Trying to put the Climategate genie back in the bottle

by Judith Curry

The viral “Climategate” has had a substantial impact on public perception of climate science and scientists.  Several strategies have been tried to put the Climategate genie back in the bottle, without much success.  An article by Peter Wood published in the Chronicle of Higher Education entitled “Climate Thuggery” describes one such strategy, which I don’t think is working too well.

Who is Peter Wood?  He is President of the National Association of Scholars (NAS, not to be confused with National Academies of Science).  From his bio: Prior to his position at NAS, Dr. Wood was a tenured member of the Anthropology Department at Boston University, where he also held a variety of administrative positions, including associate provost and president’s chief of staff. 

I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of the NAS before, it looks like an interesting organization, and a controversial one also.  The Wikipedia  says :

Since its founding, the NAS has been in the midst of numerous controversies in higher education. . . The NAS denies that the views it advocates are conservative. Instead, the NAS describes itself as “liberal,” referring to classical liberalism. NAS executive director Peter Wood writes: “Both Left and the Right produce their share of intellectual obtuseness. The NAS is not a partner with either. We are not a political organization, but a body of scholars who hope to sustain a vision of the university as a fundamentally good institution that deserves to be sustained.” 

The Chronicle of Higher Education is described by the Wikipedia as:

The Chronicle of Higher Education is a newspaper and website that presents news, information, and jobs for college and university faculty, staff members and administrators. The Chronicle, based in Washington, D.C., is the major news service in the United States academic world.

Bottling Up Global Warming Skepticism

About a month ago, Wood posted an article in the Chronicle entitled “Bottling Up Global Warming Skepticism.”  After some stuff about P.T. Barnum that didn’t make much sense to me in this context,  he gets to his main point, which is about the piece in Science on John Mashey.

Dr. John Mashey is attempting to patch the tattered reputation of “hide the decline” Michael Mann, the climate scientist whose famous “hockey stick” chart shows exponentially increasing global temperatures in the near term. Mashey has been, as he puts it, “trying to take the offense” against global warming skeptics by flyspecking their publications. “You hope they make a mistake,” he says, and when they do, he pounces with demands that journals retract whole articles. Some journals indeed have. As Science puts it, “His critics say Mashey is more interested in destroying his foes than in debating the issues.” Professor Mann is extolling his efforts at “exploring the underbelly of climate denial.”

But how is this to be done? I suppose Mashey offers an instructive example of one way to put “excessive distrust” of authority back in the green glass bottle. Making the bottle the only safe refuge from abuse might work on a limited scale, but it isn’t really attuned to our sense of fair play. We don’t need perfect assurance in our scientific theories but we do need to believe that the scientists are doing their best to get to the truth.

The comments are interesting, which include statements from John Mashey, Tenney Naumer, Scott Mandia, Eli Rabbett, Anna Haynes, Tim Lambert.

Climate Thuggery

Peter Wood posted a follow on piece in the Chronicle entitled “Climate Thuggery,”  which is a response to the response to his previous post.  Some excerpts:

Is anthropogenic global warming (AGW) a valid scientific theory?  Is it well supported by the empirical data or is it mostly an artifact of computer modeling?  I don’t have answers to these questions.  I stand, rather, on the side of those who favor rigorous scientific inquiry, transparency, and openness.  I am not a climate scientist, but neither do I cede the whole matter of answering such questions to the designated experts.  Good science doesn’t limit itself to the views of narrow-cast specialists.  Valid observations, corrective criticism, competing hypotheses, and rigorous testing can and often do arise from other sources. [JC bold]

It surprises me, however, that proponents of AGW, or what might be called the climate orthodoxy section of AGW theory, often respond to criticism and dissent with a kind of fury.  Far from welcoming discussion, they seek to suppress it. In doing so they jeopardize both their own authority and the prestige of the scientific community.

Wood then describes the reactions to his piece on Mashey, mentions Mann’s lawuit against Tim Ball,  Mann threatening a lawsuit against Minnesotans for Global Warming for their youtube video.  He cites additional examples, see this web site, also incidents involving the BBC, Heidi Cullen, and the EPA (Alan Carlin).  He also describes Anna Haynes (sourcewatch) latest antics:

For example, one of Mashey and Mann’s supporters has made it her business to contact by telephone and e-mail NAS trustees, members, employees, and others with leading questions about my views on climate change and sustainability.  Her questions have insinuated that two former employees of NAS who died in 1995 were murdered, perhaps at the behest of Richard Mellon Scaife! (As it happened both died of heart attacks; and both had suffered previous heart attacks.)  This woman has similarly attacked other people and organizations that express views on climate change that she disagrees with.  Her targets have sometimes spoken up, but as far as I can tell she is accepted by AGW proponents as a welcome contributor to the effort.

Wood closes with the following text:

The techniques vary. The results, however, are similar: What cannot be established by transparent science can be imposed by coercion and intimidation.

The hardball approach of his defenders is in large part a reflex of this loss of prestige and authority.  The proponents of AGW, however, have chosen a very foolish tactic. Bullying skeptics and sneering at those who raise questions is no way to regain public trust.

The sharp practices of the warmists also damage the tenor of academic, scientific, and public debate.  Frivolous lawsuits, intimidation, mobbing are not the flying buttresses of modern science.  They are the rot that undermines the intellectual authority of science.  Can you trust anything said by someone who engages in such tactics?

This warning can be turned against some of the global warming skeptics as well.  There is, for example, a blogger who writes as “The Hockey Schtick” who refers to Mann’s 1998 article in Nature (which introduced the hockey stick graph) as “the most thoroughly  discredited paper of the modern age.”  Rhetorical excess for rhetorical excess.   Some of Mann’s defenders, however, much as they preen themselves as defenders of scientific rigor, are skating in the same rink.

The science will, in due course, be sorted out.   Shoddy hypotheses will be discarded.  Data massaged to accommodate models will prove discrepant with better observations.  It could be that anthropogenic global warming will win out as a valid theory; it could be otherwise.  I’m not taking sides on the science.  But when it comes to efforts to silence debate and intimidate critics, I very much take the side of those who want to see science rid of such mischief.

JC comments:  I find the Wood article of interest because it was published in the Chronicle of Higher Education (widely read by academics) and  it provides the perspective of a well known academic who has not (to my knowledge) previously written on the topic of climate change.  His perception of what is going on in the climate science community is dominated by the Climategate issue and the dismissal by mainstream climate scientists of skeptical viewpoints.  I have encountered this same perspective on climate science time and again from academics in other fields, and I am greatly concerned by this perspective (trying to counter this perspective is a major motivation of this blog).

The Climategate genie will not easily go back into the bottle.  My proposal for increased transparency, more attention to uncertainty and overall greater scientific integrity is the only way to get the genie back into the bottle (although this will be a very slow process.)   When I have commended the efforts of the climate auditors, people have asked who is auditing the auditors?  Well, that is John Mashey, Anna Haynes, and Deep Climate.  While I find their rhetoric and some of their tactics to be often rather distasteful, what they are doing is (for the most part) legitimate investigation.  What I don’t understand is why Michael Mann is threatening people with lawsuits over trivial things.  I defended Mann against what I perceived as harassment by Cuccinelli, but what he is doing against Tim Ball and Minnesotans for Global Warming stoops to the same level.  Whatever Mann’s motivation might be, this basically looks like “strong arm tactics” and “sharp practices” to squelch skeptical/critical voices.  These kind of tactics from an academic reinforce the accusations made against our field as a result of Climategate.

Less time “exploring the underbelly of climate denial” and more time making your data publicly available and understanding/characterizing uncertainty, please.

501 responses to “Trying to put the Climategate genie back in the bottle

  1. The only way Climategate is going to go away, is if the climate community as a whole finally acknowledges it, cleans up its act to eradicate the practices exposed in Climategate (including the coverups), and takes disciplinary action against the chief culprits.

    • I agree. The public is long weary of sham ‘investigations’ which fail to live up to their billing, and the resulting whitewash endlessly repainted as it flakes off by the mouthpieces such as John Mashey, Gavin Schmidt, Deepclimate Dave et al.

      • The events that produced Climategate started forty-nine (49) years ago, on the week of February 21-28, 1972, and involved one of the main characters in Watergate, President Richard Milhous Nixon:

        As a result of secret agreements made with Chinese leaders in the “week that changed the world” (RMN’s own words), new discoveries about the origin, composition and source of energy of the Earth-Sun system have been ignored, hidden or manipulated by the US National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society, and the federal research agencies they control since 1972.

        This paper in press and references cited there tell the rest of the sad tale ["Neutron Repulsion", The APEIRON Journal, in press, 19 pages (2011)]

        http://arxiv.org/pdf/1102.1499v1

        With deep regrets,
        Oliver K. Manuel
        Former NASA Principal
        Investigator for Apollo

      • Correction: Thirty nine (39 = 2011-1972) years since it was secretly decided during the week of 21-28 Feb 1972 to end the threat of nuclear annihilation by an international agreement to deceive.

      • As Tim Blair says … the truth is the first casualty of AGW.

        2000:

        The golden toad which, according to environmental groups, was the first casualty of global warming

        2001:

        Tuvalu: Global Warming’s first casualty

        2006:

        CWI supports frontline research in the Canadian Arctic to protect polar bears from becoming the first casualty of global warming.

        2006:

        The first casualty of global warming is India’s mangrove island on the Bay of Bengal, Lochachara ~ it is now gone.

        2007:

        [The Maldives are] also renowned for being the likely first casualty in any serious increase in global warming.

        2007:

        Water could be the first casualty of global warming.

        2007:

        Australia Could Become First Major Casualty Due To Global Warming.

        2008:

        Losing winter: as climate change takes hold, our coldest season is the first casualty.

        2008:

        first casualty of Global Warming? Rare breed of possum may be extinct.

        2008:

        The world’s natural heritage, including polar bears and other wildlife, is global warming’s first casualty.

        2009:

        The Alaskan village of Newtok is the first casualty of climate change.

        2009:

        UNEP had also recently declared that coral reefs, which support the majority of marine life, will be the first casualty of climate change.

        2009:

        Brunt of climate change perceived in India; small Himalayan glaciers first casualty.

        2009:

        Were my damaged pride and chilly shins the first casualty of of global warming?

        2009:

        In India … agriculture is the first casualty of climate change.

        2010:

        Will the Marshall Islands be the first casualty of global warming on a national scale?

        2010:

        Sled Dogs: The first casualty of Global Warming

        2010:

        Climate change and food insecurity: Africa is the first casualty.

        2011:

        PNG Attitude has referred to the Carteret Islands being the world’s first casualty to global warming

        2011:

        first casualty of global warming? Pants.

        2011:

        Surface water sources are the first casualty of global warming.

        2011:

        The [Aldabra] snail has been declared not just extinct, but the first casualty of global warming.

        2011:

        California Mussels: First Warming Casualty?

        http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/timblair/

      • Very amusing. But there has been one use of the cliche, directly as a result of Climategate, that I liked so much that I clipped it in my personal wiki. That was the historian Paul Johnson in Forbes in February last year:

        Since the days of Sir Humphry Davy and Charles Darwin, scientists in Britain have been held in the highest regard. Lord Kelvin and Sir Alexander Fleming were treated as secular saints. Nobel Prize winners were honored like prophets in ancient Israel. Now, as the theory of man-made global warming unravels, scientists are suddenly and devastatingly revealed as fallible, mendacious, self-seeking, criminally secretive, furtively trying to hide their errors, debasing the system of peer review of scientific papers and conspiring to conceal the truth from once highly respected professional publications. The image of the scientist who puts the pursuit of truth before anything else has been shattered and replaced by a man on the make or a quasi-religious enthusiast who wants to prove his case at any cost. Science is becoming the tool of campaigning warfare, in which truth is the first casualty.

        This speaks directly to the concerns of Peter Wood and Dr Curry above. For me it’s genuinely heartbreaking.

      • A big problem here is that science may have been viewed that way, but never was that way. The movie Longitude really woke me up to that.

      • The other way the take this – the way I take it – is that what Johnson writes was broadly true of the Victorian era, perhaps lasting roughly until the Second World War, when the involvement of scientists in some of the worst horrors of that time cannot have helped anyone. I agree that John Harrison had to overcome some very bad behaviour from the representatives of “official science” in the eighteenth century. But I believe something very positive happened to English or British culture from that point. Without that, we’d have gone down the tubes long before.

      • John. Whitman

        Richard,

        I have been reading Paul Johnson’s books on history since the 1970’s and have developed a general respect for him.

        I was unaware he made the Forbes statement on the reduced stature of science due to the questionable behaviour of AGW climate scientists shown us by climategate. Thanks for showing it here.

        I concur with his thoughts in Forbes.

        John

      • At 11:05 AM on 2 August, Richard Drake had drawn upon Paul Johnson’s brief opinion piece in Forbes (25 February 2010), “The Sickness of the West”,” regarding the AGW fraudsters exposed so startling only a few months before by Climategate.

        What I find even more interesting is the theme of that article in toto, which is found nearer the beginning of the essay:

        Trust is missing. We do not trust – and with good reason – either our elected leaders or the corporate elite who constitute the top echelons of society. Seldom in modern history has the lack of trust, now verging on contempt, been so deep, universal and comprehensive.

        At the very top we have a sad bunch of flawed mediocrities.

        While that certainly characterizes the third-rate “Cargo Cult Science” fraudsters of the CAGW scam, in the wake of the recent Sturm und Drang attending upon the Red Faction’s cave-in to our TelePrompTer-in-Chief and the National Socialist Democrat American Party over the debt limit and our still-nonexistent federal budget.

        We do not trust – and with good reason – either our elected leaders or the corporate elite who constitute the top echelons of society.

        Now more than ever.

      • I don’t normally appeal the ref’s decision but this time is different. It seems that Rich can go around calling anyone he likes, including myself, a Nazi (National Socialist) but when I respond with the following it gets censored! Come on Judith – a fair shake of the sauce bottle as we say down under!
        …………….

        Rich,

        You seem to be giving Wagathon a run for his money for the title of climate etc’s most rabid right winger. The adjective ‘rabid’ is often used with the extreme right. Have you noticed that? I was just wondering if you felt that was really justified and if you really do froth at the mouth when writing such nonsense!

      • tt, blog moderation has taken up a huge chunk of my day, I have focused on the carbon thread. I will try to check what is going on in the genie thread.

      • At 5:41 PM on 4 August, tempterrain (who has been stumping vigorously throughout in support of the policies of America’s own National Socialist Democrat American Party, the “Blue Faction” in our permanent institutional Boot-On-Your-Neck Party) whines that his entirely ad hominem non-response to my entirely pertinent earlier comment on this thread got taken down as the worthless bilge it really had been.

        Let’s face it, tempterrain, the faction for which you advocate is a national entity, and you yourself have conceded that its objectives are socialistic. Why not accord it the precisely correct taxonomy and cease pretending that there’s anything genuinely “Democratic” about it?

        It’s not simply that your post was (in its feeble and witless way) insulting but rather that it was nothing except insult. Had you anything whatsoever to address to the content of my draw from the previously cited Forbes opinion piece by Paul Johnson (“The Sickness of the West”, 25 February 2010) to the effect that:

        Trust is missing. We do not trust – and with good reason – either our elected leaders or the corporate elite who constitute the top echelons of society.

        …you might have tried to make some kind of point, and your expressions of scorn for me personally would have been merely incidental.

        But, of course, you did not offer even the illusion of an effort at making a point of any kind. Instead, you perpetrated the logical fallacy of pure, unalloyed, abject argumentum ad hominem.

        Now, have you actually got something that can be excused as resembling a lucid argument pertinent to the discussion, or you just whining and generally stinkin’ up the joint?

      • Rich Matarese,

        Just on a point of information, I’m not American nor do I live in America. But I do know enough about US politics to know that neither the US Republican party nor the US Democratic Party deserve epithets like Nazi, National Socialist or fascist.

        It may be a statement of the obvious, but the scientific case as regards the danger of CO2 build up is neither conservative, liberal nor socialist.

        It is, of course, fair enough that each political grouping should argue its own case for the best solution to the problem but not to deny its existence on political grounds.

      • At 7:50 PM on 5 August, tempterrain explains:

        …I’m not American nor do I live in America. But I do know enough about US politics to know that neither the US Republican party nor the US Democratic Party deserve epithets like Nazi, National Socialist or fascist.

        Tsk. What they “deserve” is more than explicit stipulation of their philosophical identity with their foreign cognates, but that’s for the citizens of these United States to determine – and apply. Continuing:

        It may be a statement of the obvious, but the scientific case as regards the danger of CO2 build up is neither conservative, liberal nor socialist.

        The “scientific case” for the AGW conjecture being repeatedly exposed as pure bogosity (see Dr. Curry’s ongoing discussion of Dr. Salby’s recent presentation on the subject of Atmospheric Science, Climate Change and Carbon – Some Facts), it certainly doesn’t seem either “conservative, liberal [or] socialist” except – of course – to the extent that the promulgators of these political positions are also perpetrating fraud. Continuing:

        It is, of course, fair enough that each political grouping should argue its own case for the best solution to the problem but not to deny its existence on political grounds.

        The “existence” of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) “problem” having never been scientifically proven, and with the steady progression of scientific research demonstrating that the “We’re All Gonna Die!” hysterical conjecture of los warmistas is more and more emphatically disproven, just what the hell keeps driving socialists and other “government-as-god” clowns to keep screaming and gibbering and capering and squalling for coercive government intervention in the lives of people all over the world to punish them for their “carbon footprint”?

        No, the “science” of the AGW conjecture is ever more clearly being demonstrated to have been – ab ovopolitical rather than genuinely scientific (except, of course, in those cases where the “Cargo Cult Science” advocates have been purely motivated by criminal intent upon the material property of their victims).

        In sum, it’s not a “problem,” there was never any scientific proof that it was (or could ever become) a problem, and anyone persisting in efforts to make this preposterous bogosity the basis for aggressive interventive government policy must be assumed to be pushing it for the purpose of gaining political power over the lives of innocent human beings who would otherwise refuse their cooperation were they not being duped into believing that there is any kind of “scientific case as regards the danger of CO2 build up.”

        That’s assuming of course, that the pusher’s motivations aren’t political and we’re speaking instead about criminal mens rea.

        Which is it with you, tempterrain?

    • Yes, the deception that started on 21-28 Feb 1972 is now coming to a close.

      http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10640850/20110722_Climategate_Roots.doc

      http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10640850/20110722_Climategate_Roots.pdf

      What a sad, sad day for science!

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

    • .. the climate community as a whole finally acknowledges it ..

      That’s possible only, when there is some kind of agreement on what is it, but there certainly isn’t.

      UEA people are likely to admit, what the inquiries have found out, but not any further wrongdoing. Others may also admit that not everything they have done has been perfect and that they would do some things differently in retrospect. That may be more or less, what they state as it. You may have had something else in mind.

      Asking others to admit that they did something that you insist on, when their own views are totally different, is not the solution.

      • What is it?

        It is deception.

        It is avoiding, hiding and manipulating experimental observations in exchange for government research grants.

        It is the sordid base of the current social and economic collapse while pursuing pseudo-scientific goals of:

        a.) An end to AGW, and
        b.) Abundant energy from H-fusion,
        c.) The Sun’s energy source if you believe that
        d.) Solar neutrinos oscillation away before reaching our detectors, and
        e.) Xenon isotope data from the Galileo probe of Jupiter were accidently misplaced for a few years.

        Regretfully, that is “what it is.” I too was reluctant to see “what is”!

    • No – what Climategate revealed is pretty clear, even if those who refuse to admit it pretend otherwise. This pretense and refusal to come clean – as in the official whitewashes – is the stumbling block.

      • You are totally wrong. People read those messages very differently. I’m sure that I read them very differently from you, while both of us are fully sincere.

      • No, it is you who is totally wrong. While there will no dount be a degree of variation between people, everyone knows that something very rotten has been exposed. Attempts to dismiss this are rooted in dishonesty and political correctness.

      • I alone serve as a proof that not everybody agrees on very much of those claims, and I’m very far from the extreme.

        There is no agreement on anything that’s not strong enough to serve as proof in a trial, and there’s very little in the emails that passes that requirement. All the rest leaves space for total disagreement, and that disagreement does really exist. You may be misled by following only discussion of people (and imagining that those who claim otherwise are lying), who have the same views that you have, but that’s actually a small group of people, while most have essentially no opinion at all and many others the views that you claim not to exist.

      • Actually Pekka, there are sections in those emails that DO leave areas open for prosecution- however all but one of the uk investigations didn’t even consider investigating that aspect, while the only one that did said it wouldn’t just in case it DID find evidence of illegal wrong doing… you couldn’t make it up.

        The emails are evidence of gross professional misconduct at the very least and STILL need to be thoroughly investigate (along with the back up servers)

      • I didn’t claim that there would be nothing left that can be proved. I wanted only to state clearly that the original comment of Punksta could not be taken as a realistic proposal, because there is very much disagreement about the significance of the emails.

        More or less everybody agrees that they tell something more on the unwillingness to share material that the scientists were clearly required to share, because UK is one of the few countries with a explicit FOIA. I wrote something more, because much was already known before the leak.

        There is certainly more in the emails, but what those emails really show is mostly open to a range of interpretations.

      • Pekka, do you seriously think anyone actually believes that Climategate shows open, honest science being conducted ?
        Sure, some people say they believe it, but that’s another matter entirely.

      • No it does not show that, but I don’t believe either that it shows anything like you appear to imply.

        It just doesn’t prove very much.

      • I think their is a difference between showing and proving. I think Climategate showed Climate Scientist in a very bad light. The supporters of AGW said climategate didn’t prove anything, but neither have the global warming advocates proven what they claim. We do know that they have hidden data, exaggerated claims and used shoddy methods.

      • Climategate doesn’t prove very much?
        So comments going something like ‘be careful not to leave any data around in case McIntyre finds it’ don’t show a cult of data hiding, for example?

      • Theo Goodwin

        “There is no agreement on anything that’s not strong enough to serve as proof in a trial, and there’s very little in the emails that passes that requirement.”

        This is a Classic Red Herring Fallacy. The standards appropriate to trials are not the standards appropriate to judging ClimateGate principals, except for the purely legal matters of avoiding FOIA requests. The appropriate standards are those of Scientific Method. Let’s take a quick case as an example.

        The scientific work that underlay the choice to “hide the decline” was done by Briffa. He was using historical data on tree rings as a proxy for temperature and he was collecting new data on tree rings. He discovered, much to his dismay, that the last forty years of proxy data DIVERGED from his historical data. Let’s focus on this point. His historical data tracked well with rising temperatures except for the last forty years which showed a decline in tree ring widths. What was the importance of this discovery for science. It was immensely important because it is gold-plated evidence that the tree ring data that Briffa was using is not a good proxy for temperature. That fact was the important scientific finding of Briffa’s work and a scientist true to his calling would have immediately published on that fact. So what did Briffa do? He went along with others who preferred that the world not learn about the proxy divergence and he permitted substitution of temperature records for the last forty years of diverging proxy records. Why would a scientist do this? There are no legitimate goals or purposes in Scientific Method that cover such behavior.

        Briffa did publish a bit of CYA material on the proxy divergence. If you read it, you find that he is puzzled about the divergence. What motivates such publication? Well, maybe a need to publish. But there is no motivation appropriate to science in such publication. Scientists are intensely interested in explanation and understanding. A scientist would have immediately begun a serious investigation of what caused the divergence between proxy data and temperature. Today, there should be substantial literature on the behavior of Briffa’s proxy and all similar proxies used for temperature in climate science. There is not. Why? Why are we deprived of that important empirical research and the attendant recalibration of proxies? It is because climate scientists have no interest in it. Why? My only guess is that such work would not support their predetermined conclusion that there is CAGW. Note that, at this time, all climate scientists who are using tree ring proxies for temperature are engaged in circular argument. That is, they assume that the tree ring proxies are reliable and they refuse to do the empirical investigation that would permit a genuine calibration of those proxies. In short, their critical faculties are entirely lacking. Given that science is the critical discipline par excellence, lack of critical interests or faculties is catastrophic.

        I find this case totally clear and totally damning. Would you please refer to it, identify your disagreements, explain them as I have done above, and offer some serious justification on grounds of Scientific Method for your responses?

      • My statement was explicitly on the extent of agreement, not on what’s true and what’s not. The controversy has been brought to the level, where many people are really not convinced on lesser evidence than a court of law, perhaps not even by that.

        Referring to the scientific method and its requirements is not of much help either, as people, including scientists and philosophers of science, have very different views on the meaning of the concept and no generally accepted definition exists.

        As a personal opinion I do agree that the way the results of paleoclimatic proxy analyses have been presented is not right, but that’s only a personal opinion shared certainly by many. There are also many other cases, where I don’t like the way results of science have been presented to the wider public. Scientists should improve their practices, but these are not major scandals.

      • Theo Goodwin

        You did not address a single claim that I made. Now that is bad form.

        In addition, you trot out an old saw beloved by trolls, namely, that people disagree over scientific method so there is no reason to discuss it. Pekka, people someday might disagree over the question of whether you have cancer that requires immediate surgery. The fact of disagreement does not mean that the matter should not be discussed or that there is no truth to the matter.

      • Yeah I agree this is just mishy mashy handwaving relativistic nothingness.

      • I won’t tell you what “I” think, since I’m quite in agreement with you there, but since I’m “out there”, I can tell you what I’ve been told elsewhere. From this point on, I’m *not* stating my views, be aware of this.

        1. It’s easy. The “trick” has nothing really special about it. It’s a right-wing scandal that does not prove global warming is a scam.

        2. It’s a “trick”, meaning a technical term. Nothing else.

        3. They may have smoothed things to appear better, but that’s fine, since they were just informing us what was the temperature back when, not informing us about the caveats. All the caveats were written in the published relevant papers.

        4. The practice was okay, since we all know that the temperatures went up not down! (I’ve been said this lots of times indeed, I couldn’t facepalm harder without brain damage)

        So in terms of “Scientific Methodology”, nothing was broken since the literature was not misleading. What was misleading were the WMO reports and the IPCC, which were “simplified” for us simpletons to understand better what is at stake.

      • Theo Goodwin

        Your final paragraph is right on the money. However, your wit is rather ramified and I do not believe that a lot of people will recognize it.

        For the sake of other readers, I do want to point out that Briffa did not return to research on THE DIVERGENCE and did not publish anything that might explain the divergence. To me, that just shouts “non-scientist!”

      • For the sake of other readers, I do want to point out that Briffa did not return to research on THE DIVERGENCE and did not publish anything that might explain the divergence. To me, that just shouts “non-scientist!”

        Agreed, one of the most interesting mysteries in the Briffa data is the divergence. That is exactly the sort of material that one would have expected Briffa to pursue to determine the cause. For obvious reason.

        Once he has the cause nailed down, then his previous work is much more significant. As things are, with the cause of the divergence unknown, then his whole data set is called into question.

        Leaving such a question unresolved risks much because the scientific method is not a court of law. In science the burden of proof is upon the scientist, not the court.

        It is not sufficient to simply count the number of right example as proof that your theory is right. Many wrong theories are often right. I have a broken watch that is right 700+ times each year.

        Much more important in science is to explore those times when the theory is wrong. When it doesn’t match observation. That is where new discoveries are made.

        Simply adding one to the number of times a theory is confirmed proves nothing beyond a broken watch is right twice a day.

      • 2. It’s a “trick”, meaning a technical term. Nothing else.

        No, it was a mathematically incorrect treatment of the data.

      • how so? The equations result in the given graph. There is nothing “mathematically wrong” in the WMO graphs, etc. There is something ethically wrong about them, but that’s an entirely different matter.

      • If someone presents (1) or (2), you should tell them that the key objectionable word in the phrase “Mike’s Nature trick to hide the decline” isn’t “trick”, it is “hide”. Normal scientists generally manipulate their presentation (which might or might not involve using “tricks”) in order to better *show* some phenomenon discovered in their results. Briffa and Mann, on the other hand, deliberately manipulated their data presentation in order to better *hide* a phenomenon discovered in their results.

      • Theo Goodwin

        Pekka writes:

        “I alone serve as a proof that not everybody agrees on very much of those claims, and I’m very far from the extreme.”

        At this time in this debate (notice the timestamp), you have proved only that you have no position on ClimateGate. You do state that you think that some Right Wing Meanies concocted it from whole cloth, but you give not one word in explanation or defense of this remarkably vague and partisan statement.

      • And you evidently claim that people cannot have views like those expressed by Kerry Emanuel in his comments linked to by Martha below.

        Or perhaps you agree with Kerry Emanuel and are happy with acknowledging issues that he accepts as correct, and agree also that the big scandal is in the behavior of people, who have raised the issue.

      • Theo Goodwin

        If you have something to state, would you please state it? How could I possibly have a clue what you are referring to?

    • JC:
      The web and its remarkable access to information has re-introduced transparancy as the “normal”. Transparancy provides the link to sources and data and sets the basic standard for accuracy and intellectual honesty, something which until recently was taken for granted in academe. It would not occur to anyone submitting a paper in say the life sciences, physics or chemistry, to leave the “materials and methods” section blank. if they did, it would not even be considered for review.

      Leaving the materials and methods section blank is however, precisely the “normal” established over the past 20 years or so by a controlling clique in what passes for Climate “Science”. Unless and until there is credible evidence -in the form of properly [no more PNAS Lindzen antics] peer reviewed papers which include all the source data- for a credible length of time, that scientists in the climate “science” community are ALL willing to abide by the basic requirements of transparancy, the credibility of the field as a whole will remain in tatters, as it is now.

      Some of the MSM have started belatedly and sotto voce acknowledge that all is certainly not well in the kingdom of IPCC scripted climate science. The public across the developed economies has completely tuned out, and the field’s credilibity is under water in a growing number of government cicles around the world [and not just in India or China. Just look north of the border]. Until we see proof that elementary transparancy is back as the “normal” in climate science, the ghost of Climategate will be alive and well amongst us, and its cousin the genie will not be predisposed to returning to its bottle…

  2. “What I don’t understand is why Michael Mann is threatening people with lawsuits over trivial things.”
    I don’t know about the Minnesotans, or whether Mann actually did threaten them with a lawsuit. But the Tim Ball situation is straightforward. Mann was accused of criminal activity. Loudly. Lawsuits in this situation are not unusual.

    • Uh-oh. Cue Ascolnick in 3…2…1…

      :)

    • Mann is working awfully hard to suppress evidence.

    • “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.’
      William Shakespeare, Henry VI, part II, act IV, scene ii, lines 83–84. Dick the butcher is speaking. 8-)

    • Theo Goodwin

      The lawsuit was filed in Canada. Canadians do not enjoy legal protections for robust free speech, unlike the USA.

    • Nick,
      Lawsuits in similar situations may not be unusual, but the lawsuit certainly puts Michael Mann at risk as Tim Ball has a chance to prove his statements were true. Based on what has been published about Michael Mann’s actions, his lawsuit is incredibly unwise.

    • I have spoken with Tim Ball. He made a joke to a reporter who repeated it in the newspaper (your remember newspapers…). He did not write it down in his own writings. Besides which, at this point Mann (who has given hundreds of interviews, and calls people deniers funded by big oil) is a public figure and has no basis for a claim.

      • andrew adams

        Being a public figure does not give others the right to make serious and untrue allegations.

      • Oh please. That’s just MM being precious.

      • And bringing that lawsuit, regardless of the outcome, will do absolutely nothing to enhance his reputation – quite the opposite, in fact.

      • andrew adams

        I can’t believe there is a single person who follows the climate “debate” who hasn’t made their mind up about Mann already and whose opinion will be changed one way or the other by his actions.

      • So Mann can do nothing to change your opinion of him?

      • Theo Goodwin

        It does in the USA. If you are surprised, just recall what George W. Bush was called.

      • just recall what George W. Bush was called.

        And about the reaction when Obama was called the same.

      • “He did not write it down in his own writings”
        But he wrote much else. As I pointed out in the discussion here when Mann’s suit was first discussed, the headline then on Tim Ball’s web site was:
        “Evidence Points To Mann’s Criminal Misconduct”.

      • I thought we had long since left the bad old days when one could be clapped in irons and left to rot for voicing an opinion.
        Seems not.

      • The problem with this blog is that many of its denizens do not understand that it is wrong to bear false witness, it is wrong to falsely accuse someone of being a criminal.

        Why are you defending libel?

      • Meanwhile, there is a concerted effort ongoing to ruin Tim Ball financially -the team doing this on Mann’s behalf includes as leading lights outfits like Desmogblog and the Suzuki Foundation- not by actually getting him convicted under Canadian libel law for full defamation or the like, but by sueing him for less than 50K and rolling him up in loads of very costly legal red tape.

    • “He belongs in a state pen not PennState”???

      That’s being “accused”?

      Joe Biden called a congressman a “terrorist” this week, the word “teabagger” has a whole other meaning go the urban dictionary if you must. The word “denier” is a linked to holocaust “deniers”.

      That’s a pretty thin skin coming from your culture.We’ll see how it goes in court, there is Canada thing going on as I understand it but I don’t know the details. Saying some one should be in jail isn’t the same as saying “he forged a document” but we’ll see how it goes. It isn’t that straightforward at all, given the sort ad hom culture over at Real Climate which Mann supports and is supported by it seem like fantastic hypocrisy. Your sanctimony is certainly in excess.

    • Along with others, I have pointed out that if Mann had acted the way he has academically in for instance the context of corporate accounting [ref Enron] or clinical trial [ref Vioxx], he would have been convicted on criminal charges a long time ago. As it stands, the fraud [upside down spliced time series, anyone?.....] he holds up as “science” has not even been flagged for academic misconduct. Any wonder climate “science” has an unbridgeable crebility problem?

  3. “The NAS denies that the views it advocates are conservative. Instead, the NAS describes itself as “liberal”, referring to classical liberalism. NAS executive director Peter Wood writes: “Both Left and the Right produce their share of intellectual obtuseness. The NAS is not a partner with either. We are not a political organization, but a body of scholars who hope to sustain a vision of the university as a fundamentally good institution that deserves to be sustained.””

    I have to agree with this. How sincere they are is another question.

  4. Until climategate is actually investigated, as opposed to covered up, it will not go away.
    Not one major media, government review, or academic committee has actually done what any reasonable person would call ‘investigate’ climategate.

    • That’s the point right here. The genie, as it were, will not go away until the issue is ACTUALLY resolved, rather than just brushed under the carpet.

  5. I do welcome strong-arm tactics and thuggery by anybody who considers me their “enemy”. It makes it kind of trivial to demonstrate to the undecided which side is for democracy and freedom of speech (and of thought!).

    • unfortunately it shouldn’t do such a thing, since there are multiple types of people lying around every kind of “side”. There are warmers who would never rely on such tactics, there are those who do. There are “coolers” who rely on ghastly stuff, there are those who are quite nice. The “truth” really does not depend upon how “good” as people their proponents are. It’s an uncorrelated thing.

      • Luis – when the climate thuggery consistently comes from one side and one side only, the location of “truth” becomes pretty clear

      • this is a completely biased vision of reality. You only see one part of it. As far as I am aware, thuggerism is happening throughout the spectrum.

  6. Bruce Cunningham

    Excellent post Judy! I have been of the opinion for a couple of years that many “green” or “left leaning” (for lack of betters terms) are well meaning, but sadly misinformed people that would change their opinion if they were aware of a few facts. Peter Woods is an example of one of the people that have taken the time to read for himself, and has come to the only conclusion that an honest, educated person can come to (Rex Murphy is another). There will be more and more editorials like this in the future, not less and less.
    The reason that the Joe Romms and Gavins of the world exist, is to prevent as many people as possible from taking the time to read about Climategate for themselves.
    The Hansens and Gores of the world had better get used to this.

    • “sadly misinformed people that would change their opinion if they were aware of a few facts”

      This is naive at best, delusional at worst view of the social divide. It’s why so many debates go over “facts” that reach little agreement because the real dispute is something else. It’s so cultural that one side assumes the other are intellectually inferior. This is a very strong view in leftist writing and takes a different form in conservative culture where it’s considered more rude to disclose such a view. Many still think this quietly and then there are issues about race and class in the assessments of hot topic arguments or admitting such bias. Green culture is emotionally based and very soft on science, climate being #1 on the list that makes no science sense at all. Not a single proof linking the core claim that co2 is changing temperture in the open earth model.

      Soft opinion driven topics like economics, climate and politics aren’t going to be settled with pie charts or hockey sticks in any direction. The data and topics are so vast with so many inputs each side can dismiss the others focus or presentations by simply scoring the inputs in a different way. How complex enclaves of like minded people develop in journalism/media, government, hollywood or climate science and then act in concert politically while claiming to be “professional” yet still can’t acknowledge such a trend exists is a curious process. More “facts” will not change the pattern.

      Understand the NYTimes, Gavin and Romm are convinced their world view is correct and the discussion of “facts” come from that context. Those who disagree are simply ignorant children at best or evil that is motivated by other forces they oppose in others (in their own mind at least). Greed being a common claim.

      Climategate isn’t going to change the core of any group, maybe a few on the margin. For a general population that isn’t that interested in the technical it does expose the cultural force they do understand. It’s interesting Dr. Curry lists the link but she refuses to connect and denounce the cultural left’s domination of “consensus” that is the root of the public debate and the reason it stopped being science or fact based long ago. The canard that “it’s about science” is natural for a scientist to say but in scale is completely dishonest for those who follow the debate closely. Those close to it for so long should own up, including Dr. Curry. Being reasonable = being liberal (left-wing) in much of liberal society. Facts around Climategate behavior are minor details to a broader cause and social filter. While there is no group that desires more than to self-identify within peer settings than liberals there is no group that hates being identified and having their argument and desires dismissed when identified externally (outside the liberal group). It’s why Climategate will never self-correct the parties you listed. Climate science is a tool of a larger agenda and it’s sad that some come close to this truth and play their role of giving cover in the science community. We came very close to a Soviet science model in “fact” on climate, Dr. Curry shrugs and refuses to connect a basic line of dots. Why?

    • I agree Bruce. Many well meaning people misled and ignorant. There is of course another group of people who have a lot to lose.

  7. randomengineer

    The genie ain’t going back inside. Ever. The reason is simple enough: politics got involved. Marrying science to claimed planet saving do-gooderness is no different than 12th century priests educated in Galen bleeding their patients with the solemn authority of god.

    Science in the hands of physicists and biologists and mathematicians and engineers results in moon rockets, instant global communication, robot factories, and anti-cancer vaccines. Science done by lesser intellects, those handed influential credentials in the name of social progress, reflects the same selection process that didn’t work so well in the 12th century.

    What is particularly galling is to hear criticism of (e.g.) Freeman Dyson from those unqualified to prepare lunch for the man, much less speak on an equal level, yet they have credentials, thus skewing perceptions and influencing the even weaker minded who operate in the theatre of ideology.

    The genie is out because the modern feelgood notion is that we’re all equal. (News flash. We’re not. We have equal opportunity. That’s it.) This notion enforces “equality” where nonesuch exists, and we’re again ass deep in Galen educated priests.

    The more things change…

    • Off topic but then you mentioned Galen not once but twice!

      Ironically, Galen was a pagan whose texts were still studied by medical students in the 19th century. He dissected monkeys thus demonstrating his commitment to empiricism. Interestingly, he was the first to postulate the notion that the brain controlled the muscles via the cranial nerves and the peripheral nervous system.

      He was very influential in the 12th century precisely because the mediaeval society had a profound respect for the knowledge gleaned by its predecessors in classical times. The practice of bleeding patients had nothing to do with any theological or religious notions or indeed priestly authority.

      Galen did a pretty good job considering the enormous technical limitations he faced (no microscope for example).

      i feel rather sad whenever people traduce the scientists and savants of yesteryear without the slightest understanding of the enormities of their contributions in the context of the limitations of their resources. We should ask ourselves what the scientists of one hundred years hence would make of some of our most cherished hypotheses.

      Our debates about AWG may well be a case in point.

  8. I don’t see Mann ever filing a lawsuit over somebody claiming his hockey stick was bogus because it would probably mean he’d have to show the math that created it works.

  9. Judy:
    I read both of Dr. Wood’s articles – the second is much better than the first, as you suggest – and all the comments through yesterday. The nasty and hateful tone of the critical comments is difficult to believe and my guess is that any uninvolved third party would find them very disturbing.
    I assume Anna Haynes is the same lady who contrived the Sourcewatch piece on you?

    • yes, one and the same Anna Haynes

      • It’s generally wise to take characterizations of emails with a grain of salt. FYI, I’ll ask questions in email that I’d never raise publicly (under the same level of likelihood), because to do so would be inappropriate, since it *would* be insinuating*. Expecting discretion from others isn’t turning out to be a good strategy, though.

        *insinuating isn’t always wrong, but in general, it’s better to avoid raising the prospect of low-likelihood scenarios publicly, especially if doing so will smear a third party, as this one did. My apologies to the third party, for the second party’s having hauled out the megaphone.
        (And it seems asking questions of people who were contemporaneous really is the best way to get information; for example, one informed me that part of a newspaper story I was relying on was incorrect.)

        But again, my apologies; I hadn’t expected that such questions would be made public.

        You might want to look at the “leading questions” from my email to NAS chapter heads, in this (badly-formatted, sorry) Deltoid comment (link).

        Disclosure: I have no background in climate science that equips me to second-guess the findings of the field.

      • John Whitman

        Anna Haynes,

        If it is true that you do trace funding sources of skeptic then I have this question. Do you provide up front, without being asked, a disclosure of your funding to perform your activities as a gesture of good faith and good will to those who are the subject of your funding inquiries?

        John

      • John, disclosure’s on my Blogger profile page. In short: nobody’s paying me, in money or services, directly or indirectly. I’m doing this because it’s important, and I want to be able to say, in future, that I did my best to help.
        See: Teresa Nielsen Hayden, On Time (link).
        (You can certainly argue that my best ain’t so hot; see: Jerry Garcia, “somebody has to do something, and …”)

      • John Whitman

        Anna Haynes,

        Thank you for your quick and direct reply. I will try to verify the accuracy of your funding statement.

        Anna, did you consider that a skeptics critical of the IPPC’s so-called consensus science also could have the same motivation as you? You said your motivation was “I’m doing this because it’s important, and I want to be able to say, in future, that I did my best to help.” In my experience, that applies completely to the vast majority of the skeptics I’ve encountered.

        John

    • Death threats from AGW believers are quite common on blogs.

      • Provide evidence for your claim, which I believe is a lie.

      • Read this guys stuff. He comments on Physorg a lot on climate issues. Makes a lot of threats.

        http://www.physorg.com/profile/user/Vendicar_Decarian/

        His profile says:

        “About yourself: I bring order to chaos. The only good Republican is a dead Republican.”

      • So your claim that death threats are common from AGW believers is a lie. One blogger with a stupid profile? Is that all you got? Nothing like a rightwing mass murderer shooting children for not being rightwingers.

      • Holly –
        He’s not lying. I’ve had anumber of those “death threats”. Maybe I should have kept an email file of them, but I didn’t because I didn’t take them seriously. In fact, my response has always been – “give it your best shot, but remember that I’ll be shooting back.” It’s amazing how few of them cared to pursue the matter after that. :-)

      • Just because I didn’t do a screenshot of every death threat I got from AGW supports doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

        Go ahead and Google the prolific death threat uttering Vendicar Decarian.

        Example:

        “You see, that is your kind of extremist self infatuation that makes you an Immoral piece of garbage, and I a moral man, even if I have to put a bullet in your head.”

        http://energy.edu.pl/oil-4538-0-asc-120.html

        http://www.google.com/search?&q=Vendicar_Decarian

  10. If Climategate went away there would still be millions (I estimate) of things wrong with Climate Science.

    Andrew

  11. Dr. Curry writes:

    About a month ago, Wood posted an article in the Chronicle entitled “Bottling Up Global Warming Skepticism.” After some stuff about P.T. Barnum that didn’t make much sense to me in this context, he gets to his main point, which is about the piece in Science on John Mashey.

    In his very brief essay of 30 June, Dr. Wood made a perfectly lucid reference to P.T. Barnum as a historical precedent for the great “We’re All Gonna Die!” man-made global warming hoorah and fraud.

    He accomplished this logically and with both economy of expression and pleasing clarity of style, and I deeply appreciate Dr. Curry’s courtesy in providing a link to Dr. Wood’s opinion piece.

    But how the heck is it that Dr. Curry didn’t quite “get” what Dr. Wood was making very plain in his characterization of the AGW cabal, particularly with reference to the Climategate trouser-drop that so ineluctably exposed their collective shortcomings?

    Ah, well. As Barnum once put it, “This Way to the Egress.”

    • Rich:
      Dan Gardner in Future Babble makes similar points about Cassandra like predictions especially folks like Paul Erhlich. While I understood the use of the PT Barnum analogy, it seems to me slightly off since PT Barnum was consciously deceiving the crowd (suckers), whereas many doom and gloom climate prophets believe what they are saying.

  12. “What I don’t understand is why Michael Mann is threatening people with lawsuits over trivial things. ”

    In my opinion it’s a classic fight or flight response. He’s in a panic…at the very least subconsciously…and with good reason. On a primal level the ongoing attacks on his reputation equate to potentially a kind of annihilation. Fear is such a painful emotion, probably the most painful of all, and a very common defense mechanism is to convert that fear to rage (back to the fight/flight dynamic)..

    He’s long past caring how petty and even loony all this litigation looks. He’s simply desperate for vindication, no matter the cost.

    I feel sorry for the fellow.

  13. Peter Wood and NAS think it is possible to ‘de-politicize’ education? I suppose they also want to say economics is or can be ‘de-politicized’, too. These are classically neoconservative beliefs.

    What is necessary is to analyze social (politcal) beliefs when discussing any issue.

    Wood is especially elitist and paternalistic in his promotion of ‘re-civilizing education’ and ensuring that Reason is free from anything as sordid and seedy as society.

    NAS hasn’t changed much: it was and is a small, very much partisan and initially privately financed conservative organization established by, among others, the then-president of the Catholic League, the former president Reagan’s UN Ambassador, and assorted conservative columnists, plus one biologist. I suppose the biologist could be viewed as the original link to science.

    But why not highlight the views of a NAS member actually informed by climate science? That would be MIT’s Kerry Emanuel, and he thinks NAS/Wood have it wrong:
    http://www.nas.org/polArticles.cfm?doc_id=1444

    • I have a great deal of respect for Kerry Emanuel, but he is way off base here with this statement:

      “Climategate is merely the latest in a series of coordinated, politically motivated attacks”

      From the previous viral thread, or better yet if you have read the CRUTape Letters, you should understand that climategate was not a coordinated or politically motivated attack. The subsequent fact that Rush Limbaugh, Marc Morano, et al. picked it up and ran with it so successfully is less relevant than how Climategate came about and the woefully inadequate response of the climate establishment.

      • I have to say my respect for Kerry Emanuel was be greater if he had answered this polite question in the comments section of the NAS article cited by Martha:

        Dr Emanuel,

        As a member of the Oxburgh inquiry, can you clarify something for me.

        It is my understanding that Phil Jones told the inquiry that it was “probably impossible” to do the 1000-year temperature reconstructions with any accuracy.

        This admission bore directly on what was perhaps the most contentious issue in the Hockey Stick dispute, was highly relevant to re-appraisal of CRU’s science and therefore should have been reported by Oxburgh, but wasn’t.

        Can you confirm that Jones did in fact make this statement to the inquiry. And if so, can you explain why this information wasn’t included in the inquiry report?

        Steve McIntyre

        Dr Emanuel replied to someone else four days later but this potato would clearly too hot even to acknowledge.

      • To reply would risk allowing someone else to define the narrative, of course he ignored it. He doesn’t care (likely he does but will never admit it) if the science details are false or not. It’s about the narrative; we’re right, scientists and objective. He’ll carry the water that, it’s his role on the TEAM. Climategate is a conspiracy theory didn’t you know?

        The consensus doesn’t have to discuss what it talks about in private among themselves to advance the narrative. Oxburgh’s conclusions could have been written before the inquiry began based on who controlled it.

        “BBC Investigates itself, too impartial”;

        http://www.tvlicenceresistance.info/climate-change-sceptics-should-get-less-bbc-coverage-and-be-challenged-more-vigorously-says-report-on-science-output/

        Orwellian isn’t it? The fact is the left and “consensus” are just better at this stuff on the ground. How else could it have gotten this far?

      • Alexander Harvey

        A quote from the Kerry Emanuel piece:

        “It is simply naïve to suppose that we never complain to each other about the unfairness of editors and reviewers and openly wish we could replace them, or that we sometimes wish we could keep data out of the hands of those we know are determined to misuse it. Drop a microphone into a conference social event and one would hear countless conversations along these lines. This is nothing to be proud of, and most of us are wise enough to keep it out of written correspondence, but the idea that this represents a conspiracy among a broad cross-section of researchers is ludicrous.”

        I wonder if he realised how his words might be perceived or by whom that perception would be formed.

        A perception might be that this extract gets to the heart of the matter as it is a list of deceits culminating by contradicting that they are deceits. That perception would be:

        sure we do it all the time but usually we are bright enough to be sneaky about it and the idea that this is equivalent to people plotting in private is totally false.

        Now that might be a totally delinquent perception but that matters not. It is not really the perception formed but whom he thought he was addressing that is the main issue.

        He might like to consider one of the lessons here. That addressing schemes are no longer specific. He might as well have cut up his whole piece into phrases and addressed each with “To whom it may concern”.

        I stand testament to this as both the consumer and purveyor of his thoughts. We are all postal workers now, and all equiped with an infinite copying machine and a penchant for reading all the mail that takes our fancy.

        Those that consider themselves to be communicators need to consider the nature of the medium which is increasingly we part-time postal workers. If it is not apparent that the audience is the medium then we aren’t paying attention.

        The constant copying, sometimes delinquent or simply imperfect, is an editorial process and at each stage the editor writes their sign on the copy and it is this sign or accumulation of copied signs that form the provenance. This sign worth is subjective, based on trusted signs.

        If your sign is not trusted by the audience/editors your missive may either die or be repackaged as a false message and duely signed and forwarded.

        Now I am not sure whether the communicators fail to see this or they simply don’t know what to do about it. It is not without its ramifications. Certain conventional messaging tricks are highly vunerable to the abrasiveness of the medium. Big Picure and other narrative ploys require more coherence in the message stream than can be guaranteed or expected.

        I think this refers to much that happened in the whole affair and in climate communication in general.

        Alex

      • Kerry Emanuel ….. sometimes wish we could keep data out of the hands of those we know are determined to misuse it.

        Too late Kerry, they already have it. The whole problem is they won’t let anyone else have it.

      • Pretty top down thinking wouldn’t you say? Arrogance tends not to self-filter in the long run. You can see plenty of forced consolation written but it’s negated his overall outlook. He wishes they were never caught and it has an advisory section to his peers;

        “Drop a microphone into a conference social event and one would hear countless conversations along these lines. This is nothing to be proud of, and most of us are wise enough to keep it out of written correspondence, but the idea that this represents a conspiracy among a broad cross-section of researchers is ludicrous.”

        No conspiracy, people just not being honest about what is motivating themselves to the public. We should feel better about this? What about the fact they share so many of the same of the green agenda views? It’s McCarthyism to have the tiny enclave of climate consensus surveyed?

        Indirectly he’s pointing out Jones and Mann are idiots for not scrubbing enough of their emails. The real lesson the consensus takes away from the event.

      • “Drop a microphone into a conference social event and one would hear countless conversations along these lines. This is nothing to be proud of, and most of us are wise enough to keep it out of written correspondence, but the idea that this represents a conspiracy among a broad cross-section of researchers is ludicrous.”

        Surely this is but human nature and would apply mutatis mutandis to just about any conference event or meeting in any field of human endeavour? Perhaps even at a golf club?

        As the comment puts it so well, it is nothing to be proud of. What would be extraordinary however is if it didn’t happen at least sometimes. Group think is pervasive – it is the shadow side of our configuration as social as opposed to solitary creatures.

        The fact that the Climategate folk put their comments in writing reflects perhaps their naive belief that their emails would never see the light of day.

        On the other hand, some of the things said do suggest a level of rancour towards non-group members that goes beyond common or garden grumbles more in keeping with a narcissistic self-concept of “guardians of the true faith.”

      • It is a legitimate speculation however. We still do not know who did the hacking, and it could well be an “orchestrated” attack by someone who well knew that the “team” had nasty stuff hidden in their correspondence. Some would even speculate that the australian mogul had something to do with it. I embark in no speculations myself, although I find them amusing.

      • andrew adams

        Well that’s the thing, we still don’t know who was responsible so any speculation as to their motives is just that – speculation, and the political motivation is a as credible as any other although I see particular evidence of the involvement of any Australian moguls.

      • aa,
        Please share the evidence that FOX or Murdoch was behind this.
        Is it in the fact that the UEA hired a Murdoch guy to help squelch climategate?

      • andrew adams

        hunter,

        Sorry, I actually meant to say I see NO particular evidence…

      • aa,
        Thanks for the clarification.
        Frankly I am surprised that the “FOX did it” conspiracy meme did not emerge right away.

      • Theo Goodwin

        It was the Chinese. They refused a meeting with Obama. They disavowed all climate treaties. The hacking just prepared the ground for their actions. Very clever, wouldn’t you agree?

      • As andrew says, many alternatives are credible. That one also makes perfect sense, despite there being no evidence at all for it.

      • Theo Goodwin

        It was a joke, though the idea is plausible.

      • Ah, so the Chinese arranged the Climategate leak.
        It would all have been to no avail, though, if leading climate scientists hadn’t kindly cooperated by emailing details of how thoroughly dishonest and corrupt they are.

      • you don’t get it. The chinese manufactured the e-mails as well and then brainwashed the scientists into thinking they actually wrote them.

      • Tho,
        I think the aliens did the climategate so that we would not resist their plan to change the Earth’s atmosphere more to their liking, preparing the way for invasion.
        Except for the brave actions of a drug addict astronomer playboy, the world would know nothing at all.
        http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115571/
        http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=FB3C10DEF5729D21

      • Here is the brave scientist at work saving the Earth’s atmosphere.
        Note that he too is an astronomy type, who happens to make great discoveries about Earth.
        http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=FB3C10DEF5729D21

      • Hmmm…trouble with youtube embeds. How is this?
        http://www.youtube.com/p/FB3C10DEF5729D21?version=3&hl=en_US&fs=1

      • When scientists start being portrayed in movies similar to the way politicians and lawyers are portrayed, their reputation with the general public will suffer in a similar manner. That is the danger they incur by becoming advocates.

      • steven,
        I think anytime a cheesy SF movie stars Charlie Sheen as the protagonist, and the story pretty much follows the AGW story line, it is time for the believers to start considering their positions.

      • Yes, having been on the scene for the days after the emails’ release, I don’t think co-ordinated is quite the word I would use to characterize what was going on ;). “What should we do?” “I dunno. What do you think?” “I dunno. Are these things for real?” “I dunno.” Real wizards, we were…

        As far as politically motivated, Watts is a Republican, Mosher an Independent (and I think Jeff Id is, too), I’m to the left of Karl Marx, Lucia Liljegren is from the Guild of Mathematical Knitting While Composing Haiku, and I am pretty sure Charles the Moderator is a good old-fashioned anarchist. Which of our policies or politics was being advanced?

      • They were all being advanced at once, through some of the most dastardly seach terms ever thrown against a wholly innocent email archive, and that, my friend, is as pernicious as it gets.

      • I think you’re right, and I’m deeply sorry for all the trouble. It’s obvious now that we were guilty of dastardly searching and pernicious harassment of innocent emails. Please forgive me.

      • Tom,
        Your narrative is inconvenient to the AGW community. The problem of its being the truth is just a road bump for them.

    • Actually, Climategate is merely a response – to a series of coordinated, politically motivated acts of science sabotage.

    • “It is simply naïve to suppose that we never complain to each other about the unfairness of editors and reviewers and openly wish we could replace them, or that we sometimes wish we could keep data out of the hands of those we know are determined to misuse it.”

      Naive? Naive no longer. You and your ilk will never be trusted again.

      Ever.

    • Using Kerry Emmanuel’s significant untruth regarding climategate to make a case against people seeking a reasonable discussion hardly seems productive. But it is typical for Martha.

    • I remain amazed that the stupidity of people like Kerry Emanuel and the morons like you who reference him without reading any source materials: (JC MODERATION)

      “What the emails show are a few researchers behaving in a manner unbecoming scientists and gentlemen.”
      ###
      In 2005 prior to any FOIA beign raised Jones discussed tactics for avoiding them. tactics he then employed years later. Tactics the ICO found to rise to the level of breaking the law. Tactics which continue to this day. This is more than being ungentlemanly.

      ” At the time of this writing, three separate panels convened in Great Britain, and two investigations conducted by the Pennsylvania State University have cleared the authors of the controversial emails of any serious wrong doing, and with good reason. ”
      ###
      the penn state investigation cleared Mann of having having to do with the deletion of mails. As we later found out, mann did forward the instructions to delete mails to Wahl and wahl did delete them. So much for the investigations.
      ###

      “It is helpful first to remember that the emails in question were semi-private correspondence among scientists and that the vast majority of the email shows a high level of diligence and professionalism in conducting and reporting research. The few emails that have been the subject of so much heated rhetoric show that some scientists are occasionally prey to human pitfalls (shocking!). ”
      #######
      the mails were not semi private. In fact, in the entire stack of mails there are only two marked confidential. One references a request to delete documents and the other is related to the exchange of information in violation of IPCC guidelines for communicating with CLAs. No employee who uses an employer machine to write or transmit mails has an expectation of privacy. Have a look at Ammann’s mail about claiming that emails were confidential.

      “It is simply naïve to suppose that we never complain to each other about the unfairness of editors and reviewers and openly wish we could replace them, or that we sometimes wish we could keep data out of the hands of those we know are determined to misuse it. ”

      They did more than discuss these things. Mann suggested compiling files on editors ( maybe mashey or hayes could help) They did more than WISH they could keep data out of people’s hands.. they did.. for years.. until the ICO had to step in. they knew it was getting bad press. they thought being clever with the law was a bright idea. Fail.

      “Much has been made of the so-called efforts of the authors of some of the emails to keep papers out of the peer-reviewed literature. But the conversations in question were about whether to cite certain papers in a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC performs no research; the decisions in question concerned whether the IPCC should include citations to certain already-published material in their report. There is neither a desire nor an obligation of the IPCC to cite all peer-reviewed publications bearing on the subject, and the writers’ decisions about what and what not to include in the report are based on a judgment of their scientific quality. …The paper that the authors of the emails were discussing did end up being cited in the IPCC report.)”
      ######
      The paper in question was eventually cited. Then it was refuted by the CLA’s making up facts out of whole cloth. They stated that a conclusion in the paper was statistically insignificant when, in FACT, it was not.
      ###

      “Then there is a discussion about whether a certain editor should be removed from a journal. Such discussions are not uncommon, and I myself have participated in an effort to remove an editor whose professionalism I questioned. It is not only a right but, I would argue, a duty of responsible professionals to seek to replace an editor who consistently underperforms. It is up to the boards of the journals to decide whether such charges have merit.”
      ####
      What kery misses of course are the conversations to ensure that friendly faces ( someone from CRU) are on certain editorial boards.

      “By now, whole forests (or their electronic equivalent) have been chopped down to provide space for discussion of the “hide the decline” remark in one of the emails. This concerns a well-known disagreement between reconstructions of temperature based on analyses of trees, and actual measurements of temperature. The proxy reconstructed temperatures and the instrumental temperatures agree quite well up to around 1960, but after that, some (not all) of the reconstructed temperatures disagree with the instrumental record. In the extensive scientific literature on the subject, this is referred to as the “divergence problem.” As the land-based instrumental temperatures are highly robust, as has been verified in countless scientific publications, no one in my profession thinks the reconstructed temperatures are correct after 1960; the real question is how reliable they are going back in time before the beginning of the instrumental record of global temperatures dating back to the middle of the nineteenth century. The “hide the decline” remark concerns a decision made by the authors of the third assessment report of the IPCC not to include the part of the proxy record that disagrees with the instrumental record in a summary figure showing global temperature over the last millennium or so. In my view, this represents poor judgment on the part of the authors of that report. But if those same authors were conspiring to hide something important from the public, they did an exceedingly poor job of it, as anyone with the slightest interest in pursuing the matter would rapidly come across the extensive literature on the divergence problem, which includes papers by the authors of the emails in question. The sin of those responsible for simplifying the summary figure pales in comparison to that committed by all those who have sought to elevate this to the level of a grand conspiracy among climate scientists and thereby to discredit a whole field of scholarship.”

      ####
      where does one begin.
      1. I love the equivalency argument. Bad idea.
      2. Subsequent studies have shown that the decline in tree rings when taken together with the uncertainty in temperatures argues for no deletion of the series.
      3. the violation of FOIA centers around the mails exchanged with Briffa about this very chapter in AR4.

      “It is a matter of record that some of the scientists involved in the email exchanges had been subject to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests of such volume as to rise to the level of harassment. ”
      #####
      Bullshit. the 50+ FOIA were collapsed into one request ( per the guidelines) and Jones spent less than 18 hours responding. Also per guidelines. IF he were harrassed he could have said no. He complied with the requests. At the same time I made a request that required more than 18 hours of work. It was denied. I have no complaints about that. in fact, that is WHY I made the request. To establish that an onerous request would be denied. 18 hours is the limit. And they only have to THINK it will take more than 18 hours.

      ” There is, however, a solution to the problem: simply post all scientific data sets online and make them freely available to everyone. There were two impediments to doing so in this case. First, as a strictly practical matter, much of the instrumental temperature analyses and associated publications date back to the 1980s, before it became routine to digitize the records, and so it is not so easy simply to post it. Second, and far more consequential in the long run, was the decision by certain western European nations to cease to regard environmental data as a public good and treat it as proprietary, forcing others to purchase it and sign non-redistribution commitments. Not only has this greatly slowed scientific progress and created major headaches for researchers, it has also contaminated a culture committed to free and open access to all taxpayer funded environmental data with the notion that environmental data is proprietary and must be shielded from “illegal” uses. The true villains in this story are the governments of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and a few other nations, who are cheating the taxpayer by charging him once, through taxation, to collect the data and a second time to acquire and use it, and who are thereby impeding the progress of science. ”
      ####
      Bullshit. every last word as the recent release of data shows. We knew it was bullshit then and now the ICO confirms that this is bullshit. Nasa make their data public, noaa does. Now CRU does. It wasnt hard. there was no threat of international repurcussions. All Bullshit.

      “The allegation that the researchers actually destroyed data has been shown to be false, but it is repeated endlessly.”

      Actually, Jones did lose track of some original data.

      “The land temperature records compiled by the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, and the computer codes used to analyze them, have been poured over by countless scientists, including some who have been critical of the CRU, and shown to be highly robust.”

      The computer codes for adjusting the data has never been released. CRUs method of averaging has been verified by many of us. There adjustment code has never been released. Not even to the inquiries.

      • I feel your pain Steve, I don’t have the technical skill to debunk the technical side as Climate Audit and you do but I know hack Pollyanna conformist when I see one. Could they have found a better tool for Oxburgh for their purpose?

        If needed they can set up another whitewash inquiry to review the last whitewash inquiry as so on. They aren’t going address questions without changing the frame of the context. It’s the nature of disinformation.

      • Steve, thanks for the extensive “deconstruction”. But what I find the most offensive about his apologia is:

        ” we sometimes wish we could keep data out of the hands of those we know are determined to misuse it. [emphasis added -hro]

        That is so arrogant, insulting and presumptuous – not to mention an attempt to deflect attention from the glaringly obvious “anti-science” implications of what was actually written.

      • Agreed. If you did something equivalent to “hide the decline” in an investment prospectus, you would be charged with securities fraud. You would not be charged with “poor judgement”.

        Incompetence wouldnt be considered much of a defense either!

      • Ian Blanchard

        Bill
        If the likes of Jones or Briffa saw one of their undergraduates presenting data based on ‘hide the decline’ (i.e. cutting off a time series when the subsequent results contradict their conclusions) or ‘Mike’s Nature Trick’ (overlying data from direct measurements on to a chart of proxy data which is not directly comparable with the direct measurements), they’d give a failing grade and show the work as an example of things that are simply NOT DONE. Yet when it helped their storyline in both published papers and particularly in AR4 and the SPM thereof, they were even more guilty because they should know better.

      • andrew adams

        Just to pick up on a couple of your points –

        the penn state investigation cleared Mann of having having to do with the deletion of mails. As we later found out, mann did forward the instructions to delete mails to Wahl and wahl did delete them. So much for the investigations.

        Jones asked Mann to relay a message to Wahl as he did not have his email address. Mann relayed the message without commenting on it and did not delete any emails himself. Mann was not responsible either for Jones’s request or for Wahl’s decision whether to act on it or not, and did not enourage Wahl to do so.

        Bullshit. every last word as the recent release of data shows. We knew it was bullshit then and now the ICO confirms that this is bullshit. Nasa make their data public, noaa does. Now CRU does. It wasnt hard. there was no threat of international repurcussions. All Bullshit.

        It’s not bullshit, and the ICO’s ruling does not say it is, even in more polite terms. It points out that protecting intellectual property rights and relationships with the NMS’s could be valid grounds for refusing the FoI request, but that the threshold is very high and CRU had not provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate that actual damage would be done by releasing the data. The ruling seems fair enough to me but that doesn’t mean that CRU’s concerns about releasing the data without permission from the organisations which had provided it were not genuine and legitimate. That’s why we have the ICO – to be the arbiter in cases like this.

      • Regardless of official ‘Investigations’ anfd ‘Arbiters’, the bottom line is that requests were made to delete emails so as to cover their tracks.
        IOW, they’re frauds.

      • andrew adams

        I’m not defending Jones’s requests to delete mails.

      • No, but you seem to condone Mann’s forwarding the email “without commenting on it”.

      • andrew adams

        I don’t see why he shouldn’t have – I probably would have done the same in the circumstances.

      • Wow…really?

        My standard practice when asked to do something questionable is to decline. When asked to ask someone else to do something questionable I decline and warn that third party that they should decline.

        I’d hate to have to defend doing anything else.

      • University of True Climate Knowledge

        Dear Mr Gene
        I regret to inform you that your application for a position here has been declined.
        Prof J

      • The philosophical pretzel here is truly amazing. AA admits here that if it were a request regarding “serious criminal activity” that complicity would attach, but then continues to try to argue that there’s no complicity if it’s a lesser violation. Amazing.

      • AA – so you don’t defend Jones’s call to destroy evidence by deleting emails, but you do defend Mann’s complicity in it by relaying the request ??

      • andrew adams

        Punksta,

        Passing on a message to someone does not mean you necessarily endorse the contents of that message. Jones put Mann in an awkward position, and as I have already said I would have probably done the same as Mann did. It was Jones, not Mann, who asked Wahl to delete the emails and Wahl was perfectly capable of deciding for himself whether it was appropriate to do so.

      • Richard S Courtney

        Passing on a message WITHOUT COMMENT to someone DOES endorse the contents of that message.

      • andrew adams

        I certainly wouldn’t see it that way if I were either the sender or the recipient of the forwarded email. Passing it on and saying “please act on this request” or something similar would be an endorsement.

      • AA – So passing on a request to do something wrong, is not itself wrong then, and does not imply complicity in the urging of wrongdoing??
        C’mon!

      • andrew adams

        Punksta,

        Well that does depend to an extent on the nature of the request. If there was serious criminal activity involved then obviously one would want to avoid any possible implication of involvement. Jones’s request, foolish as it was, hardly falls into that category.

      • AA- Legal or not, Jones’s request was more than foolish, it was downright dishonest. And by cheerfully relaying it, Mann aided and abetted the dishonesty.
        (Which pretty much sums up the moral decay and advocacy in the climate establishment really).
        Which you can’t quite bring yourself to fully criticise.

      • andrew adams

        Look, none of us has any special insight into what Mann was thinking when he forwarded on Jones’s mail. But he obviously didn’t think it was appropriate to delete the emails himself as he did not do so, so I don’t see why he would encourage Wahl to do so. More likely as Wahl was mentioned in Jones’s mail he felt it appropriate that he should see it, which I think is pretty much the explanation he has given and seems entirely reasonable to me.

        So you might assume that Mann was encouraging Wahl to delete the emails but it’s just that – an assumption. There is no direct evidence to support it and it depends on an entirely prejudicial reading of his actions. Having said that, it’s still a more honest position than the flat out lie put around by some that Mann “asked Wahl to delete emails”.

      • Oh for heaven’s sake AA, how much more squirming and wriggling and digressing are you going to do to avoid the blindingly obvious conclusion that Mann aided and abetted Jones in the latter’s attempt to cover tracks and generally deceive ?
        The only prejudicial interpretation of this is your exoneratory one.

      • It is of course precisely all this squirming exoneration and refusal to out climate crooks that stops getting the Climategate genie back in the bottle.

        And discourages anyone with any sense starting to give any credence to climate scientists again.

      • andrew adams

        Your conclusion is “blindingly obvious” to you because instead of stopping to consider how any reasonable person in Mann’s position might have acted you start from the assumption that he is guilty. I would argue that is precisely this insistence on the part of the “skeptics” on seeing any action by any climate scientist in the most prejudicial possible terms that prevents them being taking seriously by those of us on the other side.

        To be frank, the whole notion of “putting the climate genie back in the bottle” is nonsense. It just ain’t going to happen because it rests on the mistaken assumption that there is some version of events and the actions of the individuals involved on which the two sides can agree and then move on. But there isn’t – you guys want to portray pretty much everyone involved as crooks, liars and frauds and we are never ever going to accept that.

        Now I don’t claim to have any mandate to speak for the “warmists” in general but I do think I would be accurately reflecting the views of many of us when I say the fact is that we are never going to accept your interpretation of events, we accept that there is nothing which will change your minds and frankly we have given up caring. We will just put our case to the wider public where we can and see who is more persuasive. You will just have to accept that and deal with it as you will.

      • Your conclusion is “blindingly obvious” to you because instead of stopping to consider how any reasonable person in Mann’s position might have acted ..

        Nonsense, that is exactly what I have done. Mann received an email urging science malpractice. He passed it on to others.
        What else is there to the matter? If I email you and urge that person X be murdered, and you pass on the message, how would that be viewed?

        Your and the alarmists’ dogged refusal to address impropriety like this is largely to blame for mainstream climate being a despicable laughing stock. Those who won’t out the crooks, are to some extent complicit in their crimes – the ‘deafening silence’ that Judith has alluded to.

      • aa,
        Since the penn investigation was whitewash, using that for anything more than to show the need for a real investigation is useless.

      • andrew adams

        hunter,

        A “real” investigation of course being one which gives the answer which you have already determined is correct.

      • And yet those involved have literally paid no price in terms of reputation, access to funds, career path, or even actual investigations.

    • Martha
      Attacking the author rather than addressing his substantive points is typical of your posts. Typical climate thuggery, in fact.

    • Theo Goodwin

      Because no one will take up my offer of debate, I will pick on poor Martha. Sorry, Martha, but you are selected because you directed us to an article by Emanuel. He writes:

      “The “hide the decline” remark concerns a decision made by the authors of the third assessment report of the IPCC not to include the part of the proxy record that disagrees with the instrumental record in a summary figure showing global temperature over the last millennium or so. In my view, this represents poor judgment on the part of the authors of that report. But if those same authors were conspiring to hide something important from the public, they did an exceedingly poor job of it, as anyone with the slightest interest in pursuing the matter would rapidly come across the extensive literature on the divergence problem, which includes papers by the authors of the emails in question.”

      Notice that the only defense of Briffa and others that Emanuel makes is that they are really poor at hiding stuff. Wow, what a powerful defense. And he expects us to take him seriously?

      My criticism of Briffa has nothing to do with this matter. My criticism is that he is a perfect example of someone who did not follow where science led him, but turned aside to offer support to a predetermined conclusion, namely, the Hockey Stick. But Briffa’s sins (I borrow Emanuel’s fateful word) are far worse than this. He showed no interest in the science at all. He has shown none to this day. If he had been interested in the science he would have done additional research to discover what caused the decline (moisture, sheep dung, vegetative anxiety, you name it) and he would have published an explanation of the decline. But that is only the beginning. He would have undertaken research to recalibrate all tree ring proxies in light of his discoveries. To do anything less, is to show that you have no scientific instincts at all. Briffa has done nothing. Now, would someone like to address these points? I really would appreciate a debate on the matter.

  14. Peter Wood

    Thank you for a brilliant article.

    Thank you for writing down my thoughts on this issue.

    Science must be as pure as the North Pole’s snow.

    No hiding data.

    No deleting data.

    No Climate Thuggery.

    AGW theory without validation is not a scientific theory.

    IPCC has projected for a global warming of 0.2 deg C per decades in the next decades. Has this been validated?

    Policy MUST follow only after validation of theory.

  15. The comments are interesting, which include statements from John Mashey, Tenney Naumer, Scott Mandia, Eli Rabbett, Anna Haynes, Tim Lambert.

    Indeed. Mashey, Rabbett and Haynes in particular seem to have run out the full arsenal of consensus defense: snark, find the funding, and “you’re not qualified to have an opinion”.

  16. “What I don’t understand is why Michael Mann is threatening people with lawsuits over trivial things. I defended Mann against what I perceived as harassment by Cuccinelli, but what he is doing against Tim Ball and Minnesotans for Global Warming stoops to the same level.”

    The simple answer to that is that Ball has accused Mann of illegal acts, and up here in Canada (where the case is being heard) that’s what we call defamation unless Mr. Ball can prove his accusations. How you folks do it down in the States I don’t know.

    And if you want a hint as to how this one will likely turn out: The Canada Free Press, which used to publish Mr. Ball, has disowned him entirely.

    • Theo Goodwin

      “The simple answer to that is that Ball has accused Mann of illegal acts, and up here in Canada (where the case is being heard) that’s what we call defamation unless Mr. Ball can prove his accusations. How you folks do it down in the States I don’t know.”

      Here is a simple lesson in robust free speech. In the USA, to prove defamation you have to proved that the accused:

      1. knew that his accusation was false when he made it.
      2. intended to cause harm with his accusation.
      3. used a statement that is recognized as “malicious.”
      4. intended malice in his statement.

      The USA is the only country whose citizens enjoy robust free speech.

    • Yes, good point, vexatious litigation is common in Canada. I’m sorry for you there.

    • I suppose Deep Climate ( Dave Clarke) will have to watch what he says very carefully

  17. Bruce Cunningham

    For what you say to be even close to true, I would have had to have said “all” instead of “many”. But I didn’t. I agree that many people will never change their opinion, at least not publicly. That thing called human pride you know. Global warming is just a means to an end for some, as de-developing the world (over population) is what people like Bill McKibben are really about.

    Also, I wish I had the time to adequately research every social and political issue that matters, but I don’t.

    • I appreciate that. I’d like Dr. Curry to roll on the point, the “consensus” was always political ( of particular kind I’ve written about ) before the IPCC was ever named. Dr. Lindzen is correct and should be validated for this point.

      I’m “shocked” at the “shock” of Climategate, were you really surprised at what was revealed? Tribal behavior isn’t a conspiracy but it has a similar impact and so does the pretentions that science outweighed the politics in climate debates. Why is it ignored why some are fudging hockey sticks in the first place?

  18. Bruce Cunningham

    The above comment was an answer to cwon14.

  19. The unnamed woman conducting the harassment campaign…you just know that’s Anna!

  20. What’s more “parternalistic” then claiming the “consensus” of “science” has “settled” on a conclusion that has no hard science proofs or working models to prove anything that is central to the claim co2 is warming the earth?

    People should read the link and replies. A “few zealots” in climate science?;

    “In any discipline, one finds zealots, and climate science is no exception. Yes, there are environmentalist zealots who are happy to use global warming as an excuse to force us back into a golden stone age of happy hunter-gatherers unencumbered by modern transportation, electricity, and so on; one is right to question the objectivity of their research. So, too, are there reactionaries who reflexively deny the validity of any evidence that we are changing our climate. Whatever side of the issue, we scientists know who these colleagues are; one cannot imagine those colleagues changing their minds in the face of new evidence. I have been working in this field for 32 years and can attest that such ideologues constitute a tiny fraction of active scientific researchers.”

    Nothing like a self-cleaning science culture that accepts those who can’t change there mind based on “evidence”? This is from a person on the climategate whitewash committee. A walking talking proof of my other board point, can people self-identify outside their tribe is the question? Can Emanual? The article is very weak and only confirms political bias instead of refuting it which was his purpose.

    • My post was meant to link as a reply to Martha, it’s misplaced on the thread. Likely I hit a wrong tab or something.

      • Sometimes the “Reply” button does not work correctly the first time. I have to scroll up and down to make sure the comment will appear in the right place before commenting. It happens on other blogs too.

  21. To restore civility, where papers are rejected or withdrawn due to climate thuggery, demand that the editors give an apology and pay for harm done to reputation. e.g. see:

    Journal Apologizes and Pays $10,000 After Censoring Article

    “Sincere and heartfelt apologies” to Granville Sewell from the math journal that dumped his article due to Darwinist pressure

    • David,
      Very interesting comment. Thank you.

    • UK House of Commons: Science and Technology Committee – Eighth Report
      Peer review in scientific publications
      Paragraph 10:

      The report begins in chapter two with an overview of the peer-review process in publishing, including common criticisms and new innovations in publishing. Chapter three explores the roles of the editors, authors and reviewers. Chapter four examines the challenges involved in reviewing data associated with submitted work and storing it after publication. Chapter five looks at the growing area of review and commentary after publication. Finally, chapter six explores public debate and trust in science. It also assesses the role of peer review in preventing fraud and misconduct, as well as the broader ways in which research integrity is overseen in the UK.

      http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmsctech/856/85602.htm

  22. Skeptics do not want climate scientists to clean up their act. It is their very behaviour that opens the eyes of others not only to the poor science but also the nature of the advocacy involved. These people create more skeptics.

    Skeptics need the tricks, the threats, the dismissals, the litigation, the white washes, the bullying approach, the scares, etc. We should be encouraging the Manns, the Trenberths, the Hansens, the Joneses, the Schmidts, etc to carry on regardless.

    These people are priceless because of the serious damage they do to their own cause.

  23. Dr. Curry,
    You write: “When I have commended the efforts of the climate auditors, people have asked who is auditing the auditors? Well, that is John Mashey, Anna Haynes, and Deep Climate. While I find their rhetoric and some of their tactics to be often rather distasteful, what they are doing is (for the most part) legitimate investigation.”

    First, I want to commend you for this blog and your attempts to bring some kind of normalcy back to climate science.

    Second, I have to disagree with the above statement. I have not seen anything from John Mashey, Anna Haynes or Deep Climate that is “(for the most part) legitimate.” It is certainly legitimate to “audit the auditors” or “audit the skeptics” but that is not what they are doing. I would love to see a competent statistician replicate the works of Nicola Scafetta or Roy Spencer and objectively report the results. But we don’t see that ever. All we see is questioning of motives, unsupported accusations of bad behavior and red herrings. The response from RealClimate is not much better. They constantly drag the level of discourse down with personal attacks and claims that skeptics are not competent as statisticians or scientists. It is a strategy that is not working. But worse still is to call the attempts to defame skeptics as “legitimate.” It isn’t so.

    • It is “legitimate” in the sense that it is “legal”. It’s not pretty though, and we can see that even RealClimate embarks in shameful thuggery. Take for instance the last post about Spencer’s paper. Doesn’t matter that they are attacking a side point (his own model) when the paper’s point is to confront the IPCC’s models against observations, what matters to them is to show how something went “awefully wrong” and pretend that they are actually talking about the core issue of the paper.

      Same thing almost happened with their review of Montford’s book, with them going ballistic with a quote taken from the book. It backfired hilariously, when we found out that the quote was from Mann himself! But that’s RC for you, and most people I still speak today about Montford’s book, they will still link me to RealClimate… the internet is a place where information goes to die.

      • It doesn’t matter that the point they are attacking is one made by themselves in a 2010 paper they link to.

        It is not controversial to state that climate models are deficient in terms of tropical variability in the atmosphere on many timescales [Lin et al., 2006; Lin, 2007] and a more realistic simulation of ENSO events in coupled simulations remains a high priority for model developers. During El Niño,
        the warming of the tropical eastern Pacific and associated changes in the Walker circulation, atmospheric stability, and winds lead to decreases in stratocumulus clouds, increased solar radiation at the surface, and an enhanced warming…’ http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/TFOW_LC_GRL2010_GL042314.pdf

        Nor is it honest to suggest that S&B11 say that cloud causes ENSO.

        ‘Finally, since much of the temperature variability during 2000–2010 was due to ENSO [9], we conclude that ENSO-related temperature variations are partly radiatively forced. We hypothesize that changes in the coupled ocean-atmosphere circulation during the El Niño and La Niña phases of ENSO cause differing changes in cloud cover, which then modulate the radiative balance of the climate system.’

        I guess they don’t really expect people to read their papers.

    • The Climate Auditors (McIntyre et al.) are auditing the science, and also institutional procedures that should be protecting the integrity of science. I definitely find this commendable. The science put forward by skeptics that manages to get published is quickly argued and rebutted (see e.g. Trenberth and Fasullo over at Real Climate.)

      John Mashey, Deep Climate, and Anna Haynes are auditing the Climate Auditors primarily by looking at their funding sources, scoping out obscure links with libertarian think tanks, and John Mashey’s hunt for plagiarism. The fact that those auditing the Climate Auditors cant do any better than this rather speaks for itself.

      • Dr. Curry,
        I see our opinions of Mashey, DC and Haynes are very similar. I’m glad.

        I must disagree with your portrayal of RealClimate. The Trenberth and Fasullo piece was not a rebuttal in the normal sense… unless I missed something important. The piece was an opinion piece, not a science piece. It is not the same thing and does not carry the same weight. When the RC guys do publish a response to skeptics in the peer-reviewed literature (such as Gavin Schmidt et al’s response to Scafetta), it leaves much to be desired. I’ve been studying the issue and it is clear Schmidt did not understand Scafetta’s process (partly Scafetta’s fault for not archiving his code and making everything abundantly clear). But instead of contacting Scafetta and asking questions, Schmidt rushed into print with untrue claims.

        The Hockey Team need to learn from Steve McIntyre (and Jeff Id, Lucia, Ryan O’Donnel, UC, RomanM, etc) how to properly audit a science paper. The main thing is they need to be certain they actually find an error before they report an error. The Schmidt paper will end up embarrassing him.

      • Ron – If you read the RC post by Trenberth and Fasullo (TF) on the Spencer/Braswell 2011 paper, I think you’ll find that some of the commentary is opinion as you state (the paper “should not have been published”), but some is genuine scientific rebuttal. A key element of the paper was the claim that GCMs that don’t take ENSO to be radiatively forced as SB-11 claim cannot reproduce the SB-11 results. TF ran a model (MPI-Echam5) that did in fact reproduce those results well, and in fact was also characterized by a high climate sensitivity to CO2.

        I had read SB-11 before seeing the RC comments, and had found what I believed to be other serious inadequacies (see the recent post of this topic), but I would not have been able to judge the claim about models without the data reported by TF. (I also think their points would have been stronger if they had refrained from public statements about whether the paper should have been published and instead simply addressed its content).

      • Fred,
        I don’t think the evidence presented is a complete rebuttal of the paper. They may have found a computational model that does not have the shortcomings of the majority of models, but it probably has other shortcomings. If the statements on RC are true, and I don’t assume anything that appears in RealClimate is automatically true, then it would be progress in the scientific discussion even though it is not a rebuttal per se.

      • John Mashey, Deep Climate, and Anna Haynes are auditing the Climate Auditors primarily by looking at their funding sources

        Yes, and all the while doggedly ignoring that the funding source for CAGW alarmism is the state, the very party that stands to massively benefit from its acceptance, and that this state funding utterly dwarfs all other funding put together. Clearly people who haven’t lashed themselves to any precommitted conclusions then …

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Judith Curry, I don’t share your view of those three. I approve of the idea of auditing auditors, but those three haven’t acted as auditors do. In my few experiences with John Mashey and Deep Climate, both made serious mistakes and refused to address them. For example, after Mashey published his document about Wegman and plagiarism, I found a key criticism of his, one which gets repeated often, was completely and utterly false. He refused to address this, and to this day, the error has never been admitted by him.

        I’ve never dealt with Anna Haynes personally, but from what I’ve seen of her behavior, and from what I’ve experienced of the behavior of the other two, they don’t deserve to be called auditors.

      • Brandon –
        Gotta agree with you. Auditing is an honorable activity, bounded by strict rules and codes. It’s also a dispassionate activity.

        Mashey, Haynes and Deep Climate cannot claim to be dispassionate, nor do they abide by even the most common rules of courtesy, let alone any pretension of honesty.

        Calling them “auditors” is an insult to those who are true auditors. And that’s a quote from one of my family members who IS an auditor.

      • “The science put forward by skeptics that manages to get published is quickly argued and rebutted (see e.g. Trenberth and Fasullo over at Real Climate.)”

        Your statements suggests to me that you have a very limited view of science. It must be peer reviewed. It must set forth some hypothesis that is capable of rebuttal? What about critical work that does not set forth some hypothesis?

        Your reference to rebuttal strikes me as flip. What counts as rebuttal? Shouldn’t you be referring to successful rebuttal and some standards for that success?

  24. To my mind, the consensus scientists have fallen into the trap of parroting their (politico) supporters and adopting their methods of argument. I genuinely have an open mind on the science and I am delighted when those close to the coal face on the consensus side make an appearence at Judith’s blog. However, why can’t they address scientific arguments politely? Why the scorn and arrogance? Do they really think that they become more convincing by being rude? Is it ego?

    Take Chris Colose, for example. I was initially delighted when he pitched up recently to comment on a technical post but the scientific content of his remarks (when he finally got to it) was completely undermined by the tone that he adopted. It was totally baffling and wholly unnecessary. Up to that point, nobody had been rude to him so why did he kick off? The bottom line was that I switched off and just scrolled past.

    The science and the politics get mixed up but also the methods of discussion. It really is childish and pathetic. Amongst the scientific cadre, it’s also largely a ‘consensus’ problem from what I have seen. You expect it from the likes of Martha and Greenfyre but not from the scientists :)

    Only a change in tone will earn my respect and trust.

    • I could not possibly agree with your post any more than I do.

      I was initially aware that the my distaste for the tone of the likes of RC Hockey Team may be colouring my view as to the voracity of what they were saying, but after a while I found enough to question, and the uncertainties unacknowledged (or sufficiently acknowledged) that ultimately I had severe reservations about anything they were saying.

      I don’t really have the time to check every single point raised in the complex discussion that is climate science, so I am much more interested in more cautious approaches, characterised by relentless skepticism (of the scientific kind), searching out other possibilities and exploring them.

      It’s the certainty they express that makes me suspicious of what they assert. How can such certainty in a science still in its infancy be justified?

      Thus a change in tone would be an indication that these guys have become less credulous.

  25. If the Nixon whitehouse had used the approach of the AGW community in suppressing watergate, I wonder how seriously it would have beeen considered?
    Would we have the equivalent of Martha rationalizing it away as a democratic party plot?
    Would Kerry Emmanuel would be seen as a serious player if he claimed watergate was all the fault of wicked lefties?
    Climategate is never going back in the bottle. It is in the public sqaure as much as any other scandal. The more allegedly serious people like Emmanuel (deliberately? cynically?) claims things that are obviously untrue, and the more the media carefully ignores the issue, the more it will achieve a life of its own.
    People in general may not know advanced physics and calculus. But people in general know the stench of bs. Climategate and the AGW community response to climategate stinks strongly of bs.

  26. “Trying to put the Climategate genie back in the bottle”

    Why on earth does anyone WANT to put the genie back in the bottle. When Steve McIntyre first heard that the UEA had inadvertently leaked it’s own information, he commented “A miracle has happened”. And he was right. The fraud and hoax that so-called “scientists” who support CAGW, had launched onto the world, was starting to be exposed. That process has continued. And it will go on until our politicians take absolutely no notice whatsoever of CAGW.

    • Steve M knew, he might have less proof that was as easy to understand to give the public but he knew before Climategate happened.

      What gets me are the people close to the debate who were overall surprised by the conduct? What planet have they been living on? Academically AGW was poisoned 25+ years before, Son of the Population Bomb but more devious in vagueness.

    • “When Steve McIntyre first heard that the UEA had inadvertently leaked it’s own information, he commented “A miracle has happened”.”

      It wasn’t Steve who said that, it was the person (the leaker, presumably) who put up a link to RC (where the documents had been posted) within CA. IIRC, Steve wasn’t even aware of where the link led, and ignored the post.

      • That’s right Roger. The original post by ‘RC’ in the early morning Toronto time of 17th November 2009, that was ignored by Steve and everyone else, is still visible here. A helpful discussion of it the following January, as part of the CA classic “The Mosher Timeline”, is here.

    • “And it will go on until our politicians take absolutely no notice whatsoever of CAGW.”

      If I understand denialist theory correctly, you’ve not grasped a vital point there Jim.

      Can anyone tell Jim why that will never happen?

  27. it is gold-plated evidence that the tree ring data that Briffa was using is not a good proxy for temperature. That fact was the important scientific finding of Briffa’s work and a scientist true to his calling would have immediately published on that fact.

    A scientist would have immediately begun a serious investigation of what caused the divergence between proxy data and temperature. Today, there should be substantial literature on the behavior of Briffa’s proxy and all similar proxies used for temperature in climate science. There is not.

    A great post, and you have put your finger directly on several imporant points. There ought to be some sort of scientific equivalent of Gresham’s Law (‘Bad money drives out good’), where bad science drives out good – exactly as we see happening in climate science, time and again (the reaction to the recent Spencer & Braswell paper being only the latest example).

    • Theo Goodwin

      Thanks so much for your kind words. Isn’t it amazing that posting a detailed criticism of specific actions by a particular ClimateGater makes you as lonely as a cayote? One would think that these great defenders of the “Consensus” would jump right in with their equally detailed rebuttal.

  28. If you were curious about why aggressive “decarbonization” as government policy is ever the solution, why even recognized non-emission forcings such as UHI and land use (Hartwell) are not considered, and why alternative explanations for observed temperature changes are not admitted to the discussions of uncertainty (Spencer and Braswell, Svensmark), see gleanings from the input-output tables of the United States:
    http://mysite.verizon.net/cache.22/EnergySource.jpg
    Yes, it lacks 2010 and yes, Spencer and Braswell, and Svensmark are works in progress, and yes, I could be mistaken in attributing motivation broadly.

  29. Dr. Curry writes: “My proposal for increased transparency, more attention to uncertainty and overall greater scientific integrity is the only way to get the genie back into the bottle (although this will be a very slow process.)”

    Kudos! However, integrity is in short supply because it is so expensive.

    • Dixie, it’s a little worse than that. It’s a lament for ther good old days when climate “experts” were accepted as such. Far more people understand the political hack function of the IPCC consensus and the links involved.

      If they focus on uncertainty and quantity in reports there is no consensus at all. That’s why weasel words such as “likely” were invented, argued and dissenters cast off and defamed. Dr. Curry was born in 2006 and never knew this how it came to be?

  30. Dr. Curry writes:”When I have commended the efforts of the climate auditors, people have asked who is auditing the auditors?”

    Isn’t that the role of normal science?. Have advocates been doing normal science? McIntyre did.
    For example, the issues raised in the Wegman report, including the closed network of 5. Social Network Analysis Of Authorships In Temperature Reconstructions, pg 38. See:
    Wegman, Edward J., David W. Scott, and Yasmin H. Said. 2006. Ad Hoc Committee Report On The “Hockey Stick” Global Climate Reconstruction. July 11. http://republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/108/home/07142006_Wegman_Report.pdf

    • George Mason University has been investigating Wegman for plagiarism for almost a year. Does anyone know why the investigation is taking so long?

      • Latimer Alder

        Why is the investigation taking so long? Probably because they have better things to do with their time..like counting the paper clips or defluffing their belly buttons.

        Plagiarism as alleged doesn’t gain much traction as anything other than a minor offence (think parking ticket) outside academe.

        Has anybody showed that the paper Wegman published was actually wrong in substance? Or are the conclusions, however arrived at still correct?

      • Notice how thie allegation of plagiarism of one paper is huge,a nd the research in depth and specific. But the AGW community cannot stand to even talk honestly about cliamtegate?

      • McIntyre took an interest in this accusation. In inverse date order:

        http://climateaudit.org/2011/01/17/team-policy-on-acknowledgements/
        http://climateaudit.org/2011/01/16/trenberth-and-lifting-text-verbatim-2/
        http://climateaudit.org/2010/10/21/bradley-tries-to-deal/
        http://climateaudit.org/2010/10/20/bradley-copies-fritts-2/
        http://climateaudit.org/2010/10/18/bradley-copies-fritts/
        http://climateaudit.org/2010/10/12/copygate/

        From the earliest (“copygate”, last above)

        “As readers know, Raymond Bradley’s allegation that “text was just lifted verbatim from my book and placed in the Wegman Report” has been widely publicized following Bradley’s interview with USA today. The allegation pertains to Wegman’s boilerplate section (2.1) describing proxies, a section in which neither MBH98-99 nor MM2003, 2005abcd are mentioned, and on which no Wegman conclusions depend. Nor does it affect the under oath endorsement of Wegman conclusions given at the House Committee hearings by Gerald North and Peter Bloomfield – see here.

        “There seem to be several related issues. Although Wegman cites Bradley no fewer than six times in the approximately 1640 words of section 2.1, there are some suggestions that this was insufficient homage. The more problematic issue pertains to the lifting of text with very slight paraphrasing. This issue is not unique to the Wegman Report. As shown below, substantially similar situations arise with the Oxford Companion to Global Change, the Climate Change Study Guide, Enviropedia and Luterbacher et al 2010, and, under a zero-tolerance policy, with Bradley 1999 itself.”

        Conclusion: it fizzled.

  31. In Climategate, deniers found a little manure to wallow in. The manure has dried, but deniers continue to roll around in it.

    • See “reputational cascade”

    • Yes, the truth stinks sometimes.

      • Deniers tried to make the truth stinky by lying about it.

      • Don’t have to lie – the truth is sufficient to produce a horrendous stench. Think dead skunk in the middle of the road.

      • Gross exaggerations and unsupported accusations are ways of lying, and deniers lied about Climategate like there was no tomorrow.

      • Without specifics you’re just blowin’ smoke. IOW – What ARE you smoking?

      • Are you kidding. All you have to do is Goggle “climategate expose” and the denialsphere will cover your monitor with BS, starting with “climategate exposes global warming hoax” and climategate is “final nail in coffin of anthropogenic global warming.” Deniers consume these lies as eagerly as a possum gobbling up road-kill, and then regurgitate the stinking mess all over this site and anyplace else they can find. It’s disgusting!

      • Your erudite posts have convinced me. I AM a disgusting denier who regurgitates stinking messes. I will go away and rethink my life.

        Thank you for being there. There is a point to your posts, after all. There must be thousands who, like me, have been convinced by your articulation of all the sciency arguments.

      • M. Carey,
        You confuse your fervent belief and strong opinion with truth.

      • “Deniers consume these lies as eagerly as a possum gobbling up road-kill…”

        Oh yeah?! Oh yeah?! Well Mr. M. Carey, so if deniers eat road-kill then it’s because they’re not vegan greenshirt weirdos that eat cilantro and argula and stuff like that so that whenever a greenshirt laughs at his own jokes you can see a bunch of little shreds of green leafy matter all stuck between their teeth–not to mention all that high-fiber, vegetable-matter derived flatulance that makes civil discourse with greenshirts such a punishing challenge.

        And, oh by the way, it’s not “deniers” that are the weener-heads and the doppel popel-kopfs!

      • It is sad to see you still suffering from your concussion.
        I hoep the honesty and integrity part of your brain return to normal function soon.

    • Manure…. Yeah I really don’t know what the all fuss over Climategate was really. All it showed was systemic fraud, malpractice and secrecy in the top ranks of climate science academia. That’s normal isn’t it? No wonder there was a deafening silence from the bulk of the rank and file.
      And anway why should a scientist show his tax-funded data to those who paid for it, if he suspects they might not support his conclusions ?

      • Latimer Alder

        Extremely well put.

        In UK the much feared TV political interviewer, Jeremy Paxman, is rumoured to begin each engagement with the mental note

        ‘I wonder what this lying bastard is going to try to lie to me about this time’.

        We should all use it as an aide memoire before studying any effusions from climatologists.

    • M. carey apparently has not read any of the Climategate emails. Must be in denial.

    • Theo Goodwin

      Oh really? Why don’t you address my criticisms of Briffa above?

  32. PS: I see in reading the Emanuel piece at the NAS site that there in fact is “literature on the divergence problem“, so perhaps there has in fact been “a serious investigation of what caused the divergence between proxy data and temperature” after all? Sigh, that’s the problem with not being familiar with the entire corpus of publications in the field.

    • Noel –
      Emmanuel said that – but is it true? Been lied to like that before.

      But never fear – if it’s there, Fred M will likely find it and let us know. I’d actually be surprised if the paleo community wasn’t investigating – if for no other reason than to justify previous beliefs. But if that investigation disconfirms previous beliefs, will we ever hear about it?

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        There has definitely been attempts to figure out the divergence problem, and there have been multiple ideas put forward. I’d say it qualifies as “serious investigations,” though there haven’t been any conclusive results.

        Now then, it doesn’t matter much if the divergence problem was known and discussed in the literature. You can’t somehow excuse hiding the problem in some work by saying it wasn’t hidden in other work.

    • “perhaps there has in fact been ‘a serious investigation of what caused the divergence between proxy data and temperature’…”

      Noel – The divergence problem was in fact discussed in the literature at the time of these various reports. However, in both the papers by Mann et al and the TAR description, the proxy data were presented in such a way as to make it hard for readers to become aware of the problem and easy for them to assume it didn’t exist and that the proxy data always paralleled actual temperatures. The result was not a deliberately false statement of fact but a false impression that appears to have been deliberate.

      The term “cherry picking”, as you know, is used to denote the selective citation of evidence that may be accurate but misleading because of the omission of contradictory evidence. In science, this has sometimes been called “stating the facts without telling the truth”. What Mann et al did, if I recall, was to state the facts in large bold letters and tell the truth in fine print (i.e., by cryptic references to elsewhere in the literature).

      Technically, it’s not absolute cherry picking because the selectivity was only quantitative rather than total. Is this acceptable scientific practice? I don’t think so.

      Here is my concern with all of this. If Mann et al engaged in partial cherry picking, I estimate that more than half of the substantive comments in this blog that purport to offer an accurate perspective on scientifically contentious issues are total cherry picking. In the climate blogosphere in general, it is probably closer to 90 percent, and the “skeptical” side is at least as guilty as the consensus side. Note that I’m not referring to comments that specifically acknowledge they are presented as counter arguments to a particular claim, but rather to those that purport to provide a true perspective on the subject (e.g., statements that claim that one or another author has shown climate sensitivity to have a particular value, or who announce what the “true” temperature of the MWP must have been).

      We can interpret this in at least two ways, not mutually exclusive. The first is that most climate bloggers here, and an even larger majority elsewhere, are routinely guilty of worse distortions than those of the scientists they criticize and even condemn.

      The second is that none of this is very important, because after all, we bloggers who do this are just acting as advocates rather than trying to be objective. We really don’t have the responsibility to deliver true impressions at the same level as discourse in the literature and IPCC documents. Since we are not to be taken as seriously as the scientists themselves, we shouldn’t be held equally accountable.

      Now, if the second argument is the one to be made, then the reputation of the blogosphere will deserve the consequences and will have to live with them. Is that what we want? I’m not sure that is what Judith Curry wants.

      • “The first is that most climate bloggers here, and an even larger majority elsewhere, are routinely guilty of worse distortions than those of the scientists they criticize and even condemn.”

        Fred, you are forgetting that no one is expected to believe us commenters, and no one has to. We are not authorities. When distortions from scientists (scientific authority) drive regulations and laws(state authority), you are not comparing like to like. If commenters or bloggers distort, we don’t have to give them the time of day. If scientists and politicians distort, they destroy the institutions that we have agreed to respect. We have a moral obligation to try and minimize the damage.

        Andrew

      • Fred, you are forgetting that no one is expected to believe us commenters, and no one has to.

        If you are satisfied with that situation, Andrew, I’m not. I would like to be believed – not because I’m always right but because I make a conscientious effort to describe the science as I see it rather than to cite only evidence in one direction with no acknowledgement of contradictory evidence or uncertainty. That doesn’t mean I have no opinions on contentious issues, but it does mean I try to treat the evidence fairly. (It also doesn’t mean that I always live up to my standards, but having those standards is an important guide).

        I think the way we all behave in this regard affects the credibility of the blog as a whole and therefore the credibility of each of us in turn. If you care how the public reacts to this in terms of policy views, shouldn’t this concern you?

      • Fred, the perception of this particular blog does not concern me. If this blog went away, we could comment on another one, ideally. You seem to have missed the stuff I wrote about authorities. That’s where you should be concerned, as they are in more powerful postions.

        Andrew

      • “Fred, you are forgetting that no one is expected to believe us commenters, and no one has to. We are not authorities. When distortions from scientists (scientific authority) drive regulations and laws(state authority), you are not comparing like to like.”

        Skeptics are trying very hard to prevent anyone doing anything about manmade global warming. Saying that they are just playing some harmless role won’t wash.

        They might not have any influence on decision makers, but that isn’t for want of trying.

        The situation really is like this in terms of hypocrisy:

        Skeptic: “Phil Jonse forggot to cros the t! omg it spelinggate! i cant beleeve how corupt sceins is with bad speling! ban the ipcc now!”

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Fred Moolten, there is quite a bit worth responding to in your comment, but for the moment, I just want to address one thing you said:

        The divergence problem was in fact discussed in the literature at the time of these various reports. However, in both the papers by Mann et al and the TAR description, the proxy data were presented in such a way as to make it hard for readers to become aware of the problem and easy for them to assume it didn’t exist and that the proxy data always paralleled actual temperatures. The result was not a deliberately false statement of fact but a false impression that appears to have been deliberate.

        It is, at best, misleading to say Mann’s papers and the TAR made it “hard for readers to become aware of the problem.” For example, the TAR never discussed the divergence problem. It certainly didn’t say anything about the fact data was simply omitted from the graph because it would dilute the message the authors wanted to give to readers.

        There is no doubt this false impression was deliberate. The e-mails from Climategate show that clearly. This means the authors deliberately deleted 30+ years of data because it would look bad, and they never said anything about it in the report.

        This is blatant cherry-picking, and it is extremely dishonest. There is no defense for it. That this dishonesty could be discovered by examining other work doesn’t somehow make it less dishonest.

      • Brandon – We seem to agree in general on this point, so your distinction may be a fine point. As I recall (I haven’t recently reviewed the evidence), the TAR referenced Mann, and Mann referenced other literature that addressed the divergence problem. It wasn’t deleted from the literature, but was very hard to find. We agree completely that this is not acceptable scientific practice.

        My other point was that cherry picking damages the credibility of those who engage in it, and that has implications for how we deserve to be perceived when we make comments here.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Fred Moolten, the TAR referenced both Mann and Briffa. The deletion of data I mentioned was in regards to Briffa’s reconstruction, and the adverse data could be found by examining Briffa’s papers. One could even figure out what happened, and they might be able to guess at why.

        In Mann’s case, that isn’t true. One could, with enough effort, find out about the divergence problem beginning with his work. However, one could not find out how that problem impacted his work. One could not know he spliced temperature data onto the end of proxy data and smoothed it to hide what he did (especially since both he and Gavin Schmidt repeatedly and vehemently denied anyone had ever done so).

        One could find out the divergence problem existed from Mann’s papers and the TAR, but that is not the same as finding out about the problem. There was no way anyone could discover the effects of the problem. To me, the fact nobody could really know what changes were made, much less why those changes were made, means saying one could find out “about” the divergence problem from the TAR is misleading. It may not be a disagreement between us, but it is a distinction I think needs to be made.

        As for cherry picking, I agree with your paragraph about it in this comment of yours. The previous comment I responded to said far more, and I don’t (necessarily) agree with it. I don’t feel like getting into a discussion of who is guilty of how much cherry picking, and that’s why I limited my previous response as I did.

      • Brandon – I basically agree except that the splicing is shown (without explanation or a continuation of the proxy trend) in Figure 7 of MBH98.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        I agree he shows the results from the splicing, but I think you mean Figure 5b, not Figure 7.

      • Fred Moolten
        What do you consider deliberately inverting a proxy to get the curve you want?
        And then refusing to correct/withdraw it?

        See
        AMac: Upside Down Mann Lives on in Kemp et al 2011

      • David – One has to be very careful about using the word “deliberately”. I haven’t followed all the ins and outs of the issue regarding Mann’s work, because from a strictly scientific perspective, his work is peripheral to general conclusions about climate change, and has been overemphasized by both his detractors and defenders I’m not one of the latter, and so I haven’t followed the controversies in obsessive detail.

        I’ve generally agreed that he hasn’t followed acceptable scientific practices. Once detractors start talking about jail time, though, as in the comment below, I judge them to have gone off the deep end and I find it hard to believe in the objectivity of anything else they say.

      • Fred:
        “I haven’t followed all the ins and outs of the issue regarding Mann’s work, because from a strictly scientific perspective, his work is peripheral to general conclusions about climate change”

        IMHO, Fred, you are minimizing the issue. The whole point was that the paleo evidence was meant to prove that the recent warming was unprecedented. This is a key point in the debate.

      • Rob – I have to disagree. It is incontrovertibly established that paleoclimatology has seen temperatures far higher (and lower) than any in the records under discussion, including both the MWP, LIA, or recent century, including “hothouse” climates with no ice even at the poles, and a “snowball Earth” with ice extending close to the equator. On the other hand, there is no evidence in the paleoclimatologic record that the rate of recent warming has been matched previously on a global scale (as opposed to regional events, such as D/O events). This may simply mean that the record is too sparse to find such rates in the distant past, or alternatively, the recent global warming rate is unprecedented. In any case, conclusions regarding the role of CO2 and other anthropogenic emissions are based on evidence that is far more direct. Mann’s work appears to have had much more public relations impact than scientific impact, and the same applies to the criticisms. The scientific implications are quite meager in my view.

      • Fred you statements are most probably incorrect. There is a known problem with signal spread and compression from the techniques and the medium, biotic responses and phenotypical expression by a single specimen. Think of the effect of the bell curve. Further, as Lohle has published in the literature, the assumption of a straight line response is contra-indicated and results in deamplificationof the signal. Thus your statement of the “”there is no evidence in the paleoclimatologic record that the rate of recent warming has been matched previously on a global scale “” is true because there is no conclusive evidence that the warming rate at present is unusual. Not just because of the sparse nature of past events, but the methodology of paleoclimate temperature reconstructions themselves. In particular your statement, with the contrast of known geologic changes wrt to temperature changes is poor since the point of contention about the reconstructions of relatively recent phenomena such as MWP or the Holocene Optimum is that the rate suffers more signal compression not only from the biological/physical nature of the proxies, but also the smoothing that is done when using different areas, proxies, and standard error of measurements for a combined or even a monoculture temperature proxy, i.e. treering only temperature proxy.

        Finally Fred, your statement “”In any case, conclusions regarding the role of CO2 and other anthropogenic emissions are based on evidence that is far more direct. Mann’s work appears to have had much more public relations impact than scientific impact, and the same applies to the criticisms.”” invalidates the 4AR of the IPCC Chapter 9 Attribution. I don’t mind you throwing AR4 away, but some the governments might think it was incorrect. Not to mention all those scientists who wrote it and agreed it was the best to date science on the subject.

      • With all respect, John Pittman, I have rarely been able to make sense out of any of your comments although I try. In this case, the first part seems off topic and illogical, and the second part, about AR4, is also a non sequitur. However, I probably shouldn’t complain, because my comment to Rob jumbled a few things together that didn’t belong there. The correct statement is that neither current temperatures, the MWP, or the LIA are unprecedented, because much warmer and colder temperatures have characterized the Earth’s history in the past. What is unprecedented is an identified global warming rate as rapid as that of the past century, and so that is very unusual. We can’t say it’s unique, because paleoclimatologic data are too sparse to fill in all the gaps. None of this has much to do with AR4 chapter 9 attribution.

      • With all due respect Fred, it was your contention that Dr Mann’s work was more public relations and that conclusions regarding CO2 and other anthropogenic emissions are based on evidence far more direct. You did not include refences, so forgive me for asssuming the conversation concerned AR4. Lest we talk past one another what do you mean by “What is unprecedented is an identified global warming rate as rapid as that of the past century, and so that is very unusual.”? And what source(s) for support of this statement?

      • Fred
        If you invest on the advice of a financial advisor – and then after losing your investment, find that that financial advisor hid most of the data indicating the opposite of his recommendation, how would you expect him to be treated? See how the SEC would treat him for securities fraud.
        Why should it be any different when scientists present their work specifically to influence larger financial policies and investments?
        And then are found to have “cooked the books” by hiding 400-500 cores showing temperature decline in favor of 17 cores showing rapid temperature increase? See McKitrick explaining Yamal and Hide-the Decline – That “hockey stick” distortion was used in 11 major papers – and used as key summary graphs by IPCC for policy makers!

        Why should the consequences of financial investment advice based on Bernie Madoff hiding evidence be any different from financial investment advice based on The TEAM hiding evidence? – Except that the harm to society for making policy on the TEAM’s fraudulent hockey stick’s will be far greater?
        Why should not what is good for the goose be good for the gander?

        When posters trivialize the consequences of serious scientific fraud I find it hard to take their comments seriously!

      • Fred
        Glad to hear that:

        It is incontrovertibly established that paleoclimatology has seen temperatures far higher (and lower) than any in the records under discussion, including both the MWP, LIA, or recent century, including “hothouse” climates with no ice even at the poles, and a “snowball Earth” with ice extending close to the equator.

        The NIPCC Ch 3 agrees, showing both evidence for MWP, LIA and the Hockey Stick and comparing them.
        Now how do we get the IPCC to objectively review ALL the evidence, not just “anthropogenic warming”?

      • Fred
        One could charitably appeal to the “herd factor” or collective delusion. However, after they had brought to their attention the erroneous statistics, inverted evidence, use of evidence against professional advice, and hiding most of the evidence, then they continued to use the data and methods, then I interpret that as “deliberate”.

      • Fred Moolten
        Even greater malpractice was to deliberately delete most of teh relevant data – the Yamal record – to give a “hockey stick” instead of uninteresting conventional variations.
        See Yamal and Hide the Decline
        I call that intentionally misleading policy makers.
        That is directly prohibited for any fiduciary / steward and deserves jail.

      • Fred Moolten
        See the Institute of Physics submission

        4. The second category relating to proxy reconstructions are the basis for the conclusion that 20th century warming is unprecedented. Published reconstructions may represent only a part of the raw data available and may be sensitive to the choices made and the statistical techniques used. Different choices, omissions or statistical processes may lead to different conclusions. This possibility was evidently the reason behind some of the (rejected) requests for further information.

        5. The e-mails reveal doubts as to the reliability of some of the reconstructions and raise questions as to the way in which they have been represented; for example, the apparent suppression, in graphics widely used by the IPCC, of proxy results for recent decades that do not agree with contemporary instrumental temperature measurements.

        6. There is also reason for concern at the intolerance to challenge displayed in the e-mails. This impedes the process of scientific ‘self correction’, which is vital to the integrity of the scientific process as a whole, and not just to the research itself. In that context, those CRU e-mails relating to the peer-review process suggest a need for a review of its adequacy and objectivity as practised in this field and its potential vulnerability to bias or manipulation.

        7. Fundamentally, we consider it should be inappropriate for the verification of the integrity of the scientific process to depend on appeals to Freedom of Information legislation. Nevertheless, the right to such appeals has been shown to be necessary. The e-mails illustrate the possibility of networks of like-minded researchers effectively excluding newcomers. Requiring data to be electronically accessible to all, at the time of publication, would remove this possibility.

        Will you seek to restore the integrity of climate science?
        Or condone its destruction?

      • David – I don’t know why you’re addressing this to me. It seems to be part of an obsession in some quarters with actions that are unacceptable on the part of a few individuals but have little relevance to 99 percent of either climate science or climate scientists. To be candid, even though I don’t condone the actions, I think they are less misleading than the excessive focus on them, because the latter creates a seriously distorted view of the science. Whether that attempt to distort is deliberate or simply reflects an ideological bias, I don’t think it’s constructive.

        At other times, you have linked to data on the science itself. That would interest me more, except that it often appears to suffer from the cherry picking syndrome that I’ve mentioned above in that it has been extremely selective in supporting one particular perspective on controversial issues. I don’t think that helps to advance our understanding.

      • Fred
        Thanks for not condoning those actions. The major issue was not just that the paper and graphs were misleading by hiding vital evidence, but that they were trumpeted as the front cover / poster for IPCC’s message Global warming policy itself has consequently been hijacked into almost exclusive focus on “Mitigation”, when much is absurdly uneconomic, with almost no discussion on adaptation. Consequently we are being asked to pour hundreds of trillions of dollars into some black hole.

        – right when we need urgent focus on replacing rapidly declining light crude oil production. That has massive consequences to our civilization. The 2008 economic crisis was directly triggered by OPEC cutting back on growth of crude oil production in 2004/5. Thus climategate is an a a key to this critical hinge between massive policy issues.
        All the hoorah in Washington was to manage to reduce the projected increase of $9 trillion in debt down to $7 trillion . Each American family already has $122,000 in direct debt dumped on them by Washington that can’t ever be paid off with Washington politics. – not counting major unfunded social security etc. Then mitigation manics want to add hundreds of trillions of dollars onto that – and then they rely on biased evidence and papers.

        Sometimes it appears that you are supporting such efforts – for which the rapid rebuttal responses.

        The links I provide are often a quick item to point out the missing or contrary evidence, not to “cherry pick”. Similarly, the 880 page NIPCC review focus was to point out some 4,000 papers ignored by IPCC or since that, to balance out the evidence.

        Having done some thorough reviews, that takes a lot more effort, which I don’t have time for. Take the comments what they are worth.

        For examples of thorough reviews, see:
        Hagen, D. L. “Methanol: Its Synthesis, Use as a Fuel, Economics and Hazards.” 1976, 180 pp., 608 Ref., NTIS Publication No. NP-21727

        Hagen, D. L. and Erdman, A. G., “Flywheels for Energy Storage: A Review with bibliography.” ASME 76-DET-96, 1976, 428 Ref

        Hagen, D.L. & Kaneff, S. “Application of Solar Thermal Technologies in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Opportunities and Benefits for Australian Industry” to Dept. Arts, Sports, the Environment, Tourism and Territories, Canberra, Australia, June 1991 330 pp

        Sift the gravel for the nuggets. Test all things. Hold on to what is true.

      • David – Thanks for the clarification that when you cite papers that advance one viewpoint exclusively, omitting all references to other views or data, you are not cherry picking but simply pointing out “the missing evidence”.

        Your own publications sound interesting, and I would probably like to read them at some point, although my time is limited at the moment. Certainly, solar thermal technologies are relevant to this blog, but I assume they have progressed since 1991..

        I won’t take the bait in your above comments and argue about Mann and the legal concept of fraud. It seems patently silly to me but you are entitled to your opinion.

      • Thanks Fred
        On current solar, encourage you to see solar thermochemical fuels. Research on metal oxide cycles to split water and CO2 is exploding.
        e.g. see Weimer on Solar hydrogen for overview.

      • Theo Goodwin

        Fred writes:

        “Brandon – We seem to agree in general on this point, so your distinction may be a fine point. As I recall (I haven’t recently reviewed the evidence), the TAR referenced Mann, and Mann referenced other literature that addressed the divergence problem. It wasn’t deleted from the literature, but was very hard to find. We agree completely that this is not acceptable scientific practice.”

        What you said prior to the above was interesting, but now you have become misleading. Your first sentence is a true embarrassment. What does agreement in general have to do with a particular distinction? The answer is “nothing.”

        You write:

        “Mann referenced other literature that addressed the divergence problem”

        The problem has never been reasonably addressed. But you make an call your own bluff in the same action. If it has been addressed, give us the contents of that address in your words – or stop bluffing.

      • Theo – Whether the divergence problem has been addressed “reasonably” is a matter of judgment, but if you want to analyze the discussions of it in the literature to explain what it is about them you find them “unreasonable”, you should proceed with that. Although I’ve seen those discussions, I can’t cite the exact references from memory, and in my view, it’s too trivial an issue to trace back to those sources, because the entire hockey stick controversy is too trivial scientifically to justify the emphasis it’s being given. Politically and ideologically is a different matter, but I prefer to stick to the science.

      • Theo Goodwin

        Well, Fred, maybe so. But as I read climate science, the support for CAGW consists of two things and two things only, namely, these paleo-reconstructions, especially the Hockey Stick, and computer models. On my estimation, the Hockey Stick is very important. Is there some other fount of support that I have missed.

        I know about Arrhenius’ work and do accept that it offers some support for some warming. And I am not impressed by the new Dust Bowl in south Texas or similar phenomena. I cannot understand people who know that the Dust Bowl existed in North Texas and Oklahoma in the thirties yet get all worked up when it appears, possibly, in south Texas now.

      • “entire hockey stick controversy is too trivial scientifically”

        Just an empty talking point to distract Fred, your posts are mostly based on warming dogma which is far from science. It’s over the top to suggest otherwise.

      • Fred,
        It is interesting that your comment on Mann’s cherry picking is to ignore it and blame the skeptics.
        Try dealing with Mann’s problems first.
        Then try and answer the question:
        What mitigation strategies can work?
        And then worry about skeptic cherry picking.

    • Theo Goodwin

      “PS: I see in reading the Emanuel piece at the NAS site that there in fact is “literature on the divergence problem“, so perhaps there has in fact been…”

      I think I have read all this. However, it is time for us to focus. I am interested in literature by Briffa in which he reports the empirical research that he did and which enables him to explain in a manner satisfactory to science the divergence problem that he encountered. Briffa’s behavior is the issue. Anything less than an explanation from Briffa will not address my criticism.

  33. John Whitman

    Judith,

    Once again, you have set off an exothermic intellectual discussion with just a tiny spark of thought. Thanks.

    As a metaphor that reaches out to web surfers and your denizens, this post’s title “Trying to put the Climategate genie back in the bottle” is apt. But the metaphor has no other merit.

    If climategate were a magical figment of fantasy like a genie, there would be no problem putting it back into its fantastical bottle. It would only take the author of the fairy tale to make the ending of the fairy tale be that the genie was somehow put back in the bottle. Everyone, having been pleasantly entertained then smiles and closes that book of fairy tales. We all go on about our real lives in the world of nature.

    The problem of climategate is that it occurred in the area of physical science; which is the most opposite in all respects compared human fantasy and fairy tales.

    Instead of the bottle we have a large array of interrelated cultures and societies using a real time and ubiquitous internet technology. If there is an antithesis of a bottle, that is it. This is beyond the ability of the climate community and scientific organizations to mitigate or contain (re-bottle). Discussion to mitigate or contain climategate issues will serve only to increase the propagation of climategate further into cultures and societies.

    Recommendation – It would be best to have only strategies to aid in the more rapid spread of knowledge of and open discussion of the whole affair of climategate and the years of non-transparency and lack of open attitude leading up to it. The media would be needed for that. The media will only do it if scientific leadership steps forward to urge the media gates to open wide for investigation of what caused climategate and urges the media to reveal that it is continuing to cause the ongoing erosion of trust in science. That catharsis of the scientific community is needed to start the process toward increasing trust in science.

    The ball is in the court of scientific leadership. If they make the slightest step forward then I think we will see a deluge of scientists breaking out of their silence to condemn what climategate represents in the realm of scientific integrity.

    John

    • Interesting John, why do think few if any have stepped up within the consensus?

      You don’t think it’s because of those lame rationaizations by Gavin, Mann etc. are really accepted intellectually do you?

      The nature, scale and impact of the political and economic conflicts of the consensus are grossly understated. Some are embarrassed to a point but do you think they’re going to throw fellow tribe members under a bus when underlying purpose of AGW agendas is godlike, noble green in nature? It’s a teachable moment about how so many fields, especially climate research sacrificed reason for agenda. If you think climategate is bad what about the standards over at NOAA; http://climateaudit.org/2011/07/30/noaas-pillars-of-climate/

      • John Whitman

        cwon14 said,

        “””Interesting John, why do [you] think few if any have stepped up within the consensus?”””

        ——————–

        cwon,

        Excellent!!!

        Your why question, if answered comprehensively, would offer a honorable way out for the climate science community. It would be an honorable way out for them because it could the answer could contain the re-recalibration and re-boot of the scientific process in climate science.

        My view is that the answer your why question is probably not to be found within the physical sciences per se. This may sound to physical scientists as anti-science, however, I think the corruption in climate science has its cause in the failure of university level education in the philosophy of rational ethics; scientific ethics. Some scientists are susceptible to corruption because they do not have a rational base for their scientific ethics; they are subjective opportunists. So, basically, I am saying a lack of philosophical enlightenment is the cause of corruption in climate science.

        Scientific leadership stepping forward to say they need to re-establish a rational science of ethics for their community? Too idealistic perhaps? Am I a hopeless romantic throwback to the age of the enlightenment? I’ve been accused of that often in my life, yet that is what I think.

        N’est ce pa?

        John

      • I think has something to do with partisan decline, which in fact is part of broader social decline. Government expansion is another symptom, the level of debt and the system that advocted it (Keynes). There might be money corruption but it isn’t the chief driver, it’s tribal dedication. The left doesn’t just dislike the private sector it is annoyed that it go on in any fashion without its tribal approval. So we get the eco-green subculture that is like a religion. Even Aztec kings had to bow to the religous authority.

        Ethics is secondary to the agenda, AGW a mission for the core. Some have spent their whole lives waiting, like the Khmer Rouge in the jungle for 20 years. It’s a single minded goal in the subtext. I doubt many in science realize what the force is that drives the level of emotions.

      • John Whitman

        cwon14,

        Thanks for your reply.

        I guess what you say could be possible, but science cannot control those outside itself who have ideological goals to achieve. So, it leaves an internal rational scientific code of ethics to mitigate intervention from outside. It needs the same internal rational scientific code of ethics to handle climate scientists who are biasing and fudging science for ulterior motives outside of science per se; ulterior motives could be undue influence of their own confirmation bias from their own political/environmental ideologies.

        It comes down to a rational ethics for the profession of science with high degree of transparency on self-correction by science communities. Also a vigilant public is constantly needed to keep a close eye on scientists spending public funds.

        John

  34. The viral “Climategate” has had a substantial impact on public perception of climate science and scientists.

    Just because you state this, or make similar comments,over and over doesn’t make it true, Judith.

    There is evidence that confidence in climate scientists, and certainly scientists more generally, remains strong.

    There is some evidence that public confidence in theories of AGW might have shown a pattern correlated with events related to climategate, but where is the evidence that shows the causality that you so frequently, so tacitly, assert?

    Where are you controlling for other variables that might have affected public opinions re: climate change – such as economic factors or a lack of demonstrable short-term climate variation?

    Is this another occasion when you are allowing your tribalism to create a confirmation bias rather than an occasion you are relying on an evidence as a basis for drawing conclusions?

    I generally respect your approach to science, Judith – but honestly sometimes your lack of comprehensiveness in your approach to complex cause/effect relationships is quite surprising.

    • I will add that climategate is extremely important w.r.t. opinion about climate science and scientists among a certain sub-section of the American public. Of that, there is not doubt.

      But even there, you fail to establish any kind of pre-climategate/post climategate data reference for measuring even that effect.

      How many people who think that climategate was a serious breach of scientific practice felt confident about climate science or scientists prior to climategate? Of what I’ve seen here at your website – a significant number of people who are highly focused on climategate often express large-context ideology that suggests that they have had long-standing criticisms of what they consider to be government-influenced, “mainstream” science, academia, international scientific organizations, etc. Certainly, one could argue for a likely predisposition among that group to consider climategate to be of particular significance.

      The smaller sub-group of those focused on the significance of climategate who didn’t clearly have such a predisposition – while perhaps somewhat well-represented at this site (as identified by their “scales from my eyes” statements at sites such as this which are not objectively \ confirmed) – certainly can’t be considered to be a significant % of the public.

      • John Vetterling

        Joshua, you asked, “How many people who think that climategate was a serious breach of scientific practice felt confident about climate science or scientists prior to climategate?”

        I can speak for myself and a large section of my engineering and scientific peers. I am an engineer and a mathematician. I have read the IPCC reports and understand both the reports and the underlying scientific papers they are based on. I was also quite aware of the descrepancies between the actual reports and the way various groups were (mis)representing them.

        Prior to Climategate I, and most of my peers, took the science at face value. We weren’t alarmist because we knew that this was an ongoing field of research. But we accepted the IPCC reports as a good faith representation of the current state of knowledge.

        After Climategate those of us who know what good science looks like were appalled at the revelations. Do we still believe in global warming? I don’t think the underling science has changed significantly. Do you believe the IPCC? That’s a much different issue.

        I think climategate maybe caused the most damage in the very group that the IPCC needs support from – those members of the public who are scientifically and mathematically literate.

      • John –

        Based on your self-description – I’d say that you represent a tiny, tiny, sample size.

        Judith’s statement implies a far greater impact than could be the result of the influence of climategate on people matching your description.

      • Joshua, I think you have missed the point of the Climategate going viral. A better point or question would be along the lines of how any persons without scientific credentials asked those who they knew were scientists about Climategate’s effect on IPCC believability. When I tried to explain what it meant, the common rsponse was “I knew it (AGW/CC) was overblow (BS, much to do about nothing, unlikely, etc).” The other question is how many lurkers came away convinced the IPCC and AGW was overblown and the proposed response by governments just a political grab? The numbers that Alexa gives for skeptic sites during the viral part indicate a huge number of lurkers were paying attention. What did these people believe it meant and what did they tell their friends neighbors and collegues? That is the power of the social network both inside the Web and outside of it as well. So based on the evidence that polls gave for persons changing their mind agout AGW/CC it was the opposite of a tiny, tiny fraction. In the USA it was enough to derail the Climate Change Bill. So, if it is tiny, tiny, then those people must be extremely powerful at swaying opinion polls and politicians. Seems those who want CC law would want them on their side whether they are few or many. They were effective.

      • John Vetterling

        Joshua,

        You might want to check out this recent Rasmussen poll – http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/environment_energy/69_say_it_s_likely_scientists_have_falsified_global_warming_research

        Sounds like Climategate has had an effect

      • Interesting poll, John:

        So – the percent that think it is at least somewhat likely that scientists might have falsified data has risen some 10% since before climategate. According to that article, prior to climategate the level was already at 59%.

        An effect? Yes. And I never doubted that.

        One might assume that there could have been additional factors to climategate that might have lead to the increase noted in the poll. Continued rightwing media attack against the theory AGW from folks such as Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh, Savage, Medved, Fox News, Ingraham, Bennett, etc. A lack of obvious short term trends in climate change. So – what is the increase due to climategate? That full 10%? Unlikely. Maybe 8%? So it is increased “skepticism” by about 1/7? Is that what Judith was referring to when she speaks about a substantial impact on public perception of climate science and scientists? And increase in skepticism by about 1/7?

      • John Vetterling

        Right wing attacks is certainly one possible explaination, but those were taking place long before Nov 09. Also the change you noted is just in that last year. Climategate is now almost two years old.

        Also, what I found interesting is the erosion of support among Dems. I expect GOPs to be skeptical on an ideological basis. And even indies, but the loss of support amongs Dems strikes me as significant.

        Also, I think we need to keep in mind that Climategate is used by many as a catch phrase for all the problems with IPCC since AR4.

        BTW: nothing in the actual questions makes a distinction between pro/con scientists and their data.

      • <blockquote<by many as a catch phrase for all the problems with IPCC since AR4.
        Mostly is it used correctly – as an indication of the endemic corruption in climate sciemce.

      • Also, I think we need to keep in mind that Climategate is used by many as a catch phrase for all the problems with IPCC since AR4.

        If Judith is using the term in that fashion, then she should be more specific/accurate.

      • At 5:40 PM on 3 August, John Vetterling writes that:

        …what I found interesting is the erosion of support among Dems. I expect GOPs to be skeptical on an ideological basis. And even indies, but the loss of support among Dems strikes me as significant.

        It seems inappropriate to describe the Red Faction dismissal of the adverse (much less “catastrophic”) anthropogenic global warming conjecture to have been “skeptical” when, in fact, there was really very little real scientific skepticism among the Rotarian Socialists about this subject.

        Heck, in a minority of cases – where Republican partisans saw some personal or political benefit to be gotten by supporting the CAGW fraud – there was actually enthusiastic pushing for the thievery and devastation of los warmistas’ agenda.

        Never assume that the party of Richard Milhouse Nixon ever does anything on the basis of moral or intellectual integrity.

        Now, as for the reverse-bandwagon phenomenon among America’s “Liberal” fascists over the great global warming scam, let’s not leap to the conclusion that there’s been any burgeoning of either brainpower or common sense among the Blue Faction, either.

        The National Socialist Democrat American Party (NSDAP) types are putting the “We’re All Gonna Die!” caterwauling on the down-low for the same reason that they’re trying to re-brand themselves as “progressives.”

        Just as their destructive and obviously toxic policies generally have made the word “Liberal” a pejorative they’ve got to avoid in public unless they want people to start hurling cinderblocks at them, that FOIA2009.zip archive has opened their previously gulled and diddled victims’ eyes to the pure deceit that the CAGW con has always been.

        There’s a term in the military known as “sh-t scraping,” which is what you do as soon as you can after you’ve stepped in it.

        When it comes to the CAGW fraud, the National Socialists are “sh-t scraping” like crazy.

        Jeez, you don’t think that any of those vicious thugs actually believed in that crap, do you?

    • Joshua –
      There is evidence that confidence in climate scientists, and certainly scientists more generally, remains strong.

      Just because you state this, or make similar comments,over and over doesn’t make it true, Joshua.

      You conflate “scientists” with “climate scientists” – not a valid comparison.

      More – IIRC, the faith in climate science has been declining slightly for the last decade – and more steeply since Climategate.

      Why else do you believe the hysteria has ramped up among alarmists?

      Which, BTW, also increases the slope of the disbelief. Have you noticed how many of those who reside here came to be here because of the stridency and nastiness of RC, Romm & Co?

      Keep in mind that 10 years ago “the science was settled”. I had many people tell me that back then. They no longer dare to say those words. Which is an indicator of a shift in the confidence of even the most hardcore believers.

      I generally respect your approach to science

      Nor is that true. If it were, you’d not be asking Dr Curry to change what she does to suit your sensibilities. Note that I DO recognize that there are those on the other side of the dance floor who would pull her the other way – and they respect her no more than you.

      For my part, I respect her because she acts as a scientist SHOULD act – regardless of your opinion or that of anyone else. I may not agree with all her views/opinions, but because I respect her, I don’t ask her to change to suit my own views/opinions. That IS disrespectful – and if she complied, would lead to a total lack of respect by you and others. I wonder if you recognize that?

      • I’ve provided links to the evidence in the past. You’ve looked at it. It can be criticized, certainly, but in the absence of better data proving otherwise, it stands.

        My statement about climate science and scientists was a direct reference to Judith’s language. Her statement about both climate science and scientists remains unsupported by data.

        More – IIRC, the faith in climate science has been declining slightly for the last decade – and more steeply since Climategate.

        Evidence?

        The data show that confidence that the Earth’s climate is being changed antrhopogenically has declined among some members of the American public. But….

        First, it has declined more significantly among those who are ideologically conservative – so much of those data can be questioned as to the causal factor involved.

        Second, there is not coinciding evidence of a decline in confidence in climate science or in scientists – or perhaps you’d like to provide such data? Again – to make a inversely causal connection between confidence in AGW and climate science and or scientists is assuming causation w/o proving it. Such an inverse relationship could be explained by something as simple a large % of the public not being aware of the state of “climate science” or the viewpoints of “scientists” w.r.t. climate change. Large-scale publicity attacking theories of AGW from rightwing mainstream media outlets such as Fox News, Hannity, Limbaugh, Beck, Medved, Savage, Ingraham, HotAir, etc., coupled with a lack of strong short-term climate change could create such a scenario. Bottom line, you need to control for variables to assert causation.

        Nor is that true.

        Jim – when you state that I”m lying without any possible way of having evidence to prove such, it should be a starting point that there is a fundamental flaw in the process by which you draw conclusions.

        I generally respect Judith’s approach to the science. I have stated many times that I feel that her analysis of the importance of quantifying uncertainty is a valuable contribution. It is because I value that contribution that I think it is important for her to do a better job of controlling for how here own confirmation biases might be influence her science – and certainly more likely – her approach to the social/political/ideological overlap onto the science.

      • I will add here an observation about a particular irony.

        On the one hand, “skeptics” doubt whether there is such a thing as a “consensus” viewpoint among climate scientists in support of theories that GW is A with a 90% probability.

        On the other hand, “skeptics” assert that a decline in public confidence that GW is A reflects a lack of confidence in climate scientists.

        Let’s break that down a bit.

        So – the argument runs that it isn’t true that there is a widespread consensus that GW is A. Therefore, wouldn’t a decrease in confidence that GW is A not equate to a decrease in confidence in climate scientists, but an increase in confidence as to what climate scientists actually believe?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        A little underdergraduate sophistry?

        There is no doubt that the IPCC said that most of recent warming was the result of anthropogenic greenhous gases – it isn’t true. Nonetheless, there are ways to reduce CO2 – just in case – that looks at the energy probem from the perspective of free markets, economic development, conservation, poppulation and health all at the same time. It is known as walking and chewing gum.

        Most people want just a way forward that doesn’t impact on their incomes or freedom to drive a SUV should they wish – while at the same time conserving nature. The liberal tradition agrees.

      • Joshua –
        Nor is that true.

        Jim – when you state that I”m lying without any possible way of having evidence to prove such, it should be a starting point that there is a fundamental flaw in the process by which you draw conclusions.

        I didn’t say you were “lying” – I said that your statement was not true. You can protest all you want, but your insistence that Dr Curry should yield to your ideas and change her mode of operation is a form of disrespect. That simple.

        her science – and certainly more likely – her approach to the social/political/ideological overlap onto the science are hers not yours. And, once again, it is not your prerogative to tell her how to go about her business – unless you’re being paid to be her adviser. Frankly, if I were in her position, any comment from you would be (and may be) a scroll-by. But then neither of us have to worry about that – it’s her business.

        I’m not sure why it is that you fail to understand that each of us has the right to make our own mistakes – and the responsibility to live with the consequences. Long ago there was a story written on the premise that we each have the right to “go to hell in our own way.” I think you’ve never learned that lesson.

      • Theo Goodwin

        Would anyone attend a movie by Al Gore today?

      • Only if he had a bigger ladder to reach up the MWP :)

    • “Just because you state this, or make similar comments,over and over doesn’t make it true, Judith.”

      Where would the IPCC and the consensus be without this practice and a tribal friendly media to gloss it over to the public? Pot-Kettle-Black.

      AGW it’s….it’s…..like gravity and physics right? There just isn’t a single real world test linking co2 to warming, not a single linear equation and nothing but disputed inputs that change in relative value from moment to moment. All recorded with varying tools and processes at best. If you had a really good hypothesis there wouldn’t be a need for media cheerleading and all the contortions to market “consensus” as a science conclusion. If Newton had done this he might have gotten away with telling the world the apple should fall up off the tree.

      Citing polls while trying to claim the science highground is as weak as it gets. The polls reflect the political efforts of each side. As the current administration is well past peak we are heading into the next traditional phase of being told how stupid everyone is for rejecting the AGW orthodox doctrines. The poor greens were just too ahead of their time and the public was dupped by industry to see the “truth”. As for the climate disaster that never comes outside of the usual historic ranges it will be paperovered by New Think wing of the party at a later point.

      • cwon –

        I fail to see how your response relates to my post.

        I am questioning Judith’s tacit, and often stated, causal linkage between climategate and trust in climate science and scientists (her expression).

        If you have data that support her linkage – I would appreciate it if you would share it. I am assuming no scientific high ground.

        I see a heavy engagement in political efforts on both sides of the debate. I have seen no compelling evidence that the political efforts on either side are out of scale with the efforts on the other side (in spite of assertions of such from both sides of the debate).

        In the future, we will get farther in interactions if you don’t attribute some imagined opinions to me. It’s better if you respond to what I actually say than what you think I believe. Just because I’m saying something in your imagination, doesn’t make it so.

      • Joshua,
        Climategate broke on the eve of what was to be the greatest AGW inspired event yet: Copenhagen. Copenhagen was to see the world come together to lower CO2, reign in the vicious oil industry, stomp out coal, and save the polar bears.
        Climategate added the key ingredient, reasonable doubt, to help make the entire conference turn to mush.
        And AGW has not recovered yet. In the USA the big CO2 laws are dead. Germany is building more coal. China is laughing at the west, along with India. Australians cannot wait to show how much they enjoy being lied to by a cynical hack politician who imposed carbon tax after specifically promising not too.
        Even people in the UK are waking up and realizing that the AGW movement offers nothing but hype.
        And for you to complain about other people being free in their interpretatoin of your opinions, lol@u. Deal with.

      • hunter –

        I’ll have to repeat the gist of early statements because it seems that my point has still not registered.

        You need to have data and a control of variables to distinguish correlation from causation.

        I haven’t seen solid data that show a decline in confidence in climate science or scientists as caused by climategate. If you could point me to such evidence, you know, data that are controlled for any number of a variety of variables (such as the economic downturn, a lack of significant short-term climate trends, publicity put out by ideologues that oppose certain energy policies for a variety of reasons, and ideological predispositions). – collected systematically and comprehensively analyzed – I’d love to see it.

        Your statement that climategate “added the key ingredient” fails to meet that evidentiary requirement, IMO.

      • Joshua,
        I would suggest that your dissembling remark is a pretty good example of, dare I say it? Denial.

      • Thanks for your suggestion, hunter. You’re opinion is always very enjoyable to read.

      • Joshua,
        Not nearly as much as yours.

      • Yeah, well. I know you are but what am I?

        Oh, and also, you’re a bigger one.

      • You are dependably showing the level AGW believers operate at.

      • You are dependably showing the level AGW believers operate at.

        Apparently you missed it, hunter. I was mocking you. My tone was mocking yours.

        Please, go back to look at the exchanges between us in past threads. You will find that immature attacks (when they happen) are initiated by you in each and every exchange – just as happened in this thread.

        Go ahead and look.

        I will say this, however – I am not foolish enough to think that most “skeptical un-convinced/deniers” can be characterized by your immaturity.

      • Joshua –
        Your statement that climategate “added the key ingredient” fails to meet that evidentiary requirement, IMO.

        If you need “evidence” then it means you haven’t paid attention to the people around you – or that you live in a bubble.

        For the last 2 years I’ve found a constant stream of people whose faith in the climate change mantra was shaken. But then, I don’t live in a bubble – my friends are conservative, liberal, progressive, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, atheist, rich, poor, straight, gay, black, white, red, yellow, brown, anything else you care to name. I’ve found no category where there are NOT people who have become more educated and more cynical wrt CC – mainly, but not exclusively due to Climategate. If you haven’t found that, then you haven’t been paying attention.

        I’ve also seen solid data that show a decline in confidence in climate science or scientists. If you have a better explanation then trot it out here and we’ll see what it looks like. But the fact is that you’re once again chasing nits (things that don’t matter to anyone but you). Which is why I won’t be back here again.

      • http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/environment_energy/69_say_it_s_likely_scientists_have_falsified_global_warming_research

        It didn’t just fall off the tree, climategate is directly related. Considering how many contortions the agw movement asks of the public these aren’t hard dots to connect.

      • “There is evidence that confidence in climate scientists, and certainly scientists more generally, remains strong.”

        Do you really think that the mix and match of any “confidence” was equal on mitigation policy regarding co regulations? Do you really think that Climategate didn’t impact a prior status that might be argued around 2006 as part of a broader political cycle?

        The consensus building process is one of science political correctness, it’s gone on for decades. They can’t even be polled in many cases but you must be living under a rock to not accept the Climategate was huge on the public. How do you before and after an event that for almost all couldn’t be predicted? An odd expectation. Given the AGW is in large part faith based enterprise it’s ironic all the talk of “evidence” you want about a social impact of Climategate.

        The publics view of almost all professions has declined, it may not be all bad but yes you can find polls and studies on this. Can you isolate Climategate opinion impact? I doubt NASA or the consensus would be looking to fund that. Since the real goal line was co2 regulation long before 2006 can you explain why the politcal process failed to deliver it in the U.S.?? Was Climategate a game changer? Probably not as much as you fear or others wish to credit. The pig wasn’t going to fly for many reasons there were thousands of holes in the science before hand. ar4 was a shock troop approach, not built for a long conflict. Once Goreism missed it became like a retreat from Moscow.

      • . They can’t even be polled in many cases but you must be living under a rock to not accept the Climategate was huge on the public.

        My opinion is that the majority of the American public has little awareness of climategate, and that only a tiny minority has any in-depth knowledge. As such, unless I see data that show otherwise, my assumption is that climategate, in and of itself, has had little influence on public opinion.

        If you have data that show otherwise – with at least some measure of control for variables – I would very much appreciate it if you’d post a link.

        I am naturally “skeptical” of opinions of people who are very, very focused on climate change and climate gate w.r.t. the influence of climategate on the American public’s opinion. But even more so, I am not inclined to consider opinions unsupported by accompanying, controlled data, as the basis for drawing any conclusions about cause and effect.

        Finally, I am a bit stunned when people who spend a lot of time focusing on the validity of scientific processes (such as Judith and many of the “skeptics” at this site) formulate conclusions about causal links without, as far as I can tell, grounding their conclusions in controlled data.

        I’m not a scientist – but from what I understand about scientific processes, a tendency to draw unsupported conclusions, by people who are aware of scientific validity, would suggest overtly tribal influences/a lack of focus on potential confirmation biases.

      • Joshua
        From the Yale Group
        http://environment.yale.edu/climate/publications/climategate-public-opinion-and-the-loss-of-trust/

        To investigate the impact of Climategate on American public opinion, we included a set of questions on the survey we conducted from December 24 to January 3, nearly two months after the emails were first posted online and approximately one month after the story finally entered mainstream news publications and broadcasts. All respondents were asked the following question: “Have you heard anything in the news recently about controversial emails between climate scientists in England and the US? Some news organizations have called the release of these emails Climategate.” The survey found that 29 percent of Americans said they had heard of the story, while 56 percent said they had not and 16 percent said they didn’t know. The 29 percent who had heard of the story were then asked how closely they had followed it. Of these respondents, 14 percent said they had followed it “very closely,” 30 percent said “somewhat closely,” 41 percent said “a little” and 16 percent said “not at all.” Subtracting those
        who said “not at all,” approximately 1 out of 4, or 58 million American adults had both heard of and followed the Climategate story. Those respondents who had at least followed the story a little were then asked whether the news stories had made them more or less certain that global warming is happening or not. Forty-seven percent said the stories had made them somewhat (18%) or much more certain (29%) that global
        warming is not happening. Forty-one percent said the stories had no influence on their level of certainty and 11 percent said the story had actually made them somewhat (8%) or much more certain (3%) global warming is happening. The respondents were then asked: “Have these stories about the controversial emails caused you to have more or less trust in climate scientists?” Over half (53%) said that the stories had caused them to have much less (29%) or somewhat less (24%) trust in scientists, while 43 percent said it had not affected their level of trust. Five percent said they had more trust in scientists as a result of the news stories.

        This does not prove that Climategate was “Huge” or that the economic crash was more of a factor but it does suggest that Climaegate was a factor.

      • Jeff – some % of a minority felt that it was influential at some point in the past. How many of those who did find it influential still feel that way now that it has, for the most part, dropped out of the regular news cycle? Have their views about the importance of climategate changed? Where is the measure?

        What % of that % were ideologically predisposed to use evidence as justification for viewpoints they already held?

        How would the influence of climategate on that % of that % compare to any number of other influences (some of which I listed above)?

        These data are needed to formulate the conclusions that Judith is relying upon in her statement that:

        The viral “Climategate” has had a substantial impact on public perception of climate science and scientists.

        Please note – polls out of Yale indicate that large % of the American public trust climate scientists as a source of information on climate change.

        Also note – more Americans trust climate scientists than the number who, apparently, agree with what (arguably) the vast majority of climate scientists say about climate change.

        I find that fascinating – and I think that it strongly suggest that many Americans, in fact, don’t know what most climate scientists have to day about climate change.

        I see nothing to dispel a rather basic assumption – opinions about climate change reflect confirmation biases rooted in ideological (perhaps I should say tribal) starting points. The Kahan study was an interesting perspective on that issue.

        My contention is that opinions about the influence of climategate is similarly reflective of ideological (cultural, political) starting points.

      • The 29 percent who had heard of the story were then asked how closely they had followed it. Of these respondents, 14 percent said they had followed it “very closely,”

        So, 1/7 of 1/3 of the American public followed it closely (1/3 of the 1/3 somewhat closely), and @ half of them found it to have negatively affected their trust (1/3 of that 1/2 said that it significantly affected their level of trust).

        And some percentage of them were, no doubt, politically/ideologically inclined to confirm a politically-/ideologically-based bias against theories of AGW.

        1.5 years ago.

        And we don’t know to what degree other factors influence the confidence of the American public that the climate is likely to be changing due to anthropogenic influences.

    • “There is some evidence that public confidence in theories of AGW might have shown a pattern correlated with events related to climategate, but where is the evidence that shows the causality that you so frequently, so tacitly, assert?”

      The refusal of the Senate, in the wake of Climategate, to pass Waxman-Markey, and the subsequent sharp shift among GOP voters, followed by GOP politicians, in the direction of naysaying.

  35. As long as there is consensus, as long as the science is settled, we do want to keep the genie out of the bottle!

    I posted this in the wrong place. Here it is in the main thread.

  36. Michael Larkin

    The genie can never be put back in the bottle. “Climategate” as a term is here to stay, and because of the prior embedding of “-gate” into human consciousness, it is concise, memorable and contains a hint of its own meaning and implications. Moreover, the breadcrumbs that will lead anyone ignorant of the details to those details aren’t about to disappear, either.

    At some stage, we will truly know whether or not CAGW is a real worry, or mass hysteria stoked by vested interests (of the scientific establishment, environmental groups, politicians, media and so on). The repercussions of it being proven to be the latter are truly awful to contemplate for many establishment elites and those who align themselves with them. Their hostility to Climategate is necessarily visceral. They will fight, will have to fight, to the bitter end.

    We’ll just have to wait and see. If events go the anti-establishment way, the fallout from “Climategate” would be immeasurably more serious and long-lasting than Watergate ever was. Never in the history of the human race would more people have been humiliated. And at that time, “Climategate” would be revisited. It’s there, and an everpresent threat, like an underwater reef awaiting the navy’s flagship.

    • And if global warming does continue and cause disasters, well all those deniers have nicely left a long trail of their deceptions in the form of daily blog posts. Presumably at that point it could constitute evidence for civil lawsuits.

      • Michael Larkin

        Global warming continuing and causing disasters doesn’t in and of itself prove the CAGW hypothesis, only that warming causes disasters. The real thing to prove is that global warming is caused by anthropogenic CO2. And if that is proven, then those who for whatever reason had their doubts about that wouldn’t lose much because they’d be well used to vilification.

        Interesting thing though; what you want to see is retribution, not so much vindication. And for you, having a contrarian opinion necessarily constitutes deception rather than the possibility of genuine doubt.

        Despite everything, you included that word “if”. Somewhere in your mind you are granting that orthodoxy may turn out to be wrong. That “if” is the one word I give you some credit for.

      • Michael-

        Please consider what can and should be done to adapt to potentially different climate conditions. If someone does not build a dam to prevent flooding or retain water for when it is needed….who is at fault? Countries worldwide need to build the proper infrastructure to live in the world as it is and not hope for some unrealistic vision of the world as they might wish it was. It is not the responsibility of the US or anyone else to do this for them. If America does not maintain our own infrastructure and chooses to spend limited resources on wastefully (like on the most expensive healthcare system in the world) then it is our own fault when people are harmed by disasters.

      • Michael Larkin

        I’m mystified why you felt the need to say this, and in what way it relates to what I said.

      • “Presumably at that point it could constitute evidence for civil lawsuits.”

        Maybe for a few, like Willie Soon’s paymasters, who solicited and promoted deceptive “research.”

        For most, I doubt there will be any basis. You would have to prove that people took them seriously (hard) and that they were self-consciously lying and not merely stupid (next to impossible, given the voluminous evidence for the latter proposition).

        In general, irrational beliefs are not punishable in a civil court or anywhere else, even if they lead to bad policy. Nor should they be. Libel and slander are, of course, and that is probably the best legal avenue, but again, it’s a very high burden (as it should be).

      • Robert,
        You are probably one of those ignorant miserable people who actually believed that the Tuscon killer was a right winger, put up to his shootings by talk radio and Sarah Palin.
        I would suggeest you crawl back under your rock, but you were likely evicted from it already.

      • hunter, don’t waste your time. You’re talking someone with a “Che” teeshirt in his closet most likely. Reads “Rules for Radicals” as if it were a lost gospel. So when the MSM pushes the political slander button on a tragic event they know their audience.

        http://www.anncoulter.com/columns/2011-07-27.html

        “Science was my religion”, “left wing”. What tribe does that remind you of?

      • cwon14,
        Speaking of ‘Che’, I remember when I was living in Mexico City and watching a ‘small’ manifestacion (protest) of about 1 million people nejoying a walk accompanied by loudspeakers, banners and huge numbers of Che related memorabilia. Che has become a sort leftist saint, a secular lady of Guadalupe as it were. i was feeling more foolish than prudent, and strolled into the river of people, and walked with them for awhile, and enjoyed the walk. i politiely asked for a Che t-shirt and some posters to take home for the kids, and the nice protestors were happy to share with a well mannered middle aged gringo.
        I still have the stuff someplace.
        My buddy, who helped Colombia carry out Plan Colombia and rid itself of its commie terrorists, enjoys the story and we like to sip nice tequila or ron while he tells the unclassified versions of his cowboy days.

      • “For most, I doubt there will be any basis. You would have to prove that people took them seriously (hard) and that they were self-consciously lying and not merely stupid”

        I was more thinking of negligence. If you could show that evidence of risk had been brazenly dismissed you could argue for negligence.

        Of course you are right it would only be aimed at groups who had a hand in influencing the outcome and offered themselves as authorities towards that outcome, not people who simply opined on the subject.

      • “Maybe for a few, like Willie Soon’s paymasters, who solicited and promoted deceptive “research.””

        His survey-review of papers non-supportive of warming wasn’t made up, right? The papers he located really exist, right?

        I’m sure his interpretation of the meaning of some of them is controversial or even wrong, but dismissing the entirety of his paper can’t be justified on that basis. It shows that there is substantial peer-reviewed support for a skeptical position.

      • crimson,
        When did global warming start, and where is that trail of destruction?

  37. As the case of climate denier Anders Behring Breivik demonstrates, we have no guarantees that the violent rhetoric of climate deniers (threatening to murder climate scientists, rape children, waving nooses at climate scientists and so forth) will not progress to outright mass murder by right-wing terrorists.

    It seems to me that climate deniers have a far bigger credibility problem that the scientists they have targeted, and those that want their “skepticism” to get a respectful hearing in the public needed to take a sabbatical from their rhetorical assault on scientists, and rebuild their own shattered reputations by taking a hard line against violence and violent threats by climate deniers.

    • careful, your calibre is showing.

      • I would recommend deniers avoid references to guns right now, even metaphorically,

      • I would recommend that someone like yourself, who seems to prejudically group people into catagories should seek medication.

        What is a “climate denier” in your little world of prejudice? Does it include anyone who does not hold all of your views? Maybe you should publish these rules so that everyone can comply

      • “I would recommend deniers avoid references to guns right now…”

        And since you greenshirts, Robert, have Charles Manson and the late Osama bin Laden in your corner, do you also recommend that greenshirts, like yourself, avoid references to guns, car-bombs, and forks right now?

      • Not to mention the uber-greenshirt, Pol Pot.

    • Robert,
      You are an idiot and not a very good liar.
      There is more, but our hostess would simply delete my unvarnished response to your sad display of ignorance and bigotry.

    • Theo Goodwin

      “As the case of climate denier Anders Behring Breivik demonstrates, we have no guarantees that the violent rhetoric of climate deniers (threatening to murder climate scientists, rape children, waving nooses at climate scientists and so forth) will not progress to outright mass murder by right-wing terrorists.”

      Robert, are you unaware that your paragraph expresses the apotheosis of paranoia?

    • Robert,

      No, we don’t and no doubt all of those young Norwegians, who would have felt totally safe at their Labor party summer camp, would have previously agreed with Theo that it was being somewhat paranoid to think otherwise.

      Theo can call us paranoid, if he likes, but we know we have dangerous enemies!

    • Robert –
      As the case of climate denier Anders Behring Breivik demonstrates, we have no guarantees that the violent rhetoric of climate deniers (threatening to murder climate scientists, rape children, waving nooses at climate scientists and so forth) will not progress to outright mass murder by right-wing terrorists.

      That kind of raving lunacy might be enough to get you committed. Be careful where you express those lies.

      Yes, lies. You have been asked several times to provide evidence of your accusations. Since you have failed to do so they can only be either lies or the ravings of an unbalanced mind.

      Oh, wait…….

      • You might have a point if it were possible for people like James Hansen to walk into a Tea Party meeting without a police escort.

      • tt –
        You might have a point if it were possible for people like James Hansen to walk into a Tea Party meeting without a police escort.

        Hansen would be perfectly safe. Tea Partiers might be armed, but they’re courteous and they don’t misuse guns.

        However, “my” walking into a Democratic caucus is another story entirely. Liberal/progressives have proved themselves to lack not only courtesy, but civility. The list of attacks on conservatives runs from here to San Francisco.

      • Jim,
        It is odd who it is that is shouted down or unable to even speak at universities, and the compare that with the bs of Robert or tt.

      • If you need evidence:

        http://blogs.crikey.com.au/rooted/2011/06/07/emails-reveal-nature-of-attacks-on-climate-scientists/

        This is fairly typical:
        “F*ck off mate, stop the personal attacks. Just do your science or you will end up collateral damage in the war, GET IT?”

        Aussies are such friendly people. We even call each other ‘mate’ when issuing threats like these!

      • “It’s a mini-Climategate. The great Death Threat Horror of 2011 is now revealed to be a mess of fabrications and exaggerations based on out-of-date communications. ”

        http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/timblair/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/false_alarmists/

        Good job in making climate scientists look even dumber tempterrain.

      • The Australian Daily Telegraph is a Murdoch paper. Need I say more?

        Maybe you think this video is a “fabrication and exaggeration” too?

      • tt –
        Another loser. Foisting Larouche supporters on us as legitimate ANYTHING is dumber than a doorknob. I’ve forgotten more about Larouche than you’ll ever know – and none of it is good. Your buddy there talks about Fascism – and that’s precisely what that group is. Not to say that they’re not dangerous, but calling them sceptics and attributing what they say to sceptics is a level of stupidity that I wouldn’t likely have attributed to you until now.

        And you diss the Australian? Murdoch is lily-white compared to Larouche.

      • ” but calling them sceptics” ? No I would call them deniers. Maybe you’d agree with that term at least as far as Larouche supporters go?

        I’m not sure that the term “Lily White” and “Murdoch” can be used in the same sentence even with the inclusion of Larouche. There are some strange people out there who all have this notion that climate scientists are engaged in some sort of hoax. Only a very tiny minority would ever go as far as to even issue death threats and an even smaller minority would ever go so far as to carry them out, but as events in Norway have shown, they do exist. Although I would say climate wasn’t Breivik’s primary motivation.

        However, if people do genuinely believe this “hoax and scam” do exist, its quite easy to understand that they would feel justified in taking extreme measures. In their warped minds, it would be like James Bond taking out the bad guys at the end of the movie, and they might even expect to get the girl at the end as a reward for their efforts! Everyone who uses conspiracy rhetoric about climate scientists is increasing the danger than some nutter will take them at their word.

      • tt –
        Everyone who uses conspiracy rhetoric about climate scientists is increasing the danger than some nutter will take them at their word.

        Everyone who uses conspiracy rhetoric about climate sceptics is increasing the danger that some nutter will take them at their word.

        Like Robert? Or you? Should I even trust Joshua?

        The rest is conspiracy theory – not reality.

        I’ll give you a clue – REAL conspiracists (the really dangerous ones) don’t talk, they act. And the 2 recent examples were not conspiracists – they were/are insane, homicidal loners. One of whom, BTW, was a leftist and the other an anti-multiculturist.

      • “Need I say more?”

        Try facts for a change.

      • OR this tweet?

      • tt –
        You consider that a serious threat? Really?
        Let’s not get any more obtuse than we have to, eh?

        Or don’t you realize that Hansen had nothing to do with Climategate?

        Keep’em coming – I’m having fun with this.

      • I don’t accept the term “climategate” anyway. Its good that you accept James Hansen has done nothing untoward.

        Maybe you’d like to tell Andrew Breitbar about James Hansen and “Climategate” too?

      • TT I don’t accept the term “climategate” anyway.

        A Cllimategate denier. I’ve heard of them.
        A fan of the whitewashing and under-carpet-sweeping efforts spearheaded by the official Self-Exoneration teams – oops Independent Enquiries – of the universities involved in the wilful corruption of climate science.

      • tt,
        You make so many posts drowning in irony.
        The denial of climategate you practice likely explains your need to mis-lable skeptics as ‘deniers’ as a form of projection.

      • Hansen WAS arrested several times.

        http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/23/hansen-of-nasa-arrested-in-coal-country/

        And he advocates criminal activity to stop coal.

        http://www.coal-is-dirty.com/dr-james-hansen-calls-civil-disobedience-capitol-coal-plant-march-2

        AGWers should consider it fortunate the mainstreams skeptics are not advocating sabotage and criminal activity.

        David Suziki has advocated the jailing of politicians who do not give in to green terrorists.

      • Yes, that’s one of exactly two (2) threats made, neither of which was considered serious enough by the Ausstralian police to warrant an investigation. And in fact, neither of those threats was even reported to the police at the time of occurrence.

        If that’s all you’ve got…..I’ve been personally more seriously threatened more times by more people.

    • Robert- that’s a frankly disgusting post.

    • Robert As the case of climate denier Anders Behring Breivik demonstrates…

      A better example of death-throes desparation and rank intellectual bankruptcy would be very hard to find.

  38. If climate scientists were confident in their work then they would have said “our results stand upon the strong foundational science and research upon which they were built”. And when the UN decided to create the IPCC they would have spurned the idea as a corruption of the proper way in which science (independent science) is undertaken. Then they would have encouraged, (or actually required) that all results and methods be fully available to anyone that wished to examine them. And when any inquiry was launched into any part of their click they would have welcomed and insisted upon it being fully independent and transparent. And if anyone offended their sensibilities by posting parodies they would have laughed at them and gone back to doing their research. And if anyone ever attempted to interfere with peer review they would have publicly ridiculed such a person. And if any journal altered its rules of publication and applied a double standard, the scientists would have stopped publishing in such a tract and would have publicly stated the reasons for casting off a publication that behaved in such a manner. And if any political or other organization with a “cause” tried to co-opt them for some purpose that was larger than the science that they working upon they would have avoided such organizations. The fact that none of this applies to climate science and climate scientists in general tells Mr Joe Public that they’re not scientific, they’re not scientists and they’re results are not science because science requires and demands total independence from all causes, individuals, publications and organizations so that the science would not be corrupted by outside influence of any kind. Climate science is wholly, completely and utterly corrupted so much so that it deserves not to be called science at all. Which is a shame because there still many good scientists working in the diverse fields of climate research and they are all now in danger of being painted with the same brush. It only takes one rotten apple to spoil the whole bunch. Sad.

    • patrioticduo,
      But of ccourse the cliamte science community has not done this, because they could not.
      To have attempted to do so would have been to be exposed, and when one suffers from any corruption- even noble cause corruption, one cannot be exposed.

    • It’s hard to see a way forward for “climate science”. I’m sure there are some fragments of useful and trustworthy scholarship in there among all the nonsense – but maybe a fresh start would be simpler and kinder.

      Even the axioms of the subject need to be challenged: the idea that there is a “global climate” that is “in peril” or “worse than we thought”.

    • A body like the IPCC to globally assess climate change is necessary. If there wasn’t one, one would have to be invented.

      With regard to peer review, my impression is that scientists have merely interfered, or talked about interfering, with the interferences carried out by skeptics.

      As for making data available, there are positives and negatives. It is possible to honestly assess that on a case-per-case basis and conclude it’s not worth doing in certain cases. That is open to abuse, but that’s no different than data requests themselves.

      • -Yes, The IPCC is required to sell a load of crap.

        No, the peer review corruptoin was by AGW promoters protecting their turf.

        The only negative with actually disclosing the data transparently is that it hurts AGW.
        But that is the tough thing about ethically working.The chips fall where they may. Not where the insiders wish they would

      • Other branches of science do not need bodies under the UN Environmental Program to tell the world what the science supposedly adds up to. This was a political move from the beginning. Ironically they are now trying to clone the IPCC for other big green scares. But the game is up.

      • Crimson, your “impression” needs to be backed up with some solid data. Care to provide examples (factual or anecdotal) where skeptics “interfered” with peer review?

        There are NO negatives to scientific full disclosure – period. Please name one negative and back up the claim with facts or anecdotes.

  39. Whether in business, politics, or science; if an individual has been found to be less than 100% forthright in sharing all the relevant data upon which important decisions are made; then the opinions of the “offending party” are listened to more skeptically in the future by most. Different people will accept the views of these “offending parties” more readily in the future than will others.

    In regards to real climate science, it seems to me that it all comes down to the data at this point. By data, I mean both the data regarding what is happening to the world’s climate as a result of humanity, and the economics of making changes in a world governed by independent nation states with different goals.

  40. Did Nixon ever get Watergate “back in the bottle” ?

  41. Cliamtegate hasn’t and won’t go away and can’t be put back in a bottle because the truth cannot be contained and tortured forever.

    It is very easy for even non scientists to understand hiding facts . .. aka “hide the decline” is not part of real science as done by real scientists and means they won’t be fobbed off with some contrived reviews by dodgy warmistas.

    The Great Global Warming scare was invented by the Environmentalists as part of their ongoing program of creating fear mongering as the basis of their fundraising and pursuit of political power.

    It is over, a dead scare. Environmentalism is dead.

    • And yet what science do you think is wrong because of “hide the decline?”

      I am aware some skeptics have been pushing “Hide the decline” as climate scientists hiding a decline in global temperature.

      Of course when the public see that global temperature hasn’t declined the skeptics as a whole end up looking fairly stupid and climategate does go back in the bottle.

      Remember if the public can’t trust “climate deniers” then they won’t trust climategate.

      • The science that is used to claim we are experiencing dangerous changes in the climate.
        Your use of ‘deniers’ in the context of this conversation, or frankly anywhere, is insulting and puts you in the same low level as a redneck racist.

      • crimson –
        I am aware some skeptics have been pushing “Hide the decline” as climate scientists hiding a decline in global temperature.

        Whoever told you that – lied.

        Have you ever read Climateaudit.org ? There are precise explanations of “hide the decline” (both versions) there. And yes – there were actually TWO versions/incidents of “hide the decline”.

        As for whether “hide the decline” is science – watch this – keeping in mind that the man is a warmist – and a scientist –

        And if you want it in words, there’s a good explanation available on this very thread, here –
        http://judithcurry.com/2011/08/02/trying-to-put-the-climategate-genie-back-in-the-bottle/#comment-93031

      • Jim,
        Thanks for the link to the video. I had not seen it.

      • Ron –
        Have you seen the one where he destroys the case for unilateral Western mitigation?

      • crimson

        Here are the two most important results that compare climate model projections with observations.

        1) http://bit.ly/cIeBz0

        2) http://bit.ly/iyscaK

        The above results shows observed global temperatures less than model projections for ALL CO2 emission scenarios!

        crimson, when are the IPCC, the scientific community, world governments, and environmentalists going to reassess their belief in anthropogenic global warming?

        When?

      • Crimson,

        How do you account for Trenberth blurting out “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t,” Why do you think Trenberth would have said that if he was confident that global temperatures were in fact increasing?

      • Bad observation systems. He is confident global temperatures are increasing. Basic physics my lad.

  42. Can anyone show by providing links to comments they may have made before Nov 2009 and later that so called “climategate” has really changed anyone’s opinion on AGW one way or the other?

    • Theo Goodwin

      What do you not understand about the question: “Would you attend a movie by Al Gore today?” There has been a sea change in POPULAR attitudes about CAGW.

    • Numerous polls showed rapid 10 to 20% shifts in popular opinion. That trend has continued.

    • Theo and David,

      I’ll take that as a “no” then, shall I?

      • Peter Davies

        David, you have been around the climate debate scene for a long time. I wonder if “climategate” had in any way changed your views on the validity of AGW? If so you could have demonstrated this by reference to posts you have made before and after as tempterrain had asked. Like Saul becoming Paul on the road to Damascus?

        As for me, I tend to consider that as evidence of something fundamentally wrong with the science underpinning the AGW hypothesis but only in hindsight because I haven’t been around this issue for very long.

      • Peter Davies

        tt

        Are you aware of any pro-AGW people who have become sceptics as a result of “climategate”?

        I suspect that there weren’t as many “conversions” either side would like to think.

      • Peter,

        Judith Curry herself would be a possible candidate for a “conversion”. Possibly!
        But yes, on the whole, I would agree that the hacking of emails hasn’t changed many opinions. And nor should it. There are of course phrases in the emails which weren’t the best choice of words, but you don’t need an inquiry by Lord Oxburgh to know that the emails showed the senders were genuinely convinced of the correctness of their comments.

      • the hacking of emails hasn’t changed many opinions. And nor should it…emails showed the senders were genuinely convinced of the correctness of their comments

        So convinced, in fact, that they were even prepared to lie and cheat to convince others.

      • Theo Goodwin

        Maybe I did not understand your question. I remain an agnostic about CAGW. Show me some good science and I will be convinced. What happened to my nervous system when ClimateGate broke is that (1.) I recognized that the paleo records of temperature are not based on good science, at least The Team’s records, and (2.) that you must always watch the pea and not let yourself be distracted by the man moving the shells.

        CAGW is not an all or nothing proposition as regards a person’s belief. It has parts. At a given time, some parts are more believable than others. People who deny that there are no such parts are promoting a “pro versus anti” approach that is unrealistic and dangerous. A good example of this is the BBC, whose spokespersons constantly lecture the audience about their weak grasp of science. Yet another reason you do not want government television.

    • You mean Kevin ‘surely it can’t be decadal’ Trenberth?

      Didn’t change my mind but I did have a good chuckle.

      I have been writing about decadal variability for years – http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/11/enso_variation_and_global_warm.html

      Actually I used to think there was global warming – cycles superimposed on a rising trend. Just like Girma. Then I – belatedly – discovered chaos theory and things became much more mysterious. First this paper – https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/kswanson/www/publications/2008GL037022_all.pdf – led me to this – http://www.nosams.whoi.edu/PDFs/papers/tsonis-grl_newtheoryforclimateshifts.pdf Although it took me an inordinate amount of time to understand what was meant by chaotic.

      Swanson and Tsonis seem to believe that is decadal scale chaotic bifurcations on a rising trend. Swanson defines the ‘true’ global warming signal as the slope of the linear increase between 1979 and 1997 – about 0.1 degree C. Now this is nearly half of the number usually quoted and much closer to Girma’s.

      I don’t believe it for a moment. ‘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].’ Decadal-scale changes in in the tropical mean radiaition balance easily outweigh theoretical greenhouse gas radiative effect in the period of record – http://isccp.giss.nasa.gov/zFD/an9090_TOTnet_toa.gif – so is there any greenhouse gas warming at all? Not at all obvious in the TOA radiative flux data.

      It should be remembered that the evidence for ENSO cloud feedbacks is not in dispute at all. ‘During El Niño, the warming of the tropical eastern Pacific and associated changes in the Walker circulation, atmospheric stability, and winds lead to decreases in stratocumulus clouds, increased solar radiation at the surface, and an enhanced warming…’ (Trenberth and Fasula 2010 for example).

      So if we accept Swanson, Tsonis and Girma – there is far less of a problem than would otherwise be the case. If we accept that nearly all of the remaining warming trend is ENSO cloud feeback – as measured by NASA/GISS – then there would seem to be very little problem at all.

      The world is cooling for another decade or three by nearly every study on the near future – as a result of largely of cool Pacific conditions. K (surely it can’t be decadal) T – is as surely wrong as Lord Kelvin. Any remaining social credibility for their illiberal rabble will crumble as temperatures stubbornly refuse to rise. It is time for liberals to seize the day.

      I wish I could leave it there. Too late – I have looked at the butterfly wings chaos…

    • Five seconds on google:
      Climate scepticism ‘on the rise’, BBC poll shows
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8500443.stm

      Personally, climategate did not change my opinion. It just confirmed what I already suspected.

    • TempTerrain

      For what it’s worth (I find you a rather amusing character in these threads, bitterly trying to delay the AGW-retreat):

      Rasmussen: 69% believe that climate scientists fake their data

      And the numbers are up from late 2009. Now, we who follow the debate know that this is 100% true. That doesn’t mean that 100% or 69% of the data or the scientists are faking it. But yes, it happens, and only 31% of adult americans are still unaware.

      Activists rarely get it right, and definitely not as so called ‘scientists’. I am glad this particular scare ist coming to its end!

  43. Desmog blog has launched a hilarious, over-the-top attack on Peter Wood…

    http://www.desmogblog.com/nas-president-peter-wood-wrong-dishonest-or-hopelessly-compromised

    How dare anyone who is not an accepted climate scientist say anything against the great Michael Mann?

  44. It’s perhaps worth mentioning that there is no genie and no bottle. According to Lord Oxburgh there isn’t ! And he doesn’t strike me a being a dangerous communist intent on furthering UN controlled world government

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/climate-row-backing-for-scientists-1945360.html

    • tt-
      You really are on a losing streak here. The Oxburgh panel was not only deconstructed by the sceptics, but IIRC irritated Parliament as well by their non-performance. As an investigation, they failed investigate anything – and they were well paid for that lack of performance. They never read the emails, their interviews with the principals were a joke and the sceptics were ignored.

      I would suggest a large whiskey and 8 hours sleep might improve your performance. So far, if you were being paid for this, you’d be fired for non-performance – as Oxburgh should have been.

      • I think there is a internet rule which says if you have to claim that your opponent has lost the argument then you yourself have lost it badly!

        Your gripe is that the Oxburgh panel didn’t actually say what you’d have liked them to say. Why would that be do you think?

      • Lets keep it simple to begin with.

        What do you think the terms of reference were for Oxburgh.

        What was it supposed to do, what was it suppose to look at?

        If we can start with some common ground, like the controlling document, then you will see what the issue with Oxburgh is. It’s not what you think. Most likely because you have not read the documents. You probably read the newspaper. But not the controlling documents. That’s my bet.
        Prove me wrong. what was their task?

      • There were no terms of reference for the Oxburgh Inquiry: [explained here]

      • you will notice that TT doesnt engage when he has to answer direct questions.

      • tt,
        Do you think the Oxburgh panel reviewed the cliamtegate letters in a way so as to find out if there were any problems uncovered by the e-mails?
        Do you think the O panel has any way to know if concerns of skeptics or critics were spoken to?
        Were any of the people interviewed under oath?

      • tt –
        My gripe with the Oxburgh panel is that they didn’t do the job they said they would do and that they were paid to do. If you did your job like they did theirs, you’d be fired.

    • tt,
      You are as successful as the apologists for Catholic priests and their bad habits with children.

  45. Dear Bloggers

    What would be evidence for AGW in the next decade that most skeptics agree with?

    • What I am trying to ask is that what evidence would make you accept AGW.

      • You’ll get a different reply for any given skeptic.

        I know, right? It’s not something you can “group” into a box and say “this problem is solved with X”.

        For me, for instance, I’m skeptic about a lot of things, not so much about AGW. Although I’m skeptical that it will be catastrophic. There is a difference between what science says and what the fear inside the minds of some activists are talking.

        Take for instance this back and forth from a tv show that I borrowed from ClimateResistance (transcript from the Australian)

        Plibersek:There is a serious threat to our economy and a serious threat to our environment of not acting. In environmental terms we’re looking at losing the Great Barrier Reef, losing Kakadu National Park, losing the ability to feed ourselves because our . . .

        Peter Dutton: To feed ourselves?

        Plibersek: . . . our fruit and vegetable growing areas . . .

        Brendan O’Neill: This is the politics of fear.

        Dutton: Taking it to a new level.

        O’Neill: If you don’t support our policies, we will die and starve and the Barrier reef will disappear.

        Plibersek: Actually, it’s called scientific consensus . . .

        O’Neill: Right. OK, yeah.

        Plibersek: . . . that there are effects of global warming that affect our environment and affect our fruit and vegetable growing areas.

        Dutton: You do your cause a disservice with this extreme view.

        Plibersek: That’s not an extreme view. That’s a scientific view . . .

        Dutton: What? That we’re not going to be able to feed ourselves?

        And this is the problem. When we allow this talk about “science says that….” people just don’t know where to stop. And they should stop at the very basic levels indeed. To call what science “says” as “catastrophic” is something I’m not buying that much.

      • How would you prove CAGW? A +2 C increase in 60 to 100 years would make a good case for it. Any smaller increase in a shorter time leaves open non-A causes and natural variation. Therefore, the only good answer to this question is “all of it”. Let the auditors have all of the data and programs and whatever else they need to make sure that the alarmists claims are valid.

      • Theo Goodwin

        To start, I would need at least one reasonably well confirmed physical hypothesis which describes some forcing, such as cloud behavior, explains that the forcing is a positive forcing, and reveals that the warming from this forcing will be great enough to bring about the dangerous warming that Warmista dream of.

        To finish the job, Warmista would have to show that manmade CO2 is the only cause of this forcing.

        At this time, Warmista are not working on physical hypotheses about forcings and they have never worked on them. Their Gaia Models posit only heat exchanges caused by radiation. Forcings are treated as “emergent properties” of radiation. So, the Warmista will never satisfy me.

    • An unbiased assessment on the scale of the IPCC’s AR4 but done after implementing all the IAC Report recommendations and important statements from [here]

  46. In an interview in 2007, Lord Oxburgh said that the threat from global warming was so severe that “it may be that we shall need . . . regulations which impose very severe penalties on people who emit more than specified amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere”.

    From Gaia Discovery – http://www.gaiadiscovery.com/latest-people/lord-oxburgh-on-the-science-and-politics-of-climate-change.html

    ‘“We also need to be careful of the sinister arguments from professional lobbyists who, like the tobacco companies, put out misleading information,” he asserts. According to him, the evidence clearly indicates a very serious situation. “It’s a war. We are fighting a war,” he says.
    There will be a rise in sea level. The oceans will become warmer and more acidic. There will be more extreme weather events like hurricanes and storms. There will be more rain. “We should all be very bothered about these things,” he says. “It’s like a pan of water that starts boiling.”
    There was 1 comment on this article – ‘This is all very interesting. But what of the huge contribution of methane gas from the cattle and pig farming? This is far more damaging than just to reduce CO2 emissions from dirty coal.’ – http://savatoons.spreadshirt.com/humanity-is-a-plague-t-shirt-A6006220

    ‘All this atmospheric mayhem can be squarely leveled at Europe and the United States – where, says Lord Oxburgh, some 60% of the world’s CO2 is produced. This means, in straight quantity per person terms, the CO2 bogeys are easy to identify. And the US and Europe are doing their bit – wind power, water power, solar power are all being rolled out rapidly across the first world, in a bid to reduce emissions. The issue that concerns Lord Oxburgh is that the other major CO2 producers, who produce much less on a per person basis, are catching up fast simply through sheer population mass. “China today only puts out about half of the CO2 the US does, but the US is trying to scale back,” he points out.

    China on the other hand is looking at a dramatic increase in the number of its (coal fired) power stations. Which could mean a significant increase in atmospheric CO2. The knee-jerk reaction for the first-worlders, says Lord Oxburgh, is to tell the developing countries like China and India to stop polluting by cutting back on power stations – but is that fair?’
    Even if he could do that – it wouldn’t be fair. And yet that is what they are counting on in the cap and trade farce. Costly CCS is what Oxburgh is counting is counting on – which would line his pockets but which would cost lives in the developing world without any doubt at all.

    Martha and others are intent on demonizing liberals by calling us conservatives, inciters to mass murder, haters of fags, deniers of science who will be dragged kicking and screaming to the re-education camps – or worse. I will take the worse – give me liberty or give me death. It is merely rhetoric for avowedly political purposes The labels are not close to truth. In a liberal universe everyone’s freedoms are protected in the rule of law and in resisting illiberal governments who would take too much of our money and our freedom – and destroy the free markets that are the only source of our economic security. Call them on the false labels and defend free markets, democracy and human freedoms.

    Protect yourself against Murdoch? Protect yourself instead against Lord Oxburgh’s climate police. Yes Lord Oxburgh – it is a war and you are the enemy.

    • CH,

      I think you are confusing the term ‘liberal’ as currently understood in America, the classical Liberal meaning of the term, and Libertarian.

      I sounds like you are hankering after Libertarianism but, as far as I know, there is no party which is truly Libertarian which has ever come anywhere near to winning significant support in an election.

      • “Liberalism is the answer for which modernity is the question”

        ‘Liberalism (from the Latin liberalis, “of freedom”) is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but most liberals support such fundamental ideas as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights, free trade, and the freedom of religion. These ideas are widely accepted, even by political groups that do not openly profess a liberal ideological orientation. Liberalism encompasses several intellectual trends and traditions, but the dominant variants are classical liberalism, which became popular in the eighteenth century, and social liberalism, which became popular in the twentieth century.

        Liberalism first became a powerful force in the Age of Enlightenment, rejecting several foundational assumptions that dominated most earlier theories of government, such as hereditary status, established religion, absolute monarchy, and the Divine Right of Kings. The early liberal thinker John Locke, who is often credited for the creation of liberalism as a distinct philosophical tradition, employed the concept of natural rights and the social contract to argue that the rule of law should replace absolutism in government, that rulers were subject to the consent of the governed, and that private individuals had a fundamental right to life, liberty, and property.’

        ‘Liberalism in the United States is a broad political philosophy centered on the unalienable rights of the individual. The fundamental liberal ideals of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion for all belief systems, and the separation of church and state, right to due process and equality under the law are widely accepted as a common foundation across the spectrum of liberal thought. The main focus of modern liberalism in the United States includes issues such as voting rights for all adult citizens, equal rights, protection of the environment, and the provision by the government of social services, such as: equal education opportunities, access to health care, transportation infrastructure, basic food for the hungry and basic shelter for the homeless. Some American liberals, who call themselves classical liberals, neoliberals, or libertarians, support fundamental liberal ideals but disagree with modern liberal thought, holding that economic freedom is more important than equality of opportunity, and that promoting the general welfare of society exceeds the legitimate role of government.’

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

        I dare say I am a ‘social liberal’ – there is a role for government in welfare, health and education. We would just to see it done much better than we have come to expect from illiberal social democrats – andan end to the limitless ambition (and spending) of governments.

        You seem a little confused as to the ordinary meaning of words – as well as of history, philosophy and science. All you have tt is crude polemic in the service of a cause that has led to tryanny and human tragedy on an unimaginable scale in the recent past. ‘From the saintly and single-minded idealist to the fanatic is often but a step.’ We have seen the enemy and it is Lord Oxbrough – and you.

      • CH,

        I’m happy to be governed by liberals, Liberals, conservatives, or Conservatives providing its all done democratically. I might have some disagreements with them on some issues and some agreements on others.

        I wouldn’t say they were enemies. I’m surprised you should write that of me, even though we do disagree of climate change.

      • At 6:03 AM on 3 August, tempterrain writes:

        I’m happy to be governed by liberals, Liberals, conservatives, or Conservatives providing its all done democratically.

        Not quite. Too much evocation of that old “Four wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch,” don’tcha think?

        There’s entirely too much discussion on the professed political philosophies of the governmentally-inclined and far too little consideration about what services a government provides which entities in the private sector – the voluntary and uncoercive sector of civil society – cannot.

        If the purpose of government is to protect individual human rights (the whole “life, liberty, and property” business) by undertaking – via delegation – to exercise the individual human being’s right to use deadly force in retaliation against violent aggression, then the only legitimate role of government in our lives is extremely limited, and everything else its officers undertake does more harm than good.

      • “If the purpose of government is to protect individual human rights………then the only legitimate role of government in our lives is extremely limited”.

        You may feel government should be “extremely limited”, and of course, at election time, you may wish to vote for candidates and a political party which may promise you this.

        But what if they don’t win?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Then we will get better at it – we fight woth words and at the ballot box not with bullets. Unless you declare yourself President for Life – then all bets are off.

      • Unable – or unwilling – to come to grasp with the question of what, precisely, a government is really for, at 9:48 PM on 3 August we get from tempterrain a consideration of “feelings” (always an evasion), like so:

        You may feel government should be “extremely limited”, and of course, at election time, you may wish to vote for candidates and a political party which may promise you this.

        But what if they don’t win?

        First, we’ve got a dismissal of my considered position on the legitimate purpose of civil government – based upon more than fifty years reading the original works of various political philosophers as well as scholarly discourse – authoritarian and libertarian, both derivative and original – on those philosophies as how tempterrain unsupportedly alleges that I “feel.”

        We might as well conclude that tempterrain can be said to “feel” that the people around him (to paraphrase Chief Justice Roger B. Taney) “have no rights, which [tempterrain] is bound to respect.

        tempterrain certainly doesn’t seem to “feel” that there are defining restraints under which government in these United States can be said to operate without violating the rule of law.

        Second, we’ve got tempterrrain‘s inference that the only thing that matters is which candidate might “win” a popularity contest and thereby gain unrestrained, unlimited, implacable, totalitarian control of the armed thugs on the government payroll.

        See my earlier post regarding the definition of democracy as “Four wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.”

        Apparently tempterrain‘s vision of the social contract reads as: “Loser gets pillaged, raped, and slaughtered.”

        Hm. Seems as if that kind of political vision virtually dictates that those of us who can’t “win” with the ballot box had best get busy with the cartridge box.

        With folks like tempterrain and their vision of government, what do we really have to lose?

      • Second, we’ve got tempterrrain‘s inference that the only thing that matters is which candidate might “win” a popularity contest and thereby gain unrestrained, unlimited, implacable, totalitarian control of the armed thugs on the government payroll.

        I seriously just love comments like this.

        Judith, where do you dig these folks up?

      • Unable (and unwilling?) to appreciate the fact that civil government in any polity is, at base and inescapably, the police power – meaning the power to break things and to kill people – at 11:00 PM on 3 August, we’ve got Joshua non-responding:

        I seriously just love comments like this.

        And I just love comments like Joshua‘s.

        One should never act or write as if all authoritarians are this obtuse and irrational, but it warms the heart to see proof of abject cement-headedness on any such specimen’s part.

        Joshua, would you care to offer a definition of the expression “representative republic” and delineate the source of sovereignity in such a political entity?

        Not that I expect anything but ignorance and evasion, but what the hell….

      • All you have tt is crude polemic in the service of a cause that has led to tryanny and human tragedy on an unimaginable scale in the recent past.

        This is what I love. Countries that have the negative attributes you associate with too “illiberal social democrats” have, across the board, more freedom than another any other countries on the face of the planet, today as well as in centuries past.

        Where would you rather live, Chief, one of those socialistic illiberal social democracies with their bloated governments with too much involvement in welfare, health, and education – or one of the alternatives available? Personally, I suggest Bahrain – I hear that taxes are quite low there.

        Keep hoping for that libertarian Shangri-La, Chief. I hear that scientists are virtually certain that given all the recent astronomical discoveries, there’s bound to be other planets with life out there.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        We are looking pragmatic solutions – and not some ideal. Security, freedom, free markets and democracy.

        My own country has come closest – our tax and spend is not overly concerning – but it is creeing up.

      • We have realistic pragmatic solutions already – imperfect as they may be.

        There is certainly room for improvement – but rhetoric for avowed political purposes is a sword that cuts two ways (in the very least).

        And along those lines, I may disagree with much of Martha’s rhetoric just as I’d disagree with that of our friend Rich, but I’d say that a linkage between the rhetoric of either and tyranny and tragedy on an unthinkable scale might be a bit over the top.

        Creeping up to what? The level of tragedy we have in the tyrannical illiberal social democracies like Sweden?

      • Creeping up to what? The level of tragedy we have in the tyrannical illiberal social democracies like Sweden?

        Yes – and France, Denmark, Germany and Norway. Among others.
        Or don’t you understand demographics? I doubt that you’ll understand this but it’ll at least give you something to think about –
        http://www.geographictravels.com/2006/11/no-go-areas-of-france-and-rest-of.html

        Those No-go zones are expanding in both number and area – and the rest of Europe is rapidly headed in the same direction. That is the result of your not-yet-but-soon-to-be tyrannical illiberal social democracies.

        And that’s only one of many swords that you fail to see approaching your neck. Where, for example, do you believe the US will be in 10 years if the present financial course is not altered?

        Or- why do you think that unilateral CO2 mitigation by the Western nations will have any effect? This man says – well, watch it – he can tell you himself –

        You can, of course, disavow that notion, but you cannot deny that it IS the thrust of the CAGW mob.


        I’d say that a linkage between the rhetoric of either and tyranny and tragedy on an unthinkable scale might be a bit over the top.

        If you don’t understand the possibility, then you are as blind as those who led us into WWII or those who gave Europe to the Soviets or…. the list is as long as human history and includes all those who have been led into tyranny by the same kind of blindness. And nobody can cure that blindness for you. But then, I see no reason to take your views on the subject seriously either.

      • Jim –

        I need some advice. I’ve been wondering whether to build my bunker out of stone or out of cement block.

        Any suggestions?

      • Joshua –
        Why do you need a bunker? You’re the one who doesn’t believe in the necessity.

        Also – static defenses are vulnerable. I don’t recommend them. Cement block, for example, shatters and becomes shrapnel when hit by an RPG. Makes a hell of a mess. Icky! :-)

      • Jim, that geographic travels link is complete and utter BS. It undermines what was otherwise an interesting debate. It’s worth taking a moment to really consider the voracity of information like this – it makes you appear credulous. And in fact skepticism in general is simply do not believe everything you read or hear, and being cautious that things are often more boring and/or mor complicated than they first appear.

        All countries have their ghettos, their rough neighbourhoods, their dark places. But that map and link was far right propaganda and having read much of what you have written on this blog for a while I know you are better than that.

      • What?

        Are you the Bruce who stopped beating his wife?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘Between the idealistic saint and tryanny is a small step.’ We have seen it before and will not risk it again. There is realisticallhy a neo-socialist movement – and while they may seem harmless fools at the moment – they appeared that way before. No point taking chances.

        Sweden has low growth and high unemployment – as suggested by the model as well as relatively low per capita income. It is saved only by a balanced budget.

        If you want to now sound reasonable Joshua – it is too late. If it is to be a culture war over values so be it. I value individual freedom, constitutional democracy, the rule of law and free and fair markets.

        The Australian government is taxing 30.8% and spending 34.3% of GDP. 34% is too high – and it depends on continued strong growth in China to stay out of a deep structural deficit.

      • Iceland was destroyed by the capitalistic greed of an unrestrained banking sector. Canada benefited greatly from government-enforced regulation.

        We can all pick and choose our variables to confirm out biases, Chief.

        But one real world fact is undeniable – a libertarian Shangri-La has never existed. The best libertarians have ever done was when cavemen clubbed one-another to expand territory and steal women.

        I’ll take Sweden.

      • Joshua –
        Iceland was destroyed by the capitalistic greed of an unrestrained banking sector.

        And the US economy was deep sixed by the same cause – the unrestrained banking sector that was unregulated – and kept that way – by the leftists. Or don’t you realize that the Democrats are the leftists who refused to allow regulation sought by the Republicans?

        As for greed – it was almost universal. You apparently didn’t watch the gold rush for low (or zero) interest rates, the government bludgeoning of the banks to make unsustainable loans to those unable to meet the obligation, the increase of million dollar McMansion building in areas without sufficient resources to support that kind of housing, etc, etc.

        Blaming greed – is right on target, but blaming only the banks is too easy – and dumb. It was lack of regulation, government intervention in the market and millions of GREEDY consumers that compounded the problem that the banks and the government created together. I’m still looking for the book “Reckless Endangerment” – it comes highly recommended.

      • At 1:04 AM on 4 August, Jim Owen responds to the silly contention that the financial meltdowns in Iceland (and elsewhere) had been caused by “capitalistic greed” by writing – quite truthfully – that

        …the US economy was deep sixed by the same cause – the unrestrained banking sector that was unregulated – and kept that way – by the leftists.

        Not quite. The nature of fractional reserve banking is such that it is intrinsically inflationary, and therefore fundamentally unstable. The degree of instability at any given moment depends upon the confidence of depositors that they will be able to draw upon their accounts at need, within the specifications of their contractual relationships with their banks.

        Banking is a confidence game.

        The officers of civil government depend upon winning popularity contests to get and keep the positions of “kill ‘em all and then sort ‘em out” power for which they lust. Keeping the average folks conned is essential to that, and so politicians and bankers get along quite well.

        But bankers are – all other things being equal – skilled confidence men, good at judging when and where and how much they can sucker their marks – er, depositors and borrowers. Politicians aren’t quite as good, but then they’re not in a racket that requires intelligence to become successful. Witness our TelePrompTer-in-Chief.

        When incompetent mediocrities in public office work their “Do it or we’ll throw you in prison” magic upon the bankers (especially if they throw in a little bit of “And if it goes wrong, we’ll just rob the citizenry to ensure you make tons of money even if everything goes down the tubes!”) in order to sucker their voters into thinking that the politicians are capable of making everybody wealthy without thrift or thought or effort, what had been a sustainable confidence game turns into a porkfest of criminal greed – not “capitalistic” any way at all, but criminally fraudulent – that falls prey to the fundamental instability from which fractional reserve banking could never be free in the first place.

        That’s what gave us the savings & loan crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, the big Icelandic boom-and-bust, and the financial meltdown we’re now experiencing, among other catastrophic decompensations of the banking confidence game.

        True, this most recent real estate bust came about because of an inflationary “boom” induced by what used to be called the “Democratic” party before they passed Obamacare over the enraged opposition of a majority of their own core constituents in 2010 (making them the “National Socialist Democrat American Party” or NSDAP now), but the Republicans have a very, very long history of bankstering – heck, the Red Faction effectively invented currency debauchment, bank fraud, “cork screwing, back-stabbing, and dirty-dealing” in these United States, going back through the years of Abraham Lincoln, Henry Clay, and Alexander Hamilton.

        The only incumbent politician in Mordor-on-the-Potomac who came into the elections of 2010 not complicit in this huge and horribly destructive fraud is Dr. Ron Paul, who has been warning about all of the above (and more) for decades.

        This is why Dr. Paul scares the bejasus out of both the Red Faction “leadership” and every Gauleiter of the NSDAP.

      • But bankers are – all other things being equal – skilled confidence men, good at judging when and where and how much they can sucker their marks – er, depositors and borrowers.

        Rich – do you have any idea what happened in the banking sector in Iceland?

        Here’s a teaser – read the full article and get back to me about how “skilled” were the bankers in Iceland.

      • Jim,

        Or don’t you realize that the Democrats are the leftists who refused to allow regulation sought by the Republicans?

        Larry Summers, Phil Gramm, and Bill Clinton are hardly “leftists.”

        and Jim,

        …. and millions of GREEDY consumers that compounded the problem

        The banking sector has grown exponentially as a % of our economy. Along with that enormous growth, enormous financial institutions decided to leverage themselves some 40 to 1 to buy massive quantities of bad debt. By definition and simple mathematics, that is what “compounded the problem” to a far greater degree than the fact of consumers taking out mortgages or variable rate home equity loans. The decisions made be execs at financial institutions took whatever bad debt existed and concentrated it and multiplied it by a factor of up to 40 times.

        Some financiers read the writing on the wall and bet short against such specious risk evaluations. Others, either: (1) knew that as individuals they could avoid absorbing the costs of such systematic undervaluation of risk, or (2) relied on inaccurate computer modeling that undervalued risk and thus, truly believed that contrary to common sense, the real estate market would continue to go up forever.

        In my book, there is a difference between borrowing money so you can pay your debts (upon the advice of “experts” who rated the market value of your property) or perhaps marginally increase your family’s standard of living, and the large-scale and systematic efforts by financial institutions to not only take advantage of investment opportunities, but to rig the game, in an irresponsible fashion, so as to institutionalize windfall profits.

        I guess I just roll that way.

      • At 3:26 PM on 4 August, Joshua asks whether I “…have any idea what happened in the banking sector in Iceland?” and refers to Michael Lewis “Wall Street on the Tundra” in Vanity Fair (April 2009).

        Having a better grasp on the facts of the matter than Joshua (who is fixated upon “capitalistic greed” to his perpetual error), I recommend in turn Bagus & Howland’s Deep Freeze: Iceland’s Economic Collapse (2011), an excerpt from the first chapter of which is freely available online as “When Iceland Totally Froze” (April 6, 2011), as well as Howland’s “Rethinking Iceland’s Recovery” (March 22, 2011), from which we draw:

        Like in many other countries of the world, Iceland’s large, unstable banking sector developed with the advent of deposit insurance. While the fractional-reserve banking system has a tendency to lead to unstable consequences, this day of reckoning is thought to be offset by ensuring depositors that a backstop exists in times of turmoil. Banks that overissue fiduciary media and face reserve-draining runs are “saved” by an insurance scheme guaranteeing depositors their quickly disappearing funds.

        While this guarantee may delay a damaging bank run, it also fosters an environment that breeds increasingly risky bank activity.

        With it understood that “capitalism” in truth means nothing more (or less) than a marketplace free from government intervention either to “pick winners” or to foster “an environment that breeds increasingly risky bank activity,” the psychopathically perseverative incantations of “Liberal” fascists about “capitalistic greed” when the subject of the latest mixed-economy financial meltdowns is discussed is the mark of insanity.

        Or deliberate lies.

        I’m a charitable guy, Joshua. I’m willing to entertain the notion that you’re mentally impaired instead of a liar.

      • I’m willing to entertain the notion that you’re mentally impaired instead of a liar.

        Indeed, Rich. It has already been established many times at this blog that I’m “retarded,” “stupid,” etc. I can’t tell you how honored I am that erudite and mentally talented bloggers such as yourself take pity on me and look past my shortcomings long enough to try to help me out with their gifted insight.

        Now, after you’ve gotten your comments on my intelligence and/or honesty out of the way, perhaps, you can explain how any of the information you provided disproves or even runs contrary to the thesis of the article that I linked – Iceland’s fiscal collapse resulted from unskillful investment activities rooted in irresponsible risk evaluations, rooted in irresponsible submission to the greedy interests of capitalists, which took place in the absence of any semblance of appropriate regulation.

        I suppose that one could argue that investors (bankers) systematically misunderstood deposit insurance against bank runs so as to think that it justified irresponsible investments on their part through massive leveraging loans to buy bad debt. I don’t buy it, but it would clearly be completely logical (as you have done) to ascribe such an obviously mistaken understanding of deposit insurance to “skilled” confidence men. Clearly, failure on that scale resulted from a lack of skillfulness.

        And a facile assertion of causation based on correlation (e.g., attributing Iceland’s collapse to the existence of deposit insurance) just doesn’t quite cut it, my friend.

      • At 5:14 PM on 4 August, Joshua persists in claiming that:

        …Iceland’s fiscal collapse resulted from unskillful investment activities rooted in irresponsible risk evaluations, rooted in irresponsible submission to the greedy interests of capitalists, which took place in the absence of any semblance of appropriate regulation.

        …without – of course – characterizing what kind of Icelandic governmental “regulation” would have been “appropriate” to prevent the development of the economically unsustainable boom that had been the cause of the bust.

        There is in critters like Joshua an unexplained and never genuinely sane faith in the omniscience and omnipotence of government as an institution, despite the fact that it is a “god that failed,” and will always fail.

        Joshua‘s fundamentally religious belief in “government as god” is challenged by proofs of government failures as had been embodied in the Icelandic boom-and-bust, but because Joshua‘s fellah position on this subject is predicated upon religious fanaticism, he has no response to observations like Howden’s in one of the cited articles to the effect that:

        The real reasons for Iceland’s collapse lie in state institutions and in the intrusions by the state into the workings of the economy, coupled with the interventionist institutions of the national and international monetary systems. Iceland’s crisis is the result of two banking practices that, in combination, proved to be explosive: excessive maturity mismatching and currency mismatching. While these two activities, especially maturity mismatching, are ubiquitous in modern finance, they were carried to more extreme lengths in Iceland than in other countries, making the Icelandic financial system especially fragile.

        This is almost certainly because Joshua‘s religious faith in “government as god” cannot permit him to accept the fundamentally pernicious character of his “god” when its priests meddle normatively with the functions of the marketplace.

        The officers of government have tended reliably to screw up whenever they have acted for purposes other than the deterrence of force or fraud. In the financial industry generally and fractional reserve banking in particular, it has been the illusion of government omniscience and omnipotence (not to mention omnibenevolence) which has served to predispose depositors, borrowers, and others doing business with financial institutions to “tune down” their caution and skepticism, thus being rendered more susceptible to the various bankster confidence games.

        This is actually relevant to the current flap over the CAGW scare and Climategate. Governmental imprimatur “sanctifying” the assertions of the academically certified pseudoscientists peddling the “man-made global climate change” fraud was a powerful pernicious influence, helping enormously to disarm the reasoned guardedness with which the lay audience being set up as the victims of this scam had begun receiving the preposterous “We’re All Gonna Die!” posturing of these charlatans back in the ’70s.

      • At 11:02 PM on 3 August, Chief Hydrologist writes:

        We are looking pragmatic solutions – and not some ideal. Security, freedom, free markets and democracy.

        Pragmatism having never worked (and therefore never to be expected to work), I’d think that “looking [for] pragmatic solutions” is at minimum a helluva waste, and at worst likely to open us up to predatory exploitation by thieves and thugs and con artists, not to mention the certifiable megalomaniacs under whose misrule we currently suffer.

        The “free markets” you extoll are simply venues in which people deal voluntarily with each other in a division-of-labor economy under constraints which preserve individual human rights against violent aggression and theft of value by fraud.

        That’s not much, but it’s certainly enough. How civil government is structured to achieve that condition – whether it’s pure “democracy” (majoritarian tyranny), a representative republic whose officers function only within sharply delineated realms of responsibility and authority, an oligarchy, or even a dictatorship – the key consideration is always individual human rights.

        The economic reflection of a civil society in which the gun-toting goons of civil government do nothing except act to preserve every person’s individual human rights is necessarily “free markets.”

        To the extent that we’re reading in this forum the morally reprehensible and manifestly economically disastrous positions of authoritarians who want to violate the rights of their neighbors under the color of “government,” we’re getting a wonderfully diagnostic look at the “banality of evil” in operation.

        Jeez, how “pragmatic” their solutions have been.

        And what clusterpucks they always prove to be.

      • I don’t know what your problem is and I don’t want to know.

  47. Let us defend the best political system ever created by man, Capitalism.

    Capitalism demands the best of every man—his rationality—and rewards him accordingly. It leaves every man free to choose the work he likes, to specialize in it, to trade his product for the products of others, and to go as far on the road of achievement as his ability and ambition will carry him. His success depends on the objective value of his work and on the rationality of those who recognize that value. When men are free to trade, with reason and reality as their only arbiter, when no man may use physical force to extort the consent of another, it is the best product and the best judgment that win in every field of human endeavor, and raise the standard of living—and of thought—ever higher for all those who take part in mankind’s productive activity.

    http://bit.ly/nMXDZD

    • To a large extent I wouldn’t disagree.

      However, I’d just make the point that Capitalism has gained the most widespread acceptance in the post war years, since when more than sixty years of managed Capitalism have produced a hitherto undreamed of standard of living in the developed economies.

      That’s not to say that Capitalism, even Keynsian managed, isn’t without its periodic crises and of course improvements are always possible; but, it’s important to remember that any supposed cure, for real or imagined maladies, shouldn’t produce worse symptoms than the ‘illness’ itself.

      • The ‘crises’ are inevitably a result of a failure to regulate interest rates, to ensure markets are ‘fair’, in prudential oversight or in printing money.

        Prevention is far better than a cure with ‘Keynesian’ interventions. It is the very attitude that that we have sufficient knowledge to intervene in free markets that is the problem. You think you can make up the rules as you go – a dangerous delusion.

        There is nothing remarkable about the rules of market oversight. It is in when the rules are neglected that it all ends in tears.

      • You think you can make up the rules as you go – a dangerous delusion.

        I, personally, don’t make up any rules. But it is worth noting that the rules as regards economics and politics are quite different from the laws of Physics. Unlike the latter the former are entirely of our own making.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Economies are comples systems – much as any in chaos theory. It pays to keep that fundament fact in mind. There is an optimum size of government? Governments shouldn’t print money? Should maintain interest rates to prevent bubbles? Markets should be fair?

        If you want to play by the rules of a free market – say so or else I have nothing more to add. It is non-negotiable. We will need to battle it out at the ballot box.

      • At 11:08 PM on 3 August, Chief Hydrologist had written:

        Economies are complex systems – much as any in chaos theory.

        Well, not quite. It should also be observed that physiologies are complex systems, and yet living organisms tend reliably to function by way of self-regulation on the basis of responses to feedback.

        Economies tend to operate in what might be (loosely) termed an “organic” way, if the feedback mechanisms aren’t purposefully diddled by normative interventions undertaken by government goons with guns.

        The voluntary – free from coercion – marketplace is very much an “adapt and overcome” mechanism for the reconciliation of finite resources with effectively infinite human desires.

        Commonly, it operates and delivers outcomes that authoritarians (even putatively “well-intentioned” authoritarians) don’t like, but when it operates without authoritarian impairment, its workings tend with high levels of reliability to be sustainable, well-controlled by objective reality and not fatally deranged by the whims and fantasies of people without “reason and accountability.”

      • Chief Hydrologist

        An admirable positive framing of the liberal beliefs. Government is a neccessary evil – but we must insist on restraint. The rule of law, fairness in markets, effective management of interest rates are all essential. Democracy and a functioning civil society are neccessary. We can’t really, I think, have people homeless and starving on the streets.

        Certain human condotions are however not well regulated – heart attacks and epilepsy come to mind.

      • At 12:21 AM on 4 August, Chief Hydrologist writes:

        We can’t really, I think, have people homeless and starving on the streets.

        …going on to characterize “heart attacks and epilepsy” as “human conditions … not well regulated.

        Bear in mind that “heart attacks and epilepsy” are derangements of physiology, not normal functions. The therapeutic objective in medicine is the complete resolution of such pathologies if at all possible, and mitigation of adverse consequences if definitive resolution is not achievable.

        But what you’ve got in the authoritarian approach to operations in the marketplace are not responsibly therapeutic but rather complete and utter quackery, undertaken in overt contravention of the laws of economics to compel by way of armed aggression (“Do what we say, or there’ll be a SWAT team down here to kill everybody”) conduct in that marketplace which would never be voluntarily undertaken by the honest participants therein.

        With regard to “people homeless and starving on the streets,” just what the heck gives one to conclude that it’s the job of the officers of civil government – the “breaking things and killing people” component of our society – to succor these needy folks?

        Remember, the officers of civil government do nothing whatsoever to create real wealth. At best, they coercively seize wealth from the people in the private (productive) sector, and turn it – with invariably high overhead and hideous inefficiency – to what are unarguably charitable undertakings.

        Always skimming their “fair share” off the top, of course.

        Er, if charity in aid of “people homeless and starving on the streets” is something that the majority of us truly hold to be a social good, why do we need government tax collectors extracting from us the valuta they claim is necessary to house and feed the poor?

        Wouldn’t it be better if we were to self-organize voluntary aid to succor the hungry and the derelict?

        Why suffer the costs of “civil servants” pillaging us – and skimming their cut off the top to maintain their political and bureaucratic empires – when we’ve shown that we’re very much committed to helping the “disadvantaged”?

        Jeez, a majority of us seem to keep on electing the politicians who push “charity at gunpoint” every second November, don’t we?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Pragmatism. It is cheaper to pay someone ‘sit down’ money than to keep them in jail. I think it a nonsense to think that people are instrinsically all that charatible.

      • At 2:45 AM on 4 August, Chief Hydrologist continues advocating “Pragmatism,” opining that:

        It is cheaper to pay someone ‘sit down’ money than to keep them in jail. I think it a nonsense to think that people are intrinsically all that charitable.

        And thieving, raping, grafting, lying (indeed, perjuring) career corruptocrats are?

        Well, with other people’s money, certainly. But that’s not “charitable” except by a construe that only a liar could conjure.

        Why the false dichotomy between paying “sit down money” and flinging the alleged miscreant into prison? Is there really reason to believe that we’re stuck with these two options – and only these two options – or do we appreciate the fact that the politicians are lying to us yet again?

        Hey, their lips are moving, aren’t they?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        There is no argument I want to make. Governments have a role in policing, defence, civil emergencies, education, health, transport, ports, comunications and any other essential function the market doesn’t want to enter into for whatever reason.

        Hence the difference between liberal in the sense of Friedrich Heyak and a libertarian who has no sense at all.

      • Apparently having no argument that he can make, at 3:44 AM on 4 August, Chief Hydrologist asserts that:

        Governments have a role in policing, defence, civil emergencies, education, health, transport, ports, comunications and any other essential function the market doesn’t want to enter into for whatever reason.

        That, of course, fails to address the obliterative role played by government not only in pre-empting engagement of “the market” in these roles but often intervening in “the market” with forcible coercion to suppress “the market” solutions already in train.

        In many cases forcibly imposing politically-connected monopolies to screw the consumer in the ostensible pursuit of a specious “market efficiency.”

        Ah, the “managed economy.” And the presumption that career liars, cheats, bureaucrats, and grafters can “manage” any enterprise more “efficiently” than can the people who built it.

        If there is real need in any area of human action – and by “real” is meant not a pie-in-the-sky desire but a purpose to which people are willing to put their effort and other resources to attain – the complex interaction of knowledge and expertise and ingenuity which is subsumed in “the market” process will tend most reliably and most efficiently always to deliver the satisfaction of that need.

        It’s not merely that the respect of “the market” for individual human rights is the moral superior of the “Your Money or Your Life!” extortion and squanderings of government, but also that it is – and Chief Hydrologist really ought to like this – superior in its practicality.

        Yet another argument for “the market” as opposed to the government – if simple civil comity and good social order weren’t enough – is that “the market” works better to assess and to serve the fulfillment of real human needs.

        To claim that “the market” has to “want” to do something in order that said something gets done is the logical fallacy of reification, falsely treating “the market” as an entity capable of conscious volition when it is in fact nothing more (or less) than a process by which individual human beings voluntarily cooperate to achieve what they have decided best suits their needs.

        People have volition while “the market” does not.

        And people who are deprived of the exercise of their ability to choose what they will and will not do – as long as their choices do not violate the equal rights of other people to their own lives, their own liberties, and their own property – are not inthe market” at all, but rather coping as best they can with armed aggressors masquerading as a legitimate government.

      • ‘Although sometimes characterized by his critics as a “conservative,” Hayek always maintained that he was in fact an old-fashioned liberal, a believer in individual liberty, constitutionally limited government, and the free market of ideas and of goods. A progressive society must always be open to innovation, at the same time that it rests on a stable foundation of rights and rules of just conduct. He entitled the postscript to The Constitution of Liberty “Why I am not a conservative.” While friendly to many conservatives, Hayek pointed out that the conservative “has no political principles which enable him to work with people whose moral values differ from his own for a political order in which both can obey their convictions. It is the recognition of such principles that permits the coexistence of different sets of values that makes it possible to build a peaceful society with a minimum of force. The acceptance of such principles means that we agree to tolerate much that we dislike.” ‘

        Friedrich Heyak

        You substitute nonsensical rants for an effective political platform. It is counter productive – and leaves the field open for the left to continue to set the agenda. An optimistic narrative for the future is needed – rather than oddball reaction.

      • At 5:03 AM on 4 August, Chief Hydrologist quotes from the closing essay of Friedrich von Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty (1960), “Why I Am Not a Conservative,” which I remember first having read in college about forty years ago, and then going on to claim – without support – that I had substituted:

        …nonsensical rants for an effective political platform. It is counter productive – and leaves the field open for the left to continue to set the agenda. An optimistic narrative for the future is needed – rather than oddball reaction.

        Tsk. First, I have not offered any “political platform” at all. I’ve provided a reasoned (and absolutely unrefuted) definition of what is and is not the free market, with an appreciation of how the normative intervention of government in market functions deranges the effectiveness and efficiency of the market process.

        My perspective is more that of a pathologist than a surgeon, with the clear understanding that any approach seeking to resolve the political economic pathology presently afflicting the body politic had by Allah better be based upon such a clear understanding of the real causes, and address those causes, else there can be no resolution, and we’re stuck with the same old invidious, destructive, beggar-your-neighbor crap that got us into this mess in the first place.

        Chief Hydrologists is pushing for pragmatism, and can’t seem to grasp the fact that it has been the “pragmatic” approach – the use of government’s meatgrinder machinery incompetently and maliciously to address human needs for functions other than “breaking things and killing people,” and thereby to cripple and destroy voluntary market interactions which could and would have handled whatever problems brought the politician’s vulpine snouts into the henhouse to begin with – that had wrecked the economy in the first place.

        Let it be understood that only if we get such a clear and honest understanding of How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes will we ever be able to counter the seductive lies of “the left.”

        After all, they’ve got so much more practice at lying than do the honest men and women opposing them.

        How the hell does Chief Hydrologist conjure that we got in this bloody ever-so-“pragmatic” mess in the first place?

        Why, by way of “pragmatic” compromise with “the left,” of course.

        When they offered us a glassful of potassium cyanide solution sufficient to kill a hundred men, courtesy of people like Chief Hydrologist we compromised.

        And drank only enough to kill us fifty times over.

      • Oh right – here you are again – same response.

      • At 9:41 PM on 3 August, tempterrain asserts:

        …that the rules as regards economics and politics are quite different from the laws of Physics. Unlike the latter the former are entirely of our own making.

        Wrong. The laws of economics – precisely like the laws of physics – work regardless of human intention or desires to the contrary, and are anything butentirely of our own making.”

        This is the reason why economics is so commonly referred to as “the dismal science.” The honest and recondite economist invariably tells the politicians what will happen if and when they turn the engines of civil government to perverse operations in the ostensible pursuit of some allegedly beneficial outcome, and that sure as hell harshes the politicians’ mellow.

        Dishonest and stupid credentialed whores masquerading as “economists” – like the whores masquerading as “climatologists” on Dr. Mann’s Hockey Team – have commonly offered false conjectures as if those excuses for government interferences in the marketplace were genuinely congruent with the repeatedly proven (and never, ever, contravened laws of economics), and politicians thereupon engage aggressive coercion to force people to act or refrain from action on the bases of those specious “policy recommendations.”

        But, of course, the laws of economics always operate, and always lead the victims of those “policy recommendations” into disaster.

        I would recommend that tempterrain read a bit of Frédéric Bastiat, with particular emphasis on his essay “Ce qu’on voit et ce qu’on ne voit pas” (1850), from a translation of which we draw:

        In the department of economy, an act, a habit, an institution, a law, gives birth not only to an effect, but to a series of effects. Of these effects, the first only is immediate; it manifests itself simultaneously with its cause – it is seen. The others unfold in succession – they are not seen: it is well for us, if they are foreseen. Between a good and a bad economist this constitutes the whole difference: the one takes account only of the visible effect; the other takes account of both the effects which are seen and those which it is necessary to foresee. Now this difference is enormous, for it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favourable, the ultimate consequences are fatal, and the converse. Hence it follows that the bad economist pursues a small present good, which will be followed by a great evil to come, while the true economist pursues a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil.

        Unless, of course, the objective of tempterrain is to impose permanent and unremitting “evil” upon his fellow human beings.

        In which case, I recommend that he sticks with Marx and Keynes and Bernanke.

      • Ah you still here? The pointless pursuing the incomprehensible – it is a mad, paranoid whirl through the nether regions of economics and philosophy. You make tt look good.

      • Thanks chief. I wouldn’t have thought that I could possibly find myself siding with you in any of these debates but Rich showed that I was wrong to think that. So , credit where credit is due!

        I did think of saying something in your support at one point too, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to do that in the end. Anyway I’m sure you can cope perfectly well on your own.

      • I wouldn’t get carried away – it is only in comparison to Richy who is hardly a cool dude.

      • Nope, not “hardly a cool dude.”

        Just irrefutably right where tempterrain (the National Socialist) and Chief Hydrologist (the “pragmatic” and doomed-to-failure partisan of the Red Faction) are dead wrong.

        What perfect reflections of the big, “bipartisan” Boot on Your Neck Party incumbency these Tweedlediddled specimens truly are.

      • What is the conservative agenda? Capitalism depends on the rule of law and a functioning civil society. Modern economic principle is far from laissez faire – but certainly a government sector that is less than 30% of GPD. Good corporate governance (fairness in markets), adequate prudential oversight (is the lesson learnt yet?), management of interest rates (to prevent asset bubbles) and restraint in the printing of money. Democracy, the rule of law, the rights to private property and other individual freedoms are fundamental values of our enlightenment heritage. Not even remotely negotiable – to be defended with bodies and bullets if need be.

        So if they want solutions they should look at integrating the Lomberg priorities with the Millennium Development Goals in a 2010 London School of Economics 2010 Hartwell Paper framework.

        What is to stop the right taking back the policy initiative? Nothing at all but the absurd rants of a pissant libertarian.

      • Well done, Chief. I’m close to you in what you write here but have a couple of questions. I won’t take offence if you don’t answer, for it seems a little off topic for climategate. But once genies are out of bottles …

        I agree about the need for “adequate prudential oversight (is the lesson learnt yet?), management of interest rates (to prevent asset bubbles) and restraint in the printing of money” given the system we have. But during the 2008 crunch I took another look at the gold standard and came across Antal Fekete’s ideas about Adam Smith’s Real Bills Doctrine being an essential part of the picture when gold really worked – 1815-1914 particularly. I now see Real Bills as the essential clearing system for gold-backed currency – leading to honest money that protects the poor that both left and right should support. (Sandeep Jaitly described this well in an interview with Max Keiser in February – starting around 13:30.) Any thoughts?

        Second, our “enlightenment heritage”. Would you include John Wesley as a part of the English Enlightenment, as Gertrude Himmelfarb argues he should be? If so, I have much less problem with the heritage. But some people wouldn’t include Wesley, to put it mildly. Their ideas I’m not so cool about inheriting from, for reasons John Gray gives, among others. Again, reactions welcome.

      • A gold standard in a world where politicians print money? Perhaps.

        I would include the reformation as a first phase of the enlightenment – so why not Wesley.

      • The problem with governments compared to businesses is that a business that stuffs up pays the consequence shutting down, so there is a natural self-correcting mechanism. However, if a government puts a bad policy, everyone suffers. Governments must be very careful when implementing policy, especially the proposed artificial increase in fossil fuel price, when billions live in poverty.

      • Girma, if only that were true. Corporations, especially large corporations, are often pathetically inefficient. Some are run so badly it simply wouldn’t be allowed in government departments. Sometimes large corporations are run so badly they fail completely and affect a large number of people adversely. Think Enron, Barings, many others.

        It is simply isn’t the case that government run enterprises are necessarily poor. Some in fact are good to excellent. The irony over capitalism and libertarianism, is that unchecked, it can lead to conditions opposite of what is intended.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        The corporations you speak of are no longer in business. But the social democrats are with us always. Free markets are self correcting.

      • But some ARE still in business and bumbling along with pathetic inefficiency. Ask some foot soldiers in these organisations about waste and corporate bureaucracy. If it were a government department it would make the news, but it is endemic in some places. And why do they not fall by the wayside such as with those other spectacular fails? Because often the competition is no better. They cut costs by often by how hard they can screw their work force, not replacing people or making people redundant and expecting those remaining to pick up the slack.

        I suggest you spend some time reading Dilbert. It might be funny, but it is in no way an exaggeration.

      • The corporation you speak of – are no longer in business. You obviously take your economics from comic strips?

      • At 3:53 AM on 4 August, on the subject of corporate dinosaurs dea but still staggering along on what appears to be inertia, Agnostic states that:

        …some are still in business and bumbling along with pathetic inefficiency. Ask some foot soldiers in these organisations about waste and corporate bureaucracy. If it were a government department it would make the news, but it is endemic in some places. And why do they not fall by the wayside such as with those other spectacular fails? Because often the competition is no better.

        Nah. Having spent some of my life immured both in a government bureaucracy and in such dead-from-the-neck-up Dilbertian corporations (invariably dealing, at one remove or another with government regulators, much to my frustration and disgust), I’m inclined by personal experience to give little credit to the Fourth Estate’s perspicacity in exposing any such “government department.”

        First, the chittering root-weevils of the MSM are in love with government on whatever serves them in lieu of principle, and in their cankered little hearts, they really, really want government shoved into every orifice in the private citizen’s body, with piercings to make new holes so that even more government can be shoved agonizingly into the victims.

        For their own good, of course.

        Second, those businesses which are still “bumbling along with pathetic inefficiency” long after the point at which the should have undergone liquidation will be found quite reliably to have had senior management either politically connected in some way that had functioned to shift costs and risk to the taxpayers or Enronic in their “creative accounting practices.”

        Most commonly both, purchasing or renting incumbent politicians and bureaucrats with Fannie Mae fervor to evade even the laughable illusion of “government regulation.”

        Can you say “Senator Christopher Dodd”? How about “Representative Barney Frank”?

        Yes, government bureaus are a bloody mess. It’s their natural condition. Were that not the case, then Dr. David Graham – the guy who blew the whistle on Vioxx (rofecoxib, Merck) in 2004 – would, for example, be the Commissioner of the FDA instead of associate director of the FDA’s Office of New Drugs (OND).

        The only way that the big corporations in the nominally private sector continue to stagger along when their component parts ought to be ripped away and sold off to people who know how to make productive use of them is that we are living today in a mixed economy, where government intervention puts these shambling corpses onto taxpayer-funded life support to sustain the illusion of viability long after they’re stinkin’ up the joint with their putrescence.

        No mixed economy, no more Zombies From the Boardroom.

      • Oh my God – yes we read it once and will not bother again.

      • Free markets are self correcting.

        Self-correcting for what influences?

        Self-correcting for the ability to profit from selling toxic products? For taking short-term gain at the expense of the larger public and less influential investors?

      • Yes – the worst possible system. Other than all the others.

      • Agnostic Corporations, especially large corporations, are often pathetically inefficient.

        (a) How do you know this?
        (b) In market system, the pathetically inefficient would be competed out of business. Only government interference could keep them in place. Have you yet identified the offending economic regulation ?

        Some are run so badly it simply wouldn’t be allowed in government departments.

        A bizarre comment. Government has no way of even knowing what good managemrnt is – since it has no voluntary customers or investors, and a cast-iron guarantee of never having to face competition.

      • “Government has no way of even knowing what good managemrnt is – since it has no voluntary customers or investors, and a cast-iron guarantee of never having to face competition.”

        Not so, not so, and not so. I believe a lot of you are arguing from a perspective that is likely US-bound. It simply isn’t the case that it is given that a private corporation is necessarily more efficient than a government one. It is NOT the case that private enterprise provides necessarily better management than in government, nor is it the case that government is competition free.

        I am certain you will find plenty of examples where government run enterprises (whether it is a health service, social care, transport police etc) has inefficiencies or incompetencies, but there is also plenty of examples where the same culture of inefficiency exists within private corporations. And it is rationalising simply to claim that the heads of inefficient organizations must be quangos of the government of some sort.

        This is not the forum in which to go into this deeply enough to fully illustrate the point – it is nearly as complex as climate science itself. Suffice to say that, like climate science, the conclusions are never that obvious. The consequence of capitalism and liberalism is that it can create exactly the conditions it abhorrs, and likewise socialism can create inequality and unfairness that it strives to prevent.

        In answer to “How do I know this?”, relentless anecdotes from the many I have encountered in my time, both good and bad, a great deal read from both libertarian an socialist commentators, and other forms of absorbing information that we are all familiar with. Also in my line of work I have worked on documentaries discussing such things. Am I an authority? Of course not, but I don’t live in the US, I live in Europe with its polyglot of political flavours. It is extremely apparent to me that those you living in the US are very one-eyed about how the world can or does work. Things on which you have formed an opinion on there do not necessarily apply in other parts of the world.

      • (a) How do you know this?
        (b) In market system, the pathetically inefficient would be competed out of business. Only government interference could keep them in place. Have you yet identified the offending economic regulation ?

        This is what I love about libertarians.

        First, they say that a “free market” has never existed. Then they go on, with absolute certainty, to tell us how a “free market” would behave.

  48. Liberalism, In a nutshell, involves a predominately consensual society – one where, to the greatest possible degree, people control their own lives and property, by voluntary intersaction with others; but not the lives and property of others.
    The opposite is Totalitarianism (aka socialism, fascism, communism ), which is a predominately coercive society, where some people control and exploit others as much as possible, by means of the state’s violence/force.

    • Socialism is not the same as totalitarianism.

      • Latimer Alder

        There have been (very) few socialist states that were not totalitarian.

        So although socialism and totalitarianism are not synonymous, observation shows that they very frequently go together,

      • AT 5:27 AM on 5 August, Latimer Adler had written that:

        …although socialism and totalitarianism are not synonymous, observation shows that they very frequently go together.

        Not “frequently.” Necessarily. As Mrs. O’Connor put it about fifty years ago:

        Under fascism, citizens retain the responsibilities of owning property, without freedom to act and without any of the advantages of ownership. Under socialism, government officials acquire all the advantages of ownership, without any of the responsibilities, since they do not hold title to the property, but merely the right to use it – at least until the next purge. In either case, the government officials hold the economic, political and legal power of life or death over the citizens.

        Needless to say, under either system, the inequalities of income and standard of living are greater than anything possible under a free economy – and a man’s position is determined, not by his productive ability and achievement, but by political pull and force.

        Under both systems, sacrifice is invoked as a magic, omnipotent solution in any crisis – and “the public good” is the altar on which victims are immolated. But there are stylistic differences of emphasis. The socialist-communist axis keeps promising to achieve abundance, material comfort and security for its victims, in some indeterminate future. The fascist-Nazi axis scorns material comfort and security, and keeps extolling some undefined sort of spiritual duty, service and conquest. The socialist-communist axis offers its victims an alleged social ideal. The fascist-Nazi axis offers nothing but loose talk about some unspecified form of racial or national “greatness.” The socialist-communist axis proclaims some grandiose economic plan, which keeps receding year by year. The fascist-Nazi axis merely extols leadership – leadership without purpose, program or direction – and power for power’s sake.

        Deprive people of the unimpaired right to property (which is the essence of all forms of socialism, whether “Red Faction” or “Blue Faction” in these United States at present) and the exercise of their discretion in purposeful action, and what you’ve got is certainly not freedom but rather a degree – ever trending to increase – in authoritarianism.

        That’s socialism, and the apologists for this preposterous political bogosity be damned.

    • Socialism is not the same as totalitarianism

      Socialism means state control supplanting voluntary social interaction.
      Totalitarianism means total state control, so total socialism.

      Is that the difference you had in mind ?

  49. Climate scepticism ‘on the rise’, BBC poll shows

    Given that this flies in the face if the beeb’s traditional blinkered political-correctness, and in particular its climate alarmist line, this is report must then some basis in truth – it’s hardly something they want us to know.

  50. The AGW skepticism was around long before the climategate emails were made public.
    Since in scientists minds all the uncertainty is settled with regards to temperature study. As long as it does not include regional irregularities, difference in the circumference at regions to the line of solar penetration, circular motion of this planet, pressure of the atmosphere, evaporation and precipitation, momentum motion of the solar system and sun, density differences, friction of molecular motion with regards to density of heated and cold molecules, past speeds of the planet, more water on this planet in the past, etc.
    Most of these are unobserved actions which have an incredible effect on the current observed science.

  51. The recent budget battle in Washington, DC means some political leaders have heard the message of climate skeptics.

    We should all be grateful that the response of world leaders and scientific organizations to Climategate exposed the plan adopted in secrecy by international agreement between East and West on 21-28 Feb 1972 to save the world from the danger of annihilation in nuclear warfare by compromising the integrity of government funded science.

    We have physically survived in an increasingly totalitarian world government with tightly controlled information for four decades.

    Thanks to Climategate and the brave souls who challenged fraudulent climate science, our basic civil rights and the integrity of all fields of science may yet be restored.

  52. John Whitman

    There is no genie involved in Climategate nor magical bottle that can hold Climategate.

    But there is the following.

    From Rasmussen Reports, August 3 2011,

    “”””The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of American Adults shows that 69% say it’s at least somewhat likely that some scientists have falsified research data in order to support their own theories and beliefs, including 40% who say this is Very Likely. Twenty-four percent (24%) don’t think it’s likely some scientists have falsified global warming data, including just six percent (6%) say it’s Not At All Likely. Another 10% are undecided. “”””

    John

    • John Whitman

      h/t to Bishop Hill commenter Adalb @ Aug 3, 2011 at 7:24 PM in the BH post entitled ‘UEA and the Outside Organisation’

  53. I am astonished at the number of responses that my two short posts on the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Innovations blog have prompted on the Chronicle itself, here, and a few other places. My thanks to Judith Curry for drawing attention to what I wrote and doing so in a temperate if mildly skeptical manner. Dr. Curry surprises me a little when she writes that, “While I find [John Mashey, Anna Haynes, and Deep Climate's] rhetoric and some of their tactics to be often rather distasteful, what they are doing is (for the most part) legitimate investigation.”

    I wouldn’t want to say that everything they do is illegitimate, but I find it hard to believe that the vitriolic personal attacks, slanderous innuendo, and scorched-earth tactics aimed at discrediting critics are in any sense “legitimate.” The tenor of these attacks has been to imply that if X criticizes Michael Mann, mentions the statistical irregularities in the Climate Research Unit’s reports, or draws attention to any discrepancies at all in AGW theory, X must be in the employ (or otherwise under the influence of) the energy industry or some sinister cabal of forces intent on continuing the rapacious capitalist destruction of the planet.

    The search for “discrediting” information doesn’t take the form of looking for errors in X’s argument. It takes the form of poring over the record of X’s life and professional connections with the hope of finding anything at all that might be used against him. The spirit of this enterprise is partly prosecutorial and partly conspiratorial. The possibility that X might have an honest and more or less well-informed opinion is simply dismissed out of hand.

    I have been X in this particular case, but I am only one of numerous Xs that have come under this kind of fire. Being X doesn’t especially bother me, since it it has led to a healthy and vigorous examination of the tactics employed by some AGW proponents. And it has also drawn some welcome attention to my organization.

    Dr. Curry, consider this an invitation to join NAS. The same goes for everyone (or nearly everyone) who has been contributing to this thread. We have about 3,000 active members and we are as we say we are, a non-partisan organization concerned with the integrity of higher education. NAS is a good intellectual home base for people concerned about matters such as this. And we don’t have a settled position on AGW. Go to our website, http://www.nas.org/ to read more about NAS and, if you wish, to join. (Costs $42, which includes a subscription to our quarterly journal, Academic Questions.) End of advertisement.

    Back to the point: the volume of the response to my articles is astonishing, but no less astonishing is the degree to which the people I was criticizing have responded (in the Chronicle and on various other blogs) by displaying exactly the tactics that I was trying to draw attention to. I guess I should be grateful.

    Peter Wood

    • Peter, thanks for stopping by. I did clarify my statement about Haynes and Mashey with this comment:

      The Climate Auditors (McIntyre et al.) are auditing the science, and also institutional procedures that should be protecting the integrity of science. I definitely find this commendable. The science put forward by skeptics that manages to get published is quickly argued and rebutted (see e.g. Trenberth and Fasullo over at Real Climate.)

      John Mashey, Deep Climate, and Anna Haynes are auditing the Climate Auditors primarily by looking at their funding sources, scoping out obscure links with libertarian think tanks, and John Mashey’s hunt for plagiarism. The fact that those auditing the Climate Auditors cant do any better than this rather speaks for itself.

    • John Whitman

      Peter Wood,

      Thanks for showing!

      It is refreshing to finally see an organization involving scholars take a critical position on climategate and the defenders thereof.

      I hope you success.

      John

    • Peter,
      Welcome and thank you for your essays.
      The anti-intellectual attacks you experienced are par for the course when dealing with AGW fanatics.

    • I wouldn’t want to say that everything they do is illegitimate, but I find it hard to believe that the vitriolic personal attacks, slanderous innuendo, and scorched-earth tactics aimed at discrediting critics are in any sense “legitimate.”

      Yes, indeed. Thank God we never see anything like that from “skeptics.”

      Too funny.

    • Peter –
      Welcome to the zoo. And thank you for bringing this subject to light so effectively. And based on the reaction, it was effective.

      I have also been X – for the last 12 years. Not as publicly as you apparently are at the moment, but still an interesting experience, although not one I planned for my life. But for better or worse, I think I will remain so for the rest of my life. Fortunately, I’m not a stationary target – and I do shoot back.

      Again, thank you.

      Prior to that

    • Peter, I love the term thuggery and hope it catches on. A more polite term is probably militancy, as this is basically a political civil war, not a scientific debate. But the term thug is certainly appropriate when the militant is burning your car, or just investigating your family.

      However I am astonished that you are astonished. These folks have had a dossier on me for 15 years, so I just figured everyone knew about and accepted the thuggery. (cf: http://www.desmogblog.com/global-warming-denier-database — but you are not yet there.) I see now that this is actually news. Very interesting.

      There is a lot of thuggery going on in education, that you might want to look at.

  54. Compare ClimateGate’s hiding the decline, deleting data, and it is a travesty that we cannot account for the lack of warming with Feynamn’s thought on doing science:

    It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty–a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid

    Richard Feynman

    http://bit.ly/CHGmZ

    When is the scientific community to return science to its old purity?

    How sad!

  55. Hardball, are we still in the dark ages and have the mob unfluence our destiny. For God’s sake allow science to give an unbiased explanation to the climate changes that have occured through the ages including the stone age. People should know what causes the earth to under go changes and the impact the sun has on those changes.

    • …allow science to give an unbiased explanation…

      Harry, this will not happen until the charlatan leadings lights of climate science have been brought to heel or expelled.

  56. Turns out the Climategate hole is getting even deeper in the USA. latest poll says 69% of Americans believe climate scientists are cheating:
    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/environment_energy/69_say_it_s_likely_scientists_have_falsified_global_warming_research

  57. At 1:50 AM on 4 August, I wrote a comment addressing Jim Owen‘s response to Joshua‘s silly contention that the financial meltdowns in Iceland (and elsewhere) had been caused by “capitalistic greed.”

    In the course of my comment, I wrote that:

    The nature of fractional reserve banking is such that it is intrinsically inflationary, and therefore fundamentally unstable. The degree of instability at any given moment depends upon the confidence of depositors that they will be able to draw upon their accounts at need, within the specifications of their contractual relationships with their banks.

    Banking is a confidence game.

    And then the markets opened this morning and proved it.

    No confidence.

  58. First off while I am not a “climate scientist” I have a masters degree in physics so am not someone just off the street either. My opinion is that the actions of some of these scientists have put climate science in a position where it deserves to be. All this data hiding, dramatic declarations of doom, ad hominem attacks on skeptics and hand waving dismissal of other arguments (like Spencer or cosmic rays)- none of this has a place in modern science. The people should be skeptical of the climate science community especially since valuable tax dollars in large amounts are being used to fund this research, which is leading to carbon taxes, cap and trade and EPA regulations times twelve. Some astronomers are predicting that because of solar factors the climate could cool significantly in coming years – if it does I hope that funding for research into AGW is cut, cut, cut. Many in the field simply deserve it.

    I recently read “The Beginning of Infinity” by Oxford Physicist David Deutsch, and he talked about how a rebellion against authority (as far as knowledge) was a key ingredient of the enlightenment. This attitude should continue. Rather than trying to “establish” the authority of “climate scientists” or the IPCC, they should instead welcome criticism and admit that their most cherished idea – that CO2 is the prime driver of 20th century and current climate – could be dead wrong.

    • At 3:21 PM on 3 August, dmmcmah had detailed some of the departures from ethical professional conduct among the certified charlatans posing as “climate scientists” in the great AGW fraud, writing that: …people should be skeptical of the climate science community especially since valuable tax dollars in large amounts are being used to fund this research, which is leading to carbon taxes, cap and trade and EPA regulations times twelve. Some astronomers are predicting that because of solar factors the climate could cool significantly in coming years – if it does I hope that funding for research into AGW is cut, cut, cut. Many in the field simply deserve it.
      My inclination, of course, is not only to accept this position but also to advocate for securing restitution of these “valuable tax dollars” as having been sought and obtained on the basis of their recipients having knowingly uttered falsehoods in their applications for funding.

      My own work in grant applications has been in clinical research and continuing medical education (CME), and these documents were prepared for submission to supporters in the private sector, so I’m not entirely certain how the boilerplate works in devising appeals to the armed thugs of government, so I’d welcome the input of investigators who have experience of preparing and reviewing such documents in seeking the fiscal support of los Federales.

      But I’d suspect that the penalty clauses required above the signatures before the bureaucrats will flood the pork into the applicants’ troughs include some pretty bloodthirsty language when it comes to cases in which such funding is sought under false pretenses.

      And have we discussed what the members of the Plaintiff’s Bar are going to do to the CRU correspondents pantsed in the Climategate revelations when the question of joint and several liability for both compensatory and punitive civil monetary damages comes into the courts of law?

  59. At 3:36 AM on 5 August and spaghetti-ing away above, we have the “pragmatist” compromiser Chief Hydrologist demanding that each of us must swallow only half enough potassium cyanide to kill a hundred men, setting forth:

    What is the conservative agenda? Capitalism depends on the rule of law and a functioning civil society. Modern economic principle is far from laissez faire – but certainly a government sector that is less than 30% of GPD. Good corporate governance (fairness in markets), adequate prudential oversight (is the lesson learnt yet?), management of interest rates (to prevent asset bubbles) and restraint in the printing of money. Democracy, the rule of law, the rights to private property and other individual freedoms are fundamental values of our enlightenment heritage. Not even remotely negotiable – to be defended with bodies and bullets if need be.

    So if they want solutions they should look at integrating the Lomberg priorities with the Millennium Development Goals in a 2010 London School of Economics 2010 Hartwell Paper framework.

    What is to stop the right taking back the policy initiative? Nothing at all but the absurd rants of a pissant libertarian.

    This gradualist crap is, of course, how we got into the present mess to begin with.

    For all his evocations of von Hayek, Chief Hydrologist typifies the never-to-be-denied (or escaped) rotten unworkability of “the conservative agenda” pretty much precisely as von Hayek had condemned it in 1960.

    If there’s a sound principle anywhere in Chief Hydrologist‘s second-handed scheme above, there’s sure as hell no indication of it. Let’s see; we’ve got “fairness in markets” (who gets to judge what’s “fair”?), “adequate prudential [government thug] oversights” (who determines what’s “adequate“?), “management of interest rates…to prevent asset bubbles” (“management” provided by popularity contest winners under the guidance of banksters and academically credentialed Keynesian economists, of course), and “restraint in the printing of money.”

    Gotta like that last one most of all, don’tcha? Such a blithe, religious faith in the ability of government goons to sustain “restraint in the printing of money” despite the fact that such “restraint” has never been maintained at any time anywhere in the history of currency, and surely not in the near-century record of the U.S. Federal Reserve System.

    I think it can be reliably inferred that Chief Hydrologist has never heard of (much less read) the late Murray Rothbard’s What Has Government Done to Our Money? (1963), or even Andrew Dickson White’s much earlier classic treatise, Fiat Money Inflation in France (1912), both of which are freely available online in their entireties.

    Is Chief Hydrologist historically illiterate as well as illiterate in economics? You betcha.

    The “pissant libertarian” appreciation of political economics that Chief Hydrologist hates so venomously grits in his “pragmatic” craw precisely because Chief Hydrologist knows – and cannot escape knowing even though he’s a relative ignoramus in praxeology – that it’s absolutely correct.

    Vesting any economic power at all – even under carefully codified “rule of law” statutory and regulatory restraints – in the officers of civil government is (as it has always been) the perfect recipe for the impairment and eventual devastation of the productive sector of civil society.

    As we’re seeing right now, world-wide.

    Among the other fundamental and fatal flaws in “the conservative agenda” as outlined by Chief Hydrologist above – a temporization at best, attempting cement-headedly to peddle the notion that a dose of poison only ten or twenty or fifty times the level required to kill us is better than clearly identifying and fixing the goddam problem – is that it concedes to “the left” (typified by “Liberal” fascists like our beloved tempterrain) that there is any kind of legitimate “fairness in markets” role to be played by the officers of government in the voluntary exchanges of goods and services which comprise the economy.

    As the predatory specimens on “the left” have proven again and again throughout modern history, granting them any such concession is a guarantee that they’ll keep pushing – and people on “the right” like Chief Hydrologist will be endlessly compromising “pragmatically” to accommodate them – to achieve their socialist authoritarian goals.

    Jeez, with “friends” like Chief Hydrologist and the rest of those pushing “the conservative agenda” he’s outlined, if you’re interested in the “pissant libertarian” objective of preserving individual human rights, you can just feel that knife sticking out of your back, can’tcha?

  60. There are two incidents which Wood brings up as thuggery which are nothing of the sort. Wood’s accounts are distorted, and leave out facts which put these stories in an entirely different light from that which he claims.

    There is the charge that Heidi Cullen was a guilty of trying to get meteorologists, who didn’t believe in AGW, fired from the Weather Channel. Who was Wood’s authority for that story?
    Wood didn’t say, but it was actually – Rush Limbaugh! Is Rush Limbaugh a credible source for anything? In fact Dr Cullen was the only Climatologist at the Weather Channel; and wanted to add the topic of global warming to the exam that meteorologists are given, before they are hired to work at the weather channel. I don’t believe this represents thuggery!

    Wood also claimed that the EPA issued a “gag order” against economist Alan Carlin because he opposed global warming. The fact is that Carlin was an economist working for the EPA and made an unsolicited comment about the climate science in EPA report that dealt with Climate Change. Since Carlin was not paid to work as a climatologist, they ignored his comments. He is an amateur climatologist who has his own blog on the internet, where he is free to say what he wants. This can hardly be described as thuggery either.

    Wood’s complaints of thuggery have no validity whatever!

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