Talking past each other?

by Judith Curry

There is a recent article in the NYTimes entitled “Snubbing skeptics threatens to intensify climate war, study says.”  The NYTimes article refers to a study entitled: “Talking Past Each Other: Cultural Framing of Skeptical and Convinced Logics in the Climate Change Debate.”

Talking Past Each Other: Cultural Framing of Skeptical and Convinced Logics in the Climate Change Debate

Andrew J. Hoffman
Stephen M. Ross School of Business
University of Michigan
In press, Organization and Environment

[link to full manuscript]

Abstract

This paper analyzes the extent to which two institutional logics around climate change – the climate change “convinced” and climate change “skeptical” logics – are truly competing or talking past each other in a way that can be described as a logic schism. Drawing on the concept of framing from social movement theory, it uses qualitative field observations from the largest climate deniers conference in the U.S. and a dataset of almost 800 op/eds from major news outlets over a two-year period to examine how convinced and skeptical arguments of opposing logics employ frames and issue categories to make arguments about climate change. This paper finds that the two logics are engaging in different debates on similar issues with the former focusing on solutions while the latter debates the definition of the problem. It concludes that the debate appears to be reaching a level of polarization where one might begin to question whether meaningful dialogue and problem solving has become unavailable to participants. The implications of such a logic schism is a shift from an integrative debate focused onnaddressing interests to a distributive battle over concessionary agreements with each side pursuing its goals by demonizing the other. Avoiding such an outcome requires the activation of, as yet, dormant “broker” frames (technology, religion and national security), the redefinition of existing ones (science, economics, risk, ideology) and the engagement of effective “climate brokers” to deliver them.

Perspective on the problem

Unfortunately, much of our social science research either takes a relatively dismissive attitude toward those who challenge the scientific view that climate change is real – dubbed “climate skeptics” or “climate deniers” – or subscribes to them sinister motives and neglects their beliefs altogether (see McCright and Dunlap (2000) and (2003) for exceptions). This nearly complete neglect and/or dismissal of a challenger climate logic, however, has proven to be a significant oversight on the part of social science researchers in the organizational and policy fields. Within the last three years, the logic that climate change is a problem has faced renewed challenge. As a result, scholars, politicians, activists and business representatives adhering to the dominant logic have recently experienced something akin to “climate whiplash” around the issue.

Hoffman notes a shift in the debate in fall 2009, associated with unauthorized release of the East Anglia emails.

Believers, convinced, skeptical, and deniers

Here is the basis for Hoffman’s categorization:

In this analysis, I am careful to distinguish between the organized “climate denier” movement and the broader “skeptical” population. Whereas the organized denier movement is a collective social movement run by professional advocacy organizations working to discredit climate change like the Heartland Institute and conservative think tanks like the Cato Institute that produce research and white papers, the “skeptical” label is ascribed to a population who are doubtful about climate change or the motivations behind calls for climate action in the broader population. Figure 1 shows a stylized depiction of these populations based on opinion polling data from the Pew Research Center (2009). Climate change deniers and believers occupy the extreme positions in the debate, employing a logic that is fairly closed to debate or engagement. The convinced and skeptical populations occupy a more central position in the debate, actively asking questions and debating the issues. A fifth group of those that are disengaged on climate change might also be found in a position between these groups.

In terms of labeling “deniers” and “believers:”

On the issue of climate change, social movement actors have actively mobilized to influence the form and direction of the broader debate. In the climate “denier” movement, there are groups like the Heartland Institute, Cato Institute, Hoover Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, and others. In the climate “believer” movement, there are groups like the IPCC, the National Academies of Science, the Center for American Progress, the Environmental Defense Fund, and others. The engagement between the opposing movements has had notable influence within specific constituencies that lie between them, within the general public and the social debate over the problems and solutions to climate change.

Lets for now not talk about whether we like the words “believer” and “denier.” They are clearly defined here in a way that is not pejorative.

No surprises on the denier list, but on the believer list the IPCC and National Academies of Science are lumped together with the Center for American Progress!  Well this is a first.   The IPCC as a “believer” activist organization, well that is probably true, despite the IPCC’s charter and stated intention (and despite the fact that many individual scientists participating in the IPCC should not be categorized as believers.)   Listing the National Academies of Science on the “believer” list is really interesting.  Statements by the NAS President, Ralph Cicerone plus the petition of 255 NAS members have presumably contributed to being included on this list; while their statements are ostensibly about scientific integrity, they are arguably activist statements.  This characterization of the IPCC and NAS as “believer” organizations should motivate some self reflection by these institutions.

Methodology and analysis summary

Hoffmann analyzed the following sources of relevance to the public debate on climate change:  newspaper op-eds and letters to the editor, books written on the subject, and talks and interviews at a recent Heartland climate change conference. A comprehensive code key was created that includes frames in the following issue categories: science, risk, technology, economics, religion, political ideology, and national security.  Based upon this source material, they characterized the categories in the following way:

Deniers: Despite these differences within the movement, the majority of presenters invoked three primary issue categories during the conference – science, ideology, and economics – and a predominant emphasis on addressing the nature of the problem through a diagnostic frame.  For the convinced, the dominant categories  are risk and political ideology. The secondary categories of concern are science and religion. For the skeptical, the dominant categories are science and political ideology, and the secondary issue category is risk. (JC note: I didn’t find an analogous analysis of believers.)

The coding results of newspaper articles also show a division between the skeptical and convinced logics with the former devoting a great deal of attention to the diagnostic frames around whether climate change is actually happening as a man-made phenomena, and the latter moving to the prognostic frames of accepting the nature of the problem and attending to solutions.

The skeptical logic is predominantly built upon a diagnostic frame around the issue categories of science and ideology, whereas the convinced logic is predominately built on the prognostic frame around risk and ideology. Within the convinced logic, arguments span the spectrum of all three frames, suggesting continued engagement in a debate with the skeptical logic over the validity of the science.

Well, this would explain why the convinced don’t want to debate the skeptics.  I also find it interesting that the skeptics/deniers are often referred to as anti-science (e.g. Joe Romm and many others), while their motivation in the context of the public debate seems more strongly based on science than the convinced group.  Note, the convinced group only includes people engaging in the public debate (it does not include the vast majority of “silent” scientists).  It seems that a larger fraction of the skeptical scientists are involved in the public debate relative to the convinced scientists (although among the truly silent group, as opposed to say non-activist scientists participating in the IPCC, it is of course difficult to categorize them owing to their silence on the subject).

Both sides talk about risk, but in markedly different ways:

Clearly both logics view climate change as a political issue and engage on the issue by talking about political ideology, politics, and legislation. However, they do not frame the issue of political ideology in the same way. Skeptical authors almost unanimously question the definition of the problem and who is to blame, using a diagnostic frame for political ideology to suggest that climate change is not a real scientific problem but rather a problem of morally questionable political figures. Convinced authors invoked a prognostic frame for political ideology, placing emphasis on what type of federal climate legislation should be passed to do something about a problem that has already been defined. Where convinced articles emphasize the physical, social, and health risks from climate change, skeptical articles focus on the risks to quality of life if climate change is addressed and the positive externalities that will occur due to climate change (e.g. longer growing seasons). Risk is built on two completely contrasting assessments of the threat at hand, one coming from inaction and the other from action.

Whither the dispute?

Hoffman addresses the issues as to whether the climate change debate is approaching the logics schism with no possible resolution, or whether a more integrative form of the dispute can lead to a resolution.

Integrative form of the dispute. Resolution of the debate over climate change would likely require an integrative shift (Raiffa, 1985) in the focus of the discussion away from positions (climate change is or is not happening) and towards the underlying interests and values that are at play (the validity of the scientific process, the risk related to the likelihood and impact of action or inaction, the economic implications of action or non-action, and the myriad ideological issues around personal freedom, the proper role and size of government, and others). While this study shows that the debate is centered presently on the issues of science and risk, it also notes that the activation of, as yet, latent or dormant issue categories of religion, technology and national security and the redefinition of existing issue categories of science, economics, risk, and ideology may create possible “broker” issue categories to resolve differences.  . . Frames and categories can provide a template for the kinds of bridges that are necessary for finding common ground and expanding the solution space to difficult issues.

Similarly, individuals with credibility on both sides of the debate would be necessary to act as “climate brokers” in this realm. People are more likely to feel open to consider evidence when it is accepted or, ideally, presented by a knowledgeable member of their cultural community (Fisher and Shapiro, 2006; Kahan, Jenkins-Smith and Braman, 2010). Conversely, they will dismiss information that is inconsistent with their cultural values when they perceive that it is being advocated by experts whose values they reject. Give that only 35% of Republicans believe there is solid evidence of global warming compared to 75% of Democrats (Pew Research Center, 2009), the most effective broker would best come from the political right. At present, no one is playing this role.

In contrast to the integrative approach, we have the logics schism:

Logics schism. Pielke (2007) describes the extreme of such schisms as “abortion politics,” where the two sides are debating completely different issues and “no amount of scientific information…can reconcile the different values” (Pielke 2007: 42). In such circumstances, two sides are not so much competing as they are talking past one another. In the end, the rigidity of either side of the debate closes down avenues of examination such that resolution of the issue becomes intractable. In a logic schism, a contest emerges in which opposing sides are debating different issues, seeking only information that supports their position and disconfirms their opponents’ arguments (Lord, Ross and Lepper, 1979). Each side views the other with suspicion, even demonizing the other, leading to a strong resistance to any form of engagement, much less negotiation and concession . . . [I]f the debate over climate change regresses into a fully developed logic schism, the solution space for resolving debate collapses and negotiations become a win-lose scenario in which the two sides fight a distributive battle over concessionary agreements with eachside pursuing its goals by demonizing the other (Bazerman and Neale, 1992). With this mindset, joint solutions through cooperative decision-making become virtually impossible (Bazerman and Hoffman, 1999) and the dynamics of interaction become based on power, domination and coercion. In such a scenario, interests and values are no longer the basis of engagement and outcomes are not likely to be optimal.

JC’s concluding remarks

I found this report to be quite thought provoking.  So, how can we encourage the integrative approach?  I view Climate Etc. as a place where the convinced and skeptical can discuss the science, the policy options, and the nature of the debate itself.  Progress perhaps can be made between the skeptics and convinced; the believers and deniers are a much greater challenge.

637 responses to “Talking past each other?

  1. Obviously we should…demonize those that “demonize the other”. Almost by definition, they have nothing to say of any value or interest on any topic. Only thereafter there will be a chance to avoid the route of “power, domination and coercion”.

    • “Why do we talk past each other?”

      One side controls government research funds – the “scientific-technological elite” that Eisenhower warned about in 1961 :

      youtube.com/watch?v=GOLld5PR4ts

      The climate scandal simply confirmed,

      “Power corrupts; Absolute power corrupts absolutely !”

    • Jeffrey Davis

      “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”

      [sound of laughter like a barber shop quartet of horses]

      The absolute power of academic scientists!

      Why if I had that ring, I could rule the world!

      Bwahahahahaha!

    • JD,

      Our perceptions may differ, but the entire structure of government science program, here and elsewhere, will probably be badly damaged for decades if differences are not resolved.

      Instead, we continue digging a deeper hole.

      Congress routinely cuts funds from government programs if the members “smell a rat.”

      How else can Congress respond to the well-established track record of leaders of the national and international scientific communities – the US National Academy of Sciences, the UK Royal Society, the UN IPCC, scientific organizations and editors of prestigious journals like Nature, Science, and PNAS – defending, instead of condemning, the actions revealed by the climate scandal?

    • “defending, instead of condemning, the actions revealed by the climate scandal”

      A lecture by KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov, on the subversion of the USA by the KGB. Years ago he pointed out how and why the enemies of the US were working to achieve this exact situation, in such a fashion that it would go undetected by the populace.

    • Yes, Fred, the collapse of the Western scientific establishment is remarkably like the subversion described by this former KGB agent.

      Can you send the link directly to me so I can forward it to others?

      Oliver K. Manuel
      omatumr@yahoo.com

    • Why Government Science Is Needed

      The earthquake in Japan illustrates the need for reliable government science – instead of government propaganda.

      National Security

      The AP news report [1] about damages to a nuclear reactor from the recent earthquake states:

      “Inside the troubled nuclear power plant, officials knew the risks were high when they decided to vent radioactive steam from a severely overheated reactor vessel. They knew a hydrogen explosion could occur, and it did. The decision still trumped the worst-case alternative total nuclear meltdown.”

      What is the source of this hydrogen?

      After a neutron is expelled from the center of the Sun or a heavy nucleus, like U or Pu, the neutron decays to hydrogen in ~10 minutes.

      Neutron => H+ + e-

      That is the source of hydrogen pouring from the top of the Sun’s atmosphere [2].

      Is it also the source of hydrogen released from the damaged nuclear reactor?

      Since many chemical reactions also produce hydrogen, the natural tendency of consensus scientists – who have accepted that stars are balls of hydrogen – will be to discount hydrogen from neutron decay.

      That is but one recent example of the reason why reliable government science is needed.

      With kind regards,
      Oliver K. Manuel

      [1] http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110312/ap_on_re_as/as_japan_quake_power_plant

      [2] “Neutron Repulsion” [The APEIRON Journal, in press (2011), 19 pages]
      http://arxiv.org/pdf/1102.1499v1

    • Jeffrey Davis

      Congress routinely cuts funds from government programs if the members “smell a rat.”

      I’d be more pliant to your thinking if it weren’t for the barrel of dead rats that you’re salting the ground with.

    • I agree with omnologos.

      It’s funny how snark can kind of instinctively be woven into an argument because it makes the author feel it makes his/her case more persuasive when in actuality it does the opposite. I say this as a person who is often reflexively snarky/sarcastic. This should be common logic but it’s amazing how many commenters in the effort to persuade an opponent, pepper their arguments with insults and expect anything other than futile escalation.

    • I should also note that anybody who disagrees with my comment above is a smelly idiot.

  2. I don’t think you will ever get the two sides to communicate because the initial topic “climate change” is not the initial topic. It was “global warming” at a catastrophic rate. When that changed to climate change, it changed all of the parameters. I can’t think of anybody that does not believe that climate changes. Sometimes “catastrophically”. The “convinced” moved the point. Just my two cents.

  3. As a believer in the scientific method, I would like to ask each group/school “What actual evidence would cause you to reconsider your beliefs?”
    Related: Ask each group “What are some key simple questions that you would like the other side to deal with?” As an example of the last, I’d like to see the “warmers” tell me what they believe caused the warming of the first third of the 20th century and why they know it didn’t cause the similar warming at the end of the century.

    • Alexander Harvey

      Robert,

      Your:

      “What actual evidence would cause you to reconsider your beliefs?”

      Is a self-informative question, and I am not sure which groupings would set themlselves the lower hurdle. I think that the sceptical position may be the most easily swayed by fresh evidence, it is after all the most undecided group if the word sceptical takes the meaning of unpursuaded. The convinced postition seems to have become indifferent to future evidence, so that whatever the climate does will satisfy the convinced position.

      Alex

    • Oxbridge Prat

      I had a very interesting conversation along these lines with Eduardo at Klimazwiebel; see http://klimazwiebel.blogspot.com/2010/10/rob-maris-survey-among-skeptics.html

      We both pretty much committed ourselves to positions (albeit with a large middle ground where we disagreed on what could be deduced) and agreed to reconvene in 2020 to see how our predictions had got on. Roughly speaking his position was that the decadal trend from 2010-2020 would be greater than 0.1K/decade (barring major volcanic disruption etc), while mine was that the trend would be less than 0.5K/decade.

    • RA that was exactly my inculcation into this climate stuff. Since the temp rise in early 20th was about the same as in the latter 20th, CO2 could not necessarily explain all that. Lo and behold our friends had some clever post facto explanations, that makes you go HMMM! That’s when my skepticism started.

    • At 7:45 PM on 11 March, Robert Ayers writes:

      I would like to ask each group/school “What actual evidence would cause you to reconsider your beliefs?”


      And there’s the rub. The moment the verb “to believe” comes in, the scientific method goes out the window.

      In contrast against Dr. Curry’s expressed opinion (above), I don’t find Andrew J. Hoffman’s draft paper “thought provoking” in any sense other than that it reinforces my natural Sicilian tendency to think that I’m dealing – yet again – with another warmist weasel who’s trying to slip a knife into my own personal back.

      Andrew J. Hoffman appears to be trying to shift the discussion away from the question: “Is global warming due to anthropogenic atmospheric carbon dioxide actually happening?”

      …towards the underlying interests and values that are at play (the validity of the scientific process, the risk related to the likelihood and impact of action or inaction, the economic implications of action or non-action, and the myriad ideological issues around personal freedom, the proper role and size of government, and others).


      In other words, Andrew J. Hoffman wants the AGW premise accepted as given, and is trying to steer the discussion away from a massive (and, on its face, preposterous) “not proven” proposition which is susceptible to objective proof, and onto a dicker about how much of the warmists’ collectivist violation of individual human rights can be most slickly shoved between his victims’ ribs.

      Does anybody reading here not take “the validity of the scientific process” as a given?

      Is there any real denial of “the validity of the scientific process” on the “denier” side of the “public debate on climate change”?

      Andrew J. Hoffman and his co-religionists want to frame the debate over putatively anthropogenic climate change away from “the validity of the scientific process” because the position of scientifically literate “deniers” regarding this issue has been – from the beginning, back in the late 1970s – that “the scientific process” has been systematically evaded by the credentialed fraudsters who have been masquerading as climatologists to peddle this bloody boondoggle.

      Andrew J. Hoffman is trying to get me to “believe.” He wants his peculiar notion – that anthropogenic CO2 is having a significant greenhouse gas effect upon the global climate, and therefore extremely expensive steps have to be taken in these United States to reduce our national “carbon footprint” – on the basis of belief, not objective proof presented according to the usages of “the scientific process.”

      Hm. Dr. Curry wouldn’t like me writing in this forum what I really think Andrew J. Hoffman can do with his paper, but the reader here should infer that were Andrew J. Hoffman to act upon my personal best opinion of the action his sentiments warrant, anyone interested in reading his manuscript could require a sigmoidoscope and Andrew J. Hoffman’s assumption of the lateral Sims position.

    • Yes. Excellently put!

    • I’m with you 100%, Tucci. Well said.

    • If you read the footnote at the very end of the paper, seems that Hoffman is “convinced” (not a believer). The way I interpret Hoffman, he is lending legitimacy to the skeptics position and stating that it should not be dismissed. He basically documents that the believers and convinced view science as a rather secondary issue at this point, whereas the skeptics (and even deniers) view science as a primary issue. I think this is rather profound.

    • But he is saying skeptics should not be dismissed from a political perspective, not a scientific one. He can keep his keep his “notice” of our existence and shove it in a dark place for safekeeping. We are not here to have our heads patted or our egos stroked. We want to discuss and debate the science. Until he wants the same thing, he is not worthy of our notice.

    • Profound though this may seem, I think it’s actually in line with expectations if one views it through the lens of social evolutionary structures. See comment…
      http://judithcurry.com/2011/03/11/talking-past-each-other/#comment-55259
      and further comment linked from story-telling angst thread.

    • So, Mr. Hoffmann does not want us sceptics to discuss the science. Rather we should just accept the assertions as is? After all, he is convinced – why should not we accept the “science” and become convinced too? No questions asked – just acccept it and stop being such a sceptic…
      I bet the warmists would love that!

    • No, he is observing that skeptics want to discuss the science, whereas the convinced aren’t so interested in discussing the science. He also finds that the believers and deniers are totally talking past each other. He is suggesting there is some small common ground to discuss the science but that other topics might be fertile for engagement such as national security. He is not dismissing skeptics at all, unlike most convinced/believers.

    • Dr. Curry,
      I mostly agree with your assessment here. It is the “small common ground to discuss science” that I find offensive and dismissive. If he was truly “not dismissing skeptics.” then he would tell the believers they need to man up and start discussing and debating the issues. When two groups are talking past one another, you are not going to progress the discussion until you actually address the issue at hand… which is the science.

    • I agree the believers/convinced should “man up” and discuss the science. The problem is that the convinced and particularly the believers don’t think the main issue is the science. They think the IPCC is the final word on the science.

    • Dr. Curry,
      I hope you were not offended by my use of the term “man up.” Your willingness to discuss the science has been exemplary, even if you do sometimes get sidetracked by meaningless articles on occasion like the one by Hoffman. I respect you a great deal. Is there another term I should have used?

    • I think that Kuhn’s concept of normal science responds nicely to the problem of talking past each other. Once a paradigm has been developed, to progress, i.e. to solve problems and puzzles, the paradigm is no longer to be questioned, because if it is, the researcher community spend all their time doing something that adds no value to normal science – i.e. it doesn’t help us in solving puzzles, which is the point of normal science.
      I think a big issues of why we might talk past each other is this – if one group feels that climate science is developed and its scientists are doing normal science and the other groups feels that we are in the process of paradigm development, then the questions being asked will be different, the methods will be different, and the assumptions and evidence being employed will be different.
      The important point (for Kuhn and for me) is that science is NOT generally about looking for anomalies but of using a paradigm to answer questions. BUT, it all depends on what stage climate science has reached. Talk of “the scientific method” by some posting here is rather strange when considered in terms of the actual (and multiple) methods that science employs.

      http://mitigatingapathy.blogspot.com/

    • Concur.

      Policy is almost never formed based on a single persuasive argument.

      I suspect if we sat skeptics in one corner and climate believers in another corner and asked them both to come up with workable plans for the energy infrastructure of 2030 and beyond the plans would have many common features.

      The skeptics plans would be centered around planned generating capacity retirements and the believers plan would be centered around some exact CO2 number as if there is a difference between 450 PPM and 453 PPM.

    • andrew adams

      No, he is observing that skeptics want to discuss the science whereas the convinced aren’t so interested in discussing the science.

      I’ll remember that next time you have the 1000 comment thread about climategate.

      I mean really, I’ll do you the favour of assuming you are merely reporting Hoffmann’s observation and not endorsing it but it really is the most complete and utter horseshit.

    • andrew adams

      No, he is observing that skeptics want to discuss the science, whereas the convinced aren’t so interested in discussing the science.

      Hmm, seems my previous response to this was deleted, presumably because of my rather colourful description of the sheer idiocy of this statement. Well fair enough but it is still comlpete and utter garbage.

      Now, how about another 1000+ comment discussion on climategate?

    • andrew adams

      Oh, now my other comment’s appeared.

      Oh well, feel free to delete it anyway.

    • GeorgeGR: I think you have interpreted this wrongly, and I agree with Judith Curry’s response. But in way this is hardly a revelation; sceptics have been pointing out for years that it is *they* who argue most strongly on the basis on the science. What is useful is that Hoffman adds some ‘official weight’ to this position, which previously was justified more or less by gut feel. However, the really interesting question is not, (as has been suspected for years) that this is happening, but WHY…
      As always, an answer to ‘why’ is a prelude to fixes.

    • Why you ask? Mostly because the truly skeptical have reached that opinion from knowing enough of the over lapping composite base of knowledge needed to understand the whole non problem, enough to reject the CAGW answer as wrong. This is why they keep asking for further definition of the science to answer the questions they have from personal knowledge that “The team” still does not understand, or even want to talk about.

      Which explains why most skeptics fall out of the convinced group when they start to look at the data and hypothesis, and see the spin and twisting of the tortured data base the activists have “lost” in order to not torpedo their own ship.

      The real answer will astound the convinced as much as both ends of the political corrupt debate. It is all Natural drivers external to the earth’s surface, humans have not the slightest chance of altering the climate even if they wanted to.

    • Richard Holle: “Why you ask? Mostly because the truly skeptical have reached that opinion from knowing enough of the over lapping composite base of knowledge needed to understand the whole non problem, enough to reject the CAGW answer as wrong. This is why they keep asking for further definition of the science to answer the questions they have from personal knowledge that “The team” still does not understand, or even want to talk about.”

      Well although for “wrong” I would substitute “unproven and even if a problem almost certainly not catastrpohic”, I don’t really disagree with the above. But I meant ‘why’ in a deeper sense. Despite a couple of bad apples, most people rooting for the ‘consensus’ will be honestly motivated, many indeed passionate, and although passion can override objective logic sometimes, no doubt the vast majority are hard-working guys and gals with high integrity. So what I meant was: what fundamental process is in train which explains *why* otherwise ‘good’ people act this way. Well there *are* fundamental processes that may explain this kind of effect; the characteristics are in line with what one would expect to see. Follow this http://judithcurry.com/2011/03/06/climate-story-telling-angst/#comment-53804 (and also the paper referenced by Dixie Pooh in reply). Unfortunately this is a nascent area itself, so only very general insight can be gained, a mathematical trajectory of such phenomena is still in dreamland. But the insights are still very useful; if a *social* phenomena like this is to be combatted, it must first be understood. It is primarily a social phenomena not a scientific one, because the science hasn’t gotten to the point where either end of the scale or anything inbetween can be *definitively* ruled out yet, and wherever the science eventually converges to, almost anywhere on the scale is still up for grabs.

    • David Bailey

      I’d be far more inclined to believe the ‘warmists’ if they had acted on evidence of bad science – in the same way as the science community has with other researchers that cheated.

      The fact that they chose to run this as a dishonest debate, is enormously telling.

    • Exactly.

      And with the silence of the scientists – climate or natural generally -we get the clamour of social scientists, who are now not ‘believers’, but just ‘convinced’, and who desire to shame the ‘unconvinced’ (slightly reminiscent of ‘unwashed’ …) into either keeping their mouths shut or get convinced a.s.a.p. so they can be allowed to join the human race.

    • Climate science is in a unique situation in that there are a baying gang of deniers ready to spin events or jump on any error made however trivial and insignificant.

      The “bad science” you refer to is precisely the spin the deniers have put on events. There is nothing remotely akin to cheating.

      What we have instead is various errors, some completely irrelevant, which deniers have chosen to exaggerate, either through incompetence or malice. While other fields can just enjoy getting on with it, climate scientists have to consider what the deniers will do.

      For example the Y2K GISTEMP error. Completely irrelevant effect that had on the science as the error and fix was so small, yet deniers span it to imply it was some kind of big deal and some kind of fraud. Added it to the bank of “bad science” they imagine is going on.

    • Errors I don’t mind. Abject lies I mind a lot.

    • Nullius in Verba

      The problem with the Y2K error wasn’t the size of the error. It was:
      1. Nobody had spotted the problem – for several years.
      2. Nobody could have spotted the problem, because the scientists who published it weren’t checking their own work, and they refused to publish the method so that other people could check.
      3. We didn’t know what *else* might be wrong, because nobody is checking it and nobody outside the select circle of believers can see how it is calculated. We couldn’t be sure there weren’t a catalogue of other errors.
      4. It wasn’t the first error they’d found.

      I usually compare this sort of thing to someone being asked to calculate 26/65 and them cancelling 6′s top and bottom to get 2/5. “What’s wrong with that?” you may ask. The error “doesn’t matter”, so why would you be at all concerned if this ‘novel’ arithmetical method was used in a scientific paper?

      But having spotted it, it’s surely perfectly reasonable to keep it under wraps as those pesky sceptics would probably make a fuss – you might pass it on to trusted colleagues for their own personal use, maybe, but you would warn them not to pass it on to anyone else. This is the sort of “dirty laundry” one doesn’t want to fall into the hands of those who might potentially try to distort things…
      That’s not ‘cheating’, right? That’s the way good science is supposed to be done, yes?

    • You lost it at ‘deniers’.
      Best wishes and come again real soon now, ya hear?

    • Good question. Personally if the ‘other side’ could address the following i’d re-evaluate my position:

      -Quantify the effect of clouds on climate (including GCR interaction).
      -Qualify natural variation (to a reasonable degeree- sufficient to ‘model’ accuratley).
      - Demonstrate, reproducably, that the models ‘they’ rely so heavily upon are validated, fully tested and reproducable in their results (with full access to code).
      - Demonstrate a high climate sensitivity based off reproducable REAL-WORLD results and data. I.E. NOT models.

      Get some/most of those and i’ll be far more convinced of the theory.

      As for a key simple question- it’s similar to yours; how can you eliminate natural variation in the cliamte given the historical records and the lack of knowledge re:natural driving factors?

    • To solve a problem you first need to define it, the better you define the problem the more obvious the solution becomes. The known long period terms in the natural variability, are orbital dynamics due to the travels of the solar system through the galaxy, up and down on the galactic plane, and passing through spiral arms that affect the orbital paths of the planets.

      The shorter periods are the result of the modulation of the outer planets synod interactions affecting the movement of the center of mass of the sun around the SS barycenter. Affecting both the SSN and CME solar wind output, as the inner planets have a harmonic synchronization period (17.95 years)1/10 of the outer planet harmonic resonance period of 179.5 years. The records available to the general public do not go back 180 years of daily recorded values with good station coverage.

      I have found a pattern of 6558 days (17.95 years) of the weather related effects of the inner planet harmonics, that repeat better (for the entire near 18 year period) than the standard 5 to 10 day forecast works. IF raw actual data records could be freed up to the public, then the whole 179.5 year period, of the outer planet return pattern could be demodulated from the composite “back ground noise” as well, which I think would define most of the rest of the compounding of the two over arching patterns.

      The composite signal once demodulated should not only predict the climate swings for the next couple 179.5 year long periods, but comparisons to the past periods of ice age onset should give predictive methods to find plausible values….
      Richard Holle

    • Interesting.

  4. Robrt –
    The standard answer is that the early 20thC warming was caused by solar activity and a low level of volcanism. The late 20thC warming supposedly could not have occurred the same way.

    Unfortunately, from my POV, that explanation doesn’t fit the physical facts – in spite of several peer reviewed papers purporting to support it.

    IOW, nobody has yet answered your question.

  5. John Carpenter

    I find it disturbing the authors placed the IPCC in the “believer” category. As Dr. Curry observed, many of the scientists who contribute to the IPCC would not be placed in this category. I would have expected organizations such as the Sierra Club, The WWF, Greenpeace, and the Union of Concerned Scientists to be mentioned among this group, but The IPCC should not if it is to have any credibility. The extremes of any ideological debate seldom find common ground and often are tuned out, as in the debate over climate change or AGW. But to have, what is supposed to be, the leading authority ranked among the extreme does not bode well for finding common ground. In what way does the IPCC have to change in order to shift it toward the center more?

    • The IPCC reports are clearly advocacy documents.

    • John Carpenter

      I agree. The problem is, it is not viewed as such by the EPA who will use IPCC assessment reports as the scientific basis for implementing regulation. How do we change that?

    • EPA’s use of the IPCC reports, as opposed to doing its own assessment, is presently before the Court. I am hopeful that the endangerment finding will be remanded. In the meantime Congress is working to regain control of this issue, where it belongs. There is an obscure law that allows Congress to veto new regulations with a simple majority vote, so I am cautiously optimistic.

    • Disagree. The EPA clearly understands that the IPCC reports are advocacy. That’s why the EPA uses them (feature not a bug). The EPA is a believer organization, too.

    • I would have expected organizations such as the Sierra Club, The WWF, Greenpeace, and the Union of Concerned Scientists to be mentioned among this group, but The IPCC should not if it is to have any credibility.

      It’s interesting that the IPCC reports mix scientific literature with the more questionable gray literature from some of these organizations. Some of that same gray literature has been the source of disputes and outright erroneous claims. I have to wonder how much this mixture contributes to the perception of some that criticism of the IPCC as an “attack on science”.

  6. This paper makes an important distinction between four very different groups. Both “deniers” and “believers” hold a firm position, and defend it tenaciously. No one in either group is likely to change his mind. The “convinced” and “skeptics” seem more nuanced, many continuing to seek better information and open to reasoned debate. Here there is hope for the future.

    • John Carpenter

      Not if the IPCC is ranked among the “believers”.

    • The IPCC can absolutely 100% be classed as a ‘believer’ organisation. It’s opening charter (since removed) stated it was setting out to find evidence of man’s impact on climate via co2- not evaluate it- but to find evidence for a pre-concieved position. This is advocacy.

      However this is absolutely not the same as saying all scientist within are ‘believers’. It is very rare that an organisation represents All (or many) of it’s members. Despite the dross i’m sure there are some good scientists in there.

    • Jack: I think the issue is significantly polarized at this point, so this supposedly open minded middle ground that you are hopeful of is sparsely populated. The distribution is not bell shaped.

  7. “In what way does the IPCC have to change in order to shift it toward the center more?”

    Have an omnivore head the IPCC. The IPCC has confused science with religion. Intolerance at the top breeds intolerance throughout.

  8. Excerpt from the first paragraph of the abstract:
    …..”Drawing on the concept of framing from social movement theory, it uses qualitative field observations from the largest climate deniers conference in the U.S.”…
    ========
    Use of the term “climate deniers”, ends any hope of objectivity, and raises questions about the authors grasp of the subject.

    • Agreed – it is impossible to find a reliable definition of “climate denier”. This is because the term is a deliberately concocted PR insult, designed to stigmatise as a moral and intellectual degenerate anyone who asks informed questions

      The MSM happily propagate this and remain uncorrected by any authoritative (to the MSM) source. I’ve noted before how utterly shameful this persistent practice is. It is the core source of a great deal of ongoing irritation

    • Yes, “warmists,” and “elitists,” that are perpetrating a “hoax,” to further their “socialistic” goals of a “one-world government,” along with “enviro-nazis” are deliberately concocting PR insults designed to stigmatize anyone that disagrees with them as intellectual degenerates.

      Too funny.

    • Define “climate denier”

      Too funny

    • Dr. Curry,
      “Availability Cascades”

    • Yes!

      JC: “I also find it interesting that the skeptics/deniers are often referred to as anti-science (e.g. Joe Romm and many others), while their motivation in the context of the public debate seems more strongly based on science than the convinced group.”

      This is an expectation. The convinced group form the core of a macro-evolutionary social entity whose continued evolution (and hence survival) depends on being significantly distanced from hard facts (the science). This has nothing to do with their motivations or integrity as individuals; I’m sure the overwhelming majority are nobly motivated and have high integrity too.

      http://judithcurry.com/2011/03/06/climate-story-telling-angst/#comment-53804

    • >Use of the term “climate deniers”, ends any hope of objectivity, and raises questions about the authors grasp of the subject.

      Exactly.

  9. Well, this would explain why the convinced don’t want to debate the skeptics. I also find it interesting that the skeptics/deniers are often referred to as anti-science (e.g. Joe Romm and many others), while their motivation in the context of the public debate seems more strongly based on science than the convinced group.

    “The convinced” don’t want to debate the skeptics? Rather a broad statement there – possibly reflective of bias?

    “Their motivation….seems more strongly based on science …” Another broad statement – again possibly reflective of bias?

    So most of the “skeptics” at this very site are more willing to debate and more scientifically oriented than the “convinced” at this site? Really?

    The “skeptics” at WUWT are less political, more scientific, and more willing to debate than the “convinced” at Real Climate?

    • Yes on the last one. No bore holes at WUWT

    • The “believers” not debating science is in line with the recommendations of the public relations firm Futera. The “Rules of the Game” (http://www.futerra.co.uk/downloads/RulesOfTheGame.pdf) were apparently found in the release of the Climategate files, although the link is to a Futera site. Futera recommended the following policy:
      “To help address the chaotic nature of the climate change discourse in the UK today, interested agencies now need to treat the argument as having been won, at least for popular communications. This means simply behaving as if climate change exists and is real, and that individual actions are effective. The ‘facts’ need to be treated as being so taken-for-granted that they need not be spoken. “

  10. Use of the term “climate deniers”, ends any hope of objectivity, and raises questions about the authors grasp of the subject.

    As opposed to the use of “elitists,” “warmists” “socialists,” “enviro-nazis,” of course.

    • I see the point Joshua, but be objective is “believer” = “denier” on an adhominem level balance?? It is the Times of course, I didn’t expect more from them.

      There is alot of name calling but really side took it to this level? You dissent and you are “anti-science” compared to a holocaust “denier”??

      It’s also who owns many of the tools in the media, you might choose to whine about “Faux News” yourself but there is only one of those. Imagine living in the world of a skeptic where the mass of media is left-wing (NYTimes, BBC, Wash Post, NPR, Every major network in the U.S. etc.) pouring the agw agenda down your throats. Not to mention what our children are subjected to at many education levels to agw political propaganda largely from those with limited science skills.

    • “Believer” implies not scientifically-based. Mass media includes Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, etc. Every day we can see people who feel they represent the science in the debate classify vast numbers of working scientists as participating in a “hoax” to hide their socialistic intent under a cloak of distorted science.

      Dialog will only occur when people on both sides openly examine their own potential for bias and advocacy.

    • Once it esculates, it’s hard to stop to be sure. I don’t see how the pro-agw and co2 targeting can be separated from a largely leftist orthodox political culture. If man can’t be blamed it would be hard to rationalize co2 reduction through taxes and regulation.

      The people you sight are of an op-ed nature. The hyperbole of the msm has followed the party line, it’s settled, mmco2 increases temps and must be regulated and taxed on a global scale.

      It isn’t settled.

    • Hannity and O’Reilly are Fox. Easy to find with a known audience base. Do you even know how to find Limbaugh? Do you (HAVE you) ever listened to him?

      They have nowhere near the audience that the MSM (NYTimes, BBC, Wash Post, LATimes, NPR, every major network, magazine and newspaper in the U.S. etc.) has. Not to mention nearly the entire educational system. Your comparison is biased and ignorant.

      When are you going to openly examine your own potential for bias and advocacy.

      Becausse it sticks out all over you.

    • What’s hilarious, Jim, is that you live in such an ideology-blinded fantasy that you think that I wouldn’t even know how to listen to Limbaugh, let that yo’d believe that I don’t ever listen to him.

      The entire mindset that you bring to the debate is biased, based on delusions of some cartoon version liberal demon. And thus, as so amply proven in your last post, you draw incorrect conclusions based on reasoning completely devoid of facts.

      As for your view of the media: from my political ideology, the media sources you list are very much in the center. You might see them as “liberal,” but that’s because of your political ideology.

      The full spectrum goes from the left (say The Nation) to the middle (the media outlets you list) to the right (like Fox). Fox has far more influence on the overall media balance than something like The Nation on the left.

      And I love the reference to “the entire educational system.”

      Conspiracy theory much?

      What’s very curious is how Judith reads comments from folks like you on her blog constantly, comments from people actively engaged in debating the science who make it plainly clear that they are influenced in their view of the science by a rightwing political orientation, and yet seems to believe that there is some vast imbalance in the political influence on the debate.

      I am more than willing, always, to examine how my political orientation influences my reasoning. To do otherwise would be foolish.

    • “yet seems to believe that there is some vast imbalance in the political influence on the debate. ”

      There is Josh, the dissent is on the outside and liberal orthodox are the IPCC insiders linked to the U.N. wealth redistribution agenda. The fake cherry picked or distorted polls about the “consensus” and the rapid slight of hand that believing agw exists and represents a broad endorsement of co2 regulation of the Kyoto kind.

      Why do you think Dr. Curry is attacked and savaged for leaving this orthodox politcal culture??

    • cwon –

      I don’t buy any such monolithic characterizations on either side of the fence, cwon. There are plenty of the “convinced,” many expert scientists among them, who are not motivated by a “wealth redistribution agenda.”

      On this very blog you can find “convinced” who do not attack and savage Dr. Curry.

      While obviously not as ideologically driven, you seem to be falling into a similar fallacious conceptualization as my friend Jim. Meaningful dialog will not occur as long as people (on either side) are confined by cartoonish characterizations of those with whom they disagree.

    • What’s hilarious, Jim, is that you live in such an ideology-blinded fantasy that you think that I wouldn’t even know how to listen to Limbaugh, let that yo’d believe that I don’t ever listen to him.

      Hit a nerve, did we?

      What’s hilarious, Joshua, is that I didn’t draw any conclusions. I only asked questions – that you failed to answer.

      Nor do I need any delusions of some cartoon version liberal demon. I’ve lived, worked, argued and played with liberals of all stripes ever since I left the Marine Corps nearly 50 years ago. I have fewer illusions about them (and you) than you do.

      The media? If you believe that the MSM (NYTimes, BBC, Wash Post, LATimes, NPR, every major network, magazine and newspaper in the U.S) are the middle of the spectrum, then you’ve placed yourself exactly where I thought you to be.

      And I love the reference to “the entire educational system.”

      Conspiracy theory much?

      Don’t need to. I’ve read the textbooks that are used in the public schools. I’ve talked to the teachers, seen the lesson plans, sat in on classes. Pure left wing. If you haven’t read them, then you’ve missed an education in left wing politics. Do you really believe that Gore’s movie was appropriate teaching material for EVERY level fo the educational system? Or for that matter, for ANY level?

      Judith reads comments from folks like you on her blog constantly, comments from people actively engaged in debating the science who make it plainly clear that they are influenced in their view of the science by a rightwing political orientation,

      And that, my friend, is pure ignorance on your part. You really need to learn SunTzu’s dictum – Know your enemy. You’ve plainly failed to do that. Nor am I going to educate you.

      seems to believe that there is some vast imbalance in the political influence on the debate.

      To use your own words – “you live in such an ideology-blinded fantasy ” that you lack any objectivity.

      I am more than willing, always, to examine how my political orientation influences my reasoning.

      I doubt that. You’ve shown no inclination to do so since you’ve been here.

      To do otherwise would be foolish.

      Yes, it is. And yet, when questioned or challenged, you get defensive, not introspective. Do you have enough intellectual honesty to see the “tone” of your reply?

      I’ll repeat – Your comparison is biased and ignorant. When are you going to openly examine your own potential for bias and advocacy?

    • What’s hilarious, Joshua, is that I didn’t draw any conclusions. I only asked questions – that you failed to answer.

      Right, Jim. And when did you stop beating your wife?

      Too funny.

    • As I said, Joshua – tone. It tells volumes about the writer.

    • PUHHLEEZE — do notpurport to be balanced if your examples reek of one-sidedness

    • You will notice that Joshua hasn’t yet defined “climate denier”

      That won’t happen … and I’ve never used any of the pejorative terms he’s trotted out, quite pointless, so accusing me is typical straw man stuff from a propagandist

      Such is the level of “debate”. Ho hum

    • I never said that you used any of those pejorative terms, ian – I was only noting how your description, which applies to both sides, was not reflective of both sides of the issue. You spoke about the pejorative terms used in the debate, and managed to leave out a number of which are ubiquitous.

      The point I was making is that anyone who thinks that the pejorative terms are limited to one side of the other is clearly not approaching the debate with an open mind.

    • J, the science is kaput, the politics is suspect, only the money keeps your hot air balloon aloft, for how long, even kim doesn’t know.
      ===================

  11. “(the validity of the scientific process, the risk related to the likelihood and impact of action or inaction, the economic implications of action or non-action, and the myriad ideological issues around personal freedom, the proper role and size of government, and others)” One right in the middle, pragmatic action, was missed which that I think is important. There is more responsible action that can be taken with only a minimal amount of compromise required. If a more complete agreement is not likely, you look to smaller compromises.

    The divide of 35% to 75% highlights a major issue which is best described as the “Di-hydrogen Monoxide Syndrome”. You can’t reason your way around irrational beliefs or fears of the congregation, only the preacher can convince his flock, if they can be convinced.

    • John Carpenter

      Pragmatic action could be taken if common ground action items were identified. Let me suggest that common ground items are:

      We will need abundant, reliable, inexpensive and efficient energy now and in the future.
      We should focus resources on proven technologies, like nuclear, that can deliver our needs.
      We should implement energy efficiency measures whenever practical opportunities arise.
      We should be energy independent as much as possible (I’m speaking as a US citizen here, but could be applied to any country) as this improves national security.

      I’m sure there are many more, but tell me if I am wrong about these. Pragmatic actions are certainly the most desirable way to go.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      I’d go with the first, third and fourth. On the second I’d say:

      We should focus resources on proven technologies, like fossil fuels and nuclear energy, that can deliver our needs.

      Given that, I’d say your “common ground” may not be all that common.

      w.

    • Willis- why focus on the use of an energy source that will ultimately be depleted? Use it as it is economically justified, but why encourage accelerating the use?

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Because fossil energy is available now, and people desperate need energy and die daily for the lack of energy. That’s enough for me.

    • Willis,

      Economic reality is a foreign concept to the warm and fuzzies. The Harry Potter School of Economics must have opened in the 1930′s. So you have to explain things more metaphysically and meta-economically. How many economists are left wing radicals?

    • to move from an oil ecomomy to a largely electric economy will require the use of all the FF we can get our hands on.

    • Rob,
      Since when is hundreds of years ‘eventually’?

    • You hit the nail on the head John. Another is a reasonable phase down of fossil fuels. That has to be a 20 to 30 year process to acclimate people who’s livelihoods depend on the work and match alternates as they come online.

    • Oh, and phase down is not a complete phase out. Oil, coal and natural gas are needed for a lot more than just cars, cooking and electricity.

    • John Carpenter

      I did not mean to imply fossil fuel options should be off the table, both you and Willis are correct including these. Not to come across as a weenie, but I was trying to suggest using a compromise energy producing technology that does not emit CO2, in order to reach across the isle, so to speak.

    • In a generalsenseI would agree, but have trouble giving in to a lab experiment gon global.

    • DeeBee, See it is not giving in to AGW, it’s the fight for energy independence! TADA! Different wrappers but the same ingredients. Who said the enemy of my enemy is my friend? Done right we can keep the UN out of it and lead the way.

    • John Carpernter,
      Where do you get “energy producing technology that does not emit CO2, in order to reach across the isle, so to speak.” ?
      Do you get it at Home Depot, or Technology R Us?
      And you imply that getting this technology is jsut a nice compromise, a reach out.
      Do you think that people who
      1- doubt AGW and
      2- point out that fossil fuels work really well
      do so because we love emitting CO2 or because we hate new technology?

  12. The True Believers will never change their views, and verbally violently (insults, accusations of lying, blanket derogatory claims, such as at http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/, and Desmogblog) defend the faith. No amount of evidence is able to make these people consider rethinking their position. From what I have seen this violent/bigoted behaviour exists only from the true believer side. It’s like questioning or challenging their faith is a personal attack against them. It’s a behaviour I have seen on the political far-left as well, which many of the True Believers co-occupy. Thus from this perspective, the AGW “debate” is not about the science, but a political worldview battle. That will never stop.

    AGW has just given these people a rally point: “see humans are evil creatures after all destroying the planet.” Yet these people won’t take the logical first step, if we are all so destructive, by removing their own contribution to that destruction.

  13. ian (not the ash)

    I believe Jack Maloney is correct in stating that the “convinced” and “skeptics” may be open to reasoned debate, unfortunately it seems that on Climate Etc. a select number of feuding “deniers” and “believers” will often dominate thread space. While I believe that Judith’s intentions for this site are laudible, I feel that interesting and important subjects are often hijacked by those who seemingly refuse to acknowledge the role their particular ideology plays in determining their positions, often resulting in rancor, clique behaviour and ideological rants that only further to polarise the debate.

    Thomas Kelly’s “Disagreement, Dogmatism, and Belief Polarisation”, featured on this site recently, should be an apt reminder of our perpensity toward a dogmatic defense of an initial belief even in the face of contrary evidence. As I must keep reminding myself daily, by far the easiest person to fool is myself (and I do it a hell of a lot).

  14. ian (not the ash)

    Hmmm, Judith, I think my post may have gone straight to spam.

  15. As with so many political disputes the sides can’t come together when you reach such a core point of “belief”. AGW was required to tax and regulate co2, the science came after the fact and the consensus of the IPCC was committed almost from inception to proving AGW and linking co2 as an obvious rainmaking (pardon the pun). Building on a natural socialist/eco-regulate enclave found in elite university research it hasn’t been too much trouble to steer and support a like minded core of climate science. Most of the extreme characters such as Al Gore, Joe Romm, Real Climate, Michael Mann, Hansen, Phil Jones and many linked to IPCC wealth redistribution agenda’s all can link in eco-extreme anti-carbon agenda’s (fight big oil etc. etc.). It isn’t just about money or politics but there are huge incentives as this article pointed out today regardless of how flawed the stats might be;

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/261776/all-aboard-climate-gravy-train-iain-murray

    It’s an over simplification to think that it’s driven by an agenda science community but it can’t be discounted to near zero either. People who gravitate toward a subset of environmental studies, regardless of grant agendas are more likely to be sympathic toward would-be eco-agenda themes. Why political cultures form many groups and I know there are many individual exceptions in any group or profession but we have to be honest and politically objective which is hard when in fact will be taken as an accusation or “conspiracy theory” by detractors. Try to point out that NPR or PBS are left of center news organizations (which is perhaps more obvious than academics), follow the ranting on discussion boards that will largely again split on party lines. Yes, talking past each other but are there really serious people who could say NPR/PBS are not left of center in bias? How do you continue a conversation with that level of dishonesty? Of course the IPCC/U.N. culture joins an active anti-carbon, pro-regulate, eco-idealistic green subset. Are saying this hasn’t impacted what many in science say or admit?

    As for the burning bridge tactics? The standard now (for a considerable time)is to call those who dissent anti-science, ignorant and compare them to holocaust “deniers”. It isn’t hard to look past such a partisan core of hateful advocates. Again, this isn’t an isolated pattern of debate, visit any yahoo or Huffington discussion board on any number of topics and you can find many similar cultural debating styles that rhyme with climate topics. It’s often summed up by conservative groups as “liberal arrogance”.

    I don’t know if it is a function of aging or the many internet mediums and the evolving media but the general vitriol and the core narrow minded political culture advocating “climate solutions” only reinforces my desire not to be subjugated by what is clearly a hyped science “consensus” mediated by a politically conflicted U.N. structure in coordination common statist proponents in the U.S. or anywhere else.

    There has been nothing conclusive, predictive or over riding regarding climate science which remains an abstract and soft area of science. Nothing has been settled and clearly the practices and standards (Michael Mann and the IPCC summary groups as easy examples) have been stunningly lacking. Serious science has been hyjacked by a mad rush to profit and advance a statist co2 regulation culture on a global basis.

    It would be nice if there are those who could talk but in the end the radical carbon agenda must simply be defeated. Perhaps the IPCC can be more open and transparent, this will be fought every step of the way by those who have steered the agw “consensus” to this point. I’m aware of the price (social and perhaps more) paid by our host for stepping out of a level of orthodoxy already, I give her credit. Far more is required by many more. It is impossible to dismiss the political agenda setting and opposition and focus only on “science” at this point. Until an honest political balance of restored in core organizations such as the IPCC and the many sympathetic science organizations little will be settled. The many “silent” scientist must be counted and there views both on science and politics must be disclosed. In the end the general public will have to decide, it isn’t up to a science consensus alone. Sad as it may be but if the promotion of agenda science becomes mainsteamed as it has in the case of the IPCC and AGW co2 regulatory advocates without correction than the only moral act is to dispute and resist.

    What would be a good peace offering? Lets strike the term “denier”, “anti-science”, “settled science” and many other terms as a start.

    • cwon1: “What would be a good peace offering? Lets strike the term “denier”, “anti-science”, “settled science” and many other terms as a start.”

      That would be a good start. We could also include “green gangsters”, “climate cultists”, “AGW Goebbelites”, “carbonazzis”, “econazis”, “greenshirts”, “green religion”, “groupthink”, “lying”, “cheating”, “mass murderers”, “psychopaths”, “fraud”, “hoax”, “scam” etc and “alarmist”.

    • I understand Brendan, which side has cornered, at least for the political moment most of the establishment authority?? I’m talking about traditional science associations, government policy makers etc. and on what basis did this process evolve??

      One side in a distinct way claimed the sciecne debate “was over” and “settled” except for a varied way of similar statist “solutions” there was nothing left to discuss. A gross misrepresentation of what actual scientist believed and a complete exposure of the dubious political culture behind the effort.

    • cwon1: “A gross misrepresentation of what actual scientist believed and a complete exposure of the dubious political culture behind the effort.”

      You seem to be arguing that the politics preceded and drove the science. The other side of that argument is that one could well say the same of opponents of AGW, and thus cancel out both arguments.

      As for claims about settled science and the debate being over, as I understand it, these claims refer to the general thrust of AGW rather than the details, and most climate scientists accept the reality of AGW if not the potential magnitude.

    • You forgot Neo-Malthusian eco fascists. My personal favorite.

    • “..You forgot Neo-Malthusian eco fascists. My personal favorite..”

      I like that one. It does fit some of those who explicitly state that they work for the downfall of modern civilisation.

    • Mike Mangan: “You forgot Neo-Malthusian eco fascists. My personal favorite.”

      A bit cerebral for my tastes, and doesn’t quite have the punch of “communo-fascist hysterics” or “Mombasa Marxist Messiah”.

      Then there’s the poster determined to cover all bases: “With all of the latte’ Commie throw-backs, congenital Trolls, and craven Infantiles as your mighty Post Normal brain trust, you’re in no danger at all of ever losing a Freak Clown Show.”

      Others clearly have “issues” with public figures: “Gillard is a deceitful lying b..ch, Brown is a sly evil prosperity hating maniac, Oakenshott is just an drivvelling idiot, Windsor is an opportunist a.. hole totally lacking in integrity..”

    • I’d like to add “elitists,” along with categorizing tons o’ scientists with pursuing a “one-world government agenda” or a “U.N. wealth redistribution agenda.”

      One wonders what would be left to talk about.

    • Joshua: “One wonders what would be left to talk about.”

      During social occasion when a lull in the conversation looks to be turning awkward, introducing the subject of weather can work wonders to revive the discourse.

    • After you my friend.

  16. I would like the “warmers” to debate openly and honestly with the likes of Spenser and Idsos or even Motl to resolve the discrepancy between empirical estimates of climate sensitivity and model estimates of climate sensitivity. Though I claim no expertise; it seems to me that my reading on the subject has the empirical estimates coming in at .5 – 1.5 degrees C / doubling of CO2 and the model estimates at 2 – 6 degrees C / doubling of CO2. Since the first range holds no grounds for alarm while the second does, it seems to me this is a core issue in this debate.

    • JT you are correct, the science you stated so simply should be at the heart of civil discourse on this subject. The un-civil discourse around global warming speaks to the anti-science state of those like Andrew J. Hoffman, his name calling categorizations is a childish endeavor.

  17. Rattus Norvegicus

    Judith,

    Perhaps the classification of the IPCC and the NAS as “believers” should mean the the author of this report should do some reflection on the weaknesses of his methodology.

    • Actually it is an astute and timely observation.

      When the IPCC used “Grey” literature from advocacy groups without using due diligence to check for things like accuracy, proper cross referencing and the like, then it became no more than a tool for the said advocacy groups.

      As Forest Gump says, stupid is as stupid does.

      Personally, I can’t see the criticism as anything except a wakeup call for the IPCC to behave honourably, in line with its charter and completely scientifically, whatever the results that the science shows.

      Surely you could not regard that as anything but a good thing?

      Surely?

      The comment is timely, because it is a wake up call to the IPCC to behave in a more scientific manner in its next report. A case where Caesar’s wife needs to be above suspicion I would think.

    • Peter –
      Unfortunately the IPCC HAS acted in accordance with its charter. It was founded as a political rather than as a scientific entity.

      Asking “How dangerous is CO2?” is an entirely different question than “What factors affect climate? How does climate change? How has climate varied over the last 1000 years?”

      Tell me – which of those questions are scentific – and which are political? Which seek knowledge – and which seek conclusions?

      Which question defines the IPCC charter?

    • andrew adams

      They all seek knowlege and do not seek particular conclusions. They are all scientific although the first has a political element as well because the word “dangerous” is to an extent subjective. Of course in order to properly answer the first question we have to ask the second and third ones as well, so it’s not an either/or situation.

    • Sorry Andrew, but the first quetion is political because it seeks a conclusion rather than knowledge. And when you ask the first question first, as the IPCC does, then the following questions can only be framed as political questions.

    • So I guess everyone responding to Rattus so far is a denier, not a skeptic. No open minds here!

    • Sorry, that should be everyone except andrew.

    • “Personally, I can’t see the criticism as anything except a wakeup call for the IPCC to behave honourably, in line with its charter and completely scientifically, whatever the results that the science shows..”

      Right. Real closed minds comment.

      I challenge you. What exactly in my reply to R.N. is either closed minded or denier based rather than sceptical?

      Or am I talking past a true believer. How open is your mind?

    • Peter, this silly comment:

      “…When the IPCC used “Grey” literature from advocacy groups without using due diligence to check for things like accuracy, proper cross referencing and the like, then it became no more than a tool for the said advocacy groups….”

      You see, they did use due diligence:

      “…The report was also criticized by The Sunday Telegraph for using grey literature. Examples they gave included the use of non-peer reviewed sources from the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the World Wildlife Fund, and student dissertations.[42] IPCC rules permit the use of non-peer-reviewed material, subject to critical assessment and review of the quality and validity of each source.[26] Climate expert Martin Parry, who had been co-chair of the working group on impacts for IPCC AR4, said of “grey literature” such as reports from campaign groups and governments that “many such reports are intensively reviewed, both internally and externally. Even if not peer-reviewed, there are reports that contain valuable information.”[3]…”
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_the_IPCC_Fourth_Assessment_Report#Grey_literature

      Like all humans, they made a few errors. But when you deniers want to throw out the entire huge, detailed report for that, you look like paranoid close-minded ignoramuses.

    • More about IPCC:

      “…”People automatically think that grey literature is [only] from activists and non-governmental organizations’ reports. In fact, it includes reports from national academies of sciences, and reports from the International Energy Agency,” says Chris Field, an ecologist at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford University, California and the co-chair of the working group on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability for the IPCC’s upcoming fifth assessment…”

      http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100616/full/news.2010.302.html

    • Not that I thnk your closed mind is capable of accepting it, but –

      http://nofrakkingconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/05/09/citizen-audit-report-is-now-a-pdf/

      5600 grey literature references? That’s NOT due diligence.

    • So you admit there were mistakes in the grey literature.

      Excellent. Some progress at last.

      So, Holly has now given us a classification of what she regards as a denier.

      Someone who objects to improperly audited grey literature in the IPCC report.

      No matter that my point was about improving the IPCC process to avoid mistakes (whatever the science shows ).

      Not throwing the report out, just improving the process.

      But I suspect that Holly has no interest in an improved process.

      So, come on Holly. Answer the question. Are you interested in the IPCC process being improved and the Science being as accurate as is possible?

      I am. Whatever the results show.

      Can you, hand on heart, say the same?

    • Peter, you should have read my last link about them working to improve the IPCC report. So your opinion and mine notwithstanding, they are doing it.

      Jim, Laframboise is not what I would consider a credible source. I’ve read some of her blog in the past.

      The questions about the IPCC are how good was the information in each document, in what context was it used, and what difference would each individual citation make to the report. And you can bet the scientists who wrote the scientific report knew them far better than you do.

    • Here, you can judge each document cited in the IPCC AR4 for yourself, without the insinuations and dishonest BS from the lying deniers :

      http://zvon.org/eco/ipcc/ar4/index.html#

    • Holly –
      She points to the problems. That doesn’t require peer review.

      Having now been pointed at the problems, it’s now up to you to prove her wrong. I don’t believe you can do so. ANd unless you can do so, you have no logical argument wrt to the quality of IPCC work.

    • andrew adams

      Jim,

      It would be nice if all the scientific questions we asked were purely in pursuit of knowlege, but in the real world we need answers to all kinds of questions which impact human civilisation and behaviour and we need to reach conclusions, even if the conclusion is sometimes “we don’t know”.
      Those questions will often have a political dimension but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be honestly asked and answered.

    • No, Andrew – the purpose of “science” is knowledge. In general, scientists are not by nature, inclination or training competent to draw conclusions in a “political dimension”. That, specifically, is the base reason for Climategate and for the present status of climate science in general – that those scientists who overreached their ability and authority and tried to drive policy were incompetent to do so.

    • I’m not entirely sure what holly is trying to show here- but examples have been given of the IPCC failing to follow it’s own guidlines. It has also been caught lying (himalayian issue).

      As such the entity cannot be trusted. YOU can try spin it how you want, but these are the facts.

      NOte- i’m not saying all the science it represents is bad, just the political entity presenting it.

      Incidentally, Dr Curry- adding comments to this blog becomes very problematic and laggy once the number of comments gets above ~300. Is this inherant to wordpress (with the embedded comment system) or another issue?

    • Not in the least bit. They got that one exactly right. The very premise of IPCC reeks the Monkees signature song.

  18. Anyone that believes the IPCC is NOT an advocacy group has not been paying attention or willfully ignoring the facts.

    The role of the IPCC is to study and report on human induced climate change. Their reports are subject to editing by the governments that fund it, based upon the political whims of those governments. Whatever that is, it is not science.

    By charter, the role of the IPCC is not to report on ALL factors affecting the ever changing climate, only on those aspects caused by humans.

    A balanced and objective view of scientific and technical matters relative to climate change is not necessary, according to the IPCC charter documents. Objectivity is an optional characteristic that is sometimes used, apparently, to assess policy, but is not needed in assessing scientific and technical details in the first instance.

    According to the IPCC’s principles, AGW is a given and not subject to scientific or technical discussion or scrutiny, for the purposes of IPCC reports.

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/ipcc-principles/ipcc-principles.pdf

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      You are referring to paragraph 2 in this document? Hmmm, it seems to me from reading it that it is (for WG1 at least) to evaluate the scientific basis of the hypothesis. Just because you don’t like the conclusions that the science that reaches is not reason to consider it an “advocacy group”.

      There is a huge difference between organizations like the IPCC or the NAS and Heartland. The IPCC and the NAS review the science and synthesize it into something that can be understood by policymakers (the SPM, backed by the working groups for the IPCC). Hoffmann equates Heartland and Cato with the scientific enterprise as a whole, stating that these “think” tanks produce research and white papers. He is half right, these institution do produce white papers, but research? Give me a break. Everything that these clowns have produced and published in the scientific literature has been taken apart. Spencer? Have you read Barry Bickmore’s destruction of his book? Have you read Arthur Smith’s analysis of the math behind his “model”? Not pretty.

      Hoffmann did not make a distinction between groups like the IPCC or the NAS, whose statements are based on an evaluation of the science, and groups like Greenpeace or CAP who make the political point. There is a huge difference between the NAS and groups like Greenpeace (even if they do quote the NAS or IPCC) . Hoffmann studied op/eds, but I have never seen an op/ed authored by the IPCC (as opposed to Pachuri, quoting the IPCC) or the NAS. The political argument is far different from the scientific argument.

    • Rattus Norvegicus-

      Perhaps we won’t talk past each other on this.

      You state-

      “Just because you don’t like the conclusions that the science that reaches (sic) is not reason to consider it an “advocacy group”

      The IPCC is not a scientific organisation, it is, by its own description, an “intergovernmental organization”. It reaches no conclusions of science, only edited remarks approved by governments.

      Nevertheless, I will not talk past you and address you mendacious cliams about my acceptance of the IPCC conclusions.

      I do not like some of its conclusions, Yes you are right. Himalayan glaciers entirely gone by 2035 is one of their conclusions I do not like. Do you like it?

      I do like the IPCC conclusion that global warming necessarily demands a Tropical Tropospheric Hot Spot exists. I like that conclusion. Do you like it?

      I also note that IPCC does no “research science” either, does it? Just like “Heartland” only publishes White Papers; so does IPCC

      And yes you are quite correct about the dearth of OP-Ed observations by IPCC.

      Dr. R. K. Pachauri seems to spend his spare time writing semi-porn smut novellas rather than offering OP-Ed observations.

    • There is a huge difference between the NAS and groups like Greenpeace (even if they do quote the NAS or IPCC) .

      The problem lies not in the advocates quoting the IPCC but in the IPCC quoting the advocates.

    • That’s a very essential point to why the process isn’t legitimate. It’s tyranical decree.

      The same process might (surely is) be going on in many other academic depatment but as it might not effect directly most people are too busy to protest. Look at the fights over history text books for example and the poor product they become. We should care more about that but AGW and the policy leap was 1000x larger in consequences. A global carbon government regulatory scheme.

  19. Certain personality types gravitate toward certain fields. If you follow the Keirsey-Bates typology, it’d be interesting to see if some types are over represented in the various camps. If so, building common ground may be fundamentally intractable due to different goals in life, which are values in themselves. I also don’t see it being likely that ideologues will be swayed to any great extent.

  20. I am a skeptic about the claimed science behind AGW, based on my observation that many if not most of the advocates do not appear to follow the Feynman definition of scientific integrity; that alone makes me skeptical of their arguments. Plus, based on my reading of so many aspects of the science, there seem to be too many shortcomings in the data, shortcuts in the logic, ignoring of conflicting evidence, etc., all of which point against AGW.

    However, while I keep waiting to see the Feynman-like proof of AGW, willing to be convinced if I ever do see it, I am also an idealogue – an idealogue for human freedom. Those who argue for AGW and say “we’ve got to do something about it” mainly posit “solutions” involving reducing or destroying human freedom. That makes me suspicious, too, that AGW for many of its advocates is a way to force everyone else to comply with whatever their personal beliefs are about how humans should act; some call these people watermelons, green on the outside and red (i.e., socialist/totalitarian) on the inside.

    If AGW should ever really be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, then humans will need their freedom all the more; freedom is the only environment in which men can use their minds to tackle problems efficaciously, the only way true solutions will ever be reached.

    • “I am a skeptic about the claimed science behind AGW, based on my observation that many if not most of the advocates do not appear to follow the Feynman definition of scientific integrity; that alone makes me skeptical of their arguments.”

      I’m a skeptic in general – my tendency to to be very critical of scientific and other claims on any subject. But I also agree with Feynmann as a standard of scientific methodology. In my case, I kept hearing about global warming,heard there was this thing AR4 that proves it, and read the document. It was so heavily hedged and nuanced, it was evidence to me that the scientific basis wasn’t there. Then I read some key papers to see if they actually said in a supported way what was claimed of them. Here I found mismatches, so I pretty much trashed the entire area of research as being underdeveloped.

      If someone tries to spoon feed me crap, the discussion isn’t going to go anywhere until they admit they tried to spoon feed me crap and assure me it’ll only be fillet mignon from now on. Even a miniscule smudge of crap will be unacceptable. In fact, cleaning the kitchen with a toilet brush is also unacceptable. In fairness, a lot of this isn’t coming from the majority of climate scientists – the public discussions seem to be dominated by a few.

    • John Kannarr, I am glad you brought up this notion of `freedom´, because there is something that genuinely puzzles me about this idealogy as you state it and I would appreciate it if you could address my concerns.

      Firstly let me make absolutely clear that I agree with you on the idea of human freedom. I believe and uphold that humans should live free from oppression and control, free from hunger and want, from ignorance and from fear. And I agree wholeheartedly that freedom is the only environment in which men´s, and lest we forget- women´s- minds can flourish. Without freedom the human spirit is crushed- on that there is no argument.

      However, there is one vital ingredient that you appear to have left out of your notion of freedom- that of responsibility. In the libertarian concept of freedom, personal responsibility- which I define as awareness of and accountability for the consequences of one´s own actions, not only for oneself but for others- seems to be woefully understated.

      But perhaps you would care to correct me if I am in error here.

      I believe that freedom without responsibility is not only undesirable, it is not true freedom. I would pay more attention to the Libertarian cause if more weight were given to the notion of responsibility as a prerequisite for freedom. And to a clearer definition of how responsibility manifests itself in the actions of free men and women.

    • Sarah-

      “I believe that freedom without responsibility is not only undesirable, it is not true freedom.”

      This is similar to the “rights and responsibilities” frame that was popular in the 1990s. The frame itsself was created (or at least popularized) by Amitai Etzioni (I forget the spelling). His notion is that you get your rights from your communities, and so owe a responsibility to that community in exercising your rights. Is this what you’re thinking, or is it one of the other “rights and responsibilities” frames?

    • John Kannarr

      The libertarian idea of freedom implicitly requires responsibility, but that responsibility is only to refrain from impinging upon others’ freedom, in other words, to abstain from violating others’ rights. Beyond that, each person should be free to act upon the choices of their own mind, based on their own evaluation of the evidence at hand as to what is needed for their own efficacious survival in a society of people who are equally free and self-responsible. No one should ever be treated as a means to someone else’s end, nor forced to follow choices they disagree with, as long as they respect the equal rights of others.

      There is a fundamental difference between being free to act according to one’s own mind (political freedom, or freedom from coercion) and the various claims that people should be free from want, etc. No one has the right to be free from want except to the extent that that person achieves what is necessary to sustain that person’s own life without violating the rights of others. Conflation of the uses of the word “free” between being free from coercion and free from some material need of human survival is to create a contradiction. If some people are to be free from want, without being productive enough to achieve that state, then the only alternative is for them to coerce others to satisfy their wants, which violates those others’ right to be free from coercion.

      And in the realm of AGW, there are those who push this concept as a justification for coercing others to do what they want those others to do. If all people have the same rights to make their own choices in life as long as they respect the same rights in everyone else, then the only legitimate way to get others to do as you want is to convince them that your choices are the right ones, or to trade something you have produced for something they have produced on mutually agreeable terms. I definitely have not been convinced that the AGWers are right. Instead, I hear arguments from authority, arguments ad hominem, etc., but definitely not convincing scientific evidence.

    • Interesting- thankyou. You raise points that I have often considered. For example if someone is starving and I have food, do I give him food? or do I ask for something in return before I do so? Do I use my medical skills to help a needy person in an emergency on my day off or do I check that I´ll get paid beforehand? By freely offering help am I being coerced? I think not- but I am quibbling with you here.

      You define responsibility as respecting the rights of others. To refrain from impinging on another´s freedom. I define responsibility as being accountable for the consequences of one´s own actions. Is there a difference here? I think there is if I could just tease it out.

      I think the difference is this- I must first respect your right to do as you please- that is my responsibility. Your responsibility is to respect my right to do as I please. So we may both do as we please and not coerce the other into doing something he/she does not want to do. So far so good. But what happens when your doing as you please begins to affect my life adversely? Or vice versa? What are our responsibilities to each other then? Do I have to continue to respect your right to do as you please, or do you have the responsibility to not affect my life and thus respect my rights. It all starts to break down at this point does it not?

      If on the other hand responsibility means that I, and you, are each accountable for our own actions, and I am aware that by doing as I please will adversely affect you, then if I am responsible I will refrain from doing as I please. I will compromise with you.
      We do not need to even assert our rights, we simply need to trust in each other´s sense of reponsibility.

      This is the sticking point for me- the assertion of one´s rights over and above the notion of responsibility. That is why I define responsibility as personal accountability rather than as you do- respect for the rights of others.

      I don´t actually respect your right to pollute without accountability.

    • By your definition of ‘pollution’:

      Every time you turn on a light, you’re polluting.
      Every time you turn on your computer, you’re polluting.
      Every time you have a bath or shower, you’re polluting.
      Every time you cook any food, you’re polluting.
      Every time you buy any food, you’re polluting.
      Every time you travel anywhere, by any means, you’re polluting.
      Every time you breathe out, you’re polluting.

      When did you ask my permission?

    • John Kannarr

      The critical issue is the use of coercion. Libertarianism maintains that no one has the right to initiate coercion, i.e., to violate another person’s rights. That says nothing about whether someone might voluntarily act benevolently towards another person, just that no one should be required to do so against their wishes. As far as “pollution,” that has to be defined in terms of rights, specifically property rights and the right of a person to not be harmed by someone else, which would be a violation of rights. But those rights have to be carefully drawn so that no force is initiated against anyone. My exercising my right to free speech doesn’t coerce anyone else to listen or finance my speech. But if I claim a right to coerce someone else to do something, then I am no longer talking about rights; I am then violating that other person’s rights. My responsibility toward others is to refrain from violating their rights. Any other choices I make, such as mutually agreed upon trade or charitable actions, are freely-chosen and therefore not coerced, so no violation of my or others’ rights.

      Human beings have to live by virtue of their minds, their own judgment. Anyone who attempts to use force is attempting to make someone else ignore the judgment of their own mind. That is why the rigorous use of scientific procedure is necessary; otherwise, those who do less are attempting to fool others, to commit fraud on their minds, and subsequently affect their actions, to make them act against valid judgements of their minds. That’s why I find sloppy arguments (or worse, fraudulent ones) for AGW so abhorrent and untrustworthy, especially when I am then told that someone else’s judgement requires me to follow their path to saving the planet, even if I’m not convinced.

  21. When asking who are believers and who are skeptics, you need to define the question that they are taking sides on. To me, the question is whether doubling CO2 very likely leads to 2-4.5 C warming, which is the IPCC position. In this sense, they as a whole, are “believers” by definition. Of course individual authors would have to be asked their own positions on this, but the majority would be “believers”.

  22. The temperature of the earth is stable. It has been stable for the eight hundred thousands of years that we have Antarctic Ice Core Data. Ten Thousand Years ago, it converged and the most recent ten thousand years has been extremely stable in a narrow range. The Greenland Ice Core data does not go back that far, but it also shows that the temperature of the earth is extremely stable. The Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age mark the extremes in the past ten thousand years, even the false Hockey Stick would be inside this range, unless you use the manipulated data where they took out the Medieval Warm Period and where they took out the Little Ice age and smoothed the rest of the history data to make the hockey stick look scary and unprecedented. Temperature has been well inside the range of temperatures encountered during the past ten thousand years. Everry time the temperature gets above the ten thousand year average, it gets kicked back down. Every time the temperature gets below the ten thousand year average, it gets kicked back up.
    Can none of you see this is stable data? Forget the climate theory and the climate models and analyze the actual data with any kind of honest numerical analysis. The temperature history in the ice core data is representative of a very stable system. Nothing in the data points to chaotic or unstable. Climate Theory and Climate Models are unstable and chaotic. Climate Data is very Stable. There is a real problem with this. We are in a warming period, but in this stable system, this will return to a cooling period.

    • I agree about the stability, but chaos is actually a powerful form of stability, due to the attractor. The price of this stability is unpredictable oscillation.

    • Hear! Hear!

      Exactly the same conclusion I have arrived at. This explains why climate models will never be able to accurately ‘predict’ what climate will do in the future. Unpredictable and random oscillations are just that. You may run 10,000 iterations of a climate model with varying inputs and feedbacks but you then need to choose the most likely occurrence out of those 10,000. Impossible. The very hubris that claims they are not accurate for regional or close in dates but are accurate for multi-decadal predictions is almost laughable. The fact that they may hit a given temperature on a given date is entirely random. Give a monkey a template with the ranges of temperature as limits and have it draw a random curve. Voila! You have a climate model.

  23. As a skeptic, I have a very different view of the debate. To me, the science is foundational. If we know what is happening, whether the threat is real and the extent of the threat, then we can move on to discuss policy issues. I don’t see any point in discussing policy issues or bringing politics into the situation at all until the science is settled. I get frustrated when the believers say the skeptics are driven by politics or are paid by “Big Oil” or “Big Coal” or “the fossil fuel industry.” The believers do not want to debate the skeptics because they cannot win on the science. There is no evidence the earth’s temperature is unnaturally high (contrary to the Hockey Stick) and no evidence the earth’s energy budget is out of balance. All we know for sure is the believers cannot balance the accounts and it is a travesty they cannot find the missing heat. Bad accounting means they do not understand the climate system. It does not mean we have an emergency.

    Articles like the one by Hoffman are designed to take the focus off the science so people will not notice the believers are losing the science debate. It is not going to work.

    • “Articles like the one by Hoffman are designed to take the focus off the science so people will not notice the believers are losing the science debate.”

      I have a slightly different view of the article (and similar reframe attempts). The question they pose is what set of values can we use to go ahead with the desired AGW driven actions. The problem they are solving is getting agreement to go forward. Politics is always about selling things to people through their emotions – value based, fear based, etc. They identify values not brought into the fray, and wonder how useful they could be.

    • Harold,
      You said it better than I did. Let me try again. Hoffman is attempting to sell a policy action based on emotion and in order to do so has to ignore the science. Is that better?

    • Ron,

      sorry, I didn’t pick that up in your post, but we agree.

  24. I tried writing a comment on the above discussed paper in general three times. I deleted every one of them. Like Thumper’s mom told Bambi, “if you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.”

    I would however like to ask a question raised by this comment in the paper:

    “Whereas the organized denier movement is a collective social movement run by professional advocacy organizations working to discredit climate change like the Heartland Institute and conservative think
    tanks like the Cato Institute that produce research and white papers, the “skeptical” label is ascribed to a population who are doubtful about climate change or the motivations behind calls for climate action in the broader population.” (Contra the above post, I could find no similar definition of “believer,” and certainly nothing as dismissive, only a listing of examples.)

    (I assume the author is using “climate change” as the euphemism du jour for CAGW, ie. the earth is warming to a dangerous degree, man is causing it, we need to do something about it.)

    But what skeptic, however defined, does not seek to “discredit” “climate change” as those terms are used here? Dr. Curry herself has criticized regularly the certainty of various aspects of the consensus (climate models, paleo reconstructions, and the catastrophic consequences), and has presented arguments against (“attempted to discredit”) that consensus as to those points. Steve McIntyre and Steve Mosher and other “skeptics” have ACTUALLY discredited some of the “consensus science.”

    What then is the real difference between a “skeptic” and a “denier?”

    The author inadvertently gives the game away in comparing “skeptics” to “deniers” here:

    “For the skeptical, there is no problem or there is uncertainty about whether there is a problem. This bears some resemblance to the qualitative field analysis of the climate denier movement, whose primary issue categories were science, ideology and economics, suggesting at least some overlap exists between the categories of the formal social movement and those of the broader skeptical logic.”

    Some overlap indeed. The only area where there is no overlap is the willingness to discuss the politics of the liberal “believers” and “convinced.”

    “Skeptics” are those who are willing to question the political motivation of conservative skeptics, but not of the believers and convinced – who are virtually unanimously liberal. “Deniers” are skeptics who make the same arguments about the believers and convinced (and liberal lukewarmers/skeptics) that all liberals, believers, convinced and skeptical alike, make against conservatives.

  25. @Judith Curry

    Your concluding remarks make good sense; Climate Etc. has been a good venue where a real dialog between the “convinced and skeptical” can take place. Thanks.

    It is clear that a constructive dialog is not possible between the two extreme groups described by H+R: the “believers” and the “deniers”, because these groups no longer rely primarily on rational thought and argumentation, but more on dogmatic belief (in an almost religious or polemic sense).

    Hoffman and Ross describe the current status quo in the ongoing debate, but they have failed to mentioned how we got where we are today. I believe this is very important if we want to understand why we are where we are today.

    The 800-lb gorilla in all this is the IPCC, which H+R have rightly categorized as “believers”.

    This group was set up to investigate human influence on climate, along with projected climate changes and possible mitigating actions. Before the IPCC, there was no real “climate debate”.

    IPCC’s whole “raison d’etre” depended on the existence of substantial, or even potentially alarming, “human influence on climate”. So this became a “believer” organization from its inception. It’s mission became not so much to find out the “truth” about our planet’s climate, but rather to find the “proof” for alarming human influence on it. That was the “agenda” from the start and what was wanted was “agenda driven science”.

    As we have all witnessed, a handful of dedicated bureaucrats plus a relatively small cadre of “believer” scientists took over the IPCC process, in order to ensure that the “message” conveyed by the science was the desired one.

    The media quickly jumped on the bandwagon (a good scare story always sells well), and things were on a roll.

    Nobel Peace Prizes (plus an Oscar) were handed out to the “believers”, and the “dangerous AGW” premise became “PC” and “in”. When a senior Ford executive publicly expressed doubt, he was hammered by the press as being “anti-science”.

    Of course, there were both “convinced” and “skeptical” scientists and non-scientists who viewed the whole debate rationally, but the momentum was with the “believers”, who clearly viewed it dogmatically.

    “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction”.

    Through its dogmatic approach as a “believer”, IPCC created the polarization that exists today.

    The organized “denier” groups mentioned by H+R were more or less spawned in reaction to the success of the “believers” in winning over the argument. Some individuals probably started out as “skeptics”, but then joined “denier” groups in frustration.

    But, through it all, the 800-lb gorilla in the room remained the IPCC. Its very charter assured that its process would become corrupted, as has now been exposed.

    In an earlier post you have listed steps that IPCC must take to try to recover from climategate, etc. These are all valid whether or not they will be successful.

    I also believe that as long as IPCC rejects any dialog with “skeptics”, it simply risks creating more “deniers”.

    And it risks losing out in the court of public opinion and eventually becoming irrelevant.

    Just my thoughts.

    Max

    • The IPCC corruption from inception is a key point. All sides are left frustrated as scale of debate moves from small to vast as it changes the dynamic. It’s one thing when left to fight at academic levels and very different why trying to pass legislation on a global scale.

      The “settled science” smackdown phase was linked to the 06-08′ politcal peaking that is reflected in Obama administration. It’s failed for the moment but the eco-green movement will likely try to warehouse tghe agw agenda for another fertile politcal time. If the IPCC process was opened the science support arm would crumble.

      It’s very much like the Berlin Wall of talking points. A tiny core of agenda setters steer and cull the “consensus”, distort what it means to advance the mitigation agenda which was Kyoto like.

    • John Carpenter

      Perhaps the IPCC is past its due date. Time to go out and buy a new way of re-organizing the world?

    • The IPCC is no different from any bureaucracy ever created. I learned about this in political science classes in the 1970′s. Once created, their primary purpose is to expand both power and control. This way they can justify their existence and continued expansion.

      What would have happened to the IPCC if they had concluded ‘nothing to see, move on’? Think they would still have jobs? Bureaucrats are just never going to do this!

  26. Integration is
    Room with view from my back porch.
    Energy agree.
    =========

  27. Michael Larkin

    Well, amongst the many (what? psychosocial?) analyses I have seen, this begins to approach some semblance of balance, though I do not feel it is entirely so.

    Of course, we are all influenced by our leanings in a Psychological – Sociological – Political (PSP) sense, but I feel it is a question of what the primary driver is. Do PSP considerations dominate one’s genuine desire to seek out the truth of a proposition, or are they subservient to it?

    My feeling is that though we can’t escape PSP influences, we are at our best as human beings when we make them subordinate to our desire to seek truth.

    The people I can and do – in any real sense – communicate with on both sides of the issue (via blogs) are those in whom I detect such subordination. I wonder if Hoffman is aware that there is in fact such a constituency, which is sick to death of extremism by those dominated by PSP factors.

    What we need is an expansion of this constituency. I’m for anything that would catalyse that. I think this blog, at its best, is one such catalyst.

  28. As someone who also studies the logic of the debate I find a lot to like in Hoffman’s characterization. As a logician I would prefer to use the terms reasoning and reasons, rather than logic and logics. People who disagree do not have different logics, they just value the various arguments and evidences differently. Reasonable people can look at the same evidence and come to opposite conclusions. That is very hard for many people to accept, which is why they wind up demonizing their opponents.

    He is certainly correct that the social science community has ignored what is actually one of the greatest social debates in history, probably because most of them are on one side. This is very funny in its way.

  29. As a denier (in Hoffman’s typology) I am happy with the schism. The debate is a draw. In politics a draw is a loss for those advocating radical action, so nothing too serious is likely to happen.

    • “As a denier (in Hoffman’s typology) I am happy with the schism. The debate is a draw. In politics a draw is a loss for those advocating radical action, so nothing too serious is likely to happen.”

      David, I agree with this. Those advocating radical action are not convincing those who deny that dumping radiative gases into the atmosphere is affecting our climate. There must be a sense of relief that therefore “nothing too serious is likely to happen”. I assume you mean by “nothing serious”; action which would seek to reduce or stabilize carbon emissions.

      Are you advocating the `business as usual´ scenario, as in your assessment there is no risk to the climate from increasing emissions?
      Or is it that the risk of “decarbonising”, for want of a better word, is likely to prove more detrimental to human society than the risk of affecting the climate?

      There is, to my mind, an important distinction between these two approaches. The first assumes no risk at all, while the second acknowledges both the risk to the climate and the risk to our way of life and our fundamental dependence on fossil fuels.

      This second approach highlights the dilemma we find ourselves in and speaking as someone who is convinced by the science, it is a dilemma I can relate to and understand.

      My own view is that if we do not address the problem of the risk to our climate then something serious is very likely to happen.

      So there are two concerns here-I do not dismiss the concern over our energy needs, nor will I be dismissed over concern for the environment.

      Rather than frame this debate as between two `sides´, would it not be more productive to consider all concerns and to reach a compromise as opposed to a reconciliation?

    • Sarah, I do not believe there is any risk from our emissions so I am advocating what you call business as usual. For example, I am a big fan of coal fired electric power. Forced decarbonization is therefore not merely risky, it is unjustified.

    • David, so you have no qualms at all about allowing emissions to rise unabated?

    • Exactly, Sarah. I believe AGW has been falsified. Moreover, atmospheric CO2 is the global food supply so more is better.

    • So no uncertainties for you then?

    • The uncertainties you speak of lay on both sides of the question. You’re advocating that we must do something now because there is likely to be a problem in the future.

      However, there is a social cost to this. Starving people, keeping them poor, making more people poor, etc. Food for fuel. How many folks can afford a Chevy Volt when they only make a salary in the low $20K? How many are going to die either from cold or heat because they can no longer afford energy?

      Have you or the IPCC ever done an accurate analysis of which is more likely to cause more human suffering and what the effects will be? All I ever see is how many may suffer from catastrophic global warming, never how many will suffer from its mitigation.

      You want to make a moral argument about taking action now, you need to examine both options equally to determine the correct course of action. Until you can adequately address the costs to humanity for either option, leave off the ‘we need to act now’ argument, you’re only addressing on side of the issue.

    • John Carpenter

      Sara, you lost me at this point:

      “Those advocating radical action are not convincing those who deny that dumping radiative gases into the atmosphere is affecting our climate.”

      Please define what you mean by “radiative gases”. If you are infering that CO2 somehow radiates energy, you have lost me as someone who does not understand the science behind the debate. Since you are “speaking as someone who is convinced by the science”, please understand the science first, and then don’t be afraid to question it. That is what scientists do, that is why we are skeptical. We want to satisfy ourselves the truth is being told.

      CO2 does not radiate energy, at least none that it doesn’t aleady absorb (let’s say it redirects it, but not radiate it). Raidiation implies it is capable of producing energy, which it doesn’t.

    • John- far be it for me to explain the science to you. But if you have a problem understanding the science behind this- which it appears you do- there is plenty of informative sources out there to help you.

      If you take issue with this science then you must address the scientists; the atmospheric physicists, directly.

      I have satisfied myself through my own questioning – as you suggested I do. And I am convinced there is cause for concern. I cannot address your scepticism- you have to make up your own mind by doing your own questioning. If you are then satisfied that there is no cause for concern then you will be in a position to put forward your case and overturn mine.

      Until you do I am unlikely to be persuaded by your opinion or by your misunderstanding.

    • John Carpenter

      Sarah,

      “But if you have a problem understanding the science behind this- which it appears you do-”

      Please do elaborate on how I misunderstand the science of CO2 absorption and re-emission of radiation.

    • John Carpenter

      Sarah,

      A casual observer to this exhange might say we are now talking past one another. Perhaps I am a bit pedantic about the usage of certain terms. Upon reflection of my original relpy to you I apoligize for coming across as harsh. We both have concerns about our environment, I happen to believe the amount we really know if far less certain than where you stand.

    • John- I am unable to elaborate on your understanding of the science or lack thereof. You either understand it or you do not.

      If you wish to raise concerns about the science then you must go to the appropriate scientists and take it up with them.

      No need to apologize about being harsh. It doesn´t matter. I can be harsh too.

      As to what you happen to believe about what we really know, you have no way of knowing what I know. If you want to know what I know perhaps you should go and read the innumerable reports about environmental damage caused by human activity, which in turn is detrimental to humans, because it seems to me that you personally do not have enough information to make a judgement about what is certain or not.

    • John Carpenter

      Sarah,

      “I am unable to elaborate on your understanding of the science or lack thereof. You either understand it or you do not.”

      It’s not the black and white issues we are concerned with, it’s the shades of grey.

      You also have no way of knowing what I know, but if you want to know what I know, please read specifically the problems surrounding paleoclimatic reconstructions (I suggest CA). Please read specifically about problems with determining climate sensitivity to CO2 (see comments below by JC). Please read specifically about the problems with determining the role of clouds, their formation and climate effects. Please read specifically about the role of the oceans to absorb and release CO2. Because it seems to me that you do not have enough information to make a judgement about what is UNCERTAIN.

    • “You also have no way of knowing what I know, but if you want to know what I know, please read specifically the problems surrounding paleoclimatic reconstructions (I suggest CA). Please read specifically about problems with determining climate sensitivity to CO2 (see comments below by JC). Please read specifically about the problems with determining the role of clouds, their formation and climate effects. Please read specifically about the role of the oceans to absorb and release CO2. Because it seems to me that you do not have enough information to make a judgement about what is UNCERTAIN.”

      John- the reply button to your last post is missing so I will reply to you here.

      You are correct that I have no way of knowing what you know. But I am aware of the issues of uncertainty as raised specifically for consideration by Dr Curry. The topics you mention are of ongoing interest and research and will hopefully become less uncertain as research progresses.

      I am aware too that the degree of uncertainties make it difficult to determine policy as regards to CO2 emissions, but I am also aware that present policy is allowing emissions to rise unabated, which seems to show that there is less uncertainty in determining this policy than in that which suggests that emissions be stabilized.

      There is also a high degree of uncertainty in how warmer temperatures will affect release of methane from melting permafrost. And how methane will affect global temperature.

      I think you should add that to your list of uncertainties.

    • Sarah implies; you infer from that. Sarah did not infer.

    • Sarah- good post

      “Rather than frame this debate as between two `sides´, would it not be more productive to consider all concerns and to reach a compromise as opposed to a reconciliation?”

      Yes, but as you can see, the AGW frame isn’t particularly useful for this. It turns into a discussion of what we don’t know, and the uncertainties with which we don’t know it. If it were reframed as reducing the energy import cost (and from a simple economics point of view, this is an easy rational frame) , for instance, there are a slew of available actions. Improve transportation efficiency, move out of oil fired electricity generation and onto hydro or nuclear, and so on. Different frames support different solution sets. The current frame basically defines the solution set as one solution – drastically reduce CO2 emissions. This is a direct result of the way the problem is defined – Problem: human generated CO2 will lead to catastrophic climate events. Solution: reduce human generated CO2 emissions.

      You mention risks. Humans are notably illogical about extreme events. They’ll spend a lot of money trying to win a $300M jackpot, and forgo a lot of money avoiding what they view as too high a risk investing in something like the infamous junk bonds.

      In terms of risk, I’d say it’s more likely you or I would die in a car accident than from global warming effects. My view of the risk discussion is it’s irrational. Plenty of risks are known to be due to real, recurring events. So far, the AGW climate risks are hypothesized, and any estimation of them relies on assumption. There are real, known risks associated with weather and climate, and I don’t see any reason not to work on these. The same goes for earthquakes, etc.

    • Harold- However this debate is framed it still comes down to acknowledging the simple fact that actions have consequences. You may be a greater risk taker than I, but that does not give you the right to put me at risk simply because our perceptions of what constitutes a risk are different.

      The main opposition to the AGW hypothesis seems to be not so much that it may be correct to some undefinable degree of certainty, but rather that if we acknowledge it at all, then we will be forced to do something about it. It is far easier to dismiss it wholesale and continue business as usual.

      But if we do acknowledge it then we can turn our attention to how business as usual is conducted and aim for greater energy efficiency – something which has indisputable economic as well as ecological benefits.

      Take petroleum use for example. Petroleum is undoubtedly one of of our most precious resources. It is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain for a variety of reasons- all of which are no doubt clear to you. It is a non renewable resource- yet we tend to use it as if there were an unlimited supply. We burn it up in pumped up engines, we turn it into plastic packaging which we then throw away. I could go on and on but in short, we misuse and abuse this valuable resource. The same goes for coal, there is an abundance of coal- it gives us heat, light, warmth… what´s not to like about coal? But it is irrational to focus only on the benefits and at the same time ignore the detrimental consequences of burning coal.

      And, like it or not, there are detrimental consequences. The longer they are ignored, the worse they will get and the more expensive it will be to address them.

      This debate will not be `won´ by one `side´ shouting down the other. Our energy concerns and our environmental concerns are part of the same package. Neither can be addressed without recourse to the other.

      Isn´t it perhaps time for everybody to recognise the concerns of everybody else and to take them into account? Maybe then we can begin to cooperate and apply our human ingenuity and creativity to the question of safe, clean efficient energy production and use, human advancement and development, and a healthy environment.

      There is, I fear, nothing we can do about earthquakes..except aid those caught up in them, to the best of our ability.

    • “You may be a greater risk taker than I, but that does not give you the right to put me at risk simply because our perceptions of what constitutes a risk are different.”

      This argument cuts both ways. “…[T]hat does not give you the right to put me at risk” of economic collapse, is no less sincere an argument than that skeptics have no right to put you at risk of catastrophic warming.

      If we are talking about “framing” the issue, then we are not talking about the “right” to force anyone to put anyone at risk. We each have a right to vote for the politicians that we believe will enact policies that we believe are best for us, our children and society.

      “This debate will not be `won´ by one `side´ shouting down the other.” No, not by shouting. But this “debate” about what policies to enact, will be won or lost at elections. As it should be.

      I never heard any calls for compromise, reconciliation, alternative dispute resolution, better messaging etc., ad infinitum, in the run up to Copenhagen. Only after its collapse, the demise of cap and trade, and the 2010 U.S. election is there this sudden interest in “can’t we all get along” style politics.

      You know who is famous for that phrase “can’t we all get along?” Rodney King, but he only said it long after he got his butt kicked. At which point it was a wee bit too late.

    • Gary- can I remind you that risk of economic collapse has already been brought about by bad economic policies- not environmental concerns.

    • Sarah, nothing humans do is unnatural. Just because we have the capacity to reason, does not mean that we are somehow outside of nature. What will occur in the future is for the future to deal with. The only thing that is relevant is the present. If you personnaly feel better about cutting your consumption, fine. If Al Gore feels that he needs to use 10 times more energy then me to warn the world, fine.

      Humans have the tendency to bicker with each other, fight for their point of view, etc., because so few of us want to actually live in the present. Let’s worry about the future, that way we can excuse our wasting of the present. and only the present is real.

    • Sarah,

      No need to remind me, conservatives are all too aware that government interference in the housing market was one of the major causes of the recent risk of global economic collapse. I see no reason to think a history bad economic policies should somehow make me willing to accept a similar risk of bad energy policies. Why add to the risk that is already there, when the risk of CAGW style catastrophe is so remote?

    • John Carpenter

      Sarah,

      How about the role complex computer trading models played? Weren’t they created by super-smart, out-of-work mathematic theoreticians? Who would ever question them? I mean, they couldn’t have possibly been wrong in predicting the way the markets would behave, could they? Except one assumption they didn’t vet too well… what would happen if property values went down? Oh, but in the models, property values never go down, they always go up. Oops. Sound familiar?

    • “You may be a greater risk taker than I, but that does not give you the right to put me at risk simply because our perceptions of what constitutes a risk are different.”

      Actually, it does, at least in the perception sense. Otherwise, you would be making me responsible for your perception of risk, which is ludicrous. Even courts recognize the difference between someone saying “he almost ran over me” and actually almost running over someone. Risk perception counts for little, but certainly determines how people vote, etc.

    • Sorry Harold- this is not clear to me. Are you saying that you do have the right to put me at risk? And if I percieve a risk which you do not then that counts for nothing?

    • “Are you saying that you do have the right to put me at risk? And if I percieve a risk which you do not then that counts for nothing?”

      No, what I’m saying is whether you perceive a risk or I perceive a risk is irrelevant. There’s only real potential for harm if there is a real risk. People go to court all the time based on perceptions, but the balance is what’s demonstrable. Perceptions are shaped by many things, as you know. Education, ideology, experiences, social groups, etc. Being a retired manager of R&D in the high tech field, and a physicist, I don’t expect anyone to view these things the same way I do. I have my opinions, and I can explain how they spring from my background and experiences, as I’m sure you can do the same.

      My current take is the case for there being substantial risk of global warming has not been made. Personally, I’ve been reducing energy consumption for 15 years or so (as well as water consumption), and working on getting green space set aside for almost 40 years. In my view, the direct injection gasoline engine is a much more exciting commercialization than hybrid or battery powered cars – I think it will lower fuel consumption more than the hybrids and battery powered cars put together.

    • Roger Caiazza

      “The main opposition to the AGW hypothesis seems to be not so much that it may be correct to some undefinable degree of certainty, but rather that if we acknowledge it at all, then we will be forced to do something about it. It is far easier to dismiss it wholesale and continue business as usual.”

      This is a good point that needs to be expanded a bit – the real issue is the response. I have spent time trying to come up with energy scenarios that would meet the Believer recommendation for 80% reduction of 1990 emissions by 2050. I don’t think you can implement anything that comes close without doing more harm to society than the impacts. Throw in not being comfortable with the climate science I am reluctant to accept timelines to target emission levels.

      Furthermore, I immediately get suspicious when advocates use the CAGW hypothesis to demand that we do something about it but put conditions on what we do. Notably, there are organizations that want reductions but not if it means nuclear power. Those organizations don’t want to debate the science because they want something else – no nukes, no coal or no garbage incineration for example.

      Unfortunately, the current debate is getting in the way of the “no regrets” things, like energy efficiency, that we should be doing.

    • Energy efficiency would be a good start.

    • Ok, how do we start?

    • Peter317

      Good question. Lots of engineers post here- let´s round ´em up and see what they come up with.

      Of course a prerequisite for them would have to be the validity of the idea of energy efficiency…..

    • Sarah, I think you’re going to be disappointed by the meagre figures.

    • ” but rather that if we acknowledge it at all, then we will be forced to do something about it.”

      It is the “forced” part I object to. The biggest climate forcing appears to be forcing money out of one group of people’s pockets to go into another group of people’s pockets. We really aren’t talking about reducing global CO2. Rather, we are talking about reducing production in some places adn increasing it in other places, and using tax payer money to fund the cost of moving the factories.

      When we talk about eliminating climate forcing, why not eliminate that forcing? Eliminate the forcing effect of using taxpayer money to relocate industries and jobs.

  30. If Hoffman thinks that the convinced are focused on solving problems that exist in the world, he should let us know what he is smoking.
    The one thin the convinced community has failed to do is to offer anything even approaching a solution that could work.
    Kyoto? Could not have worked even if fully implemented.
    Windmill power? Please.
    Carbon sequestration? Fuhgetaboutit.
    Solar? That pesky sun keeps going down.
    The real problem for Hoffman is that he immediately goes into ‘denier’ mode. That is like some racist in the 1960′s writing a self-declared academic paper on the challenges of civil rights calling the African Americans the n-word: It means that Hoffman’s own bigotry prevents him from considering the idea that the convinced community is possibly focused on a problem to an extent that is far beyond its significance.
    People with delusions, as Charlie Sheen demonstrates, are very convinced.
    Popular social delusions are filled with people who are very convinced.
    So despite Dr. Hoffman’s bigotry, this paper is approaching a useful definition of the problem.

  31. Let me just point out how extraordinary the petition of the 255 NAS members is. They equate climate science with the theory of evolution and the origin of the earth 4.5 million years ago. According to the IPCC the dominance of anthropogenic global warming is “very likely”. So working backwards, the NAS members seem to be implying that evolution is only “very likely”. It’s the kind of thing you would expect from scientifically illiterate people. Or perhaps, believers.

  32. Judith,

    In the last couple of days there have been many weather events and massive planetary pressure events.
    Still scientists are stupid enough to put the AGW stamp on these.

    Simple question:
    If the planet has less atmospheric pressure, would that effect the exerted pressure under the planet surface due to the centrifugal force rotation?

  33. Much of this “olive branching” is a direct result that the strong arm “settled science” going for the “cap and trade” close of the past few years failed. The IPCC “consensus” which was always deeply misrepresented by the alarmist agenda is starting to crumble. With cap and trade on hold and perhaps defeated and the public correctly seeing the bully climate culture and rejecting it the tactics change. Some in the eco movement see the damage and others will want to whitewash the power grab attempt of recent years.

    Distorting history and rewriting it is another tried and true agenda setting tool. Changing the talking points from “warming” to “change” is just another example of how political the core always was to this debate.

    We should be discussing the elimination or total reform of the IPCC and it’s pro-warmist co2 mission statement as a start. Perhaps political dissenting positions of either camp should oversee the science summary phase. Each side should be able to review the statement and comment for the dissent.

  34. Believers and Skeptics

    Tree ring data provide reduced temperature since 1961.
    http://bit.ly/hmBIcs

    Skeptics say, if the tree ring data is incorrect for recent temperature, it is also incorrect for past temperatures. One of the top believers, hide the recent decline, and join the tree ring temperature data to the thermometer data to produce the infamous Hockey Stick.
    http://bit.ly/fmHLX3

    In the instrumental temperature data, the two most recent global warming were nearly identical in duration and magnitude.
    http://bit.ly/eUXTX2

    Skeptics say, as the past global warming rate has not been exceeded, there is nothing anomalous or unprecedented about the recent global warming. Believers say, the past warming was natural, but the current one man made.

    I just wonder who orchestrated the swapping of places between nature and man, by the same amount, in opposite directions, after 60 years of human emission of CO2, to produce the same effect on the global mean temperature?

    One of the believers says we provide data “at our own peril”
    http://bit.ly/dHNXwA

    AGW is built on a quicksand.

  35. Willis Eschenbach, that intrepid voice of reason, has posted a wonderful essay “It Was The Worst of Times” on WUWT discussing “noble cause corruption.” It’s worth reading.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/11/it-was-the-worst-of-the-times/

  36. As an effort to study the debate objectively (that is, from a disinterested position), it is a valuable exercise. I find the juxtaposition of “convinced” and “skeptical” is accurate and useful.

    It is not so helpful to use the terms “believers” and “deniers” for the extremes of the debate (notice the shift from describing a state of conviction to labeling individuals). I understand why a disinterested observer might choose the terms believers and deniers, and it does reflect the history by which a theory (CAGW) was asserted and then resisted.

    However, in the climate debate deniers are believers in a competing theory, and it happens to be the scientific null hypothesis: namely, natural variability as the driver of the climate. A more objective frame would refer to the two beliefs behind the debate: natural warming vs. manmade warming.

  37. I think a lot of the reason 2 sides talk past each other is that the issue isn’t merely “interesting”. It has horrifying implications. 10C of warming (which our hostess doesn’t discount) will destroy civilization. (I think the threshold for that is far lower.)

    OTOH, there’s the noble right of billionaires to call the shots in the world.

    So, you all continue to pretend it’s about something else. Talking past each other? That’s the whole point of denialism.

    • Nice try Jeffrey, but the fact is that many of us do not believe the scare, period, and we have studied the heck out of it. No billionaire is calling my shots, more’s the pity.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      As the French would say, “Tant pis.” You should run for Congress from Oklahoma.

    • David, you have to remember that the radical left cannot tolerate an environment without irrational fear. They need fear to spur their search for Utopia which does not exist and which would exclude the radical left if it did.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      Yeah, the radical left and irrational fear. Where would we be today if the radical left hadn’t sold us on non-existent WMDs?

      [even the hearse horse snickers]

    • I didn’t know Tony Blair was a right-winger?

    • Jeffrey Davis

      Tony Blair led us into war in Iraq? Interesting. And by “interesting” I mean “horse laugh.”

    • Are you saying that TB was just Dubya’s poodle then?
      And it was TB who convinced the British of WMDs and took them into Iraq, not Bush. It might have been different over your side of the Pond, but the world doesn’t consist solely of the good ol’ US of A

    • Jeffrey Davis

      Tony Blair became what’s called over here a “new liberal”. In plain terms: a trained poodle for the wealthy. (As did Bill Clinton. Assuming Clinton were ever anything else.) Without Bush’s urging/insistence, there’s no way that Blair would have initiated force in Iraq.

      Regardless, it definitely wasn’t the “radical left” that used irrational fear to initiate the ridiculous war in Iraq. Maybe the original poster has never listened to a Republican mouthpiece like Limbaugh or Beck. Maybe he’d never heard of “death panels” or “Obama’s a secret Muslim” or about the evils of unions and on and on and on. Maybe he’d never heard of HUAC or Joe McCarthy or The John Birch Society. Maybe he was being facetious or was trying to bait me. Maybe he was hoping I’d have a heart attack at the wowzerity of his comment.

    • “irrational fear” could also be brought about by witnessing planes being flown into buildings etc

    • Your hardcore leftiness seems poorly veneered with your take of AGW.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      “hardcore leftiness”

      A phrase that suggests a speaker of advanced age or other unsoundness of mind or a financial interest in promoting nonsense or immaturity or simple goofiness.

      I’ll be charitable and assume you’re just a doofus.

    • Jeffrey,
      Charity is always a good choice.
      Your pseudo-scientific claims simply do not hold up under scrutiny.
      Dismiss all you want, but the Earth is creeping no closer to a climate catastrophe, no matter how earnestly and dsincerely you believe otherwise.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      Exactly what scientific evidence is in play over “hardcore leftiness”?

      That’s the phrase which sparked my speculation.

    • Real radical left can tolerate anything. Real radical leftist is a sceptic.

    • Jeffrey does what any true believer does when he cannot accept that reasonable people could possibly disagree with his faith:
      Deny that those who disagree are reasonable people.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      Sort of like [looks at ceiling like Marlon Brando miming deep thought] Phil Jones, Keith Briffa, Eric Steig, Michael Mann, and James Hansen?

    • A good start.

    • “It has horrifying implications. 10C of warming”

      Why stop at 10C? Why not 20C? Or 100C? Or 1000C?

      So I’m exaggerating. But at what point does an exaggeration stop being an exaggeration?

    • Jeffrey Davis

      Your hostess doesn’t think it’s an exaggeration.

  38. 10 C is a possibility that has not been falsified. I am unaware of any credible arguments for 20C or anything higher.

    People can say (with justification IMO) that they are unconvinced that sensitivity is as high as 3C. At the same time, these same people do not have evidence to falsify a value of 3C (or higher).

    And people who say that sensitivity is very unlikely to be less than 1.5C have not made a convincing argument either.

    So there are “uncertainty deniers” on both ends of the spectrum, IMO. Sensitivity is highly uncertain. On a previous post, I bounded the “very likely” range as 0-10C, and the likely range as 1-6C. And I think that the uncertainty is sufficiently large that we can’t do any better than bound the range (no pdf or most likely value.)

    • Judith,

      Whilst not falsifying a value of 3C or higher, current observational evidence suggests a considerably lower figure. As we’re already more than 1/3 of the way towards a doubling of CO2, we should already have seen at least half of the temperature increase.

    • Peter, you need to account for natural variability on top of CO2 forcing (not to mention the time varying effects of aerosols), which substantially complicates the attribution.

    • Judith, that’s the reason why I said it doesn’t falsify a higher figure.

    • But if the sensitivity is high (>= 3C), then that would suggest that natural variability is considerably more than believed – it has to be enough to cancel out a major part of what warming should have occurred.
      But if that’s the case, why has natural variability suddenly increased?

    • Peter,
      What makes you think natural variability has suddenly increased? The climate has always had variability. The warming from 1910-1945 was not driven by CO2 and it warmed just as fast as the warming from 1976-2007.

      The thing that concerns me is what if we were in a cool climate regime from 1946 until now and the CO2 driven temperature increase was actually muted by the cool climate regime? And what if we were entering a warm climate regime now that will last for 60 or 70 years?

      I don’t think that is what happened. But the fact is that we don’t know enough about earth’s natural climate variation to rule it out. Climate scientists have not bothered to understand natural climate variation enough. They assume “we know the basic physics” and “we know all the forcings.” It’s all rot. They don’t know nearly as much as they wish they did. The accounts don’t balance. They don’t know how to explain the missing heat. They don’t understand clouds or what triggers changes in oceanic oscillations.

      A little more humility among climate scientists would be greatly appreciated. As Albert Einstein said “If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?”

    • Ron, you misunderstood me – I don’t think natural variability has increased, but suggested that it probably would have had to in order to mask a high CO2 sensitivity.

    • The concept of “natural variability on top of CO2 forcing” is a highly misleading spatial metaphor, which the math does not support. This is not a vector sum problem, rather we are dealing with nonlinear feedbacks which are perfectly capable of reversing the expected direction of any change of this magnitude. This is the fundamental mathematical confusion that underlies AGW. One cannot grossly simplify the system, to some starting point of one’s own choosing, then build it back up piece by piece. Nonlinear dynamics does not work that way.

    • “you need to account for natural variability on top of CO2 forcing ”

      Why on top? The paleo record shows the expected temperature records for various CO2 levels, as CO2 levels have been higher than present for much of the past 600 million years. The upper limit on temperature during those times appears to be 22C, about 7C higher than today.

      It is hard to see how a very small increase in CO2 as compared the paleo record could result in a larger (10C) increase than the paleo record, given the length of the paleo record.

      In any case, 10C above current would be 25C. Still lower than the absolute minimum temperature that unprotected humans can survive (28C). Below 28C humans radiate more heat than they can generate internal by metabolism of food, which ultimately leads to death by exposure.

      Outside the tropical rainforests, there are no natural environments on earth in which unprotected humans can survive. The earth would need to warm considerably before unprotected humans could move out of the jungles.

    • Can you give a reference to your claim that unprotected humans can’t survive below an air temperature of 28C (82.4 F)?

      You didn’t mention air temperature, but I assumed that the relevant temperature would be of air, not water.

    • Jim Cripwell

      Judith, I hesitate to post a reply, but I feel it this needs one. The fact is that there is absolutely no observed data to support ANY numeric value for the no-feedback climate sensitivity. There can, therefore, be no evidence whatsoever to show that the estimation of around 1C for a doubling of CO2 is wrong. The fact is that no value makes any scientific sense whatsoever. So we skeptics/deniers cannot provide any convincing arguments as to what such a number might be.

      The no-feedback sensitivity is a hypothetical and meaningless number. Now since total sensitivity is derived from the no-feedback number, (it has never been mesaured), it follows that there is absolutely no meaning to any number that purports to represent climate sensitivity.

      It is not that we deniers are not “… people who say that sensitivity is very unlikely to be less than 1.5C have not made a convincing argument either.” Since the number has no meaning, we cannot say anything sensible about climate sensitivity at all.

    • Jim, i totally agree that a sensitivity of 1C has not been falsified, and I include 1C in my “likely” bound (as the lower bound).

    • Jim Cripwell

      Judith you write “And people who say that sensitivity is very unlikely to be less than 1.5C have not made a convincing argument either”.

      This is the part of your statement I object to. It is not that we deniers have not made a convincing argument, it is that it is scientificly impossible to make any sort of argument at all. One cannot say anything sensible about a meaningless number.

    • “The no-feedback sensitivity is a hypothetical and meaningless number. Now since total sensitivity is derived from the no-feedback number, (it has never been mesaured), it follows that there is absolutely no meaning to any number that purports to represent climate sensitivity.”

      While no sensitivity feedback may not exist, dryer air sensitivity (poles, deserts and upper troposphere) approach no feedback sensitivity. So it is not a meaningless term but a real variable of the system. Change in dryer air emissivity can be fairly easily measured at the northern pole troposphere since CO2 has more significant seasonal variability in that region.

    • Jim Cripwell

      Dallas, you write “While no sensitivity feedback may not exist, dryer air sensitivity (poles, deserts and upper troposphere) approach no feedback sensitivity.”

      I am afraid I dont understand this at all. Can you provide me with a reference where I can read up about it.

    • No-feedback sensitivity is an idealized situation where no water vapor exists to feedback. CO2 does reduce rate or flow of outgoing long wave radiation (the terms down welling and back radiation confuse the issue in my opinion), so there is some no-feedback sensitivity or CO2 only increase in temperature. The discussion on the CO2 only sensitivity post has lots of links.

      The “valid” estimates of no-feedback sensitivity range from about 0.5 to 1.6, Arrhenius estimated 1.6 (2.1 with water vapor) after his run in with Angstrom.

      As less water vapor that is available to feedback, CO2 impact alone can be better measured. Emissivity is the value that CO2 changes to increase temperature. Emissivity is the ratio of actual radiation of a body to the ideal black body radiation. That can be measured with a pyrometer focused on a known point in space by comparing the actual temperature measured to the temperature measured above the atmosphere.

      I can’t link you a paper where emissivity was calculated using upper troposphere direct measurement because I haven’t seen one. Since I have never had an original idea in my life, I am sure there is one, but the only ones I have seen are by architects at surface level.

      Architects do it when designing passive cooling buildings. (BTW, water pool roofs are not a great idea unless you are a big fan of mold).

    • “Emissivity is the value that CO2 changes to increase temperature. Emissivity is the ratio of actual radiation of a body to the ideal black body radiation. That can be measured with a pyrometer focused on a known point in space by comparing the actual temperature measured to the temperature measured above the atmosphere.”

      Dallas – Emissions and temperatures have been measured at both the surface and the TOA. The problem, however, is that the emission spectrum of CO2 and water overlaps substantially (not to mention ozone, methane, and other emitters), so that ascertaining and quantifying distinct time-dependent changes in the radiance of any single emitter has not yet been practical – at least for CO2. There are planned attempts to devise algorithms for doing this in the future. One effort has already been devoted to this for upper tropospheric water vapor – Soden et al 2005.

    • That paper is behind a pay wall so it is useless for me and it is measuring variation in H2O with small longer term variation in CO2. To try and measure CO2 related change in emissivity you would measure against a single point in space of known temperature while CO2 changes and water vapor remains relatively constant and low. In the Arctic, CO2 changes significantly with season. There are probably hundreds of studies measuring emissivity at different points, altitudes and directions. The Arctic seasonal CO2 fluctuation is the best test lab in my opinion and it hasn’t been used, yet. Then the information about Arctic CO2 seasonal change is fair new. In a couple of years after it runs the peer review gauntlet we may see one.

      If not contact Dallas’ fishing guide service and emissivity testing.

    • There is good evidence that CO2 and H2O sensitivity is 0 – that the so called greenhouse effect does not apply to planetary atmospheres.

      When the atmospheres of Earth and Venus are compared at similar pressures, as happens with altitude, the temperature difference is almost exactly what one expects for the relative distances to the sun.

      In other words, Venus is warmer than earth not because of CO2, but because the atmosphere is much thicker. When you measure the temperature of Venus at 1 standard earth atmosphere pressure, the temperature is the same as earth, allowing for the relative distances to the sun. This same relationship holds within a few percent at fractional atmospheres as well.

      This is clearly impossible if temperature is a function of CO2 and/or H2O content, as the Earth’s atmosphere has significant levels of N2 and O2 as compared the Venus. Venus on the other hand has significant levels of CO2 as compared to Earth.

      In other words, the insulating effect of the atmosphere on the planet is mostly a function of the “thickness” of the atmosphere, not on the composition of the atmosphere gasses.

      Analysis and references

      http://theendofthemystery.blogspot.com/2010/11/venus-no-greenhouse-effect.html
      http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1003/1003.1508v2.pdf

    • An atmosphere can’t insulate, no matter how thick it is, unless its constituents can absorb and emit radiation, as do greenhouse gases such as CO2 and water (on Venus, N2 has greenhouse gas properties as well due to continuum absorption).

    • That is so wrong on so many levels. It is more than just apples and oranges there are a few mangos and papayas included. Think about one thing first. What is the barometric pressure at the surface of Venus? Now think about the gas laws.

    • Sorry Fred that wasn’t aimed at you.

    • The “student-level” analysis in the first blog item has some student-level errors. Why should Venus be compared with Earth’s 288 K, when that number comes from Earth’s greenhouse effect and albedo of 0.3? The better number to compare with is 280 K which assumes no albedo effect (black) and scales to 330 K at the distance of Venus. Then you need to cool it even more, because we know Venus has an albedo near 0.7, which leaves you with 243 K. Venus is 100 degrees warmer than this, possibly due to its CO2 atmosphere, but I think this is over-simplified.

    • Jim there are too many differences to even bother. Venus’ atmosphere is isothermal and a good portion of the reason is probably its atmosphere is 90 something times denser, has a 90 plus % CO2 composition and a day is 60 times as long as an Earth day. Other than that, it’s dang near the same as Earth.

    • The blog was about the upper atmosphere where there appears to be a lapse rate, but I agree it is not as simple as just correcting a couple of numbers in that blog. It was sufficient to reveal one fatal error in what they did to show that their argument doesn’t even hold up to first-order scrutiny.

    • I know it was about the upper atmosphere. With an atmosphere so different you cannot assume that some arbitrary point at near the top will compare to Earth’s. It is kind of like weighing a barnacle on aircraft carrier by weighing the boat first then knocking the barnacle off and weighing the boat again.

    • There is very good evidence that CO2 and H2O sensitivity is 0 – that the so called greenhouse effect does not apply to planetary atmospheres.

      When the atmospheres of Earth and Venus are compared at similar pressures, as happens with altitude, the temperature difference is almost exactly what one expects for the relative distances to the sun.

      In other words, Venus is warmer than earth not because of CO2, but because the atmosphere is much thicker. When you measure the temperature of Venus at 1 standard earth atmosphere pressure, the temperature is the same as earth, allowing for the relative distances to the sun. This same relationship holds within a few percent at fractional atmospheres as well.

      This is clearly impossible if temperature is a function of CO2 and/or H2O content, as the Earth’s atmosphere has significant levels of N2 and O2 as compared the Venus. Venus on the other hand has significant levels of CO2 as compared to Earth.

      In other words, the insulating effect of the atmosphere on the planet is mostly a function of the “thickness” of the atmosphere, not the composition of the atmosphere gasses.

      Analysis and references

      http://theendofthemystery.blogspot.com/2010/11/venus-no-greenhouse-effect.html
      http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1003/1003.1508v2.pdf

      The claim of Rahmstorf and Schellhuber is that the high venusian surface temperatures somewhere between 400 and 500 Celsius degrees are due to an atmospheric CO2 greenhouse effect [8]. Of course, they are not. On the one hand, since the venusian atmosphere is opaque to visible light, the central assumption of the greenhouse hypotheses is not obeyed. On the other hand, if one compares the temperature and pressure profiles of Venus and Earth, one immediately will see that they are both very similar. An important difference is the atmospheric pressure on the ground, which is approximately two orders higher than on the Earth. At 50 km altitude the venusian atmospheric pressure corresponds to the normal pressure on the Earth with temperatures at approximately 37 Celsius degrees.

    • Fred, I agree that the R and A missed the boat. But nothing about CO2 warming can be implied on Earth because of anything on Venus. Given the altitude, length of day and isotropic nature of the atmosphere. Now it may imply that Jim Hansen overestimated his sensitivity because he got in touch with his Venusian self?

    • So there are “uncertainty deniers” on both ends of the spectrum,

      Dr. Curry: The more I read your blog and other material the less clear I am what the “consensus” is.

      Since I accept the basics of greenhouse warming and the anthropogenic contribution to GHGs and consequent warming, at some level I am part of the consensus, although practically speaking I oppose the consensus.

      What is the consensus of the consensus?

    • @Judith

      10 C is a possibility that has not been falsified

      I realize that you are talking about a formal falsification in the abstract scientific sense, but what about the most recent “unexplained lack of warming” of our planet despite increase of atmospheric CO2 to record levels?

      Is this not an observed “de facto falsification” of anything even remotely resembling a 2xCO2 CS of 10C?

      Or are we “talking past each other”?

      Max

    • Steve Reynolds

      Judith: “On a previous post, I bounded the “very likely” range as 0-10C…”

      I think Annan and Hargreaves show (convincingly to me) greater than 6C as very unlikely:
      http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frcgc/research/d5/jdannan/prob.pdf
      From the abstract:
      “When instead reasonable assumptions are made, much greater confidence in a moderate value for S is easily justified, with an upper 95% probability limit for S easily shown to lie close to 4C, and certainly well below 6C.”

    • Annan is honing in on the range. Much lower and he will be called a denier. :)

    • Dr. Curry,
      While 10 degrees C may not be falsified, neither is the idea of ET’s visiting Earth.
      I do not believe that there is any evidence to support 10 oC that is credible.

  39. People are also talking past each other because each side is focused on a different issue. If this were a civil legal proceeding, the first issue would be culpability, secondly damages, and thirdly remedies.

    On the first point, a substantial point of debate would be: “What caused the observed warming of the planet from 1970 to 2000? Was it due to natural variability or increased carbon emissions from human activity?” Based upon the preponderance of evidence, mankind can be deemed culpable or not. Everyone on the skeptical and non-believing side is always addressing this question.

    On the alarmist side, all the publications are about damages: glaciers melting, sea level rising, species extinctions, etc. Human culpability is presumed, and the focus is upon making the case for the proposed remedies: carbon emissions trading and/or taxation.

    Of course, the believers don’t want to go back to the first question. But a real debate can only begin there. Because short of converting skeptical people into convinced, there will not be acceptance of remedies.

    • Here’s a word which illustrates nicely how talking past each other occurs. You say:
      “On the alarmist side, all the publications are about damages: glaciers melting, sea level rising, species extinctions, etc. Human culpability is presumed, …”

      The word I mean is ‘damages’.
      Even if we say we’re only looking at the last 40 years – everybody, scientist or not, knows that glaciers have been melting before these 40 years, that species have become extinct on massive scales, that sea levels were much higher before, without any ‘Human culpability’, because humans had not been around.
      So why is it that the believers, or the convinced, think that only now , during the last 40 years, everything is down to human culpability?
      And why is it that they apparently think earth was some sort of tranquil paradise 40 years ago, which must be kept perfectly preserved, as in aspic, and mustn’t change at all?
      Why is it that in the 21st century so many people, otherwise quite rational, have this irrational fear of change?

    • John Carpenter

      Good point. I wonder about this a lot myself. People are fearful of change and when they see it they want to assign causation. Some people, who feel guilty of the way mankind exploits his ability to learn and use materials to make life simpler, want to assign “blame” on mankind for making such pursuits and in the process “damaging” the earth. Some take it a step further and say anthropogenic activities are unnatural and as such need to be stopped lest our once pristine planet will be harmed beyond repair. They see mankind activities as “not part of nature” so altering nature is a problem to be solved instead of being a part of nature. There is no living species on earth that does not alter its environment in the course of its lifetime. No question the 6 billion plus population of humans has a huge capacity to do this and is altering our environment. How do you stop that freight train? Why is it considered unnatural? What are we going to do about it? Not easy questions to answer.

      I have been going around and around a bit with Sarah Jones on this thread on other topics, but she brings up one good point in one of her posts. We should be responsible about how we pursue our endeavors. I think this is another area we can find common ground and not talk past each other.

    • So why is it??

      Oftentimes, I’ve followed links provided by others (at other websites) and have ended up here.
      From the website of the international socialist group: British section of the Fourth International – campaigning for socialist change worldwide http://www.isg-fi.org.uk/spip.php?article650&var_recherche=population%20control
      “Economic deregulation from the mid-1980s onwards led to the further enrichment of the superrich elite whose philistine, narcissistic, wasteful and environmentally catastrophic hedonism is on show for all to see.”
      Capitalism’s crisis is a huge opportunity for socialist and environmentalist politics, with dreadful consequences if those politics fail.

  40. Maybe it would be easier if we swapped the names. Then deniers deny the validity of skepticism and the believers believe skepticism is needed to advance science. A new group, followers, could be added for the vocal group that parrot their popular sound bites without looking into the validity of any part of the discussion.

    • I am starting to use ‘deniers’ for extremists on both sides: what they are both denying is uncertainty

    • But Judith, that is too obvious. :)

    • Are you certain of that? But then the ‘deniers’ would never believe it. ;-)

    • Judith, Dallas’ suggestion of swapping names gave me the idea that it might be educational to start a thread in which all posters try to falsify their own positions. It may well change a few perceptions.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      what they are both denying is uncertainty

      Who is this “they” you speak of?

      The IPCC documents are awash in qualified statements, error bars, etc.

      Who are these people?

    • Yet here we are, with the IPCC being used to destroy entire industries by deliberate plan.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      Yet here we are, with the IPCC being used to destroy entire industries by deliberate plan.

      Which industries are being destroyed? Flea buckles? Orange flavored tar? Swear-at-a-Postman Postcards? Marshmallow Skis?

    • To quote our President, coal for starters.
      Offshore and domestic drilling can be added to the list.
      Good luck with such an evasive childish and uninformed pose. It seems to be a popular one with the AGW believer community.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      I just saw a bunch of pictures of the area formerly known as West Virginia.

      http://i.treehugger.com/images/2007/10/24/mountaintop%20removal-jj-001.jpg

      http://www.coal-is-dirty.com/files/images/blogentry/mountain-top-removal-coal-appalachia.jpg

      So, yeah, the coal industry is dying.

      Your charge about oil drilling is simply imaginary.

    • Obama on the coal industry:
      http://newsbusters.org/blogs/p-j-gladnick/2008/11/02/hidden-audio-obama-tells-sf-chronicle-he-will-bankrupt-coal-industry
      and talk to Bill Clinton about your idea on oil:
      http://americaswatchtower.com/2011/03/11/bill-clinton-says-obamas-delaying-of-oil-drilling-permits-is-ridiculous/

      That W. Va. is damaged due to bad mining practices is not the issue.
      But nice evasion on your part.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      hunter, I’ll be brief here. We don’t need to debate if you’re going to take someone’s crazed speculation about the meaning of someone’s words and then attribute that meaning to the person’s words. It’s just meaningless Limbaugh-crap. If you’re going to continue that, we can just call it a day and remember the good times.

    • Jeffrey –
      You mean you didn’t watch the video of Obama in SF when he made those statements? I did. How did you miss it? It WAS , after all, one of his campaign promises. Wanna see it? Google “Obama coal” and you can’t miss it.

      BTW, You shouldn’t diss limbaugh – he makes fewer mistakes than you do. OK – he used to – I haven’t listened to him for 5 years.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      Just saw Jim Owen’s remarks.

      So: you, too. Please. In the future, if you see one of my remarks that you disagree with? Let it go. I’ll leave your wowzers unchallenged as well.

    • Jeffrey Davis,
      I did not realize you are incapable of actually discussing the issues based on facts.
      The conclusion that a reasonable person can make in dealing with you is that when you invoke the ‘denier’ language, you are merely projecting.

    • I wonder what the attraction for ‘denier’ really is.
      I think the entire dispute would be far better off the word went back to a non-label use.
      It is insulting and denigrating to whomever it is applied.
      It is a label that stops discussion, as it was designed to do.
      And I believe strongly that it reflects very badly on those who choose to apply it.

    • And use of the word ‘eugenisist’ which you manage to use in almost every thread on this board is designed to encourage debate?

    • Louise,
      If the proper word for an historical movement of great consequence bothers you, perhaps you can explain why?
      My working thesis for awhile has been that AGW is a social movement not unlike other historical movements.
      Now if you can falsify that, feel free.
      But if you are going to simply ignore the point and hope to get me to stop talking about how well the evidence supports my thesis, then you your hope will be forlorn.

    • Louise,
      Your silence in response to a reasonable question does not make your position look stronger.

  41. Schrodinger's Cat

    One of the many ways in which the two sides “talk past” each other concerns feedbacks. CO2 on its own is not a huge problem. Significant positive feedback would, however, be a problem.
    The public face of the debate and the resulting taxation, energy issues, regulation, etc are strongly linked to CO2. This can lead to frustration on both sides, especially when the complexity of the feedbacks make the subject opaque to most people.
    It is OT for this thread, but perhaps in the future we could list and prioritise the top 5 (or 10) most important feedbacks, whether negative or positive, giving reasons to justify them. The purpose of the exercise should be to create a list that satisfies both camps. Each feedback could be on the list because it is thought to be extremely important by one side or the other, and therefore it should be possible to agree the list even if the science behind each item would be hotly debated. The debate of the science should be delayed until a list is agreed and then the items could be debated one by one in future posts.

    • There’s still an ocean acidification problem even if climate sensitivity is low and while we cannot rule out high climate sensitivity with any confidence, there is a problem.

    • “ocean acidification” = less basic.

  42. Something which, to my dismay, has received almost no coverage is the
    almost 20 minute explanation by NPR execs about how the NPR news
    covers climate science (in the secretly-taped James O’Keefe sting).

    Patronizingly, it was explained that the NPR science desk would never challenge the “science is settled” premise. However, since it was important that the “enlightened” know what the unwashed rubes are up to and about, the NPR political desk would cover the (cough cough) political aspects.

    (The climate science discussion starts at about the one hour point point in the two hour lunch discussion.) …Lady in Red

    • Do you have a link for that? Stings are always fun.

    • It’s Project Veritas, here:

      http://www.theprojectveritas.org/node/36

      The cast:
      Ron Shiller, now-disgraced ex-head of inst giving at NPR, and Betsy (?) Lilley, Shiller’s underling, now on “administrative leave.”

      And, two guys claiming to be Muslims wanting to advance the cause of Sharia law — with funding support from the Muslim Brotherhood. Yesh!

    • Thanks, I finally found that segment a moment ago. She used the term “climate change” though. What’s in a name change other than deceit? So it is really a moot point, no smoking gun.

      “Arrhenius’ theory of climate disruption” is the buzz phrase I am waiting to hear.

    • Lady in Red,
      Interesting story. I’m not sure I will find the time to watch the video, but I’m sure it is interesting.

      I find Hoffman’s article to be extremely patronizing as well. He thinks skeptics are not smart enough to notice they are unwilling to debate the science. He thinks we can be mollified by a pat on the head by reminding fellow believers that we vote. Hoffman doesn’t realize that patronizing us like that only angers people. It does not help his thinking at all.

    • Sounds amazingly like Gavin’s view exhibited by his decline of “reconciliation” meeting

  43. We saw a clear example of the divide in the response here to the previous topic on Climate Stabilization. This topic assumes AGW is occurring and that the debate has moved on to approaches to prepare, adapt and mitigate, which is where it should be by now after 20 years of research. 90% of the scientists want to have that debate, but instead we are all being held back by those non-scientists and other 10% who prefer to still debate about whether it is even happening. Any kind of debate on preparation is still being shouted down as we saw on that thread. We can’t even have a what-if-the-world-warms debate with the state of the divide.

    • What do you suppose 90% of climatologists, atmospheric physicists, dendrochronologists etc feel they can usefully contribute to the debate on adaptation and mitigation then?

    • The next task is to predict regional impacts with more certainty. Some scientists say the relative humidity will go down over some continental areas, leading to more widespread droughts, for example. We need more certainty about the likelihood of that.

  44. When I read the back and forth between warmists and skeptics on this and other blogs, there comes to mind another pair of terms for the two strong climate positions.

    Since alarmists are claiming that human activity is overwhelming the natural climate variability, they can be called Climate Revolutionaries, since they are overturning traditional, conventional climate wisdom. That makes their opponents Climate Conservatives, who argue that there is no problem, things are in normal ranges of variability.

    However, many commenters have noted that the revolutionary notions have been embraced by the scientific establishment, and are now considered orthodoxy. This puts dissenters in the strange position of being outsiders because they argue for what used to be common sense.

    • A flat earth used to be common sense too

    • Only to the stupid. Those with two brain cells that actually connect have known better for nearly 5,000 years.

      Those who accuse others of being stupid are usually projecting. :-)

  45. Mother Nature sure makes a mockery of debates. The earthquake and subsequent Tsunami on the East Coast of Japan has rattled the nuclear energy industry because of the currently unknown impact on four nuclear reactors that are at risk of meltdown. Will this earthquake in Japan lead to another 30 year nuclear power moratorium here in the USA as happened after Three Mile Island? The consequences of said moratorium were a whole lot of coal fired power plants built that are now reaching their service life. If nuclear power phobia cannot be overcome by a scientific and engineering framework, we are destined for another 30 year nuclear moratorium leading to a new round of base load coal fire power plants along with some natural gas cogeneration as the only economically viable alternatives. If the scientists are no longer credible because of advocacy on the part of some and silence on the part of a lot more, then the debate framework is only “whose ox is being gored.” Personally I am not intrigued by some of the social/behavioral assessments out of the University of Michigan, at least as to their ability to predict future behavior and/or offer a framework for mediation; however, I think that people, and I am inclusive of scientists as being people, are speaking past one another, at time willfully. It is all a matter of “being right, virtuous, and the winner.” So, as the tragedy in Japan plays out as we speak, our minds collectively should turn to the earthquakes consequences on the viability of nuclear power. Are scientists and engineers believable that they can make nuclear energy “safe”? I submit that those scientists who have been silent towards bad behavior of some believers, need to speak up and say that science has been corrupted by advocacy, that there is no yet a clear answer to whether CO2 is harming the world, and that an energy solution is far more important now while we await a clairvoyant voice in the future. I am mindful that Mother Nature always throws us mortals a curveball.

    • The moratorium on nuclear reactors in the US had many causes.

      Prior to 1998 both the coal fired or nuclear base load electric generating capacity in the US was operating below 75% utilization rate. We had a building boom in the 1970′s and 1980′s based on the expectation that the Baby Boom would consume untold amounts of electricity. It didn’t.

      US Base load generating capacity in 2010 is the same as it was in 1990.

      Since we really haven’t had to build anything much in the last 20 years besides natural gas peaker units there hasn’t been much discussion about the what to replace our existing base load generating capacity with when they reach the end of their useful lives.

      30% of our coal fired plants are now more then 40 years old. 90% of our coal fired plants will be 40 years old by 2030.

      We are going to have to build something.
      Planning to ‘lights on’ takes about 10 years.
      If we don’t start building something soon we will be ‘lights out’ in 2030.

    • The astute Washington Post science writer Joel Aschenbach has consulted with an anti-nuclear at any cost advocate to give a front page rendition of the perils of nuclear power when reporting on the 40 year old nuclear reactor problem in Japan following the recent earthquake and Tsunami. We need more newspaper writers, maybe like Andy Revkin from NYT to find other anti-nuclear at any price commentators to give us all a heads-up on why not to include nuclear power in the future energy mix. Success in using anti-nuclear talking heads may help to derail any consideration of nuclear power for the next 30+ years. OK. Then we a “stuck” with coal fired power plants for the next 40+ service life years. What are science writers thinking? How do these reporters help move the dialogue along? They don’t of course. This is the identical problem with CO2 and climate change. Scare mongering to a vulnerable population both here and in Japan. Agenda driven. Unaware of the consequences. Reporting is not sufficient. The current crop of “reporters” need to seek scary speaking puppets for their stories. I guess it makes the reporters feel important. And they are. Its just not a science discussion; and they are not scientists; and they are not unbiased, because they are. A pox on them!

  46. Steve Fitzpatrick

    Judith,
    This is a thought provoking post.
    I think the article helps to define the problem. However, it seems to me that the process has already evolved to the ‘logics schism’ stage, similar to abortion. The only political difference is that the number of people who care very much about global warming/climate change is probably smaller (on both sides) than in the abortion debate. At present the debate strikes me as nearly 100% politics, with very little science, and where science is involved, it is only involved to the extent that it furthers the political goals of one side or the other.
    Fortunately for humanity, global warming/climate change will not likely have the indefinite duration of debates (like abortion) which are 100% based on morals and values. Climate change implies change. Whether the dire predictions of extreme change turn out to be largely correct or largely incorrect, the debate will be settled, one way or the other. The extremists on either side will never change their POV, of course, but it will not matter, since reality will ultimately convince most people. Those over 50 may not live to see this issue reach resolution, but I believe most who are younger than 50 probably will.

    “About 0.2C per decade” of warming, starting in 2001 is about as clear a test as I can imagine. It will either happen, or it will not. Rapid acceleration in sea level rise (approaching 1 cm per year by mid century!) is either going to happen, or it is not. The side that is incorrect will be declared ‘wrong’ by the vast majority, and that will be that. Atmospheric CO2 is almost certainly going to reach 500 PPM or more by 2050, and probably much sooner. The debate will be resolved by what happens as a result of rising CO2, nothing else.

  47. In view of the events in Japan (earthquake, tsunami), and the images which have been beamed round the world, I wonder if some of the AGW believers working in academe might ponder the fact that the billions spent on their research, together with the billions spent on stuff like the IPCC and the nice jaunts and get-togethers, might not have been more profitably spent on research relevant for earth quake predictions.
    I wonder if some of those AGW believers, who clamour for huge taxes, to prevent something from happening in fifty or so years, might ponder the fact that this money would perhaps be better used to mitigate the effects of such immediate catastrophes as have just happened in Japan.

    The Ring of Fire is a fact, and the effects affect millions of people.

    AGW on the other hand …

    • @Viv Evans

      When I Google:

      was the Japanese earthquake caused by climate change?

      I get 294,000 hits, including this one:
      http://dailycaller.com/2011/03/11/some-respond-to-japan-earthquake-by-pointing-to-global-warming/

      A few isolated nuts? Maybe.

      But I also got this hit from a serious colloquium on the theme of Climate Forcing of Geological and Geomorphological Hazards, addressing relationships between past and contemporary climate change and the triggering of hazardous geological and geomorphological phenomena, co-sponsored by the UK Met Office.
      http://www.abuhrc.org/newsmedia/Pages/event_view.aspx?event=5

      Obviously, this would include volcanoes as well.

      Hmmm…

      Max

    • Nice links!!

      Regarding the second one – UK Met Office … nuff said …

      The point of linking even tectonic events such as the Sendai earthquake to AGW is that it confirms the ‘religious’ guilt of the convinced, which is that humans are the culprits for everything, that “Mother Nature’ is showing her displeasure and that we all must atone and change our ways to mollify her.
      Now replace ‘Mother Nature’ with Quetzalotl, and ask the convinced if we should start preparing for human sacrifice …

      To me, this illustrates that the ‘convinced’, the AGW believers, are actually those who are anti-science, not the sceptics.

  48. Judy – I believe your blog contributes substantially to efforts to encourage those with differing views to address each other rationally rather than talk past each other. I would add that the published literature is another venue for doing this (witness the published contrarian views of Lindzen, Spencer, Douglass, etc.), but it’s a venue unavailable to many intelligent participants, and so the role of the blogosphere must be recognized.

    I would like to suggest that having gone this far, you might consider going even further by inviting a broader spectrum of guest bloggers to contribute. To date, I perceive the majority to be those who have shared your view that uncertainty has been understated. It’s a legitimate perspective, but not the only one, and I expect that there are potential contributors who could justify a view that more strongly emphasizes what we can conclude with fairly high certainty about recent climate change, and might take this beyond basic principles of radiative transfer.

    To me, the test of a broader perspective would be the extent to which the number of thread commenters over the entire spectrum of viewpoints becomes more balanced. Currently, it’s unbalanced toward the contrarian end. The imbalance is not near the extremes we see on WUWT or RC, but it might still be a step toward rational discussion for the proportions to become more nearly equal. Participants tend to avoid sites where they fear they will be overwhelmed by the shear numerical weight of the opposition, and so those who are currently reluctant would benefit from some reinforcements from participants who share their views.

    I also realize that many invitees might decline, but I would be surprised if, with persistence, you couldn’t entice at least a few to accept a guest post invitation. Is it worth a try?

    • Fred, I’ve asked a number of people. Most scientists seem allergic to the blogosphere. Others who said they were interested end up being too busy. So I have definitely been trying, and would certainly welcome guest posts.

    • I suggested one yesterday on ocean acidification, which has been relatively neglected in favor of discussing temperature change. Any chance of getting some expert posting on this?

    • Fred,
      My observation is that the balance of posts here has shifted towards skepticism because over time and under open scrutiny, the arguments offered by the convinced fail.

  49. Dr. Moolten, in a perfect world your request would be gold. Unfortunately, if you have logged onto some of the pro side websites, our host takes quite a kicking on most of them. I would love to see Dr. Pierre post here on one of Tomas’s posts. Unforunately, as we have seen, the wagon’s are circled yet as we blog, and for one of the mainstay scientists’ to actually spend some quality time here is just not on.

    So, for the time being, you and Dr. Bart and a couple of others will have to bear the weight (hopefully!), until some of the others get over their shyness, and realize that Dr. Curry is doing them a favour, by actually haveing a site, where some substantive discussions/arguments are occuring, and views by all are expanding.

    • DeNihilist – I don’t disagree, but perhaps a few will be less shy than others. Andy Lacis has made some extensive comments here, for example. It’s also a question of positive feedback. The more some bloggers can be encouraged, the greater will be the incentive for others to follow.

  50. It seems you each hear that voice in your head, too.

    “No, no, no! That’s wrong, it doesn’t work the way they say it does! It’s wrong!”

    Maybe your voice uses different words?

    “No, they’re out to get me! They’re lying, they’re lying!”

    “They’ve overlooked the obvious. They’ve got it backwards! Why can’t they see what I see? It’s so obvious!”

    “It’s mine! My Precious!”

    Whatever the voice in your head is telling you, whether you hear it as a literal voice or a subtext underlying your waking thoughts, it is your better confidante, closer intimate, most familiar friend to you. But it is not serving your best interests.

    It is our inner demon, our inner past-talker that ignores our reality and seeks to replace it with their own.

    Like Golem you can never disentangle yourself from your other persona.

    So the fact that some of us ever fail to talk past one another, ever succeed at reaching past our inner voices and alter egoisms is rather remarkable.

    Dr. Curry has said that “believers” don’t wish to discuss the science.

    I’ve met few people who are not willing and eager to open up about the science, to discuss it, to entertain even the wildest and most abstractedly off-the-beaten-track questions, when approached in ways that do not stir and excite their inner demons.

    I’ve met few saints patient enough to tolerate the instigation of their inner demons well enough to seriously discuss science.

    It takes discipline and self-awareness, careful examination of the source and intention of every thought and statement one has before one believes what one thinks oneself, to be ready to discuss science well, to apprehend what one hears and apply it to complicated systems of ideas.

    So it isn’t surprising to discover the sensitive shutting down discussion of science and resorting to antisocial patterns when faced with some questioners and some questions. Or for some questioners to take advantage of that effect in social interactions when rewarded by that action.

    Shutting down discussion of the science for some is rewarding, since it moves the discussion out of the realm of scientists and into the arenas more familiar to the questioners — accounting, politics, fantasy fiction, organizational behavior — where like Charlie Sheen, they can Win.

    So, if you really want to discuss the science, you have to romance the scientific mind, lull the inner demons of scientists and speak to the science for a long time and slowly, being ready for backsliding and alert to those devious other voices in the scientists’ heads.. and your own.

    If you’re like me.

  51. My apologies if I cover ground already covered.

    If the major premise of the NYT article is that snubbing climate sceptics is not a good idea, well and good. However Lehman doesn’t help his cause by suggesting sceptics are motivated by cultural as opposed to scientific issues. He needs to go one step further and acknowledge that a sizeable proportion of climate change sceptics/critics are actually motivated by the science including that of the past climate record and current climate.

    The thing that is missing from the climate warmist side, with honourable exceptions, is any acknowledgement that a) switching away from fossil fuels is a very long term project with the current candidates solar/windfarms very poor candidates for base load generation to say nothing of the demands for electric cars whilst nuclear has a multitude of problems some of which are exemplified by the current situation in Japan and b) who are we in the West to deny the aspirations of the poor in the developing world to enjoy the lifestyle we take for granted built on the back of cheap energy based on fossil fuels?

    In Australia we have the entirely bizarre, hypocritical situation on the one hand shovelling out to China all the coal we can mine whilst any hope that we might actually convert any of that coal into electricity for our own purposes is fading fast because “we aim to do our bit for climate change”. The whole thing is farcical, shear madness.

    I’m definitely on the sceptic/critic side of the equation but I am open to the idea that to combat possible future global warming, in part the result of CO2 emissions, we need to develop new sources of energy, preferably low cost.

    While the warmists accuse the sceptics of heads in the sand and worse, I say the warmists need to touch base with reality in respect of the alternatives to fossil fuels, and in particular give up on their magical thinking as to so called renewable energy, windfarms especially. There is no such thing as a free lunch!

    • @David Palmer

      >In Australia we have the entirely bizarre, hypocritical situation on the one hand shovelling out to China all the coal we can mine … <

      I suspect that you are labouring under a misconception here

      Aus is certainly supplying all the *coking* coal it is able to mine to China, amongst many other countries, but we export almost *zero* thermal coal to China. China lacks high quality coking coal deposits, not thermal coal deposits

      BTW, your description of mining as "shovelling" seems to show a deep ignorance of the entire process. Before slanging, please look deeply at the actual details

  52. John Carpenter and Sarah Jones

    I have been following your exchange, and it appears that you are, indeed, “talking past each other”.

    Sarah is attempting to defend the premise that AGW is a serious potential threat by shifting the goalposts to quite another thesis, namely that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that increased GHG concentrations caused by human emissions will lead to some warming.

    “Those advocating radical action are not convincing those who deny that dumping radiative gases into the atmosphere is affecting our climate.”

    John, like many “skeptics” of the CAGW premise, on the other hand, questions whether or not the scientific evidence at hand provides support of the CAGW premise in view of the many uncertainties, when he writes:

    it seems to me that you do not have enough information to make a judgement about what is UNCERTAIN.

    So we are really back to whether the empirical data at hand provide scientific evidence to corroborate the CAGW hypothesis, i.e. that AGW, caused principally by human CO2 emissions, has been the primary cause of observed 20th century warming, and that it represents a serious potential threat to humanity and our environment or whether there are still far too many uncertainties in order to arrive at that conclusion.

    And, IMHO it is up to Sarah (as the proponent of the CAGW hypothesis) to provide these empirical data and to show how they corroborate the hypothesis.

    A second challenge for Sarah is to scientifically refute the “de facto” falsification of the CAGW hypothesis, which has occurred as a result of the past several years of “unexplained lack of warming” of our planet despite increases in atmospheric CO2 to record levels over the same period. IOW, if AGW from CO2 is so potentially powerful and dangerous, how could it have been overwhelmed by natural factors and, more importantly, why could these same natural factors not have been the principal cause of past warming, rather than AGW?

    I’d say the ball is in your court, Sarah, if you are really interested in moving this along.

    But if you are more interested in “talking past each other”…

    Max

    • Actually, I am of the opinion that John and I have been talking to each other, not past each other and it has been an interesting exchange as far as I am concerned. I do not know how John feels about this, but he can speak for himself.

      As to the two challenges you propose me, I would like to defer to the climate scientists to answer your questions. If you would be agreeable?

    • Thanks, Sarah. Your call.

      Max

    • John Carpenter

      I enjoyed our exchange and look forward to more in the future :) I think Max, in the spirit of the thread, merely tried to summarize how opposing views (your convinced view/my skeptical view) don’t easily reconcile.

      As to the challenges posed to you, if your not comfortable with offering a position on either, I am ok with that. Perhaps they are areas where you could further research. You may find the certainty of the answers less than satisfying… maybe not. Point is, as the Hoffman paper seems to have rightly determined, those that are “convinced” seem less interested in challenging the science (the science is settled), while skeptics do. As an R&D industrial scientist I simply cannot accept the complex science of climate change is understood so certainly that it can be summed up as only a CO2 issue. Its just not that simple, ever.

  53. The following tests whether the “img” tag works on this site.
    Moderator: Please delete this comment.
    http://mysite.verizon.net/cache.22/PoohStairsAvatar.jpg

  54. As the foremost problem is the irreducibility of climate sensitivity,are there areas of overlap for logical debate,or are we limited to the certainty that uncertainty is irreducible with all its random consequeces (and where distributions will be askewed eg Benford’s law)

    Zaliapin, I. and Ghil, M 2010 posed a number of legitimate arguments that were neither well understood or incorrectly misinterpreted.

    In NPG there is an address and reply debate between the authors.

    eg RB11

    Abstract. Zaliapin and Ghil (hereafter, ZG) claim that
    the linearity of the climate feedback model in Roe and
    Baker (2007) (hereafter, RB) invalidates our derivation of
    the well-known skewed shapes of published probability
    distributions (pdfs) of climate sensitivity. We show here that
    linearity is fully justified. Nonlinearity could be of some
    importance only if the focus is on exotic and improbable
    events, which appear to be the focus of ZG, instead of the
    sensitivity pdfs, which were the focus of RB.

    ZG11

    Abstract. G. H. Roe and M. B. Baker (hereafter R&B)
    claim that analysis of a global linear approximation to the
    climate system allows one to conclude that the quest for
    reliable climate predictions is futile. We insist that this quest
    is important and requires a proper understanding of the roles
    of both linear and nonlinear methods in climate dynamics.

    zg11 summarizes

    To conclude, we believe that – paraphrasing a famous
    quote, attributed to Mark Twain – rumors about the
    death of climate science have been greatly exaggerated.
    What researchers need to do is to stop panicking and
    continue, aggressively but calmly, the quest for predictive
    understanding of natural and anthropogenic climate change
    (Ghil, 2001; Held, 2005; McWilliams, 2007).

    • Here is the link to the Zaliapin and Ghil paper
      http://arxiv.org/pdf/1003.0253

      this paper is a step in the right direction, thanks for pointing out

    • Unless they have recently changed policies, I believe that arxiv is still not peer-reviewed. Is that different now?

      The paper is interesting in elaborating on concepts that I have seen described in various other sources. The conclusion that a very high climate sensitivity (>>4.5 C) is physically unrealistic has been discussed in numerous papers, consistent with the non-linearity described by Zaliapin and Ghil. The concept underlying bifurcation points is addressed in detail by Pierrehumbert in “Principles Of Planetary Climate”, along the same lines as in Z and G.

    • ZG 10 and the response are published at Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics and peer reeviewed.The paper was discussed by Annan on his blog and Colose at RC,that they did not understand the premis ie Andronov and Pontryagin 1937 ,or bifurcation theory eg Ghil et al 2008

    • That’s fine, but would you either link to an article or cite the full reference when you cite a reference, rather than something more vague that requires others to hunt for the article?

    • http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Shilnikov_saddle-node_bifurcation

      the arguments were posed at the Andronov conference 2001.

      D. V. Anosov, Russia
      V. I. Arnold, Russia
      A. A. Bolibrukh, Russia
      B. Fiedler, Germany
      J. Guckenheimer, USA
      G. Iooss, France
      C. K. T. R. Jones, USA
      A. Katok, USA
      V. V. Kozlov, Russia
      L. M. Lerman, Russia
      R. S. MacKay, UK
      E. F. Mischenko, Russia
      S. P. Novikov, Russia
      J. Palis, Brazil
      L. P. Shil’nikov, Russia – Chairman
      C. Simo, Spain
      Ya. G. Sinai, Russia
      S. Smale, Hong Kong
      S. van Strien, UK
      F. Takens, The Netherlands
      J. Yorke, USA

      PS read the references in ZG 10 and SS08 linked above.

    • I will ask politely one more time, and if you refuse, I will conclude that you are unwilling to extend the courtesy to readers of linking to a reference or citing the complete reference rather than a fragment. In this case, it’s ZG10, which I was able to track down on my own. I believe it would have been considerate of you to make that effort unnecessary by linking to the reference rather than asking readers to search for it. That is what I and most others try to do when we are able.

      Thank you.

    • Cornell University Library
      Open access to 663,375 e-prints in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance and Statistics (3/13/2011)

      “arXiv is an e-print service in the fields of physics, mathematics, non-linear science, computer science, quantitative biology, quantitative finance and statistics. Submissions to arXiv must conform to Cornell University academic standards. arXiv is owned and operated by Cornell University, a private not-for-profit educational institution. arXiv is funded by Cornell University Library and by supporting user institutions. The National Science Foundation funds research and development by Cornell Information Science.”

      http://arxiv.org/

    • If that is still correct, then it is still not peer reviewed. It is possible for something useful to be published there, but that is the exception rather than the rule.

    • ” so the change in T should increase infinitely fast as T goes to 0, a rather annoying contradiction.”

      I love that line.

    • Maksimovitch – I would like to ask a favor of you. You sometimes quote reference sources, but as a courtesy respecting the time of readers, would you either provide a direct link to the references, or if that is not available, cite the complete reference (authors, journal, volume, pages, year)? Otherwise, the burden is on us to hunt down the sources. Sometimes I’ve found it to be worth the effort, but on other occasions, I spent time trying to find the referenced paper, only to discover that it did not materially affect my understanding of the subject. Thanks.

  55. The past has shown us that since the days of Mathus that handling apocalyptic warnings with great caution has been fruitful. Why would the climate alarm be any different from that? Matt Ridley’s The rational Optimist has a beautiful quote:

    I have observed that not the man who hopes when other dispair, but the man who despairs when others hope, is admired by a large class of persons as a sage.
    John Stuart Mill

  56. I think Yogi fits in all this somewhere:

    “You have to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there”

    • Harold- sums it up beautifully.

    • Colbert:

      “The conspiracies that we know are coming but might never happen are the most dangerous, because if they might never happen how will we know it if we stopped them?”

  57. I just spotted this comment at Collide-a-Scape, too good not to share:
    http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2011/03/11/uncouth-scary-headline-of-the-day/comment-page-1/#comment-52561

    Menth Says:
    March 12th, 2011 at 1:43 pm
    AGW’s role in the the recent Wisconson unrest?

    Since you asked:
    1. Abnormally cold air is pushed into the Dallas area owning to a strong arctic oscillation. The cold weather favours the Green Bay Packers who subsequently win Superbowl 45.
    2. The subsequent beer fueled elation which while fun at the time eventually turns to a collective hangover of significant proportions with all the attendant irritability that hangovers entail.
    3. This irritability subsequently fans the flames of civil unrest.

    So as you can plainly see: Wisconsin unrest is what climate change looks like.

  58. @Judith

    10 C is a possibility that has not been falsified

    Although this is not a theoretical model simulation taking all possible other climate forcing factors or natural variability into account, let me propose this quick calculation as a “de facto falsification” of a 2xCO2 climate sensitivity = 10C:
    http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5055/5520741941_47ebe7b9c7_b.jpg

    Does anyone want to take it on and refute it?

    Thanks.

    Max

    • Well… The initial concentration of CO2 does mean something on a log curve. Try using 280 as initial. Then just for fun, use 100 as your initial. The plot all three curves.

    • We would be nearly 5 degrees above pre-industrial temperatures by now. I think we would have noticed that above the other variability.

    • JimD

      You’re right.

      2xCO2 = 10C looks even sillier if you go back to the whole HadCRUT record.

      Theo = 4.5C
      Act = 0.7C

      Ouch!

      Max

    • Maybe do a null hypothesis test? What are the odds the observed flat temps in the face of rising CO2 could have occurred by chance? Assuming climate variability is stochastic as per mainstream, you should have enough to calculate the 99.9% probability.

    • Thanks for tip. But I’ll leave that one for someone else.

      Max


    • @Judith

      Sorry. The “falsification” curve has an error in one of the colmns, but the net “theoretical warming not seen” is still the same. Here’s the corrected curve:
      http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5016/5520828209_626c9b2ff7_b.jpg

      Max

    • Manacker,

      Since Arrhenius developed the formula in 1896, start with 1896 temperature and CO2 concentration, then use sensitivities of 10, 5 and 1.6 (1.6 was Arrhenius’s second estimate).

    • Hey, Dallas, you’re right.

      Looks like Arrhenius was spot on with 2xCO2 = 1.6C, (but 2xCO2 = 10C is still falsified if one starts back in 1896).

      Max

    • Steven Mosher

      first off the sensitivity number quoted is an equillibrium number. given the time frame of your chart your lucky if you see the transient response in that
      time frame. Think of it this way. You are in an oil tanker, you apply a rudder force. long after you apply that force the response to the force is seen. Now imagine the same scenario with a jet ski. The climate system has a huge inertia. when we talk about the sensitivity to the forcing we are talking about the total change when the system has completed its response.
      So you have a system with large inertia, apply a small constant forcing (C02)
      and mix in other forcings both positive and negative.. You simply cant test for the equillibrium response in such a short time in the presence of other changing forcings.
      Second: the purest way to “test” the doubling number is to hold other forcings constant. You can only do that in a GCM. If you want to use observations to test numbers for sensitivity there are approaches. Your’s is not one of them

  59. Old dead guys rule!

    • Dallas – I can’t access the reference, and I probably couldn’t read it if I had it, but it appears to state that the Arrhenius climate sensitivity was one he adjusted to 1.6 without water vapor, but to 2.1 with water vapor feedback. Ice/albedo and cloud feedbacks were not included as far as I know -

      Svante Arrhenius, 1906, Die vermutliche Ursache der Klimaschwankungen, Meddelanden från K. Vetenskapsakademiens Nobelinstitut, Vol 1 No 2, pages 1–10

    • Yeah, Fred I couldn’t tell for sure either, but that sounds right.

    • This is the Arrhenius (1896) paper. Section IV shows his estimate for various CO2 increases, and seems to be 5-6 C for doubling, including water vapor feedback. Ahead of his time for sure.

      http://onramp.nsdl.org/eserv/onramp:17357/n4.Arrhenius1896.pdf

    • Jim, What is interesting that he came up with the 5 – 6 looking for an explanation of the glacial/interglacial periods. After Angstrom pooh poohed his numbers (based on faulty data mind you), Arrhenius revisited the problem and arrived at the 1.6(2.1 with water vapor). I have never seen the second calculations, but it would be interesting to see.

      The Arrhenius case illustrates how you can influence your results with bias, first by trying to prove an incorrect hypothesis, then recalculating based on incorrect information. There is a lot of good climate science, but there is enough bad to be skeptical.

    • It was a good first effort. Their information about CO2 and H2O bands and their overlap was very limited at that time.

    • amazingly that reached that number using a water vapour infrared spectrum.
      http://members.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/langleyrevdraft2.htm

  60. Once you see the word “denier”, you can stop reading.

    Pointman

  61. Re testing climate sensitivity: see my post of Feb. 7, 7:44 pm at
    http://judithcurry.com/2010/11/30/physics-of-the-atmospheric-greenhouse-effect/ . Although Judith is correct in stating that natural variability could overshadow the effect of CO2 alone (something that Roy Spencer argues as well), the fact is that CO2 alone is enough to account for the 0.6-0.7 degree rise in temperature from 1850 (or 1750) to today. This means that net feedback is essentially zero, if we assume with the IPCC that CO2 is the single most important driver of climate change. This means that IPCC predictions of future warming as CO2 rises from 400 to 600 ppm will be a factor of 3 too high (3 – 0.7 = 2.3 degrees compared to 1.4 – 0.7 = 0.7 degrees). If you think that the fundamental physics of the greenhouse effect is “settled science”, have a look at my Feb. 22 posting at the same site.

    • Marlowe Johnson

      You wouldn’t happen to be the Roger Taguchi of Hillcrest fame by chance?

    • Marlowe Johnson

      Mr Taguchi (it feels too weird to call you Roger),

      After reading through some of your posts and doing a bit of googling, it does seem that you’re the one and only. As a former student and great admirer of yours, I must say that I’m pretty bummed out to see that you’ve gone off the reservation on the climate file. Citing Roy Spencer doesn’t help your credibility.

      As others have pointed out, you appear to be confusing the Planck (transient) response with the concept of climate sensitivity. This is basic textbook stuff. In your comment above you’re also ignoring the cooling effect of aerosols.

      Which leads me to ask, if you think that the mainstream climate science establishment is wrong, why haven’t you published your work in a journal? Why the convoluted posts on blogs?

      It seems to me that the first thing you should ask youself when you have a ‘eureka’ moment when considering a topic outside your area of expertise (you’re a chemist not an atmospheric physicist) that appears to contradict 100′s of years of established scientific work is “what have I misunderstood?”. Surely, the chances of me being right and overturning decades of research are slim to none (even if I am crazy smart) right?

      As others have suggested, try starting with Pierrehumbert’s ‘Principles of Planetary Climates’ and then reflect on how your initial ideas hold up…

      I’ve said many times over the years that I want to be proven wrong about climate sensitivity. It would make me feel a lot better about my prospects and those of my family. In this particular case, I really, really, want to be proven wrong.

  62. The ‘toy’ model of Z&G 2010 is really only useful in demonstrating what should done with CGM models and why.

    ‘It seems worthwhile to carry out systematic bifurcation studies with atmospheric, oceanic and coupled GCMs to examine this question more carefully, for warm tipping points, as well as for cold ones. Such studies are made possible by current computing capabilities, along with well-developed methods of numerical bifurcation theory (Dijkstra and Ghil,2005; Simonnet et al., 2009). This approach holds some promise in evaluating the distance of the current climate state from either a catastrophic warming or a catastrophic cooling.’

    Finding the equilibria tells only part of the story. A system placed exactly at an equilbrium
    point will stay there forever, but what if it is made a little warmer than the equilibrium? Will it heat up yet more, perhaps aided by melting of ice, and ultimately wander far from the equilibrium? Or will it cool down and move back toward the equilibrium? Similar questions apply if the state is made initially slightly cooler than an equilibrium. This leads us to the question of stability.’ Pierrehumbert “Principles Of Planetary Climate” (p 126).

    The simple EBM yield 2 stable states and 1 unstable – this should not be confused with higher dimensional phase space of real world climate.

    This is perhaps a way of approaching the multiple stable states using GCM – but then again perhaps not.

    ‘Although we may expect a chaotic AOS (Atmospheric and Oceanic Simulation) model to be structurally unstable, it is difficult to explicitly make this determination. The attractor cannot be fully visualized or measured because the phase space has such a high dimension (i.e., high order). Probability distribution functions (PDFs) (Fig. 1) give at least a rough view of an AOS attractor. There are many aspects to the equation set for a model, most notably in the choices of discrete algorithms, parameterizations, and coupling scope, and these are usually not systematically explored in AOS practices. To do so requires formulating multiple models for a given problem. Even systematic scans in the parameter values of a complicated AOS model are rarely published, although parameter variations are commonly made while tuning a model to improve its plausibility.’ http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709.long

    Chaotic bifurcation goes to the core of both conceptualisation and predictability of climate. To my mind the very notion of climate sensitivity makes makes no sense in the region of a chaotic bifurcation. It is wildly sensitive in that region – with implications that we have barely begun to gauge.

  63. Bart,

    They start to discuss a non-linear EBM and then go straight back to Arrhenius. What’s with that?

    Meanwhile there are 3 reactors melting down in Japan. Another nuclear disaster from using gen 2 water cooled reactors.

    No – I am definitely deflated. I have even taken up epistemology. The idea of a justified true belief, popularised by Plato, is being explored through the Münchhausen Trilemma.

    ‘If we ask of any knowledge: “How do I know that it’s true?”, we may provide proof; yet that same question can be asked of the proof, and any subsequent proof. The Münchhausen Trilemma is that we have only three options when providing proof in this situation:

    - the circular argument, in which theory and proof support each other (i.e. we repeat ourselves at some point)
    - the regressive argument, in which each proof requires a further proof, ad infinitum (i.e. we just keep giving proofs, presumably forever)
    - the axiomatic argument, which rests on accepted precepts (i.e. we reach some bedrock assumption or certainty)

    The first two methods of reasoning are fundamentally weak, and because the Greek skeptics advocated deep questioning of all accepted values they refused to accept proofs of the third sort. The trilemma, then, is the decision among the three equally unsatisfying options.

    In contemporary epistemology, advocates of coherentism are supposed to be accepting the “circular” horn of the trilemma; foundationalists are relying on the axiomatic argument. Not as popular, views that accept (perhaps reluctantly) the infinite regress are branded infinitism.’

    But perhaps you are an empiricist rather than a coherentist? ‘There are many variants of empiricism, positivism and realism being among the most commonly expounded but central to all empiricist epistemologies is the notion of the epistemologically privileged status of sense data.’

    I guess by both the precepts of Baron von Münchhausen (who pulled both himself and his horse out of the mud by his own hair -the ultimate in circularity) and by the sense perception requirements of empiricism, the product of playstation science is unjustified knowledge.

    Much of climate science is either circular – the temperature is rising (or not) ice is melting etc, etc – or not based on sense perception (empiricism) at all. Such as the ‘toy model’ of Z and G above. Lots of fun – but what it shows is merely instability in an equation. If I get instability in a hydrological calculation – I usually just reduce the calculation interval?

    Cheers
    Chief

    • Chief

      It appears you’ve talked straight past me.

      Nouns, man. Use nouns!

      Third person pronouns serve no purpose. They always tend toward ambiguity.

      Nouns!

      And possibly sentences within structured paragraphs in an organized.. oh, look, a pony!

  64. It’s just futile to calculate the climate forecast longer than a 25 year window. The uncertainties simply skyrocket and all you end up with is political wisful thinking (be it left wing or right wing).

    So the next IPCC report should draw the line at 2040.

  65. Dr. Curry,

    I am a skeptic (in the terms used in this discussion). A positive example of how skeptics and the convinced could (should?) interact is to define the scientific questions that need to be answered (re-answered?) to move the ball forward.

    The BEST Project is a sterling example of what can result. The question(s) needing answering (or to be revisited, for various reasons) is ‘What does the earth’s long term surface temperature record look like?” and ‘What does the earth’s most recent two hundred year surface temperature record look like?’

    Skeptics and convinced are working together to do a definitive piece of scientific work that will hopefully resolve this primary body of information, in a way that can be agreed upon (or subsequently tweaked and adjusted until it can be agreed upon).

    Once it is known what has been going on regards to the earth’s surface temperature, then skeptics and the convinced might come together once more to formulate the next logical question(s) — maybe ‘What has been the cause(s) of the changes in temperatures that we see?’

    In this way, the science of climate change can move forward and eventually be sufficient for the formulation of personal, state, national, and international policy.

  66. Well yes – dear Pooh – my apologies if I acronymed too much. It is always a flaw in any argument.

    They rely on essentially the first law of thermodynamics. Energy in – Energy out = the change in global energy storage. The latter can be seen as some function of temperature F(T) and you can derive energy in and energy out using albedo, Stefan-Boltzmann and a variable to model a changing energy balance – as in Eq. 15 of Z&T linked to above. A zero dimensional EBM described in the paper as a ‘toy model’ for very good reason.

  67. Hoffman’s sounded all very sensible until I got to this point:

    “In the climate “denier” movement, there are groups like the Heartland Institute, Cato Institute, Hoover Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, and others. In the climate “believer” movement, there are groups like the IPCC, the National Academies of Science, the Center for American Progress, the Environmental Defense Fund, and others.”

    Does he really describe the IPCC and the NAS (!) as being somehow equivalent to Heartland, CEI etc in terms of their extreme-ness in the debate? That is flabbergasting.

    • Bart,
      Besides that apparently perfectly acceptable little nazi-tainted example of bigotry in your side’s persistent use of ‘denier’, there is nothing interesting in the comparison.
      When one side is losing in a discussion of ideas, as yours is, one of the first refuges is to claim two very different things are equal.
      To claim that Hoover, Cato, CEI, etc. are just like the IPCC, WWF, Greenpeace, etc. is a huge insult to the skeptics.
      But that the arrogant pose your side depended on is now admitted as a failure to the point where false equivalencies are being deployed is a step in the right direction.

    • andrew adams

      hunter,

      Bart never used the term “denier” – he was merely quoted Hoffmann’s use of it and, as JC pointed out, it that context it was not meant in a perjorative sense. Or are you suggesting that Hoffmann is on our “side” – it doesn’t particularly seem so to me.

      Neither was Bart claiming equivalence between the IPCC and Cato, CEI etc., in fact he was expressly disputing such equivalence. And the fact you think it is the “skeptics” who should feel insulted by such a comparison is hilarious – for all the IPCC’s flaws its reports are shining examples of honesty, integrity and adherence to the scientific method compared to anything put out by Cato, CEI and Heartland. And like it or not they do represent the mainstream scientific position, so putting them at the far end of the spectrum as Hoffmann does is absurd.

      As for us “losing in a discussion of ideas” one of the things I’ve learned in many years of debating on the internet is that when one hangs around in forums where there is a large majority of opinion in one direction on a contentious subject it is very easy for people to believe their views are more more widely shared than they really are and that their side is “winning the argument”. I’m sure I’ve succumbed to this myself. Sure, the “skeptics” have had some propaganda victories but public opinion has not dramatically shifted and you have by no means undermined the scientific argument for AGW.

    • aa,
      You might try reading for content.
      My comment was entirely about the Hoffman comment, and since Hoffman is a believer, it was proper to point out that he and Bart share the same side in this.
      That you still believe the IPCC is a paragon of honesty and transparency only reflects rather badkly on how little you have managed to pay attention these past 12+ months.
      As to winning and losing…..the reason skeptics are winning here is that believers are not being protected by a Romm or Schmidt from actual discussions of the ridiculous clap trap you believe in.
      In any open forum AGW believers lose the discussion.
      The only places your side wins is where you can control the debate by suppressing skeptics.
      Skeptics are not the ones running marketing seminars. AGW promoters are.
      And since not one policy proposal generated by the AGW movement has been achievable, and even if achievable would do anything for the climate, I think you need to do a wee bit more introspection before you either hold up the IPCC as an example of virture, or condemn those who have been proven right each and every time that AGW is a pile of useless ideas.

    • andrew adams

      hunter,

      My comment was entirely about the Hoffman comment, and since Hoffman is a believer, it was proper to point out that he and Bart share the same side in this.

      If I misconstrued your comment fair enough but I disagree with your interpretation of Hoffmann’s comments – I don’t accept he is a believer.

      That you still believe the IPCC is a paragon of honesty and transparency only reflects rather badkly on how little you have managed to pay attention these past 12+ months.

      Now you are misconstruing my argument – I didn’t say that the IPCC was a paragon anything, I’m sure it can be improved which it why there is a review of its procedures (see Judith’s previous post on this topic). My point was that the material it puts out compares extremely favourably with anything published on the subject of climate change by Cato, Heartland or CEI.

      As to winning and losing…..the reason skeptics are winning here is that believers are not being protected by a Romm or Schmidt from actual discussions of the ridiculous clap trap you believe in.

      Who is “winning” here is a rather subjective judgement. In any blog discussion it’s easy to mistakenly make a judgement based on the weight of comments supporting an argument rather than than their quality.

      As to winning and losing…..the reason skeptics are winning here is that believers are not being protected by a Romm or Schmidt from actual discussions of the ridiculous clap trap you believe in.

      Really? There are plenty of “warmist” blogs which practise light moderation and others where “skeptics” are certainly allowed a large amount of rope to hang themselves with before the blog owners lose patience. Also there are plenty of non-scientific blogs where climate change is discussed with little or no moderation. ISTM that the skeptics tend to come off badly, but as I said it’s a subjective judgement. In the end though the important scientific questions will not be resolved in blog discussions,. nor will such discussions persuade the general public (the people who have to be convinced to support action on AGW, or not) – it’s just not where most of them get their information.

      Skeptics are not the ones running marketing seminars. AGW promoters are.

      http://www.heartland.org/events/2010Chicago/index.html

      And since not one policy proposal generated by the AGW movement has been achievable, and even if achievable would do anything for the climate, I think you need to do a wee bit more introspection before you either hold up the IPCC as an example of virture, or condemn those who have been proven right each and every time that AGW is a pile of useless ideas.

      Well of course I don’t accept that this has been “proven” at all. As for proposed policy proposals, well you have a point that some are not realistically achievable and others are plain wrong (I don’t know anyone on either side af the debate who thinks biofuels are the answer for example). It’s an extremely difficult subject for which there are no easy answers and a lot of this is still being thrashed out. At the moment there is someting of a political impasse (nothing to do with who is winning arguments on blogs) which means that progress is much slower than many of us would like. Hopefully this will change – I expect November 2012 will be an important date in this respect.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      Andrew Adams,

      when hunter writes:

      those who have been proven right each and every time that AGW is a pile of useless ideas.

      it’s pure bravado. The planet continues to warm unabated. We’re all losing, and it’s not simply an academic debate, of course. CO2 and other GHGs are going to capture and re-emit certain frequencies of light from now until doomsday.

    • Jeffrey Davis,
      The planet has not continued to warm unabated, and the warming it has experienced is
      1- trivial mathematically, requiring great effort to distinguish it from the noise.
      2- has produced no significant changes in weather extremes, weather event frequency or weather event strength.
      3- GHG’s have been doing what they do since physics existed.
      And we have done just fine.
      The bravado is the bizarre need of yourself and your co-believers for some sort of apocalyptic claptrap to give your life meaning.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      Every decade since the 70s has been warmer than the preceding one.

  68. aa,
    Your link to Heartland’s event is exactly not a marketing meeting.
    How many meetings have been blogged about by various climate science and science groups about how to get the message out and shape it and spin it to sell AGW better/
    A meeting such as Heartland’s does not fit that bill.
    November 2012 cannot come soon enough.
    Perhaps when the Senate joins the House and moves back towards a reasonable view of power and policy we can actually roll back some the madness this Adminsitration is shoving down our throats.

  69. A couple of days ago I commented on the futile effort to apply reductionist rigor to study of human politics, and here we have an outstanding illustration. Notice how the terms “denier,” “believer,” and, especially, “convinced” have been given definitions that somewhat resemble, but are confusingly different from the way those terms are normally understood. Of course, the careful-thinking will remain studiously conscious of the assigned meanings. I suppose that largely absolves the authors of responsibility for the inevitable confusion. Largely, but not completely, since the confusion was inevitable.

    More importantly, though, what was the point of the exercise? Did the application of reductionist rigor provide any additional insight into the fact that AGW believers (or “convinced,” or what have you) are focused on the risk of inaction, while skeptics are concerned about the costs (or “risks”) of the proposed actions? Was reductionist rigor needed to recognize that skeptics include people who are looking for scientific rigor in climate science? Anyone who thinks this exercise was productive, please, tell me what you think it produced?

    In fact, the entire exercise looks to me to be little more than an appeal to authority. Much like a lot of climate science, all we really have here is an attempt to give greater authority to the thesis by dressing it up in the trappings of the modern religion.

    • QB,
      The value of the Hoffman & pals paper is that it shows the wheels coming off the academic snark defense of AGW dogma.

  70. I think a fundamental issue with respect to “talking past each other” is that “believers” seem to have little to no grasp of economics, whereas skeptics seem to be mostly aware of this. It is repeatedly claimed by believers that a high carbon tax will create jobs, but whenever there is a surge in oil prices due to unrest in the middle east or whatever, everyone returns to the simple tested microeconomics wisdom that high energy costs are a drag on the economy and kill jobs and job growth (even the NYT!!). Believers constantly claim that renewable energy is available, ignoring its intermittancy and high cost. They refuse to account for the financial benefits of a warmer world. The put a high cost on justice (e.g., for low-lying islands) but refuse to quantify what an actual payment to those damaged might be. The Stern report used an absurdly low discount rate and an absurdly high future damage rate. and on and on. If you refuse to monetize your costs and benefits, it makes it easier to talk about scary scenarios in black and white terms, but it makes it harder to talk to practical people. For example, if all the big scare about droughts adds up to a 10% increase in the cost of crop insurance, which is only a small part of the cost of a farming operation….so what? Thus I believe they RESIST monetizing the costs and benefits so they can continue to talk about “moral” issues in a vacuum.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      Absurdly high future damage rate …

      Why absurd? Because it would be inconvenient if it were so? Our hostess finds 10C possible. Why is 10C “absurd”. It has happened in the past. Repeatedly. Regularly as clockwork. With a smaller forcing that we’re experiencing now.

      Why isn’t the story this line from Vonnegut? “We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap.” And why aren’t skeptics regarded as callous, immoral monsters?

      Glad we had this heart-to-heart.

    • Craig Loehle

      To be concrete, the IPCC A2 scenario shows 3.4 deg C warming, and lists various inconvenient and damaging future problems. But sea level rise is only shown as 8.7 inches (ice caps take thousands of years to melt even if they do melt) and most of the discussion is vague. Please point me to specific disasters (not counting the non-melting of the Himalayan glaciers, by the way) in the IPCC report, not some upper limit Judith thinks is possible, and please show me where costs are specified. Your refusal to be specific simply makes my point. Vague claims of doom and wishful thinking about how much it will cost to “fix” it do not make for realistic policy or debates.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      As I’ve said in the past, the IPCC is merely the lowest common denominator on climate change. Its estimates, as in Arctic melt, have already been shown to have erred on the side of caution.

      Curry’s 10C is a figure that would be one which would involve the destruction of most of what he hold valuable. (I think that destruction is sealed by a temp well below the 10C figure.) I chose it not because I think it inevitable but as a rebuttal to your cavalier characterization that concern over the possibility of extreme events is absurd.

      (BTW, I know that Curry is not predicting 10C of warming. The figure is simply at the top end of the range of temperatures she has not seen disproven. )

    • Craig Loehle

      I do not think “concern over the possibility of extreme events is absurd” but one can become paralyzed by worry over tiny risks (ie small chance of occuring), which is what I think people are doing. By the way, in the Stern report, using IPCC damages for the future, the only way Stern could justify spending big money now for mitigation (which reduces economic growth, which makes it harder to cope with future climate disruption) was to make the discount rate almost zero. Otherwise, future generations were better off in his analysis even after subtracting climate change impact costs.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      I’ve read some of the critiques of the Stern Review, and some were particularly droll. One says that the money would be better spent on the poor when it’s obvious that it would be better spent on immortality.

    • The Stern Review has received quite a lot of critiques and much of that from the first line environmental economists. It has turned out that more or less all of these critiques have their own problems. My own conclusion is that a calculation as presented in the Stern Review doesn’t really make sense, there is just too much uncertainty to calculate any meaningful damages, when a major part of the result originates from more than 100 years in the future. It is not any more a question of proper discounting, but of the ability of calculating any value worth presenting. I happened to write about this issue in my own blog earlier today.

      The fact that the calculation of the Stern Review doesn’t make sense does not tell about the conclusions as it is just a statement about the capability of determining meaningful numbers. I think that the economic analysis should find new approaches, and propose one possible way forward.

      The link to my blog is behind my name above and also in the blogroll.

    • It stinks when reality gets in the way of a a good fantasy. That really is not unusual though.

    • As I’ve said in the past, the IPCC is merely the lowest common denominator on climate change.

      Jeffrey D: Again, what is the consensus? Is it the IPCC? Is it something else?

      The problem your side faces is that if you broaden the consensus to something most people agree with (GHGs/warming) it is not all that compelling for the , immediate, expensive, global mitigation agenda being pressed. If you tighten the claims to something fiercer that demands such an agenda, then it is no longer a consensus, or at least not nearly so much.

      My problem with your side is the bait-and-switch I see between the two. On the basis of the broad consensus, you want to proceed with the urgency of the small “consensus”.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      It isn’t a bait-and-switch w/ me. I’ve always been in favor of mitigation.

    • I’ve always been in favor of mitigation.

      And yet, mitigation is not really possible. Assuming that “mitigation” means reduction of CO2, there is no effective mitigation technology at this time. Nor is there likely to be for the forseeable future.

      The idea of “removing” CO2 from the atmosphere is not presently feasible on any scale that could even pretend to be effective.

      The idea of reducing CO2 output is made ridiculous by political considerations – and by Third World ambitions toward raising their people out of poverty.

      The prospect of “green energy” replacing fossil fuels is also technically infeasible at this time. We can certainly discuss that if you like but, frankly, it’s a loser for you.

      If you have an effective mitigation strategy, I’d like to hear it. But come bearing cost numbers for your strategy. Otherwise you’re blowin’ smoke – as most mitigation advocates have been for a long time.

    • ‘I have always been in favor of mitigation’ sort of sums up the problem:
      Focusing on things that have not worked, are not likely to work, and cost a great deal while not doing anything is a formula for bad results.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      After an accusation of bait-and-switch we get this:

      And yet, mitigation is not really possible. Assuming that “mitigation” means reduction of CO2, there is no effective mitigation technology at this time. Nor is there likely to be for the forseeable future.

      In this one line drama, the hero is a little boy in sausage curls. He is licking a lollipop as big as his head:

      -We ain’t gonna get mitigation unless every one sez so and I don’t wanna. [sticks out his tongue] So there. You’re wrong. Mitigation is impossible. Nyah.

    • Craig Loehle

      The “bait and switch” is to claim “consensus” (IPCC) but use extreme scenarios such as Hansen or Gore, which most IPCC scientists do not accept, as the basis for claiming urgency. It is not about mitigation or not. If you look at the likely scenarios in IPCC and what they claim will happen (assuming you believe it) it isn’t the end or the world.

    • And yet there is no evidence at all that mitigation can either be achieved or work.

    • Jeffrey –
      In this one line drama, the hero is a little boy in sausage curls. He is licking a lollipop as big as his head:

      I’ve noticed (long, long ago) that when those of your mindset have no answer, you resort to attack mode. You should know by now that it doesn’t work with me. And it makes you look more foolish than you are in reality.

      Now – mitigation. What have you got? What technology is available? What storage methods? Etc, etc, etc.

      I’ll repeat this –
      If you have an effective mitigation strategy, I’d like to hear it. But come bearing cost numbers for your strategy.

  71. Micky H Corbett

    I went to the MRS Fall Conference in Boston in 2001 when I was just finishing my PhD (it was in ferroelectric superlattice thin films) and I remember this great moment that reflects the way you can have skeptics and believers meet on common ground…and the data becoming the truth.

    There is a famous (maybe even notorious) physicist called Hitoshi Tabata who has done pioneering work in superlattices (basically layering ceramics at an atomic level).

    Tabata’s talk was on how he seemed to have figured out the issue with FeCo (I may be wrong about the exact alloy configuration)… in that in when you make this stuff, it can be either ferromagnetic, paramagnetic or anti-ferromagnetic.

    It was a real head-scratcher in the magnetics community.

    Tabata basically showed that the 3 different effects were due to orientation of the ceramics. So if you grew a layer of Fe then a layer of Co you could show this.
    So if the cubic unit cells that make up the basic crystal unit were flat on a side and lined up with the direction of the substrate edge they were on (or a 100 orientation) you got one property.

    At a 45 degree angle but still flat on a side (110) you got another. Then on the diagonal (111) you got another.

    It was a revelatory talk…the room was packed to the doors with standing room only.

    During the talk, Tabata took out a viewgraph, as in the kind you put on an overhead projector. It had 3 diagrams along the left side and 3 graphs along the right. He had stuck a piece of paper over each the right hand graphs so that he could do a little “reveal” trick as he went through the orientations and showed their magnetic properties.

    Crude yet brutally effective.

    And then at the end of the talk when the questions came around, a guy with an Eastern European accent basically denounced everything Tabata had done…because he had been researching this for 20 odd years and had tried this very thing and it HADN’T WORKED…

    It got a bit tense. Especially as Tabata kind of looked at him with a mixture of disbelief and Japanese politeness.

    Then he got out the viewgraph again. And in front of over 100 top magnetics experts, started to do the reveal trick. And slowly.

    He would go…”But if we grow the material like this…” (flip) “you get this…”
    “And if you grow the material like this..” (flip) “you get this…”

    And on he went.

    And on the other guy went talking about how it was all wrong…

    And then one by one people started to look round at the guy, including me in the end, and give him that “Sit down mate…he’s shown you why you are wrong” look…

    And that is the real crux here between believer and denier, much as I hate to write those words. As yet no-one has produced a definitive, thoughtful and correct experiment to explain the fundamental driver of AGW…

    So yes people are talking over each other and not at each other…and all the while I’m waiting for that viewgraph for CO2 forcing that has yet to appear.

    Because then I can make up my own mind.

    • Micky – There was something about your comment that causes me to depart from my usual reluctance to address long declarative statements that generalize about climate science. I think it was the literate and rational tone you used, and although the comment was declarative, the last sentence had an implicit question written into it.

      Climate science is not an experimental discipline, because nature dictates most of the parameters, and in the absence of a control Planet Earth somewhere else in the galaxy, we can’t observe the effect of CO2 without the confounding effects of other variables. Nevertheless, and despite your remarks, there is an enormous wealth of data in the literature bearing on the questions you raise. Much of it is inferential, but still persuasive, and while individual results are always beset with uncertainty, the aggregate data provide good estimates of CO2 forcing (1 deg C per CO2 doubling for simple derivations assuming homogeneity of tropopause and lapse rates, and a relatively similar 1.2 C per doubling for models encompassing the multiple heterogeneities involved). Similar considerations apply to a variety of feedbacks, albeit within too generous an uncertainty range for us to be satisfied.

      Given the large literature on these subjects, there may be some inadvertent hubris in your comment. You state that “As yet no-one has produced a definitive, thoughtful and correct experiment to explain the fundamental driver of AGW…”. I wonder, though, whether that is truly a statement about what “no-one” has done (given the constraints of the science), as opposed to what you have not made the effort to find out. I would add that this and other blogs are fine places to discuss details, to become misinformed, or simply to fight, but not a good starting place to learn – particularly for someone who seems to possess considerable scientific and technical sophistication.

      I don’t know how much you’ve explored already, or how much time you want to invest in learning more, but if you’re truly interested, there are good texts at various levels for a description of basic principles, and a few online sources that are also helpful (e.g., Science of Doom). Those might be places to start.

    • Micky H Corbett

      Fred

      I appreciate your enthusiasm but AGW climate science, as it is called, and you refer to, is still based on a supposed phenomenological effect of CO2 forcing. Climate science IS an experimental discipline if it is to call itself science. Otherwise it’s applied mathematics or theory.

      And yes I have done literature search after literature search for papers on forcing measurements but it keeps coming up with theory and models. The key is characterisation. Getting a physically measured relationship.

      If this is found then a lot of the arguments between skeptics and pro-AGW will be moot. You can see the basic effect. You can see how the interaction of various atmospheric components causes A to go to B. You can see its simplicity and its beauty.

      And if you don’t believe me just measure go it again. In fact don’t bother, we’re already doing that just to be sure!

      This is what would make me consider the ideas more fully. At the moment we really don’t know what are the drivers of our climate. Even at the basic level.

      As for hubris, I can see how that may come through. But I was trained to be a physicist and when it comes to science there is only truth. Backbreaking, honest, soul-baring, humbling truth. And this comes from test.

    • How about the earth’s energy balance being disrupted enough by doubling CO2 that things can’t stay the same? Is that something worth showing you?
      I find many skeptics start with saying they just need a simple proof, but end up not understanding them, and talking about their pet topics that are down in the weeds, and that have no relation to the big picture which is the energy budget.

    • To be clear – here you are talking about sensitive dependence?
      Extreme sensitivity around the region of a bifurcation? Or something else?

      But this is something utterly different from the way that AGW has been framed and if we are looking at standing spatio-temporal waves in the climate system – we are looking at the potential for decadal cooling.

      Reframing the discussion to still be right – and continuing the insults – is just an amusing nonsense. If that is the extent of your contribution to the dialogue – a superior condescension – what is the point?

    • Even talking about just the forcing, an impressive argument can be made. 3.7 W/m2 doesn’t sound much, but far exceeds anything the sun has done in recent millennia.

    • We are looking at 1.6W/m-2 carbon dioxide forcing since 1750. A very small decadal change that cannot be distinguished from natural variability – with the records that we have.

      See the tropical ISCCP-FD and ERBS data from 1985 to 2005 – http://isccp.giss.nasa.gov/zFD/an2020_SWup_toa.gif

      We can see both cloud and volcano in this record – and it is supported by surface cloud observation in the Pacific – that dwarfs the mooted CO2 effect.

      Over the longer term – there are changes in cloud, ice, snow, dust, vegetation that all affect albedo (and therefore Earth’s energy budget) much more it seems than recent Solar variability in the visible and UV spectrum.

      Carbon dioxide might trigger a chaotic bifurcation. Climate might be extremely sensitive to carbon dioxide. We don’t know and the risk is sufficient to take prudent action.

      But I keeping asking people to imagine what will happen to the politics if the planet doesn’t warm for another decade or three?

    • CH, in the last millennium, none of the previous minor climate changes are attributed to the ocean. They are mainly solar, and possibly volcanoes for brief periods. However, solar variation doesn’t appear to have been more than plus or minus 0.5 W/m2, and that was enough for the LIA, and maybe the MWP, so 3.7 W/m2 from doubling CO2 is significant.
      I always emphasize, it is about the forcing. You need look no further. This makes it simple enough for anyone, including those skeptics who want a one-number proof.

    • If we look at the composite satellite record – there is a fairly constant solar output.

      Lean, J. (2010), Cycles and trends in solar irradiance and climate, WIREs Clim Change 2010 1 111–122, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

      If we look at numerical methods of estimating longer term solar irradiance changes – they likewise look fairly minimal.

      ‘We conclude that the Sun cannot have been any dimmer, on the time steps of solar evolution, than it is now at activity minimum. On the other hand, ever greater solar activity would imply an ever larger mean solar irradiance. This means that, in epochs of minimal solar activity, the solar irradiance is even more constant than it is at the present time. Thus, to account for the apparent solar-climate link to times like the Maunder Minimum, one must invoke a more subtle linking between the full spectrum of the Sun’s output and many possible terrestrial links. This is obviously more complicated than invoking a change in solar irradiance, because the Sun’s output is better understood than the terrestrial response. We use Eq.(1) to argue that the Earth’s reflectance is the other climate parameter contributing to the net sunlight reaching Earth, so albedo is the logical global quantity to begin any search for an amplified terrestrial response to a changing Sun.’

      http://bbso.njit.edu/Research/EarthShine/literature/Goode_Palle_2007_JASTP.pdf

      Rather than irradiance – what is argued is that something caused major changes in ice, snow and cloud (for which there is quite a bit of qualitative evidence) and therefore Earth albedo and the global energy budget. Was the Gulf Stream involved? – http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/890/weakened-gulf-stream-caused-little-ice-age

      Was it to do with solar UV – which changes 10 times more than irradiance – and is perhaps the cause of current cold European winters?

      M Lockwood et al (2010) ‘Top-down solar modulation of climate: evidence for centennial-scale change’
      Environ. Res. Lett. 5 034008
      and Lockwood, M., Harrison, R., Woollings, T. Solanki, S., (2010) Are cold winters in Europe associated with low solar activity? Environ. Res. Lett. 5 (2010) 024001 (7pp)

      Oversimplifying intrinsic complexity is contra indicated. The big changes in climate are the result of changes in Earth albedo – not greenhouse gases or solar irradiance. e.g – http://www.bbso.njit.edu/Research/EarthShine/

      A 1% change in albedo increases reflected shortwave by 3.4% – http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/07/04/the-earths-energy-budget-part-four-albedo/

      You will note that the change in albedo between the mid 1980’s and the late 1990’s was 0.6% – or about 2 W/m-2 – far outweighing any direct greenhouse gas caused change in the period.

      I have seen albedo of 25 to 50% quoted on the blogosphere – so don’t hold me to it although it looks to be roughly feasible. – so is an 85 W/m-2 change possible?

      Don’t get me wrong I not saying we need to ignore the 3.7W/m-2 from carbon dioxide – but you are definitely looking at the wrong side of the equation for big climate change.

      I have noticed that there is this odd resistance to an Earth albedo that changes. Got no idea why.

    • Micky H Corbett

      Jim D

      You are assuming that Co2 can cause that effect of “disrupting the earth’s energy budget”. But are all factors accounted for and can you show how re-emitted radiation to the surface, combined with convection and water vapour processes have been characterised to give you that degree of certainty?

      Of course you can’t because the data doesn’t exist.

      I don’t believe that doubling the current Co2 level can cause the earth’s energy budget to be disrupted. It’s not that I think it’s a daft idea; there are some good theoretical reasons for it. But theory is not science. I don’t know what else there is going on and importantly I’m not making the mistake of saying “well it has to be this because it can’t be anything else”.

      I’m not committing to it and then only seeing what I want to see.

      I need to see data and measurement of the process and at least characterised simpler processes with some understanding of the interaction to lead to this forcing effect. Not a model based on what we think we know.

      We know quite a bit about re-emitted radiation but for that to result in a temperature increase of a surface requires a lot more testing of the phenomenon.

      And Jim, the reason that many skeptics say they need a simple proof is because that’s how you do science. You start small and build it up, always making sure you have characterised each step.

      Otherwise you fool yourself that you think you know when you don’t.

      Nature, as has been my experience, always seems to add more complexity to systems with two or more interdependent processes. You always need to find out what that is before moving on in your investigations.

  72. Have we found anyone yet who accepts for themselves the label of ‘denier’ or ‘believer’ ?

    Let me know.

    • I am undeniably skeptical.

    • I am unbelievably skeptical, but I may deny it.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      The science is convincing and the denialists are depressing.

    • Jeffery– You write that in a very similar tone as someone discussing their religion. Those types are often sad that others simply can not “see” the truth of their superstitions. What exactly is the difference? They site “evidence” (weak though it is) you site evidence (similar huh)

    • Jeffrey Davis

      They site “evidence” (weak though it is)

      A breakthrough! Yes. Exactly. That’s why it’s all so globularcluster depressing.

    • Rob,
      Ouch. That leaves a mark.

  73. Fred’s delusion is of the if you only knew what I know you would be convinced type. You can’t possibly have a dialogue because if you don’t agree you are wrong. Fred manages to ignore information he can’t incorporate into his world view – complex dynamical systems for one thing, is certain on things and their impacts that have no objective certainty – sulphates and GCM for instance and is able to create and defend a qualitative narrative that evolves only to reinforce the preconceived view. As a case study of talking past – nothing can get past an utter certitude in the qualitative narrative.

    Let’s try again. I know of 3 studies specifically addressing the next 10 years of potential lack of warming because of oceanic changes.

    ‘A negative tendency of the predicted PDO phase in the coming decade will enhance the rising trend in surface air-temperature (SAT) over east Asia and over the KOE region, and suppress it along the west coasts of North and South America and over the equatorial Pacific. This suppression will contribute to a slowing down of the global-mean SAT rise.’ ‘Pacific decadal oscillation hindcasts relevant to near-term climate prediction’ Takashi Mochizukia,1, Masayoshi Ishiia,b, Masahide Kimotoc, Yoshimitsu Chikamotoc, Masahiro Watanabec, Toru Nozawad, Takashi T. Sakamotoa, Hideo Shiogamad, Toshiyuki Awajia,e, Nozomi Sugiuraa, Takahiro Toyodaa, Sayaka Yasunakac, Hiroaki Tatebea, and Masato Moric

    ‘Our results suggest that global surface temperature may not increase over the next decade, as natural climate variations in the North Atlantic and tropical Pacific temporarily offset the projected anthropogenic warming.’
    ‘Advancing decadal-scale climate prediction in the North Atlantic sector’
    N. S. Keenlyside, M. Latif1, J. Jungclaus, L. Kornblueh2 & E. Roeckner

    ‘A new dynamical mechanism for major climate shifts’ Anastasios A. Tsonis,1 Kyle Swanson,1 and Sergey Kravtsov1

    One of the most important and mysterious events in recent climate history is the climate shift in the mid-1970s [Graham, 1994]. In the northern hemisphere 500-hPa atmospheric flow the shift manifested itself as a collapseof a persistent wave-3 anomaly pattern and the emergence of a strong wave-2 pattern. The shift was accompanied by sea-surface temperature (SST) cooling in the central Pacific and warming off the coast of western North America [Milleret al., 1994]. The shift brought sweeping long-range changes in the climate of northern hemisphere. Incidentally,
    after ‘‘the dust settled,’’ a new long era of frequent El Niño superimposed on a sharp global temperature increase begun. While several possible triggers for the shift have been suggested and investigated [Graham, 1994; Miller et al., 1994; Graham et al., 1994], the actual physical mechanism that led to this shift is not known. Understanding the dynamics of such phenomena is essential for our ability to make useful prediction of climate change. A major obstacle to this understanding is the extreme complexity of the climate system, which makes it difficult to disentangle causal connections leading to the observed climate behavior. ‘

    The satellite data from ERBS and ISCCP for the tropics are similar and suggest that cloud changes are the significant climate driver from the mid 1980′s to the late 1990′s. An order of magnitude greater than greenhouse gases, sulphates or black carbon.

    ‘Reexamination of the Observed Decadal Variability of the Earth Radiation Budget Using Altitude-Corrected ERBE/ERBS Nonscanner WFOV Data’
    TAKMENG WONG, BRUCE A. WIELICKI, AND ROBERT B. LEE III

    It is supported by surface cloud observation in the Pacific on decadal scales negatively correlated with sea surface temperature.

    ‘Evidence for atmospheric variability over the Pacific on decadal
    timescales’ R. J. Burgman,1 A. C. Clement,1 C. M. Mitas,1 J. Chen,2 and K. Esslinger1
    ‘Observational and Model Evidence for Positive Low-Level Cloud Feedback’
    Amy C. Clement1,*, Robert Burgman1 and Joel R. Norris2

    There is more than sufficient science to engender doubt in the simple narrative of AGW. But as I keep saying – chaos theory implies extreme climate sensitivity in the region of a chaotic bifurcation. Something that seems to elude both sides.

    • Why do the same people who believe in chaotic behavior also believe in ocean cycles? The ocean circulation is as chaotic as the atmosphere’s, and just as the atmosphere occasionally goes through mode changes, so does the ocean, especially due to its being driven by the chaotic atmosphere as well. I think longer examination of the ocean cycles will reveal they are not regular, and can’t be counted on for prediction.

    • please see below for response

      Cheers

    • Yes, JD, but short term examination shows that recent temperature history is most likely from those ultimately less regular concatenations of oscillations.
      ===========

    • Jeffrey Davis

      short term examination shows

      Well, take a little longer next time.

    • Heh, longer examination will take a little longer to do, given that the uncertainties pile up as we go into the past, and leap abruptly upward as we go into the future.

      Either you entirely missed my point, or you just underlined it. You pick.
      ============

    • D-O, doh.
      ======

    • I can worship the sun, but it only gets me sol far; sooner or later it’s ‘Oh, Lady Be Good’.
      ========

  74. Hi Marlowe!
    I’m sorry, but I don’t recall the name, but appreciate the compliment.
    (1) I do not agree with Roy Spencer, but mentioned him because Judith contends that we ought to be humble about our lack of full knowledge. I agree, but so should the IPCC and its supporters.
    For the record, my calculations are based on assuming the value of 3.7 W/m^2 as the forcing caused by doubling CO2 from 300 ppm to 600 ppm. Then I derived a temperature sensitivity which is 1/4 that of the IPCC (not including feedbacks), and corrected it by a factor of 2 because the IPCC has a truncation error due to not understanding the observed CO2 absorption spectrum. Thus I contend that the IPCC temperature sensitivity is too large by a factor of 2. This can be understood with an intuitive calculation:
    if CO2 doubling produces 3 degrees warming, then on increasing CO2 from 280 to 385 ppm (let’s round off to 300 to 400 ppm) we should expect 1/3 of 3 degrees = 1 degree assuming a linear relation. Because of saturation effects, however, the increase should be more-than-linear; I calculate 1.4 degrees. What does the historic record show from 1850 (or 1750) to today? 0.7 +/- 0.1 degrees. The IPCC prediction is a factor of 2 too high, way outside the measured values THAT HAVE ALREADY OCCURRED (not a computer projection). Because of saturation effects, future increases (as CO2 increases from 400 to 600 ppm) will be even worse (a factor of 3 too high, since 3 – 0.7 = 2.3 degrees instead of 1.4 – 0.7 = 0.7 degrees). In fact, my calculation using CO2 increase alone agrees with the historic record, so EXPERIMENTALLY net feedback is essentially zero, not Hansen’s factor of 2 greater than CO2 alone. This result should calm all the fears about global warming, unless you are a true believer.
    The agreement between my calculation and experiment could have been coincidental, with other important climate factors besides CO2 just cancelling each other (e.g. aerosols); I cannot disprove this ad hoc hypothesis (which I think is Roy Spencer’s as well). However, since the IPCC and their supporters are convinced of the prime importance of CO2 as the climate change driver, I have agreed to go along with their assumptions, and ignore Spencer and others. So you must have got one conclusion wrong.
    (2) How can I go against the established science? That’s what this whole furore over CO2 and climate change is about: how established is the science, and how believable are the IPCC and their supporters? The evidence of coverup and lying does not disprove the IPCC supporters, but casts suspicion. A lot of suspicion. I have argued so far mainly on the science. What gives me, a retired chemistry teacher, any credentials?
    The main evidence for the quantitative effect of increased CO2 comes from the infrared (IR) spectrum of the solid and liquid Earth, as seen from NIMBUS satellites. They show a black body spectrum (of about 288 K) minus bites taken out of it due to absorption by greenhouse gases such as H2O, CO2 and ozone. The IR spectrum of molecules is understood mainly by chemists, not radiation physicists or computer scientists. In fact, I argue in my Feb. 22, 2011 posting at http://judithcurry.com/2010/11/30/physics-of-the-atmospheric-greenhouse-effect/ (it’s the last major posting, near the end of the thread) that the textbook “radiative exchange” theory is so bad that it ought to be abandoned.
    (3) This ultimately comes down to belief in authority. Most human beings want security in their lives and their beliefs, and feel threatened if either is attacked. I can understand this. However, science ultimately must be determined by how well experimental facts (observations) match theory; this is a judgment that must be made by independent minds, not by blind acceptance of authority. I’m sorry if you got the impression that high school science teachers are authorities that always teach the truth that cannot be revised. If it will help you accept me as an authority on molecular spectroscopy, please know that before teaching high school, I spent 4 years in grad school at the University of Toronto under Prof. John Polanyi who won the 1986 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

    • Roger,
      Your calculations that have led you to think that the main stream calculation is in error by a factor of 4 is simply wrong. It is based on a faulty way of describing the radiative energy transfer. You do not take correctly into account the downwelling IR radiation (the back radiation), which increases with the temperature similarly to the outgoing radiation.

      You fail also in interpreting correctly the outgoing IR radiation spectrum as it is seen from space (or from the tropopause).

      All the differences between your calculations and the main stream results are just your errors based on your lacking understanding of physics. Based on your earlier comments you understand most points correctly, but you have still serious errors in understanding the radiative energy transfer.

    • Marlowe Johnson

      Roger,

      You don’t seem to be addressing my comments (e.g. aerosols, equilibrium sensitivity). Perhaps this thread is appropriately named :). Talking past each other indeed. Might I suggest that you take a look at Isaac Held’s new blog:

      http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/blog/isaac-held/

      I’d also recommend Knutti and Hergel (2008) as well as Andrew Dessler’s recent work on water vapour feedbacks.

      cheers,

      Marlowe

    • Marlowe, I had spent some time at Held’s blog and I’m not sure what you see there that I don’t. This is how he describes his purpose to a commenter there:
      “Fitting simple models to a GCM should make it easier to criitique the GCM (or at least that aspect of the GCM that is being fit in this way) since one can critique the simple model instead. But, as you say, this fit in itself says nothing directly about nature.”

      I read his postings as more of a way to evaluate the accuracy of models then an actual evaluation of their accuracy.

    • Roger Taguchi

      Hi Marlowe!
      I had a look at Isaac Held’s new blog. It shows the historic temperature increase of 0.7 +/- 0.1 degrees from 1850 to today, as I said. This actual data ought to be used to test different models which predict global warming, as I said. My model calculations show that the increase in CO2 alone is sufficient to explain this historic increase. Thus water vapour feedback apparently is nullified by increased cloud formation, aerosol formation, whatever. That’s what “net feedback is essentially zero” meant. I don’t have to go into details regarding each factor, because the historic data shows the net sum of the feedbacks is negligible compared to the action of CO2 alone. This agrees with the IPCC original assumption about the primacy of CO2, but disagrees with the ASSUMED positive feedback due to water vapour of 2 times the effect of CO2 alone.
      Hansen didn’t account for cloud formation, because it is too hard to do.
      We still don’t have to calculate cloud effects separately, because the historic data show the net effect of ALL feedbacks, if we subtract the one calculation which is relatively easy to do, the effect of CO2 increases (unlike water vapour, CO2 doesn’t condense and so doesn’t vary as drastically as water vapour around the globe). I trust this now answers your question about aerosols, etc. Just because this argument has not been printed in a textbook (so far) does not mean you should not try to understand it. Of course, Spencer or others could always say that the CO2 effect is just coincidental.

  75. I pretty much think you are right – we are in a cool ocean/atmosphere mode and these tend to last for decades in the instrumental and proxy record both. So while they are not cycles as such – they seem to be persistent standing waves with hydrological and temperature implications on which to hang at least a decadal hat. But it may all change tomorrow – we just can’t tell.

    Chaotic bifurcation is at least in principle deterministic and much of the climatic variation evolves out of changes in the Arctic Oscillation and the Southern Annular Mode – both created by planetary spin but influenced by ozone warming and cooling by UV in the middle atmosphere. I think the SAM might be an influence on the thermal evolution of the Humboldt Current and thereby ENSO – the dominant mode of climate variability and definitely a chaotic system in its own right. A small change in initial conditions?

    Even if chaotic – there is still the potential for unravelling complex factors, for persistent standing waves in the oceans and atmosphere and for possibly fairly limited predictability. It is just not simple cause and effect.

    The Holocene proxies are obviously all over the place – but they do show rapid change both up and down. I pretty much think anything is possible.

    • I also think it is wrong to think of the current ocean phase as a warm phase of a cycle. It could equally be a warm step on the way to a warmer step, like the atmosphere appears to be doing.

    • We are in a cool Pacific mode with a -ve PDO and more intense and more frequent La Niña. The cooler SST drives low level cloud formation. Which has an effect of course on the energy budget – energy is everything.

      Will this give way to a warm phase in a decade or so – as most seem to anticipate? I wouldn’t make that call – mostly because of the the 1000 year Solar Grand Maxima last century and the potential for a Solar Minima this century. But perhaps if the 400 years proxy records mean anything for the future. I think there are centennial changes as shown in cyclone frequency in Australia and millennial changes as shown in sediment records in South America.

      Pretty much anything seems possible.

    • Chief,
      Thanks for this series of comments. I am a big fan of your ideas/analysis.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      La Ninas last a decade? Since when?

      It’s funny. There have apparently been La Ninas and El Ninos back into the dim and distant but recently both have been warmer than they used to be.

      It’s almost as if there were an extra bit of energy in the atmosphere.

    • Jeffrey,
      Even if you are correct (and there is no reason to think you are) about the El Nino / La Nina oscillations being warmer, the next logical question is: to what effect are they warmer?
      More rain? Nothing significant. More storms? Nothing outside of historical bounds. More cold? Pretty average. More warmth? Nothing interesting (except to believers).
      Enough to justify the policy demands of the AGW faithful?
      YGTBK.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      Fine. Yes, I see. Now look at the global mean temperature record. The PDO’s may cycle low and high but the decadal global warmth keeps climbing. The PDO is definitely not dominating the record or there would be a “wow” in the record. Not steady warming.

      http://climateprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/GISS1.gif

    • The PDO is said to work on approx a 30 year timeframe. The ‘wow’ is the cooling phase that lasted from the 40s until a climate shift in the mid 70s. The warm phase of the PDO lasted from then until 1998 ish since when it is said to be in a cool phase. Tsonis et al suggest that these kinds of oscillations can combine chaotically to cause sudden and unpredictable climate shifts. I am not hard over on this theory, only explaining what CH was saying.

    • The Interdecadal Padific Oscillation (IPO) is probably the best known name for the multi-decadal pattern involving both ENSO and the PDO. It is a standing wave that influences global hydrology over 20 to 40 year periods. It produces abrupt shifts in hydrology over much of the globe. In other words – empirically it behaves like a complex dynamical system.

      Many people have failed to recognise that this is a basin wide system. Verdon and Franks (2006) used ‘proxy climate records derived from paleoclimate data to investigate the long-term behaviour of the PDO and ENSO. During the past 400 years, climate shifts associated with changes in the PDO are shown to have occurred with a similar frequency to those documented in the 20th Century. Importantly, phase changes in the PDO have a propensity to coincide with changes in the relative frequency of ENSO events, where the positive phase of the PDO is associated with an enhanced frequency of El Niño events, while the negative phase is shown to be more favourable for the development of La Niña events.’

      Verdon, D. and Franks, S. (2006), Long-term behaviour of ENSO: Interactions with the PDO over the past 400 years inferred from paleoclimate records, Geophysical Research Letters 33: 10.1029/2005GL025052.

      There seems to be an observed cloud effect – with low level cloud forming over cool seas and decreasing over warm seas. Zhu et al (2007) found that cloud formation for ENSO and for global warming have different characteristics and are the result of different physical mechanisms. The change in low cloud cover in the 1997-1998 El Niño came mainly as a decrease in optically thick stratocumulus and stratus cloud. The decrease is negatively correlated to local SST anomalies, especially in the eastern tropical Pacific, and is associated with a change in convective activity. ‘During the 1997–1998 El Niño, observations indicate that the SST increase in the eastern tropical Pacific enhances the atmospheric convection, which shifts the upward motion to further south and breaks down low stratiform clouds, leading to a decrease in low cloud amount in this region. Taking into account the obscuring effects of high cloud, it was found that thick low clouds decreased by more than 20% in the eastern tropical Pacific… In contrast, most increase in low cloud amount due to doubled CO2 simulated by the NCAR and GFDL models occurs in the subtropical subsidence regimes associated with a strong atmospheric stability.’

      Zhu, P., Hack, J., Keilh, J and Zhu, P, Bretherton, C. 2007, Climate sensitivity of tropical and subtropical marine low cloud amount to ENSO and global warming due to doubled CO2 – JGR, VOL. 112, 2007

      Burgman et al (2008) looked at decadal meteorological changes in the central Pacific. ‘The literature suggests that in addition to the 1976 shift, another climate transition occurred in the mid 1990s [Peterson and Schwing, 2003; Chen et al., 2007b]. These changes coincide with observed decadal-scale changes in the tropical mean radiation balance [Wielicki et al., 2002; Wong et al., 2006; Chen et al., 2002]. There is also evidence for changes in the atmospheric circulation over this period. Vecchi et al. [2006] and Zhang and Song [2006] show that while the Walker circulation has weakened over the past century, there is an increase in strength during the 1990s.
      Hoerling and Kumar [2003] show that subtropical subsidence was stronger after the 1990s than in prior decades.’

      http://circulaciongeneral.at.fcen.uba.ar/material/seminarios09/Burgman_etal_2008.pdf

      Clement et al (2009) looked at north eastern Pacific cloud cover – but noted that south east Pacific cloud patterns (from fewer observations) were similar. ‘The time series of total and low-level cloud cover averaged over the NE Pacific (115° to 145°W, 15° to 25°N) are displayed in Fig. 1, A and B. Both COADS and adjusted ISCCP data sets show a shift toward more total cloud cover in the late 1990s, and the shift is dominated by low-level cloud cover in the adjusted ISCCP data (bars, in Fig. 1B). The longer COADS total cloud time series indicates that a similar-magnitude shift toward reduced cloud cover occurred in the mid-1970s, and this earlier shift was also dominated by marine stratiform clouds (bars, Fig. 1A).’

      http://www.drroyspencer.com/Clement-et-al-cloud-feedback-Science-2009.pdf

      We have both surface observed cloud changes in the Pacific and Earth Radiative Budget Satellite and International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project data that show large (and similar) changes in the tropical energy budget.

      We have the cooling of the mid 1940′s to the late 1970′s. This lacks a convincing alternative explanation. Sulphates are commonly mentioned – or perhaps changes in temperature measurement methodology at sea. The latter has not resurfaced in recent times? And even with post war sulphate increases – the net forcing is positive in the period. The decline in sulphate emissions post 1970′s may have warmed the planet a little ~ 0.1 W/m-2/decade – but the change in albedo (mostly from cloud changes) between the mid 1980′s and the late 1990′s was ~ 0.6% or 2W/m-2. http://isccp.giss.nasa.gov/zFD/an9090_ALB_toa.gif

      Finally we have the current cooling – http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/UAH_LT_1979_thru_Feb_2011.gif

      Something that is likely to get worse – as the current cool Pacific (-ve PDO and strong La Nina) persists for another decade or 3. See for instance – http://www.pnas.org/content/107/5/1833.short

      The huge blue area in the central Pacific shows the persistence of the current cool mode. SST are likely to rise a little over the next few months – but with the SOI still near a record high – a La Nina seems quite likely to persist into the Southern Hemisphere spring and beyond. This will continue to drive surface temp down.

      http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2011/anomnight.3.14.2011.gif

      I think it probably did dominate the record with a couple of warming episodes and 1 cooling in the last century. It occurs as a result of Earth albedo changes caused by ocean/atmosphere interactions. Make sense as a logical proposition based on peer reviewed science? The future is very uncertain as a result.

      To return to the idea of complex dynamical systems – this implies that in the region of a chaotic bifurcation that climate is wildly sensitive. More than that, a priori there seems no coherent case for people to change the atmospheric composition of the planet. Why take chances with critical systems that are inherently complex and uncertain. But we do need a new narrative because the old one is pretty threadbare. This is the perfect place to quote my little sister’s latest facebook entry – ‘If nothing else works, a total pig headedness and unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through.’ Except it won’t do at all.

  76. At the end of the day it is and always be about politcal tribes;

    http://nofrakkingconsensus.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/peer-into-the-heart-of-the-ipcc-find-greenpeace/#wpl-likebox

    I feel bad for serious scientists caught on ground zero of this but many choose to remain obtuse to an obvious reality.

  77. I’m convinced Scott Adams reads this blog.

    http://www.dilbert.com/

  78. 35% of Republicans believe there is solid evidence of global warming compared to 75% of Democrats

    For “evidence of global warming”, read “have totalitarian disposition, and are hence drawn to any old excuse for raising taxes”.

  79. “Talking past each other” seemed like a good place to post this.

    As someone who is totally outside of the world of politics, it seems many of these “rules of discussion” are broken every day. Where do *YOU* fall in this flow chart when it comes to discussing various aspects of climate change? Did you even make it as far as the “You cheated” box?

    http://thoughtcatalog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/A-Flowchart-to-Help-You-Determine-if-Yoursquore-Having-a-Rational-Discussion.jpg

  80. Willis Eschenbach

    Judith, you’ve got to be kidding when you say:

    Lets for now not talk about whether we like the words “believer” and “denier.” They are clearly defined here in a way that is not pejorative.

    Dozens and dozens of people to whom those labels have been applied have strongly protested their use. Your (and his) claim that they are “not pejorative” is a joke. You don’t get to say if they are pejorative. That privilege is reserved to the people to whom they are applied.

    You are as ridiculous as someone standing up and saying “I’m gonna use the word ‘nigger’ in my presentation, but I assure you it is clearly defined here in a way that is not pejorative.” Do you really believe that would take the sting out of the word?

    So no. The use of “denier” is not appropriate. In addition, the insistence on its use marks the user as someone who doesn’t give a fig about the feelings of the people they are discussing.

    Directly into the circular file for me. Next time, pick someone who does care about the feelings of the people that Hoffman so casually insults.

    Judith, I don’t take instruction in communication from people like Hoffman, he’s too stupid to even be polite.

    I’ll say that again.

    I don’t take instruction in communication from someone too stupid to be polite. Being polite is the very first step in communication, the grade school level. Hoffman’s too dumb to notice that, and too foolish to notice that he can’t just redefine the hurt out of it. And he’s your poster boy for communication?

    For you to back Hoffman up in that lowers you in my estimation. How can you believe that you have some magic wand to make nasty words nice? You’ve clearly been in academia too long.

    Because out here in the real world, if a person objects to the name you call them, a polite person uses another name. They don’t make nonsensical claims that somehow the use of their ugly terminology is OK. They don’t claim they’ve defined the ugly out of “kike” or “wop” or “denier”, that’s a joke.

    Sheesh …

    w.

    • Willis, my point is that there are some important arguments here that should be considered, but that they won’t receive consideration if people can’t get past their knee jerk reactions to someone’s use of the word “denier” or “believer.”

    • The use of the word “denier” clearly invalidates any “important argument” that might or might not be considered. No knee-jerk reaction there: it’s as simple a point as refusing to talk about local traffic regulations with the guy living next door, if he shows up in full Klan regalia.

      A “climate broker” that goes around labeling people as “deniers” is like an animal lover that keeps beating his wife.

    • omnologous, this is flawed logic. The use of the word “denier” does not invalidate any argument. It may reflect poor political judgment, but it does not invalidate the argument.

    • Judith – don’t simply restate your point. You can pick-and-choose a host of analogies by now: the concerned-citizen neighbor that is an out-and-out KKK member; the wife-beating animal lover; Willis’ “speler” and “suckers”. Or you can find the old essay by Douglas Hofstadter (sarcastically) advocating the use of “whe” and “bhe”.

      Please elucidate how in each and every case the “argument” is not invalidated by the arguer’s behavior. I say, it is as a matter of course that the average human being will stay away from any of those persons.

      There is an old saying in Italian, “Mussolini got the trains run on time”. Perhaps he did. Does that mean we should be lapping up Fascist treatises on railway management? I think not.

    • yes, average human beings may stay away from arguments if they don’t the person making the argument (with the disliking being unjustified or not), and hence these average human beings will not be convinced by the argument. But this does not mean that the argument is incorrect

    • What is the point of making an argument but to make it to some kind of an audience? Argument, says Wiktionary, comes from to declare, show, prove, make clear, reprove, accuse. Declare it, show it, prove it etc etc to whom? To oneself?

      If an argument is made and there’s nobody to hear it, who will be able to say it is a “correct” argument?

      I am feeling Socratic tonight. 8-)

    • rational people and especially scientists should be able to look past an inflammatory word or two and who the author is, and pay attention to the actual argument.

    • rational people and especially scientists should be able to look past an inflammatory word or two and who the author is, and pay attention to the actual argument

      Are you sure about that?

      …On rare occasions, we may edit a [reviewers'] report to remove offensive language [...]. We ask reviewers to avoid statements that may cause needless offence;…

      Note that Nature.com does refer later to “robust language” as admissible. I hope everybody understands that the use of “deniers” is not just “robust language”. For me, it is equivalent to addressing a feminist convention starting with “How are you wh*res doing?”. An Italian comedian did just that a few years ago, and the joke was deeply non-appreciated to say the least.

      And if you want to check some more about the trouble with “offensive” language wrt a “rational” audience….

    • ‘Denier’ is one of those lovely words with a variety of meanings. It is distinctly pejorative with its link to holocaust denial, yet it is a word fundamental to skepticism and worn proudly by the likes of Lindzen. I take it in the spirit in which it is offered, which in this war is usually aggressive and repugnant, and beyond the palisades of the Geneva Conventions.
      =============

    • When is “denier” not derogatory? If one is extremely careful with his language, it can mean someone who is explicitly denying something specific. But 99 times out of 100, it’s used for its dramatic effect. Even when used correctly, it’s always unnecessary.

      When someone puts a charged word like that in a supposedly neutral-toned scientific paper, the only real purpose can be to take a jab. Is that was scientific papers are for?

    • JC Denier does not seem to be regarded as a pejorative or offensive word in academic circles.

      That’s the ultimate propaganda victory of all – passing off a pejorative term as non-pejorative.
      The counterpart to ‘denier’ is something like Willis’s ‘sucker’; do you think ‘sucker’ would be thought of in the same way? Do you think the sucker Consensus that runs the journals would even allow it to be published?

    • ferd berple

      Prejudicial speach invalidate the communication. It is a signal that you believe your argument is weak, but you are prepared to win at any cost. This encourages a breakdown in communications and an escalation of the stakes.

      Nothing says the use of the work “denier” is accidental. It is a way of stirring the pot to create controversy to encourage greater funding to study the questions at hand.

      If the “science is settled” then CO2 is no longer a matter for science. It is an engineering question. Time to halt research grants to climate scientists and replace them with engineering contracts to manufacturers to move forward with practical solutions.

    • It’s certainly a signal that you’re not leaving your personal prejudices at the door when you don your scientist hat. It’s unprofessional. It’s extremely unprofessional.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Judith, he might have good arguments, he might not. But the fact that he is too obtuse to be polite means that his understanding of communication is seriously flawed. And I mean seriously flawed. That’s grade-school level communications. Since he obviously doesn’t understand the simple stuff, why should I waste my time?

      This makes me very leery of his arguments. I don’t know what kind of hidden assumptions are in them. But since he thinks being impolite is no hindrance to communication, I doubt that they are worth a bucket of warm spit.

      Might I be wrong? Assuredly. But there’s a universe of people out their claiming to tell me how to better communicate my ideas. I don’t have time for them all, by any means. So I tend to read those that don’t make stupid communications mistakes.

      “Dere Judith. I’m raiting a treatise on how to spel. Please don’t think these are errers, I’ve redifinned the meaning of the werd ‘spel’.”

      Would you read the rest of that treatise on spelling? He might have some brilliant ideas in the middle, but would you waste time on it in that vain hope? Similarly, a man who poses as an expert on communication but starts out by insulting a good chunk of his readers is clearly an academic who doesn’t have a clue. I’ve read too many of them, thanks.

      I just don’t get it. People have objected to the use of pejorative terms, say “kike” or “wop”, and you as a polite person don’t use it. You don’t get to say “Well, the original meaning of ‘kike’ wasn’t derogatory, and that’s how I’m using it.” You don’t get to say “I’ve defined kike in a non-pejorative way, so all you kikes just better suck it up and get used to it.”

      But when it comes to “denier”, which is equally unpleasant, and which a host of people have said they don’t like, you stand on principles and defend the use of that? Really?

      Look, if you ask, I’m willing to ignore the fact that the author is too dumb to be polite. But I will not ignore you claiming that you (and he) get to redefine words that others find offensive. If they find it offensive, it is offensive.

      So if you say I should ignore his use of the term, I will do so. But if you claim it you have redefined it so it is not a nasty, pejorative term in the minds of the hearers (which is all that counts, not what you think), I’ll call you on it all day long.

      w.

    • Impoliteness is a symptom of intellectual bankruptcy?

    • Willis Eschenbach

      No, impoliteness is a sign that Hoffman doesn’t understand communication.

      w.

    • Judith – re: ” Denier does not seem to be regarded as a pejorative or offensive word in academic circles.” I don’t know about academic circles but one of the connotations that the “denier” tag has been loaded with is that of “being in denial” as a pseudo psychological diagnosis of those who either doubt, or do not accept, the IPCC view of climate science and the policy implications drawn from it. In the UK there have been psychological conferences on the topic of “Climate Change Denial” run by people who have clearly never done any first hand investigation of the actual scientific arguments and their merits. I see this both as a poor indication of the level of scientific rigour in psychology as well as the power of funding to increase the payload of bandwagons!

    • On the one hand we have this:

      In addition, the insistence on its use marks the user as someone who doesn’t give a fig about the feelings of the people they are discussing.

      and

      Being polite is the very first step in communication, the grade school level.

      And on the other hand we have this:

      Hoffman’s too dumb to notice that, and too foolish to notice that he can’t just redefine the hurt out of it.

      [...]

      But to give that kind of erroneous testimony, not in a random paper he might written quickly, but to Congress itself, marks him to me as a man driven by a very serious agenda, a man who doesn’t check his work and who pays insufficient attention to facts in testimony.

      [...]

      Yeah, that’s the real truth about con men, they’re all innocent as the driven show. It’s not their fault that you take their opinion as fact. They’re just putting it out there. If you don’t dig under the surface to find out it’s a scam, way down to the bottom because you can’t see it from the top, then it’s your fault for getting fooled

      [...]

      Why is Muller up there at all? He is clueless about the temperature records,

      [...]

      Which is why Dr. Muller’s “science by Congressional fiat” is so disturbing.

      [...]

      Everything we’ve seen to date is adequately explained by hubris, foolishness, incompetence, and desire for power.

      [...]

      His Congressional testimony was also colossally stupid public theater.

      [...]

      Sorry, but on my planet that’s a deliberate, ugly and very un-necessary slap in Anthony’s face.

      [...]

      Nor was Anthony’s SPPI paper a direct attack on Muller’s work, while Muller took the offered Congressional microphone and used it to do a Kanye West attack on Anthony.

      [...]

      I’d say he needs to learn when to keep his mouth shut, and stop hiding behind Congress’s skirts to attack people …

      [...]

      I can see that this might be just some huge dumb mistake on his part.

      Wow! Now there’s a man who appreciates the value of politeness.

    • Yes – and he also knows when it’s not appropriate – or effective.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Joshua | April 2, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Reply

      On the one hand we have this: …

      Joshua, you are correct that I was not polite to Hoffman. Here’s another real-world lesson for you, and perhaps Hoffman as well.

      When someone steps out swinging and opens up the game by calling people unpleasant names, people will be unpleasant in return.

      I see you are pretending to be surprised by that … or perhaps the surprise is real. Either way doesn’t bode well for you …

      w.

    • In other words, Willis, you abide by the “Mommy, mommy, they did it first” method of justification. Gotcha.

      Here’s what I find amusing about that – another comment of yours:

      “That’s grade-school level communications.”

      But I do appreciate your concern about my welfare.

    • You don’t get it, Josh – maybe cause you’ve never been in a bar fight where the other guy doesn’t try to talk you to death (like you do), but comes after you with a broken bottle. Being polite at that point it stupid. Talking is stupid. Only “action” is effective.

      And if you think the analogy is inappropriate, you have no clue about the realities of the debate.

    • You know, Jim, I’d be inclined to give you a more substantive response, but you’ve already made it clear that you’re ‘on to my game, you see through my pathetic attempt at a ruse.

      You know that I’m a Eugenics-supporting, warmist, cultist, who is trying to fool everyone so that we can carry our our plot to kill millions that we consider beneath us.

      You have also demonstrated that you are brave enough to stand up to my bullying tactics to “shut off” the debate.

      I just want to add, further, that I am impressed with your “active” contributions as a keyboard warrior in preventing us Eugencists from realizing our evil plot. I can only count my lucky stars that there aren’t more brave and courageous souls such as yourself.

    • ROTFLMAO!!!

  81. Willis Eschenbach

    curryja | April 2, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Willis, my point is that there are some important arguments here that should be considered, but that they won’t receive consideration if people can’t get past their knee jerk reactions to someone’s use of the word “denier” or “believer.”

    OK. I’ve read his paper. I still don’t like his terminology. He uses:

    Deniers
    Skeptics
    Convinced
    Believers

    I would say instead that those four categories are more properly called, respectively:

    Organized Realists
    Realists
    Suckers
    Organized suckers

    Lets for now not talk about whether we like the words “Suckers” and “Organized suckers.” They are clearly defined here in a way that is not pejorative.

    In the climate “organized realists” movement, there are groups like the Heartland Institute, Cato Institute, Hoover Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, and others. In the climate “organized suckers” movement, there are groups like the IPCC, Greenpeace, the National Academies of Science, entire political parties, the Center for American Progress, the governments of most countries, WWF (World Wildlife Fund), much of the mainstream media, the Environmental Defense Fund, and others.

    If I understand what Hoffman is saying, it is that in general the realists want to talk about the science, and the suckers would rather talk about anything but the science. As a result, not a whole lot of conversation goes on.

    How am I doing so far? Because if my reading of Hoffman is correct, I find that I agree with him up to there … go figure.

    However, he goes on to say:

    Integrative form of the dispute. Resolution of the debate over climate change would likely require an integrative shift (Raiffa, 1985) in the focus of the discussion away from positions (climate change is or is not happening) and towards the underlying interests and values that are at play (the validity of the scientific process, the risk related to the likelihood and impact of action or inaction, the economic implications of action or non-action, and the myriad ideological issues around personal freedom, the proper role and size of government, and others).

    See, Judith, this is why I don’t waste my time. This charming fellow thinks that the ‘positions’ are “climate change is or is not happening” as a bi-valued function. So one position is that climate is not changing? Really?

    Or we could be generous and assume (with no supporting evidence) that he actually means the two positions are “humans either do or do not affect the climate” … but that’s not the question at issue either, it’s not two positions, it’s not an either/or deal.

    His solution to his imaginary “positions”? An “integrative shift” to a debate about “the validity of the scientific process, the risk related to the likelihood and impact of action or inaction, the economic implications of action or non-action, and the myriad ideological issues around personal freedom, the proper role and size of government, and others,”

    Well … thanks for the offer, but I’ll stick to talking about the science. Because until we determine that a problem exists, discussing solutions to the problem is premature. That’s the schism right there, Hoffman is correct about that.

    Let me point something out to you that you may have missed, Judith.

    Hoffman says the problem is the realist side wants to talk about the science, and that the suckers side wants to talk about risk. So they’re talking past each other.

    Hoffman’s solution to the problem? Segue the conversation away from scientific “positions” (do humans affect the climate) to a discussion of … well … color me surprised, he thinks instead of science we should talk about risk.

    Coincidence? You be the judge. Me, I’d say my initial evaluation is confirmed. Hoffman is just an apologist for the suckers and the organized suckers. His solution to the problem is to stop talking about the science. I’ll pass.

    w.

    PS – I suppose I can’t assume that people understand that my categories of “realists’, “suckers” and “organized suckers” are sarcastic. They are intended to emphasize the power of names. They were chosen to demonstrate the fact that if you don’t like being called a “sucker”, having someone say “we’ve defined it in a way that is not pejorative” means nothing. It is offensive if you are offended by it, no matter what someone says about the definition. And simple politeness requires that we respect someone’s opinions in that regard, and avoid applying labels that they find offensive.

    To me, that’s obvious. To Hoffman, not so much.

    • Perhaps the answer is to use a tit-for-tat approach, ie do unto others as they do unto you.
      So to those whose use the term “skeptic”, use the term “convinced”. And to to those who use he term “denier”, use the term “sucker” or “truebeliever”.
      The suckers over at RealClimate will I’m sure agree.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      You’ve misrepresented Hoffman by a large margin, though I doubt that was your intention. First, you say:

      See, Judith, this is why I don’t waste my time. This charming fellow thinks that the ‘positions’ are “climate change is or is not happening” as a bi-valued function. So one position is that climate is not changing? Really?

      Or we could be generous and assume (with no supporting evidence) that he actually means the two positions are “humans either do or do not affect the climate” … but that’s not the question at issue either, it’s not two positions, it’s not an either/or deal.

      Hoffman never said there were only two positions. He said positions, then offered two examples:

      Resolution of the debate over climate change would likely require an integrative shift (Raiffa, 1985) in the focus of the discussion away from positions (climate change is or is not happening)

      You say Hoffman is a waste of your time, yet the reason you do so is not a true reason. You misunderstood what he said. This happens again when you say:

      Well … thanks for the offer, but I’ll stick to talking about the science.

      All of the things Hoffman listed are based (or at least should be based) in science. You’ve set up a false dichotomy. Hoffman never suggested anyone stop discussing the science so your response makes no sense.

      If we ignore the issue of word choices, all of the complaints you have raised are based upon you misunderstanding Hoffman.

  82. Willis Eschenbach

    Joshua | April 2, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    In other words, Willis, you abide by the “Mommy, mommy, they did it first” method of justification. Gotcha.

    I see the problem, Joshua. You’ve mistaken me one of those “turn the other cheek” guys, one of those good Christian fellows.

    I’m not one of those folks at all. I’m a reformed cowboy. Reformed cowboys are like good Christian grizzly bears. They work really hard at being nice and polite … but I wouldn’t advise poking them with a stick.

    Someone walks in and opens up by rubbishing my name or questioning my motives, sorry, but I’m not going to blow in his ear and invite him to insult me again. Instead, I’ll blow his rubbish right back in his face.

    People think karma is some slow kind of affair. Me, I think it’s like hitting a golf ball in a tile bathroom … or taking a stick and poking even the most Christian of grizzly bears …

    w.

  83. Willis Eschenbach

    Judith, you say:

    Denier does not seem to be regarded as a pejorative or offensive word in academic circles.

    Right. And nigger doesn’t seem to be regarded as a pejorative or offensive word in racist circles … your point being? All that proves to me is that your average academician is no less dense than your average racist.

    Judith, sometimes I despair and my heart goes out for you, you really should get out of academia for a while – it’s damaging your moral compass. THE USER OF THE WORD DOESN’T GET TO DECIDE IF IT IS HURTFUL!! That privilege is reserved for those whom the word is used to describe.

    So yeah, Judith, you’re probably right, I doubt very much if people in academic circles do care about what the plebes think, or worry if their words might hurt someone …

    w.

    • Willis, I’m sorry, but “hurt” is an irrelevant word in science, and scientific papers and arguments aren’t made with regard to who they might “hurt.” Scientists whose arguments are being refuted might have their feelings hurt by this, and it might even sour their chances for career advancement. Michael Mann’s feelings were definitely hurt as a result of the Climategate episode. Is this relevant? No.

      In the same way, the whole “denier” issue is irrelevant to the science, it is all part of a political game: on the one hand, activists are trying to discredit skeptics with the “denier” term, and then some claim they are offended or victimized by the term “denier.” To ignore that this dynamic exists or attempt to attempt to prevent people from using this term seems pointless and futile. Legitimate people use this term in a way that is not intended to be pejorative. Richard Lindzen (a jew) has proudly proclaimed himself as a denier, as have several other serious scientists (Tomas Milanovic has self referred to himself has a denier on this blog).

      Google the word “denier” then google the word “nigger.” Not comparable in terms of how the words are used or how the use of the words are perceived.

    • Judith, you’re right in saying that the “denier” issue is irrelevant to the science. However, it is a pejorative term, unless used clearly in a humorous context, or if directed at oneself, and screams loudly to the observer that the user has no valid argument left and so is prepared to stoop to using such pejorative terms against their opponents.
      For this reason alone, I switch off as soon as I see that word, and am less inclined to consider anything further from that person.
      Perhaps this is wrong of me, but that’s human nature – and I don’t believe I’m alone in this.

    • Judith

      The party that controls the language controls the debate. Language is important.

      Al Gore’s messaging was brilliant. ‘The Planet Has a Fever.’ It immediately frames the conversation around what do we do to stop the fever. It had a huge impact on the debate, as nobody could be bothered to ask publicly what the 98.6 norm for the planet actually was.

      Similarly, the cancer meme is also brilliant. People with cancer usually die. Oncology is a specialist section of medicine, and it is normal to consult specialists dealing with a life threatening disease. But global warming is far more similar to something like Type II diabetes, a medical condition that is behaviourally influenced and remediated, and something that must be managed.

      ‘Denier’ (nudge, wink) was cast in stone in 2005. People deny all kinds of things, but climate change deniers has been defined by the people defending its use as people who deny science and are spiritually akin to skinheads denying the Holocaust.

      There are other legitimate uses of the term. There are, in fact, people who deny climate science is valid or useful, at least. But the legitimate uses of the term occur outside the climate debate. The political faction that delights in using the term to describe their opponents use other people’s legitimate uses of the term to justify their own crude caricatures.

      The use of honest and precise vocabulary is essential for a productive debate. The people who use denier to describe you or Richard Lindzen are not trying to be honest or precise. They are not trying to have a productive debate.

      They are trying to control the terms of discourse to maintain their current advantage in public discussions.

      If their use of denier was in any way normal or based on good faith attempts to establish a dialogue, the reaction of people who are offended by the use of the term would count.

      As in, “Oh. I’m sorry–I didn’t mean to offend you. How about contrarian or skeptic?”

      It’s Newspeak hate speech used for a reason. To pretend otherwise is incredibly naive.

    • tom this discussion originated from an academic publication that used the word denier as part of a sociological classification of people in the climate debate. It was not used in a political context or with a political motivation. “believer” was the parallel term on the other side for “denier.” In this context, I would argue that the use of the word was legitimate. My request in my original post was to look past the use of the word denier, and consider the arguments. Some people couldn’t do that, and I regard that behavior as irrational as the pejorative use of the word denier.

    • Dr Curry,
      The opposite of ‘believer’ is ‘non-believer’, not ‘denier’.
      There is a good book called “The True Believer”, that is rather famous and has been in print for many decades. ‘Denier’ is a term intimately linked to anti-Semite holocaust deniers.
      There is no clinical use of the term that is not designed to insult the one so-tarred and to shut down discussion by putting the skeptic on defense spending time talking about how pointing out that there are holes in AGW consensus is not in fact the same as pretending the Holocaust did not occur or defending those who committed it.
      This is not really so different than in the 1960′s in the South some racist, pretending to be enlightened, would talk about how there were “good ni**ers” who “knew their place” and those “upitty ni**ers” who dared to point out that racism was vile and dared to demand their rights be recognized.
      Skeptics are entitled to be treated with the same respect as anyone else. The false appeals to authority, the false appeals to degrees of skepticism, and all of the other subtle tools used to help believers avoid dealing with the main point of skeptics, that AGW remains a poorly supported set of claims about future catastrophe and a social movement that uses science to impose costly ineffective policy demands.
      The interesting question is why have so many other wise smart people bought into supporting AGW and are OK with demonstrated fraud, bad faith dealing, personal attacks on skeptics and the rest?

    • Judith,

      Analysis of the language needs to look at it as professionally generated and managed communication. That’s the real point. I’m not suggesting a top-down campaign to drive contrarian views under a rock. But a succession of professional media planners and messaging experts from a variety of NGOs have worked on this, adopting each others’ most effective terminology and a ‘best practice’ of marginalizing the opposition quickly took root.

    • Y’all are banging your heads against a wall. Dr. Curry has been using the term”denier” for at least as long as this blog has been around. You are asking her to consider the fact that she has been insulting many of her readers/commenters, unintentionally or otherwise, all this time. It’s not going to happen.

      There is of course nothing scientific about the term “denier.” Not even when it is adopted as a “socioliogical” term. (There being very little scientific about sociology itself.) Everyone I have ever met has denied something so, absent the implied moral connection to holocaust denial, denier is an empty term that tells you nothing. But the same is also true of “climate change” and the hybrid “climate change denier”. What contentless terms. Is there anyone, anywhere, who denies that climate changes? These terms only have meaning as code words used by the members of the consensus tribe.

      Everyone saying “denier” was introduced into the climate debate as the most vile sort of insult is of course correct. But you are asking someone to acknowledge they have swallowed the propaganda of those who share her political leanings, and admit that she has been wrong all this time for doing so. Again, not gonna happen.

      For what little it is worth, my view is I could care less what someone calls me. Use of the term denier, just like use of the “n-word,” says more about the speaker than it does of the target of the slur. Dr. Curry is one of the minority of progressives in this debate who can disagree with someone without being reflexively condescending or insulting. The fact that she adopts such an insulting term, without intending the insult herself, is what it is.

      I’m not suggesting anyone else should not be offended, but I find that, given the overall tone of this blog and the tenor of Dr. Curry’s comments in general, just ignoring the whole issue here works for me.

      I grew up in a distinctly blue collar, Democratic family in Chicago in the 60s and 70s. If I had argued with everyone who used the “n-word” every time it was uttered, I would have just had to abandon them all. The thing was, at their core they were good people for the most part, and their adoption of racist terminology was most just a matter of following the herd. Few of them had any real contact with others outside their small homogeneous tribe. I made comments when I thought appropriate, and tried to discuss the issue with those who would listen. But at some point you have to accept that some people can not see past their tribe’s prejudices.

      Progressive academia, even outside climate science, is a tribal as it gets. So good luck getting the word “denier” dropped from their lexicon. Dr. Curry has been drummed out of the climate science tribe already. It may just be too much to ask her to turn her back on the progressive academic tribe as well.

    • With even Judith digging in to maintain the the deliberately misleading “denier”, the only question now is how to match it.

      “Sucker”? “Alarmist”? “Propagandist”? “Liar” ? Suggestions please….

    • I tend to use ‘believer’ or ‘alarmist’. One emphasizes the religious devotion apparent, and the other the ‘Boy Who Cried Wolf’ aspect of it all. Neither carry the implied insult of ‘denier’.

      As I’ve known all along, it’s the rhetoric. It is a dead giveaway that the ‘alarmist believers’ fundamentally understand that they have a poor case.
      ================

    • I am not digging in to maintain the use of the word denier (and certainly not its use to refer to skeptics). I am stating that the word is used in legitimate contexts (including the paper that is referred to in this post), and that dismissal of this paper and its argument because of it uses the word denier is irrational.

    • Re: JC, legitimate use of “denier”

      We all know the real motivation is subliminal association with the Holocaust. How can this ever be legitimate?

      (But yes, papers that use the n-word or the d-word need/should not be dismissed out of hand).

    • the use of the word denier has many contexts and connotations. How exactly is it that you know the motivation of every person that has used this word in the context of the climate debate? Because a few people have explicitly used it in this context, you infer that all people are using it in this context? That is a logical fallacy. I have used the word, and it is not in any context that is associated with the Holocaust.

    • Yes, I don’t the exclude the possibility that a handful of people using the term don’t have nefarious intent. Just like some people using the n-word maybe didn’t.

    • Actually, all of those terms are regularly used. “Warmist” also comes to mind, as does “fraud,” “statist.”

      We can also add being compared to Eugenicists.

      I’m sure that if you spend about two minutes perusing the comments (or in Willis’ case, the posts) over at WUWT (or read hunter’s comments here), you can probably double the list.

    • Joshua,
      History is what it is, unless you think Orwell was writing a ‘how-to’ book.
      The more you wiggle on eugenics, the more people notice the similarity.
      But good luck with all that.

    • In the early days of this blog, there was a concerted effort to get two words banned from the blog: “denier” and “climategate.” Bart verheggen made extensive arguments for why the word climategate should not be used, and certainly people like michael mann found the word offensive, since the “gate” connotation connected them to Richard Nixon and his illegal activities.

      I decided not ban either word, since each is widely used in discourse and even in the published literature. So to those of you who don’t like the word “denier,” are you prepared to see “climategate” banned along with the word “denier”?

    • Climategate happened.
      There are the pesky e-mails.
      I have yet to see any evidence that skeptics deny the Holocaust.
      If you have any, please let us know.
      false equivalence is annoying.

    • JC are you prepared to see “climategate” banned along with the word “denier”?

      “Climategate” refers to demonstrable endemic fraud in the alarmist climate elite.
      “Denier” is a fraudulent alarmist attempt to invoke the Holocaust.

      What kind of deal is this exactly ?

    • the two sides of the debate view these two words very differently.

    • Well do they really?
      Or does noble-cause corruption trump their basic morals, the end justifying the means?

    • The Noble Cause of providing cheap energy to the poor trumps the Noble CAGW Cause intrinsically, and because the CAGW ignored Nature. So the Noble Cause of the CAGW true alarmist believers is triply cursed, by balance of Causes, by unnaturalness, and by exaggeration.
      ==========
      =====================

    • “The people who use denier to describe you or Richard Lindzen are not trying to be honest or precise. They are not trying to have a productive debate.”

      How would you evaluate the productivity of someone who analogizes the work of climate scientists, who think that GW is most likely to be A, to Eugenicists?

    • Just to add – the fact that Lindzen made such an analogy, (which lowered my impression of him considerably), does not speak directly to the validity or lack thereof using the term “denier.”

      But it does speak to the level of professed “outrage” about that term when the “outraged” seem unmoved by rather outrageous negative stereotyping frequently found in the “denier/skeptical” camp.

      Note that the article in question distinguished between “deniers” and “skeptics.” Do folks think there there is no valid category of “deniers,” – let’s say people who would predisposed to reject theories of AGW because of their political orientation (as referenced in the article) and without regard for the scientific evidence? That would be curious because I often see the charge made that “warmists” disregard any scientific evidence because of their predispositions. Do people think that activists on the different sides of the debate are categorically of a completely different nature in terms of how they process information and reason?

      I also find it curious that presumably, some folks who take such umbrage at the term “denier” would come from the same political orientation as those who frequently express concern about an obsession with “political correctness.”

      As a side note, it seems that people who are so upset about the term “denier” are identifying with “‘deniers” rather than skeptics. Unless one completely dismisses the possibility that “denier” would be an apt description for anyone, why wouldn’t people just consider themselves to be in the “skeptical” camp? Read the author’s definition of the term “denier.”

    • You’re generalizing again, Joshua. You keep on doing that and it’s just as nonsensical as the use of the “denier” word. Generalizaton is a rhetorical device used by either the very clever in order to deceive their audience – or by the stupid/ignorant. And you’re neither stupid nor ignorant.

      AFAIK, nobody has compared ALL climate scientists or even ALL climate scientists, who think that GW is most likely to be A, to Eugenicists. But for those who believe that the deconstruction of industrialized society, the reversal of technological progress and the continued abject poverty of the third world peoples with the inevitable attendant death rates is a desirable action…. it’s more than appropriate – it’s accurate, if only a pale comparison. Even the Eugenicists didn’t contemplate the scale of misery, suffering and death that the Believers would perpetrate.

      For those, like you, who have private agendas (like proving the tribalism of the sceptics) there are other terms. Unless, of course, you approve of those above mentioned actions, in which case, you place yourself with those who are accurately described by the comparison that offends you so.

      I won’t ask….. but if you keep on with your vendetta, you’ll tell me anyway –
      http://www.scrapbook.com/poems/doc/24681/149.html

    • andrew adams

      AFAIK, nobody has compared ALL climate scientists or even ALL climate scientists, who think that GW is most likely to be A, to Eugenicists. But for those who believe that the deconstruction of industrialized society, the reversal of technological progress and the continued abject poverty of the third world peoples with the inevitable attendant death rates is a desirable action…. it’s more than appropriate – it’s accurate, if only a pale comparison.

      Wow, if your straw man was any bigger Christopher Lee would be dancing round it with his band of villagers singing “sumer is icumen in”.

    • Comparing the modern AGW social movement to eugenics is applying history rather well.
      Pretending it is not is just another believer dodge.

    • “In the same way, the whole “denier” issue is irrelevant to the science…”

      I’m not a scientist but I find it hard to believe that labeling someone like this shouldn’t be considered unprofessional if not unethical.

      I think people are offended by it (and particularly a scientist) because of what it is meant to say, “The science is settled. If you disagree, you’re wrong and your opinion is irrelevant.”

      The damage it does is to color someone’s work before it’s even been read. It’s use is intended to sabotage debate by discrediting the victim’s opinion. It is intellectual bullying and bigotry.

      Though it tells me more about the person using it than the target. Anyone who uses the term “denier” is an intellectual Archie Bunker.

    • “Anyone who uses the term “denier” is an intellectual Archie Bunker.” – nice one, GregP, very nice!

      The expression of ‘denier’ simply has no place in a scientific debate and I find the rationale offered by Dr Curry a bit threadbare.
      I might add that it is of course ok to study the usage of this expression in a scientific paper, provided this paper is not about how to communicate better in a ongoing, politically driven debate, but simply about the usage of abusive language. That is different, I suggest.

      As for scientist using this term in academic essays – well, wasn’t there this famous attitude one had to observe in academia, i.e. to approach a scientific problem sine ira et studio?

    • Dr. Curry,
      Academia is the center of pc speech practices which demands people censor or curtail or suppress their word choices so as not to offend the latest favored victim group based on how words make members and supporters of that group feel.

  84. Judith – i certainly seem to recall nature publishing essays with the word “denier” in it

    Please do not sidestep the issue.

    You claimed that rational people and especially scientists should be able to look past an inflammatory word or two and who the author is, and pay attention to the actual argument.

    I have demonstrated that your statement does not apply to the reality of rational people and especially scientists publishing on Nature magazine. Inflammatory words by reviewers are actively discouraged and might cause a heavy editing of the reviewer’s comments. Rational people and especially scientists at the receiving end of inflammatory words by reviewers are not asked by Nature to pay attention to the actual argument.

    I suspect, the same happens in any scientific magazine on this planet.

    Hence, if I find an inflammatory word or two, as a rational person and especially as a scientist I have all the rights in the world to be my own Editor and (like the Editors of Nature) to remove that statement from my reality (that is, to consider it scientifically irrelevant).

    Please show me why it should be otherwise, or give up in the attempt ;)

    • the point is that most people do not regard the word “denier” as inflammatory. I’ve googled for a list of “inflammatory words” and I can’t find any (let me know if you find one). the point is whether something is inflammatory or not depends on the context and who is using the word. If you look at the wikipedia article on the word “nigger” you will see this point made in several places.

    • And in the day, most people did not find the ‘n’ word as offensive.

    • Dr Curry, Viv, et al
      I agree with hunter in that it should have been believer and non-believer in the paper. Denier is not a term accepted by skeptics and as such should not be used at all except humorously. People who are extremely skeptical of the evidence are just that: extremely skeptical. They are not in a separate category from lukewarmers or skeptics who only see weakness in the models, for example. I would say sloppy thinking mars the paper.

      Of course people like Lindzen can use it ironically or sarcastically, but he doesn’t call other skeptics deniers you might notice.

      I agree with GregP.

      I don’t want to see it banned or anything, and I wish we could just stop the whole conversation because it disrails the central argument which is what I believe the people who use it intend to do.

      Why do you think that most people “do not regard “denier” as inflamatory”? Evidence? I would guess that most people (well me and 3 friends I polled) do not wish to seem uncivil or disrupt the flow of conversation and put up with it, but, if asked, would be tremendously relieved if they never heard it again.

      BTW, you have built a wonderful site and you are exactly the kind of person that climate science needs. Would that there were more of you. Many thanks.

    • JC most people do not regard the word “denier” as inflammatory

      So most people who use the term intend no comparison with the Holocaust, and most people who read it don’t see a connection with it?

    • If that isn’t the ultimate argument from authority. If google says it’s not inflammatory, it’s all settled.

  85. Even after reading, how denier is linked specifically to denying the holocaust, it is difficult for me to understand the reactions against this word. (In Finland holocaust deniers are so rare, that it has never become a hot issue).

    There are certainly people who deny totally the whole value of scientific results supporting AGW. What is the right way of describing them? Skeptic is certainly not, as skepticism refers to uncertainty, not to certainty in any direction. Non-believer is closer to skeptic as to the opposite certainty as far as I understand.

    So far denier is the only word that I have met that describes correctly the people who feel certain about the non-existence of significant AGW and deny fully the value of all opposite arguments.

    • The problem is that the word ‘denier’ is being leveled so broadly that *any* amount of doubt expressed about CAGW gets the epithet. I think most skeptics are open to AGW and even believe that there is sufficient evidence that proves AGW is occurring, but not for CAGW.

      Personally, I prefer ‘unconvinced’. I don’t even care for ‘skeptic’ because it implies that I’m disposed to disagree with the CAGW claims. But I’m not. Maybe they’re right but without sufficient evidence, I remain ‘unconvinced’ and I don’t prescribe to the Precautionary Principal.

      I wonder how many others who are labeled ‘skeptic’ or ‘denier’ are just unconvinced? The burden of proof is on the C/AGW folks; not for the unconvinced to disprove their claims.

    • John Carpenter

      The word “believer” is similar to “denier” in the CAGW side. If you use the word “believer” among that crowd, you will be called out as one who is belittling the science. The term puts them in a “religious” context that many of them take offense to similar to that of “denier” to skeptics.

      “Convinced” and “unconvinced” seem the most neutral terms one can use to label which side you lean toward.

      Regardless, many on both sides relish using these types of terms to agitate one another during debate. The terms are by no means inflammatory in standard context, but when used in a climate science debate they are. How many times have you seen evidence of this while reading climate blog threads? If I had a dollar for every….well you know… I would be quite wealthy. ;)

    • John,
      That believers deny they are believers is such great irony.

    • John Carpenter

      poetic justice

    • andrew adams

      “Convinced” and “unconvinced” seem the most neutral terms one can use to label which side you lean toward.

      Not really – “unconvinced” suggests some kind of doubt. Some on the “skeptical” side have no doubts at all that AGW is not happening and/or is not a threat. Whether they deserve to be called “deniers” they aren’t “unconvinced”, nor “skeptics”.

    • If you use the word “believer” among that crowd, you will be called out as one who is belittling the science. The term puts them in a “religious” context that many of them take offense to similar to that of “denier” to skeptics.

      Then “believer” is precisely the term we should use as long as “denier” is still in use.
      And Judith will I hope start using it too, to balance out her use of “denier”…

    • believer is the word Hofman used as the counter to denier. this is apt, IMO. convinced and skeptics are also good. scientists or other rational people don’t want to find themselves labeled as either denier or believer.

    • Lucia Liljgren uses the term “stone cold denier” to refer specifically to the Claes Johnsons and others who literally deny the greenhouse effect. That seems fair, because the “stone cold” part makes abundantly clear that the term is being used in a very narrow and specific way. The problem is when it’s used alone, in which case it’s always a broad brush. And broad brushes are always a bad thing in any context.

    • ChE,
      There are believers who think we are going to become Venus due to AGW.
      They are still believers. They are just badly informed believers.
      Those who lack the understanding of physics to mistakenly claim CO2 is not a ghg are still skeptics, just badly misinformed ones.
      Here is a way to look at this you may find useful.
      Many people believe there is ET life. A small subset of those people believe that UFOs are evidence of ET life. A smaller subset of those believe ET is busy abducting and probing people. The first position is reasonable. The second two are much less so.

    • I would agree with that (for example, we can see many, many examples in this very thread of broad brushes being used to paint people who think that GW is probably A).

      But note that Hoffman specified his definition of “denier” as distinct from his definition of “skeptic.” I get objecting to the misapplication of the term – fair enough, but I think that there are folks out there that fit Hoffman’s description of a “denier.”

      Would it be better to substitute another term for those who do fit the description? Sure, why not – just as it would be better to not accuse (in particular Jewish) climate scientists as trying to “scientifically cleanse,” just as it would be better to not broadly analogize climate scientists who think that GW is probably A to Eugenicists (let alone apply that paint with a finely tipped brush), to call people “frauds perpetrating a hoax,” etc.

      Let s/he who has not violated political correctness cast the first stone.

    • The term “denier” was used as early as 2005 to compare skeptics to holocaust deniers. Are there examples of innocuous uses of the term in the climate debate (or in science generally) before the word was coined as a comparison between skeptics and holocaust deniers?

      Somehow I suspect that if someone tried to come up with a new definition for the n-word, the historical targets of that noxious slur would not give a rat’s behind how the speaker intended the word to be taken.

    • Are there examples of innocuous uses of the term in the climate debate (or in science generally) before the word was coined as a comparison between skeptics and holocaust deniers?

      I don’t know about innocuous (that would depend on precisely what you consider innocuous) – but I think it is too general to assume that everyone who used the term in 2005 or earlier for people who would fit Hoffman’s definition of “denier” was referencing holocaust denial, let alone that every use of the term for people who would more accurately fit Hoffman’s definition of “skeptic” was meant to reference holocaust denial.

      As for how the term is used now, I think it is way to big a stretch to assume all uses of the term as indicating an allusion to holocaust denial.

      That said, I am in complete agreement that the “climate debate climate” would be much less heated, (from an anthropogenic introduction of hot air), if terms such as “denier” or “warmist” were not used (along with a reduction of likening climate scientists who think that GW is likely A to proto-Eugencisists).

      The climate debate climate is not unlike many, many other politically-related debates where “tribes” dig in and call each other names. As far as I’m concerned, most attempts to characterize one side or the other as being more or less tribal runs in contrast to basic characteristics of human behavior.

    • But of course you get to toss your stones and barbs and pretend you are just an innocent objective bystander.

    • I’m human also, hunter.

    • If I am cut, do I not bleed?
      My bet is that most of us would get along pretty well if we just met where they serve some decent bbq and cold beer and we could talk this out in person.

    • But note that Hoffman specified his definition of “denier” as distinct from his definition of “skeptic.”

      And why do you believe that Hoffman should be allowed to unilaterally redefine the word?

      I think that there are folks out there that fit Hoffman’s description of a “denier.”

      Can you name one?

      just as it would be better to not accuse (in particular Jewish) climate scientists as trying to “scientifically cleanse,”

      That brings up another question – how many Jewish climate scientists are out there? Just askin’

      just as it would be better to not broadly analogize climate scientists who think that GW is probably A to Eugenicists (let alone apply that paint with a finely tipped brush)

      You’re still generalizing – and you’re either picking the wrong group or I was wrong and you are truly ignorant. The proper wording you’re looking for would be climate scientists who believe beyond question and reason that GW is IS A, is catastrophic and MUST be countered regardless of the cost to humanity

      Let s/he who has not violated political correctness cast the first stone.

      Who ever told you that I’m “politically correct”? They lied.

      Political correctness has led to as many violations of human rights as eugenics – although admitedly not so egregious.

    • ferd berple

      “So far denier is the only word that I have met that describes correctly the people who feel certain about the non-existence of significant AGW and deny fully the value of all opposite arguments.”

      That argument cuts both ways. Notice what happens when I change just one word (anthropogenic to natural). By that definition the IPCC is a denier of NGW.

      “So far denier is the only word that I have met that describes correctly the people who feel certain about the non-existence of significant natural GW and deny fully the value of all opposite arguments.”

    • You sound just like certain racists back in the 1960′s who just couldn’t find a better word for those African Americans who dared demand their rights and pointed out the destructive nature of racism than the n-word.
      Of course ther is a better word:
      Skeptic.
      You just cannot handle actually admitting that skeptics have valid ideas or full humanity.
      Instead you hope no one will call you out on your effort to dehumanize those with whom you disagree.

  86. JC: rational people and especially scientists should be able to look past an inflammatory word or two and who the author is, and pay attention to the actual argument.

    That works ok for what people do say in their arguments, but not for what they leave out. And it’s the latter where sophisticated deception can hold sway (like leaving out awkward data without mentioning it, or just withholding data).
    A rational scientist-type person who ignores motive in a situation like this is just a babe in the woods.

  87. The term ‘denier’ is a calculated piece of dishonesty.
    That the climate journals and establishment have adopted it – as Judith tells us – tells us that the climate science profession is by and large dishonest.
    I propose that as long as the ‘denier’ keeps being used to describe skeptics, skeptics should use a term like ‘liars’ to describe the group formerly known as alarmists, warmists, believers , convinceds, etc.

  88. Willis Eschenbach

    curryja | April 3, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Reply

    tom this discussion originated from an academic publication that used the word denier as part of a sociological classification of people in the climate debate. It was not used in a political context or with a political motivation. “believer” was the parallel term on the other side for “denier.” In this context, I would argue that the use of the word was legitimate. My request in my original post was to look past the use of the word denier, and consider the arguments. Some people couldn’t do that, and I regard that behavior as irrational as the pejorative use of the word denier.

    How can this be so hard to explain?

    Judith, if you said you don’t like the name “Judy”, and would I call you something else, “Judith”, or “Dr. Curry”, just not “Judy”, I’d say “Sure.”

    I, and many others, say to you we don’t like the name “deniers”, and would you call us something else, anything, just not deniers. Instead of saying “Sure,” you say oh, no, denier’s not a pejorative term, and you say “denier” is the parallel term for “believer” (really? Not “unbeliever” or “nonbeliever”?). You defend the use of the term for a host of valid, logical, really good reasons, and you know what?

    I DON’T CARE! That’s not what polite people answer to such a request. Polite people say “Sure, I’ll call you something else, no problem.” They don’t try to endlessly justify the offensive term, or explain why the other person is an idiot for being offended when it’s not pejorative. If you don’t like “Judy”, that’s good enough, we don’t question why you don’t like it. We don’t try to convince you that you should like it.

    We just call you “Judith”, or some name other than the one you don’t like. Why is that hard to understand?

    w.

    PS – My grandmother was in charge of a number of “displaced person’s” camps in Germany after WWII. She thought Holocaust deniers were the most despicable of human beings, because she was there. The people she took care of had been in the camps, and took her around the camps, and told her of what had happened there. For her, to be a denier of the Holocaust was the ultimate insult to the sacrifice and death of millions of human beings, denying their pain and their suffering. To be a denier was lower than even the people who committed the atrocities, people that she also had known in Germany, because at least they admitted what they had done.

    So that’s what you are so idly toying with. That’s what “denier” means to a whole host of folks out here, myself included. I can never hear it without thinking of my grandmother telling us kids about the people she had known who were missing whole patches of skin that had been removed to make lampshades out of their tattoos. As a young man, I didn’t understand how anyone could deny that. After all, my Grandmother (and countless others) had seen the results of the Holocaust, couldn’t they just ask her? But I adopted her unending contempt for deniers.

    So for you to claim that it’s just another term, no harm no foul, reveals a shocking ignorance of the term and its historical use. For some of us out here it has immense historical baggage. I will ask you again. Are you going to be polite and stop using “denier” and defending it, or are you going to tell me once again how it shouldn’t bother me when you insist on calling me a name I find extremely unpleasant?

    PPS – Per your previous request, earlier I had set aside my considerations about “denier” and read Hoffman’s nonsense. I commented on it above … your response, as always, would be much appreciated.

    • The resistance to this basic courtesy by people who are so careful in other settings says a lot to me about how deep a chord the power of AGW belief strikes.

    • Read this wikipedia article on climate change denial.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change_denial

      Your analysis of the use of denier in this context as inflammatory etc does not hold up to objective scrutiny.

      i reproduce here the wikipedia text on Meanings of the Term

      The August 2007 Newsweek cover story “The Truth About Denial” reported that “this well-coordinated, well-funded campaign by contrarian scientists, free-market think tanks, and industry has created a paralyzing fog of doubt around climate change.”[8] “As soon as the scientific community began to come together on the science of climate change, the pushback began,” according to University of California, San Diego historian Naomi Oreskes.[8] The article went on to say that individual companies and industry associations—representing petroleum, steel, autos and utilities, among others—formed lobbying groups to enlist greenhouse doubters to “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact,” and to sow doubt about climate research just as cigarette makers had about smoking research.[8] Newsweek subsequently published a piece by Robert J. Samuelson, who called the article “a vast oversimplification of a messy story” and “fundamentally misleading” because although global warming had already occurred, we “lack the technology” to unwind it, and the best we can hope to do is cut emissions. He argues that “journalists should resist the temptation to portray global warming as a morality tale… in which anyone who questions its gravity or proposed solutions may be ridiculed”.[22]

      Journalists and newspaper columnists including George Monbiot[10] and Ellen Goodman,[11] among others,[12][13] have described climate change denial as a form of denialism.[8][9] Several commentators, including Goodman, have also compared climate change denial with Holocaust denial,[11][12][13] though others, such as conservative radio talk show host Dennis Prager, have decried those comparisons as inappropriate and trivializing Holocaust denial.[23][24] Institute of Economic Affairs member Richard D. North notes that outright denial by climate scientists of the major points of scientific consensus is rare, though scientists are known to dispute certain points. He says, “It is deeply pejorative to call someone a ‘climate change denier’. This is because it is a phrase designedly reminiscent of the idea of Holocaust Denial …”. He acknowledges that “there are many varieties of climate change denial”, but says that “[s]ome people labeled as ‘deniers’, aren’t.”[25] Peter Christoff also emphasizes the distinction between scepticism and denial, he says “Climate change deniers should be distinguished from climate sceptics. Scepticism is essential to good science.”[12]

      The environmentalist writer and activist George Monbiot stated in his Guardian opinion column that he reserves the term for those who attempt to undermine scientific opinion on climate change due to financial interests. Monbiot often refers to a “denial industry.” However, he and other writers have described others as climate change “deniers,” including politicians and writers not claimed to be funded by industry groups.[3][4][5][15][26][27][28]

      Mark Hoofnagle defines denialism as the employment of rhetorical arguments to give the appearance of legitimate debate where there is none, an approach that has the ultimate goal of rejecting a proposition on which a scientific consensus exists.[2][29] In recent years the term has been associated with a series of views challenging the scientific consensus on issues including the health effects of smoking and the relationship between HIV and AIDS, along with climate change.

    • Judith –
      The relevant part of that wiki article is –

      Richard D. North notes that outright denial by climate scientists of the major points of scientific consensus is rare, though scientists are known to dispute certain points. He says, “It is deeply pejorative to call someone a ‘climate change denier’. This is because it is a phrase designedly reminiscent of the idea of Holocaust Denial …”.

      In the mid 40′s I read the accounts and saw the photos of the camps.

      In the 60′s I saw the beginnings of the denialist movement – and it related directly to denial of the Holocaust – nothing else.

      In the 90′s My wife worked for AMS – her boss was Dr Bob White – and he was grilled by Al Gore repeatedly in attempts to elicit support for AGW. He failed, but he ended by calling Dr White a “denialist” with the specific implication of Holocaust denialism.

      I later watched Al Gore use that word and specify the Holocaust connection as well as others. And then others adopted the same language. Witness the repeated attempts even here to label sceptics as “flat-earthers” etc. The “cigarette” and “abortion” arguments are almost universal in the blogosphere even though they have no relevance to either the science or the debate.

      Since then Wikipedia has experienced severe “gatekeeping” wrt to anything climate related. On a scale of 1 to 10, my trust in Wiki – and in the purported history of AGW and related subjects – – is something less than 1.

      Note please – I have no doubt of your sincerity – and honesty. But my experience for the last 50 years is that those who use the term, use it as a pejorative, with direct reference to the Holocaust. This, of course, has changed with the passing of years and generations to the present common usage by those who are ignorant of the origin of the word and the repugnance of those who understand the implications. So they try to escape the anger by making excuses. But for some of us there is no acceptable excuse.

      One more point – you say that use of the word in scientific contexts should be separable from the science. In a scientific context, that may be true. In a human context it is not. And both scientists and non-scientist sceptics are human. You look for bridges between the scientific and sceptic communities. Using/excusing/explaining that word is simply a way to pour more gasoline on the fire and burn whatever bridges are still extant.

    • Mark Hoofnagle defines denialism as the employment of rhetorical arguments to give the appearance of legitimate debate where there is none, an approach that has the ultimate goal of rejecting a proposition on which a scientific consensus exists.

      What then is the term for employment of rhetorical arguments to give the appearance of settled science where there is none?

      And why is the ‘scientific consensus’ always just treated as if it is objective and honest, whereas in fact it is is is funded politically and will thus tend to have an inbuilt bias for conclusions favourable to politics?

    • Dr. Curry,
      Please read the article again.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      curryja | April 3, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Reply

      Read this wikipedia article on climate change denial.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change_denial

      Your analysis of the use of denier in this context as inflammatory etc does not hold up to objective scrutiny.

      i reproduce here the wikipedia text on Meanings of the Term …

      Wikipedia? You’re quoting Wikipedia on climate science???? Gadzooks!

      I forgot to include “Wikipedia Climate Science” in the list of “Organized Suckers”. William Connoley got thrown out of Wikipedia for constantly abusing his position to unethically rewrite and censor the Wikipedia climate science pages. However, the group of people he had gathered around him during his time as wikipedia climate czar are still there, beavering away at keeping the Temple of Wikipedia Climate pure and free of heresy. And they are very successful. Anyone who seriously quotes Wikipedia on a contentious climate science issue has not been following the Wikipedia climate rewrite wars saga.

      And once again, despite my asking you politely, and despite other people agreeing with me, and despite evidence presented that the connection with “Holocaust denier” is not uncommon and not accidental, and despite my telling you why the term is highly offensive to me personally …

      … you want to tell me I’m wrong, that it’s not offensive, and Wikipedia says so, so there. That’s your final answer?

      Look, Judith, I have asked you politely. I ask you again in the name of human decency. Shut up about deniers. Please. My grandmother would read you the riot act so hard your ears would ring for days for using that term, and she would be right to do so. “Deniers” is a term specifically chosen to evoke “Holocaust deniers”, which is a very, very ugly connotation. It has been identified as such, and objected to for that reason, by a number of people. I am only one among many who decries the use of the word for that reason. You are screwing around with deeply held feelings evoked by that word, feelings that you truly don’t seem to understand.

      Why are you doing this? Why your insistence that you have some right to be offensive to others? Whence comes your claim that you (and Wikipedia) get to decide which words others find offensive? Why can’t you just let go of the word?

      Again I say, if you say you prefer not to be called Juditzy, I wouldn’t think of calling you that. I wouldn’t ask you to justify your choice. I wouldn’t claim that Juditzy is a perfectly valid name. I wouldn’t give you the Wikipedia definition. I’d just nod my head and say “OK”. You find it offensive, so I won’t use it. It’s that simple.

      For example, I used to call AGW supporters “warmists”, because I thought it was a neutral term. Then a couple people said in seriousness that they didn’t like it. I didn’t argue, I didn’t ask why. I said “Fine”, and selected “AGW supporters” as a more descriptive and less emotional term. Why not? I had no attachment to “warmists”.

      Why are you not willing to do the same? Why your insistence that the use of “deniers” is just fine?

      I’m surprised, dear lady, surprised. Which may make no difference to you, but which saddens me.

      w.

      PS – Even in the non-Holocaust sense, “denier” is still pejorative. This is because “deny” has the unspoken meaning of “deny that which is true”, and Peter denying Jesus three times before the cock crowed. It is in this sense that it is applied to the Holocaust deniers. However, it retains that sense in the absence of the Holocaust.

      Now I’m curious as to what it is that the group Hoffman identifies as “deniers” (but who seem more like “organizations that are skeptical”) are denying. I know of none that deny that the planet seems to be generally warming. And more to the point, the positions taken by scientists working for those organizations don’t seem much different than those of other skeptics. So what are they denying?

      Me, I’m a heretic. I think that the earths temperature is primarily regulated by homeostatic mechanisms, and that as a result variations in forcings make much less difference than believed … what am I denying? Well, I deny that climate science has the right paradigm to understand what’s going on … does that make me a denier?

  89. I’m afraid this may get posted a whole bunch of times, but I am re-posting in segments because the whole post keeps getting snagged.

    Moderator – please delete the multiple posts if they all come through later.

    You’re mistaken, Willis. I never, remotely, considered you to be one of “those.’

    I have simply observed that in this case, you have failed to apply the same standard to yourself that grounds your outrage regarding the behavior of others. To me, that inconsistency is reflective of a potential bias that affects your reasoning.

    I also have no particular beliefs regarding karma.

    And btw – on top of your failure to be “polite” to Hoffman, and your (what I consider to be grade school-like) justification of your behavior based on a “He did it first” calculus, I also should note that you failed to acknowledge that were extremely impolite to Muller (“hiding behind skirts,” “agenda-driven,” responsible for “foolish,” science, etc.)

    As far as I know, he was never impolite to you or anyone else in the climate debate community – not the least in a public forum.

    I get that you disagree with his methodology, his announcement (with caveats) of his preliminary findings, and his use of Watts’ data – but note that Watts himself posted of his “inside” (I’m paraphrasing) insight into BEST’s methodology and offered only positive remarks, and, that in criticizing Muller’s use of Watts’ data you are using a very similar argument to many in the “believer/convinced” community who say that they need to control access to data for fear that they would be misused by others.

    And Willis, I happen to know some “reformed cowboys,” (for example, on of my closest neighbors grew up as a rancher in Oregon) and the ones that I know would never justify their own immature behavior on the basis of someone else’s behavior. In contrast, they would accept responsibility for their behavior without pointing the finger. Given that I don’t know you personally, I wouldn’t presume to make an assessment of your character, but my best guess is that your impolite behavior is less a reflection of being a “reformed cowboy” than it is the degree of bias that influences your perspective on the climate change debate. You are far from unique in that regard.

  90. I’m with Willis on this. Four of my uncles and my father were with the troops who liberated the Holocaust camps. In all the years after the war, they only talked about it once. And that talk was brought on by someone who was a “denier” in the most repugnant sense. Luckily, it was a TV news broadcast because I doubt that he’d have survived a person-to-person talk with then even though they were all in the 70′s at the time.

    Those who use the term deserve nothing but contempt. There is no excuse, no explanation, no mitigating circumstances will wash with me.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      There are a number of people who have publicly and proudly labeled themselves deniers. Do you really think they deserve nothing but contempt?

    • In the African American community, there are people who proudly call themselves the ‘n-word’. That does not mean a non-member, and particularly a non-member who is racist, gets to call them the ‘n-word’.
      It is fascinating to me that academics and self-declared ‘progressives’ stick to denier more than racists stick to using the ‘n-word’ in this.
      Why is basic courtesy and sensitivity applied to anyone except those who are skeptical of AGW, especially by people who are the alleged enlightened of society ?

    • Hunter – as you know, I disagree on most things related to climate change issues with you; however, I agree with you that if people are genuinely sceptical about the science, they shouldn’t be labelled as something else; and, in particular in a forum like this blog, it seems not only unnecessarily rude and dismissive to use the word “denier” to make a point, but also defeats the whole point of having an adult discussion on an important topic. I also agree that your analogy with the “n word” is a good response to Brandon’s point.

      Lets not make agreeing too much of a habit!!

      http://mitigatingapathy.blogspot.com/

    • paul haynes,
      Thank you for your kind thoughts. I actually wish we could agree on much more.
      One thing I have experienced is that in face-to-face conversations, people generally get along much better.

    • But no Jew would call himself a denier. It’s actually worse than the “N” word, in the sense that it isn’t just a derogative term for a member of the group, it’s a term for the exploiter of the group. It would be roughly like a Black calling himself a Klansman.

  91. Willis Eschenbach

    Joshua | April 3, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Reply

    … And btw – on top of your failure to be “polite” to Hoffman, and your (what I consider to be grade school-like) justification of your behavior based on a “He did it first” calculus, I also should note that you failed to acknowledge that were extremely impolite to Muller (“hiding behind skirts,” “agenda-driven,” responsible for “foolish,” science, etc.)

    As far as I know, he was never impolite to you or anyone else in the climate debate community – not the least in a public forum.

    Muller was “never impolite”???

    Muller’s actions were much, much worse than impolite. He took material which had been collected by volunteers and collated by Anthony and offered to him in friendship. He used it to mount an attack on Anthony in one of the world’s most public venues, the US Congress, where he knew his words would be reported around the world. He did it without revealing a single thing about his claimed analysis of the SurfaceStation data, without revealing the data or methods, and without disclosing his code. It was a cowardly action, shooting someone in the back. If he believes it enough to mount a public attack based on it, he must make all of his work public. Otherwise, it’s just a ball-less pusillanimous pile of nasty innuendo, without a scrap of data to support it.

    Now, that’s not just impolite. That’s downright nasty, to use the opportunity generously offered by Congress to mount an unsubstantiated and unverifiable personal attack on some else, particularly someone who has gone out of their way to be nice to you.

    So yes, I did call him a bunch of names … and for damn good reason. He acted in a mean and spiteful and extremely unscientific manner — no data, no code, no analysis, means no science, and he should have kept his mouth shut.

    And it was totally un-necessary. How dumb is that? Anthony’s work is a third-order effect of his work, there was no reason to even mention it. It was a naked and ugly power grab.

    I was outraged from the moment I read his testimony, and I remain so. So you can wring your hands all you want about what I called him, I don’t care. He deserved that and more, his actions were those of a snake. No, that’s too insulting to snakes.

    And if more people had the balls to speak up for decency and for science (you know, the deal where you show your data and methods before you make accusation) and to call a spade a spade and speak out against the unending scientific malfeasance, he and others might stop doing it.

    But with apologists like yourself to tell us how he never insulted anyone, and to tell me that when he acts like a slimeball I should not mention that, oh no, that would be impolite … yeah, with guys like you to back up the malfeasance, it’s not too likely to happen. Keep making excuses for him, it’s fun to watch someone attempt to defend a guy who starts an un-necessary public fight …

    w.

    • “So you can wring your hands all you want about what I called him,”

      I’m not wringing my hands, Willis. It matters little to me, (and I would imagine that Muller isn’t terribly wounded by your rather bizarre diatribe either).

      I’m simply pointing out the inconsistency between the behavior of others that outrages you, and your own behavior.

      I think it underlines the point that I’ve been making since I first showed up in these here parts: “tribal” behavior is well-represented on the “skeptical” side of the climate debate. As someone who considers himself to be a prominent figure in the world of climate change skeptics, your posts do a good job of making my point for me.

      As for Muller’s “behavior,” I can understand (although I don’t agree with) arguments that question the wisdom of his announcing preliminary results (with appropriate caveats), but your personal attacks on him and your claims that he acted in a “mean,” “spiteful,” and “dumb” to “mount an unsubstantiated and unverifiable personal attack” seem unsubstantiated, IMO. In fact, he went out of his way to express the opinion that he has found Watts’ criticism of previous analyses of temperate data to be highly credible, to the point where he began leading an investigation to examine the data for biases such as those Anthony speaks about.

      But Willis, your courage in standing up and fighting the good fight from behind your keyboard by calling others names is duly noted.

    • Joshua,
      Even the black knight lost with more dignity than you.

    • The definition of a troll is somebody who doesn’t know when it’s time to wait out a turn.

    • So why did you post that comment, then?

    • …and Joshua shows up on cue.

    • Because it applies perhaps?

  92. Willis Eschenbach

    Brandon Shollenberger | April 3, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    You’ve misrepresented Hoffman by a large margin, though I doubt that was your intention.

    Quite possible, Brandon. I don’t find him particularly clear.

    First, you say:

    See, Judith, this is why I don’t waste my time. This charming fellow thinks that the ‘positions’ are “climate change is or is not happening” as a bi-valued function. So one position is that climate is not changing? Really?

    Or we could be generous and assume (with no supporting evidence) that he actually means the two positions are “humans either do or do not affect the climate” … but that’s not the question at issue either, it’s not two positions, it’s not an either/or deal.

    Hoffman never said there were only two positions. He said positions, then offered two examples:

    Quite true. Unfortunately, the two examples (climate change is or is not happening) were meaningless. No one I know of is arguing that climate change is not happening.

    So we don’t know what he means by positions. However, whatever they are, he doesn’t like them.

    You say Hoffman is a waste of your time, yet the reason you do so is not a true reason. You misunderstood what he said. This happens again when you say:

    Well … thanks for the offer, but I’ll stick to talking about the science.

    All of the things Hoffman listed are based (or at least should be based) in science. You’ve set up a false dichotomy. Hoffman never suggested anyone stop discussing the science so your response makes no sense.

    He said that the “primary issues” for the organized realists were “science, [political] ideology, and economics”.

    He contrasted this by saying that the “dominant categories” for the organized suckers were “risk and political ideology”.

    He said that for this reason, the two groups were talking past each other. And I agree with him.

    His solution is to move away from substantive questions (has the null hypothesis been falsified?) to questions of risk, economic costs of action/inaction, and of all things, the “validity of the scientific process”. Say what? Philosophy of science in lieu of real questions? Sorry, but I don’t even know what an “integrative shift” is that he’s calling for, and I’d suggest most people don’t either. Sounds like an option for a high-end BMW.

    In any case, that’s why I said that the difference was that the organized realists wanted to talk about the science, and the organized suckers wanted to talk about the risk. Because that’s what Hoffman said, he noted the difference and proposed the solution, not me.

    Me, I have no intention of getting lost in a maze of risk analysis and economic analysis and philosophy of science until you show me something’s actually happening.

    Seriously. First, let’s see if we have evidence, not frenzied claims but evidence, for any kind of impending catastrophe. For 25 years, AGW supporters have looked for anything that would show that the climate was acting unusually or anomalously. Despite hundreds of thousands of man-hours, we still have nothing we can point to and say, that’s an anomaly, that’s not just natural variation, that’s unusual, it hasn’t happened before.

    Nor has anyone presented any evidence that warming has harmed anyone. There does seem to be general agreement that since the “Little Ice Age” around 1650, the world has warmed a couple of degrees C or so. But there is no evidence that the extra warmth has been anything but beneficial on balance, for humans and other life forms. There have been no climate refugees. Tropical atolls in general have increased in size. Bangladesh has more land area than it did 20 years ago. Where’s the catastrophes that warming is supposed to bring?

    So we have no evidence that the climate is acting anomalously or unusually. We have no evidence that if a couple of degrees warming occurs that it will be other than a net benefit. We have a couple hundred years of warming with no catastrophes. The warming (if any) is projected to be mostly in the extra-tropics, in the winter, at night. I don’t think warmer winter nights in Vladivostok will draw many complaints. And to top it all off, for the last fifteen years, there’s been no statistically significant warming.

    And Hoffman thinks we should talk about risk, and the costs of action/inaction, and the validity of the scientific process? Not me, not now, not until you can show me evidence that risk exists. I’m in the realist camp, I’ll continue to talk about the science. The rate of sea level rise is declining, not accelerating as you guys have been predicting for decades … I’m sorry, but the doomcasts don’t frighten folks any more, too many of them are like the scare claims of accelerating sea level rise – they were undone by unpleasant facts and ugly observations. No acceleration at all, quite the opposite, deceleration of sea level rise. So you’ll have to talk to someone else about the risks of increased sea level rise. There’s bigger issues than that.

    Poor people are dying around the planet today from the lack of affordable energy. To deny them affordable energy today, as we are doing with our insane, expensive, and ineffective carbophobic policies, with the excuse that we are possibly saving them from the theoretical risks of a feared (but not observed) increased rate of sea level rise or temperature rise in fifty years, is a crime against humanity in my book. It is assuredly a policy which the poor are not thanking us for today … and yes, I’m aware, YMMV.

    Thanks for your reply,

    w.

    • “No one I know of is arguing that climate change is not happening.”

      What does that statement actually means? Historically climate has never remained constant. So, if the climate changes, that in itself is not a change. A changing climate may simply be normal.

      Isn’t the question really “ABNORMAL” climate change? Climate change that is so unusual that it could not be due to chance — are we in that situation?

      Well, I look outside today after 60 years on the planet. If the climate is actually changing, I should see some difference as compared to my childhood. I don’t.

      The same plants and animals are growing. It isn’t noticeably hotter or colder, wetter or drier. Some years the weather is good, some it is bad, but generally about the same as when I was a kid. Some years the weather was good, some it was bad.

      So, where is the climate change? The weather year to year looks pretty much like the weather 60 years ago where I live. How about where you live? Except for logging, farming and urbanization what real change has there been?

      If the rate of climate change is so slow that it cannot be observed in a human lifetime outside of careful precision measurements, then how is that a meaningful change? We know that species adapt with time, within surprisingly few generations, because over millions of years natural selection they have already adapted to much worse extremes.

      This is why tree rings and wood density have not proven a reliable long term proxy. Over time, as the climate changes, the trees naturally select to optimize growth. 1000 years ago the temperature could have been warmer or cooler. The trees growing at that time would have genetically selected for the local condition, giving the impression that climate didn’t change prior to the invention of the thermometer.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Quite possible, Brandon. I don’t find him particularly clear.

      So we don’t know what he means by positions. However, whatever they are, he doesn’t like them.

      I found him perfectly clear, and I had no problem understanding “what he means by positions.” It is cheeky for you to state I don’t know something when there has never been any indication of such. The fact you read a simple sentence to say things it obviously doesn’t say in no way means I have trouble knowing what it means.

      He said that the “primary issues” for the organized realists were “science, [political] ideology, and economics”.

      He contrasted this by saying that the “dominant categories” for the organized suckers were “risk and political ideology”.

      He said that for this reason, the two groups were talking past each other. And I agree with him.

      One group is more convinced the science is solid than the other. It is no surprise people who accept the science would be more focused on the issues which arise from the conclusions of the science. Moreover, while the “dominant categories” of the latter group did not include “science,” the “secondary categories” do. This means the latter group is interested in discussing the science, just not as much as the people who are less convinced about it. In other words, you want to discuss the science more than people who trust the science more than you. No duh!

      As for the rest of your rambling, you don’t seem to understand what Hoffman is saying. For example, you call discussing “the validity of the scientific process” discussing “[P]hilosophy of science.” A different interpretation is far more sensible. Rather than assume Hoffman meant the scientific process in general, it makes far more sense to assume he meant the scientific process used to generate the conclusions revolving around global warming. In other words, don’t discuss the conclusions; discuss how those conclusions were generated. That’s exactly what most skeptics want! Rather than interpret Hoffman as saying something sensible, that most skeptics would approve of, you picked a nonsensical interpretation.

      I could point to other misinterpretations on your part, but I don’t see the point. You flagrantly misrepresented Hoffman’s text, and when I pointed out your interpretation was baseless, all you said was we don’t know what he meant. It seems unlikely I could convince you of anything with responses like that, so I’ll bow out of this discussion now.

      I’ll just leave you with one final thought. Your comments are alienating people. You should think about why that is and consider making changes.

  93. Willis Eschenbach

    Joshua | April 3, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Reply

    “So you can wring your hands all you want about what I called him,”

    I’m not wringing my hands, Willis. It matters little to me, (and I would imagine that Muller isn’t terribly wounded by your rather bizarre diatribe either).

    It “matters little” to you? Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha, people to whom it “matters little” write little, and dispassionately. You write long, and earnestly … so it does matter to you, and you’ve started out by not telling the truth. Bad beginning.

    Is Muller wounded? His actions have been decried from one end of the web to the other. People like myself who were willing to cut him a lot of slack are now unwilling to cut him an inch. I suspect he greatly regrets his idiotic foray into an un-necessary fight. There was nothing to be gained, so we know he lost in the deal.

    I’m simply pointing out the inconsistency between the behavior of others that outrages you, and your own behavior.

    So I’ve used Congressional testimony to attack somebody? I don’t remember that …

    I think it underlines the point that I’ve been making since I first showed up in these here parts: “tribal” behavior is well-represented on the “skeptical” side of the climate debate. As someone who considers himself to be a prominent figure in the world of climate change skeptics, your posts do a good job of making my point for me.

    I am willing to call a spade a spade. If that makes my behavior “tribal”, I don’t know what to say.

    As for Muller’s “behavior,” I can understand (although I don’t agree with) arguments that question the wisdom of his announcing preliminary results (with appropriate caveats), but your personal attacks on him and your claims that he acted in a “mean,” “spiteful,” and “dumb” to “mount an unsubstantiated and unverifiable personal attack” seem unsubstantiated, IMO. In fact, he went out of his way to express the opinion that he has found Watts’ criticism of previous analyses of temperate data to be highly credible, to the point where he began leading an investigation to examine the data for biases such as those Anthony speaks about.

    Do you truly not understand science? Do you not understand honor? Muller took Anthony’s data, under a pledge of confidence. He then attacked Anthony’s claims about Anthony’s data … but he didn’t show a scrap of his work. Not a shred. He used a public pulpit to attack another man, under the guise of scientific testimony, but his testimony was unsupported, uncited, undescribed, and unverifiable — not science in any form.

    If you truly think that’s ethical, or the actions of an honest man, or the way someone should treat a friend, or the way to deal with information given in confidence, then I truly feel sorry for you … but I feel sorrier your wife and friends.

    But Willis, your courage in standing up and fighting the good fight from behind your keyboard by calling others names is duly noted.

    At least I’m willing to call things as I see them. On the other hand, you are acting as an apologist for a man who betrayed information given in confidence, and used unverified claims to attack the man who gave him the information.

    I’m very happy to let the readers decide who is fighting the good fight here, but I doubt that you acting as Muller’s PR man and making excuses for his betrayal of scientific ethics and personal integrity will impress the readers much.

    w.

    PS – Anthony Watts comments:

    “There seems a bit of a rush here, as BEST hasn’t completed all of their promised data techniques that would be able to remove the different kinds of data biases we’ve noted,” Watts wrote on his blog yesterday. “That was the promise, that is why I signed on (to share my data and collaborate with them). Yet somehow, much of that has been thrown out the window, and they are presenting some results today without the full set of techniques applied.”

    So that’s the double-crossing gentleman you are hotly defending. Muller said he would wait until the completion of their analysis of the data before saying anything about the SurfaceStation results, and he flat out lied. He not only lied, he used the results specifically, and without revealing his methods, to attack Anthony.

    So yes, Joshua. I have called Muller names, and for specific reasons. You have not gainsaid any of my reasons. You have not advanced any reason for his perfidy. You just say oh, it’s not as bad as that. Yes, it is as bad as that. It was the small act of a small man.

    • Dr. Curry,
      Why would ethical scientists defend Muller on this?

    • Well, as far as i can tell, scientists are neither defending or criticizing Muller regarding his testimony (with the exception of Pielke Sr.) They are taking his testimony for what it is: a response to a request by the House Committee for Muller to provide his assessment of the process for assembling and interpreting the surface data, and whether its quality is adequate. He provided his assessment, his “expert judgment” if you will, based on the work that he has been doing with the Berekeley project. No scientists regard his statement as anything more than his personal expert judgment at this point, since he hasn’t yet completed his analysis or made it public.

    • Would not a better answer have been to
      1- explicitly state that only 2% of the data has been reviewd
      2- to not treat Anthony shabbily?
      Frankly scientists are coming across more and more like priests: demanding of great respect, self-selecting, self-declared enlightened, coddled, writing rules for others, ignoring those rules themselves in many cases, and with a long history of frequently being wrong, petty and defensive.

    • hunter,

      For #1, see the graph at the top of page 4 here and note the caveats below it (emphasis is mine):

      The Berkeley Earth agreement with the prior analysis surprised us, since our preliminary
      results don’t yet address many of the known biases. When they do, it is possible that the
      corrections could bring our current agreement into disagreement.

      Why such close agreement between our uncorrected data and their adjusted data? One
      possibility is that the systematic corrections applied by the other groups are small. We
      don’t yet know.

    • Honestly, Willis, you can insult Muller ’till the cows come home, I will sleep peacefully regardless. There is nothing particularly affecting to me about your behavior on this matter. In fact, I have seen similar behavior over and over (on both sides) in the debate about climate change. Your diatribe stands out to me among the long list of examples of similar behavior not because of its emotional impact, but because as a regular commenter here and a regular poster at WUWT, your posts are a particularly instructive case study for demonstrating to Judith “tribal” behavior from the “warmist/skeptic” side.

      So yes, your diatribe is a notable example, but not something that I’m “hand-wringing” about.

      And I think your sense of how deeply Muller is wounded by the vitriol directed towards him by “deniers/skeptics” (you can choose, based on your self-identification, which side of that slash line applies to you) is only further reflection of how your bias is affecting your reasoning. If Muller thought that weighing into the debate about climate change wouldn’t subject him to diatribes like yours from one side or the other, no matter what the results of his work might be, then he would be as “dumb” as you seem to think he is.

      I have to say, Willis, I find it hard to understand how announcing preliminary results (with caveats) of data analysis amounts to “attacking” Watts. That would suggest to me that you think that what is important is the particular interpretation of the data rather than his disclosing that interpretation. I can understand (although I don’t really agree with) objections to his disclosure of their preliminary analysis (as someone pointed out earlier, he could have described the general results of the preliminary analysis without assigning specific values – which would have made more sense given the amount of data they have analyzed so far). But in fact, before his testimony, BEST’s preliminary findings had already been disclosed and Watts had already posted about the preliminary results without voicing any moral outrage.

      To equate his disclosure to being “agenda driven” and “double-crossing” would be similar to equating climate scientists who think that GW is probably A to Eugenicists.

      Oh. Wait……

      Anyway, Willis, I think our exchange has reached the point where we have both exhausted the substance of our arguments and moved into the realm of “mental masturbation.” I’ll catch you on another thread.

    • As far as I can tell, all Muller did was independently verify something Watts has done (as mentioned in his letter to the congress in response to Muller’s testimony.) That is, ‘bad’ surface stations have shown the same warming as ‘good’ ones. Watts admits this himself, and the only difference Watts found was that ‘bad’ (read urban) stations have higher minima and lower maxima in their diurnal temperature, so the trend in range is affected by including these urbanizing stations, but not the average. Muller said nothing about diurnal range, and it is only the average that matters for global analyses, such as GISS.

  94. wow
    You guys really believe that your word is enough?Is that really what passes for science these days?.It is because I say it is.
    It’s ok to give an assessment with nothing to back it up?
    Glad medical science does not work like that.
    Even medical science is becoming tainted these days.
    Some medical researchers are happy to scare people into not vaccinating children,thereby causing the deaths of children.
    Something is rotten in the state of science these days.
    I thought the corruption was rooted out,but it’s rearing its ugly head again.

  95. Some medical researchers are happy to scare people into not vaccinating children,thereby causing the deaths of children.

    I think the old “Wow, just wow!” response applies here.

    And they said that an “anti-science” label can sometimes be applied to folks on the “denier/skeptic” side of the climate debate.

    • Johsua,
      Your reply to that piece of historical, verified data is even less sensible than most of the bs you post.
      I stand in awe of your ability to find new ways to express just how stupid and ignorant you are.

    • andrew adams

      Well it’s true up to a point but it actually makes the opposite point to what was intended. It was a scientist, Andrew Wakefield, who suggested a link between MMR and autism but the position of mainstream science and governments was always that MMR was safe.
      Unfortunately the supposed link was pushed by certain sections of the media who warned parents against trusting the scientific establishment and the government and some parents were scared into forking out lots of money for single vaccinations or just not vaccinating their children at all.
      Of course the mainstream scientific consensus and governments were right and Wakefield was eventually found guilty of misconduct.
      And I don’t know about elsewhere but in the UK the people pushing the scare stories about vaccination were precisely the same people pushing AGW “skepticism”.

    • I see your argument – because
      (a) with MMR where the state had no real vested interest in it being true or not, state-funded scientists turned out to be right
      THEREFORE, with
      (b) CAGW where the state does have a (massive) vested interest, state-funded scientists must also be right.

      The other parallel is that both Wakefield and the Climategate crooks are science frauds.

    • andrew adams

      Punksta,

      I see your argument – because
      (a) with MMR where the state had no real vested interest in it being true or not, state-funded scientists turned out to be right
      THEREFORE, with
      (b) CAGW where the state does have a (massive) vested interest, state-funded scientists must also be right.

      Firstly, the state has no vested interest in AGW being true but some people did seem to believe the state had some kind of agenda in forcing prople to have their children vaccinated.
      Secondly, I made no claim that the MMR debacle proves anything one way or the other about AGW, merely that some of the arguments made by those who supported Wakefield – ie about not trusting the mainstream scientific establishment or governments are made by those “skeptical” of AGW, in fact they are sometimes the same people.

    • Andrew A the state has no vested interest in AGW being true

      Of course it has – CAGW offers a watertight excuse for the state to expand itself, increasing taxes, bureaucracies, regulations, it’s general stranglehold over society.

      That’s 95% of the driving force behind the CAGW pitch (the othe 5% being the fraud-riddled science). Why do think those on the totalitarian end of the political spectrum (eg Democrats in the US, Labour in the UK) are such devout CAGW believers ?

      And you surely don’t think the facts that
      - the state funds 99.99′% of climate science
      - climate science ‘findings’ are that the state needs to expand
      are unrelated do you?

    • Unfortunately the supposed link was pushed by certain sections of the media who warned parents against trusting the scientific establishment and the government…

      andrew adams: Don’t give us that.

      Andrew Wakefield published his vaccination-autism paper in The Lancet, which advertises itself as “the world’s leading general medical journal and specialty journals in Oncology, Neurology and Infectious Diseases.” The BBC agrees that it is “one of the world’s most prestigious medical journals…”

      Why The Lancet is even peer-reviewed!

      Clearly the system is working.

    • andrew adams

      huxley,

      So what? Sometimes bad papers get published in climate science – in all areas of science in fact, and the fact that his claims turned out to be wrong doesn’t neccessarily mean that the paper shouldn’t have been published.
      The point is that Wakefield’s claims were never supported by the wider scientific community but were given undue prominence and credibility by certain sections of the media.

    • andrew adams

      Although I will add that the Lancet doesn’t come out of the whole thing particularly well.

    • andrew adams: So what?

      If a paper gets published in a journal as prestigious as The Lancet, then it has become part of the scientific mainstream, and it has been given prominence and credibility by the scientific media.

      There are no two ways about this.

  96. Another thing is this:
    What is it skeptics deny?
    That climate is changing?
    no.
    That things have warmed some?
    no.
    That CO2 is a ghg?
    no.
    Skeptics are skeptical of the idea that we are facing a CO2 caused worldwide climate crisis.
    And the connection between that and the Holocaust, which as Dr. Curry’s own link shows, is exactly zero, except in the explicit words and intent of those who coined the phrase ‘denier’ was their goal.

  97. The use of the word “denier” in climate science has a very specific meaning.

    Those people that deny that burning fossil fuels is harmful to the environment will be responsible for millions of deaths. Those people that deny that burning fossil fuels is bad are guilty of a great crime against humanity. They have the blood of millions of dead Jews on their hands. Like Pontius Pilat, they will never be able to wash away their sin.

    It makes no difference that after 150 years of warming, humans are now enjoying the highest standard of living, the longest lifespans of any time in history. That doesn’t count because it isn’t peer reviewed.

    Any futher warming will result in global disaster. We know it is true because this has been peer reviewed which means it is true. That is what peer reviewed means, it has been proven true by science. Anyone that denies the truth of peer reviewed science is called a “denier”. That is how science works.

    We know burnig fossil fuels are bad because before global warming nature was friendly and never hurt anyone. It was only after people started burning fossil fuels that nature started hurting people.

    Before we started using fossil fuels everyone was well fed, children rarely got sick and died, and everyone lived to old age in the best of health. We know this is true because we learned it in school and we see it on the TV.

    • Sarcastic irony without disclosure is a bad plan on a blog. Some people will take you seriously, because they believe what you are saying.

    • David

      I don’t believe that there are any people on this blog that are stupid enough to take fred berple’s sarcastic irony seriously.

      After all, this is not RealClimate or Climate Progress.

      Max

  98. After all we’ve seen in the past few years, all I can say is that anybody using and defending the use of the word ” denier ” in the context of which it has been used by Climats Science AGW supporting clique, lacks honour and decency, at basic human level.

  99. Willis Eschenbach

    curryja | April 4, 2011 at 8:02 am |

    I am not digging in to maintain the use of the word denier (and certainly not its use to refer to skeptics). I am stating that the word is used in legitimate contexts (including the paper that is referred to in this post), and that dismissal of this paper and its argument because of it uses the word denier is irrational.

    curryja | April 4, 2011 at 8:33 am |

    … I have used the word, and it is not in any context that is associated with the Holocaust.

    Yes, and I have used the word “nigger”, and it was not in any context that is associated with black people … does that mean I used it in a “legitimate context”?

    Judith, it appears you are starting to lose it here. Everyone, including myself, has just watched you enthusiastically defend the use of the word. You even went to the length of posting a Wikipedia article, of all things, that claims that the word is harmless.

    You still don’t seem to have noticed that people picked that word deliberately because of its negative connotations. They picked it because it reminds people of Holocaust deniers. Heck, the direct comparison of climate skeptic = Holocaust denier has been made explicitly, even by members of Congress.

    Which leaves me with only two possibilities for your stand on this one — clueless, or nasty. I’m going with clueless, as I have since you started defending your use of the word months ago. (NB – you can convince us of many things, but the idea that you are “not digging in to maintain the use of the word denier” is a non-starter. Your offer of the Wikipedia quote proves that, if nothing else.)

    But you’re making it hard for me to continue with the “not mean, just clueless” mantra.

    Judith, it seems that you truly think you are not defending the use of the word “denier”. If you truly believe that, then the communication problem is much worse than I thought. Because I, and I suspect a number of people here, think that you are definitely defending the use of the word. Let’s take this random quote from you, shall we?

    “I reserve the word “deniers” for people that are explicitly associated with advocacy groups that are politicizing this issue…”

    I see, you don’t defend the use of “denier”. You reserve it for the people you really don’t like, those who are “politicizing this issue”. Unlike say AGW alarmists, who haven’t politicized the issue at all.

    So you are not defending its use, and you clearly understand that “denier” is a nasty word, and your response to criticism of the word is that you reserve it for people that your really don’t like … but you say you don’t defend its use?

    Riiiiight …

    If you are not defending the use of the word “denier”, you sure have a lot of people out here very confused, because I and a host of others (both here and around the web) certainly think you are defending it … and for someone like you who claims to be all about communication, that’s not a good thing.

    Next, you say:

    … dismissal of this paper and its argument because of it uses the word denier is irrational

    And I agree with you in theory. In theory you are 100% correct.

    So if you come across a 2011 paper on “How Upper-Class Niggers View Communication Between Lower-Class Niggers in the US”, you’d say that dismissal of the paper and its argument because it uses the word nigger is irrational.

    You’re right, their argument might in fact be spot-on. However:

    1. The difference between theory and practice is greater in practice than in theory. That is to say, while that is a lovely ideal, in practice humans aren’t built anything like that. We can’t simply set aside the fact that someone insists on gratuitously insulting us.

    2. While the use of the words proves nothing about the paper, it establishes beyond a doubt the author’s point of view about the people he is referring to. And it is not a pretty point of view.

    3. If an explorer in the jungle has been repeated warned to not use a certain word, and is told that for unknown reasons that word is considered a deadly insult by the local cannibal tribes, it is generally a Very Bad Idea™ to not only use the word, but to insist it is not offensive in the slightest.

    4. What are the odds someone who is clueless enough about communication to title his paper “How Niggers View Communication Among Niggers” will actually have something valuable to say about communication? Sure, sometimes you find a diamond ring in a pigsty, but “so many papers, so little time.” As I said, in theory you are 100% correct. In practice? The obvious prejudice of the author, along with his demonstrated incompetence in communication as exemplified by the title, renders it 99.7% improbable that he will have even a rudimentary understanding of communication. The same is true of Hoffman. How good can his communication skills be, when he gratuitously and needlessly insults a whole segment of his readers? What are the odds a man that clueless about communication can teach us something, not about life or the climate, but about communication? So many papers, so little time.

    5. It’s really, really dumb tactics. Deliberately (or even unknowingly and innocently) yanking peoples’ chains as you and Hoffman are doing is not supportive of communication. Look at what happened here, and learn from it. You wanted to talk about communication, and in furtherance of that you repeatedly insult me and others? … helluva plan there, Lou …

    w.

    PS – When I was a kid, for a while the household was my Grandmother, and my my mom and her sister, and me and my three brothers and three cousins. My Grandmother ruled the household. She was absolute death on the word “nigger”. One of the few times I ever saw her angry was when one of us kids used it. That happened exactly once. She was furious. She said that she would not tolerate that word in her house. She said anyone who used that word was a low-class good-for-nothing, the worst of the worst. She said all people deserved respect, and that a black man was just as good as a white man. She said she had known people of all colors and they were all the same under the skin, and we had better learn that right then and there and remember it well. She would tolerate no disrespect of anyone of any race, group, or class.

    And we did learn it. When a fierce old warrior white lady tells you something like that as a kid, a lady who had dealt with Generals and Kings and Princes and men of all colors around the world, there’s no question about it. We learned it well.

    So I am well aware of the word and its weight. I use it extremely rarely, and then only to make a clear point. I am aware that even using it in such a circumscribed way I am treading near the edge of disrespect, and I want it clear that I intend none. The only color that means a damn thing to me is the color a man bleeds. Anything other than red, I get real nervous …

  100. If the the first reason for the use of “denier” is sneaky comparisons to the Holcaust, the second is to hide the fact that the majority of CAGW non-believers are actually skeptics, ie inconvinced (either way).

    It’s just one more more bit of dishonesty from the academic establishment – the same people that refuse to discipline the Climategate crooks, or even criticise or distance themselves from them.

  101. (Judith – an edit/preview option PLEASE)

  102. Richard D. North notes that outright denial by climate scientists of the major points of scientific consensus is rare, though scientists are known to dispute certain points. He says, “It is deeply pejorative to call someone a ‘climate change denier’. This is because it is a phrase designedly reminiscent of the idea of Holocaust Denial …”.

    This is the same Richard North that used the term “jungle bunnies” right?

    http://www.leftfootforward.org/2010/11/climategate-blogger-richard-north-in-new-racial-slur/

  103. Willis Eschenbach

    Brandon Shollenberger said on Talking past each other?
    April 4, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    In response to Willis Eschenbach on April 3, 2011 at 11:55 pm:

    Brandon Shollenberger | April 3, 2011 at 6:28 pm Quite possible, Brandon. I don’t find him particularly clear. Or we could be generous and assume (with no supporting evidence) that he actually means the two positions are “humans either do or do not affect the climate” … but that’s not the question at issue either, [...]

    Quite possible, Brandon. I don’t find him particularly clear.

    So we don’t know what he means by positions. However, whatever they are, he doesn’t like them.

    I found him perfectly clear, and I had no problem understanding “what he means by positions.” It is cheeky for you to state I don’t know something when there has never been any indication of such. The fact you read a simple sentence to say things it obviously doesn’t say in no way means I have trouble knowing what it means.

    Cheeky? My bad, I had no intention of being cheeky. My apologies.

    However, I still don’t know what he means by “positions”. As I pointed out, the two examples he gave (climate change is happening, climate change is not happening) are meaningless. You claim to know what he means by positions … but you haven’t said what they are, and you haven’t given any examples, so that hasn’t helped. I’m still where I was … what are these “positions”?

    He said that the “primary issues” for the organized realists were “science, [political] ideology, and economics”.

    He contrasted this by saying that the “dominant categories” for the organized suckers were “risk and political ideology”.

    He said that for this reason, the two groups were talking past each other. And I agree with him.

    One group is more convinced the science is solid than the other. It is no surprise people who accept the science would be more focused on the issues which arise from the conclusions of the science. Moreover, while the “dominant categories” of the latter group did not include “science,” the “secondary categories” do. This means the latter group is interested in discussing the science, just not as much as the people who are less convinced about it. In other words, you want to discuss the science more than people who trust the science more than you. No duh!

    I said I understood that part, and I said I agreed with it … so what are you “no duh”-ing about? You’re boxing against the shadows of your own mind. I agree with that, what are you on about?

    As for the rest of your rambling, you don’t seem to understand what Hoffman is saying. For example, you call discussing “the validity of the scientific process” discussing “[P]hilosophy of science.” A different interpretation is far more sensible. Rather than assume Hoffman meant the scientific process in general, it makes far more sense to assume he meant the scientific process used to generate the conclusions revolving around global warming. In other words, don’t discuss the conclusions; discuss how those conclusions were generated. That’s exactly what most skeptics want! Rather than interpret Hoffman as saying something sensible, that most skeptics would approve of, you picked a nonsensical interpretation.

    Again you may be correct, Brandon. He may want to discuss “the scientific process used to generate the conclusions revolving around global warming”.

    But again, I fear it is far from clear what that means …

    1. What are some of the “conclusions revolving around global warming”? The conclusion that the globe is generally warming? The conclusion that we should regulate carbon? The conclusion that no one has falsified the null hypothesis? I’m sure you see the problem. Your words are unclear.

    2. How did those conclusions get concluded?

    3. What does science have to do with any of that?

    In other words, don’t discuss the conclusions; discuss how those conclusions were generated. That’s exactly what most skeptics want!

    Do I want to discuss any of that? Not in the slightest. That’s going down the rabbit hole, to discuss the side issues like the “validity of the scientific process” in the conclusion that the globe is warming and in the conclusion that CO2 is teh suxxor and in the conclusion that the null hypothesis is unfalsified and in the conclusion that … you can see that that discussion is both unending and meaningless. How those conclusions were generated? Well, it’s different for each conclusion, and there’s dozens of conclusions, and away down the rabbit hole we go to unending discussion …

    Why on earth would you think that is what “most skeptics want!”? That’s what you want, that’s what Hoffman wants, but it’s not what I want, unending discussion of trivialities.

    Brandon, the null hypothesis is still not falsified. Until that happens, what do I care about revolving conclusions and why they revolve?

    Also, you say that the AGW supporters don’t want to discuss the science because they think it’s settled. And I agree with you. Yet every time I say “AGW supporters think the science is settled” someone jumps down my throat and says “we never said that” … next time that happens, can I call you as a witness that yes, AGW supporters are saying that the science is settled?

    I could point to other misinterpretations on your part, but I don’t see the point.

    The point is so we can all learn something, that’s always been the point. I do like your style, though. You claim I misrepresent things, then you don’t bring out the evidence … nice … you been taking lessons from Dr. Muller?

    You flagrantly misrepresented Hoffman’s text, and when I pointed out your interpretation was baseless, all you said was we don’t know what he meant.

    Sorry, I have this ugly habit. I tell the truth. I didn’t know what he meant. I’m aware that folks on the AGW side are unused to the words “I don’t know”, as they are anathema to mainstream AGW scientists. They’d rather say that this opens the possibility that the Antarctic Ice Sheet might have a chance of either fracturing or not by the year 2055 …

    Nor has your supposed explanation explained anything. Your arrogance is misplaced. Even with your explanation Hoffman is not clear. I think I understand him, but who knows?

    It seems unlikely I could convince you of anything with responses like that, so I’ll bow out of this discussion now.

    I’m happy to be convinced, Brandon. More than once I have admitted that you may be correct. But you won’t close the deal with the kinds of claims you’ve presented so far, which are things vague handwaving like that we should study the role of science in the direction that the conclusions revolve around the climate.

    I’ll just leave you with one final thought. Your comments are alienating people. You should think about why that is and consider making changes.

    I am who I am, Brandon. I’ll not trim my sails to fit your warnings of alienation, I hold the tiller and look to windward and steer my own course by my own stars. Perhaps you are too used to politicians that change their ways and actions to fit the latest poll numbers.

    I don’t do that, I’m not that poll-watching man. Some people mutter and curse at me, some people laugh with me, some call me names, some enjoy the rough and tumble, some truly want to learn, or to teach, and are welcome. Some people laugh at me, some want me to write less, others to write more … I work to treat all those good folks the same, to consider their words, and then to do what I think is right. If I have alienated anyone accidentally, that is certainly not my intention, and anyone who was alienated accidentally, that was not my aim. My aim is to tell the truth as clearly and as plainly as I can.

    Now, if someone steps up and starts to rubbish my name and attack my motives, I bite back. Poke me with a stick, and I’ll kick your knees out from under you if I can. Sorry, but there it is.

    If someone comes in like that, I certainly return that right back to them. If they come in to make ugly, baseless accusations, I’ll work to alienate the heck out of them. Not very Christian, I know, but then I’m a shamanist, and the kind of guy who draws cartoons of Mohammed, so what do you expect.

    Does my defending my motives and my good name alienate other people, the ones I’m not trying to alienate? I don’t think so. I think it’s likely the kind of thing that they pop some popcorn and get a beer and sit back to watch. At least, that’s what some of them say, what do I know?

    In any case, Brandon, I don’t think I’ve misinterpreted what Hoffman said. He said the two sides are talking past each other. He said the reason is, one side wants to talk more about science, and the other side wants to talk more about risks. Hoffman’s brilliant solution is to switch the discussion to, inter alia, risks …

    I still hold to that interpretation. Yes, he says some other things. But his solution is, talk about what the AGW supporters want to talk about, not what the skeptics want to talk about.

    Which I had predicted, before I’d even read Hoffman’s nonsense, just based on his goofy use of “deniers”. I didn’t want to read the paper because I knew without reading it that it would be a pro-AGW “solution”, and so it turned out. No diamond ring in the pigsty.

    My thanks to you,

    w.

  104. It is apparent that to many people the word “denier” has a bad connotation, as a result of the Holocaust deniers, which was how the term “climate change deniers” or simply “climate deniers” was coined, in the first place.

    I would put it at the same level as “climate change hysterics”. If one were to label the so-called “mainstream consensus” supporters “climate change hysterics” this would not be polite (even though a logical argument could be made for the fact that these individuals are hysterical about the dangers they imagine to be associated with human-caused climate change).

    But I do not believe we are talking about a pure question of “logic” here, but more of an emotional issue.

    Rational skeptics of the CAGW premise (such as Willis Eschenbach) resent being called “deniers”, because they perceive the word (and its connotations) to be pejorative . For this reason, like the “n-word” it should simply not be used. Period.

    Max

  105. Willis Eschenbach

    Hoffman says:

    Why is peer-reviewed science rejected?
    A.
    There are many who distrust the peer-review process and distrust scientists. So that can be step one. I think a lot of people will be uncomfortable accepting a scientific conclusion if it necessarily leads to outcomes they find objectionable. People will be hesitant to accept the notion of climate change if that leads directly towards ideas that are at variance with values that they hold dear.

    Once again, he misses the point, not by a little, but by about a galaxy-width.

    People don’t reject peer-revied science. Nobody’s rejecting peer reviewed particle physics or peer-reviewed cosmology. They reject peer-reviewed climate science. And they reject it because the process has become politicized and polluted, and because so many of the peer-reviewed studies have been unmitigated carp. Every week I discuss another piece of unsubstantiated “science” over at WUWT, and I reject it … but not for any of the reasons that Hoffman fantasizes. I reject it because it is junk science of the lowest kind. Funny, but that reason doesn’t even make it into Hoffmans list for the differential diagnosis …

    The public also reject peer-reviewed climate science because many of the leaders in the field have been shown to be liars, cheaters, and crooks, and many of the followers have been shown to be sheep, blindly following the leaders and never, ever saying a word in protest.

    Anyone who trusts a field like that is just stupid, they’re not following the story.

    As long as Hoffman believes in his fantasies about why people are rejecting climate science, his insights will continue to be trivially useless. He wants to fix a broken engine by giving the car a new coat of paint and whitewall tires …

    I say again, people are rejecting climate science because it is badly broken, with more and more garbage in the guise of science being vomited up every day.

    And Hoffman wonders why we reject it? I wonder why he doesn’t … he says:

    And so what I’m laying out is that this is very much a value- and culture-based debate.

    Well, yes, that’s true, but only if one culture is me and people like me who want to see honest science, and the other culture is mainstream AGW. Otherwise, no, it’s not a “value- and culture-based debate.” It is an attempt to drag the AGW folks kicking and screaming into the world of real science, where datasets are archived, results are compared to the real world rather than to models, methods are transparent, code is available, and model results are not called “data”.

    • Willis E: Excellent points. The Hoffman interview was a real stinker in terms of unexamined, self-serving assumptions.

  106. Hi Willis, and others interested in discussing the “settled science”!
    Please read my posts at http://judithcurry.com/2010/11/30/physics-of-the-atmospheric-greenhouse-effect/ on Feb. 22 (4:31 pm), Feb. 9 (1:17 pm) and Feb. 7 (7:44 pm). They are near the end of this very long thread. So far I have not read any counterarguments of value.

    For those who value authority, I was a Ph.D. student from 1967-1971 at the University of Toronto under Prof. John Polanyi, who deservedly won the 1986 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. His work was on infrared chemiluminescence, following the course of elementary chemical reactions like H + Cl2 = HCl’ + Cl, where HCl’ represents a vibrationally and rotationally excited HCl molecule which emits infrared (IR) radiation observed by a spectrometer. One of the early problems was deactivation of excited molecules on collision with ambient molecules, before they could emit IR from their initial quantum states. Thus I know how to interpret IR spectra, and can explain the atmospheric greenhouse effect as simply due to excited CO2 molecules transferring their energy in radiationless inelastic collisions to N2 and O2 molecules (the main components of the atmosphere). Since N2 and O2 do not possess permanent electric dipole moments, they cannot re-emit IR photons, so the energy of excited CO2 molecules ends up as increased translational and rotational energy of N2 and O2 (i.e. the air warms up, the atmospheric greenhouse effect). Climatologists ought to be aware of the standard reference work on molecular spectroscopy, Gerhard Herzberg’s 3-volume “Molecular Spectra and Molecular Structure”. Herzberg deservedly won the 1971 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. John Polanyi was a post-doc under Herzberg in the 1950′s before he established himself at the University of Toronto. So I can say with authority that the Standard Model for the atmospheric greenhouse effect (involving radiative transfer between CO2 molecules until a 220 K black body emitting layer in the upper atmosphere is reached) is all wrong and ought to be abandoned.

    • Roger, I went back to your essay on that thread. If you would like to to do a guest post on your ideas, the denizens seem to like to discuss/argue the physics of the greenhouse effect, and we have had several discussions at the molecular level. Do you have anything more detailed than your post on the previous threads?

    • Roger,
      I fail totally in seeing, how you reach your conclusion from the other content of your message. To me it seems clear that you have missed something crucial in your thinking on the issues involved.

    • I agree, the physics described don’t match the conclusion. Its been awhile since we’ve done a greenhouse thread, maybe Roger’s argument would be a good topic for a new greenhouse thread.

    • A new thread on specific details not previously covered might be worthwhile, but rather than a new thread on the greenhouse effect in general- a topic whose principles are well established, I wonder whether some of the misunderstandings harbored by Roger might not be better resolved by referring readers back to the Pierrehumbert article on Infrared Radiation and Planetary Temperatures that served as the basis for one of your previous threads. It might also, I believe, help dispel a common fallacy that no IR can escape from the center of the 15 um CO2 absorption band because that wavelength is “saturated” – in fact, it turns out that slightly more IR is emitted there than from wavelengths very slightly greater or less than that value; this is because the emission level at the most optically dense wavelength is in the stratosphere, which is warmer as one moves from lower to higher altitudes to reach CO2 concentrations low enough to permit the IR to escape.

    • I think Roger is digging into the molecular issues of local thermodynamic equilibrium and radiative transfer, which isn’t covered in detail by Pierrehumbert.

    • I just revisited the article, which focuses on radiative transfer, and appears to deal with the issues being discussed here, including LTE and the role of collisional interactions, as well as those in previous exchanges. I believe it would help clear up some of the major misconceptions, at least as a start.

    • I don’t pretend to understand all of this, but it has always seemed to me that there is a disconnect between the TOA blackbody account of the greenhouse effect and the molecular account, which I think of as a random walk model. A new technical post might be just the thing.

    • Roger Taguchi

      Hi Judith!
      I’m afraid I don’t understand your “the physics described don’t match the conclusion”. I’ll try to answer specific points of confusion if you describe them.

      If you wish, you could start a new thread, starting with my posts of Feb. 22, Feb. 5 and Feb. 7. These represent bits of an article “Net Feedback in Global Warming Calculations” I originally wrote Dec. 3, 2009 using Corel WordPerfect (Version X3). I can forward you and others by email a revised copy (there was one numerical error I have to correct), and you could post a reference to it if possible (I’m not very knowledgeable on how to start a blog site or blog reference). If your computer cannot decipher Corel WordPerfect, I can send you a scanned pdf copy, but Pete Ridley has found it cannot be easily referenced on blogsites.

      I hope you can tell from my previous posts that I am all for scientific discussions, but get turned off by personal attacks without merit.

    • ok, can you provide the specific links (the actual link to the comment shows up by clicking on the date/time stamp. thx
      i can’t read word perfect, put pdf would work.

    • DeWitt Payne

      What about the reverse process where N2 or O2 molecules collide inelastically with a CO2 molecule and raise its energy to the excited state? The emission rate of CO2 in the IR is dependent only on the Einstein A21 coefficient and the number of CO2 molecules in the excited state. The number of molecules in the excited state is a function of temperature and the energy level of the excited state, i.e. the Boltzmann distribution, and concentration only.

    • Adding to this comment:

      As long as the temperature changes smoothly in the atmosphere, the reverse process is essentially as strong as the forward process. Thus the rate of emission from each excited state is also close to the rate of absorption to the same state although not directly as a consequence of any particular absorption. This is a near equality, not a precise one and the deviations correspond to the influence of convective heat transfer and some other extra factors.

    • Roger Taguchi

      Hi De Witt!
      It’s important to know that the vibrational energy of the first excited state (v=1) of the CO2 molecule is more than twice the average translational kinetic energy at 300 K of a gas molecule (like N2 or O2). Therefore collisional activation of a CO2 molecule, though not impossible, is unlikely. That’s why heat flows from “hot” to “cold”: even though theoretically energy conservation does not forbid the reverse, statistically when there are large number of molecules involved, the reverse is so much less probable.

      As a simple example of a probability calculation, consider that at any time, a gas molecule in your room has a probability of 1/2 moving away from you and a probability of 1/2 of moving toward you. If a typical room contains 10^27 molecules, then the probability that all the molecules will be simultaneously moving away from you (and threatening you with suffocation) is 1/2^(10^27). This probability is not zero, but is so small as to be negligible.

      Thus deactivation of excess excited CO2 (in the v=1 state) by collision is much more likely than activation of ground state (v=0) CO2 molecules by collision with ambient N2 or O2 molecules. The Boltzmann distribution gives the small, though non-zero, population ratio of excited states to the ground state at thermal equilbirium. However, the “hot” molecules created when IR photons are absorbed are not at thermal equilibrium. Collisions “cool” these molecules, and the energy gets spread out over many modes (translational and rotational modes of the separating molecules). At the bimolecular elastic collision level, the principle of “microscopic reversibility” holds: you cannot tell if a movie of an elastic collision is shown forwards or backwards. However, if a movie of a red-hot poker quenched in a bucket of water is shown backwards, you’d know right away that this is so, because the process is highly unlikely that cold water will heat a cold poker until it is red-hot, even if the Law of Conservation of Total Energy were strictly observed. This is known as the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

      I hope this answers your very good, logical question.

    • Roger,
      It is not particularly unlikely, but exactly as common as it should be to correspond to the rate of absorption and collisional de-excitation of vibrational states due to absorption. The occupation is of the order of 3% and that makes it to be close to the maximum of the Planck’s law distribution of black body radiation energy at the atmospheric temperature. Furthermore it follows that it is very close to the optimal energy level for maximal rate radiation in terms of energy.

    • Roger Taguchi

      Hi Pekka! I’m glad you calculated a number like 3%, which sounds about right for the population ratio of the excited state (v=1) at equilibrium. But now you must consider what happens when the solid and liquid Earth warms up, emitting more IR photons. The extra photons absorbed will create a temporary excess (say 4%) of excited states, some of which will lose their energy to ambient N2 and O2 molecules (thus warming the atmosphere), until a new steady-state ratio (say 3.1%) is reached at a slightly higher temperature. Let’s not lose track of what we’re trying to understand: the atmospheric greenhouse effect, not just a single system at equilibrium. I’m glad that you have accepted the fact of de-activation of excited molecules by collision, which must be considered in addition to radiative transfer. Radiative transfer (though it obviously occurs) cannot by itself explain how the atmosphere warms up.

    • Roger – At equilibrium, collisional de-excitation and collisional excitation must be equal, because photon absorption and emission as well as total energy in and out of a layer must be equal. Given the much shorter interval between collisions than for spontaneous photon emission, collisional excitation/de-excitation is by far the dominant mode of local energy transfer by molecules.

    • Roger Taguchi

      Hi Fred! I agree with everything you have written.

      However, (1) the atmospheric greenhouse effect requires us to consider the mechanism of change between TWO equilibrium (steady-state) conditions, and (2) since “collisional excitation/de-excitation is by far the dominant mode of local energy transfer by molecules”, why the emphasis on radiative exchange alone in the Standard Model?

      Re (1), at equilibrium, the rates of forward and reverse reactions are equal; however, when there is a change, the rates are not balanced, until a new equilbrium is reached. The atmospheric greenhouse effect requires us to explain a change, not a single system at equilibrium.

      Hope this helps.

    • Roger – I’m not quite sure what you’re driving at. Once an instantaneous forcing is applied – e.g., a hypothetical instantaneous doubling of CO2 (neglecting stratospheric adjustments) – the transition from radiative steady state 1 to steady state 2 involves a temporary flux imbalance, but from the standpoint of radiative transfer, the establishment of a new atmospheric steady state is almost instantaneous (Andy Lacis discussed this in comments a few months ago; convective adjustments take a bit longer). The response of the surface and its ultimate effect on atmospheric temperature is much slower because of thermal inertia, but we are focusing at this point exclusively on atmospheric responses to a radiative imbalance alone before the surface has had a chance to respond.

      How much does atmospheric N2 or O2 contribute to the atmospheric warming? These gases amplify the warming a bit through pressure broadening of the CO2 and H2O absorption lines, but aside from pressure effects, their main contribution is to distribute the warming evenly rather than add or subtract heat of their own. They neither absorb nor emit appreciably under atmospheric conditions, and so it is photon absorption by CO2 (or other greenhouse gases) that adds the heat, and photon emission that limits its accumulation and reestablishes a steady state at a higher temperature. Note that an excited CO2 molecule is “hotter” than an unexcited one (if you put a thermometer next to it, the thermometer reading would rise), and so heat is not created by the N2 or O2 but merely spread out.

      For all of these reasons, radiative transfer as a mechanism explains net thermal effects, with the role of N2 and O2 restricted to that of intermediaries in the process.

    • Roger Taguchi

      Hi Fred! I agree with your second last paragraph in your Reply of 3:23 pm, where you correctly state that N2 and O2 cannot by themselves warm the atmosphere much except through pressure broadening. However, your insistence on radiative transfer between CO2 molecules repeats the Standard Model which fails to explain how the energy gets transferred to the N2 and O2 in the first place. That, I contend, is accomplished during inelastic collisions that de-activate excess “hot” CO2 molecules produced by that immediate stress of increased CO2 concentration/increased CO2 absorption. By “excess” I mean that concentration above the equilibrium Boltzmann amount expected at the initial temperature by collisional processes.

    • It is standard model that the vibrational excitations release their energy through collisions with other molecules, mainly N2 and O2.

      The standard model tells also that approximately equal number of molecules gets at the same time excited to the same vibrational states. (A very slightly larger number to be precise.)

    • Roger,
      The excitation energy happens to be almost optimal for releasing energy through radiation and the occupation rate of 3% is thus also near to the optimum when the energy of each quantum is taken into account. The exact optimum is at 2.82 kT, which corresponds to the wave number of 560 1/cm at 288K and 470 1/cm at 240 K. The value of the Plack’s law energy spectrum at 667 1/cm is only about 5% and 15% below the maximum. This means that the radiation resulting from the thermal excitation of the vibrational modes of CO2 proceeds very effectively at all atmospheric temperatures.

      The equilibrium of collisional excitation and de-excitation is important and taking it correctly into account leads precisely to the standard main stream explanation of the greenhouse effect.

    • DeWitt Payne

      Therefore collisional activation of a CO2 molecule, though not impossible, is unlikely.

      Have you actually run the numbers? At 296 K at 667.6612 cm-1 Ni/N = 0.039 or nearly 4% of CO2 molecules are in the excited state. The Einstein A21 coefficient for that transition is 1.542 s-1

      Let’s take a very thin layer of gas so that self absorption can be neglected. We’ll use surface atmospheric conditions with a CO2 volume mixing ratio (VMR) of 0.00038 and a temperature of 296K. At STP (1013 mbar and 273.2 K) there are 0.0224 m3/mole and 6.022E23 molecules/mole. Correcting for the temperature difference between 296 and 273.2 and the VMR, there are (6.022E23*0.002*0.00038*273.2)/(0.0224*296)=1.89E19 CO2 molecules /m2 and 1.89E19*0.039=7.35E17 molecules in the excited state. That gives 1.542*7.35E17=7.13E18 photons/sec. The photon energy is hν=1.33E-20 J and a radiance (ignoring layer thickness) of 7.13E18*1.33E-20/4π= 1.20E-03 W m-2 sr-1. And that’s just one of tens of thousands of transitions in the band.

      A fraction in the excited state of 0.039 is indeed unlikely, only about 1 in 25 molecules is in the excited state. That doesn’t mean emission is insignificant as 1 in 25 is still a whole lot of molecules.

    • DeWitt Payne

      The layer thickness is 0.002 m in the above example.

    • Roger Taguchi

      Hi DeWitt! Please see my post at 1:27 pm. Yes, at equilibrium there is a significant non-zero population of v=1 states for CO2. But what we’re trying to understand is the mechanism of atmospheric warming when CO2 absorbs more photons emitted from a warming Earth (or more basically, the difference between an Earth without any CO2 or greenhouse gases, and how the atmosphere warms up as the CO2 level rises from zero to 0.03%).
      So we really must consider the mechanism of change between two different equilibrium (more properly, steady-state) conditions. And that must involve a net transfer of energy from excited state CO2 molecules to ambient N2 and O2 molecules. Just like quenching a red-hot poker in cold water (once cooled, equilibrium Boltzmann distributions of course hold, and energy transfer is balanced in both directions).

    • Roger,
      There is not much net transfer of energy from the radiation to thermal motion. When both radiation and convection are taken into account, there is a small net transfer in either direction, but it is very small compared to the total energy flows. As the troposphere is warmed by the convection, the balance of the radiative energy transfer is there a little on the cooling side as the sum must add to zero. this means that there is slightly more emission than absorption.

    • DeWitt Payne

      Sorry but we’re not talking about a red hot poker in a bucket of water. The change from doubling CO2 is quite small in comparison to the change in radiation over the course of a day or over the course of a year. Not to mention that it’s going to take over a century to double the CO2 concentration from pre-industrial levels. A step change would be about 4 W/m2 out of ~260 W/m2 at the tropopause (clear sky) and it isn’t a step change.

    • Roger Taguchi

      Agreed, the change from doubling CO2 is quite small.

      The red hot poker analogy was given to show that a CHANGE between two states in which heat is transferred is not reversible. So the balance of activation and de-activation at equilbrium does NOT mean that there is no net energy flow during the change which occurs after a stress, such as doubling the CO2 concentration. The net energy flow during this change is from excess activated CO2 molecules to N2 and O2 molecules, which warm up. At the new, higher temperature, I agree that there is a new balance (equilibrium). We really aren’t that far apart, as scientific truth demands!

  107. Thank you, Mr. Rodger Taguchi… I tried to tell this stuff to Eli, but that was ages ago…

    • Roger Taguchi

      Hi Tom! Are you the Tom who used to post at an Australian Senator’s blog? I respected your knowledge and logical thinking.

  108. Willis Eschenbach

    Roger Taguchi | April 11, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Hi De Witt!
    It’s important to know that the vibrational energy of the first excited state (v=1) of the CO2 molecule is more than twice the average translational kinetic energy at 300 K of a gas molecule (like N2 or O2). Therefore collisional activation of a CO2 molecule, though not impossible, is unlikely.

    The distribution of the speed of molecules in an ideal gas is given by the Maxwell distribution.

    Kinetic energy goes up with the square of the speed. So per your post, any N2 or O2 molecule going 1.414 times the average speed has the same energy as an activated CO2 molecule.

    Per the Maxwell distribution, the amount of molecules with speeds greater than 1.414 times the average speed is about 16%.

    Since that is one molecule in six, I would not describe such a collision as “unlikely”.

    What am I missing here?

    w.

  109. Hi Willis!
    I agree with all your calculations.
    “Unlikely” was meant in the sense that MOST collisions (i.e. 50% or more) do not have the energy needed for activation. When molecules collide, not all the translational energy gets transferred between molecules similar-but-not-equal in mass so your Maxwell calculation should be reduced from 16%.
    Activation to rotational states in the ground vibrational state would also reduce the figure available for quantized vibration further. This background is necessary to understand how exciting CO2 molecules vibrationally by IR photons stores energy in a package that can produce warming of the atmosphere, relative to less or no CO2. [If the v=1 state were 99% populated, then additional IR photons would not be significantly absorbed, and transfer to N2 and O2 would not be significant.]

  110. Roger Taguchi,

    Here’s a though experiment:

    Assume you have an ideal spectrophotometer that can measure in the range from 5-5,000 cm-1. Let the optical path be vacuum with a 1 m controlled temperature gas cell with perfectly transparent windows and a detector chilled to near absolute zero. Now if we evacuate the gas cell and look at a black body source at 300 K, we see an ideal Planck spectrum. Now if we put CO2 or air containing CO2 in the gas cell also at 300 K, the spectrum doesn’t change. Emissivity is equal to absorptivity as long as the pressure in the cell is high enough that local thermal equilibrium prevails, i.e., the rate of collisional activation/deactivation far exceeds the rate of radiative emission.

    • Roger Taguchi

      The spectrum doesn’t change??????

      The experiment has been done: just look at the satellite spectra looking down on a warm Earth on a cloudless day, reproduced at
      http://www.sundogpublishing.com/AtmosRad/Excerpts/AtmosRad217.pdf or http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2572 or http://ukweatherworld.co.uk/forum/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=16928&start=81 . Except for the spectra over Antarctica and over a Thunderstorm Anvil, the spectra all show a classic black body spectrum consistent with the temperature of the solid or liquid surface of the Earth, with bites taken out of it by absorptions due to H2O, CO2 and O3 (ozone).
      You are denying the possibility of the bites, which actually exist in the observed spectra. Therefore you are wrong. Your mistake (repeated in the Standard Model found in climatology textbooks) is in assuming that gases, including CO2, can act as black body emitters/absorbers. They can’t [see my post of Feb. 22 at http://judithcurry.com/2010/11/30/physics-of-the-atmospheric-greenhouse-effect/ ]. Just as the corona of the Sun is transparent to visible light (the main frequencies emitted by the photosphere of the Sun) except at the Fraunhofer lines, the Earth’s atmosphere is transparent to IR except at resonant absorption bands for H2O, CO2 and O3. Therefore it is simply wrong to assume black body emission from things that are transparent, the opposite of black bodies (black bodies absorb with 100% efficiency, but at steady state emit with emissivity = 1). It is simply wrong to talk about a 220 K (or 210 K) layer in the upper atmosphere from which black body radiation can finally escape to outer space. I know this may come as a shock to those who have memorized this mantra in your youth, so take some time to think this over before responding further.

    • Where have you seen a text book that claims that gases act as black body emitters/absorbers? That is certainly a false claim and hardly presented in any text book, certainly not in any good textbook.

    • I think that Roger is referring to the earth as a blackbody including the gases. But the spectrum is not blackbody because of the gases.

    • Roger, of course it is wrong to talk about a 220K layer in the upper atmosphere from which black body radiation can finally escape to outer space. No one who knows anything about atmospheric radiative transfer talks about this, and this is not how radiative transfer is included in climate models. So you have set up a straw dog to knock down.

    • Now I am confused. It seemed like the zero sensivity discussion was all about blackbody radiation from the TOA or an upper layer. The problem as I understood it was how to get the warming down into the atmosphere.

    • One may talk about the equivalent blackbody temperature that leads to the same total radiated energy as that radiated by the Earth as seen from the space, but the spectrum of Earth radiation deviates strongly from the blackbody. At some wavelengths the Earth radiates more (typically at those, where the atmosphere is most transparent and the surface radiates directly to the space), at others less as it does around 15 um where the radiation to the space originates from the top of troposphere (and also from stratosphere)

      One can also compare the radiation of each wavelength to the radiation of the same wavelength from a blackbody. In that comparison the temperature of the blackbody is the close to the same as that of the atmosphere at the highest altitude visible from the space. Comparison is clearest around 15 um, where the resulting temperature is the temperature at the top of troposphere, but at other wavelengths the results differ.

      This image from Wikipedia describes well the general situation. It presents a model calculation based on US Standard Atmosphere, not real measured data, but that should not reduce its value in explaining the situation.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ModtranRadiativeForcingDoubleCO2.png

      (image is linked from article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiative_forcing)

    • Roger Taguchi

      Hi David! Judith Curry has given me permission to use her label of “kindergarten science” re Sir John Houghton’s simplification of the theory of the greenhouse effect found at http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2572. QUOTE: It is wrong to talk about a 220 K layer in the upper atmosphere from which black body radiation can finally escape to outer space UNQUOTE.
      I hope never to see such a sentence in discussions again.

      Now to David’s confusion, understandable because Houghton and others in blogs have used this “kindergarten science”. So what’s the real mechanism by which the lower atmosphere warms up?
      As Pekka and DeWitt have shown, at equilibrium about 3% or 4% of CO2 molecules are by collision excited to the v=1 excited vibrational state. Fred has pointed out that collisional activation/deactivation is more important than radiation (if someone can give me a value for the radiative liftetime of the v=1 to v=0 transition for CO2 bond-bending, I might be able to discuss this quantitatively), so the population of excited states is constant at constant temperature, but not radiating much. DeWitt correctly pointed out that inside an isothermal cavity there would be no CO2 spectrum. But as he and others have said, the Earth’s atmosphere is not isothermal, and in addition it is not enclosed in a constant temperature cavity (the temperature of the cosmic microwave black body background of outer space is around 3 K).

      So consider what happens when increasing amounts of Sunlight strike the Earth’s surface in the early daytime. The surface absorbs visible light, primarily, and warms up (visible light photons can excite the electrons in coloured molecules to electronically excited states as well as high vibrational and rotational states; the absorbed energy gets distributed quickly to many, many modes of motion involving smaller quanta). The warmer surface now emits more power/m^2 according to the Stefan-Boltzmann and Planck Laws. At 288 K the peak of emission occurs very close to 15 microns, which happens to be the wavelength for the fundamental vibration for bond-bending for the CO2 molecule. So some of the 15 micron IR emitted from the surface will be absorbed by CO2 molecules close to the Earth’s surface. Collisional deactivation then transfers this energy to N2 and O2 molecules in the air, which cannot re-emit the energy as IR (because they are homonuclear molecules with no permanent electric dipole moment). The energy gets distributed primarily among translational and rotational modes for N2 and O2 (since their vibrational energy levels are higher than those for CO2 bond-bending) as well as for CO2. Yes, there were already some excited state CO2 molecules, but suppose the % rises in an instant from 3% to 4%; this would be a local excess, and by Le Chatelier’s Principle some, but not all, of the excess will be deactivated on collision. Because the new temperature will be slightly higher, then the CO2 could be, as an example, 3.1% excited at equilibrium. I see DeWitt’s point about the isothermal sample: eventually there would be no change in absorption/emission at a layer close to the Earth’s surface. So a layer higher up would then absorb IR and warm up, etc. Eventually a steady-state profile could be set up for a given surface temperature where the layer which is most absorbing (opaque) could be high up in the atmosphere. But because of adiabatic expansion of the atmosphere with height, the Earth’s atmosphere is not isothermal all the way, but decreases with altitude in the troposphere (the temperature profile reverses in the stratosphere due to absorption of incoming Sunlight by ozone). So David, we have explained how the lower atmosphere can warm up using greenhouse gases such as CO2 without having to make up a scenario where a layer high in the upper troposphere somehow transfers heat to the lower atmosphere. I have, of course, not mentioned conduction or convection, as I have dealt only with radiative processes and intermolecular collisions.
      Hope this helps.

    • Roger Taguchi

      This is so much clearer, more compact and explicit than me waving a pencil around and jumping up and down about square inches of sky.

      Thank you sir.

    • Roger Taguchi

      Hi Bart! I’m glad you liked my explanation. Pekka, DeWitt and Fred also contributed to the final composition. Perhaps this shows the value of Judith’s blog, where people of different backgrounds can help each other as we grope toward a more complete science. Along the way, people like me can screw up, but smart people like DeWitt can instantly and rightly make corrections. But in the immortal words of your greatest President, we can look back “with malice toward none, with charity for all” as we “strive on to finish the work we are in.”

    • DeWitt Payne

      Of course the spectrum doesn’t change because the cell in the experiment is isothermal. The atmosphere isn’t. The effective emission altitude in the atmosphere is the altitude where the optical density is 1. For the middle of the CO2 band at 667 cm-1, that happens to be in or near the tropopause where the temperature is about 220 K.

      Under the conditions of the thought experiment, if the source temperature is lowered while the gas temperature was held constant, emission features for CO2 would show up until the temperature is low enough that emission from the source was insignificant and only CO2 emission could be observed. If the source temperature is raised, you would see absorption dips because emission from the source is higher than emission from the lower temperature CO2.

      There are absorption features in the IR spectrum of the planet because the temperature of the atmosphere decreases with altitude in the troposphere where the CO2, water vapor and other ghg concentrations are high enough to cause significant absorption of the higher temperature surface thermal radiation.

      I suggest you invest $25 in a subscription to SpectralCalc (www.spectralcalc.com) and try generating some spectra there to see how things actually work. You can do gas cells or atmospheric paths.

    • Hi DeWitt,

      There is something I don’t understand about your thought experiment. In the case where the gas cell is filled with CO2, the photons from the CO2 in the cell are emitted randomly in all directions, but all the photons entering the gas cell from the black body are presumably directed at the spectrophotometer. Wouldn’t this result in absorption dips?

    • DeWitt Payne

      Nope. The spectral radiance is calculated as energy per unit area per unit wavelength(frequency) per unit solid angle. The solid angle coming into and out of the cell are the same. Any energy lost by radiating in any other direction will be replaced by thermal energy from the walls of the cell. So there would only be absorption dips if the gas in the cell cooled below the source temperature, but that’s not allowed by the conditions of the experiment.

      A variation of the experiment would be to make the cell walls perfectly reflective and measure the temperature of the gas in the cell with a blackbody source at each end. The temperature of the gas must become equal to the source temperature.

      Kirchhoff’s Law, emissivity equals absorptivity, which is valid when local thermodynamic equilibrium obtains, is required by the Second Law. If it weren’t true then a mass of gas inside a blackbody that didn’t contact the walls would warm up above the temperature of the blackbody if absorptivity were greater than emissivity or would transfer heat to the walls of the blackbody and cool if emissivity were greater than absorptivity. Neither is allowed by the Second Law. You can’t create a temperature difference by radiative transfer when none exists initially.

    • DeWitt Payne

      The equations to prove the spectrum is unchanged are pretty simple.

      Let the Planck function for blackbody emission at a given wavelength and temperature be represented by B(λ,T). Let the absorptivity and emissivity (as required by Kirchhoff’s Law) of the cell at a given wavelength be Aλ. Transmittance is then 1-Aλ (no scattering). The radiance incident on the cell is B(λ,T). The radiance then observed at the other end of the cell is B(λ,T)*(1-Aλ) + Aλ*B(λ,T) = B(λ,T). If the source has an emissivity less than one, then you would see emission peaks from the CO2 because the effective temperature of the source is less than the temperature of the gas in the cell.

    • Very clear explanation. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

    • DeWitt Payne

      You’re welcome.
      I’m retired and this is sort of my hobby so time isn’t a problem.

    • Roger Taguchi

      Hi DeWitt!
      You’re right about the isothermal cell; I was all wrong!
      In effect, your thought experiment is approximated by having a spectrometer look through a pinhole in the wall of a well-insulated furnace containing CO2 & air. The black body radiation inside the furnace is equilibrated with the walls of the furnace, so all features other than Planck radiation disappear. When a pottery kiln is opened, the objects inside are hard to distinguish because they are all at the same temperature and emit the same Planck black body radiation spectrum. Your use of the term “spectrometer sample cell” made me think of something other than a black body cavity because the large exit window is not a pinhole and so equilibrium is not achieved from all directions. And you’re right about the Earth’s atmosphere not being isothermal. Next time I’ll read your posts more carefully before making a dumb comment.

    • DeWitt Payne

      Petty’s book ( http://www.sundogpublishing.com/AtmosRad/index.html ) is very good. Rather than just picking a few graphs to link, you should buy it and read it.

  111. Roger,

    You have got my attention here. Let me ask you a question that I posed to Pekka a few days ago on another thread pertinent to this discussion. My question to Pekka was:

    “How much LW radiation energy absorbed by CO2 eventually dissipates via micro-wave radiation via populated excited rotational states of H2O from collisions with N2, O2, CO2 and other H2O? Isn’t this a viable mechanism for radiative heat loss also?”

    Pekka replied with:

    “The role of microwave radiation is minuscule due to the small energy of microwave “photons”. It is strong enough for serving observational purposes, but has practically no significance for the energy balance. I don’t have the numbers, but the above applies already to the longest wavelengths of IR and more strongly to the microwave. This can be seen from the shape of Planck’s law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck%27s_law).”

    Looking at Planks Law, for T = 275 – 300 K, the emission curve will be relatively flat and broad.

    I did not follow up with Pekka and I am not sure he understood what I was asking. Your analogy to the red hot poker quenched in water is more of the question I was trying to ask. Pekka, please take no offense to me asking someone else the same question and by all means respond again if you read this and you want to.

    If CO2 molecules absorb IR photons and go to first excited vibrational state, they will more likely encounter many collisions with N2 and O2 before they have time to re-emit the absorbed energy. In the course of excited CO2 colliding with N2 and O2, the absorbed energy in the excited CO2 is likely to be in-elastically transferred to the N2/O2 increasing their translational energy as well as rotational and/or vibrational states. Since homo-nuclear diatomics have no permanent or oscillating dipole moments, they cannot emit the energy through rotational or vibrational emissions, so instead they will distribute this energy translationally amongst themselves via further in-elastic collisions and are “warmer” as a result. As you stated earlier, and confirmed by Pekka and DeWitt (though not in complete agreement), further collisions of N2 and O2 rarely (or less probably) with CO2 can excite it to the first vibrational level (4% according to DeWitts calculation) and, as far as I can tell, rarer still would be a re-emission of an IR photon, again due to the number of collisions it is likely to encounter with N2 and O2 in the time frame before it has a chance to do so. But the system is also still seeking thermal equilibrium and so there must be other pathways the energy will try to dissipate than by just re-emission of IR from CO2.

    Since CO2 has no permanent dipole moment, it is not able to release rotational energy via emission, however H2O, which is much more prevalent in the atmosphere, does. So if the “warmed” N2 and O2 in-elastically collide with H2O (on a much more frequent probability due to higher concentration compared to CO2)… would it not seem likely that many of those in-elastic collisions between N2/O2 with H2O would result in H2O being highly populated (Boltzman distribution) with lots of lower energy rotational states that could in turn emit micro-wave radiation thus dissipating the energy to seek thermal equilibrium?

    I am guessing the answer is yes, but its not very significant. Comment?

    • DeWitt Payne

      A vibrational transition doesn’t exclude a rotational transition. In fact, the P and R branches of the CO2 IR spectrum at 667 cm-1 come from a change in the rotational quantum number by plus or minus one, the maximum allowed. The median rotational quantum number is quite high as the average energy level is far above the rotational ground state.

      As far as microwave emission from water vapor, the Planck equation limits the amount of energy that can be emitted at any frequency. The radiance in the microwave is many orders of magnitude lower than in the thermal IR from rotational/vibrational transitions. Microwave emission from oxygen (permanent magnetic dipole moment, i.e. paramagnetic) at 60GHz is what is used for satellite remote temperature sensing.

    • John Carpenter

      DeWitt,

      Thanks for the reply. I am quite familiar with vibrational-rotational coupling. I was thinking more in terms of pure rotational in the micro-wave region. I can see now how it is a very minor part of the energy balance. Thanks again for your input.

    • John,
      My above message has a link to this image

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ModtranRadiativeForcingDoubleCO2.png

      From this image it’s also possible to see that microwaves cannot form an important part of the energy balance. The wavenumber of microwaves is less than 10 1/cm. Extrapolating the curves to zero the area below the curve close to origin up to wavenumber 10 is the theoretical maximum for the escaping microwave radiation. That area is obviously extremely small. It is actually about 0.001 percent of the total area under the curve.

    • John Carpenter

      Pekka,

      Thanks for the link, it illustrated better what I believe you were telling me the first time I asked. It is evident to me now that this is not an important part of the energy balance…. I was just following down the path to see. Thanks for your help.

    • John Carpenter

      Pekka,

      I also understand better what you told me before about the mean free path distance between collisions at higher altitudes increasing due to lower pressure and how this allows the probability of IR re-emission to increase.

      Despite having learned a great deal of quantum mechanics/chemistry and spectroscopy on my way to earning my doctorate in P-chem, I have not used much of that knowledge in the last 20 years and as a result I’m a bit rusty… however I am gaining a lot of enjoyment reading through all my old texts to re-educate myself. Linking it to the way the GHE works has been very interesting… Please be patient with me along the way.

  112. So don’t have the experience of working with many corporate clients belonging to different business sector. Therefore, it is important. This is why methods of website linking is best handled by a private company that specializes in optimizing websites for search engines.

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