed by “adaptation” at any cost. How do you adapt to the collapse of ocean ecosystems due to acidification, coral bleaching and the loss of phyloplankton? How do you adapt to the extinction of many tens of thousands of species who unable to adapt quickly enough to a rapidly changing climate? How do you adapt to the forced relocation of millions of people due to sea level rise and/or the loss of arable land? We

      • Andrew- I’d like to ask you a very basic question that I believe is central to the overall discussion:

        What is it that makes you feel that a warmer planet is bad for humanity in the long term?

      • Rob,

        There has been a huge amount of research which has tried to estimate the effects of global warming on our planet. Of course some of these effects are positive but as far as I can tell the net result is overwhelmingly negative. Off the top of my head the consequences are likely to include changes in rainfall patterns leading to an increase in the number and severity of droughts and floods; water shortages due to the reatreat of glaciers and loss of snowpack; sea level rises leading to loss of inhabitable land, forced relocation of many people, increased flooding and contamination of aquifiers; severe damage to ocean ecosystems due to acidification and coral bleaching; an increase in the strength of tropical storms; more severe heatwaves; the collapse of sensitive ecosystems and the extinction of thousands of species.

      • Andrew—
        I am quite familiar with the huge amount of research you mention, but absolutely none of the research/models you mention have ANY reliability forecasting at a regional level and therefore have ZERO ability to reliably predict future conditions at that level. The models simply can not predict, with any reliability what the rainfall or temperatures will be like in the future for any specific area. I believe you know this to be true since you have also read on the topic.

        The overall point is that yes, climate will change, but the changes will happen over periods of many decades and humans will gradually adapt to the changed environment. With reasonable infrastructure planning and construction by individual countries, there is no credible evidence to suggest that a warmer planet is actually bad, overall, in the long term for humanity. Yes, the climate in certain areas will change such that those areas are less favorable for humans, but other areas will also improve.

        Conversely, there is undisputed evidence that a large percentage of the world’s population wishes to increase their emissions of CO2 now in order to improve their immediate quality of life. Poorer people from South America to South Asia are getting access to personal transportation and electricity and they only want more. These same poor people also rely on the food produced elsewhere that is dependent upon the emission of CO2.

        So this brings me to the bottom line- The world is not going to stop emitting huge quantities of CO2 for many, decades to come. Therefore, CO2 levels will continue to rise worldwide for decades at a minimum. This being an unavoidable fact, the actions that should be taken should be sensible ones that balance the costs and the benefits. In the United States for example, the costs of eliminating coal fired power plants ($1.5 trillion) does not warrant the benefit (a maximum future temperature change of less than one tenth of one degree C.

      • Do you have any relatives from Baghdad who go by the name of “Bob”?

      • btw, majorjam,
        Since when did people showing a theory does not work ahve the obligation to provide one that does?
        This inversion of the null process that your side is so committed to is not holding up so well, is it?

      • “But no one who argues against the science of climate change has ever provided an alternative scientific theory that adequately satisfies the observable evidence or conforms to our understanding of physics, chemistry, and climate dynamics.”

        There has only been 0.6 degrees change in a hundred years and not much of it lately. All the alarm stems from pessimistic projections based on assumptions that CO2 is the main driver of climate. There is yet no actual evidence that is the case.

        But why reject a simple “recovery from the little ice age”. Nobody yet knows why there was a little ice age in the first place but it sure wasn’t to do with a lack of CO2. That alone tells us there is a lot of variability in nature.

        When someone can come forward and say they predicted 12 years of flat temps in the troposphere and 15 years of flat temps in the stratosphere then I’ll believe they know what they are talking about. Predicting a runaway warming that just didn’t happen usually is sufficient to reject a hypothesis but this one has too many vested interests.


      • When someone can come forward and say they predicted 12 years of flat temps in the troposphere and 15 years of flat temps in the stratosphere then I’ll believe they know what they are talking about.

        This would at least be some support that there is a model with a 12-15 year prediction range, but it still wouldn’t validatre the model, just indicate it may have some usefulness.

      • Latimer Alder

        Going to be a looooooong wait.

        It is my observation that climatology is very good at making predictions (preferably scary and doom-laden ones) about what will happen when we’re all dead. But ‘surprisingly’ quiet and bashful when it comes to anything more testable within a human career.

        A cynic might think that they are reluctant to put their cojones on the block in case of disappointment. And the cynic may well be right.

        I think of this as the ‘Free Beer Tomorrow’ tendency, after the sign that was often seen in English pubs.

      • Nobody will provide a fifteen year projection because it will be too easily refuted. Far better to talk about something scary in a hundred years or so and then ask, ‘what about the children?’

      • @marjoram

        Thanks to observations made by Edwin Hubble we now have the “Big Bang” theory. For the purposes of this analogy Arrhenius is a bit like Hubble.

        The “Big Bang” theory is rather like the “CO2 is the main culprit for recent climate change” theory IMO, in that its principal appeal is that no-one has yet thought of a credible alternative to explain the beginning of the Universe.

        ….except that no-one is asking the population of the western world in particular to fork over huge sums of cash, whilst at the same time completely rejigging the levers that have powered the growth of education, health and general quality of life, on the basis of the “Big Bang” theory. Were they to do so, I think there would suddenly be a clamour for more certainty and a rush of competing theories. Quite rightly.

        As one commentator said here on a different thread (and I paraphrase here) : ‘if scientists want to change the public’s lifestyle and use their cash, they have to deal with us pitchfork holders’. They also have to deal with scientific opponents who see things differently, however much they see the link between Arrhenius and global warming as a done deal.

        This is why, in the case of climate science, the uncertainties are far too great at the moment for the kind of “trust” to which the 18 scientists feel they are entitled.

      • Not to mention, the good guys won simply by inclusion of this gem…
        …. That’s what Galileo, Pasteur, Darwin, and Einstein did. But no one who argues against the science of climate change has ever provided an alternative scientific theory that adequately satisfies the observable evidence or conforms to our understanding of physics, chemistry, and climate dynamics.”

        His argument is illposed ie we merely require a different null hypothess, a reframation so to speak eg Ghil 2001

        More precisely,we ask whether the impact of human activities on the climate is observable and identifiable in the instrumental records of the last century-and-a-half and in recent paleoclimate records? The answer to this question depends on the null hypothesis against which such an impact is tested.

        The current approach that is generally pursued assumes essentially that past climate variability is indistinguishable from a stochastic red-noise process (Hasselmann, 1976), whose only regularities are those of periodic external forcing (Mitchell, 1976). Given such a null hypothesis, the official consensus of IPCC (1995) tilts towards a global warming effect of recent trace-gas emissions, which exceeds the cooling effect of anthropogenic aerosol emissions.

        Atmospheric and coupled GCM simulations of the tracegas warming and aerosol cooling buttress this IPCC consensus. The GCM simulations used so far do not, however, exhibit the observed interdecadal regularities described at the end of Sect. 3.3. They might, therewith, miss some important physical mechanisms of climate variability and are, therefore, not entirely conclusive.

        As northern hemisphere temperatures were falling in the 1960s and early 1970s, the aerosol effect was the one that caused the greatest concern. As shown in Sect. 2.2, this concern was bolstered by the possibility of a huge, highly nonlinear temperature drop if the climate system reached the upper-left bifurcation point of Fig. 1.
        The global temperature increase through the 1990s is certainly rather unusual in terms of the instrumental record of the last 150 years or so. It does not correspond, however, to a rapidly accelerating increase in greenhouse-gas emissions or a substantial drop in aerosol emissions. How statistically significant is, therefore, this temperature rise, if the null hypothesis is not a random coincidence of small, stochastic excursions of global temperatures with all, or nearly all, the same sign?

        The presence of internally arising regularities in the climate system with periods of years and decades suggests the need for a different null hypothesis. Essentially, one needs to show that the behaviour of the climatic signal is distinct from that generated by natural climate variability in the past, when human effects were negligible, at least on the global scale. As discussed in Sects. 2.1 and 3.3, this natural variability includes interannual and interdecadal cycles, as well as the broadband component. These cycles are far from being purely periodic. Still, they include much more persistent excursions of one sign, whether positive or negative in global or hemispheric temperatures, say, than does red noise.

        Or to put it another way to the practioners of the Reverend Bayes,it is a legitimate argument to invoke the almighty.

        http://www.worldscibooks.com/physics/0862.html

      • Do you think that there is a model currently in use that “adequately satisfies the observable evidence”?
        I guess it all boils down to adequately, but given that the problem to answer is “what is the best policy (including business as usual” to have the best climate as possible from a human point of view, and that the models I am aware of are not able to give reliable info about
        -extreme event frequency (relevant for population protection), and certainly not predict better extreme events than meto models in use
        - local precipitations, max and min temperatures shift (relevant for agriculture and heting/cooling energetic needs.

        They do not provide an accurate estimation of the expected results of the discussed policies in term of climate either (the most common is that the discussed policies will not change anything except maybe long term),

        Moreover, the new models have not added much compared to naive 1D models…

        So I can not see how the current state of mainstream climatology can be considered adequate….Saying denyers have not produced anything adequate is correct. But alarmists are in the same situation, and I am of the opinion that in that case, precautionary principle can only be used to defend no regret or no cost policies, nothing else, else it would only be luddism in new clothes…

  8. The second group have one great advantage – the null hypothesis. For the alarmists to prove their claims they have to prove, in a statistically significant manner, that temperature is rising, that CO2 is causing some or all of that rise, that there are more weather events as a result of this rise and that those events are more serious than has been the historical fact.

    Unless and until the alarmists can meet and beat the null hypothesis they should not be writing Congress or anyone else. The second group need do no more than point out the alarmist’s failure to come up with unambiguous results.

    • Jay,
      Treberth took care of that by reducing the null hypothesis for CO2 caused climate change to a meaningless non-falsifiable claim.

      • Hunter,
        I think Trenberth is a very long way from achieving that, whatever he claims. It was a nice try though.

  9. Yeah, and Wall’s, one of the NAS members on the “skeptics” list, research has nothing to do with climate change or its affects likely ecological affects.

    • Peter,
      So back to the believer’s argument that only climate scientists are capable of judging climate science claims?
      So your degrees are in raidative physics and ………..?

  10. Jeffrey Davis

    “3. The consensus scientists fired the first “shot” in this insane little battle.”

    Seth Pecksniff, we hardly knew ye.

  11. Roger Pielke jr made a strong cases that climate science is not at all required for decarbonization of the economy. So if there are other reason then climate science to act on reducing co2, then why climate deniers opinions would matter in the political debate.

    At the same time the alarmist refuse to acknowledge non climate reason to decarbonize the economy. Looks to me that they are more interested to secure their funding then action.

    • This has always been one of my concerns about the lack of scientific self-critique in the alarmist camp. The finite nature of our fossil fuel resources dictate that we will eventually need to decarbonise our economy or face massive economic decline. There is no need to exaggerate AGW to argue for decarbonisation.

      The mainstream portrayal of the hypothesis of AGW as being beyond dispute is disingenuous and may eventually be proved false. If that happens the public (and many marginalised researchers) will be very, very angry. The consequence will be a complete lack of public confidence in the scientific community.

  12. Sylvain:

    “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 above is from the letter that Gavin Schmidt sent to the organizers of the conference.

    Generally, they speak to what they are experts in, climate science, but they certainly acknowledge other reasons.

    • Exploring co-benefits is a fairly new phenomenon.

      Tightening soot and NOx standards ends up closing about 25% of US coal fired capacity. State of the art coal plants without carbon capture end up costing about $3-$4.5 billion/GW in the US depending on technology.

      The Sunflower plant in Kansas is expected to cost $2.8 billion for 895 MW.
      The Kemper plant in Mississippi is expected to cost $2.4 billion for 582MW. The integrated coal gasification combined cycle plant in Indiana is expected to cost $2.9 billion for 620 MW.

  13. Are all these gentlemen volunteering to come to the Hill as soon as any hearing on climate science start @ the House ?

    In any case, it shows the value of Roos’ paper : no need of Societies publishing statements !

    The reference to ‘post normal science’ (RiHo) looks like a smokescreen : as long as post normal science was used to open the door of scientific discussions to environmental NGOs, it was OK ; as soon as other non academic (engineers, auditors…) started to show their willingness to participate to the scientific debate on the same ‘post normal’ basis, they were dismissed by gatekepers from the academic and NGOs : a typical double standard

    And I agree with Jay Currie : extrordinary claims require extraordinary scientific evidence : for the time we mainly have emotion, hand waving, advocacy, pseudo experiments through GCM runs, etc.

  14. If I were to try and resolve the state of maturity in climate science in a congressional hearing, I’d simply start asking questions about clouds. Do they warm or cool the globe, how much do they vary in spacial coverage, how do you measure such things. I suspect that the diversity of answers from different climate researchers on something as fundamental and as simple as this would be extraordinarily instructive for laymen elected representatives. The second thing about resolving who is right and who is wrong is to remember that we are trying to understand the real world and mother nature is the one who actually gets the last word. In fact, there is quite an interesting state of affairs right now. We humans have increased CO2 content in the atmosphere by 30% over the last 100 years so the consensus position would clearly predict warming and a higher rate than we’ve seen in the last 30 years. However, we also have th quietest solar period in at least a century and the PDO has gone into a cool phase so the meteorologists who look at historical ocean/astrological set ups are predicting cooling over the next decade or two. I suspect that with the monitoring in place, terrestial, in the oceans and in space, that a clear picture will emerge on what really drives the climate over the next decade.

  15. The gang of 18 is confusing a general understanding of a thing with the ability to be precise. It is not sufficient to say we understand that CO2 causes warming. We need a number. And the numbers given by the IPCC are suspect in every particular, from rate of ocean rise to rate of warming, from effect of and amount of sulfate aerosols to the tropical hotspot, from the effect of thermometer drop out to the effect of land use change. There is not a single conclusion or number that is not shaky when examined closely. Some cloak their extreme predictions (Hansen, Gore, the earth will be uninhabitable, 90% of species will perish, 100ft sea level rise, ice caps slip sliding away) in the “consensus” when it says no such thing. Please. PNS indeed. How about an engineering style risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis?

  16. I would have been happier if your article title had referred to alarmists versus skeptics. You used the term skeptics throughout the article but left the more judgmental term deniers in the title.

  17. With all these words, so little understanding.

    It starts with an apology. From Tallbloke firstly. Then the organizers of the conference for publicy releasing Gavin’s email. Then Pearce. And then Judy for trying to wriggle, dissemble and twist the discussion.

    Expecting a degree of honour to be shown by the denialist minions is expecting a lot. Maybe there are some with minds open enough to realise there will be no reconcilaition without these apologies.

    • No,
      Gavin said what he said, and a fair paraphrase of it was rendered.
      I think now that we see how the team actually moves around to protect Steig and now with Gavin, the pattern indicated by climategate is validated: The ‘team’ cannot withstand anything like actual scrutiny. Their tacitcs are coverup and collusion. And their message is so brittle that not even a paraphrase of it can be doe without prior approval. And, once again, where is your impramatur of authority to be demanding anyone do anything?
      The apology will be meaningful when we start getting our >$50 billion back from the alrmist hype community.
      You ready to put something back in the till?

      • Ususal denailist memes – conspiracy based reality. Lies. Half-truths. Blame the victim.

        Prattle as much as you want but in your heart, I’m sure you know that an apology is required. Not that I expect it – that would require you to acnowledge your addiction to climate denial porn.

        In a more general sense it does show that the whole conference was really an attempt to ambush the real scientists, to advance the denialist cause and to, well, enjoy a little denialist group mental masturbation.

        Because Gavin wasnt playing your silly game, your denialist mates had to resort to lies and misinformation. And they were caught in the lie.

        A simple apology is all that is required.

      • Just go and read what Ryan O’Donnell writes about the Steig peer-review gate and his duplicity and lies about Antarctica in RC. Open climateaudit or the air vent to read his responses, because you cant read those comments in the RC heavily moderated discussion threads.

        Btw, using the word ‘denialist’ in every sentence doesnt make you any more credible. It will do the excactly opposite.

      • Using ‘gate’ …ditto. Seriously, you cite climateaudit as a reputable source? Climateaudit…seriously? When you see the problem here, come back and talk.

      • So you didn’t come up with nothing else than attacking the reliability of the source, even when the writer is the paper’s author himself. It can be addressed as a shortcoming of RC for not publishing his comments, not CA.

        If you want to learn the truth on this matter you WILL HAVE TO read what the other side has to say, not only Steig.
        But since you seemingly have absolutely no doubt about the honesty and objectivity of the alarmosphere, you will have no idea what the critics have said, thus you are beyond any reason.
        The only one who is ‘fixed’ here is you.

        I guess your childish comments should be just let without any attention.

      • The troll is a good demonstration of cognitive dissonance in action. I wonder how he/she will do when the wheels finish falling off the alarmist cart?

    • No apologies required. It was right to release the emails. The more we expose these people (the Team) for who they are the sooner this Faith in AGW will collapse and we can get back to spending time and money on real problems in society that have a real impact now, not a speculative threat in 100 years.

      • You really dont have even a basic understanding of the science do you?
        It’s OKto admit that – I wont think any less of you (well I cant really think any less of you).

        It’s OK to say you are informed by right wing bloggers or denial fluffers. It is OK to admit that you mental mind set is one of conspiracy, resentment and marginalisation.

        Wear you wingnuttiness as a badge of honour! Just dont pretend its science. Or that it is relevant.

      • Just replace the ‘denial’ with ‘alarmism’ and your post is already fixed for you.

      • I think you were ‘fixed’ a long time ago…

      • REMINDER OF THE EMAILS

        1) Discussing to manipulate data:
        ‘It would be good to remove at least part of the 1940s blip, but we are still left with “why the blip”. ‘

        http://bit.ly/9fSTsA

        2) Refusing to give data:
        “I would not give them *anything*. I would not respond or even acknowledge receipt of their emails. There is no reason to give them any data, in my opinion, and I think we do so at our own peril!”

        http://bit.ly/bn5Js8

        3) Instructing to delete data:
        “Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise.”

        http://bit.ly/c2pR1p

        4) Skeptical in private:
        “Be awkward if we went through a early 1940s type swing!”

        http://bit.ly/ajuqdN

        5) Questioning IPCC process in private:
        “…the fact is that in doing so the rules of IPCC have been softened to the point that in this way the IPCC is not any more an assessment of published science (which is its proclaimed goal) but production of results”

        http://bit.ly/afSp5h

        6) Discussing to interfere in the peer-review process:
        “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is !”

        http://bit.ly/9Tp7jx

        After being caught with all this wrongdoing, it is shocking they still don’t give up.

      • REMINDER OF THE LIES TOLD ABOUT GAVIN

        There, even I can use caps!

      • The e-mails when seen in the light of recent ‘team’ activities show a consistent pattern of deception and unethical behavior by those pushing the alarmist agenda.
        They are sad examples of noble cause corruption.

      • Their noble cause, based on ignorance, leads to the impoverishment and enslavement of half the world’s people, the poor ones. The Chinese understand the ‘nobility’ of it all.
        =================

      • Yes, we lied about Gavin but……ClimateGate!!!!

        So, if we make a mistake, others made us do it!

      • What was that lie about Gavin again?

  18. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/08/science/08tier.html

    “If a group circles around sacred values, they will evolve into a tribal-moral community.”

    “They’ll embrace science whenever it supports their sacred values, but they’ll ditch it or distort it as soon as it threatens a sacred value.”

    So far, the examples discussed regarding the article all apply to social rather than physical sciences. That’s ripe for change.

    • I think it’s inevitable that when science bumps hard against public policy it will become a rather messy hybrid of both physical and social sciences. This is why I think that blogs such as this can be an important forum in helping to untangle – or at least clearly define – the tribal boundaries in order that some form of greater understanding may be reached…..at some unspecified time in the future.

      Well, it sounded good, anyway.

  19. How would the climate change side like to labeled or addressed?

    I’ve been using “climate change advocates” which is clumsy and inexact but avoids, I hope, being offensive.

    Too much can be made of all this “alarmist” vs “denier” debate of course, but I do think it’s significant if there is to be any meeting of minds — as opposed to propaganda war to frame down one’s opponents derisively.

    • I like believers vs. skeptics.
      As the believers become more and more religious in their zeal, perhaps it could become ‘beleivers vs. atheists’?
      Or fundies vs. heathen?
      Just kidding.
      But believers vs. skeptics seems to be a fair way to do it.

      • I doubt that climate change folks consider themselves “believers” or would consider it a neutral term.

      • But I get the impression their self-chosen title would be something like, “God’s elect”, or “the chosen”, or just “right”, and that would open up more such bad karma on them that I would wish on no one.
        I wonder if they get it all? Since last fall they have been losing ground in the public square, in the world stage, from their peers, yet so many believers battle on so hard with such anger.

      • I find climate change advocates annoying at times in their robust opinions of themselves, but I don’t believe they are so self-serving as to entitle themselves “the chosen” or some such.

        In any event I can ask, and I have done so several times in various places without getting an answer. I am genuinely curious what they would choose.

        I wonder if they get it all?

        I wonder too. It looks to me like their strategy hurts them more than it helps, but they don’t seem to question their approach aside from looking for coaching on how to “frame” their message more effectively and so forth.

      • How about ‘scientists’ vs ‘wankers’?

      • How ’bout “Valiant defenders of the realm opposing AGW Gaia-barf bags and their gulag, brave-new-world fantasies” vs.
        “The can’t-get-a-date zit-poppers”

      • Latimer Alder

        No – that’s too harsh.

        Not all IPCC guys are ‘wankers’.

      • How about Advocates vs, Sceptics?

  20. When your positions is ” slip-sliding away” name calling and denigration becomes the emotional response, primarily when one is feeling “I’m loosing.” And so we have such a situation in Climate Science. No longer is “the” science sufficient. There are several avenues for moving ahead, just reconciliation is not one of them. When one puts all heart and soul into the enterprise, there is disbelief when it is likely that one is mistaken. “If only I push ahead…harder” For those who view the world this way, there is no intermediate position, no compromise. History reveals that such people are eventually left pleading their case before a diminishing audience, rightly so. The way forward is lead by people in humbler clothes, not distinguishable from the other folk. They come, not trumpeting; one hears them initially asking questions, “why, what, when”. Whomever emerges will have a cogent argument, and more and more heads will nod, yes, yes. So the science of climate change will rest on the words of people who can put it “all together”. In a way, this is post normal science. There is just no way to manufacture this scenario in spite of many people trying. Society moves from paradigm to paradigm, slowly, almost democratically, as the evidence is validated by people’s observations and experience. “More snow is because there is more moisture in the air from global warming”. “Mommy, where does all the cold come from?” More moisture from global warming? possibly. More cold? no way. So the trace gas hypothesis will play to a less credulous multitude, rightly so. Has mankind seen this before? many times. This is just another rendition headed for the dustbin of posterity.

    • When your positions is ” slip-sliding away” name calling and denigration becomes the emotional response, primarily when one is feeling “I’m loosing.”

      It’s called “cognitive dissonance”. And it’s in evidence in a LOT of places lately. You might find this interesting –

      http://web.mac.com/sinfonia1/Global_Warming_Politics/A_Hot_Topic_Blog/Entries/2008/8/19_Cognitive_Dissonance.html

      It’s a 2-part post – just follow the bouncing ball at the bottom.

      • That is a great essay.

      • This part is particularly prescient:
        “First, some media may become even more rabid in their presentation of ‘global warming’ disasters, showing yet more drowning polar bears, plunging ice sheets, dangerous mosquitoes, flooded cities, and barren lands. For this to happen, Festinger states that two conditions must be met:

        1.

        (1)The belief must be held with very deep conviction, and it must have relevance to promoted actions, that is, to what the believer does, or how they want people to behave. For the ‘global warming’ cult, and for those in the media who have uncritically adopted editorial positions as champions of the ‘Green’ agenda, this is precisely the case, ranging from changing light bulbs to recycling, from abandoning SUVs to wearing hemp undies, from wind farms to solar panels; and,
        2.

        (2) The person holding the belief must have committed to it. Such is worryingly true of some media that have abandoned their normal critical stance as journalists in favour of preaching. ”

        http://web.mac.com/sinfonia1/Global_Warming_Politics/A_Hot_Topic_Blog/Entries/2008/8/20_More_On_Cognitive_Dissonance.html

        The actions of the RC team, certain recent trolls here, the gang of 18 letter, all serve to illustrate this. Certain blogs run by journalists also illustrate this in a telling fashion.

  21. Since the “debate” is mostly outside of science, involving governments to act to “save the planet” then the only remaining action that can be done to “settle” the debate is to take this to a court of law and have the evidence brought to public, with all the power a court has.

  22. I wish they’d use Climate Heretic — its far more accurate.

    • John –
      Actually, it’s not. The historical meaning (etymology) of the word “heretic” was someone who was once a “believer” but then developed “different” ideas. It was specifically applied to those who taught those ideas in opposition to the “consensus” (dogma). Which might almost make it fit.

      But then, the word “denier” is also a perversion of meaning.

    • I prefer “heretic” – I’d feel much more cool and dangerous as a heretic, a latter day Martin Luther pounding at the door of medieval orthodoxy, laughing in the face of the dread inquisition.

      Then again, perhaps I had a teensie bit too much coffee today.

  23. “Judge Judy”

    Good post. And you are getting some interesting comments. Let me add mine.

    The letter by the “alarmist” camp (i.e. those who support the IPCC premise of potential alarming AGW with largely negative effects) was, in effect, a self-initiated “shot across the bow” of those they attacked as the “deniers”.

    The knee-jerk response was pre-programmed, another “shot across the bow” by those skeptical of the IPCC position, i.e. the “skeptics”.

    No casualities. No ships sunk. Just posturing.

    So it appears at first glance that it was a “victimless war”. But you raise the question of whether “climate science and its credibility” may have been the inadvertent victim.

    The “alarmist” group did move from a scientific advisory capacity to a more active and urgent “call for action”. Is this a shift by this group toward “activism”? If so, it could, indeed, be that climate science, as such, was a victim.

    Congress needs to understand that scientists have concluded, based on a systematic review of all of the evidence, that climate change caused by human activities raises serious risks to our national and economic security and our health both here and around the world. It’s time for Congress to move on to the policy debate.

    Was this a rational recommendation or was it based on “fear”? Also, is this telling Congress “the science is settled” (other thread)?

    The response by the “skeptics” could be interpreted by some as a “call for inaction”, but I sense that it was actually more of a “call for reflection”, a call to re-examine the scientific evidence critically and objectively rather than charging into the policy debate.

    Like the eighteen climate alarmists, we urge you to take a fresh look at climate change. We believe you will find that it is not the horrendous environmental threat they and others have made it out to be, and that they have consistently exaggerated the negative effects of global warming on the U.S. economy, national security, and public health, when such effects may well be small to negligible.

    My conclusion is that the “alarmist” case for urgency is weak. Policy makers (politicians) think in terms of two to ten years (as a maximum). Yet hardly anyone has suggested that climate-related disaster caused by AGW will come upon us in the next ten years or that what we do or do not do today or over the next ten years will have disastrous consequences for the more distant future.

    A (direct or indirect) carbon tax will not change our climate one iota (no tax ever did). Moreover, no specific actionable proposals have been presented as yet (along with cost/benefit analyses), which would make a perceptible change to our climate. Politicians’ commitments to hold global warming to 2C by year 2100 by cutting back CO2 emissions to those in year X are not actionable proposal but simply political posturing. Those few specific proposals that have been made (ex. shut down all coal fired power plants in the USA by 2030) would be extremely costly and result in no perceptible change to global temperature by 2100.

    So it appears clear to me that the sense of urgency to act now (as suggested by the “alarmists”) is fear-based and misplaced and the call for getting the science better defined with a fresh look before rushing into action (as suggested by the “skeptics”) is the more rational approach.

    This could well include making plans for any measures that might become necessary to adapt to any climate changes that will come, if and when they do come.

    So I’d agree with your “verdict” to “score one for the ‘deniers’”.

    Max

  24. > making plans for any measures that might become necessary
    Indeed, some are:

    http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/climate/king-county.aspx

    • I’ve seen that first-hand. King County wants to remove a waterfront road on Vashon Island just for that reason, and re-route the traffic inland.

    • Lordy! It must be the sea air!

      I’d really like a competent statistician to study the interrelation for oceanside governments between the variables [latitude] [east/west coast], and [degree of fruitcakeness in megabozos]. The result would be fascinating.

  25. manacker | February 8, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    “So it appears clear to me that the sense of urgency to act now (as suggested by the “alarmists”) is fear-based and misplaced and the call for getting the science better defined with a fresh look before rushing into action (as suggested by the “skeptics”) is the more rational approach.”

    =========
    I second the motion. Let’s ask the public to vote.

    All those in favor of being taxed to death to achieve nothing, please raise your hands.

    That was easy, can we move along now with the understanding that they will stop scaring our children with ghost stories?

    • I second the motion. Let’s ask the public to vote.

      There’s the rub. Climate change scientists may run the world of their cozy blogs and peer-reviewed journals, but out in the larger world — the only place where effective action to cope with climate change can occur — these scientists will lose that vote hands down, even if they are right.

      Climate scientists and their supporters seem to believe that if they win the debate according to their rules and on their turf, they win period. It may have been true in the past; it may have been true with a smaller problem like CFCs, but it is not true for carbon-driven climate change in 2011.

      I don’t see that turning around unless the climate change side changes its strategy beyond superficial massaging of its message. I think they will have to deal openly with skeptics, but — pace brave Dr. Curry — I see no signs that.

      The most likely outcome is that the stalemate will continue, which nets to a loss for the climate change side, and we will simply wait a decade or so for the climate data to bear out or falsify climate change theory.

      • If you believed the “skeptics” with respect to CFCs, stopping the use of CFCs was going to be an economic and human disaster.

        http://books.google.com/books?id=60GKuDN_RBQC&pg=PA24&lpg=PA24&dq=CFC+spoilage+ban+cost\&source=bl&ots=yEvFI8V1UV&sig=_wkmC0nNTpENpQQImLR79HS-Q1w&hl=en&ei=Bg1STYSOC4et8AbU2p3kCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&sqi=2&ved=0CBMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=CFC%20spoilage%20ban%20cost\&f=false

        “The cost of replacing all existing equipment, world wide, is estimated to be near the five trillion dollars mark by the year 2005. This is a gargantuan sum to be committed at a time when hospitals are shut down for lack of funds. The cost in human life, however, is still higher. The high cost and reduced durability of the new equipment will almost certainly put refrigeration of the reach for countless millions in the poorer nations of the world, especially in tropical regions where refrigeration is needed to prevent the spoilage of already scarce foods. Current estimates based on increased spoilage of food, as refrigeration becomes less and less affordable, suggest that an increase in the death rate from starvation of 20 to 40 million deaths per year will occur, including a rise in food poisoning, and starvation related diseases which is expected to begin shortly after the breakdown of the cold chain has taken effect.”

        It isn’t like we haven’t seen essentially this same debate before. The current situation is a little different because of the internet, but it isn’t completely novel.

      • Luckily, however, duPont had a new refrigerant handy which was of course patented and almost a drop-in replacement for the Freon on which the patent was just about to run out. Interesting coincidence, that.

        In the meantime, of course, observations show that the “ozone hole” over Antarctica oscillates regularly without regard to your air conditioner’s contents, and the whole thing was a tempest in an invisible teapot to start with.

      • Better than that (for Dupont and the appliance manufacturers), the new refrigerant is also corrosive and all those appliances (and refrigerant) have to be replaced much more often. None of which is “environmenally friendly”.

      • “That same year, 20 nations, including most of the major CFC producers, signed the Vienna Convention, which established a framework for negotiating international regulations on ozone-depleting substances.

        But the CFC industry did not give up that easily. As late as 1986, the Alliance for Responsible CFC Policy (an association representing the CFC industry founded by DuPont) was still arguing that the science was too uncertain to justify any action. In 1987, DuPont testified before the US Congress that “we believe that there is no immediate crisis that demands unilateral regulation.”

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

        Nobody ever claimed that there weren’t natural phenomenon that caused variations in the ozone layer, just as nobody ever claims on CO2 drives changes in climate.

      • Peter: Apples and oranges — or, more accurately, pineapples and hand grenades. So some skeptics made some astronomical predictions about CFCs. Their arguments achieved no widespread support.

        However, today everyone knows that phasing out the primary energy sources for the entire planet will be orders of magnitude more difficult and costly than phasing out CFCs.

        The plans to handle CFCs passed with little fanfare. Are you arguing that the same could occur for climate change now?

        I don’t see it this year or next or any time soon, unless the climate goes haywire and bears out the CAGW scenarios.

      • If you think plans to phase of CFCs passed with little fan fare, then you don’t know the history.

      • I was alive back then. Compared to the current foofaraws over cap-and-trade, Kyoto, and Copenhagen, no, CFCs weren’t a big deal. It was only eleven years from the first national (US) report to an effective global agreement to phase out CFCs.

        That was the model that climate change advocates hoped to use for GHGs, but it hasn’t worked out that way, because essentially climate change is a far larger, more controversial problem.

        The equivalence you draw between the two is mistaken.

      • I agree drawing an equivalence between the two is badly flawed.

        There was absolutly no benefits from banning CFCs other than the science at the time.

        The true costs of fossil fuels go well beyond those potentially related to climate change (i.e. the current science).

  26. Judith’s score card is a bit lame – most of focus is on trivia; who started it, what name calling went on.

    How ’bout a bit of substance?

    Point 2 comes close, but 8 vs 2 on NAS membership sees Judith favouring the latter.

    How about the rest of the rebuttal list – all climate scientists?? No.

    Marketing researchers, geographers, retired agricultural reseearchers, and generally lots of retired physicists.

    I guess the blanket term ‘scientists’ was a much better marketing decision than getting into the details. And really, perception manangment was the goal here, so you could argue that Judith was right in her assessment.

    • Michael, your enumeration by NAS number is silly. Are you aware of Michael, the process to be elected to the NAS. There is a regular, very rigorous process by which the vast majority receive membership, and there was the special, less rigorous method that many climate scientists gained membership. Included in this last category was none other than Ralph Cicerone.

      • You’ll have to take that up with Judith, it was her metric.

        And do you include the 2 rebuttal letter NAS members in the less “rigorous” method?

        Go Team Skeptic!

      • No Michael, it is not Judith’s metric. The warmista letter of Jan 28 to the House puts asterisks on their NAS members, presumably to claim authority.

      • Did they write this blog post too?

        “The skeptics have come up with a relatively impressive list of signatories, with 2 NAS members (compared to 6 on the consensus list).”

    • Michael

      Actually I believe that Judith’s (short + sweet) scorecard was pretty good.

      1. The “denier” label, as well as the accusation that “climate change deniers cloak themselves in scientific language” but “should not be given scientific weight equal to the comprehensive, peer-reviewed research presented by the vast majority of climate scientists” without substantiating specifically why this should be so, comes across a bit elitist and presumptuous, in my opinion.

      The “deniers” refer to those “sounding the alarm” as “alarmists” (maybe they should have used the more neutral term,“dangerous AGW supporters or believers”), but they then go on to explain that there is serious scientific evidence refuting the alarmist view, citing specific examples.

      I’d give the “deniers” the nod on this one, as Judith apparently did.

      2. The relative number of NAS members is nice (as an “argument from authority”), but meaningless in actual fact.

      Tie.

      3. “First shot” argument is valid (“aggressor”)

      “Deniers” shot back in knee-jerk defense after having been directly attacked by the “alarmists” (“defender”)

      But, even more important, the “deniers” put themselves in a weak position tactically by this aggressive first shot, for they must have known full well that there would be a well aimed return volley from the other side.

      So I’d give the “deniers” the nod on this one, as well.

      I don’t know whether or not Judith would agree, but I sense that this whole episode started more or less as a desperation move by the “alarmist” group, as they are witnessing the turning of the tide against them.

      And I think it has backfired.

      Max

      • Yes, how terribly ‘elitest’ to think that the published scientific research over several decades from thousands of researches is no more useful and reliable than the incoherent NIPCC ‘report’ and an advocacy website.

        The stench of desperation fills the air – if this was such rolled gold info, why wasn’t this letter sent some other time? Why a week after the letter from climate scientists? Easy – panic.

        And in a week this rubbish was all they could cobble together.

        It’s pure perception management – you can’t ‘cede the field’, so something has to be put out there as quickly as possible to try and maintain the there’s-two-sides-to-the-debate fiction.

      • “….something has to be put out there as quickly as possible to try and maintain the there’s-two-sides-to-the-debate fiction.”

        Yeah – it’s just a fiction. Really, it’s all settled. Isn’t that what Gavin implied recently?

      • Michael,
        Your side is the one in panic mode.
        Krugman’s recent silliness, the letter of 18, Gavin’s meltdown, more and more people admitting that the climategate ‘investigations’ were anything but whitewashes, etc.
        And of course the circular embarrassing claims and flip-flops hot is warming, cool is warming, snow is warming, etc. etc. etc. do not help.
        The protest letter, by the way, had ore NAS members signing it than the letter of 18.
        So whistle past the graveyard of consensus all you want, but you and the the rest of believers are not gaining ground in this.
        You are losing.
        And you are the ones damaging science and its reputation in your hysterical non-rational defense.

      • Here again is the ‘skeptics’ problem write large;

        “You are losing”

        There is no winning or losing when it comes to science – we try to move closer to an accurate understanding of objective reality.

        Even when talking asbout science the ‘skeptics’ have a political appraoch – it’s all about ‘winning’. The rebuttal letter was a perfect exmaple. The scientific content of it was garbage, but that didn’t matter as it was about the political game.

      • Indeed, this is not about science, it is about world domination. We are trying to stop you.

      • Michael,
        Bunk on you.
        When eugenics was pitched as the latest in science,and the demands of the eugenicists were turned into policy and law, there were most assuredly losers.
        Climate science pitching apocalyptic crap as truth is creating losers for sure.
        How bizarre- to claim with apparent seriousness that the major science policy issue of our day- the regulation of our climate by means of CO2 control- is something that can occur without winners and losers is frankly disingenuous of you.

  27. The chief victim is climate science and its credibility.

    Perhaps so, Dr. C, but with all due respect there are other victims in this war.

    There is the entire enlightenment science project, to which we owe our health and prosperity. Recall that “junk science” was already a common term twenty years ago, before the overwhelming concern with climate. Ordinary people had already seen and recognized the hijacking of scientific prestige in the fields of medical and environmental regulation; this climate silliness has only made the recognition much more widespread and the problem much, much more obvious. Another danger to science as such is the harping on “consensus” and authority; this is warping the notion of what science is all about in the minds of the upcoming generation (or two).

    Other victims include the hundreds of thousands of ordinary country people who have seen their countryside and wilderness turned into a sci-fi wasteland with lunatic “renewable” power projects, mostly wind, which are engineering disasters so complete that only politicians and breathless green journalists still believe that they work at all. Millions of acres of wildlife habitat, from Australia to Germany and everywhere in between, have been devastated this way.

    Still other victims include those who will suffer from the increased electrical rates due to this renewable nonsense, particularly in Europe; those who lost everything in the recent Australian floods, because “global warming” activists had convinced the local governments to spend tax money on desalinization plants instead of more flood-control dams; and the Chinese farmers whose land is being covered in toxic waste due to frantic expansion of rare-earth processing facilities to provide materials for the electric-car batteries and neodymium turbine rotors that are currently the fad.

    But the worst victims are the citizens of third world countries where green activists and foreign-aid bureaucrats are preventing local authorities from building power plants to provide cheap, reliable electricity to their impoverished populace, insisting instead on their delusional Rube Goldberg devices for the sake of political correctness. There is nothing “renewable” about the local forest that was stripped generations ago for fuel; the dung that should be renewing the land is instead cooking dinner.

    So yes, it would be terrible if climate science lost its credibility through this whole affair. But a scientist per se can only do a small amount of damage to a society if he’s wrong. If, though, the scientist gets involved with politicians, there is no limit to the damage. And the politician will always make sure that the scientist gets the blame.

    • You are right, Craig, and we will all lose if the public decides that it can’t trust government science.

      • It seems to some of us that the beginning of wisdom is to not trust government science.

      • I would have thought wisdom would require you to firstly look at the science – not that that’s likely here.

      • Gong!
        ====

      • Oliver, I think the point where we lose – indeed have already lost in some specific areas as Craig so powerfully spelt out above – is when government science is no longer worthy of the public’s trust.

      • The Inter GOVERNMENT Panel on Climate Change was formed by GOVERNMENTS to summarize “peer reviewed” papers written and reviewed by people whose projects are all funded by GOVERNMENTS to come up with results that give GOVERNMENTS more economic power and revenue.

        Do you detect a conflict of interest here?

      • Girma

        Good snapshot summary of the IPCC process whereby the politicians provided the impetus and support for the science to provide the scientific justification for the agenda desired by the politicians in the first place.

        No, not a “conspiracy”.

        Yes, a “corrupted process” based on a “collusion of interests”.

        Fortunately, there are a great number of scientists who have not joined in this process (as we are witnessing here).

        Max

    • Well said, Craig. Thank you.

      • Hear, hear. There is a key to reconciliation here, in Craig’s comment that the politicians will always blame the scientists. What I’m hearing from the alarmists is chagrin and protestations of innocence. Now, even though the scientists have become corrupted, it is not they who’ve run the train off the tracks, it is the politicians and the financiers. And yet, is the blame being placed on them yet?
        ===============

      • It is not generally known yet, but the palace of financial expectations about decarbonizing makes the housing crisis look like a hovel.
        =================

      • Fifteen trillion dollars went to Cancun and begged for carbon demonization. There is meaning in that move.
        ==============

      • Kim,

        Your last comments are very tantalizing. Is it possible to elaborate?

      • This has been a perfect storm of science, finance, and politics. It is a three legged stool, and the scientists are bearing all the weight now.

        I doubt this is the elaboration you are looking for. The Fifteen Trillion is documented in the Cancun Saga, but the effect of the financial bubble bursting is conjectural. Actually, I’m afraid to look.
        ======================

    • Craig, you have hit the nail on the head!

    • 200% agreed Craig.
      However you missed a point in your conclusion.
      The politician makes the money (see Al Gore with cape and trade business) and makes sure that the scientist gets the blame !
      Corruption starts when science is getting subjected to a strong political and/or commercial agenda, which is obviously the case of Climate science (with a big AND).

      Respectfully.

    • Craig, well said, but you missed one other group of “victims” – those scientists who never toed the warmist line, and whose careers and reputations suffered unjustly as a consequence. Paraphrasing Gresham, bad science has driven out good science, and bad scientists have driven out good scientists. And a lot of other scientists preferred to avert their eyes, rather than protest, while this was happening. Only with Climategate was the pawl on the ratchet reversed, and the slow, ugly process of repair begun.

      • I agree completely with your sentiment. And I profoundly appreciate what such brilliant and dedicated scientists as Drs. Lindzen and Spencer, Pielke the Elder and Pielke the Younger [my old man was a classicist], Christy, and countless others have endured for the sake of scientific integrity.

        But I have seen vast swaths of countryside utterly destroyed and entire rural communities devastated. The reason the knight fights the dragon is to protect the village. I admire the knights, but the point is the village.

  28. I think I’ve found something we can all agree on

    This is batshit crazy climate alarmism
    (showing up in Google News):

    http://www.google.com/search?q=Magnetic+Polar+Shifts+Causing+Massive+Global+Superstorms

    • Well, I dunno Hank. Global Magnetoshiftabouting has all the elements necessary for another Hollywood “Documentary”. Think of all those fancy magnetic field maps, beautiful 3D renditions of deadly cosmic rays seeping through the unguarded atmosphere, the big map showing the correlation between Nostrodamus, the Mayan calendar and Global Magnetoshiftabouting.

      The solution, so I read at “RM”, is that we all have to wear tinfoil hats and run in concentric circles at least three times a day……oh, and spend lots of money on…stuff.
      ;-)

  29. From MAN-MADE Global Warming Denier

    In science, if recent observation is similar to past observation, we don’t need a new theory to explain the recent observation.

    This applies to “Man-Made Global warming” according to the following observed data from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

    http://bit.ly/eUXTX2

    RECENT OBSERVATION: 0.48 deg C increase in global mean temperature in the 30 years period from 1970 to 2000.

    PAST OBSERVATION: 0.45 deg C increase in global mean temperature in the 30 years period from 1910 to 1940.

    The above result shows that the recent global warming, after human emission of CO2 for 60 years, is nearly identical to the past global warming in both magnitude and duration.

    As a result, the recent global warming is not anomalous and “Man-made global warming” is an invalid scientific problem.

    In addition, there has not been any global warming since 1998 as shown in the following chart, with the average global mean temperature flat at 0.4 deg C for 13 years!

    http://bit.ly/e4Nk93

    In summary, man-made global warming is not supported by the data.

    Girma Orssengo, MASc, PhD

    • I once saw this analysis by a commentator some time ago – I hope I haven’t mangled it too badly.
      Basically when it comes to Alarmists vs. Deniers, it can be summarised as follows. Alarmists fearing a catastrophe caused by warming look at the data hoping for a decline, but secretly rejoice when they see an increase so they can bash the deniers. Deniers fearing a catastrophe cased by Alarmists look at the data and rejoice when they see a decline so they can bash the Alarmists.

      • I think there’s some truth in this, although it’s possibly more true of those new to the nuances of the debate. As somewhat of a climate “heretic”myself I must admit that what I crave more than anything else these days is a return to sanity, a fading away of the Joe Romms and Marc Moranos.

        I watched a podcast today about the steady erosion of antibiotic efficacy due to over prescribing and the subsequent mutation of bacteria into so-called “superbugs”. The next time someone suggests to me that I’m sacrificing my potential grandchildren through my heretical views on climate change mitigation, I might just suggest they have a look at this subject instead.

  30. “It wouldn’t matter if this was a victimless war. The chief victim is climate science and its credibility. ”

    Unfortunately, I feel there is increasing evidence that large areas of science have become sloppy and lost their way. Take this story for example:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8460049.stm

    A couple of years ago, the BBC ran a whole program on this very problem – caused mainly by the reluctance of researchers to spend the money and time to actually test their cell cultures to ensure they contained the correct type of cells. It would seem that lessons were not learned!

    I could give other examples.

    Climategate (and glaciergate!) was an opportunity for climatologists to clean up their subject, but it seems to me that they are more intent of shoveling their dirty secrets under the carpet – with honorable exceptions such as Judith!

    The whole presentation of science seems to be corrupted. For example, given a noisy data set – such as the global temperature data – normal scientific practice would be to attempt to fit a curve to the data – which would obviously show a leveling off over the last decade – but instead, the data is presented like a horse race – “Is 2010 going to be the hottest year ever”, even though everyone must realise that this is just a commentary on experimental noise!

    I don’t see this as a debate between two honestly held scientific viewpoints, but between whistle blowers and a corrupt scientific establishment.

  31. Judith

    I think the reply function has gone awry again.

  32. Karl Popper :
    “We should not only keep alternative theories alive by discussing them, but we should systematically look for new alternatives. And we should be worried whenever there are no alternatives — whenever a dominant theory becomes too exclusive. The danger to progress in science is much increased if the theory in question obtains something like a monopoly.”

  33. Perhaps as steven mosher said, IIRC, it’s too early for reconciliation.

    The Lisbon series here at CE has been interesting but not particularly fruitful. Commenters such as Margaret, Louise, and andrew adams seem to say that skeptics have too much voice. Lisbon was mostly ignored by the mainstream climate change side with Gavin Schmidt being the most notable.

    My earlier question of what the climate change side would like to be called went unanswered again, aside from ianash’s snark.

    My sense is that the climate change side doesn’t think of itself as a side so much as a broad circle enclosing most sensible people, leaving the rest of us s0-called skeptics as a fringe rabble making the important efforts of the center much more difficult.

    I believe they see engaging with skeptics as akin to fighting a tar baby that will only waste energy and get tar all over them. So their main efforts are to dismiss skeptics without appearing too blatant about it since they don’t want to appear dogmatic, i.e. unscientific, in the eyes of undecided citizens. (Hence the whole “science is settled/not settled” brouhaha.)

    If this analysis is correct, then we will see little or no genuine response from the climate change side for reconciliation.

  34. Climate Science, after Climategate and other major fumbles by the AGW clan, will always stay in the pseudo-science corner. More, self inflicted, food fights will worsen this image observed by the hoi polloi.

    Only when the alarmists are starting to actually talk to the sceptists and enter a honest and meaningful discussion (like our honorable host Judge Judy) then Climate Science will return to real science. As long as this is not happening it will be a continuous self-fulfilling prophecy.

    The AGW clan has inflicted huge damage to Climate Science and it will be very, very hard to repair that image. Looking at the terrible sixteen it, once again, shows that there’s no desire by the AGW clan other than circling the wagons and desperately defending it’s territory by all means, including peer review.

    So the solution is: put them all in one room alarmists and sceptics and don;t let them out until a common solution has been found. Saves everyone a lot of energy which can be used for more important business than food fights.

    • Just read a list of climate papers recently accepted for publication by a journal. Included two on OHC, so fiends for the latest and greatest there will have some fun. Climate science didn’t even hiccup over climategate.

  35. Dr Curry

    Isn’t it true that, in science, if recent observation is identical to past observation, we don’t need a new theory to explain the recent observation?

  36. Dr. Curry, regarding your succinct statement that “Well, if this isn’t postnormal science, I don’t know what is.” As one of the skeptical signatories let me say that it isn’t, so you don’t, as it were. Neither of these letters is an instance of science, postnormal or otherwise. This is meta-science, which means arguing about the science, which is very different from doing science. The issue is what the science adds up to, and that is not a scientific question, as no experiment will resolve it.

    • The fact that these two groups are writing letters to congress in an attempt to convince congress of the relative merits of their scientific arguments and the need for action or inaction reflects a postnormal environment to me. Scientific arguments were not made in these letters. It was an expression of opinion, and then an appeal to their own authority.

  37. Postnormal it may be, since the word is made up new, but science it is not. Why call it science?

    • Let me put it another way. Are you claiming that writing an open letter to Congress is part of doing science? If so we need to rethink the scope of the concept of science. Is that your aim?

      • No, I am saying that this is a pointless thing (or worse) for scientists to be doing: scientific debate by letters to congress and appeals to their own authority. And why are they doing this? I’ve put a label of “postnormal environment for science” on this, in keeping with how i’ve used the term on previous threads.

      • Much better, thanks, Dr. Curry. I can live with the concept of a postnormal environment for science. My objection was to the concept of postnormal science, as though science had to change (although I still dislike the term “postnormal” as pretentious). There is no question that science is in an environmental bind here. It has become politicized and that hurts it.

        As to the letters being pointless or worse, it is hard to agree. The first letter was unfortunate, but the second letter (mine) was absolutely necessary, to counter the first letter. Skeptics are playing defense here; it is not our fight. I would much rather be working than fighting, but as political struggles go this is a biggie. You cannot take science out of a scientifically intensive public issue. Would that you could.

      • I agree that given the first letter (which i agree was unfortunate), the second letter was necessitated (which is why I scored this round for the “deniers.”) I agree that you cannot or should not take science out of a scientifically intensive public issue. But science becomes the victim when these kinds of games are played: appeal to your own authority, and call the guys that disagree with you “deniers.”

        Note, i’ve engaged in lengthy e-dialogue with one of the signatories of the first letter, a person for whom i have a great deal of respect. His rationale for signing the letter:

        “I believe it critical for scientists to offer scientific advice to Congress.
        But if for every “offer” there is an opposite “offer” from the “competing” perspective, should I stop writing such letters? That would be conceding defeat on a fundamental need in our democratic society.

        As a result, there HAS to be a way to judge good science versus bad science. Letters, perpectives, scientists are not all “equally” credible.

        And the problem is not “credible people” but “credible science.” If the science they are putting forward is flawed (and for gods sake — look at the “CO2 is not a greenhouse gas claim”), they MUST be challenged.”

        his rationale for using denier: “it is a term actually seriously embraced by the group themselves” (refers to lindzen, etc.)

        So his arguments are not unreasonable, but there has to be a better way to do this.

      • We agree on a lot, which is nice. But if you have a better way than democracy we would all like to hear it. In any case the issue is not good versus bad science, because there is enough of both on both sides. The problem is that both sides have good science. This is why it defaults to the political arena, which is where such decisions are made.

  38. The NAS website on climate change:

    http://americasclimatechoices.org/

  39. Taking the “the cup is half full” approach, science remains on the march and each week, month, year, a little more is added to the store of human knowledge. The issue is also very much in the “political arena” and will likely remain so for sometime as well; thus BIG decisions anytime soon are highly unlikely because sufficient knowledge, money, capability, is not on hand for Joe and Jane Plumber to feel comfortable enough about it all. Meanwhile, life on planet Earth goes on, as ever, and people and children who don’t like each other call one another names –
    “Denier!”
    “Skeptic!”
    “Earth Destroyer!”
    “Idiot!”
    “Western Imperialist Pig!”
    “Commie Pinko Fool!”
    “etc.!”
    “etc.!”

  40. New observations and fresh analyses are turning the tide. Hardly a day passes without reports of fresh scientific evidence that AGW alarmism is nonsense. The World Bank has issued a report discrediting the Stern Report that predicted huge economic losses due to increases in extreme weather events. Yet another study recently published in PNAS suggests that warming of as much as 4 degrees Celsius would, on the whole, be slightly beneficial to Europe. Read more here:

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2011/02/two-new-world-bank-papers-on-climate.html

    and here: http://theresilientearth.com/

    The wheels are falling off the alarmist bandwagon. I believe that this is in large measure due to an accumulating body of evidence incompatible with alarmism. Once that body of evidence grows so large that no dispassionate climate scientist can walk by it with head turned, the prevailing wisdom championed by the Hockey Team will be challenged by those who feel that the potential rewards of disputing a declining paradigm are greater than the career risks involved in doing so. The tide is turning. We are observing a Kuhnian paradigm shift in progress.

    I suspect that reconciliation will not be necessary to save climate science from its alarmist wing. Some other scientific disciplines have had their embarrassing moments as well but, in time, recovered. Think of geologists in the time of Alfred Wegener, medical science during the life of Lister and physicists during the time of Lord Kelvin.

    Over the years to come the whole notion of mitigating climate change will be entirely abandoned by all but a handful of doomsayers. Instead, the issue will be framed as one of adaptation with the strongest arguments made on behalf of robust, no regrets policies. This would be best done in the context of the Copenhagen consensus. Environmentalists will not tolerate that. More trench warfare will inevitably follow. For more on Bjorn Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus go here:

    http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/CCC%20Home%20Page.aspx