McKitrick on the IPCC

by Judith Curry

Ross McKitrick writes:

I am pleased to announce the publication of a report I have written that provides systematic detail on the procedures of the IPCC and makes the case for reforming them. My study, called What is Wrong With the IPCC? A Proposal for Radical Reform, was published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation in the U.K., and includes a foreword by the Hon. John Howard, former prime minister of Australia.

Editorial in Financial Post

In an editorial for the Financial Post, McKitrick writes:

The first thing to note about this report is that it is not about science. It is about the policies, procedures and administrative structures in the IPCC. A third of the report consists simply of explanations of how the IPCC works. The more people learn such details, the more they will see that the IPCC does not come close to living up to the hype.

Most people would not consider themselves sufficiently well-trained to adjudicate conflicting claims on the science of global warming. But you don’t have to be a scientist to be capable of understanding when an investigative procedure is biased. The IPCC assessment process has material defects, which are sufficiently serious and numerous to put into question the soundness of some of its most heavily promoted claims.

What are some of the flaws? IPCC report-writing teams are cherry-picked in an opaque process by a secretive bureau in Geneva, with no effective requirements to ensure representation of diverse viewpoints. Environmentalist campaign groups are heavily overrepresented in the resulting author lists. Conflicts of interest abound throughout the report-writing process, whereby select authors are asked to review their own work and that of their critics, inevitably concluding in their own favour. The expert review process has become little more than elegant stagecraft, creating an illusion of adversarial cross-examination while concealing the reality of unchecked author bias. Unlike in regular academic peer review procedures, IPCC authors are allowed to overrule reviewers, and even to rewrite the text after the close of the peer review process.

For instance, I discuss the problem that IPCC chapter authors are able to recruit contributing authors (CAs) in an opaque process that does not ensure a diversity of views. The resulting uniformity is obvious simply from looking at the list of authors, but we can now see the confirmatory evidence in the email traffic. In a pair of emails (nos. 0714 and 3205), ­IPCC lead author Phil Jones goes through lists of possible CAs with his IPCC coauthor Kevin Trenberth, declaring “Getting people we know and trust is vital.” He then categorizes his recommendations based, not on whether the person is the most qualified but on whether the person is “on the right side” (namely agrees with him), or whether he “trusts” him or not. At one point he dismisses a particular expert who “has done a lot but I don’t trust him.” This kind of cronyism is shown by the emails to be rampant in the IPCC.

In principle I think the IPCC could be fixed, but nobody should underestimate how much needs to change. The chief obstacle to reform is that it is governed by an unwieldy 195-member plenary panel that appears to be apathetic and overly deferential to the IPCC Bureau it is supposed to oversee. To some extent the Canadian delegation has been a lone voice seeking improvements to procedures, but such concerns have hitherto been ignored.

To those countries that truly seek objective, balanced and rigorous information about climate science on which to base momentous policy decisions, my key recommendation is to begin pushing for reforms, but not to wait forever. If the ­IPCC cannot be fixed quickly, governments that are serious about making good climate-policy decisions should be prepared to withdraw from it and create a new assessment body, free of the serious defects of the current model.

A proposal for radical reform

From McKitrick’s study published by GWPF, Recommendations for Reform:

The main principle to guide reform is that the IPCC review system should operate less like a voluntary public comment process and more like a structured journal peer review process. While journal peer review has flaws of its own, the basic idea herein is that the IPCC should have a review process no weaker than academic journals. This would imply adoption of changes to ensure:

  • Text is finalized under reviewer oversight
  • All text is assigned to at least two independent reviewers
  • All analysis is transparent and reproducible
  • The entire process is overseen by a neutral editorial entity.

The fact that the changes necessary to bring these things about will involve far-reaching structural reforms indicates how much weaker the IPCC review process is compared to academic journals, despite popular perceptions to the contrary.

Recommendation 1: an objective and transparent lead author selection procedure.

Recommendation 2: a transparent contributing author recruitment process.

Recommendation 3: appointment of an editorial advisory board and identification of potentially controversial sections.

Recommendation 4: explicit assignment of both section authorship and reviewer positions.

Recommendation 5: Adoption of an iterative process to achieve a final text under the joint supervision of authors, reviewers and editors.

Recommendation 6: adoption of a procedure for seeking technical input when necessary from outside the list of authors and reviewers during the assessment process.

Recommendation 7: due diligence regarding key supporting papers and full disclosure of all data and methods used to produce original ipcc Figures and tables.

Recommendation 8: immediate online publication of the full report upon finalization, prior to production of summary.

Recommendation 9: production of summary by ad hoc group appointed by the panel based on recommendations from the editorial advisory board.

Recommendation 10: release of all drafts, review comments, responses and author correspondence records within 3 months of online publication of the full report.

Recommendation 11: that the nations involved in the ipcc panel begin these reforms at once, and if such a process cannot be initiated then those national governments that seek objective and sound advice on climate change issues should withdraw from the ipcc and begin the process of creating a new assessment body free of the deficiencies identified herein.

JC comments: I think McKitrick’s analysis of the problems with the IPCC is good, and his recommendations are worthwhile.  But IMO the problems with the IPCC are fundamentally structural.  The IPCC connection to the UNFCCC, the narrow framing of the scientific problem, and the consensus seeking approach are the key problems IMO.  Further, the way the IPCC is set up, it can pretty much ignore the recommendations from IAC (and presumably just about anyone else for that matter).  The key issue is whether the national governments are happy (or not) with what is going on with the IPCC.  Richared Tol has argued on a previous thread that the national governments seem to be happy with the IPCC.

For reference, here are some recent threads on the IPCC:

672 responses to “McKitrick on the IPCC

  1. I’m going to sound like a broken record or a Muller fanboy, but if BEST essentially disposes of the hypothesis of biased researchers produceng biased resultes by confirming the resulets in an unbiased and fully transparent way.. isn’t it rather over the top to call the analysis of McKitrick — which ignores this result of BEST — “good” or his many recommendations (while I admit, they’re mainly commonsensical precautions .. and some of them are already SOP for IPCC anyway) “worthwhile” or IPCC’s problems “fundamentally” structural?

    Isn’t it more of, Dr. McKitrick didn’t find anything new, dramatic or important so he wrote a platitudinous book surrounded by the same sort of well-orchestrated hype that he laments in his target, and people are nodding uncritically in unthoughtful dyskepticism?

    • No. And here’s why: Hypothetically, if all of the WG1 conclusions are provably as correct (including high climate sensitivity), you’re still a long ways from supporting the policy recommendations. At the very least, the horror scenarios in WG2 have to come under equal scrutiny (and they haven’t, because everybody’s been distracted by WG1) before you even have justification for action. And if you think the WG1 controversy is bloody, just wait until the fight shifts to WG2.

      • You are right, P.E. I am grateful to Professor Ross McKitrick, former Australia Prime Minister John Howard, Dr Benny Peiser, and others associated with the Global Warming Policy Foundation for this study identifying and explaining “What is wrong with the IPCC.”

        The problem that starts with the control of research funds by politicians has justifiably destroyed confidence in the UN’s IPCC, the US NAS, the UK RS, and leading research journals and scientific organizations in the formerly “Free West.”

        Major fields of science and technology have been corrupted by the politically motivated decisions of the “scientific-technological elite” [1] that President Eisenhower warned about in the second portion of his 1961 farewell address:

        http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ike.htm

        For example, a misunderstanding of the nature of interactions between nucleons led to wrong, consensus conclusions about the nature of Earth’s heat source – the Sun – the causes of global climate change, and frustrated efforts to meet our future energy needs by efforts to mimic the imaginary controlled, hydrogen-fusion reactor operating in the Sun and other ordinary stars. The TFMSR (Thorium-Fuelled Molten Salt Reactors) may be the safest way for Western nations to meet future energy needs, but only if political leaders have the courage to insist that the waste products not be left for other countries or future generations to dispose.

        http://www.itheo.org/articles/china-announces-thorium-energy-project

      • P.E.

        Imagine my chagrin at finding myself on the opposite side of a question from yourself and Oliver Manuel.

        Well, I would be, if either of you approached the topic of bias, and how tepid Dr. McKitrick’s efforts are to address either the IPCC’s or his own prior record in the days before scientists like Dr. Muller upped the game, compared with the hype of the Financial Post.

        But as you both remain off topic, it’s hard to know where you stand.

      • Many fields of science were compromised, Bart, in the campaign to show the Sun is a steady source of heat and cannot cause climate change: Astronomy, astrophysics, climatology, cosmology, nuclear, particle and solar physics.

        That is the real tragedy lurking in the “Deep roots of the global climate scandal (1971-2011)”

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

      • Oliver K. Manuel,
        What the … is your deal anyways? You come on this site and make some statement about the sun’s core or that the sun is the source of heat.
        Well of course everyone agrees with the latter, and so I can only assume that you are trying to prank everyone here and that you probably just adopted the identity of a some former NASA scientist who is long retired and sitting in a recliner somewhere, with everyone none the wiser.
        No one answers to you because you have nothing interesting to say, never have, and never will. Nice going there.

      • While the suns reaction is somewhat static in fusion terms the inner workings of the core are not. This is where the above listed sciences get it wrong. Magnetism is energy transference. This is the area of the reaction that we have little or no information on and have serious problems quantifying. Magnetic waves have a discernible effect on the earths climatic systems. most of which we do not understand.

        While i respect many in the fields they are missing the forest through the trees.

      • Magnetic waves have a discernible effect on the earths climatic systems. most of which we do not understand.

        They are called electromagnetic waves — a propagating wave comprising an electric field transverse to a magnetic field which defines EM radiation. The sun generates EM radiation which gets absorbed by the earth thus heating the surface and it’s atmosphere. This is all well understood, and is the first-order contributor to the average temperature of the earth.

        Magnetism is energy transference.

        What are you smoking? By that token, electrical charge is also energy transference.

        Magnetic waves do not exist on their own. You have to learn how to speak the lingo before you can contribute intelligently. Ask Oliver K. Manuel to see if you can borrow his dunce cap.

      • The integrity of government science and constitutional government are buried in the “Deep roots of the global climate scandal (1971-2011)”

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

        Why? Fear that the Cold War might lead to mutual nuclear annihilation of life on Earth. E.g., this 1962 message from USSR’s Nikita Khrushchev to USA’s President John F. Kennedy:

        http://www.ibiblio.org/expo/soviet.exhibit/x2jfk.html

        That fear persuaded world leaders to end the arms race and the space race in ~1971, to unite nations against a new common enemy – “‘global climate change”, and to hide, manipulate or ignore experimental data that falsified their game plan – AGW dogma.

        That same fear drives world leaders to ignore the wishes of voters and to use “bullying tactics” on smaller nations at climate talks.

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/nov/26/climate-change-talks-durban

        No, Web, I did not adopt the identity of “some former NASA scientist.” I still publish research papers: http://myprofile.cos.com/manuelo09

      • No, Web, I did not adopt the identity of “some former NASA scientist.” I still publish research papers: http://myprofile.cos.com/manuelo09

        I looked at it and you missed an important assumption that shoots down your theory.

        The fact that you exist doesn’t surprise me. The American Physical Society holds conferences where anyone can contribute any abstract they want as long as they pay their dues to the APS. I remember browsing through the APS meeting catalogs, when you would come across some wacko that would fill in an abstract box with a drawing of some (usually) geoscientific theory. The drawing would start out horizontal and then go vertical as the writer ran out of space in the box. It would often be an incredibly dense hand-drawing of some plate tectonics theory, as I recall. Among fellow grad students, we would often wonder if these scientists actually existed, as the rumor was that no one ever showed up to present these abstracts at the meetings.

        You no longer see these abstracts mainly because everything is submitted by text via the web, and the crude drawings don’t catch your eye as you skim through submissions. In this spring’s meeting of the APS, whenever the word “solar” was mentioned, 99.9% of the time the context was in terms of solar cells and photovoltaic physics. That is the future in science, and it is a fact that you are being left behind in chasing these phantoms that you see. Good luck with that.

      • I see that webhubtelescope has the need to belittle and demean… this is a sure sign of the failure of his argument. However, his misinformation does need to be addressed.

        Please quantify the effect of magnetic impulse waves caused by the core of the sun on the troposphere, mesosphere, stratosphere and thinner arctic regions…. current modeling only adjusts for the 0 – 30 deg Lat.. it does nothing in the other 60 because they cant quantify the reaction in varying terms…

        Nor can they quantify how gamma radiation affects the earths cloud cover. another energy input from other than the sun..

        both of these areas have significant potential impact on TSI at the surface of the earth greater than 15%. when you consider a simple 3% long term change will cause an ice age it becomes very important..

        by the way you can keep your dunce cap… it fits you perfectly…

      • Bill H | November 28, 2011 at 12:23 am |
        I see that webhubtelescope has the need to belittle and demean… this is a sure sign of the failure of his argument. However, his misinformation does need to be addressed.

        Please quantify the effect of magnetic impulse waves caused by the core of the sun on the troposphere,

        This is not about belittling. I am simply asking why must you make up fantasy physics? There is no such thing as “magnetic impulse waves”. I responded to the previous statement where you had called it “magnetic waves”. A varying magnetic filed will induce an electric field and this is what causes and electomagnetic wave. And now you stick in the “impulse” to further muck things up.

        And then you start talking about gamma rays, which are again electromagnetic radiation, not magnetic radiation, the latter which doesn’t exist. A magnetic field can exist, sure, but you certainly aren’t using any lingo that practitioners or scientists would use. When you start using the wrong terminology, it makes you look like you are making stuff up.

        Maybe you do have a physics or engineering degree, and you are just doing this to prank, much like your buddy Oliver K. Manuel seems to like to do.

    • Bart, there is a whole lot more to the issue of climate change and even more so the issue of manmade climate change than a temperature record.

      • Name it.

        List it.

        Be explicit.

        And then illustrate how McKitrick analysed and made qualified new valid recommendations on that, too.

        I’m all for being proved wrong.

        However, I point out, I’d expect the same standard of skepticism be applied to Dr. McKitrick, given his sketchy track record and pallid efforts in this case, as applied to me, an anonymous and uncredentialed plebian on a blog.

      • That would be hard work. The commentors here are too lazy to do hard work.

      • Try that garbage nonsense at Climate Audit, Whats Up With That, or The Air Vent and see how far you get. Unlike the corrupt Lysenkoists you come here to support, they actually follow the Scientific Method. All you have is the secret data, phony statistics, deceit and dishonesty of The Hockey Team.

      • It’s “Watts Up With That” not Whats Up With That…

        .

      • Try that garbage nonsense at Climate Audit, Whats Up With That, or The Air Vent and see how far you get.

        Kind of a non-sequitur threat, eh?

      • So those websites censor comments do they, Kind of like hiding the data?

      • randomengineer

        A temperature record doesn’t speak to attribution in that natural recovery from the LIA can’t be distinguished from human influence. This was the entire raison d’ etre for the hockey stick, and despite this there is no resolution. Without the crutch of extrapolation based on (possible mis)use of radiative physics there would be no argument.

        I have found it odd that the baseline herein is that of Hansen’s belief that he understands venus (after all he and Lacis were publishing about venus in the 1970’s) and all radiative physics arguments vis a vis earth climate can ultimately be traced back to this “understanding.” Problem here of course is that if Hansen is wrong about venus (and there’s reason to suspect that this is the case) then extrapolation about earth is a case of GIGO.

        A temp record in and of itself isn’t proof of anything other than the current era is slightly warmer than what preceeded it, and what preceeded THAT was colder. How you thin k you even have a case here much less proof is simply breathtaking.

      • There’s another issue with transferring analysis from Venus to Earth. The atmospheres are completely different. Among other things, Venus’ atmosphere doesn’t have any condensing liquids, or at least nothing comparable to what Earth has.

      • There’s another issue with transferring analysis from Venus to Earth. The atmospheres are completely different. Among other things, Venus’ atmosphere doesn’t have any condensing liquids, or at least nothing comparable to what Earth has.

        A lot of good it would do if Venus was exactly the same as Earth. There would be few differentiating characteristics, and the fact that it is so far away of course makes it difficult to get accurate and direct measurements to make comparisons against Earth. That Venus actually has much more CO2 in its atmosphere makes it a nice bounding condition.
        Carl Sagan also studied Venus early in his career and obviously figured this point out as well, since he wrote extensively about the runaway greenhouse effect. Try to guess if McKitrick even provided any of this background in his previous book.

        Mars and the moon also provide bounds to test the theories with.

      • A proper analysis would explain the mechanisms involved in the natural recovery from the Little Ice Age. Which has been done, but using models that cannot explain the 20th century warming without a CO2 forcing. The natural recovery from the LIA was caused by a decrease in the frequency of volcanic activity and an increase in solar activity, conditions which are not strong enough to continue the warming trend.

        And with respect to Venus and Earth comparisons, they used to be quite similar in that Venus did have condensibly gases in the past, namely water which is confirmed by the presence of excess deuterium in the present atmosphere of Venus now.

      • Have you read the PDF?

        Because your comments indicate that you either:

        (a) haven’t read it (*read * as opposed to skimmed) or

        (b) didn’t understand it.

        McKitrick is explicit about which areas of structure and governance are at fault, backs his opinions up with examples demonstrating how significant material difference was introduced into the official position without appropriate checks, and describes changes to guard against a recurrence (for just one area covered)

        It’s < 50 pages – I don't see how you could possibly get lost in it.

      • mrsean2k | November 27, 2011 at 6:15 am |

        (c) found it inadequate.

        I absolute agree I’ve been found to have slightly overstated the case in a smal way. If I’ve done it in one tenth the degree Dr. McKitrick has, then I’m perhaps verging on being guilty of the same faults as I’ve identified.

        So,

        On to part two of the deal: treat ‘Radical Reform’ in the same skeptical manner as you’ve treated my criticism. You’ve proven you can be skeptical when it suits you.

        Please, from McKitrick’s examples, show how the cost of the impacts McKitrick can actually find are in any way commensurate with the cost of his proposed solutions?

        How his proposed solutions avoid introducing new and possibly worse adverse outcomes?

        Which of the solutions isn’t already IPCC SOP?

        How his solutions are better than the far simpler radical reform I propose of cradle-to-grave fully open data and methods?

      • Bart R

        I’m all for being proved wrong.

        You just have been.

        Max

      • manacker

        Is this the official welcome to the club? ;)

    • Bart R

      I’m surprised you concentrate so narrowly on the temperature record. In a similar way, I was flabbergasted that Muller – in one of his ‘loose cannon’ moments – seemed to think an agreed record meant an end to scepticism. I for one had no concerns about the temperature record, at all, ever, in any way.

      Isn’t McKitrick (and Dr Curry) looking at a vastly broader picture?

      • Anteros

        You’ve noticed that about Muller too? Good, I thought for a moment I was hallucinating it.

        The question about what picture McKitrick’s looking at, if he can ignore the temperature record entirely now, after for so long commenting on it at length, is valid.

        What specifically is the picture you believe from Dr’s McKitrick and Curry’s statements being looked at, given the rather tame and dated recommendations absent substantiation from state of the art policy methods?

      • Bart R

        Can I just reply that McKitrick’s recommendations elucidate quite well the picture he is looking at – by being solutions to the parts of the picture that he sees as problematic. It’s worth pointing out that he is, of course, being tribal, provocative and an advocate. And from my point of view recommendation 11 is OTT and nutty.

        The picture of the IPCC being looked at by Dr Curry is much easier to ascertain. She says –

        “IMO the problems with the IPCC are fundamentally structural. The IPCC connection to the UNFCCC, the narrow framing of the scientific problem, and the consensus seeking approach are the key problems”

        I’m not exactly clear what you mean by the last bit about state of the art policy methods…..

        I think Dr C’s observations are more interesting because they don’t seem so partisan. McKitrick is surely just saying the IPCC doesn’t say what he wants it to say? Pretty much in the way some people say the IPCC is too conservative/waters down its conclusions to pander to the Saudis or the Chinese or whatever.

        My take is that it does what one would expect it to do given its mandate and all the various influences upon it. I’d still like some of McKitrick’s recommendations put into practice but that’s because I’m biased ;)

      • Anteros

        A lot of what you say makes sense, and I agree with in a broad sense.

        But then, you don’t slap a high-tone and fancy title on it and hype it in a major newspaper as if it were the Second Coming of Hayek.

        I’d like some of McKitrick’s recommendations (those that aren’t already in place, for the most part) to be put into place too. I guess we’re biased in the same direction. Or at least skewed.

        State of the art policy methods? Well, I’m no expert, but a google search on the term turned up http://www.regulationbodyofknowledge.org/ and http://www.thecqi.org/Membership/Body-of-Quality-Knowledge/ and http://electricitygovernance.wri.org/node/131 as starting points and comparators.

        There must be multiple relevant bodies of knowledge on policymaking, research in science, international cooperative efforts.. and yet one finds no sign of the least reference to such in the hype.

        It may be there, and merely so scantly used as to not reflect much in the recommendations.

        But certainly, if it is being used, it’s not being advanced to the next level. Which we ought expect given the promotional hoopla.

    • Attribution, Bart R. What was the cause of the warming? You and Muller both keep tripping over that.
      ==========

      • kim

        A fresh way to be off topic is always welcome from you.

        Keep up the mediocre work.

      • Yeah, like correcting your contention that BEST is a global temperature reconstruction below, rather than a land only one.
        ================

      • kim

        Pfft.

        Land from all over the globe.

        There’s even land sites from tiny little islands. Like Australia and smaller.

        I stand by my characterisation of BEST as global, although I readily recognize it uses only the far more reliable land-based stations.

        If one can’t adequately account for the land-based nature of BEST in one’s uses, one really isn’t a very accomplished analyst, or is trying to do something there is no adequate dataset yet to employ.

      • In explaining you make plainer your bias against the oceans, which are cooling; for how long, even kim doesn’t know.
        ==============

      • John Carpenter

        “There’s even land sites from tiny little islands. Like Australia and smaller.”

        Gee Bart, last time I checked…. Australia was considered a continent… maybe you had something else in mind when you wrote that, I know your smarter than that!

      • kim

        re: oceans, how long? At most 17 years at a time, 19 times out of 20, on the century scale, if we accept most records.

        John Carpenter, you flatter me.

        I learned Australia was an island (actually, islands) about the time I learned Pluto was a planet, as did most of the children of my generation. Now, Antarctica.. that’s always been a continent, even though it’s smaller.

        And both of those continents as well as some of their islands contributed to the sites used by BEST.

        Yes, BEST is from land-based stations only. But it’s also purposely and definedly global as regards the distribution of those land-based sites, and the proportion of the global surface that is land is not inconsequential.

        Ocean surface measurements introduce their own difficulties; it’s quite proper for them to be accumulated in a distinct dataset and treated differently from the land-based record.

        If you need to, you can always treat your favorite SST dataset and BEST together using whatever weighting or approximation method you deem appropriate to your analysis.

        Makes BEST more, not less, useful to my way of thinking.

        One might even say its utility, being more general, is more ‘global’. ;)

      • Bart R

        Land from all over the globe

        ~28% of the total, at that, with measurement points covering less than 10% of the total.

        Not to knock BEST, but you have to admit that it’s just a tiny “piece of a piece”, and completely off topic here, anyway.

        McK has avoided discussing the viability of the “science”, and instead has written about a broken IPCC review process, citing specific examples of corrupted sub-processes.

        Judith has attributed some of this to its fundamental structure.

        But IMO the problems with the IPCC are fundamentally structural. The IPCC connection to the UNFCCC, the narrow framing of the scientific problem, and the consensus seeking approach are the key problems IMO.

        That a broken process and a consensus seeking approach can cause bias in the the science and understatement of uncertainty is clearly evident.

        But I believe both McKitrick and our host are concluding that “biased science” is the effect of the broken process and/or flawed structure, rather than the root cause itself.

        Max

      • manacker | November 27, 2011 at 6:52 am |

        Laughable, if read at face value, top to bottom.

        ~28% of the total, at that, with measurement points covering less than 10% of the total.

        How big is the sensor on a thermometer, Max? Under one square centimeter? About 1 cm2?

        Combine all BEST sensor areas you get under 40,000 cm2; under 2 m2!

        As a fraction of the globe, taking your specious argument to its logical conclusion, BEST’s source sites only measure 0.00000255% of the Earth’s surface (from land stations selected so globally as BEST could achieve).

        Clearly, I get that you aren’t saying this ridiculous thing.

        There are issues of coverage; however, they are nowhere near so stark as you imply.

        The raw instrumental data is not ideally designed for climate monitoring. BEST made due with what _is_ available, and used statistical methods to analyse that — five times more raw data than any other global temperature project — and found some pretty reliable results. The results themselves are at least an order of magnitude better than the next nearest research in terms of confidence and precision.

        If you have a better than best candidate, name it. (I have some, but as they’re based on the Antarctic ice cores for CO2, they’re ‘better’ in a different category and not really narrowly relevant to this discussion.) Heck, if you have a one fiftieth as good candidate, name it.

        I’ve seen you cite paleo research elsethread, and as a comparison, I’d like you to show the sum of all paleo temperature studies is one thousandth of one percent so meaningful as BEST, statistically.

        If they’re good enough for you to cite, and BEST is a hundred thousand times better, I’m not sure if I follow your quibble.

        Not to knock BEST, but you have to admit that it’s just a tiny “piece of a piece”, and completely off topic here, anyway.

        Sure, BEST is only a small element, but it’s the small element that checked for bias where there were accusations of bias and found the accusations entirely lacking. As did seven independent inquiries about the Climategate fiasco.

        At this point, only a rabid conspiracy theorist could believe in bias being very important, or even slightly significant, for climate policy without new extraordinary evidence. The old charges have been looked at. They were just plain wrong.

        As the entirety of the recommendations go to bias and bias alone, or so the author purports, BEST pulls the legs out from under this too late and too tepid book and the swollen hype around it. Failing to meet BEST and the seven inquiries on the topic of bias is itself fatal to McKitrick’s thesis.

        McK has avoided discussing the viability of the “science”, and instead has written about a broken IPCC review process, citing specific examples of corrupted sub-processes.

        Even if true, the group McK fronts have discussed the viability of the science due the very bias of this ‘Radical Reform’. The ‘corrupted sub-processes’ have not broken the IPCC review process so much as to break the science.

        All the IPCC has done ‘wrong’ is offend the prejudices of obstinate and well-organized and resourced factions like GWPF who think they can control science by cynical media campaigns and online rants.

        For my money, if they do this alone, the IPCC is worth every penny. There should be ten more like it.

        Judith has attributed some of this to its fundamental structure.

        But IMO the problems with the IPCC are fundamentally structural. The IPCC connection to the UNFCCC, the narrow framing of the scientific problem, and the consensus seeking approach are the key problems IMO.

        Yawn.

        Dr. Curry’s been saying this for a while now, and is very bright. I’m thinking if she had time to work on this issue sufficiently, she could make progress and get to a new, higher level of thinking and make new, useful suggestions.

        The whole world has from the day before the UN existed known at least this much about its bureaucratic processes.. as well as that even for all its baggage, it’s much better than doing nothing, or trusting to individual nations, for issues of this type.

        What Judith Curry has said atop this thread is easy, trite, useless, old, and disappointing coming from her. If one of her students turned it in to her as an essay, I doubt she’d grade it very highly.

        That a broken process and a consensus seeking approach can cause bias in the the science and understatement of uncertainty is clearly evident.

        An old suspicion. It seems true enough. However, the bias actually found based on the claims is neglible or nonexistent. The understatement of uncertainty is already being addressed elsewhere, and is a mere technical oversight at worst.

        But I believe both McKitrick and our host are concluding that “biased science” is the effect of the broken process and/or flawed structure, rather than the root cause itself.

        Without new evidence, after our host herself helped establish that the old evidence and the old claims based on the old evidence run entirely opposite to the conclusion.

        The likeliest root cause is a bunch of loudmouths on the internet manufacturing effects where there are none, and spinning up actual experts to the point they go out and look in detail at the ‘effects’, and when the real experts find the effects are false, stabbing them in the back.

        The skeptical contract is to be suspicious, to validate and verify and check and accept nothing beyond the level of confidence that can be proven, but also to accept what has been proven to its level of confidence too.

        Who does the former without the latter is no skeptic, but merely a contrarian.

        Either you vest your belief in the appropriate confidence from the proofs, (though you continue to look for new evidence that will alter that outcome), or you have some nonskeptical beliefs already that you cling to more dearly than objective measures of truth.

      • Good rant Bart. Its really about dealing with the data as best as we can. In terms of time series, the BEST gives us more than adequate enough precision but the data series is unfortunately not that long. Paleoclimate data, as in the ice core experiments, has the opposite problem in that the time series is lengthy but the precision and especially resolution is not there.

        From my recent analysis on various ice core data, I have started to get a good feel for this predicament. In any event, all this information builds on a foundation and having an IPCC report around is a good way to comprehensively collect it in one location.

    • Bart – BEST has not been reviewed or published yet so why would Ross bother with it!!

      • John

        Because that’s explicitly the behavior his recommendations make?

      • Where Bart?

      • Given how few of his recommendations apply to the work the recommendations come from, not the immediately obvious question I’d have asked.

        Clearly had 6 & 7 been in place, competent outside authors and reviewers would point out the due diligence requirement to respond to substantial and important challenges to one’s closely-related prior work.

        McKitrick supported and at times claimed substantial bias on the global temperature record; those claims have an insurmountable hurdle in BEST; to comment on bias in policy in exactly the same type of report now without first dealing with this huge obstacle to the basis of his thesis is something no competent reviewer would condone.

        Recommendation 6: adoption of a procedure for seeking technical input when necessary from outside the list of authors and reviewers during the assessment process.

        Recommendation 7: due diligence regarding key supporting papers and full disclosure of all data and methods used to produce original ipcc Figures and tables.

      • Bart explain why a report about the IPPC should not ignore a paper that is yet to be published ie no result yet?

      • John

        I think we can all draw our own conclusions about people who duck this yet-to-be-published paper for ourselves, without further advice from me.

    • “Isn’t it more of, Dr. McKitrick didn’t find anything new, dramatic or important so he wrote a platitudinous book surrounded by the same sort of well-orchestrated hype that he laments in his target, and people are nodding uncritically in unthoughtful dyskepticism?”

      The idea that you can dismiss his ideas by inventing a motivation is laughable and anti scientific clap trap. Ross has been kicking these ideas around between a group of use for long time. The issue is good governance. The IPCC aint it. Address the issue and stop beclowning yourself by trying to read Ross’ mind

      • steven mosher

        I’m all for good governance. And evenhanded criticism.

        Guess which one I’m thinking of.

        From my own opinion, Dr. McKitrick goes nowhere near far enough in his recommendations, nor really I must conclude in his analysis, if all that came out of it were such a short and unambitious laundry list, especially where some of them are already being done.

        It’s a bit like being told by a driving instructor — while wearing a seatbelt and signalling and driving 100 mph — to wear my seatbelt and signal and not to speed.. while also driving the wrong way into freeway traffic with my eyes closed.

      • Your thinking is worse than your analogies. That’s a rare talent.

        If you have something of substance to say, spit it out

      • The idea that you can dismiss his ideas by inventing a motivation is laughable and anti scientific clap trap.

        So dismissing a book attacking the IPCC is anti-science? Why, pray tell? Vilifying the IPCC is a science? Which one?

        McKitrick’s motivations are well-known. If your denial about them, well, it wouldn’t be the only thing you’re in denial about, would it?

      • 1. you cannot know McKittrick’s motivations, you can only speculate.
        2. his positions may be independent of his motivations. this is something you can test for your self. check the IAC. they dont have Ross’s motivations.
        3. the question of whether his arguments make sense is more answerable
        that the question about his motivations.

        Pick any suggestion.

        Lets take the selection of lead authors.

        Do you believe the selection of lead authors for any report on a matter that is an existential threat to mankind should be open and transparent?

        yes or no.

        Your motivations are different than Ross’s. how do you answer this simple question.

        I say yes. I say yes because long before I ever started looking at climate science I was an advocate of open transparent processes. It’s one aspect of my youthful leftism that I found worth keeping

      • Credibility matters. McKitrick has none.

        1. Beyond buzzwords, how do you propose the selection process of lead authors be changed? How would this improve the process?

        2. Leaving aside the problem climate deniers have with the reality of the physical world, and the resentment they have about the IPCC as the bearing of the bad news, is there any objective evidence that the IPCC as an organization is not doing a good job?

        3. Would a sensible first step here be for the critics of the IPCC to produce their own comprehensive summary of the science based on an open a transparent process? Once you’ve demonstrated to us that you can produce a better result than the IPCC, then you’ll be in a better position to critique the IPCC.

        Do you favor openness and transparency among those trying to rescue humanity from the warmist cabal? Yes or no.

    • Bart R, how do you know the Best data in Unbiased?
      Have you taken their Raw data, used their algorithms to reproduce their Output and then tried to verified each step and then verified them by any other means?

      • A. C. Osborn

        What an excellent suggestion.

        Isn’t that kinda what BEST did to GIS?

        I’ve done some cursory checking of BEST, so far as my means and competency permit, and fully endorse and encourage zealous skeptical examination of BEST. Nor have I agreed with everything the authors of BEST have said, on some minor points.

        At some point an infinite regress ceases to serve further purpose, and the skepticism I’m capable of examining BEST with or finding others have done does not overthrow so far its major results.

        That said, I’ve said elsewhere and will affirm again, I’ve waited a quarter century for something like BEST. I’m willing to wait another couple of years before accepting it as well-reviewed and generally accepted.

        As it stands now, BEST is far and away established enough that for any valid commentary on the state of climate and the IPCC — especially one who has in the past questioned exactly the topics BEST covers — to ignore BEST is curious and worth comment.

        If there is bias in the data BEST uses that BEST’s methods have not adequately adjusted for, then it’s a type of bias likely beyond statistical methods ever to discover or remove. That’s entirely possible. If you don’t believe in numbers and arithmetic, you’re welcome to continue to have faith in magic and superstition.

      • Wrong.

        1. Their jacknife method introduces a bias that they can probably remove.
        2. Their identification of very rural stations has a bias that is very easy to remove.
        3. You really have no idea what you are talking about

      • Steve, plus of course they still haven’t released the Raw Data or their supposedly improved database.
        As I have said before the current data offering is Rubbish and if Bart is prepared to believe that that BEST is the best then he is purely taking their word for it.

      • Raw data is coming.

        People overrate the importance of raw data in this field. I know. I did.

      • steven mosher

        All methods introduce perspective. All perspectives bias or remove or alter something.

        BEST made decisions about biases, removals and transformations reflecting their intended usage and the limitations of the data they worked with.

        My standard is “adequately adjusted for.” Which is mathematically possible.

        Your standard, “remove all bias” is fabulistic nonsense, an Up without a Down, a magnetic monopole, a bottomless pit with no exit.

        Remove one bias, replace it with another. The BEST team made these choices and came up with the most advanced instrumental global temperature representation to date, by far.

        Is it perfect for all uses, fully reviewed, or even final? No.

        Is it so substantive that Dr. McKitrick’s review of IPCC policy can credibly ignore it? Yes.

      • Not global, land. Omigod!
        ============

      • steven mosher | November 26, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
        “People overrate the importance of raw data in this field.”

        What an unscientific thing to say.

      • Bart.

        Did you see me say remove all bias? no you did not.

        So let me ask you this.

        Did BEST include data from Environment Canada ( 7600 monthly stations, and a large number of daily stations ) or not?

        Simple question. Answer fool.

      • AC. I think you misunderstand. People think that getting to the raw data will somehow solve a problem. It doesnt. That is not to say that you dont want raw data. you do. But it is not the panacea that many people think it is. Simply, there is no truly raw data.

      • steven mosher

        Is “answer fool” like “dance puppet”?

        And what’s with your obsession with all things Canadian?

        Look at a map. Canada is just the glob of french vanilla on America, with Alaska’s cherry dressing it up.

      • ..alternatively.

        What is the average span of time covered by Environment Canada’s sites?

        Earliest?

        How many decommissioned, and for how long on average?

        What, in other words, is the percentage of Canada’s lackadaisical infrastructure suited to use in a global dataset?

      • Bart R.

        you should know if you understand BEST like approaches that the average span of the data is not important. The method allows you to use every bit of data. so, for example a station that starts in 1880 and ends in 1910 is usable, unlike other methods. The metric of interest is not the average span of data.

        second, I use this as a test of whether or not you really understand what you are talking about. So this isnt a fascination of things canada, it is
        merely a test of your BS. You passed, everything you say is BS.

        Here is your next test.

        Did BEST apply the station location corrections currently available in WMO publication 9 vol A?

      • steven mosher

        *yawn*

        1880-1910?

        Could you tell me which Environment Canada site that is, and how much it would cost to purchase its data from Environment Canada?

        You’re a bully and dull, You don’t do others the courtesy to answer their questions, and you don’t seem competent to ask yours.

        You certainly ought be better at examining the quality of BS than you demonstrate with your pitiable tests, given your vast experience in, what, marketing?

        You name-call and simultansously accuse others of personal attacks where there are none.

        Your hypocisy is staggeringly blattant, and still not clever.

        How did you get through life with only the things you learned of manners on the internet and of statistics in Harry Potter?

        BEST uses all its data, in the sense that where the bits are good enough, they get used one way, and where they’re not good enough, they get used as footnote.

    • I’m puzzled by your apparent lack of knowledge in this area. BEST has yet to get into publication, my own view is it will be honest enough because it’s really about getting Muller’s consultancy up front and centre.

      I also have little doubt that the temperature records are a crock. As no one is arguing it hasn’t warmed over the last 150 – 200 years whether the’re 0.1C right or wrong is a side debate.

      In case you’ve been on another planet for the last 10 years the debate is about how much humans have contributed to GW, whether the doubling of CO2 from pre-industrial times will trigger massive feedbacks, whether these feedbacks will cause the catastrophes, and whether if we took drastic action to avert the catastrophes anything will come of it.

      • Funny I thought the debate was about scientists fabricating recent warming by deleting weather stations in cold areas, rewriting historical data to reduce the 1970s cooling, putting weather stations in warm spots like airports, etc.

        Then as soon as BEST blows that debate apart we are to pretend it never happened.

      • I believe you’ll find that there have been a great number of adjustments to the GISS data, which is now diverging from HadCrut. But this thread is about Ross’ critique of the IPCC’s processes, the outcome of the BEST project will neither support the IPCC’s processes, nor confirm the impact humans are having on the temperature, it will just be a plot of temperature against time, showing a hithertoo unrecorded rise of 1C in the 19th century if the pre-publication blurb is to be taken seriously.

        The IPCC needs a thorough overhaul Ross and Donna have produced reports that show it is corrupt, that authors get to judge their own work and that texts can be changed after the review. If that was all that was wrong it would be easy to fix, but it looks as though it accepts publications way after closing dates if they support the party line, it appoints scientists fresh out of graduation as lead authors and 30% of the peer reviewed papers are from grey literature, which is a euphemism for enironmental NGOs. So there’s a lot to do if they want to get to a position where what comes out reflects the real scientific view.

    • Bart: First of all, I wrote this report last Spring, long before BEST came out. The delay in publishing until now was beyond my control, and in any case the report has nothing to do with BEST, it is about past IPCC reports and procedures.

      Second, and perhaps more to the point, I am a referee of the Wickham et al. (BEST) paper for JGR and I undertook to them to keep my review of the paper confidential while the review process is underway. I submitted my response back in September and have heard nothing since then. Do not think that I have nothing to say about the BEST analysis, far from it. But I did not expect Muller to launch a global media campaign on behalf of his unpublished PDF while I and other reviewers were bound to silence. I have no intention of violating my undertaking with the journal so until the matter I disposed of by the editor I am withholding my comments.

      • You see, Bart. That’s the problem with letting fly before you are in possession of all the facts. Never mind.

      • Ross,
        The AGW apologists will do a lot of work to avoid dealing with what you wrote. BEST is simply a convenient prop for them to use as adistraction.

      • Dr. McKitrick

        Your version of events is that you were duped into apparent conflict of interest and seeming bias in your report accusing others of conflict of interest and bias in Climate Science, by people whose terms of reference at the outset were investigation of bias in Climate Science?

        Amazing.

        And that further you’re unaware of any reason any might wonder if you’re violating the spirit of NDA in any way by these actions?

      • Ross –

        While you’re elaborating on your integrity, perhaps you could explain why you called someone (presumably that you’ve never met or talked to) a groveling, terrified, coward? Do you have supernatural powers that enable you to judge the character of someone you’ve (presumably) never met or talked to? Are you in the habit of reaching conclusions based on nothing other than anecdotal conjecture?

    • BEST isn’t using any new data, Bart. It’s using the same data sources as everyone else, just analyzing it a little differently. Why would you ever expect the results to be significantly different from the others, unless everyone else (NOAA, NASA, GISS, HADCRU) were completely incompetent at math? It was just yet another flavor of curating the same data, nothing more nothing less, and nothing special in any way.

      • Ged

        How many sites are used by each of NOAA, NASA, GISS, HADCRU?

        How many distinct datapoints?

        What is the highest confidence level of each of NOAA, NASA, GISS, HADCRU and BEST?

        What’s the signal:noise ratio of the last third of each dataset?

        How many methods of self-checking used in each of NOAA, NASA, GISS, HADCRU?

        Put another way, how many letters are there in the alphabet?

        26 for either of us.

        Does theat mean you and I are saying the same thing?

  2. To directly answer your question Bart: no.

  3. Still think that the IPCC needs both a report section for minority viewpoints and a mechanism for acknowledging errata.

    Other than that, McKitrick seems solid.

    • The majority might see some benefit to the minority viewpoints being organized into one convenient target. However, who would organize a minority report, and how would they accommodate the loonies?

    • McKitrick follows up with his article in Financial Post:
      <a href=http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/11/22/fix-it-or-fold-it/."Fix it or fold it".

      The first thing to note about this report is that it is not about science. It is about the policies, procedures and administrative structures in the IPCC. A third of the report consists simply of explanations of how the IPCC works. The more people learn such details, the more they will see that the IPCC does not come close to living up to the hype. . . .
      To those countries that truly seek objective, balanced and rigorous information about climate science on which to base momentous policy decisions, my key recommendation is to begin pushing for reforms, but not to wait forever. If the ­IPCC cannot be fixed quickly, governments that are serious about making good climate-policy decisions should be prepared to withdraw from it and create a new assessment body, free of the serious defects of the current model.

  4. Ya know Bart, I just don’t think the word “good” has ever been described as “over the top” unless it’s someone making a critique of something about AGW. It almost doesn’t matter what a person says, if it’s even slightly positive and it’s questioning the dogma, then it must be “over the top”.

    • patrioticduo

      I cannot disagree. “over the top” about just the one word would’ve been.. over the top.

      However, I was referring to the generally led-by-the-nose tone of agreement without balance or confirmation coming as it does from an actual contributor to BEST of a piece of work in exactly BEST’s subject area and which draws conclusions diametrically opposite of BEST’s.

      To the ability of a very talented and able scientist who worked with actual data and does real science to look at a popular work of speculative fiction and confuse it with documentary. This is not an effect uncommon among Star Trek obsessed fans in Physics departments working on teleportation and faster than light travel.

      • Bart,
        Ross book is NOT about the science. That the BEST results are good or not, that other (not BEST) research shows or fails to show that any or most or all of the warming is due to GHG, and so on, is all completely out of the remit of Ross’s report. It is ONLY about internal IPCC procedures and standards, just as the recent Laframboise book. Thus, it might be that every word in the IPCC reports happens to be true in the end, but we actually do not know because the internal workings of the IPCC (or so Ross alleges) are flawed and opaque. In fact, there is ample circumstantial evidence from both Climategate batches of emails, as well from the IAC report, not to speak of detailed scrutiny and audit by other authors, that the IPCC inner workings are not squeaky clean to say the least. THAT is the matter under discussion in this thread, and NOT whether global temperatures are rising.

      • Hector M.

        You make a good point.

        Relative to the recent Laframboise book, Dr. McKitrick’s work is miles ahead.

        And what is it with all these Canadian books about IPCC policy?

        This is the oilsand-pipeline-expropriating-US-soil, Kyoto-signatory-failure, windmill-subsidy, NAFTA-violating, free-trade-except-where-it-doesn’t-favor-their-interests, spell-everything-with-an-extra-letter, come-for-the-Black-Friday-deals socialist opportunist sitting on top of America.

        Where is the Made-in-the-USA policy book?

      • Bart R, I don’t define Ross by BEST or one book. And I also don’t measure Donna by one book either – no matter how good it is ;-) . But in the broader context, that is another reason why the new emails are so illuminating. Those emails paint a much broader picture of the actors who we know as “climate scientists”. Those who presented themselves to us all as an elite group of highly ethical authorities – and who therefore ought to be trusted for their dedication to accurate and trusted findings. Well, upon reading and carefully examining the context of the emails, the broader picture is that their results are suspect and they know it and yet they colluded, manipulated and used pretty much every trick in the book to ensure that the story line never gave any appearance of doubt or infallibility. And yet, you resist any idea to improve the situation.

      • “Relative to the recent Laframboise book, Dr. McKitrick’s work is miles ahead.”

        I hope you’re not expecting us to believe you’ve read Donna’s book? Or for that matter Ross’ paper, else you wouldn’t have been blathering on about BEST.

      • Oh.

        Here’s one:

        http://portal.iri.columbia.edu/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_5643_7757_0_0_18/CSP3_Final.pdf

        I guess I missed it because it wasn’t promoted in a Financial Post op-ed or endorsed on one of the world’s leading climate blogs.

        Pity. Looks worth reading and criticizing.

      • Thanks much for this link, i have flagged it for a future post.

      • Second sentence of the forward:

        “The number and cost of climate-related disasters has been steadily
        increasing over the past few decades.”

        My impression (given things I have read online, in the new SREX, etc.) is that almost everything in that sentence needs definition, and under several understandable default assumptions of a casual reader, would qualify as contested.

        So yes, looks worth a critical look.

      • Meanwhile, there’s the routine emergencies. No claim this is AGW-related, just that it’s climate, and coincidentally it’s where McKitrick’s hq is located, I think.

        Calgary Alberta is shut down and there are evacuations due to the Chinook, it seems. I don’t recall one this bad before, and sympathies to those affected.

        Alberta Emergency Alert is advising there is a storm with very dangerous and damaging winds. The City of Calgary is closing its downtown core to all traffic. Residents should stay inside away from windows. RCMP are advising motorists, that due to extremely strong winds, travel is not recommended in the Claresholm and Fort Macleod areas, and from Calgary to Nanton. Semi trucks especially those that are unloaded or with light loads should avoid travel in this area until winds ease. Environment Canada has issued wind warning for the southern part of Alberta including Calgary. Winds in excess of 90km/h can be expected with gusts up to 130km/h in Claresholm, Cardston and Pincher Creek.

      • Bart R and Judith Curry

        The report by The International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) is well worth reading. It describes a balanced and reasonable approach to climate-related risk management and would probably be worth highlighting in a separate post.

        Here is my quickie response to it:

        The report starts off with:

        Climate-related disasters are by far the most frequent natural disasters, exacting a heavy toll on people and economies.

        Under the heading “introducing climate-informed disaster risk management”, the report states:

        Globally, climate-related disasters including floods, droughts, cyclones, heat waves and mudslides cause tens of thousands of deaths, hundreds of thousands of injuries, and billions of dollars in economic losses each year. Losses have risen steadily over the past decades, primarily as a result of an increase in the value of exposed assets in hazard-prone areas. Climate change is expected to exacerbate these rising costs due to a higher expected frequency and intensity of extreme events.

        In order to help meet these challenges, more investment in disaster risk reduction is needed, including in capacity to anticipate risks well ahead of when a hazard strikes.

        Have “losses risen steadily over the past decades”?

        There is no doubt that the “increased value of exposed assets in hazard-prone areas” has caused an increase in the “economic losses”.

        However, an analysis of human deaths from climate-related disasters shows that these have decreased dramatically over the twentieth century, both in absolute numbers and in percentages.

        http://www.csccc.info/reports/report_23.pdf

        An example is “annual death rates from droughts” (often cited by IPCC and others as a threat from AGW), over the period 1990-2004, as compared to the period 1900-1989:

        The study shows:
        1900-1980: 111,185 deaths per year
        1990-2004: 126 deaths per year

        The IRI report cites a shorter-term estimate comparing the 1990s with the 2000s, which tells a different story regarding the economic toll of climate-related disasters. However, this short-term increase is not tied specifically to global climate change, but to other factors:

        One reason for this is the rising cost and number of climate- and weather-related disasters (IMF, 2010). As evidenced by the International Disaster Database (CRED, 2011), the number of climate-related disasters has steadily increased from an annual average of 224 in the 1990s, costing a total of US$50 billion, to an annual average of 347 in 2000–09, costing US$72 billion (see Figure 1). This 50 percent increase in number and cost from one decade to the next is the result of a confluence of factors, including population growth in flood-prone areas and an increase in the value of exposed assets. The increasing economic cost and toll of disasters should be a significant incentive for governments and humanitarian organizations to focus more of their attention on preparedness, prevention, and on addressing the root causes of vulnerability.

        The IRI report gets to the main thrust, which is the urgent need to:

        improve the use of prevention and preparedness strategies to reduce the loss of life, property, and the social and economic disruption caused by natural disasters

        Specific examples of the implementation of these strategies are listed.

        Using the example of droughts in the Sahel, a four-step disaster risk management cycle is described, involving:
        – Prevention
        – Preparation
        – Response
        – Recovery

        This cycle specifically incorporates weather predictions, seasonal forecasts and climate information in order to prepare risk managers.

        As far as the future is concerned, the report cites IPCC predictions that “climate change will bring more intense and more frequent extreme events”, but that this “may not cause more climate-related disasters”:

        The shift toward preparedness and prevention is also in part motivated by concern regarding climate change. Scientific consensus suggests that this will bring more intense and more frequent extreme events (IPCC, 2007). Although this does not necessarily mean that there will be more disasters everywhere, it does mean that it is prudent to increase disaster preparedness and prevention efforts.

        This appears to be a very good common-sense measure.

        Historic climate information gives indications of how risk is constantly changing based on seasonality, inter-annual climate variations, changes in population and the built environment, etc. Population, economic and environmental trends can significantly affect risk within any single decade for example, and with the prospect of global climate change, some climate-related hazards may become more frequent over the next few decades.

        Under “concluding lessons and recommendations” the report states:

        Dialogue between disaster risk managers and climate scientists can lead to the identification of opportunities for using existing knowledge, as well as gaps in that knowledge. In some cases, the climate information that is most useful to disaster risk managers is simply not available and further research must be done. Throughout the book, examples have demonstrated that in partnership, disaster risk management can be enhanced through integration of climate information into disaster prevention, preparedness and response.

        Seems like a pretty well balanced approach, which would make sense whether or not human-induced climate change will have any impact on the future frequency or intensity of severe weather events leading to climate disasters.

        Max

      • Max thanks much for your analysis. I am ppreparing a post on this soon.

      • Max, do you want to expand on this a bit and do a guest post on this report?

      • An example is “annual death rates from droughts” (often cited by IPCC and others as a threat from AGW), over the period 1990-2004, as compared to the period 1900-1989:

        The study shows:
        1900-1980: 111,185 deaths per year
        1990-2004: 126 deaths per year

        This is really odd. The first period includes around 50 years that is part of the age of mules, and around 60 years that happened before the Green Revolution. It also includes a period with two world wars.

        To suggests this means the IPCC is wrong about the risks of climate change and more frequent and widespread drought because of this comparison is, well, strange. It may actually fully support their contention. When problems outstrip our technical capabilities, people die in large numbers. Starvation happens fast.

      • patrioticduo

        I resist half-hearted, ham-handed efforts that waste the talents and gifts of those involved on getting one percent of the way to the improvements that could be gotten, with less effort and at less expense.

        If someone wanted to sabotage legitimate progress — and I’m absolutely not suggesting that’s what’s going on here — they could scarcely hit on a more effective means than to promote a stooge candidate like this to obstruct real efforts.

      • Does this mean that you don’t want to change the IPCC process at all? Is that because, in your estimation, the IPCC process is working exactly as it ought to be?

      • patrioticduo | November 26, 2011 at 4:26 pm |

        Does this mean that you don’t want to change the IPCC process at all? Is that because, in your estimation, the IPCC process is working exactly as it ought to be?

        Dude.

        How many ways can I say “not radical enough”?

        Not reform enough.

        Too limited if limited only to the IPCC.

        And let’s get into the nitty gritty. For each of the recommendations, at least the ones where things don’t already work that way in the IPCC, what are the goals and could the recommendations conceivably meet them?

        Recommendation 1: an objective and transparent lead author selection procedure.

        Sounds really good.

        Sounds mom-and-apple-pie.

        What’s it mean that’s different from now?

        What’s entailed in making that possible?

        Wouldn’t it require far more clarity and structure up front before each section began even being rolled out, with significant panels and committee meetings (some of which would be, by their nature involving confidential personnel decisions, behind closed doors)?

        At best, adds a layer of bureaucracy and removes the opaque part of the decision process up another step, while complicating an already complex issue.

        At worst, introduces even more opportunity for interference in and manipulation of the process.

        McKitrick favors statist ‘solutions’. Committees of committees deciding things about committees. It’s the whole Canadian paralysis by analysis system.

        There’s no real addition of democracy or of expertise.

        It’s all very organized and futile.

        A radical pulls the weed up by the root; he doesn’t plant eleven more and cover them in fertilizer.

        Is the IPCC perfect or even pretty decent as it is now? I don’t think anyone believes that.

        Is what we’ve seen of the McKitrick-fronted ‘fix’ better?

        It isn’t even plausible.

      • I get it and I agree.

  5. Getting people we know and trust is vital

    The stink of intellectual corruption is overpowering.

    http://bit.ly/tjjQ0G

    • Careful, you should base your disagreement on people’s arguments, not on the individuals who are making those arguments.

      • I note you failed to admonish bart R on this point.

      • As to sophistry, Joshua has the beam in his own eye.
        =============

      • I would not mind if Joshua had only one note and played it loudly and on pitch. Me, I figure if I stick to one note ( show your data, show your code) that I can and do apply that fairly across the board. I’ve asked skeptics and believers alike to adhere to the same standard.

        Joshua appears to have a standard, but he does not apply it across the board. I have some question for him and Mann’s motivated reasoning, but I think he will avoid those

      • Joshua appears to have a standard, but he does not apply it across the board.

        Whether or not I apply it across the board has no direct impact on the validity of my point as it pertains to Judith and “skeptics.”

        I appreciate your interest in me, but whether or not I’m hypocritical is meaningless in the climate debate. Whether or not Judith is hypocritical has a much greater degree of impact. Of course, like your interest in me, I do find it interesting also to explore the potential hypocrisy of other contributors to Climate Etc.

        I guess that even though my intelligence is vastly inferior to yours (as you seem to feel a need to keep explaining), we do share some common interests.

        Perhaps we could join together in a round of Kumbaya if perchance we should meet?

      • I was hoping that no one would notice that!

      • Joshua.

        When you consider the asymmetry of trbalism you might consider this.

        A tribe exerts its power in two ways
        1. External actions taken against the enemies
        2. Internal actions taken against its own member

        It think the most important aspect that Judith experienced is the power her tribe tried to exert over her

        read this and you will understand the asymmetry. Its more about the thin green line

        http://newzealandclimatechange.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/climategate-2-and-corruption-of-peer-review/

      • Steven, thanks for the link. This is a very good narrative reconstruction.

      • I have to admonish you on this one Steven. Instead of pointing out josh’s customary hypocrisy, you should have given him a pat on the head for the unusual brevity of his comment.

      • I dont think it is hypocrisy. I think it is stupidity.

      • Joshua is an admitted AGW “partisan”. Not all Warmers are as honest as he.

        Andrew

      • Joshua

        I take your admonishment and accept it somewhat applies to some of what I’ve said.

        I shouldn’t be disappointed with the work because its authors ought be capable of better.

        I should be disappointed because the field itself is so far beyond the arguments as to render the over-hyped work obsolete and inadequate.

      • You missed the point entirely.

        “Isn’t it more of, Dr. McKitrick didn’t find anything new, dramatic or important so he wrote a platitudinous book surrounded by the same sort of well-orchestrated hype that he laments in his target”

        The misatke you made was trying to characterize the motivations of the writer to discredit the argument.

        If you want to attack the argument then you should

        1. Argue that it goes to far and these reforms are not needed
        2. Argue that it doesnt go far enough

        Instead, your argument is nothing but an attack on Ross.

        Address the issues if you can.

      • steven mosher

        Wow. I’ve been arguing nothing else but that it doesn’t go far enough (2) to match its hype, and supported this argument with examination of the nearest-at-hand bases, those being the author’s prior work and the latest state-of-the-art refutation of the author’s prior arguments.

        How does this come out as an attack on Dr. McKitrick?

        Do I say he smells bad? No.

        I say he overhypes a padded and underperforming effort while failing to address significant deficits from the recent past of his own arguments themselves, making it necessary for us to be more skeptical than we would otherwise be if he honestly and frankly dealt with them.

        I say if we’re going to be talking about Climate, Etc. here as skeptics, we shouldn’t devote ourselves to tribal cheerleading and uncritical acceptance of everything one another says, especially when they’re demonstrably being unskeptical.

        If your skin is so thin, especially on behalf of third parties who have proven time and again they can accept valid constructive criticism, learn from it, and do better because of it, then perhaps that’s an issue that may sideline you on issues where hard fact or difficult conversation are involved.

      • What state of the art refutation are you talking about?

        surely not BEST. They dont even come close to addressing any of Ross’ work in that area.

      • Bart,

        I’ve read several of your comments on here and either you haven’t read Ross’s recommendations and the specific examples or you have trouble with reading comprehension.

        Ross is addressing the systemic problems with the IPCC and proposes some recommendations in dealing with these issues.

        This has absolutely nothing to do with whether you are a self-appointed ‘skeptic’ or a ‘warmist’. This has to do with chapter authors having too much editorial control, report-writing teams being cherry picked (this is supported in the climategate emails).

        It’s no wonder there’s ‘strong consensus in the IPCC’ with one side so overrepresented and processes in place to prevent dissenting opinion from even being heard – such as the example Ross makes from the climategate emails showing Jones and Trenberth stacking the team with people who will essentially toe the line vs another scientist who has excellent credentials but who they feel cannot be trusted to stay on message.

        It’s obvious that this has lead to some of the massive quality issues with the whole IPCC process and the painful errors in the IPCC reports (such as the glaciers fiasco). When you have all cheerleaders and no pushback, it’s less likely to put out any quality. Even worse in my opinion is that lead authors can change the text after the review process.

        If you want to address the report maybe you should address these issues:

        1) Why you feel that the IPCC process doesn’t suffer from systemic confirmation bias by it’s method of selecting authors and reviewers, negating the requirement for what Ross has suggested in his Recommendations 1 and 2 above.

        2) With the problems identified in 1) above, why you feel that the IPCC quality doesn’t suffer by allowing chapter authors to essentially review their own work in controversial sections, negating the requirement for Ross’s Recommendations 3, 4, and 9.

        3) Why you feel transparency is not required, negating the Recommendations 7, and 10 above.

        Once you can address my 3 points, you may have an argument instead of this wall of obliviousness you keep repeating.

      • S. Basinger | November 30, 2011 at 5:46 pm |

        If you want to address the report maybe you should address these issues:

        1) Why you feel that the IPCC process doesn’t suffer from systemic confirmation bias by it’s method of selecting authors and reviewers, negating the requirement for what Ross has suggested in his Recommendations 1 and 2 above.

        How many ways can I say not radical enough? http://judithcurry.com/2011/11/26/mckitrick-on-the-ipcc/#comment-143559

        Too tepid. Undersupported. Mediocre. Soft. Weak. Feeble. Inadequate. Insufficient. Doesn’t address root causes.

        Not saying ‘wrong’. Saying ‘mild’.

        Seeks to supplant the already-completed IAC process with a marginally irrelevant blandishment full of jargon and generality.

        I’m all for mom-and-apple pie values. I don’t know anyone who says they aren’t.

        The proof isn’t in what someone says. In this case, I’ll digress a bit: the proof isn’t much furnished at all at a level sufficient to seriousness of the claims and recommendations Dr. McKitrick makes.

        We’re expected to know what we know and need no convincing, other than apocryphal stories of Teske and Kovats and cherry-picked testimony, without full and balanced* evaluation of the cases. How is that skepticism?

        (*Go ahead. Use ‘Laframboise’ and ‘balanced’ in the same sentence. I dare you.)

        Further, looking in detail at Dr. McKitrick’s recommendations #1&2, one notes they involve UN hiring practices — an already extraordinarily wooly discipline — from the Human Resources specialty.

        Does Dr. McKitrick have any qualifications or credentials in said field of HR? At all? At the international level?

        Does he cite a single reference on that topic?

        His recommendations, one notes, appear extremely vague.

        So much so that it would be entirely feasible (false, dissembling, and wrong, but feasible) to construct the argument that the current IPCC practices are in some degree or in some sense transparent.

        Further, Dr. McKitrick ought be proficient enough at statistics in the climate field to understand that there are statistical measures of objectivity that can be applied.

        He ought have been aware — back in the Spring — that BEST was applying powerful and robust methods to test the objectivity of some of the major results of one of the core subjects most hotly contended on the topic of bias.

        So Dr. McKitrick jumped the gun with claims about objectivity before the results were available. This happens sometimes in science. You’re brilliant if the studies prove you right. BEST proved McKitrick wrong on major elements of his thesis. Egg on his face.

        Which would behoove Dr. McKitrick to show at least some exhaustively supported examples or furnish some proof beyond his own and his pals’ say-so sustained by independent findings of due process (there’ve been seven, eight counting IAC, no?), and expect us to unskeptically just take his word for it.

        I’m not saying Dr. McKitrick’s word (and that of his pals) is no good here. I’m saying no skeptic ought abide by that standard of anyone.

        If we look at page 15 of ‘Radical Reform’, we do see (out-of-context) third-hand quotes that are themselves true enough and relevant. These were taken into account by the IAC, and they point to a different conclusion than Dr. McKitrick’s. About hiring not being competently practiced, true, but not because there was no transparency and no objective standard, but that the objective standard was inappropriate to matters of science.

        After all, what is more transparent and objective at the UN than political correctness, geographical balance, and political mandate?

        What is to prevent a policy advisor from reading Dr. McKitrick as to be recommending _increasing_ the politics in the process?

        (Frankly, having read some policy recommendations over the years, the subtext appears to be exactly that.)

        Forgetting the skewness, equivocation, and errors presented, has Dr. McKitrick demonstrated how exactly his recommendations will address the issues he complains of (and which we all acknowledge, though Dr. McKitrick less so than we, as he does not appear to acknowledge the issues are widespread and endemic, reaching even into his own Fraser Institute, into the NIPCC, and into the infamously secretive GWPF)?

        Has he considered cost-effectiveness, much less effectiveness?

        Apparently he has, being so stingy as to make this recommendation with enough parsimony that we can’t know what exactly it’s supposed to mean.

        Has he carried out thorough internal interviews within the UN or IPCC administrative bodies or like bodies pertinent to this topic upon which to base his recommendations? If he’s going to dismiss the IAC, it seems pretty hypocritical to let them do all the work and then just pick the handful of the paragraph from their report he finds useful.

        Has he presented alternatives, and discussed the pros and cons of each?

        How, lacking any of these prerequisites to competent commentary, are we to take Ross seriously?

        2) With the problems identified in 1) above, why you feel that the IPCC quality doesn’t suffer by allowing chapter authors to essentially review their own work in controversial sections, negating the requirement for Ross’s Recommendations 3, 4, and 9.

        How many ways do I have to say, “not radical enough?”

        Of course there are quality issues. Quality’s another mom-and-apple-pie word. Can you think of anyone who claims to be against better quality?

        (I believe someone did the math on all the errors found and confirmed in IPCC reports. The reported rate of errors, was, what? One in ten thousand?)

        When I hear claims of errors, I want to see the errors listed. I want facts.

        I want to know, when I hear someone doing procedural architecture for international systems that they’re abiding by some generally accepted standard of process architecture.

        Do you see such a work listed in the references section?

        While Dr. McKitrick’s recommendations sound somewhat adequate to me as a layman, they’re coming from him as a layman, too.

        Couldn’t he have at least picked up a process architecture reference book?

        And since both IPCC already practices some of what he says as SOP from day one, and IAC recommendations are also duplicated, what function does Dr. McKitrick serve, other than to reinforce what we already know doesn’t work well enough?

        3) Why you feel transparency is not required, negating the Recommendations 7, and 10 above.

        How many ways can I say, “Not Radical Enough?”

        I’m the one recommending full transparency in data and methods from cradle to grave. Full. One hundred percent. Total. Complete. From instrument to metadata to living electronic document.

        I’m the one recommending unlimited and unrestrained access so any and every crowdsourced effort can examine all the data and produce results to submit to not only the IPCC, but also to the world.

        McKitrick’s the one suggesting, “not enough committees”.

        Once you can address my 3 points, you may have an argument instead of this wall of obliviousness you keep repeating.

        Walls of obliviousness appear to be commonplace. Perhaps you should pluck the one from your own eye?

    • So what alternative to “Getting people we know and trust” do you propose? Choosing strangers, or people they know but distrust?

      Claiming that out-of-context quote indicates overpowering intellectual corruption is just silly. You should be embarrassed.

      • One useful alternative: instead of choosing co-authors yourself, or asking only your close cronies, ask a wider set of people, known to hold different opinions about climate science and policy, to participate as authors and to propose other authors (lead and contributing) and reviewers.
        “Trust” here should refer only to objective scientific credentials, prior work record in the relevant field, etc., and not to close or long personal acquaintance, similarity of policy views, prior agreement with your own views, political allegiance, or other equally irrelevant criteria.

  6. Bart, IMO as a casual observer,.. BEST validated warming. Most knew that already and few disagreed that it has warmed in the last several decades (last 13 years debatable). BEST did not address causes or discuss policy which the IPCC does at great lengths. The issues discussed by McKitrick are about what the people in the IPCC did with warming information and how apparent bias leads to predetermined conclusions… (Last sentence summarized greatly)…
    Regards,
    Geoff

    • Geoff Fry

      I don’t disagree with the distinction you point out, entirely.

      Saying “apparent bias leads to predetermined conclusions” in policy is very different from saying it about scientific conclusions drawn from data.

      However, the fact that Dr. McKitrick is closely tied to allegations that biases in researchers were leading to biases in scientific conclusions and he has been thoroughly proven wrong about that by BEST does require heightened skepticism about his like and parallel and closely related views about policy. That healthy skepticism is absent in Dr. Curry’s comments.

      I’m not suggesting that there is no wisdom in the platitudes Dr. McKitrick pays lip service to, either.

      As Dr. McKitrick is a policy advisor both to the Fraser Institute (a Canadian think tank based mainly in Alberta that frequently publishes policy papers on exactly this type of topic) and has been for many years a not infrequent policy consultant lobbying the present Canadian government (what country could be more like the UN than Canada?), we are afforded the luxury of an ample source of comparison of Dr. McKitrick’s views about IPCC and policy with Dr. McKitrick’s results.

      Does the Fraser Institute itself follow Dr. McKitrick’s recommendations to the IPCC?

      No. Not even half so much so as the IPCC already does as SOP some of those recommendations.

      That’d be a bit of hypocrisy, but just one example is hardly proof. There could be other cobbler’s unshod children considerations that prevent Dr. McKitrick from having his own house in order before he snoops about the IPCC with what after all is only common sense.

      So, let’s look at the track record of the Canadian government, insofar as Dr. McKitrick’s advice goes.

      These are the oilsand people, right?

      Signed Kyoto, and then schizophrenically went the totally opposite direction? Whatever side of policy you’re on, you have to be offended one way or the other, if not both.

      Perhaps the national policy platform is too large a scale to form judgement of Dr. McKitrick’s policy credentials.

      Let’s look at the example of a letter to the editor of a local newspaper Dr. McKitrick once wrote. After reading (apparently) the abstract of a single report from a pair of researchers questioning the influence of smog on public health, Dr. McKitrick wrote an attack on the view of the Canadian medical establishment (you know, they give it away for free there, right?) that smog led to surges in demand for emergency medical care on high smog days, and spikes in deaths on and immediately following those days were caused by smog.

      Dr. McKitrick has, in short, been known to make scientific policy decisions based on incomplete information that flies in the face of overwhelming evidence. He does this without following the recommendations he himself makes. He does not on his own track record tend to engender confidence in his policy advice.

      • Hey Bart. Allot of stuff to discuss and debate (I agree with some you’ve said and some not) that you bring up here however I think the main point in this thread is McKitrick’s criticisms of IPCC process and policy (and more) in his paper. JC indicates it is not the person but the statements she agrees with so not to reflect on McKitricks past doings right, wrong or debatable. I’ll tow the same line and say after reading much of the IPCC Reform paper from McKitrick, reading old and recent climategate emails, my knowledge of other IPCC criticisms from others,.. McKitrick has hit the mark on many points he makes. JC criticism goes further regarding IPCC structure and consensus which I continue to learn about.
        Regards,
        Geoff

      • Geoff Fry

        I think you may find we’re far more in agreement than you think.

        My criticism is that McKitrick’s _arguments_ are weak soup, contained in a book being promoted as a hearty feast from a master chef on the cutting edge of the newest school of haute culinaire.

        He’s hit the easy marks at the most basic level. In the same way as the IPCC itself has hit many easy marks (with some overlap) too. As he’s a policy professional of longstanding and with advanced credentials, ought he not move not just the discussion, but arguably the field, forward? This doesn’t seem to do either. It’s more cereal box ingredients and service suggestions. I’m surprised, being Canadian, he didn’t have a French version on half columns of his op ed piece. (It’s a Canadian cereal box thing.)

        Dr. Curry’s addition to McKitrick, so far as it goes, isn’t awful. It’s just not very much, and considering we all know Dr. Curry has far more and better things to say about policy in this regard, sorely disappointing.

        Perhaps she’s busy with other things, or her motivation is wavering giving the incredible workload Dr. Curry carries on top of this blog, but there are opportunities wasted while McKitrick’s work parades about in boots too big for it.

      • Why do you and like minded people always respond with “shoot the messenger” denigrations rather than addressing the merits of papers with which you disagree? This tactic is SOP for warmistas.

      • W F Lenihan

        I’m not sure there are many people out of their mind in exactly like manner for me.

        I’ve said nice things in the past about Dr. McKitrick, who from time to time produces fine work and far more interesting ideas than I’ve seen signs of in this latest effort.

        In this case, it’s not a warmista hat I’m wearing.

        I just think he coulda done more, better and with less padding.

      • Simple question for you Bart.

        1. In process where you have a lead author and independent reviewers
        which method of document preparation will generally lead to better results.

        Its really simple.

        A. author writes: reviewer reviews, author rewrites a final draft.
        reviewers make final comments. Final draft is published as reviewed.
        or the cycle is repeated until the author is satisfied he has answered
        all the reviewer comments. There is no writing after the final comment
        period.

        B. author writes. reviewers review. author rewrites a final draft.
        reviewers dont see it till its published. The final draft is published
        as if it has been reviewed. But reviewers actually never see it.

        In case A the final draft has actually been reviewed
        In case B the final draft has not been reviewed.

        Forget this is the IPCC.

        Which approach do you think is better and why?

      • Simple Mr. Mosher
        Reviewers should only concern themselves with purely technical errors (data, trend lines, filtering, averaging, correlation, spectral analysis, etc) and not interpretations, implication, conclusion and similar.
        Can you imagine Einstein, Tesla or Fleming, or even god forbid Hemingway or Steinbeck submitting their works for peer review?
        Science is advanced by reasoning of an individual not a politburo.

      • go do some charts about sun cycles

      • Heh, that’ll probably do more for attribution than refining temperature reconstructions.
        ========

      • Science is advanced by reasoning of an individual not a politburo

        Not a politburo but a pontifical council,which invokes the doctrine of infalliability.

        We can observe this in the papal bull IPCC SREX Summary for Policymakers.There is nothing new under the sun as history,tells us we need crisis and catastrophe to reduce the probability of ‘dissent eg Chaney 2011.

        Can religious leaders use their popular influence to political ends? This paper explores this question using over 700 years of Nile flood data. Results show that deviant Nile floods were related to signi…cant decreases in the probability of change of the highest-ranking religious authority. Qualitative evidence suggests this decrease reflects an increase in political power stemming from famine-induced surges in the religious authority’s control over popular support. Additional empirical results support this interpretation by linking the observed probability decrease to the number of individuals a religious authority could influence. The paper concludes that the results provide empirical support for theories suggesting religion as a determinant of institutional out comes.

      • C. Cradle to grave fully open data and methods, where interested reviewers can begin to investigate their own technical questions right from the start.

        D. Tracking the failings and successes of the data through metadata about the dataset; doing likewise for the methodologies. So confidence in the competence and appropriate usage of the data and methods can be well-founded.

        E. There is no final draft. There are living documents, and living processes. Vestiges of a pre-electronic, pre-Internet world are left behind like gills, scales and fins.

        F. Professional technical investigators are given qualified questions from policymakers based on what policymakers can rationally establish will improve decisionmaking. The cradle-to-grave open, fully living and integrated, unbiased and independently validated and verified research continues from there, and decisionmakers demonstrate they make rational decisions by the best means they have at hand.

        See how easy that is?

      • Arrg.

        see below and answer the question.

      • Perhaps Ross sees that getting the national government’s representatives on the IPCC to put pressure on the IPCC bureaucracy to implement any worthwhile changes requires a nice’n’easy well measured one step at a time sort of approach.

        Thus your characterisation of his recommendations as lacklustre could be your inability to see his vision of an entry point to a longer game (as well as your personal bias).

      • Bart,

        What Tallbloke said. Incremental change is much, much more common in democratic/bureaucratic systems than revolutionary change. This particular McKitrick paper is not a late night bull session in a college dorm. It is meant to be read by bureaucrats and policy makers and politicians, and it is meant to influence them. Ask a political scientist, don’t take it from me, incremental change is almost always how institutions evolve. Hell it is almost always how anything evolves. As Dawkins said, (something like) “There are lots of ways of being alive, but for every one of them there are a million ways of being dead.”

      • tallbloke and NW

        Incremental change is much, much more common in democratic/bureaucratic systems than revolutionary change.

        Point is, “Radical Reform” isn’t incremental, and certainly wouldn’t be seen as such be most of the world’s policy bureaucrats.

        How many times have you heard them complain, “that UN, not enough committees, not enough red tape, its processes are too fast?”

        If you’ve heard that complaint, then Ross is your man. He has the plan to fix those things.

        In some cases, he fixes them twice, where he recommends current SOP as the fix, like many outsourced consultants do to pad their reports.

        No, gents, _my_ suggestions, off the top of my head (more or less) are the incremental ones, the direction international policy has begun going with open data and crowdsourcing and electronic document initiatives for some years now.

        Ross McKitrick’s church basement report is a decremental throwback to oldschool and deprecated process manuals and politburo decisionmaking, dressed up as zippy revolutionism.

      • Bart, I feel your pain. But 12 members of the U.S. Congress can’t even agree how to shave about 2% or more off of the next ten years of Revenue minus Spending (I wish I cound render that in red). Why? Because there is nothing on the outside forcing them to do so.

        Put it this way: The UN and all its agencies are monopolies. There is no evolutionary pressure on a monopoly to be more efficient: “The best of monopoly profits are the quiet life” (I think
        Alfred Marshall said that but don’t quote me on it). There is no Schumpeterian threat to the IPCC; there is no competitor on the horizon. So there will be no big, discrete steps in its behavior: Nothing forces that.

        The whole language you talk here is suitable for the competitive imperatives faced by a business, or perhaps an industry being threatened by another actual (or potential) industry. But there is no potential “other UN” or “other IPCC” threatening to displace the one we’ve got. So, I would predict, neither the UN nor the IPCC will even change by discrete jumps (unless some black swan like a third world war comes into view). They will only change incrementally. At least, that’s my prediction and I’m sticking to it unless someone explains why not.

      • Bart,

        I should add something. If a vision like yours is to have an effect, I think it would have to come from the outside: That is, not as a replacement for the IPCC, but as an upstart competitor to it. There is a sense in which that fits with my earlier over-the-top suggestion for the disposal of the whole journal system (see the “peer review is f****d up” thread), and its replacement by free posting of papers, comments and replies across the internet. I see that as an inevitable evolutionary process, much like the ongoing destruction of centralized media industries by way of file-sharing. I don’t think of it as a deliberate strategy played out by a group of revolutionaries. But it could be. However the journals are strong institutional facts. At any rate, I suppose something like what you propose could grow spontaneously as a competitor to the IPCC. I don’t think the powers-that-be could be convinced to replace the IPCC with it, though.

      • NW

        There was no other CRU, until there was a BEST. (Well, ok, tha’ts exaggerated, but pretty close to true.)

        If NIPCC were credible instead of some half-baked charade, if a few schools got together and put some resources into developing scholarship, say like PICS, and if that blogosphere we’ve heard so much about actually aimed higher than the level of sophomoric prank, then the IPCC might get the dearest wish of every bureaucracy: to see itself rendered obsolete.

        Strange, for all the negative things I’ve said about Canadian paralysis by analysis: for about a decade, they had the opposite of what the USA suffers from today on spending: no committee could stop itself from shaving spending. Because the emphasis wasn’t on “no new taxes” (they had plenty, they just cut the rate of every type of taxpayer) — it was on no new unfairness, no new subsidy, and no uneconomical programs.

      • Steve, you forgot the 3rd one.
        c. author writes. reviewers review. author rewrites a final draft. The Lead Authors publish something completely different that fits the “narrative”, but leave the authors name on it.

      • my question was NOT can you think of a third.

        my question was: which is better.

        not, can you think of something witty to say
        Not, can you think of something better than these two
        Not, who pays this guys salary
        not any of those.

        Simple question. dont waste my time

      • Steve, as this thread is supposed to be about the problems with the IPCC I was merely pointing out that they used a 3rd method.
        If you don’t like it then tough.

      • AC. the LA is the author. slaps forehead.

      • You didnt answer the question Bart.

        of the two options I gave you which is better?

        after you decide which is better, you can move on to your ideas.
        But first, lets see how you do with a simple question.

        basically, a person not smart enough to answer a simple question is too dumb to recommend anything.

      • steven mosher

        You seem flummoxed by people’s unwillingness to be led by the nose by your narrow Socratic dialectic which the conversation has long since passed by.

        Try to catch up.

        We’re not talking about the Laframboise book any more. No one is.

        If we’ve acknowledged how inadequate the McKitrick approach is in the ironically named “Radical Reform” proposal, or so much of it as can be gleaned from the hypish op-ed piece, then what possible incentive could then induce us to retread its complaints?

      • Bart

        I am not discussing Laframboise

        I am asking you a question about a single one of Ross’ proposals.

        You might want to engage in Knight move thinking. I prefer to stay on topic

      • John Carpenter

        Steve, I’ll answer your question.

        ‘A’ is the preferred method of the two. Method A allows the author and reviewer to make improving adjustments to the paper that both agree upon. The author gets to have the final say in what is published. The review process is confined between the author and reviewer and under their control.

        One further recommendation…

        Recommendation #12: A transparent grievance procedure to document why a publication is not accepted for inclusion in the AR.

      • Thanks John.

        McKittrick has some proposals. can we improve on them

        dont mind Bart he’s on some kinda DMT trip

      • He’s probably just IDJT, he can’t help it.

      • Don’t forget that with the IPCC not only do reviewers not get to review final drafts, sometimes authors don’t get to see final drafts.

    • Geoff
      Conspiracy to corrupt scientific peer review
      Not only did IPCC rewrite the executive summary AFTER review, its lead authors conspired to corrupt the peer review process, including coercing to have a journal editor dismissed who did not exclusively support the global warming party line – with IPCC head Paucharia acquiescing since he had been copied on the emails. See:

      Tribalistic corruption of peer review – the Chris de Freitas incident

      Climategate 2 – Salinger puts the boot into De Freitas

      Climategate 2 and Corruption of Peer Review

      Climategate 2 and Corruption of Peer Review – Part II

      • The other side of the story:
        A response from Chris de Freitas
        “Rather than argue his own position. Dr. de Freitas lets the director of the publication Climate Research speak for him in a letter sent in 2003 settling the matter.”

        Chris de Freitas has done a good and correct job as editor.
        Best wishes,
        Otto Kinne
        Director, Inter-Research

        Anthony Watts concludes:

        The Team should be ashamed. Dr. Phil Jones and Dr. Tom Wigley should resign, in my opinion because rather than argue the science, they formed a tribe, and used the collective influence of the tribe to smear the reputation of the editor, de Freitas.

  7. I said before, I favor letting them rot.
    But if not, I have one suggest replace that indian
    and get someone, who cares and will do a good
    job at managing the joint.
    Chop off the head who utterly useless and no one
    supports.
    Once there an adult in charge, the ship will right
    itself.

  8. BEST is off topic. There’s probably a suitable thread, elsewhere.

  9. Judith –

    When you find yourself in agreement with Mckitrick – does it give you pause to realize that you’re in agreement with someone who reaches facile conclusions and makes tribalistic statements with reference to the debate about climate?

    • I agree or disagree with arguments, not with individual people.

      • I respect the sentiment – but that suggests a categorical distinction between people’s motivations/influences and their arguments.

        What we read about human psychology – indeed, in material you, yourself have posted at this very site – suggests that such a categorical distinction is not valid.

        And in the comments you’ve made about Joe Romm (or Morano) make it clear that you don’t always follow the principle of the distinction you aspire to.

        More specific to this situation, I would argue that you’d be like to approach your analysis of arguments from McKitrick differently than you would approach arguments published in a Greenpeace document – and to be dismissive of a Greenpeace document much more easily on the basis of their tribal affiliation. When you say that you don’t evaluate agreement on the basis of who is making an argument, it implies that you don’t feel it is necessary to consider McKitrick’s tribalism when approaching his work. I think that is a mistaken approach, and that you should be less willing to overlook his tribalism.

        Please understand, I’m not saying that your approach is completely contradictory – but I do believe that you do not examine your own influences and biases carefully enough.

      • I believe that you do not examine your influences and biases carefully
        enough

        So What

      • Pot, kettle. Joshua seems to think he’s objective. He’s got no clue to the science, and seemingly less to the rhetoric, his specialty.
        ==========

      • I believe that you do not examine your influences and biases carefully enough

        I agree that I probably don’t. Most people don’t.

        So what? Really?

        My opinions are insignificant in the climate debate.

        Judith – as someone who has a role to play in the climate debate, as someone who is attempting to “build bridges?” So what if she doesn’t examine, sufficiently, the influences and biases that affect her reasoning?

        So what?

        Really?

        Hilarious.

      • kim –

        Joshua seems to think he’s objective.

        As an ardent reader of my posts, no doubt you have never seen me claim objectively, and often state the obvious: my opinions are not free of subjective influences.

        The fact that you persist in claiming that I “seem to think” things that aren’t consistent with what I’ve said, suggests that you “connect dots” that exist only in your imagination.

        You know, like you talked about “connecting dots” to find Obama’s Muslim “sympathies?” (Do you need me to provide the link?)

        So many dots, kim. So many dots. Have you considered cleaning your glasses?

      • You really dont get it do you Joshua.
        Again you need to examine your own biases

        I fully expect Judith to have a bias. It’s a given. So, I always pause and consider the actual argument, not who made it and not who showcased it. Call it my academic training. I know Ross. Ross is a friend of mine. I love finding errors in his logic, I love finding errors in his work. I know that sounds weird to you, but I would love nothing more than to prove my good friend wrong on a couple of matters. Same goes for McIntyre. Fricken dude calls me the other day with another error he found in my book.
        It went straight to my bias.

        Judith is a friend as well. I also would love proving her wrong.

        Proving she has a bias is a job for an IDJT. You do it well.
        you have no problem proving a given.

        The question is can you actually address Ross’ arguments.

        The answer? No. you cant.

        Instead, you mount your hobby horse and ride around claiming victory when you have proven a given. sad. you held such promise.

      • So Joshua, what are your biases?

      • ……………. a deafening silence, Steve!

      • I will lead with my biases.

        I am biased toward outsiders
        I am biased toward women scientists
        I am biased toward modelling approaches
        I am biased toward australians ( Peter webster rocks)
        I am biased toward Germans ( hans von storch rocks)
        I am biased against the French.
        I am biased against the canadians ( its a hockey thing )
        I am biased against economists ( soory Ross)
        I am biased against anyone who talks about politics or ethics ( Martha)
        I am biased against pasty englishmen.
        I am biased toward the Irish
        I am biased toward guys who wear black.( santer and mann.)
        I am biased toward engineers. ( yeah jeff Id)
        I am biased against guys with facial hair ( except Mann, very cool cat)
        I am biased against anyone who has not done physical labor to earn a buck at some point in their life
        I am biased against academics. I used to be one.
        I am biased against men who never played a sport or killed an animal for food. ( fishing counts, golf counts, lawn bowling does not count )

        I could go on.

        But lets get back to arguments put forth by this academic canadian economist who already has Three strikes against him in my book. Maybe four strikes, I never asked him if he ever broke a sweat or killed an animal.

      • I fully expect Judith to have a bias. It’s a given. So, I always pause and consider the actual argument, not who made it and not who showcased it.

        One of Judith’s arguments is that there is a vast asymmetry in the impact of tribalism on the different sides of the climate debate.

        Then she reads of someone like McKitrick, who has played an important role in the “skeptical” side of the debate, display over triballism, not to mention facile reasoning. In response, she dismisses his tribalism as mere intemperance, and promotes his analysis even though he is a prove tribalist.

        His tribalism does not in and of itself invalidate his analysis but: (1) it raises the bar for evaluating his work – something that Judith doesn’t seem to acknowledge and, (2) I think it’s problematic if Judith wishes to disassociate McKitrick’s tribalism from his analytical output, but systematically hypes the impact of tribalism on the analytical output on the other side of the debate.

        In the very least, such an inconsistency suggests that she is likely to have much success in “building bridges.” Perhaps if she were more even-handed, her “bridge-building” would prove to be more productive.

      • er, is not likely…. At least one too many post-Thanksgiving classes of wine tonight. Even more errors than usual.

      • Joshuia, when you “believe” in Newton’s laws of motion or optical theory, are you aware that in doing so you are agreeing with someone that also believed in alchemy, engaged in long personal feuds with illustrious scientists such as Leibnitz, was known for his short temper, and believed that prophesies in the Book of Revelation are a worthy study for a “natural philosopher”?
        When you believe in Einstein’s theory of relativity, are you aware of his apparently disparaging treatment of his own (first) wife, his frequent philandering, or his anarchistic political leanings? Are you aware that his relativity theory led to the invention of the atom bomb and the death of so many people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Are you aware that Einstein was foolish enough to pursue a wrong and discredited idea about a cosmological constant of his own devising, wasting in such pursuit many years of his valuable time and a lot of valuable Princeton University resources? Are you aware that in supporting Einstein you are supporting someone who discredited and probably delayed the advance of quantum theory just because he believed that God does not play dice, whatever that means?

        And in the end, what the heck all those facts amount to, when the matter under discussion is just the Newton laws of motion, or Einstein’s relativity?

      • Hector –

        McKitrick is a player in the climate debate, and as such, his tribalism as evidenced in his input into the climate debate become relevant – and not the least because his tribal statements revealed facile reasoning (concluding that someone he’s never met is a “grovelling, terrified coward” based on nothing other than conjecture).

        Not dispositive (sorry, kim), but relevant.

        I assume that anyone who dismisses that relevance has an ax to grind; particularly if that someone considers tribalism in the “climate community” to be of relevance (have you been looking at the “skeptical” blogosphere over the past few days? How many commenters there have you seen saying “so what” about tribalism among climate scientists? What does Judith, herself, have to say about tribalism among climate scientists?).

        The same ax grinding would be true of anyone who dismisses tribalism from the other side of the fence.

      • Joshua,
        Why do you, a hardcore AGW ‘bot, keep pretending that you are somehow an authority on the validity of every non-AGW believer and skeptic there is?
        It is a nold schtick on your part and you should know that no one buys into it.

      • That’s a pretty nold statement. Can you back it up? :)

      • Dr. Curry

        I don’t think I’ve ever seen you comment on Dr. McKitrick’s pro-carbon tax arguments.

        What are your feelings on that policy response?

      • I agree or disagree with arguments, not with individual people.
        … Anti-political.

        Sort of reminds me of agnostics and atheists

        Don’t think you mean it as in the adamant exclusionary sense quite as they do. Their argument is strongly insistently rational. You argument is emotional. You don’t wish to get swept up in the ideological boondoggle of politics.

      • I agree Dr. Curry. Arguments are all that matter here, not people, and certainy not biases. If everyone is biased in everything they believe and say then the concept has no meaning, and no use. Same for tribalism, motivated reasoning and all the other psychological baggage. It is irrelevant to the debate, a vast floating ad hominem, a waste of space and time.

        I am reminded of the joke about how psychiatists greet each other — “your fine, how am I?” We are not here to do psychology on one another. Each of us already knows what we believe.

  10. McKitrick will be known in history as the guy that co-authored one of the most unintentionally absurd books written on science, “Taken by Storm” in 2002. Has anyone else looked at this thing? You can open it up to just about any page and it has the most ridiculous explanations for various scientific phenomena. How anybody can give this guy any credibility after that debacle is beyond me.

    • This from a “big oil” truther.

      • P.E. –

        Careful, you should base your disagreement on people’s arguments, not on the individuals who are making those arguments.

      • Joshua, you might have a point if WebDubTelescope had actually used an example instead of his usual arm waving nutty conspiracy theory styled accusations.

      • Good point, but I think Joshua & WebDub think there is nothing wrong with IPCC.
        As in there hasn’t ever been a better run institution. Therefore
        the idea it needs to change at all, is highly insulting.
        So the post content isn’t an argument, but instead it’s
        just insulting a fine institution.

      • I wonder when McKitrick stopped using his childish term, “T-Rex”, to describe global temperature? The book is loaded with these coded dog-whistle terms that they figured might get picked up. This has nothing really to do with science, but just meant to get people worked up.

      • Good point, but I think Joshua & WebDub think there is nothing wrong with IPCC

        I can’t speak for WHT, but that does not accurately describe my viewpoint. I have stated a very different viewpoint more than once.

        What I find interesting is that it seems that some “skeptics” can’t seem to grasp that even though I criticize much of the analysis I see among “skeptics,” that doesn’t mean that I’m not critical of much of what I see in the “climate science community.”

        I find it curious that seemingly smart people, who consider themselves to be “skeptical” have such a simplistic outlook that they assume that criticism of one side implies blind faith in the other side.

      • The IPCC is just one of many documents that come across the bureaucratic bow. I believe that everyone that works on a government contract and delivers a final report will at best have that report peer-reviewed as an in-house process. That’s the way it works nationally and I can’t imagine it being any different on an international basis.

        If it contains interesting research then it has some merit.

      • “What I find interesting is that it seems that some “skeptics” can’t seem to grasp that even though I criticize much of the analysis I see among “skeptics,” that doesn’t mean that I’m not critical of much of what I see in the “climate science community.” ”

        I think it good to criticizes skeptics.
        They would have to not be true skeptics if they could not appreciate the effort of others in working towards a better understanding.
        And any skeptics [or scientist] is helped by a different view regarding the
        the issue.
        My point is I was guessing that you didn’t think suggestions of how to improve the IPCC was helping- as in IPCC didn’t need any more “help” at this time. And by suggesting improvements, it was in some ways belittling or insulting to IPCC.
        And therefore insulting the person making “suggestions” was merely a tit for tat.

      • My point is I was guessing that you didn’t think suggestions of how to improve the IPCC was helping-

        I think that some of the suggestions I’ve seen for how to improve the IPCC should behelpful. (Well-intended suggestions only prove to be unhelpful to the extent that the IPCC, as most bureaucracies have a tendency, shows an institutional resistance to constructive criticism. In that situation, if they are “unhelpful,” then the responsibility lies with the IPCC, not those making suggestions). In general, better controls for conflict of interest and implementation of policies that increase transparency are laudable goals.

        But the situation is complicated when suggestions are essentially cover for a form of politicized attack. For example, suggestions that are tied to glorified and inaccurate generalizations about comparative private sector/industry standards are suspect, IMO. Suggestions from improvement from critics who are overtly tribalistic (as we see with McKitrick) are suspect (although they shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand). Suggestions from those who have an extremist libertarian or anti-UN agenda are suspect also.

      • You haven’t read McKitrick’s book, “Taken by Storm” have you?
        It’s page after page of hand-wavy quasi-scientific explanations mixed with the weirdest juvenile analogies I have encountered.
        I have a copy of it on hand, point me to any random page and I bet I can find some glaring error.
        I think it created a template for a lot of the recent anti-science books that have come out in the last few years.

      • page 19.

      • taps foot. you said any random page webby.

      • The mention of “phase locking” without providing the context of the original meaning, as in a phase locked loop meant to improve accuracy. That transitions into a mention of game theory without the fundamental psychological nature of strategies defined. Then they mention the idea of self-organization without the context of critical phenomena from which it was taken. That page is transparently bad because it is just techno name-dropping meant to impress someone that hasn’t had some familiarity with those terms.

      • “That transitions into a mention of game theory without the fundamental psychological nature of strategies defined.”

        I don’t see what you mean by claiming that the definition of a strategy is “fundamentally psychological.” In evolutionary game theory a strategy is not fundamentally psychological. What do you have in mind here WHT?

      • I don’t see what you mean by claiming that the definition of a strategy is “fundamentally psychological.” In evolutionary game theory a strategy is not fundamentally psychological. What do you have in mind here WHT?

        Don’t ask me what McKitrick was intending, ask him. Game theory was introduced in two short paragraphs, with a reference to the movie “A Beautiful Mind” thrown in. Game theory wasn’t mentioned again after that point.

      • I read it and reviewed it for Electricity Daily. It was quite good, although I disagreed with some arguments. Clearly you did not understand it.

      • I read it and reviewed it for Electricity Daily. It was quite good, although I disagreed with some arguments. Clearly you did not understand it.

        I read it and reviewed it several years ago on my blog.

        http://mobjectivist.blogspot.com/2004/07/not-taken-by-storm.html?showComment=1186995300000

        It is indeed hard to understand someone that doesn’t understand the fundamental concepts themselves.

        Lambert at Deltoid was also mocking this pos at the time.

      • And will you please give this “anti-science” nonsense a rest? It’s almost as hackneyed and dumb as “big oil”.

      • And will you please give this “anti-science” nonsense a rest? It’s almost as hackneyed and dumb as “big oil”.

        Talking about hackneyed and dumb, have you read the book? This is a basic treatise on how to create empty catch-phases. Hockey Stick, SPAM, T-Rex, Official Science, Nescience, Bleeps, the Big Panel, Doctrine of Certainty, and using scare quotes on things like “temperature”.

        McKitrick uses the term nescience (“not science” from the root) to indicate ignorance or the lack of knowledge among climate scientists. Give me a break, this is all projection and dog-whistle stuff that has been practiced for years. In other words, only his side does the real science, everyone else is doing not-science. He prefers to couch it in a euphemism, but I will call him on it.

        It is not hard to figure out the underlying agendas from these vanity books. You just have to know the code-words.

      • OK, WHT, one thing at a time. I don’t understand why you call it a “howler” to claim that air and water quality have been improving over the late 20th century. All the records I have seen, at both the EPA and Environmental Defense, confirm that this is true across the vast majority of U.S. air and watersheds. For instance see table 3.1 in this EPA publication for 1990-1999.

        http://www.epa.gov/air/airtrends/aqtrnd99/pdfs/Chapter3.pdf

        Perhaps you are trying to make some point that this wouldn’t have occurred without environmental regulation, but it doesn’t change the essential truth of the statement. I am not an expert in this area but have reviewed it before in response to your kind of worries. Practically every government-certified hazard in air and water quality has improved, in most U.S. air and watersheds, over the late 20th century. This seems to be the claim you describe as a howler. Is this not what you claim is a howler?

      • OK, WHT, one thing at a time. I don’t understand why you call it a “howler” to claim that air and water quality have been improving over the late 20th century.

        Because McKitrick is a complete hypocrite. If you read closely, he said things have improved since 1970, but earlier in the book, he said “We have no idea when Earth Day is, nor do we care, as long as the malls stay open.”
        The problem is that Earth Day started in 1970, which makes him a bomb-thrower, only intent on making himself look good, and trying to denigrate all the efforts of environmentalists who paved the way for cleaner air and water.

      • “It’s page after page of hand-wavy quasi-scientific explanations mixed with the weirdest juvenile analogies I have encountered.
        I have a copy of it on hand, point me to any random page and I bet I can find some glaring error.”

        You failed webby.

      • steven mosher

        If I knew nothing else about an argument but that you said it failed, it would immediately rise in my estimation.

        Quick, list 50 errors from science before 1906 that are fails, to balance. I hate to be so strongly biased by a preconceived notion.

      • Bart R,
        Webster made a specific claim and failed.
        Can you point out Mosher’s claims regarding 1906 science errors?

      • I am page 19.

      • Bart,

        I gave WHT the opportunity to put the assertions about game theory and “the psychological nature of strategies” back where he/she found them, with more bluster as the response. I would call that a, um, what’s the word? Flail? Rail? Something…

      • OK, Here is a list of what I consider stupid statements I found in “Taken By Storm”.

        The preface starts out badly:

        We have no idea when Earth Day is, nor do we care, as long as the malls stay open.

        A quote that lays out their initial premise, in that they seem to question computational math:

        In a normal computer calculation in other fields, one aspires to make the computational grid smaller than all important structures and process — that is essential to doing a numerical computer calculation from a theory.

        They also criticize the idea of parameterization in global warming models, as if it were not allowed in some grand idealized theory:

        There is no precise physical theory behind these emperical (sic) rules, just some meteorological wisdom and observation.

        At this point, a good physicist trying to debunk such shortcomings would lay out thermodynamics or statistical mechanical arguments to solving problems. And perhaps use observations and trends to find support. Instead, they follow a pattern of pompous pronouncements with Initial Caps references, whereby, “the concept is so scientific it rates Initial Caps”. Framing also plays a big role; they repeatedly use Disney references in condescending terms:

        The thunderstorm outside is a bit like one of Mickey’s missing fingers.

        Their subliminal rhetorical devices do not work when faced with howlers such as this:

        Whether looking at air or water quality, most things were in better shape in 1990 than in 1970 in an absolute sense. There was no crisis, according to real, directly measured environmental quality numbers.
        What was a world leader to do, faced with a public looking for bold leadership to fix an environmental “crisis”, just when the environment appeared to be getting better on its own? Only in politics can this be a dilemma.

        As if they did not recall that Earth Day was in 1970, in the decade that the EPA started enforcing quality regulations. Oh, I forgot, they cared more about the malls staying open.

        The following is a categorized sampling of quotes from the book:

        Embarrassment:

        When was the last time you saw a thermometer, other than a medical one, that could measure more closely than 1 degree C?.

        Fahrenheit, anyone?

        Conspiracy territory:

        Some, however, cannot avoid being drawn into the debate. Most interest has been focused on the big oil and gas firms like Shell, Suncor and British Petroleum.

        One firm that has conspicuously decided to not pay protection money is Exxon.

        Not to mention that those other companies have a more European sensibility, in tune to their citizens concerns.

        Non-sequitor:

        For some of these, we can show that there is a rule, even though we cannot figure out how to get one to write down.

        Comical:

        Everyone agrees that some kind of averaging may help, but this idea is in itself not very helpful, even though unchaperoned averaging has been going on in the back allies (sic) for decades.

        A Matlab reference:

        We have filled the table in using an important mathematics program called Matlab to help the flow of discussion, but we recommend that you actually try it yourself.

        I love how the word “important” is inserted in the strategic Matlab-marketing location.

        Tautology:

        This is called truncation, and it produces truncation errors. In many cases, if you know what you’re doing, it doesn’t present great difficulties. But it can be a problem when small things can have big effects.

        Straw-man argument:

        You can’t calculate turbulent fluid motions in a 1-D model. The fluid would go up, but it could not go down again without passing through itself.

        After all, straw-men are one-dimensional people.

        Incoherence:

        A statistic is lower on the pecking order than a physical variable because it doesn’t fit into any physical theories or necessarily have any significance at all. When a statistic is formalized, it is elevated to the status of an “index”.

        Odd:

        Data quality rules say T-Rex must be terminated!

        T-Rex is their pet name for average global temperature. They clearly show a deep misunderstanding of what temperature really means.

        More embarrassment part 2:

        A laser pointer is a good example. Its temperature is in the tens of millions of degrees.

        No. Temperature is not energy.

        The very fact that Figure 4.1 reports a result per unit time (months in this case) rules out the possibility that it measures anything in equilibrium, and hence that it is a graph of something that has a single temperature.

        It is pointless to proceed, as we are not in equilibrium.

        We are not making any judgement about whether the line or the hockey stick is a more reliable picture of the history of T-Rex. Let specialists in the field debate that if they like.

        Good plan, hint, hint. They also resurrect the straw-man by using as an overlay, Figure 5.7, of real domestic product on top of inferred global temperature (the hockey stick graph). Any idiot will see that this of course does not prove anything.

        Really?

        But you can see why non-experts get the wrong ideas by using the wrong words and metaphors.

        After a while, I started to purely lose interest due to the incompetence of it all. Witness:

        How could that be? Easy. We can have the local weather move toward different temperatures with changes that cancel each other out in the sum of the temperatures that people make before they divide by the number of temperatures measured.

        … Huh?

        Apparently a 200 page book is not enough to get all their thoughts out:

        As a simple example, we can revisit the question of whether carbon dioxide must actually cause warming at the surface, the way the ambient heat prejudice demands. (You can find more about it in a paper by Chris.6)

        His paper must reveal the arguments that they cannot articulate in pages and pages of prose.

        In conclusion, they write:

        In every other area of society, when a task requires adjudication — that is, a judgement (sic) as to the meaning of the available data by someone in a position of authority — no one would think of using a fact-finding model. Instead we turn to one in which contrasting opinions are deliberately sought out and given a full and fair hearing.

        So, there we have it laid out — their actual agenda. They do not believe that science should be based on the best theory that matches actual observations. Instead they want the other side to be heard, no matter what the quality of exposition. Based on their own arguments, they probably want astrophysics as a field of research to be eliminated:

        Climate observations are not controlled experiments — and treating them as if they are has caused plenty of confusion.

        I had to include all this because it is just a horrible book.

    • Web,
      It cannot possibly be as absurd as your peak oil stuff.

      • It cannot possibly be as absurd as your peak oil stuff.

        Peak oil is pretty absurd. Who would have figured that a substance that took millions of years to form would be exploited in a mere few hundred years, with no concern about the unbelievable utility of such a concentrated energy source? What exactly were we thinking?

        So it does all seem pretty absurd, but onward and upward as they say.

      • WHT,
        Your inability to consider reality when you speak of oil is interesting.

      • Too much “Dallas”. Thinks J.R. Ewing is running Haliburton. And Jock Ewing isn’t really dead, he just took on a new identity as Dick Cheney. Poor Cliff Barnes, the climate scientist.

  11. Once upon a life, Ross McK gave academic “quals” to a retired Canadian
    mining engineer, curious about a strange graph known affectionately as
    the hockey stick, which looked strangely like mining sales pitch scams. To get data, Steve McIntyre needed academic credentials he lacked. McK helped.

    If McK does nothing more for the rest of his life, I will be grateful.

    …..Lady in Red

    • What did he do, give him a fake degree?

      • Steven –

        Neither my biases nor Holly’s are of any particular relevance in the debate.

        Neither is the relevance of someone like Girma – except on Judith’s site, because she has claimed some vast asymmetry in the impact of tribalism on the different sides of the debate.

        My point to her is that the only way one can argue for such an asymmetry is by essentially ignoring the tribalism among “skeptics” so abundantly on display – among her “denizens” (whose opinions she values independently of their associated tribalism) or among “skeptical” players in scientific debate (McKitrick, LIndzen, Watts, Spencer, etc.).

      • You obviously do not get the vast asymmetry in power on each side of this tribal war.

        Both sides have their bias. that is a given

        One side controls the canon.

        What Judith is trying to do is provide a place where there is less gatekeeping.

        There is no vast asymmetry in the bias that I can see. I see people equally biased on both sides. I know Judith believes this as well. What I do see is that one side has more control and power in the communication of science than the other. What we see is a few people in one tribe dictating to others in their tribe who they should talk to and what they should say.

        Because Judith believes there is an asymmetry in the power relationship she has tried to do the following. Because she has felt the power of her own tribe used on her she is in a unique situation.

        1. She started by commenting on CA. No scientist would come and talk to critics. Critics were to be silenced not engaged.
        2. She invited Mcintyre to Georgia tech. For this liitle act of “endorsement” she was criticized. How dare she invite a critic to the halls of wisdom
        3. She provides a place where loony toons can come and discredit themselves. She removes the argument that they are being Muzzled.

      • Josh is not as stupid as he often appears to be. He get’s the asymmetry. He just wishes it to be totally lopsided. He can’t stand Judith, because she has strayed from the reservation. You see the same type of enmity and scorn from the lefties directed at blacks and women, who are suspected of conservative political leanings.

      • One side controls the cannon, but the other side has all the balls. Stalemate.

      • steven –

        One side controls the canon.

        Here’s the problem. On the one hand, I have people telling me that “skeptics” have relatively less power. And on the other hand, I see Republican Party candidates founding their campaigns on a platform that includes and anti-AGW plank. I see Inhofe and Republicans actively promoting the work of “skeptics.” I read folks like Willis telling me that the work of “skeptics” has been successful in derailing the AGW cabal. I see Judith telling me that “climategate” has destroyed trust in climate scientists among the American public.

        So “skeptics” alternately tell me that the “climate community controls the canon” or had disproportionate power and then tell me what they claim as facts that completely contradict their previous assertions.

        You see, steven, when someone has intelligence as limited as mine, such direct and obvious contradictions are problematic. Perhaps if I had your intelligence, I’d be able to reconcile direct and obvious contradictions.

        1. She started by commenting on CA. No scientist would come and talk to critics. Critics were to be silenced not engaged.
        2. She invited Mcintyre to Georgia tech. For this liitle act of “endorsement” she was criticized. How dare she invite a critic to the halls of wisdom
        3. She provides a place where loony toons can come and discredit themselves. She removes the argument that they are being Muzzled.

        Here’s the thing, steven, I can recognize the value in all of that (as well as the value of her efforts to better quantify uncertainty) and still feel that Judith has room to improve her approach to the climate debate.

        Apparently, with your superior intellect, you understand that it would be mutually exclusive to do what you describe above and still actively denounce the tribalism among important “skeptics” such as Lindzen or McKitrick. A poor, simple dolt like myself cannot see that mutual exclusivity.

        All I can do is ask, yet again, for your patience. Perhaps over time you will be able to reduce your viewpoint to simple enough terms that even I can see their deep wisdom. I know it’s asking a lot of you – but I do appreciate your efforts.

      • Joshua, after this comment, auditors might predict a drop in the occurences of words like “IDJIT” targetting you.

        I suggest you keep note of quotes and links for claims like this:

        > I have people telling me [...]

        If people ask you to substantiate those claims, you’ll lose less time by keeping a record of these statements.

        By the way, have you ever heard of tumblogs?

      • What’s the matter, Mosher, you don’t like my wit? Funny coming from someone who thinks using “Piltdown Mann” is clever.

      • Siltdown mann was cleverer. When you have said something witty, bring me back from the dead and point it out. I don’t expect it in my lifetime.

      • Meltdown Mann was cleverest.

      • PE. was that kim who came up with that?

      • Nope, I’m very sorry to say. And there’s precedence for Piltdown Mann over me at Climate Audit, but it’s not you.

        One very fortunate manifestation of the evolution of the climate blogosphere is the rise of ridicule. Years ago I hoped that this whole mess would end in ridicule and not anger, but I see now we need plenty of both.
        =============

      • Joshua.

        here is an example of the problem we are talking about.

        take some time out. educate yourself

        http://newzealandclimatechange.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/climategate-2-and-corruption-of-peer-review/

      • This is well worth reading

      • This is becoming less like climategate and more like journolist.

        Climolist.

      • John Carpenter

        That’s just plain depressing….

      • Yeah, Steven, the article you linked really hammers home what sickens me about the so-called ‘professionals’ in this field and the lengths they go to in order to get their way.

        There were a few times in my youth when I behaved less badly, but when my misadventure was exposed I felt very ashamed, as opposed to victimized by the truth come to light.

        With this type of garbage exposed I can’t see how these guys can continue to play the victim…

  12. Richared Tol has argued on a previous thread that the national governments seem to be happy with the IPCC.

    Codependent. Could get interesting …

    • Tol is correct, but that may soon change in the US Government, which is what makes Ross’s book important. Not only is the US the IPCC’s biggest financial supporter, but we also provide the technical support group for WG1. If we pull out others may follow and the IPCC will go the way of the Kyoto Protocol. One can only hope.

  13. Joshua writes :”Please understand, I’m not saying that your approach is completely contradictory – but I do believe that you do not examine your own influences and biases carefully enough.”

    So who does? If you answer honestly then you’ll agree that just about no one, which is not to say people don’t try. So I ask you, since you seem to be stating the obvious, what’s the point?

    • So I ask you, since you seem to be stating the obvious, what’s the point?

      The point is simply that Judith should acknowledge tribalism that afflicts parties on both sides of the debate, and redouble her efforts to control for her own tribalism.

      I think it is problematic when Judith claims to be interested in building bridges, and stakes out her territory in the climate debate by painting red flags on the tribalism of the “climate establishment,” but then says that there is a “vast asymmetry” in the tribalism, and then goes further to diminish the importance of the tribalism of someone like MacKitrick and say the following:

      I agree or disagree with arguments, not with individual people.

      even though she violates that principle by, say, linking to cartoons ridiculing Gore, and she clearly focus on the tribalism among the “climate establishment” much more among individuals in the “climate establishment” than she does on the tribalism among “skeptics.”

      Judith frequently praises her “denizens” for the value of their input into the debate. She frequently talks of the value of “skeptics” in the blogosphere. She and other “skeptics” talk of what they see as the deep impact of “skepticism” in the climate debate more generally, and with respect to public opinion the development of mitigation policies in particular. When it’s convenient, she applauds the analysis of “skeptics.” When it’s convenient, she denounces the tribalism among the “climate community. And when it’s convenient, she diminishes and/or refuses to acknowledge the significance of tribalism among “skeptics.”

      That’s the point.

      • Judith IS controlling for her own tribalism.

        she’s one of them.

        That is when she first appeared at CA we called her the wicked witch of the west

        Wanna see the thread. IDJT

      • There’s no point in talking logic to one of the most prolific shark jumpers on the board, Joshua. He can’t even pick up that Dr. Curry is another grade of the eco-left that he would naturally be alligned with in a general way. That’s how myopic many of the fringe components like Joshua can become.

      • cwon –

        Just to be clear, I consider you calling me a fringe shark jumper a badge of honor.

      • Name a climate scientist who sets the gold standard in controlling their own tribalism.

      • Name a climate scientist who sets the gold standard in controlling their own tribalism.

        Ah yes.

        “Mommy, mommy, they do it toooouuuu.”

        Never seen that before.

      • I have absolutely no clue what your response is supposed to mean. Did you post to the wrong comment?

      • I have absolutely no clue what your response is supposed to mean.

        Telling.

        Did you post to the wrong comment?

        No.

      • Joshua –

        Your response is still incoherent. So, I have reformulated my question and re-posted it (to the wrong sub-thread!) here.

      • Steven,
        Are you saying that skeptics have never tried to get Mann into trouble with his university, say? Even written to the V-C?

      • Auditors are hearing a foot tapping from down under the Globe.

      • Joshua –

        I am asking you to name a climate scientist who is particularly good at controlling their own tribalism. It is not intended to be an unanswerable rhetorical question. You imply that Curry’s efforts fall short of the mark, therefore name one who is better in this regard.

        Or perhaps your point is that all are equally bad. However, some years ago, I recall that Curry went to Tamino’s place for a chat and it was as if she’d stirred up an asylum of howling lunatics. Yet her dead-panned reaction was simply something like: You disappoint. She did not go there to fight.

        It takes enormous self-discipline to focus on the rational signal midst the passionate noise. Curry is on my list of those who have it.

        Name another one.

        bi2hs

      • It takes enormous self-discipline to focus on the rational signal midst the passionate noise. Curry is on my list of those who have it.

        Name another one.

        Interesting viewpoint. I have been focussed on the nexus between energy use and our environment for the last seven years of blogging. I have only gotten deeply into the climate science aspects recently. In terms of discussing fossil fuel depletion, the cast of characters includes the diametrically opposite extremes of “cornucopians” and “doomers”. These correspond to the equivalent of skeptics versus climate scientists in the AGW debate. I fit in as a realist on both fronts, and try to look objectively at the data (though I am definitely not a cornucopian and think we need alternative energy strategies in place).

        That gets me to my point.

        The amount of anger I see when I confront a cornucopian is nothing in comparison to the nastiness I have seen recently when confronting an AGW skeptic, such as in this forum. Cornucopians are almost like pussycats, many of them in the oil industry, who can’t deal with the data when confronted. I actually get more doomers upset with me at a place like http://TheOilDrum.com when I knock down some loony idea. In contrast, the AGW skeptics respond to just about anything with almost uncontrollable rage, and I attribute the response of someone like Tamino to be normal of someone who gets relentlessly battered.

        I will admit that commenting in this forum is liking poking at a hornet’s nest, but by getting roughened up gradually you can develop a tough exterior …

      • bi2hs –

        I apologize for being obnoxious. I was assuming that your question was rhetorical. If that wasn’t the case, then I guess I can understand why you thought my responses incoherent.

        I don’t know that I can point to other climate scientists that have done a better job of controlling for biasing influences than Judith. Kerry Emanuel strikes me as someone who seems reasonably balanced, as does Mojib Latif, but I couldn’t make a knowledgeable comparison at a very specific level.

        But my point is that I don’t think that being able to point to someone who is better at this (or not) is directly relevant to the question of whether Judith could be better at it. I think that there is a notable imbalance in Judith’s approach on certain issues, and that those imbalances should be addressed. Of course, what I see as an imbalance might, theoretically, be reflective of my biases as much as Judith’s, or even completely attributed to my biases – but in order to gain a greater understanding there, I think it’s necessary to engage with people on the topic.

        Judith seems to me to be casually dismissive of the possibility that she doesn’t sufficiently address her own biases, and I am neither swayed by sycophantic descriptions of her virtues by others or conspiratorial and false moral equivalency arguments that have been put forth as a refutation of my points.

        Now that we seem to have established that you aren’t employing any of those lines of argumentation, I will say in response to your post that I agree that I need to temper my expectations on what is realistically possible – but I’m not sure that I can determine what is realistically possible by inherently subjective evaluations of what other climate scientists do or don’t do.

        Is it beyond reasonable to expect Judith to quantify, with validated data, statements that she makes about the impact of climategate, for example? I don’t think so. I don’t think it is unrealistic to expect her to explain why she views the importance of the input of her “denizens” completely differently when they are weighing in on discussions of the feedback of clouds than when they are weighing in on the socialistic, capitalism-destroying intent of “warmists.” I don’t think it’s unrealistic to expect her to call out tribalism among “skeptics” such as McKitrick or Watts, as she does among members of the “climate community,” and I don’t think it is unrealistic to expect her to filter input into the scientific debate from proven tribalists in the “skeptical” community in order to control for their biases — just as she obviously does for Al Gore or members of the WWF.

        I don’t think it’s unrealistic to expect her to explain an inherent contradiction between her statements about a “vast asymmetry” in the influence of tribalism when obviously, tribal “skeptics” are quite influential politically, and when she, herself (as well as “skeptic” after “skeptic” here and at other “skeptical” websites) claim that climate “skepticism” has been dramatically influential in shaping policy formation and implementation.

      • Joshua | November 27, 2011 at 12:42 pm

        But my point is that I don’t think that being able to point to someone who is better at this (or not) is directly relevant to the question of whether Judith could be better at it.

        I am fine with you keeping Curry on her toes, but if she is among the best (and your response implies it may be true), then it is rather senseless, if not sadistic, to continuously prod her to get even better – the potential gains may be undetectable. To me, you seem to be looking at the wrong end of this problem.

        Judith seems to me to be casually dismissive of the possibility that she doesn’t sufficiently address her own biases…

        Don’t take her dismissiveness personally, this site actually is not about you. And as far as Curry’s unquantitative opinions re tribalism, she is not concealing her bias – that is what you are calling for, no? I hope you are not demanding that opinions must have proof. That is not possible.

        bi2hs

      • blueice –

        but if she is among the best (and your response implies it may be true), then it is rather senseless,

        My assumption is that despite the oft’ posted conspiratorial claims in the “skeptical” blogosphere, most climate scientists aren’t overtly tribalistic (at least much of the time). I don’t know if she’s among the best. I don’t think that Judith is among the worst. But just as I believe that most climate scientists aren’t overtly tribalisitc, I also believe that most climate scientists are influenced by a variety of biases much of the time. The best science is that which at least attempts to explicitly address potential biases.

        …then it is rather senseless, if not sadistic, to continuously prod her to get even better

        Sadistic?

        Really?

        I can assure you that Judith is not terribly bothered by my prodding. My guess is that she finds it annoying (when she doesn’t mostly ignore it), but it’s clear that her reaction isn’t anything close to what would support your suggestion that my posts approach sadism (well, except for those who are tortured by my lack of concision!)

        To me, you seem to be looking at the wrong end of this problem.

        The problem is tribalism, and a failure to control for bias in scientific analysis (say, due to sociocentrism). My point is that there is no “wrong end.” It isn’t a problem with “ends.” It is not a problem that afflicts groups selectively on the basis of the conclusions they draw about the science. My point is that the view that there is a “wrong end” is symptomatic of the problem itself.

        Don’t take her dismissiveness personally, this site actually is not about you.

        I don’t take it personally, blueice. I take her dismissiveness as an indication of Judith’s unwillingness to engage her biases. I don’t think it has anything to do with me. I think it has to do with her.

        And as far as Curry’s unquantitative opinions re tribalism, she is not concealing her bias – that is what you are calling for, no?

        First, Judith doesn’t acknowledge any biases even though she doesn’t present evidence that validates her analysis (in some areas). What I’m asking for is for her to provide the evidence on which she basis her conclusions so that I can better evaluate her conclusions and whether or not they are biased.

        Second, no, that isn’t what I’m calling for. I’m calling for a higher quality of analysis that at least attempts to account for potential biases.

        I hope you are not demanding that opinions must have proof. That is not possible.

        First, I’m not “demanding” anything. That would be foolish (I”m not in a position to demand anything here), and it just isn’t my style anyway.

        Second, I’m asking for evidence on which Judith’s opinions are based, and I’m also asking for evidence for some of the conclusions she presents as the result of scientific analysis. I agree with what I assume are Judith’s principles – that all the data related to scientifically presented conclusions should be put into evidence, including those that quantify levels of certainty and/or uncertainty. I’m asking for nothing from Judith that she doesn’t ask of other scientists – and I believe that such questions are (generally) appropriate.

      • blueice2hotsea,
        When Joshua runs out of things to say he cries to mommy about how they do it too.
        SOP for our special joshua.

  14. McIntyre has at least one tie to the oil industry:

    “…McIntyre was also exposed for having unreported ties to CGX Energy, Inc., an oil and gas exploration company, which listed McIntyre as a “strategic advisor.”…”

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Steve_McIntyre#Biography

    • Apparently CGX is penny stock:

      http://cgxenergy.ca/

      Not big oil. Not even medium oil:)

    • OMGponies!!!

    • McIntyre’s financial interests are in metals.
      As economies move away from Oil and towards renewables, metal commodities and the companies who mine metals ( especially rare earth metals) will benefit. His interests are opposed to Oil.

      try again.

      • So why then would and oil and gas exploration company pay him for advice?

      • Because he knows fertilizer from shoe shine polish?

      • Aren’t both of those petrochemical products? ;)

      • I’m afraid Bart can’t distinguish scheissen from Shinola.
        ============

      • McIntyre’s expertise is in things like exploration reports and reserve estimates, in the context of stock speculations. Climate speculation is very little different. A lot of the math is the same, including the BEST kirging, which is heavily used in oil reserve estimation (where no one thinks it is accurate).

      • Holly, I think CGX acquired McIntyre’s minerals exploration company. Frequently, companies do this to obtain expertise embodied in teams that are part of the acquired company; CGX might have also wanted some rights owned by McIntyre’s previous company. An acquiring company will often go to (pay) the technically knowledgable persons of the former company for advice. McIntyre is an expert in minerals exploration, so this wouldn’t be surprising.

      • jesus holly,

        1. they are not paranoid like you.
        2. his reputation is doing due dilgence

    • Holly Stick,
      You do ignorance and deception like a pro.

  15. “Richared Tol has argued on a previous thread that the national governments seem to be happy with the IPCC.”

    He’s probably right. Which sadly means it’s pretty doubtful we’ll see any meaningful changes any time soon…

    The good news is they’re their own worst enemies. Seems to have slipped under the radar for the most part that Pachauri…quite outrageously…has doubled down on the Himalyan glacier claims:

    http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2011/11/18/guardianeco-loses-the-plot.html

  16. “So who does?”
    Right, the impossibility of being objective.
    The only way I know to get close is to allow many views to be
    expressed.
    Or the only way to achieve this goal of objectivity is through
    a process.

    Which is what Judith is more or less doing.

    Now, reasonable reply to the post, would be the argument that
    IPCC is doing an adequate job and nothing much needs to change
    or changes are already occurring and sufficient,
    Or argue about what changes are actually needed.

  17. I’m not sure I would trust Ross McKitrick’s judgement. He singed An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming, which includes many controversial beliefs, starting with

    “We believe Earth and its ecosystems—created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence —are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory.  Earth’s climate system is no exception. Recent global warming is one of many natural cycles of warming and cooling in geologic history.”

    http://www.cornwallalliance.org/articles/read/an-evangelical-declaration-on-global-warming/

    • Evangelicals are not competent to spot organized corruption in UN bodies? That’s quite a claim.

      • What a silly question! Evangelicals are competent enough to tell you whether you are going to heaven or hell, so spoting things should be easy for them. How many people do you know who can spot green dragons?

        ttp://www.cornwallalliance.org/press/read/americas-leading-voice-of-faith-on-stewardship-issues-announces-new-initiative-to-expose-serious-dangers-of-green-dragon-environmentalism-says-the-time-is-now-to-stand-and-resist/

      • There’s a green dragon in my backyard. What I don’t see is the sky dragon.
        ============

      • Who cares about that. I want to know where I will go after I kick the bucket.

    • I’m a heathen.
      I make the same arguments that Ross does.
      His arguments are therefore independent of any wacked out insane religious views he may or may not hold.

      • ian (not the ash)

        Not necessarily. Just because he makes similar arguments to a heather about these issues does not automatically negate the possibility that they aren’t in some way influenced by wacked out insane religious views.

      • And? You can’t prove that Mann isn’t a Klingon agent. So where does that leave us?

      • ian (not the ash)

        Just indicating that his pronouncement was not a truism. Not sure where Klingons come into the picture.

      • since I do not share his antecedent beliefs, his antecedent beliefs are not an explanation for the views he holds. They are neither necessary nor sufficient to explain why he holds them and are tangential to the matter at hand

      • Mosher: “I make the same arguments that Ross does.”

        Well that proves you must have wacked out insane religious views. In some alternate universe with a different set of logical syllogisms.

  18. “To those countries that truly seek objective, balanced and rigorous information about climate science on which to base momentous policy decisions, my key recommendation is to begin pushing for reforms, but not to wait forever. ”

    Precisely what countries would those be? The US, with the Obama administration fully on board and pushing the CAGW agenda through the back door with the EPA? England, whose putative conservatives are just as radically green as any progressive party in the west? There isn’t a single major country providing the bulk of the funding for the UN and IPCC that is displeased with the IPCC’s process or results.

    The IPCC functions exactly as it was intended to function. And it will continue to do so because the countries funding it want it to. Progressive governments provide funding to a progressive non-governmental agency that provides the rationale for ever more centralization of economic and political power in those progressive governments. Where’s the flaw?

    The IPCC isn’t some objective academic entity devoted to the assessment of science. It’s an advertising agency, and until recently, a very effective one.

    • The Obama who shut down the tarsand pipeline?

      Who announced there’d be no international climate agreement involving the USA until at least 2020?

      I’m thinking there’s a political bent there somewhere.

      • The only reason Obama could not agree to Copenhagen was that he still wanted to have a few Democrats in congress to push his progressive agenda. That’s the same reason the Euros, those hard right free market capitalists, caved. But Obama is still trying to implement the goals of Copenhagen, through the EPA.

        And is this the pipeline decision you think provides an example of Obama acting against the green/progressive agenda?

        “The U.S. State Department today ordered another environmental assessment for the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline route, allowing President Barack Obama to defer the contentious issue until after the 2012 elections.”

        http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/nov2011/2011-11-10-02.html

        He orders a new “assessment” of the pipeline to be completed after the next election. Why that skeptical capitalist scamp.

        As P.T. Barnum said, there’s a sucker born every minute. Bart, wanna buy a bridge?

  19. The IPCC was established for the sole purpose of promoting alarmism.
    Science needs no IPCC. Physics has no IPCC, chemistry has no IPCC.
    Climate science, like other sciences, needs no IPCC.
    IPCC is a political body, established by politicians, for political purposes, completely outside the realm of science.
    We need an IPCC the same way we need the UN.
    There is no way to reform these bodies, and, anyway, that is not a matter for scientists to resolve or to be involved in. The best scientists can do is denounce it and ignore it.

  20. The IPCC is almost a quarter century old. Even if it had covered itself in glory some auditing of it’s proceedures would be a good idea. Given that it hasn’t, a proceedural review is vital.

    I don’t see why some people are having a go at McKitrick for making what seem like sensible suggestions.

    While we’re at it, is Pachauri still saying ‘one day but not yet’ to the Conflict of Interest guidelines (thread June 20th 2011)?

  21. “I’m not sure I would trust Ross McKitrick’s judgement. He singed An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming, which includes many controversial beliefs.”

    So who’s asking you to? Here’s a novel idea. Use your own God-given brains and make your own best judgment as to whether you think the IPCC is doing a good job.

  22. If the IPPC is to be retained then I agree with Mr McKittrick’s proposals. However my view is that the IPCC along with the majority of its contributing authors is not fit for purpose and is institutionally alarmist.

  23. So, the IPCC. Their latest report seems to imply that we’re all going to fry unless urgent action is taken. Here in the UK, the response is to build windmills. Perhaps The Daily Telegraph best illustrates the absurd situation we are in. Their enviro reporters continue to tout the end of the world, while other reporters continue to mention the insane economics.

    It’s fair to say, I would never have predicted that the world could be this mental. Or that the people in charge would turn out to be such children.

    Thankfully, I don’t believe any of this matters that much. Whether my life is enjoyable or worthwhile will be due to other things – my friendships, my loves, my ability to smell the roses. Whether or not the IPCC, the CRU, or the government, is led by infants is thankfully of only marginal concern. Though I do find it all extremely educational to watch.

    • >Though I do find it all extremely educational to watch<

      Yes. It's been amazing. I've finished up being quite grateful for being alive during all this, so I could observe it. I've always wondered how self-destructive notions can become so widespread … now I understand

    • Perhaps you should also read the World Energy Outlook 2011 published just this month by the International Energy Agency. This agency has as much clout as this IPCC deal, as it provides information to economists working at companies and governments around the world.

      From what I understand, this year’s report has finally acknowledged the importance of AGW, and it said that energy costs will rise ‘viciously’ without nuclear. They also suggest that the world may lock itself into unsustainability with some far-reaching consequences.

      So in comparison to reports from past years, they are starting to talk oil depletion and AGW pretty seriously.

      I wonder if McKitrick or any of the other skeptics will go after these big boys?

      You can buy a copy of the report for 120 euros.

      Some other highlights:

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-09/delaying-climate-protection-fight-is-a-false-economy-iea-says.html

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-09/fossil-fuels-got-more-aid-than-clean-energy-iea.html

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-09/energy-costs-to-rise-viciously-without-atomic-power-iea-outlook-says.html

      It also can get quite confusing as the report is full of contradictions, reflecting the direction that the world is going to meet their energy needs:

      http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/climate/are-environmentalists-smoking-dope-or-is-the-/blog/37817/

      • Whem the world runs out of fossil fuels it will be aware of the problem, and will find some other sources of energy. It will not miss the help of the IPCC in pointing out the right path.

      • Whem the world runs out of fossil fuels it will be aware of the problem, and will find some other sources of energy. It will not miss the help of the IPCC in pointing out the right path.

        We don’t “run out of fossil fuels” and that is not how the problem manifests itself. Instead, subtle reductions in supply and production levels lead to price increases which cause shocks to the global economy. It is evidently not part of IPCC’s charter to point this out. However, other agencies such as the IEA discuss these issues and they happen to be immediate and happening now, and a path will be chosen independent of what the IPCC has to say. Yet that said, the IEA does use AGW research as supporting arguments in suggesting forms of alternative and renewable forms of energy to switch to as the crude oil situation worsens.

      • You are not unlike Oliver with his “iron sun” except yours is “peak oil”

      • You are not unlike Oliver with his “iron sun” except yours is “peak oil”

        Keep it coming, man. That is perfect publicity for me, to contrast a wacko with a pragmatist.. Energy accounting is very approachable and pragmatic subject matter and the math isn’t that sophisticated, so I have no issues discussing it. It really makes me look sane in comparison :)

      • Seems we agree that the IPCC is irrelevant for choosing alternate energy sources, when they become necessary.
        So what is the IPCC relevant for ?
        Why bring up the issue of scarcity of fossil fuels in the context of the IPCC?

      • Jacob: So what is the IPCC relevant for ?

        … Foremost, to preserve and fund it’s own self-existence

  24. It is suggested that more iterations between lead authors and individual referenced scientists would be a solution. it is easily seen that in cases of disagreement between these two, iterations would end up in weasel words that make the paper useless to quote. Surely a solution is to bring in independent arbiters in such disputes. That way consensus does follow as a majority view. How do you choose these arbiters? I think open comment on disputed points by anyone expert enough to judge would naturally lead to a consensus where there is one, or a clear definition of what remains uncertain when there isn’t one.

  25. Seems that McKitrick and everybody else has forgotten that IPCC is restricted to find scientific proof for the climate convention that states the antropogene impact on climate.
    Link:

    http://unfccc.int/key_documents/the_convention/items/2853.php

    Pielke Jr has pointed on this in “The Climate Fix”, but it seems that few people or scientists understand the consequences.
    IPCC has a mission or a “cause” and you cannot work for it if you don’t accept this. IPCC was never designed to unbiased evaluate the climate science. The purpose is to show the impact of antropogen warming and build a foundation for political and economical measures.

    • Yep, misdirected from the gitgo, and now look where we are. They’ve claimed to find an anthropogenic component that they in fact haven’t found, and have huge political and economic structures in the making based on this mirage.
      ============

      • Prove that thjere is no anthropogenic component.

        http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-natural-cycle.htm

      • Naw, you prove that there is. The most amusing irony from this whole CGII mess is that the true believers, like you, SkepSci, RealClimate, Fred Moolten, Nick Stokes and so many others are far less skeptical than the most advanced climatologists, who unethically kept their doubts to themselves, thereby fooling the world and all you true believers.
        =============

      • You live in a fantasy world. Really, are you gullible enough to believe that a few distorted quotations from some cherry-picked emails can tell the whole story? Keep on with your delusions, who am I to expect you to face reality?

      • We are cooling, folks; for how long even kim doesn’t know.
        ================

      • Holly.

        I know you think its a distortion to focus on a few mails, like the one where Jones requests people to delete mails.

        Lemme ask you this. If you had a man in your life and you found one of his mails, arranging a date with pretty young thing.. would you..

        1. ignore it since you hadnt read all his mails
        2. refuse to ask him if he in fact met the young lady
        3. conclude that something was amiss

      • “We are cooling, folks; for how long even kim doesn’t know.’
        …and lowot wots not.

      • Holly Stick

        John Cook’s attempt to “prove” that natural cycles are not the primary root cause of the warming of the 1980s and 1990s is pretty dismal.

        There very likely is an “anthropogenic component”.

        But it is not very likely to be the most important component, since our planet’s climate has been changing forever, without any help from human CO2 until most recently.

        BTW, just because we cannot explain all the mechanisms for natural climate changes does not mean that they do not exist. This is a logical fallacy used by many, including IPCC.

        Max

      • You misunderstand the null hypothesis. The null hypothesis is that there is no connection and everything is natural including the temperature decrease over the last 13 years.

        What mankind would like to know for certain is that there’s an anthropogenic connection and to discover what it is – CO2, land use, whatever.

        Consider the last 13 years and the decrease in temperature and its divergence from rapid CO2 increase in the atmosphere. Maybe the impact isn’t that big. Nobody knows. But the IPCC seems pretty overconfident they do know. The Climategate 1 and 2 emails reveals the scientists’ doubt.

        That being said, it’d be nice if these obstructionist IDJTs were out of the whole process so we can get about finding the real answer without finding facts to support predetermined conclusions.

  26. From McKitrick’s report:

    A recent case is Sven Teske, a climate campaigner for Greenpeace who was selected by the IPCC as a Lead Author for its recent report on renewable energy (SRREN), which led to the controversies noted above, when a non peer-reviewed Greenpeace report he coauthored became the basis for central claims in the report highlighted in the press release announcing its publication.

    Maybe I’m missing something but isn’t this very misleading? I’m guessing McKitrick’s justification would be that the peer-reviewed paper which did feature in SRREN was based on an earlier non peer-reviewed Greenpeace report. Of course, such sophistry would mean the O’Donnell et al (2011) paper on Antarctic temperature changes should henceforth be known as a non peer-reviewed collection of blog posts. In fact, pretty much every peer-reviewed paper will have been based in some way on some non peer-reviewed preliminary work. Ergo, Ross McKitrick has disproved the existence of peer review?

    • Yes or no:
      Did Teske’s SRREN report reference the non-peer reviewed Greenpeace report?

      Yes or no:
      Did O’Donnell, et al (2011) reference blog posts?

      • Did Teske’s SRREN report reference the non-peer reviewed Greenpeace report?

        No

        Did O’Donnell, et al (2011) reference blog posts?

        I don’t know. I don’t have access to it. But this is missing the point anyway: O’Donnell et al. (2010) (I got the year wrong) is a peer-reviewed paper. If it had referenced some of the blog posts that were its basis would that have made it less peer-reviewed?

      • Thanks for clarifying. Of course I do not believe that ‘Ross McKitrick has disproved the existence of peer review‘. (You are too cynical.) Still I am now more interested to learn more why he focused on Teske’s report. Perhaps McKitrick made a mistake and you have guessed correctly after all.

      • McKitrick’s book “Taken by Storm” could have used some peer-review, or at least a comprehensive sanity check by an editor who had some scientific knowledge.

      • Hi WHT-

        I have not read McKitrick’s book, however, I have read nearly all of his report – the putative topic of this thread. I agree with Bart R. that it may not be radical enough in its IPCC reform recommendations. But it is a good start, no? What do you think?

        btw. I have read some 400+ pages of your book. Thanks for putting it out there for free.

      • I agree with Bart R. that it may not be radical enough in its IPCC reform recommendations. But it is a good start, no? What do you think?

        I would suggest a cross between the World Energy Outlook report and an IPCC report. At root, it’s a systems problem and until we acknowledge that, anything less than this won’t be as effective.

        McKitrick either does not recognize this, or does and his suggestions are all a smokescreen to keep up the FUD.

      • WHT –
        At root, it’s a systems problem and until we acknowledge that, anything less than this won’t be as effective.

        Count me among those that don’t get that this is a systems problem. Please elaborate.

        Thanks,
        bi2hs

      • Count me among those that don’t get that this is a systems problem. Please elaborate.

        The system is fossil fuel production plus the green-house gas effects of the excess atmospheric CO2 that results. For policy, you can’t isolate just one of these but you have to consider them collectively. Maybe this is too obvious or pedantic, but no harm comes from pointing this out.

      • WHT –

        OK. Is your point that the IPCC ought to take into account differences in CO2 emissions due to changes in methods of fossil fuel production – for example between fracking and no-fracking? If so, and if the IPCC is not doing this, then I agree that it should increase our confidence in AR5 if its scenarios included possible evolutions of production.

        However, I thought McKitrick’s report and recommendations were more targeted at improving our confidence in the IPCC by assuring that its reports were ‘unimpeachable’ – that is, unassailable on grounds of corruption. And I also thought that’s what you and I were discussing -> Can IPCC processes that are vulnerable to monkey-business be analyzed as a systems problem?

        bi2hs

      • And I also thought that’s what you and I were discussing -> Can IPCC processes that are vulnerable to monkey-business be analyzed as a systems problem?

        Ultimately I want to see a systems approach taken through to mitigation. From the IPCC, one can get risk of AGW, from the World Energy Outlook one can get risk of reduced FF production, and similar risk analysis for ecological concerns.

        I would then attach ranking criteria to each of the factors. I would place it like 60% for oil depletion, 25% for pollution, and 15% for AGW.

        I would work this into a risk factor of not doing anything in regards to mitigation. So if there is a 95% probability that we will have severely reduced oil supply, 50% chance that AGW will impact business as usual, and another probability for some environmental issue to arise from coal exploitation, for example, we can apply a system-wide risk analysis.
        This is all kind of sketchy but it puts the risk into terms that are more pragmatic. The real problem with judging AGW mitigation is that it puts all the eggs in one basket. If it doesn’t come true, the strategy is shot. That is why one has to think in the larger systems context.

      • WHT, have you read any Hayek? Just curious.

      • NW,

        I did. You have a chapter and a verse in mind?

      • WHT –

        Your basic objection to McKitrick’s paper is that you oppose all IPCC reforms which imply a potential re-assessment of CAGW, because given that the AGW strategy does not include pollution and oil depletion, then if CAGW becomes a non-issue, the (mitigation) strategy is shot.

        For that sort of dishonesty, I advise you to avoid Rich Matarese as your surgeon; I am imagining uncontrollable trembling in his hands.

        bi2hs

      • Web

        You have concluded that it is a “systems problem”. In order to reach that conclusion it would seem you have determined that a somewhat warmer world will lead to long term net harms to humanity.

        What makes you believe that a warmer world is worse for the majority of humans over the long term? Or is it simply to link your peak oil concerns to this issue?

      • WHT –

        To clarify, pollution and oil depletion issues resonate, but the blocking of anti-corruption reform IS BAD. CAGW may in fact be more strongly confirmed as a result of reform and mitigation policies easier to implement.

        bi2hs

      • Rob Starkey

        No, Rob, you don’t get it. Web is saying that question of ‘How should we push mitigation policies?’ is best answered by treating risk assessment as a systems problem. That way, mitigation is not dependent upon CAGW. Even if warming is proven to be all good it does not change mitigation policy because of the pollution and oil depletion issues. Now do you get it?

        bi2hs

      • Rob-

        WHT’s idea of applying various fossil fuel risk weighting factors has some very interesting implications. Notice the low AGW factor of only 15%? It is accommodating to your (possible) claim that warming benefits largely counter risks. On the other hand, if a re-assessment of FF AGW yielded 60% less risk than previously thought, mitigation only gets rolled back by 9%, not 60%. If AGW is a non-issue altogether, mitigation roll-back is only 15%.

        What WHT is worried about (and it seems somewhat legitimate) is that a clean assessment might roll-back mitigation by 100%, instead of 15% (or such). However, without a confident assessment, mitigation will be blocked anyway and we are wasting time that could be spent erasing the uncertainty. Let the chips fall where they may.

        What I am criticizing WHT for is that institutionalized noble cause corruption is still corruption.

        bi2hs

      • Willard said: “You have a chapter and a verse [of Hayek] in mind?”

        No, just some general notions. I sum it up this way: “Think globally, act stupidly.”

      • I think blueice2hotsea interpreted my mitigation ideas perfectly.

        I confess that I am an idealist, and think positively of human nature, so I can only hope corruption doesn’t happen. Somebody else may come up with a corruption-proof brilliant mitigation plan.

    • randomengineer

      Of course, such sophistry would mean the O’Donnell et al (2011) paper on Antarctic temperature changes should henceforth be known as a non peer-reviewed collection of blog posts.

      What utter vapidity. To have any sort of viable point and not mere nitpicking bullsh*t, you need to be able to show o’donnell and greenpeace have equivalent financial gain or loss at stake depending on the outcome (whether acceptance or rejection.) You also need to show that organizationally the IPCC is inclined to favour o’donnell since it incorporates o’donnell’s viewpoint throughtout the entire organisational structure.

      Discussion heretofore regarding the concept of asymmetry seems to have gone over your head. You don’t get it. Fine. But quit wasting everyone else’s bandwidth on your inabilities.

      • McKitrick wrote ‘non peer-reviewed’, not me. Clearly he thought it was an important point to make, even if he didn’t bother checking whether it was a correct point.

        The rest of your post is simply an attempt to change the subject. Do you believe McKitrick was right to refer to the paper as ‘non peer-reviewed’?

  27. I have a question for those more knowledgeable than I about the intricacies of IPCC operations. I’ll start with the premise that many scientists and many national governments see value for themselves in what the IPCC is attempting to do, regardless of opinions here and elsewhere on how well the IPCC has carried out that effort.

    As long as there is a perceived need for the IPCC or some alternative structure to synthesize climate science information into a manageable document for those who find it useful, such a body will exist. Recommendations to make it more accountable are reasonable, but I think we also have to ask how this will play out in practice. As I understand it, putting together an IPCC report involves a great deal of work done by volunteers who are also subject to other demands on their time. Among recommended changes, we can ask which will make their job easier, which will improve the product without making their job more arduous, and which will simply discourage some of the more expert contributors from participating?

    In reading Ross McKittrick’s list of recommendations, my sense is that all are commendable in theory, but that some would have to be adopted in ways that don’t make the task of IPCC participants so onerous that many expert, knowledgeable and conscientious individuals would simply no longer bother to participate. If that happens, those who remain are likely to be the most partisan and the least objective, with a result the opposite of the intended one.

    This is not a defense of the current IPCC process nor a dismissal of a need for change. It is, however, a suggestion that a balance will be needed between extremely demanding conditions to protect against bias on one hand, and on the other, an acceptance of conditions that won’t discourage good people from donating their time free of charge. I don’t know where the balance will lie, but the experience of other organizations or processes depending on volunteers may be a guide. Peer review of papers or research grant proposals comes to mind as an example of a process that can suffer from asking unpaid volunteers to jump through too many hoops.

  28. steven mosher | November 26, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    @ vukcevic
    go do some charts about sun cycles

    Hi Steven
    No room to the reply flow-chart.
    1. I do as I please, and last thing I do tell others what they should do. I was born, grew up and was educated in a communist society, where I learned to recognise arrogance, subservience and ignorance from a mile.
    2. Even NASA’s greatest leaving solar scientist Dr. Hathaway of the NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center is coming to a point to recognise that even small efforts can produce great results. He gave a longish interview 3 days ago on subject discussed some years ago (I proposed in 2004) and he declared ‘not possible’. Irony is that it was not only possible but it is the current reality. Here is the link to the interview:

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NFC7a.htm

    in which he talks among other matters the solar – global warming link.
    3. Again something very reminiscent of the idea proposed to Dr. Hathaway years ago:

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CET-NV.htm

    I can here you echoing the voice of your ideological leaders ‘impossible’; its another small effort that may or may not hide a great result.
    See you in 8 years time.

    • One need not wait 8 years to evaluate the huge number of misses in your approach. Nice that you hit oct. how about all the ones you missed.

      skill man. show us your skill.

      • Steven arrogance and ignorance often go together. To understand my graph you have to scroll to the bottom of the page:

        http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NFC7a.htm

        and look at regularity of the polar field, which is precursor to the more chaotic sunspot cycle numbers, as I did explain to you once before. The blue and red lines are general guidelines to a likely trajectory. If you listen to Hathaway’s comment, you will learn that there is considerable uncertainty to the sunspot count – a subjective variable, while polar field is an instrument measured variable. I am sure you understand the difference.
        Once again Steven, arrogance and ignorance often go together:
        ‘see you in 8 years’ refers to the likely trajectory of the CET during next decade as shown here:

        http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CET-NV.htm

        Totally different subjects, similar methodology, based on the data imbedded properties, no dogma, no beliefs, conviction or persuasion.

      • Just to make it simple, for the two equations:

        http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NFC7a.htm

        Blue line – marked as periodicity is a guideline for min-max occurrence, the fact it has long term undulations happen to strengthen the case for the underlying physical mechanism.
        Red line – amplitude is a guideline of likely SC max value (non-smoothed).
        If one models solar cycle shape, than it is more accurately described by the Cos square function with period of 3-5 years on the rise time and another Cos square function with period of 6-7 years on the decay side of the cycle, but none of these are required, if you whish to extrapolate the occurrence and amplitude, a simple Cos function will suffice.

      • Vuk, do you believe the SSN is currently 79? On a like for like basis with old spot counts?

      • Hi TB
        Argggh , counting methods. If the experts are saying that there is an inflation of up to 20% I am happy to accept result of their deliberations. From my maths point of view

        http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NFC7a.htm

        the blue equation would suggest over-count, for the red the amplitude parameters would need small adjustment, since they were selected for the best fit anyway.
        I would suspect that final unsmoothed peak on the current count may overshoot towards 100, but when smoothed (particularly on the annual basis) would drop down to 70-80.
        In either case Wolf or Waldemeier count method is only approximation, the TSI, magnetic, radio flux and polar field are measured far more accurately, so hopefully they will come to some sensible decision. Dr. S. say there is a meeting in Basel to iron out the differences, I hope it’s all nice and friendly

      • Vuk,
        good answer, but I’m not sure I go along with Leif’s desire to peg the SSN to his favourite metric. We know so little about how the sun really works that reducing the ways in which we try to interpret it’s activity is a retrograde step in my opinion.

      • What surprised me is that dr. Hathaway didn’t know of the Waldemeier change to the count, since the old Svalgaard was banging about it for some time now. From my ‘selfish’ point of view the magnetic output appear to be the one that should be pursued. This is a little bit that (once I emailed data to the Dr.S. he did not protest its validity) which tells far more than the misguided CO2 hypothesis.

        http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/HMF-T.htm

        full info will be on-line in few weeks.

      • skill is a number. calculate

      • At least one of two of us doesn’t know what we talking about, in which case the further exchange may be entertaining but meaningless.

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forecast_skill.

        simple. you made a forecast in 2004.

        skill.

        calculate it. There are other ways as well

        This will actually help you. Puts some meat behind your ramblings

      • I do not think you are very familiar with vagaries of the sunspot quagmire.
        Calculations were done by better men then myself:

        http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC17.htm

        and since we agree on the output, any further effort would be a waste of time.
        Onward and forward: since you are ‘the climate man’ here is something to sharpen your teeth on. I know one should not use moving averages for correlations, so forget about R^2, and concentrate on the ‘meat’, and there is plenty of entirely new stuff in there, even you didn’t know about.

        http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/theAMO.htm

        Pick any bit out of it rewrite it and you can add your name to it.
        No magnetic ‘waffle’ in there, but if that interest you, there is this one that survived the Svalgaard’s mangle (he did get all the data)

        http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/HMF-T.htm

      • steven mosher | November 27, 2011 at 6:26 am | http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forecast_skill.
        simple. you made a forecast in 2004.
        skill.calculate it. There are other ways as well
        This will actually help you. Puts some meat behind your ramblings

        Nonsense.
        It is not a forecast, its extrapolation of two equations. If there is physical mechanism reinforcing equations, no further skill is required, if it doesn’t all the expert skills are worth none.
        That is a basic premise that the CO2 people should know too.

      • Equally I would not consider this as a prediction, it is again extrapolation of an equation which may (or may not) be a reasonable representation of the natural variability.

        http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CET-NVa.htm

        Details on line soon.

      • Why is this conversation starting to sound like a discussion with people who do climate models for a living.

  29. The IPCC is to climate what the food for oil program was for Iraq: a corrupt and flawed process that did not achieve what it could have.
    Not surprisingly it is run through the UN.
    McKitrick is, if anything, being too kind to the IPCC.
    Unless one takes to the time to read the documented critiques of the IPCC, it is difficult to how bad the IPCC is.

  30. Judith Curry writes:

    Further, the way the IPCC is set up, it can pretty much ignore the recommendations from IAC (and presumably just about anyone else for that matter). The key issue is whether the national governments are happy (or not) with what is going on with the IPCC. Richared Tol has argued on a previous thread that the national governments seem to be happy with the IPCC.

    And as McKitrick documents in his report, for all intents and purposes, “ignor[ing] the recommendations of the IAC” is precisely what has transpired.

    If the IPCC had any interest in genuine reform, it would have paid far greater heed to the actual recommendations of the IAC. Instead, it paid lip service and handed off “implementation” of the recommendations to “Task Groups” which (under the guidance of TSUs and/or Bureau/Secretariat members) proceeded to water down (and/or completely ignore) the clear intent of the IAC’s recommendations.

    As for the “national governments”, with very few exceptions, all they seem to do is “rubber stamp” whatever “recommendations” are put before them. Few even seem to have read the material to which they routinely give their blessing.

    One of the major problems of the IPCC is what McKitrick calls “Intellectual conflicts of interest”. Yet, in all the verbiage that the IPCC has generated in “response” to IAC’s report, the only instance I’ve been able to find in which an implementation recommendation actually proposes a course of action which would seriously address any conflict of interest is in the “Communications Strategy (Submitted by the IPCC Secretariat)“, which recommends a “Global Communications Group”, the proposed contracted members of which (p. 10):

    [...] must be fully accountable to the IPCC, as represented by the Communications Steering Committee – therefore it cannot include employees of the member governments themselves.
    Its members must agree to refrain from acting at the same time for any positive or negative climate-change or environmental advocacy group. – [emphasis added -hro]

    I don’t recall reading of any such constraint in the selection of authors. Certainly, as Donna’s book has demonstrated, such a constraint has not been a consideration in the past (nor, it would seem was it a consideration in the selection of authors for AR5). And all other conflicts of interest, it seems, will be carefully kept behind the closed screens of the TSUs and/or Secretariat.

    • Judith,

      I was going to comment on your final remark too, and might as well do it here.

      My guess, using Australia as the basis for discussion, is the way you put it is not exactly right: ‘whether or not national governments are happy (or not) with what is going on with the IPCC’. In my view, governments are simply enmeshed in the IPCC, in that civil servants, academics and politicians have committed themselves to this ship, and are not able to leave it. To be unhappy with the IPCC would mean that they would be unhappy with themselves. The people we send to these conferences, the advice they bring with them, and the policy possibilities that they come to discuss are set in the ‘consensus’, and alternative proposals are not just dismissed— they do not even arise.

      I cannot think of any senior civil servant in my country who has said privately (let alone publicly) that there are other possibilities than a carbon tax, or that we do seem to have a decent amount of lead time, or that the doom and gloom scenario should be taken with a grain of salt. The former head of the major environmental department is now the head of Treasury. If you want to rise in our public service, you would keep counter-consensus views very much to yourself.

      How can it end? In countries like ours, where regular elections allow real choices to be made (occasionally!), what might happen is that after more years of cooling, and less freedom on the part of governments to subsidise wind and solar, and the rise of other important issues, a new government will call for a review of the whole AGW business, and send someone to Monaco, or Acapulco, or Miami, or wherever the next climate-scare boondoggle is to be held, with a new set of instructions. The new doctrine will be ‘adaptation': each country recognises that major climatic disruptions occur, and that each one has above all a local or regional impact. Country X will put its energy and resources into ensuring that it can deal with such events as skillfully as it can, and suggests that other countries do likewise.

      This is not going to happen tomorrow. And remember that governments are never wrong — or, more accurately, that they never publicly admit to error. That is why a new government has to be the start of the process.

      • In my view, governments are simply enmeshed in the IPCC, in that civil servants, academics and politicians have committed themselves to this ship, and are not able to leave it.
        [...]
        And remember that governments are never wrong — or, more accurately, that they never publicly admit to error. That is why a new government has to be the start of the process.

        Agreed. Although (here in Canada, at least) to the extent that the politicians are very much dependent on the “advice” of the senior civil servants there are some very mixed messages being put forth. I am grateful, though, that notwithstanding the blatant “advocacy” efforts of some of these senior civil servants, our PM has taken a strong, principled and (for the most part) common sense stand against any significant tilting towards the IPCC/UNFCCC goals and agenda.

        I live in a suburb of Vancouver, BC (the heart of Suzuki-land), where being “the greenest of ‘em all” was very much the thrust of the former Premier, to the extent that a (supposedly) revenue-neutral, gradually increasing, carbon-tax had been imposed some years ago.

        A recent article in the Vancouver Sun gives me cause for cautious optimism that our new Provincial Premier is considerably less enamoured with being “the greenest of ‘em all”:

        Political climate change leaves B.C. green plan in a fog

        Campbell’s environmental priority goes MIA as Clark’s agenda takes over

        The science hasn’t changed. If anything, the dire predictions about climate change have intensified. But the political will to take it on is fast disappearing as the economy continues to struggle and nowhere is that more evident than here in British Columbia, where what was a centrepiece of Gordon Campbell’s government is slowly crumbling away.
        [...]
        [Prime Minister] Harper has never been a fan of Kyoto and Campbell’s replacement in Victoria, Premier Christy Clark, has moved on to a jobs-and-family agenda that appears to reflect little enthusiasm for her predecessor’s North American-leading green agenda.

        On the provincial government’s website, gov.bc.ca, the climate change program that used to be prominently displayed now appears only in the fine print, along with dozens of other links. The elements of the strategy are losing support and being discredited, not just by climate change skeptics, but by critics who don’t doubt the science but still don’t like some of the policies being used to address it.
        [...]

        [Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Vancouver's newly re-elected mayor (whose ties to Big Green are quite suspect, but that is another story!) However, it is highly doubtful that he would be able to implement much without considerable provincial and/or federal funding (which one hopes will not be forthcoming!)]

        All of which suggests that IPCC insider alumnus, Joseph Alcamo, was quite prophetic (and should have been taken far more seriously than he obviously was) when, as the UNEP’s “Chief Scientist”, he addressed the Bali meeting of the IPCC, on Oct. 26, 2009:

        [A]s policymakers and the public begin to grasp the multi-billion dollar price tag for mitigating and adapting to climate change, we should expect a sharper questioning of the science behind climate policy.

      • As Don Aitkin well knows, the Aus “carbpn tax” now esconced in law is a direct negation of a pre-election promise, to wit: “There will be no carbon tax under a Government that I lead”

        This complete and deliberate double-cross of the electorate-at-large seems likely to have real consequences at the next election about 2 years from now

        Don’s comment:

        >The former head of the major environmental department is now the head of Treasury<

        underscores this probability of Government electoral change, because the current Govt is itself extremely unlikely to change course. So far all opinion polls have consistently reported the electorate's unswerving anger at being double-crossed

        Interesting times … the climate change issue has destroyed several high-profile politicians here in Aus and looks likely to continue this destruction

      • I wish I believed you. Two years is a long time and new revenue sources have a habit of being similar to Goldilocks: They barge into your home and a long time later, they’re still in your house.

      • Agreed

        I didn’t say that the situation will be the same in 2 years – essentially, the Aus CO2 tax is a Robin Hood tax, where people who earn $80kpa have to stump up the increases in domestic power bills etc

        Not many guesses needed to sort out where the larger number of votes lie on the income scale

  31. Steve M wrote: “Holly. I know you think its a distortion to focus on a few mails, like the one where Jones requests people to delete mails.
    Lemme ask you this. If you had a man in your life and you found one of his mails, arranging a date with pretty young thing.. would you..

    1. ignore it since you hadnt read all his mails
    2. refuse to ask him if he in fact met the young lady
    3. conclude that something was amiss”

    I think hire an “investigative journalist” to dig up enough dirt to ruin the bastard’s life. And while I’m at it, I’d get the young gal too.

    • Still repeating your lies, eh? Using the word “hire” is a lie, also the word “ruin”. If an investigative reporter does her or his job of exposing a liar, it might ruin the liar’s life, but then isn’t that the liar’s own fault? (Speaking hypothetically here, of course)

  32. So maybe we have the opportunity for Durban to reinforce the IAC’s recommendations from 15 months ago and actually make something happen?

  33. McKitrick misses the point here. What if the IPCC is radically improved, its links with the UNFCCC etc are broken, and yet it still publishes the same scientific conclusions?

    It would make discrediting the IPCC even more difficult than it has been previously.

    Until the scientific establishment can be relied on to report that increasing CO2 levels are of no great concern, isn’t it better that the IPCC does have flaws, and links to the UN, so that it can be attacked politically?

    • tempterrain

      McKitrick misses the point here. What if the IPCC is radically improved, its links with the UNFCCC etc are broken, and yet it still publishes the same scientific conclusions?

      It appears that you, and not Ross McKitrick, have missed the point with your “:what if?” question.

      The answer is, of course, that the “scientific conclusions” were pre-determined by the “links with the UNFCC, etc.”.

      A clear case of “causation”.

      Max

  34. @steve mosher OMG OMG I just realized who I am …

    “3. She provides a place where loony toons can come and discredit themselves. She removes the argument that they are being Muzzled.”

  35. “and the consensus seeking approach are the key problems IMO”

    The IPCC’s main business is producing reports, so I suppose that is what consensus-seeking refers to. So what is the alternative? A report that does not represent a consensus? Or one that says “He said…She said”?

    I know some people are tempted by the idea of a report with multiple different viewpoints. But we already have that – the scientific literature. The whole point of the IPCC reports, for better or worse, is to help people by making a consensus summary. A report with disputing sections is only half doing the job.

    • You need a little editing assistance Nicky. Cutting out all the crap:

      “The IPCC’s main business is producing alarmist reports that reflect the phony pre-ordained consensus.”

      Now you have both economy and accuracy. That’s how do it, Nicky.

      • I guess he does have a sideways point – if they listen to Ross they’d be a lot tougher to completely dismiss.

    • Nick Stokes

      You write:

      The whole point of the IPCC reports, for better or worse, is to help people by making a consensus summary. A report with disputing sections is only half doing the job.

      Your reasoning is valid except for one small hair in the soup.

      When the “consensus” opinion is already predetermined to support a political agenda (as it was by IPCC for “potentially alarming AGW”), then the “consensus process” stifles any dissenting scientific opinions or papers.

      Max

  36. If everyone agrees there are conflicting viewpoints then that conflict is the consensus

    • One thing I noticed in the SREX was the high frequency of “low confidence” assessments; and of the “high confidence” assessments, it (seemed, I didn’t count) that the majority of those were about matters of vulnerability (for whatever reason) rather than attribution (to climate change). I think someone else remarked on this in an earlier thread.

      Perhaps the IPCC is learning to express “conflict is the consensus.”

    • NW,

      This was common in previous IPCC reports, at least in AR4. The Level of scientific understanding (LOSU) ratings given to various radiative forcings were partly graded on degree of consensus, for example. Most of those had medium to very low gradings.

      • Yes, but somehow (don’t you know), if you add a bunch of low confidence, and medium confidence conclusions together, you get a very likely conclusion that 97% agree with.

    • steven mosher

      I think you are quoting Confucius on that one.

      Max

  37. The whole point of the IPCC reports, for better or worse, is to help people by making a consensus summary.

    It is far easier to state the obvious that uncertainty in sensitivity is irreducible.No paper in the 21st century (or indeed over the last 50years) has reduced the range of uncertainty .What purpose does the IPCC serve then to promote the ideological nonsense of dead vicars such as Malthus and Bayes .

    • What purpose does the IPCC serve then to promote the ideological nonsense of dead vicars such as Malthus and Bayes .

      I don’t care about Malthus, but Bayes did contribute what is known as Bayes theorem, which is the essential idea behind calculating inverse probability. This gets used in all sorts of technology relating to control systems and voice and pattern recognition. I know he was a minister as well, but what is your point?

      • I really don’t know how we’d move along at all without Bayes (or some historically identical replacement for hime).

      • Bayes theorem, which is the essential idea behind calculating inverse probability.

        It is simply a series of propositions that may be useful in closed systems,they fail badly in open systems where both coefficents and solutions are both open and infinite and not well understood.

        The inverse problem arises as we find that the statement is illposed ie we have insufficient information in the past, external mechanisms and singularities are poorly understood.Hence the abscence of a single evolutionary law from the CS community.

        That there has been substantive velocity inversions ie bifurcations in the last 1000 years ( foresaking the arguments in the time series) is indeed problematic.

  38. Anything to improve the IPCC has to be a good thing and I don’t see anything wrong with these suggestions, but in my opinion they don’t go far enough. Ultimately the content of the report needs to reflect the spread of views of experts with weight on consensus ideas but some mention of minority views.

    To that end I think funding for the IPCC needs to be increased massively so that scientists, who currently work on the reports unpaid, are paid to work on them full time. Also more scientists should be involved. Not simply as reviewers but paid to work on it.

    I also think two separate reports should be produced. One using the old method, another using the new method. Both using different teams of scientists who work on each report independently with no contact with the other team.

    I did flirt with the idea of three separate reports – to make it easier to resolve cases where both reports disagree – but that might be overkill.

  39. I thought Ross Mckitrick was a skeptic. Why is he trying to help the Team? I have no idea. The IPCC is the best friend we skeptics have at the end of 2011. The IPCC has produced scientific garbage ever since it started, and there is no sign this is going to change in the future, as long as it stays the same as it is.

    We skeptics are waiting with baited breath, salivating at the prospect at what the AR5 is going to produce. We have an insight at the hole the IPCC has dug itself into. There has been a pause in the warming. Smith et al in Science claim this pause ceased in 2009, and the recovery to ever higher temperatures has already begun. Keenleyside et al, in Nature, said the pause will last until 2015, when the temperature recovery will begin. Now the IPCC seems to say the pause will last until 2030, or later. All these predicitons cannot be right.

    So the IPCC, in the AR5, will have considerable difficulty reconciling what is clearly happening, with what they claimed ought to be happening. Please leave this organization just the way it is, and let us make sure it has enough rope to hang itself.

    • Reality is the true skeptics are trying to save the team from themselves.

    • Good point Jim – let’s just step back, watch and be amused. There will be no end of tortured squirming and fudging. If there is a La Niña in 2012/13 I think I may even pity them. Possibly….. :)

      • The “squirming” is sometimes known in management circles as “storming”; which occurs when a new member is brought into a team. I am reminded of the brevity of the description of this in “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable – Patrick Lencioni”. The “team” in a general sense, originally included the National Governments, the IPCC, the scientists and research institutions, the media and green groups. Then along came McIntyre, bloggers and “skeptics” etc. They weren’t invited but the general public has basically insisted that they be involved in the new team. So right now, the original team members are squirming/storming while the new order of things becomes established. The original team members are slowly coming around. My prediction on all of this is that the media will actually be the first to settle in to the new order of things. Although the media has strong top down reasons for maintaining the status quo, individual incentives are what actually drive journalism. So the journalists are chasing a story and when enough of them realize that they were coopted for a “cause” that was bunkum, they will be the first to turn. It’s a big story and the early adopters in media will get the most bang for the buck, will get the biggest stories and will save the most face. The next team member to roll will be the green groups. They also have strong independence from bureaucratic institutions and also have more tenuous funding streams. When it sinks in to the green groups that the world isn’t going to end, their ideological purity will hasten the demise of their support for all things AGW. The IPCC will follow after that because when the green groups turn the IPCC will no longer have the quorum needed to produce the garbage they do. The junkets and the conferences and working groups will be missing a key allie and it will be very visible. The large research institutions will be the last to clean house because they have elitist reputations to protect and their systemic response is to close ranks. But when they do turn, there will be destroyed careers and alot of figurative blood on the floor. The large institutions will however be able to retake the moral high ground because they will be able to leverage the Internet and the bloggerspace very quickly due to the inherent nimble aptitude in that knowledge space. And finally, the national Governments will go last (depressing as that is) because they will finally have all of the scapegoats they need to absolve themselves of the entire affair. And the voting populations will let them off the hook as long as their home prices are going up. If not, watch out!

    • randomengineer

      I thought Ross Mckitrick was a skeptic. Why is he trying to help the Team?

      Really Jim? It’s not schoolyard side picking. He apparently is concerned that the science gets done untainted and if fixing the IPCC does this, so be it.

      • randomengineer, you write “He apparently is concerned that the science gets done untainted and if fixing the IPCC does this, so be it.”

        I agree completely. Where I disagree is the way of bringing “climate science”, back into normal physics, instead of some newfangled thing called “post-normal science”; which I think is a load of nonsense. Short term weather forecasters are doing a magnificent job, staying completely within the bounds of physics. The ability of airline pilots to plan optimum routes for their filghts is testimony to this work. The problem is the climate scientists who claim they can forecast what is going to happen in 10, 20, 50, or 100 years. These are the charlatans.

        The question is, what is the best way of bringing climate science back into normal physics? Ross McKitrick thinks it can be reformed from the inside. I dont believe this. I think the charlans who have brought climate science into disrepute need to be named and shamed. And, IMHO, the best way of doing this is to let them go on doing what they are now doing; leave the IPCC just the way it is. As I noted, this way we will give them enough rope to hang themselves, and climate science can, once again, become a part of normal physics.

  40. I recommend that some of those posting on this thread do some background reading. Specifically, go to Climate Audit and read “Behind Closed Doors: “Perpetuating Rubbish,” “Private Expressions of Uncertainty” and “Discussion of Reviews.” The reading must include the emails that are cited in the comments. Next, go to Bishop Hill and find the thread that has a series of emails between one or more staffers at the World Bank and members of the team. You could also consider the several threads that show considerable behind the scene coordination of message with the BBC. Then come back to Climate Etc. and explain why none of this matters. Explain why the IPCC and the UNFCCC should be trusted.

    • And I’d like the Regular Anonymous Warmer Commenters to explain why they think anyone besides other Warmers find them persuasive.

      Andrew

  41. Ross McKitrick,

    If they are incorrect, perhaps you would like to take this opportunity to point it out but Wikipedia have made the claim that you are a signatory to:

    http://www.cornwallalliance.org/articles/read/an-evangelical-declaration-on-global-warming/

    “We believe Earth and its ecosystems—created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence —are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting………”

    Of course if you do believe that to be the case, if this is a core part of your religious faith then what you have written above follows naturally.

    God made the Earth, so there’s no need to worry about causing it any damage? Is that, fundamentally, your argument?

    • PS

      @M Carey.

      Sorry I hadn’t spotted that you had already made the same point. I’ve always known that much of US opposition to Climate Science was based on this kind of backward thinking but I’m surprised to find the extent of religious influence in the so-called “debate”.

      I probably shouldn’t be. Debating with false skeptics is really no different to debating with religious creationists. No amount of scientific evidence will change their opinion.

      • tt

        You make a fair point, and every time I remember it I have to take a second look at what is emanating from the likes of McKitrick (and Spencer, and to a lesser extent Christy..)

        The other side of the coin though, is that an amazingly large number of ‘believers’ of the CAGW orthodoxy – the Roberts and the Hollys of the world – are exactly the same in their mentation and closed mindedness and fundamentalism. It’s just that the ‘religion’ bit isn’t so obvious. Same kind of nonsense, though.

        I doubt Hansen is any less ‘certain’ of his visions of the future as McKitrick is.

      • Anteros,

        Look. The choice is between religion and science. If anyone wants to pray that AGW won’t turn out to be so bad after all – that’s fine by me. It certainly won’t do any harm.

        However, what McKitrick is suggesting is that political policy worldwide should be based on religious rather than scientific thinking. Conventional science may not be infallible. No one is claiming that it has “infinite power” and is “sustained by.. faithful providence”. But, it’s the best we have.

        What’s the point of trying to engage in rational discussion with anyone who advocates a reliance on the supernatural?

      • “The choice is between religion and science.”.

        temp,

        No it isn’t. The choice is between Anonymous Warmer Posters and Real Life.

        Andrew

      • “Look. The choice is between religion and science.”

        tt, I suppose you’ve heard of the distinction made in philosophy of science between the context of discovery and the context of justification. If the discoverer of the structure of the benzine molecule says it came to him in a dream where snakes bit their tails, that is nice. We don’t count on this testimony (and it is that…private testimony) to tell whether the ring is correct, though. Why can’t a Christian scientist have their research questions be inspired by their faith, provided that they don’t try to use that private reason to convince us of their conclusions?

        If you answer “they cannot,” then are all people of faith barred from doing science?

      • ian (not the ash)

        From the Cornwall Alliance website

        We call on Christian leaders to understand the truth about climate change and embrace Biblical thinking[and] sound science…

        For me this one statement demonstrates the troubling relationship between religious literalists and the scientific endeavour. In situations of seeming conflict, by necessity biblical thinking must always trump sound science. This is not to discredit McKitrick’s suggestions on the IPCC, only to suggest that if he is a literalist, which evangelicals invariably are, his scientific narrative will be guided by biblical injunction.

      • > and it is that…private testimony

        Yes, but it shows how Kekulé was nobly corrupt.

        > Why can’t a Christian scientist have their research questions be inspired by their faith, provided that they don’t try to use that private reason to convince us of their conclusions?

        The proviso “provided that they don’t try to use that private reason” deserves due diligence.

      • NW, You ask if ” all people of faith are barred from doing science” ? I’d say no.

        However, I would say that science and religion don’t mix. Stephen Jay Gould defined the concept of “non-overlapping magisteria”. Same thing really.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-overlapping_magisteria

        However, the quote that both myself and M Carey picked up on, from the “Cornwall Alliance”, shows that McKitrick doesn’t go along with that.

      • Gould’s a lightweight. Sorry.

      • I know lots of people of faith who are fine empirical scientists. So do most of the other scientists who post here. I even know some of them whose research questions are inspired by their faith. It doesn’t even enter into my calculations as to whether their research is worthwhile or not. Nor should it. If Gould thought otherwise, then he was a bigot.

      • tempterrain

        This whole “religion versus science” discussion is a waffle, intended (like the Bart R diversion to BEST) to deflect from the main topic: which is Ross McKitrick’s incisive analysis of the basic problems of the IPCC..

        Our host here has concluded that the IPCC problem is basically structural and (in a similar vein) McKitrick sees much of the problem as process-related.

        The need for consensus in order to sell a preconceived agenda may have been the root cause for the corruption of the IPCC process and the resulting understatement of uncertainty plus the questionable reliability of the science supporting the message being sold.

        As indicated earlier, I do not believe IPCC is salvageable. I do not believe its management has “gotten the word”. Nor do I believe that it is about to do so.

        IPCC may continue to exist and to crank out new assessment reports from time to time, but these will become increasingly irrelevant and courageous climate scientists, like our host, will begin to distance themselves from IPCC until it, itself, has also become irrelevant.

        Interestingly (at least in my view) is that Ross McKitrick (along with Steven McIntyre) may have planted the seed for the eventual unraveling of IPCC with the discreditation of the “hockey stick”, which IPCC had so eagerly embraced, without first doing a satisfactory job of “due diligence”, because it so neatly supported the notion of unusual 20th century warmth, which it wanted to sell.

        As someone else has written, bad science will eventually get exposed.

        The same appears to be true for a corrupted process, which insists on consensus agreement to agenda-driven science.

        Do you have any comments on the main topic here?

        If so, let’s hear them (rather than side steps into “religion vs. science”.

        Max

      • Manacker,

        So this whole “This whole religion versus science discussion is a waffle” ?

        I guess creationists who attempt to raise scientific or pseudo-scientific objections to Evolutionary theory would say the same thing. It doesn’t change the fact that their underlying motivation is based on their religion though.

        The real waffle is about the structure of the IPCC. It is just a scapegoat for you guys. Take it all away and the scientific conclusions on AGW wouldn’t change in the slightest.

      • tempterrain

        You ask:

        So this whole “This whole religion versus science discussion is a waffle” ?

        Yep. That’s exactly what it is, tt.

        Just check out what the topic here is.

        It is about Ross McKitrick’s comments on the IPCC processes, not about religion.

        These comments are unpleasant for IPCC afficionado, since they are rather critical. So the reaction is to switch the subject in an attempt to distract,

        Doesn’t work real well, though.

        Max

        Max

      • NW –

        Gould’s a lightweight

        Gould is the sole reason I switched from a double major in music and theology to electrical engineering and psychology. (My first biology class professor had an insane hatred of men so I fled to EE).

        bi2hs
        Stephen Jay Gould

      • tempterrain, thank you, but an apology isn’t necessary.

        The Cornwall Alliance Evangelists seem to be saying we have a moral obligation to use as much fossil fuel as you have always used.

        They believe reducing fossil fuel consumption to combat global warming will destroy millions of jobs, cost trillions of dollars in lost economic production, and slow, stop, or reverse economic growth. Moreover, they believe it will condemn the world’s poor to generations of continued misery characterized by rampant disease and premature death.

        http://www.cornwallalliance.org/articles/read/a-renewed-call-to-truth-prudence-and-protection-of-the-poor/

        In their eyes, reducing your own carbon footprint by using fossil fuel more efficiently may be a sin rather than a good thing.

      • Make that …

        The Cornwall Alliance Evangelists seem to be saying we have a moral obligation to use as much fossil fuel as we have always used.

      • I think that is the correct classification for the dominionist.
        This is on a par with all the other ridiculous posturing going on right now, and it has been discussed elsewhere if anyone wants to do a little digging:

        http://theamericanheathen.com/2011/04/29/slaying-the-green-dragon-environmental-science-misinformation-linked-to-religion/

        What can you do but to expect that there will always be some odd viewpoints.

      • Web, thank you for the link to the comments on Dominionism. It says Dominionism has its roots in Genesis 1:26:  Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness …. 

        I am puzzled by what the “us” and “our” mean. It seems to imply more than one God, or God and a partner. Am I misinterpreting the meaning by taking the statement out of context?

      • It seems to imply more than one God, or God and a partner. Am I misinterpreting the meaning by taking the statement out of context?

        Beats me. That is as far as I want to dip my toes in the water. I know just enough to rationalize where the swamp starts and then try to keep my distance. Logic does not apply there, only belief.

      • As an atheist I am loth to dip my toe in theological discussions, but I think god speaks as ‘us’ to reinforce the idea of the trinity of the father the son and the holy spirit.

        Way back when, there was a lot of heat about whether you literally believed in it or not. I seem to remember that Isaac Newton was one who didn’t but felt it better to keep quiet about his heresy.

        Anyway the bible you quote from is (I think) the King James version and he was a trinitarian. So that’s why the we’ and ‘us’ is used. Had Newton’s views prevailed (and I realise time travel would be involved) I guess it would be ‘I’ and ‘my’ instead.

        The problem with all these old books is that they were written at a particular time for a specific audience and they can’t be literally transferred to today without appreciating the different circumstances.

        Which makes any literal interpretation of ‘the word of god’ a very dodgy argument to advance. At best, even if you happen to believe in such a deity and its ability to pass on messages via humans, the best you could get to is that its an interpretation of the message written down by a particular individual (or individuals – or in the case of the KJB a committee) at a particular time.

      • Thanks Latimer, but Genesis predates the birth of Christ, and the Holy Ghost (I could be wrong about the Ghost). Perhaps God saying “us” and “our,” as reported in Genesis 1:26, hinted at what would be revealed later, or the books of the Holy Bible weren’t written in sequence.

      • Hi M. carey –

        My apologies for butting in…

        First, I would caution you to avoid spiritual cretins when seeking religious advice (i.e. avoid theAmericanHeathen, atheists, etc.). You avoid mathematical cretins when seeking scientific advice, no?

        Fair warning, I am a Bible cretin and nevertheless I am venturing my opinion. Years ago, my parents were exploring San Antonio and invited me to fly in and join them. We attended a Roman Catholic mass at a church built in the 1730’s in which the service was in three languages: English, Spanish and Latin. Even more unusual, every reference to God, was He/She, Father/Mother, etc. It was explicitly asserted that the persona of God was either asexual or multi-sexual. Perhaps that is the ‘us’ you are wondering about. (Remember, I am a Bible cretin.)

        bi2hs

    • That is kind of fitting. I remember this quote from McKittrick’s prior book:

      “We have no idea when Earth Day is, nor do we care, as long as the malls stay open.”

      Granted, “Taken By Storm” is the prototypical junk-science book, and he may have been trying to be funny, but he actually wrote that …

      • Actually TBS is a very good read and is to be recommended. Would make a useful discussion of the various chapters.

      • Actually TBS is a very good read and is to be recommended. Would make a useful discussion of the various chapters.

        Those are passive sentence fragments, so let me improve your grammar:
        Actually TBS is a very good read and is to be recommended as a very good example of how not to write a scientific text. It would make a useful discussion of the various chapters so students can learn how to point out logical inconsistencies and errors in scientific reasoning.

        That is snark, but it’s true. “Taken By Storm” is a horrible book and alternately a great example of Junk Science in action. Much of the fallacious reasoning I see in skeptical circles had its genesis in this book.

    • Want to ask AGW supporters how many of them ‘believe; in UFO’s and that 911 was a inside conspiracy job ? The odd thing is you assume with zero evidence that no member of the ‘Team’ holds religions views of its that ‘different’ for they can hold any idea or views they like , no matter how mad , as long as they support AGW they can do no wrong ?

      • M. Hulme is very religious and is on the other side. See his e-mails from this latest release. Many “greenies” worship mother nature, sometimes literally. You can’t just paint one side or the other that way. Not if you want to be accurate.

    • The first refuge of the loser is to claim the other person is religious.

      • If I were planning a life of crime, I would join a church, and go around telling people how much I love Jesus.

      • M. carey, that would be a very wise first step, I am glad to know that you have been paying attention.

      • M Carey,

        You might be better taking the opposite approach. Atheists are a tiny minority in the prison system so, logically, should be considered more trustworthy than theists.

  42. IPCC Decision Making

    It seems that a few people have a very strong say, and no matter how much talking goes on beforehand, the big decisions are made at the eleventh hour by a select core group.

    http://foia2011.org/

  43. I’d just like to thank Dr. Curry, whoever released the e-mails, Mosh, Kim and some the denizens for one of my best early Christmas presents EVER!!

    • regulations are implied.should be regulations are imposed. So much for autocorrect.

    • You are welcome. It’s fun to watch everyone read through the mails and come up to speed. Best of all we have an online search engine again.

      You will find some of the best arguments against the team position buried in the mails. You will find them doing everything they accuse skeptics of.

      • Condoning e-mail theft? Where do they do that?

      • M. carey

        You ask referring to the Climategate leaks:

        Condoning e-mail theft? Where do they do that?

        US federal “whistle blower” laws go back to 1863. Most state whistle blower laws were enacted since the mid 20th century.

        Among other things, these laws protect whistle blowers who expose wrong-doing or fraud by individuals or corporations who are defrauding the government.

        WikiLeaks, who received Amnesty International’s UK Media Award in 2009, is a recent example of a “non-profit whistle-blowing organization” that used stolen or hacked documents to expose corruption or supposed wrong-doing by governments.

        An earlier case (1971) involved the “Pentagon Papers”, where the US Supreme Court ruled that the leaking of some documents may be legally protected.

        The theft of e-mails and other documents in “whistle-blowing” cases, such as Climategate, has been declared legal. This is nothing new.

        Max

      • manaker,

        I believe the hacker is likely a thief with an agenda rather than, as you prefer to believe, likely a whistleblower motivated by moral duty. Perhaps you can address the following questions:

        If your “whistleblower” has done nothing illegal why is he hiding?

        If your “whistleblower” has done nothing illegal, why are the police looking for him?

        If your “whistleblower” is an honest person who believes in telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, why is he releasing selected emails in stages, rather than releasing all of the e-mails at one time?

      • yes, and further to m.carey’s points, why did the perpetrator hack into RealClimate’s website? Doesn’t sound very whistleblower-like.

        By the way, what was the topic of this thread again?

      • Max

        US federal “whistle blower” laws go back to 1863. Most state whistle blower laws were enacted since the mid 20th century.

        But UEA is not in the US, it is in the UK and as I pointed out in the previous thread the vast majority of the mails would not fall under the criteria coving by the UK whistleblowing legislation.

      • That should be covered by UK whistleblowing legislation.

      • Max

        In reply to M Carey, the reason why the ‘whistleblower’ is keeping a low profile is that they know they will be persecuted, as blaming the whilstleblowers rather than the wrong doer is firmly entrenched in European culture as witnessed in the Marta Andreason case and her battle against corruption in the EU

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3742148.stm

        tonyb

      • Well, as an ExxMob shareholder, I think a nice perk-rich, persecution-free office could be arranged somewhere in big oyl.

  44. My problem is the extent to which politicians DO NOT have a say in what is going on and how unelected bureaucrats have created a positive feedback loop. One example is UEA which “closes the loop” in the UK. You have CRU which provides a lot of influence on IPCC. Then that seems to flow to UNFCCC. Then you have DEFRA in the UK getting their guidance from UNFCCC. And standing right there ready to help DEFRA with a nice little “toolkit” is Tyndall Centre of UEA to close the loop and profit from the influence it originally had on the UNFCCC and in all of these cases the policies, recommendations, and regulations never once passed through a body representing the people who bear the burden of those regulations.

    In California we have the California Air Resources Board (CARB) who have the power to develop, implement, and enforce regulations without any input from any body representative of the people on whom those regulations are implied. I see a global pattern of getting elected representatives of the people out of the regulatory loop. We are being “managed” by people who never stand for election, whose policies are not voted on, and whose enforcement we can only appeal right back to the agency that created it.

    This is becoming insane, in my opinion.

    • Point being that CARB and the US EPA and DEFRA and Tyndall and CRU and IPCC and UNFCCC are not elected by anyone. Nowhere in that chain is anyone who has been elected to office and can be held responsible to be replaced by the people on whom they are imposing their regulations.

      • They do not impose any regulation that is done by the political appointees under the remit of the legislatures and executive.

      • Only the person at the very top is appointed and often stays there regardless of administration. Jerry Brown created the CARB when he first was governor in the mid 1970’s. It has had the same head ever since. And the appointed positions are often only one or two people in an agency. Everyone else below them are often hired staff that are impossible to fire even if the appointee at the top is replaced. It is impossible to “clean house” in these organizations. You can replace the chief, but that is it. You can’t fire the middle management who were often hired decades ago.

        If you look at the employee roster of EPA 15 years ago and look at it again today, I believe it will be pretty much unchanged.

  45. Well, my fellow Americans? How’s it going with Holly and Joshua? They are fine examples of the failure of American education. Had enough?

    thttp://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/intellectual-foundations-the-key-missing-piece-in-school-restructuring/500

    “We must come to recognize once again — as we did long ago in our dim educational past, before psychology became the dominant discipline in the design of instruction — that education requires doing intellectual work, developing intellectually, achieving intellectual quality, and having intellectual standards. These are ideas we must deeply re-discover, if we are truly concerned with substantive educational change.

    ……..part of the problem lies in the fact that focusing on the intellectual goes against the grain of our times. We do not live at a time in which most people are receptive to intellectual discipline. We do not live at a time in which most people are willing to accept intellectual standards or use them in their thinking. We live, rather, in an age of rampant subjectivity, in which people think they have a natural right to think or believe whatever they want, irrespective of evidence, knowledge, or quality of reasoning. People often say and believe just what they want to say and believe, whatever feels good, strokes their ego, or is commonly accepted. If it sounds good or looks good, then it is good. “If I believe it, then it is true for me.” “Don’t I have a right to my own opinion?” “Isn’t my opinion as good as anyone else’s?” “Who’s to say what is right and wrong?”

    • Jane Fisher,

      Thank you for your quotation which I wouldn’t disagree with. However, when I read the last sentences:

      “Isn’t my opinion as good as anyone else’s? Who’s to say what is right and wrong?”

      However, I can’t quite see how this relates to Holly and Joshua. They aren’t the ones who are claiming conventional science has it all wrong even when they don’t understand any of it.

      You sure you didn’t mean Wagathon, NW, Girma and/or Hunter?

      • “conventional science”? When did the deliberate refusal to follow the Scientific Method become “conventional science”.

        Your problem is that you think “studies” that can’t be reproduced because the data and algorithms are secret is “science” when it is actually garbage. You think cherry picked data (Yamal), phony statistical methods (short centered PCA), and using known bad data (Tijlander) constitutes “science”. It doesn’t.

        To paraphrase the immortal words of Inigo Montoya, “Science. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

      • The result looked the same with and without Tijlander (http://www.flickr.com/photos/belette/4056990134/). If anything the inclusion of Tijlander was a test that the algorithm could weed out bad data (a test that passed).

      • Drivel. Phony statistics piled on top of lies by the Lysenkoist scum who call themselves “climate scientists”.

        From Steve McIntyre’s post documenting the false claims about Tijlander you have so foolishly repeated here: http://climateaudit.org/2010/08/01/the-no-dendro-illusion/

        “Mann et al 2008 was covered in numerous contemporary Climate Audit posts. It was quickly discovered that the heavily publicized no-dendro reconstruction used Tiljander’s Lake Korttajarvi sediments despite warning from Tiljander that the sediments had been heavily contaminated by modern construction and farming, making them totally unsuitable for inclusion in the Mann 2008 algorithm. The contamination was so severe that it resulted in Mann et al using the data upside-down to the climatic interpretation adopted by the original authors for the pre-contamination portion of the series.

        The SI showed that Mann et al were aware of Tiljander’s caveats but used the contaminated sediments (upside-down) anyway, thereby compromising the no-dendro reconstruction. They purported to justify the inclusion of Tiljander sediments on the grounds that their inclusion didn’t “matter” because they could “get” a somewhat similar looking stick without the Tiljander sediments. The obvious question was – if they didn’t “matter”, then why use them, given the explicit caveats of the originating author? A question that has never received an answer – only the excuse that the use of the compromised proxies didn’t “matter” – an excuse that is now known to be untrue given the “validation” failure of the no-dendro network without the Tljander sediments.”

      • “:”=Robert’s nostrils
        “.”=Robert’s favorite nostril
        “;”=Robert’s favorite nostril and the object of his desire
        “!”=Robert’s trusty forefinger in its nasal-passage rest-position
        “?”=Robert’s slick, hook-n-scrape smooth move
        “,”=Robert’s booger–free at last!
        <—","=Robert's latest booger-flick comment

        'Nuff said

      • ‘Conventional science’

        with hypotheses and experiments and proof and stuff?

        Not just ‘plausible explanations’ and ‘consistent with’ and ‘consensus’ and

        ‘why should I show my data when you’ll only (put it into some devilish program like Excel and) try to find something wrong with it’?

        H’mm

      • ‘Conventional science’ with hypotheses and experiments and proof and stuff?

        “We will sell no wine before its time.”

        Forcing conventional science to present results prematurely is problematic. Fudging it by proposing confidence and uncertainty qualifiers might even be counterproductive despite the best of intentions.

    • Jane –

      Sorry you have such a low opinion of my critical thinking. I will point out that American education stacks up quite well with education in other countries where school populations have fewer than 20% living in poverty – but be that as it may, I will offer you this excerpt:

      Another formidable barrier to critical thinking is sociocentric thought, an ingrained tendency akin to egocentric thought. Put simply, where egocentric thought is based on the assumption that my ideas are always best, sociocentric thought is based on the assumption that our ideas are always best. Understanding the roots of sociocentricity should be fairly intuitive. Human beings are social animals; we run in packs. Therefore we tend to see the world from the point of view of “our groups.” This might be “our family,” “our peer group,” “our colleagues,” “our company,” “our country,” or indeed any group we belong to. Unfortunately we don’t tend to see “our group’s way” as one of many possible ways of thinking. We are not intrinsically open to considering that our group’s view might be wrong. Instead we take for granted that our way is best.

      http://www.hr-matters.info/feat2011/2011.jul.BecomingACriticOfYourOwnThinking.htm

      Read Judith’s post and the comments of her “denizens” with that paragraph in mind, and get back to me.

      We’ll talk.

      • Very Nice Joshua,

        So it boils down to two major group thoughts,

        “If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it.” and “It must be broke – it was their idea.”

      • Cap’n –

        I think there are other groups also, but unfortunately the two you describe are the most vocal – certainly in the blogosphere.

      • I don’t know Josh,

        The “it must be Brokes” are a large group of groups, nothing right will ever happen unless by chance.

        The “if it ain’t Brokes” have the flip side, “if its broke enough, fix the damn thing.” They are the smaller group an constantly over ruled because fixing it is “their” idea.

        There is another group, the Doers, They just do stuff, drink beer, party, repeat, not a very eloquent group, but pretty effective once. They are not very effective anymore because the “if it ain’t brokes” are accused of having ideas.

    • Jane I’m not American. I do know something of academic integrity which is sadly lacking in many posts here.

  46. At a quick glance, this must be one of the most time-wasting useless threads on CE. Good topic though.

    • +1 from me.

    • Perhaps because too many commentators are so firmly entrenched in their partisan view, each and every post almost always degrades into a schoolyard point scoring squabble. By the time Judy has posted another, the issue at hand is no further along than a hamster’s wheel, despite the fact that there are many talented and intelligent commentators from all sides who all too often are side-tracked into composing scripts for “The Bickersons”.

    • Faustino: “At a quick glance, this must be one of the most time-wasting useless threads on CE.

      A longer glance would confirm your suspicion, Faustino. (And I would like to note that the land mass of Australia – no islands included – is about the same as the lower 49.)

  47. Two points relevant to this iscussion, if a little late.

    The BEST wrk is still undergoing peer review. mckitrick is one of the reviewers and has stated that he is bound by confidentiality agreements not to comment until review is comlete.
    Sir John Houghton, well known AGW proponent, is also an evangelical Christian.

    • mikep

      The conflict of interest inherent in releasing a report about bias in climatology while acting as a peer reviewer on a project that has disproven one’s own former claims of bias in science, though not troubling or significant, does bear comment.

      Considering it does not meet the standard of the recommendations about conflict of interest in the report.

      And is in itself implicit comment before the review is complete.

      • From what I have seen of the BEsT uhi work it does not adress mckitrick’s work at all.

      • mikep

        The problem is the other way around.

        McKitrick’s work stopped short of addressing BEST.

        He claims good reasons, like the NDA he was duped into after submitting his ‘radical reform’, but before it was published). Both are largely devoted to the topic of bias in Climate Science.

        This gives the impression of conflict of interest, and the impression of violation of NDA (though I’m sure there was no such violation, on Dr. McKitrick’s good word).

        It’s the Caesar’s wife problem. Or the glass house. Not sure which.

  48. Ross McKitrick has written a very scathing critique of the IPCC review process, as it currently stands.

    He identifies the current deficiency of IPCC as primarily a process problem, breaking it down into the various sub-processes that have become corrupted:

    1 – Biased author selection process
    2 – Conflict of interest in writing process
    3 – Flaws in peer review process
    a. insider (or self) review of work
    b. authors overrule reviewers
    c. authors rewrite work after review process
    4 – Weak plenary management process unable to implement needed reforms

    What to do?

    McKitrick makes 12 far-reaching recommendations for fixing the various broken sub-process sections of the corrupted IPCC review process. He states that these will not be easy to implement quickly, if at all.

    McKitrick suggests that if IPCC cannot be fixed quickly, concerned nations should withdraw and form a new assessment body ”free of the serious defects of the current model”.

    I personally believe that the IPCC process cannot be fixed. It was doomed to failure from the start, by the very brief given to IPCC at its conception.

    Today the processes, which McKitrick identifies, are so thoroughly broken or corrupted that there is no way to reform them IMO.

    We should all plan and prepare for a “post-IPCC world”.

    Max

    • manacker

      Pompoms and a nylon cheerleading uniform, and your look is complete.

      What outcomes of the ‘broken processes’ come close to justifying the costs of the rather tepid and redundant committee-driven ‘solutions’, or would be effectively fixed by them?

      • Bart R

        I believe it is you, rather than I, who is “cheerleading” for IPCC.

        But to your question:

        The “consensus process” installed by IPCC is broken and was corrupted from the start, in that it only enabled the inclusion of “science” supporting its agenda. (Our host has commented on this on more than one occasion.)

        McKitrick describes the sub-processes that have become corrupted as a fresult.

        Raving has cited another sub-process, which was corrupted from the start.

        I, personally, do not believe that these processes can be repaired without essentially starting from scratch – because the root cause of their corruption lies in the very charter of IPCC: to identify human-induced changes to our climate, determine any serious negative impacts these could have and suggest various actions to mitigate against these negative impacts..

        – No significant human-induced climate change = no need for IPCC to continue to exist

        – No serious negative impact from human-induced climate change = no need for IPCC to continue to exist

        So from its inception, IPCC had the existential need to find significant human-induced climate change leading to serious negative impacts.

        And that is precisely what it did.

        Max

      • manacker

        Huh.

        And here I’d think “not radical enough” couldn’t be construed as support for the thing the supposed ‘reforms’ were out to reform.

        What an imagination you have.

        Which I suppose is all very well, as you appear weak on logic, so it’ll compensate for that lack.

    • Ross McKitrick has written a very scathing critique of the IPCC review process, as it currently stands. … breaking it down into the various sub-processes that have become corrupted:

      There is an essential corrupted sub-process which escapes mention …

      The IPCC’s constituency is predominantly derived from an undeveloped populace who choose to industrialize. There is money to be made by helping them do so.

    • “What to do?”

      The first thing to do is to find someone with credibility to look into the matter. McKitrick’s ideological crusade long since cost him his.

  49. The bottom line remains the same , no AGW no need for the IPCC , given that what is the likelihood of them doing work which cast any doubt on AGW, turkeys if they could vote would never vote for Thanksgiving of Christmas.
    Other than that the IPCC political and management problems are the same seen in many UN organization, were corruption , political based appointments regardless of ability and poor administration are the norm .

  50. McKitrick writes:

    Environmentalist campaign groups are heavily overrepresented in the resulting author lists.

    I went looking in the report for justification and found that the statement is based mainly on cross-checking AR4 authors against people who have contributed in some way to a WWF ‘scientific advisory panel’. Stats are quoted, such as: ‘WWF campaign advisors were involved in writing 28 out of 44 chapters in the AR4′ and McKitrick concludes ‘A more credible explanation is that scientists who openly ally themselves with environmentalist organizations like Greenpeace and the WWF thereby increase their likelihood of being recruited to serve as IPCC Lead Authors.

    The Greenpeace reference can be discarded immediately. The only evidence presented concerns a single author (Teske) who appeared in a single chapter of a single report, alongside an employee of an oil company. Seems quite well balanced to me.

    Regarding the WWF I don’t think it’s reasonable, as McKitrick does, to refer to people as representatives of Environmentalist campaign groups simply because they have provided details of their research to an environmentalist group at some point. Regardless, we can examine the figures involved:

    – Of 619 authors involved with AR4 WGI, 10 are on the WWF scientific advisory panel (SAP) list
    – Of 380 authors involved with AR4 WGII, 52 are on the SAP list
    – Of 270 authors involved with AR4 WGIII, 3 are on the SAP list

    Clearly there’s no evidence of overrepresentation in WGI and WGIII, but there may be some valid criticism of WGII selection processes. Of course, WGII is stocked with biologists, ecologists, environmental scientists, anthropologists and social scientists, people who could provide advice of most interest to the WWF so this may simply be a tautology.

    I’ve wondered for a while how authors might be selected for WGII, given the wide gamut of different fields represented. For WGI there is already a scientific community in place, which holds regular conferences, so most of the participants will be at least vaguely aware of each others’ work and what their strengths are. It may be my ignorance showing but I imagine this is not so much the case for WGII so to some extent so it’s plausible they reach for lists of familiar names such as the WWF SAP.

    • Paul S,
      Actually you are wrong.
      Read Donna Laframboise

      http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/my-book/

      Her book, unlike your post, contains specific and numerous citations.
      You post, with all due respect, is simply rhetoric.

    • Hunter,

      Which part is wrong? Be specific and show evidence.

      • Paul S

        Have you read the Laframboise book?

        Max

      • No, I’m dealing with what’s in the McKitrick report.

        Is there anything in the Laframboise book which contradicts what I’ve written here?

      • The Laframboise book points out how IPCC is infiltrated by environmental activist/lobbyist groups like WWF, etc.

        Read it and you will see.

        This is the point that McKitrick has made, and it appears to be a valid one.

        Max

      • Paul S

        Specifically to your question of infiltration of activist/lobby groups into IPCC:

        http://judithcurry.com/2011/10/19/laframboise-on-the-ipcc/#more-5396

        Regarding the WWF infiltration of the IPCC:
        – 28 out of 44 chapters (two-thirds) included at least one individual affiliated with the WWF
        – 100% of the WG2 chapters included at least 1 WWF affiliated scientist
        – 15 out of 44 chapters (one-third) were led (coordinating lead authors) by WWF-affiliated scientists

        Max

      • I have more interesting things on my reading list at the moment so I probably won’t get around to it to be honest. However, McKitrick’s argument is based on Laframboise’s work in this area and I’ve been dealing with his summary.

        To McKitrick’s credit he doesn’t use inflammatory terms like ‘infiltration’, instead arguing that there is evidence scientists are more likely to be selected for participation in the IPCC process if they have had prior involvement with environmental organisations. The cited evidence is a list of scientists on a WWF advisory panel cross-checked against lists of authors for AR4 here, here and here.

        I’ve checked this evidence and found the following:

        – Of 619 authors involved with AR4 WGI, 10 are on the WWF scientific advisory panel (SAP) list
        – Of 380 authors involved with AR4 WGII, 52 are on the SAP list
        – Of 270 authors involved with AR4 WGIII, 3 are on the SAP list

        Clearly the numbers in WGI and WGIII are negligible but there is prima facie evidence of a possible selection bias for WGII. The circumstances would need to be investigated further though. It could be that the large presence is a function of the type of scientists involved in WGII – biologists, ecologists, anthropologists, social scientists and environmental scientists – who are more likely to engage with groups like WWF regardless of the IPCC.

      • - 15 out of 44 chapters (one-third) were led (coordinating lead authors) by WWF-affiliated scientists

        I counted 14. I might have missed one or Laframboise double-counted a chapter with two ‘affiliated’ coordinating lead authors.

        13 are in WGII, 1 is in WGIII. There are 0 in WGI.

      • It could be that the large presence is a function of the type of scientists involved in WGII – biologists, ecologists, anthropologists, social scientists and environmental scientists – who are more likely to engage with groups like WWF regardless of the IPCC.

        Exactly. WWF has a legitimate interest in understanding the impact on the environment of climate change and other consequences of human activity. Therefore it is hardly surprising that there is an overlap between scientists referenced or commissioned or consulted by the WWF and those inolved with WGII.

      • Paul S,
        Yes, her evidence contradicts hers, and hers is well documented.
        You claim IPCC/NGO overlap is trivial.
        Facts indicate otherwise.
        And it is clear that the IPCC is seeking to grant NGO’s larger voices.

      • Paul, S,
        If you cannot be bothered to read the books that take the time to document the problem, then you are not really expressing much interest in the problem.
        It seems you are more interested in an avoidance tactic than in dealing with things.

      • Facts indicate otherwise.

        Great. Present them.

      • Yes, her evidence contradicts hers, and hers is well documented. – hunter

        Well said.

    • “The Greenpeace reference can be discarded immediately. The only evidence presented concerns a single author (Teske) who appeared in a single chapter of a single report, alongside an employee of an oil company. Seems quite well balanced to me.”

      A greenpeace person is a advocate of a certain cause [obviously biased]
      Employee of an oil company maybe considered opponent of greenpeace person, but greenpeace guys have a few screw loose and doesn’t mean it’s “balanced”.
      It’s sort of like 10 commies and 10 people working for the man [a mix of people doing whatever] as being “balanced”.

  51. Judith – Many of the comments on this post are among the lowest-quality yet on your blog, a stream of petty bickering with little of the intelligent analysis and attention to the issue which has been pretty much the norm in past posts.

    I think the problem is that the dialogue went straight to discussion of Ross McItrick’s recommendations, without reference to his analysis of the IPCC’s shortcomings. With the reasons for the recommendations being ignored, a sensible discussion of them has proved impossible, especially as it was kicked off and prodded along by a determined obfuscator.

    To try to bring the quality of the discussion back to something like a reasonable level, here are those reasons:

    This report reviews the IPCC procedures in detail and points out a number of weaknesses. Principally, the IPCC Bureau has a great deal of arbitrary power over the content and conclusions of the assessment reports. It faces little restraint in the review process due to weaknesses in the current rules. And the government delegates who comprise the plenary Panel provide what appears to be largely passive and ineffective oversight. The scientific assessment process is thus characterized by the following deficiencies:
    a) An opaque process for selecting Lead Authors
    b) The absence of any binding requirement for incorporating the full range
    of views
    c) Intellectual conflicts of interest
    d) Loopholes and gaps in the peer review sequence
    A recent review of IPCC procedures was undertaken by the InterAcademy Council, a body jointly sponsored by national academic societies that conducted a review of IPCC procedures in 2010. It touched briefly on some of these issues, but none of the subsequent procedural reforms adopted by the IPCC addressed them. The procedural revisions made in response to the InterAcademy Council review largely ignored the real problems in the IPCC, especially those related to intellectual conflicts of interest. The process instead gave evidence of considerable indifference on the part of the Panel regarding its supervision of the Bureau.

    • Judith – Many of the comments on this post are among the lowest-quality yet on your blog, a stream of petty bickering with little of the intelligent analysis and attention to the issue which has been pretty much the norm in past posts.

      Glad you think that way, because McKitrick displays little intelligent analysis himself. Have you read that ultimate example of Junk Science called “Taken By Storm” that he wrote several years ago?

  52. “IPCC report-writing teams are cherry-picked in an opaque process by a secretive bureau in Geneva”

    An analysis that starts off with this sentence is going to be a good one? What tells you that? Maybe it takes a committed person to read on, but I think that any rational skeptic could be excused for choosing not to bother.

    “the way the IPCC is set up, it can pretty much ignore the recommendations from IAC” JC

    Probably not so. Overall, the IPCC will probably not plan to do that. Why not? Because it requires solid support from IAC members. It is in the most basic interests of the IPCC to (mostly) act on recommendations. The proposed changes are in fact more characteristic of the status quo (whether or not one likes or rejects the status quo) for organizational growth of the IPCC, than anything new or radical. There is no really good reason for the IPCC to plan not to implement the recommended changes, from its own perspective.

    “The key issue is whether the national governments are happy (or not) with what is going on with the IPCC”

    Overall there is no question about international support for the IPCC by governments and international scientific bodies funded by governments (a fact that can and should be separated from whether or not you like this). The more exciting question could be ‘ what governments do not support the IPCC’.

    So… what governments do not support the IPCC? And what tells you that?

    I encourage ClimateEtc to learn to distinguish an American perspective from others’.

    • Martha

      From a global perspective, what governments DO support a reduction in CO2 emissions if these reduction plans are self funded? It is easy for a developing nation to say they support lower emissions if they are told it is tied to being given subsidies.

      • India taxes every ton of coal sold. China recently released a report detailing their efforts to cut emissions. South Africa has a carbon tax.

        I don’t see any serious effort on your part to analyze the politics of cutting greenhouse gas emissions. You just wave your hand at it and say it won’t happen. That’s wishful thinking on your part, not analysis.

    • Martha –

      You make the same observation that occurs to me quite often at Climate Etc, but I think we are whistling in the wind. The reason I come to the same conclusion over and over is that in between times I am seduced by our shared language and I forget that an American perspective is sometimes profoundly different to that found anywhere else in the world. We all have manifestations of parochialism, but I think that from America is the most striking.

      However, I don’t see any likelihood of change in this regard – the views of our nation/country/region are not only less amenable to alteration than other confirmation biases, but they also cause less dissonance. Mostly, our opponents – those who are ranged against us ideologically – share the same biases, so the landscape in which our disagreements occur is not usually an issue.

      You’re right that the IPCC brings this into focus, but maybe it is even more fundamental than that. The IPCC is surely just a small embodiment of the UN and the general philosophy of nations coming together. In Europe this obviously has a profoundly different resonance than it does in the States – even for most Democrats.

      I’m not being pessimistic though – bringing this kind of thing up once in a while is probably worthwhile. I just don’t think we should be holding our breaths waiting for Americans to become ‘cosmopolitan’ in their world views ;)

      • If you examine the nations whose CO2 emissions are rising, which of those countries will commit to a reduction in emissions without being promised funding from others? I suspect the list is very short. This really is a key issue for those that believe that CO2 needs to be reduced.

      • Rob Starkey

        I’m not sure many of the nations whose emissions are rising would agree with you – and with good reason. I think they would say the reasonable thing to do would be to allow their emissions to rise to the level America expects to reach at some point in the future – a sort of convergence, so everybody’s per capita emissions are the same.

        Secondly, they might reasonably ask for a little dispensation on the grounds that their history of emissions (which is relevant) has been minimal.

        I think that their emissions rising [implying they are moving from desperately poor to just very poor] is rather beside the point.

        Surely there is a per capita emissions level that everybody should be heading towards – with some adjustments for the ‘sins’ of history.

      • Anteros

        Your reply is a good summary of the key issues. I disagree with your conclusions however as they seem to reward countries that have and continue to incur unsupportable population growth. I see no fundamental reason that US taxpayer should pay other countries anything.

      • No, you must break the spell. Repeat after me.

        Warm is good.
        Cold is bad.
        CO2 is good.

        Until you get it.
        ======

      • Rob Starkey –

        I’m not sure the population growth idea is a serious problem. Surely an agreement would just pick an appropriate population level and fix per capita emissions at that number.

        You may see no reason for US taxpayers to pay any other countries anything, but do you think US citizens are entitled to have higher emissions than anyone else? [assuming, obviously, that such things are definitely a 'problem'] Surely if it is a question of entitlement, everybody’s is the same? If so, there must be some point of convergence to aim at? I know it doesn’t sound good to American ears, but what other reasonable way is there to look at it?

      • v. 3

        Warm is good.
        Cold is bad.
        CO2 is food.
        Too bad you’ve been had.
        ===========

      • Kim –

        Don’t worry!

        I’m doing an ‘OK, lets make the assumption that Co2 does naughty things and see how the world looks. I believe the assumption is reversible – otherwise I’m f*cked :)

      • OK, Anteros, it’s ok to think that way, just so long as we don’t act that way until we are a little less ignorant.
        ============

      • Anteros

        You write:

        Surely there is a per capita emissions level that everybody should be heading towards – with some adjustments for the ‘sins’ of history

        I would agree with the direction, but would modify that slightly.

        Rather than a “per capita emission level” as a target, I would suggest a ”carbon efficiency” level.

        This is defined as the wealth generated by an economy (GDP in $) divided by the CO2 emitted by that economy (in metric tons).

        This indicator would reflect the desire for all nations to improve the standard of living of their populations, at the same time using a minimum of fossil fuels to do so.

        As you can see, the industrially developed economies (EU, USA, Japan, etc.) have a considerably higher “carbon efficiency” than the developing ones (China, India, Brazil, Russia, etc.).

        It is interesting that this indicator has increased for most nations over time, and it is reasonable to assume that it will continue to do so, particularly as fossil fuels become more costly and new cost-effective energy sources, not dependent on fossil fuels, are developed.

        As for “the sins of history”: I’d say that the availability of low cost energy (based primarily on fossil fuels) has been a major factor in the improvement of the human condition in a good part of the world, so this should not be classified as a “sin of history”.

        We should just make sure that we do not commit the “sin” of blocking the populations of the underdeveloped economies from having the same access to low-cost fossil fuel based energy as we had, by arbitrarily tying them to carbon caps or enforcing draconian taxes on carbon.

        Max

      • Rob –

        I think there is a certain amount of justification for using carbon efficiency rather than per capita emissions……..especially from an American perspective!

        However, I realise my main contention (which applies to either approach) is that neither really does what it has as its objective, which is to leave fossil fuels in the ground. I’m not someone who is, by and large, ‘alarmed’ by Co2, but if I were I think I would be baffled by the idea that targets for annual emissions rates could have any impact at all on the proportion of Co2 in the atmosphere – at the end of the fossil fuel burning era. If an action doesn’t demonstrably leave some of the carbon in the ground permanently I see it as making no difference whatsoever. I get a sense that there is quite a lot of kidology going on.

        I seriously can’t see many hundreds of billions of barrels of oil [or its equivalent] remaining in the ground while it is economically recoverable and somebody, somewhere is willing to buy it.

      • Max – I thought I was replying to Rob Starkey. My error….

      • It is interesting that this indicator has increased for most nations over time, and it is reasonable to assume that it will continue to do so, particularly as fossil fuels become more costly and new cost-effective energy sources, not dependent on fossil fuels, are developed.

        Realism is blasphemy in some quarters. To treat oil as an incredibly value source of concentrated energy puts one in a position of considering to use this as a springboard to find something more sustainable. In other words, use that energy to develop other sources as a primary motivation, before it starts to get really expensive.

        I seriously can’t see many hundreds of billions of barrels of oil [or its equivalent] remaining in the ground while it is economically recoverable and somebody, somewhere is willing to buy it.

        And more realism. Maximizing greediness is an algorithm for solving many a computational problem, and when put into human terms, greediness is just a fact of human nature. It will take incredible discipline to conserve or to reserve barrels for a path forward. The idea is that technology has always saved us in the past, or whatever McKitrick and others like him believe down deep.

      • manacker | November 27, 2011 at 11:45 am |

        ”carbon efficiency” level: This is defined as the wealth generated by an economy (GDP in $) divided by the CO2 emitted by that economy (in metric tons).

        “Carbon efficiency” is also an indication of a nation’s ability to offload dirt on to the global market.

        Those are interesting figures. Eyeballing the table would suggest a 3 fold increase in GHG emission over the next 30 years with scant little that the developed world can do about the situation.

        Smoke ‘em if you got them … The industrialized world might be reluctant to do so but there is no percentage in discouraging the developing nations from partaking in such. Persuasiveness unavoidably acts as a stimulus. The developing world is already self-inflating.

        This sort of paints the IPCC into the position of a drunk in charge of the liquor supply. Their constituency is globalism and the vast bulk of undeveloped globe wishes to industrialize.

        Hmmm … about the only thing that the industrialized nations can do is keep the :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D IPCC :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D happy by giving in to whatever they want.

        It will not end well.
        Environmental advocacy may have created a monster

      • Nothing but a petrochemical reserve is a petrochemical reserve.

        All sorts of near equivalents are alternatives for economical energy.

        Compared to the alternatives for non-energy uses of petro products, there aer far fewer suitable alternatives, they are far more limited, and orders of magnitude more expensive.

        As a source of plastics, industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals and fertilizer, a petrochemical reserve is a unique treasure. And it is limited.

        Squander it by using it to power your SUV (when you need only a Vespa — and it’ll be safer), or to heat your home instead of insulating, and that treasure is gone from the national reserves forever.

        The future value of the nation is diminished.

        The net present value of the nation is contracted.

        Unemployment goes up. Inflation goes up.

        The principle argument against CO2 emission from petrochemical products is it costs you money out of your pocket to benefit strangers who ride on your account for free.

      • @Bart R

        ‘Outsourcing’ is a beautiful thing

      • I seriously can’t see many hundreds of billions of barrels of oil [or its equivalent] remaining in the ground while it is economically recoverable and somebody, somewhere is willing to buy it.

        You need to think about the economics of natural resource extraction in a slightly more sophisticated way. There are trillions of tons of fossil fuels that exist that are not considered to be “economically recoverable.” There is a smaller amount that is considered economically recoverable. For something to be economically recoverable, or not, is a function of cost vs price, which in turn are functions of technology, capital investment, and demand.

        If you increase the cost of extraction, by taxing it, for example, or by requiring the carbon released to be sequestered, you shift the curve, making more fossil fuel uneconomic to extract.

        There’s no question of leaving “economically recoverable” resources in the ground; the goal is to shift the definition of economically recoverable.

      • Robert, you say –

        the goal is to shift the definition of economically recoverable”

        I suspect you may be speaking for yourself. Because, I guess, you have the opposite goal of most sane, intelligent people. These people, of course, wish to make a greater proportion of the fossil fuel economically recoverable.

        Obviously, not being misanthropic, these intelligent people wish to bring electricity, health and prosperity to the broad swath of humanity, and generally think that if in the process the climate becomes a tad milder, then so much the better.

        Enjoy the interglacial :)

      • It’s not news that you’re in denial about the damage to human health and welfare caused by burning fossil fuels.

        Most of the world, however, doesn’t share your delusional beliefs.

        No matter how hard you wish, the reality of the physical world is what it is.

        Your ignorance is not a superpower. And it’s not catching. ;)

      • Anteros

        Yes. There is a dilemma.

        The availability of low-cost energy has been a primary factor in enabling humanity in the industrially developed economies to pull itself out of the poverty of pre-industrial times.

        China, India, Brazil and many nations in Asia, such as South Korea, Taiwan, etc. are going through that process today, while other, less-developed nations are still at the very beginning of this process.

        By so doing they are emitting more CO2 than before. We also see that their economies are growing more rapidly than their fossil fuel combustion, in other words they are improving their carbon efficiency just as the industrially developed nations have also done over time (earlier post).

        We all know that there is a limited amount of total fossil fuel resource on our planet.

        Estimates tell us that, to date, we have consumed around 15% of all the optimistically estimated fossil fuel resources that were ever on our planet.

        These estimates also tell us that if we continue using them at today’s rate they will be all used up in the next 300+ years.

        It is highly likely that the usage rate will increase over the short to medium term, not so much in the industrially developed world, where there will be a leveling off, but rather in the developing economies, which will want to pull their populations out of poverty with low-cost energy, as we did.

        As a result, we would probably use up all the fossil fuels on our planet within 200 years or even less, all things being equal.

        However, as we all know when looking centuries into the future, all things are highly unlikely to be equal. As fossil fuels become scarcer and more costly, other cost-competitive energy sources we already know of and others we cannot even imagine today will be developed, and fossil fuels will be largely reserved for use as higher added-value feedstocks for petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, etc.

        This will not require the levying of direct or indirect carbon taxes today.

        So much for the fossil fuel question.

        I am not one who is at all worried about disastrous consequences from AGW, because I simply do not see that there is robust scientific support for this concern. From your posts, I think you basically share my opinion on this.

        Based on the optimistically estimated total fossil fuel resources of our planet, I see that consuming them all would only result in a maximum ever possible increase to somewhere just above 1,000 ppmv CO2 in the atmosphere.

        The temperature and CO2 records of the past 160+ years show me that it is extremely unlikely that AGW from CO2 will cause global warming of more than 2 to 3C in its worst incarnation. I do not see any evidence telling me that this could represent a problem for humanity or our environment.

        So I see the issue as one of long-term fossil fuel conservation by developing cost competitive alternate energy sources, rather than trying to ban their use today, thereby blocking the economical development of those nations, which have not yet gone through the same fossil-fuel based industrial development as we have.

        These are just my thoughts on this, of course.

        Max

      • Anteros

        You wrote: “Surely an agreement would just pick an appropriate population level and fix per capita emissions at that number.”

        Imo what you have written is at the heart of the issue if examined more closely. 1st let’s assume for the sake of discussion that a warmer world is actually worse overall for humanity over the long term. (that is a point I do not believe is shown thus far at all, and I generally believe quite the opposite is more probable.)

        Imo if a per capita emissions “budget” were to be established for different nations it would need to take the nations population, geographic size and past CO2 emissions into consideration. This is not a simple task at all.

        From a very practical standpoint at what level should overall CO2 levels be targeted to be maintained? Why that number? How would such a “budget” be enforced upon almost 200 different nations? Undoubtedly, many of these nations would benefit overall from a warmer world (even assuming if it really was worse overall) so they may think it is in their best interest to emit higher levels of CO2.

        Imo there is a near to zero probability that any worldwide agreement could be effectively implemented. That is really one of the reasons why adaptation through construction of proper infrastructure is what I advocate. Individual countries should always be doing this anyway, and if they don’t, well they suffer the consequences. I have very little sympathy for cultures that are to corrupt for effective government and certainly don’t think US taxpayers should pay for that problem.

      • Imo there is a near to zero probability that any worldwide agreement could be effectively implemented.

        And what evidence informs that opinion?

        1st let’s assume for the sake of discussion that a warmer world is actually worse overall for humanity over the long term. (that is a point I do not believe is shown thus far at all, and I generally believe quite the opposite is more probable.)

        Have you made any progress in meeting your burden to prove that heating the planet to temperatures not seen on earth for millions of years is safe?

      • “heating the planet to temperatures not seen on earth for millions of years”

        Probably, the burden of proving that should come first.

      • Rob –

        I agree with you. The possibilities of a world-wide agreement are zero. And that would be the case even if there was greater consensus about the negative consequences of Co2 and also quite a lot more willingness to try to do something about it.

        As it is, politicians and leaders have primarily their own citizens to be worried about, so serious changes predicated on the welfare of people living elsewhere or not even born yet are unlikely if not unimaginable.

        My feeling about adaptation is that we hugely underestimate humanities capacity to adapt in myriad ways. And that adaptation doesn’t imply suffering or hardship, but innovation and energy and problem-solving and, well, the kinds of things that bring out the best in human beings. Being paralysed by fear seems, in contrast, pretty feeble. And a waste of mitigating money…

      • Anteros

        If there was better evidence that humanity was really being harmed overall, over the long term; I think you could get worldwide action. In this case, given the facts; I agree it is unlikely.

      • Oh, Moses, Mohammed and Issa. Not seen in millions of years? Really?

      • I agree this is more a national scale issue in a practical sense, because we see no possibility of a global agreement. There will be winners and losers from warming. In general governments will be losers because they have to pay for adaptation measures. Some governments are forward thinking and rather than waiting to “tax” the winners, they are imposing a carbon tax to help with adaptation, which includes going towards green energy and becoming independent of fossil fuels. This approach makes the most sense to me in terms of paying for the future burden of carbon’s effects. Using fossil carbon should be viewed as a privilege, and a premium should be attached to this kind of burning.

      • Jim D

        I agree there will be winners and losers in terms that some nations will benefit while others are harmed. I don’t think governments are “harmed” at all. Governments are in place to perform specific functions and ultimately citizens pay the bill. That will not change.

        The good thing about adaptation is it is very cost effective. Infrastructure has to be rebuilt every few decades regardless of changes to the climate and the additional cost to “prepare” would be a very small additional cost as a percentage of the total.

        Where I think you are potentially missing the bigger picture in term of you “carbon or fuel taxes etc” is the basic economics. Virtually every country considering such a tax already has a massive structural budgetary shortfall and this requires that revenue be raised or services cut on a long term basis. That is the “doom on the near term horizon”, and not potential climate change. The worldwide financial crisis where nations over promised benefits that could not be paid for will now result in even greater levels of nationalistic behavior.

      • Undoubtedly, many of these nations would benefit overall from a warmer world

        Based on what? Please provide the evidence supporting this assertion.

      • Robert

        My “evidence” is that there are almost 200 different nations on the planet. None of these nations currently know if a warmer world would be a net benefit or net harm for its citizens. What they know is that they want and need energy, farm production and construction at the lowest cost possible. From a practical standpoint, it makes no sense for some percentage of nations to adhere to some “CO2 budget” if much of the rest of the nations are exceeding the budget and gaining an advantage for that countries citizens.

        Robert to your other point, I have no obligation to prove a warmer world is better for anyone. The burden is on those that want the behavior of others changed. The behavior in this case is emitting CO2. You want people or individual nations to emit less, therefore you have to give them credible rationale. You and the IPCC has thus far failed to do so.

      • My “evidence” is that there are almost 200 different nations on the planet.

        Which is evidence of what, exactly?

        None of these nations currently know if a warmer world would be a net benefit or net harm for its citizens.

        Nonsense. Have you shown that the radical change in the earth’s climate is safe?

        Robert to your other point, I have no obligation to prove a warmer world is better for anyone.

        You have an obligation to show that the radical change in the earth’s climate you propose is safe.

        There is a large literature on the expected impacts of global warming to help you.

        You can discard some or all of it as biased, but that doesn’t help you meet your burden.

      • @robert

        Please define safe/unsafe in your mind. The way you use it is no more helpful that saying it may be a ‘risk’ or a ‘threat’.

        Emotive, but not useful.

      • Please define safe/unsafe in your mind.

        Check a dictionary. And no, “safe” is not a particularly emotive word. If the concept of making our one and only planet less safe for human habitation is an emotional one, that is a matter of its objective importance, not a function of word choice.

        I suggest you review your own comments on this site for “emotive” words.

      • Anteros

        Yes and the EU example of “coming together of nations” has a totally different “resonance” in Switzerland than it does in Brussels.

        IMO this is not so much a question of the USA (or Switzerland) resisting becoming “cosmopolitan”, it is a question of these nationalities wanting to maintain their liberty and freedom.

        Max

      • Max –

        In fairness I have to agree with you. Especially being English, I’m aware of our general mistrust of ‘Euro’ ideas. And while I’m mostly non-political, I actually like the independence of cultures and countries – I’d raise a glass to any country that chose to leave the European Union and do their own thing.

        I think my attitude to American ideas of independence (that often overlaps with what I see as parochialism) is partly emotional – I get involved in long conversations (with people ‘speaking my language’) and get something of a shock to find [repeatedly] that when an American says ‘they’ they are sometimes referring to me! Perhaps it is a feeling of being excluded and FWIW it happens most often here. It probably affects my perceptions slightly (and therefore my writing)

    • Martha wrote:


      “the way the IPCC is set up, it can pretty much ignore the recommendations from IAC” JC

      Probably not so. Overall, the IPCC will probably not plan to do that.

      Nobody has to plan to keep the status quo, it just happens if nothing else is done.

      • Harold

        Overall, the IPCC will probably not plan to do that [i.e. "ignore the recommendations from IAC"].

        So far its leader, Dr. Pachauri, does not appear to have any intention of making any substantive changes to the “status quo” as a result of the IAC report.

        Let’s wait and see if he changes his mind on that (or if he gets removed from his leadership position).

        An IPCC, which does not immediately undertake drastic reform measures, is the best argument for rational skeptics of the “calamitous AGW” story being sold by IPCC (as many skeptics have stated here).

        So Pachauri is really digging the eventual grave of IPCC by sticking his head in the sand rather than undertaking urgently needed reforms, such as those suggested by Ross McKitrick.

        Max

      • Manaker-

        “An IPCC, which does not immediately undertake drastic reform measures, is the best argument for rational skeptics of the “calamitous AGW” story being sold by IPCC (as many skeptics have stated here).”

        So far, the best argument is the UN charter presupposes AGW and specifically directs investigation of rising oceans.

  53. Much of this discussion has been interesting, but IPCC is not going to change, or be changed, unless and until a large number of government representatives to the UN demand that it change or be changed. Perhaps I have simply missed it, but I do not see that happening. The impact of works like McKittrick’s and LaFramboise’s will be in some particular polities, most likely within a few of the democratic rich countries who are tasked with distributing some of their wealth to other nations. There will be yet more reduced respect for IPCC among the American voters and the American Congress, for example, but China and India will be little affected at any level.

    For anyone interested, alternative reviews of the science are available all around, for example the “Non-Governmental International Panel on Climate Change”, so the IPCC does not have any kind of “monopoly”, at least within countries that enjoy a free press and internet access.

    • MattStat

      Interesting observations, and keen.

      It might be intriguing to see what happened if the (mainly bi-national, largely single-family) NIPCC took ‘Radical Reform’ to heart and rebuilt itself along those recommendations.

  54. There once was a fraudulent science,
    Upon which was too much reliance.
    Warmth is nice we agree,
    Oh how foolish IPCC,
    On your agenda there will be no compliance.

  55. I wouldn’t presume to compete with Kim. She’s consistently brilliant.

    • Kim’s a she? If Kim has confirmed it, I didn’t know.

      • Actually not sure now that you mention..

      • I’m all for keeping it about the ideas, not the people.

        Someone ought anthologize the kimism online, and perhaps publish.

        That _would_ be worth a Financial Post op-ed, and a thread of its own.

      • I can help you.

        kim is male.

        That is easy to see from his behaviour on this and any other thread.

        But here is a clear example to illustrate:
        “Heh, Joshua stamps his pretty little foot, andrew adams whines, tempterrain picks punctuation buggers out of his nose and Robert sleeps off a comment binge. I think it’s gonna be a pretty good day” kim

        To be clear, homophobic put-downs, and frequent references to snot and booze, are really not typical of female interactions; but not uncommon for adolescent boys.

        Of course, it is possible that some adult males get stuck, developmentally.

        cheers

      • If saying Joshua “stamps his pretty little foot” is homophobic, does that mean that when Joshua says that others are saying “Mommy, mommy he did it first…” he is pedophobic?

      • Martha writes:

        kim is male.

        That is easy to see from his behaviour on this and any other thread.

        Is gender profiling rearing its ugly head here?

        Hmmm…

        Max

      • It’s pretty clear Kim is female and that Martha is both poor at deduction and perception along with be highly judgemental.

        Martha’s would have made a hell of a puritan.

  56. In summary, I give you the IPCC and its various grifters at U Penn and CRU etc . . . the title of their next report.

    Climate Scientology for Dummies:

    • University of Pennsylvania, Class of '76

      Fred, U Penn IS NOT PENN STATE, it is the University of Pennsylvania. Please do not insult my alma mater like that.

  57. #1682

    “What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multidecadal natural
    fluctuation? They’ll kill us probably [...]”

    What will happen to the IPCC if “climate change” appears to be just mainly a multidecadal natural fluctuation?

    By the way the climategate2 is the bomb. Denial continues. Thanks again foia! I mostly agree with the readme statement.

    • That one caught my eye as well. I think it’s revealing. I’ve often thought these guys must be deeply frightened they’ll be exposed as scamsters. He might have been going for humor there, but in every jest (as they say) there’s at least a grain of truth…

      • Significant warming in coming decades if greenhouse gas emissions continue rising is very likely, but not 100%. It’s no scam, that’s just the way it is.

      • Since there is an almost zero probability that CO2 levels will do anything but rise for several decades, we will have more data to see if anything “significant” happens

      • lolwot

        “Significant warming in the coming decades” certainly did NOT occur over the past decade, even though (as you write) it may only have been deemed to be “very likely but not 100%”, since it turned out to be “0%”.

        Let’s see what the next decade brings:

        – Very slight cooling (as in the past decade)
        – No warming at all
        – Very slight warming (continuation of the long-term trend)
        – Significant warming (as in the 1990s)

        It’s really anyone’s guess, lolwot.

        Max.

      • They have ALL heard of tar and feathers and why they are implemented :)

  58. I realise this is off topic for this thread but I don’t know where to post it.

    I am wondering why there is no discussion of the Schmittner et al paper that was published in Science last week. It seems to me to be significant.

    Abstract:
    Climate Sensitivity Estimated from Temperature Reconstructions of the Last Glacial Maximum

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2011/11/22/science.1203513

    2.3C (1.7C to 2.6C)

    Full paper:

    http://www.princeton.edu/~nurban/pubs/lgm-cs-uvic.pdf

    Poster presentation:

    http://www.wcrp-climate.org/conference2011/posters/C18/C18_Schmittner_T145B.pdf

    If this paper holds up it will be important because it chops off the worst case, high climate sensitivity, scenarios.

    IPCC AR4 says the most likely climate sensitivity is 3 C to a doubling of CO2 concentration and the 66% range is 2 C to 4.5 C. Modellers have been talking about a ‘fat tail’ with non-zero probabilities extending to much higher climate sensitivities. This is what the CAGW Alarmists have used as the basis for scare campaigns based on worst case scenarios. Economists put a lot of effort into dealing with the ‘fat tail’ of high climate sensitivity scenarios:

    http://realclimateeconomics.org/uncertainty_and_risks.html

    However, if I understand it correctly, this new paper chops off all that worst case stuff. It is saying that the climate sensitivity is most like 2.3 C with 66% range 1.7 to 2.6 C. Importantly, Schmittner says in the press release that climate sensitivity cannot be higher than 3 C. That’s a big change from figures like up to 11 C which some advocates have been saying.

    The most likely climate sensitivity of 2.3 C (1.7 to 2.6 C) to CO2 doubling means we would not increase CO2 concentrations high enough to lock in a 2 C increase until the second half of this century under Business as Usual projections.

    Therefore, at least from an Australian perspective, we have more time to get our policies right. I’d suggest they are (for a start):

    1. Do not implement economically damaging polices like CO2 tax and ETS. Damaging our economies will make us less able to take the best actions. We need to maximise wealth not destroy it.

    2. Start with a fresh sheet of paper for regulation of Gen IV NPPs. The principal objective must be least cost, and small units (suitable for small and undeveloped economies).

    3. ‘Direct Action’ policies to remove the impediments to low-cost Gen III (or Gen II if it is cheaper) in Australia.

    Any thoughts?

    • Peter

      It is nice to get another paper reporting a lower level of sensitivity, but probably no real suprise. The actions you suggest are certainly wiser than those implemented in Australia on the issue so far.

    • Peter – I discussed Schmittner et al in some detail in the previous thread with the following comment, which also links to an earlier comment in the thread with a link to Holden et al. The gist of it all is that Schmittner is worth reading, but the lower end of their 66% probability range (1.7 C) is somewhat questionable because it was reached from estimates difficult to reconcile with enormous sea level changes from the LGM. Schmittner’s median value of 2.3 C is not unreasonable, but Holden et al find a most probable value closer to 3.6 C, and the issue isn’t resolved. The frequently cited 3C median is probably not very far from the real value, but the range is still broad.

      Schmittner’s upper bound of about 3.2 C is lower than Holden et al (4.4 C), but both tend to dismiss very high “fat tail” sensitivities. It appears that for the foreseeable future, we will have to work with presumptions that long term climate sensitivity to CO2 is most likely in the 2 to 3 C range or slightly above. This doesn’t thread imminent catastrophe, but its potential consequences are not trivial either.

      • Fred Moolten

        One of the comments I’d seen about the paper suggested that climate sensitivity is not fixed, but may vary with global conditions.

        It seems to make sense that a planet that mostly resembles a snowball is less sensitive than one that resembles on average a tropical saltwater swamp, for example.

        If so, we may even glean more insight into climate sensitivity if we unravel this claim.

        Thoughts?

      • Bart, This is a very interesting issue. It seems obvious to me that sensitivity would depend on the base state. Surely the feedbacks would vary greatly. For example the albedo feedback would seem to me to be strongly dependent on the base climate state. That said, my off the top of the head thought is that if anything a world with huge icesheets might be more sensitive precisely because of the huge scope of the albedo feedback.

        I do however urge caution here. You will see in Schmittner’s various distributions for various forcing assumptions some pretty big differences. And that is of course the problem with the sensitivity estimates based on the 20th century too. One might hope we know forcings more accurately now than 23,000 years ago. But it doesn’t seem so! And how about the CERN experiment? We still have a long way to go here in my humble opinion.

      • David Young

        All good points to ponder.

        For myself, I begin with an imagined snowball Earth. If it’s all ice, there’s zero ice albedo feedback as, no matter what, ice has pretty much the same albedo. (I recognize this is of course untrue in particular about different kinds of ice; however on average one imagines it would even out.)

        True, at the boundary between ice and non-ice, there’s a ‘feedback boundary’ or ‘feedback horizon’. However, there’s one per hemisphere even until today, and it takes substantial change in latitude — especially nearest the iceball state — to change the length of the horizon.

        So I expect the sensitivity generally increases toward the warmer climates, with increased water vapor feedback, increase in forestation, increase in length of oceanic currents and their exposure to air, even increase in animal life (especially microbial, but also herivores and their methane-precursor digestive tracks).

        Wouldn’t it be interesting if we _could_ identify the components of sensitivity.

      • Bart, You may be right. I’m no expert. I do think its interesting though to ponder what it implies if the LGM were in fact warmer than commonly thought. You know as I understand it the theory is that changes in the Earth’s orbit result in a change in the DISTRIBUTION of solar forcing which then causes various feedbacks like ice albedo to kick in and result in much cooler conditions in the Northern Hemisphere over land. I’ve quite frankly always been more concerned about another ice age than a catastrophic greenhouse. But, if it were JUST a change in the distribution of forcing, then it says more attention must be paid to feedbacks and puts the kibosh on Dessler’s simple energy balance model that he actually said in a debate offered “credance” to the model estimates.

      • CDFB

        I’m not sure if I ought be comforted that such capable analysis so well matches my intuitions, or that you may ought to be chagrined. ;)

      • Bart,

        LOL I think is was born chagrined :) I’m just having fun. Until people actually re-evaluate Arrhenius, nothing will change.

      • Bart – I don’t think there’s any doubt that climate sensitivity varies with the state of the climate, which is why paleoclimatologic estimates based on estimated forcing/temperature relationships from a glacial period are not more than rough indicators of sensitivity for the Holocene climate. That said, the lower part of the range in Schmittner et al is probably unrealistically low, simply because it estimates a temperature difference from the Holocene significantly below the figure of approximately 5 C that is usually estimated. Since there is good evidence that LGM sea levels were something like 120 meters lower than current ones, a temperature change of only a few degrees from then to now is unlikely – indeed, it would be frightening to think that raising our temperature another 2 to 4 degrees would raise sea levels by an additional 120 meters. (The last statement is somewhat facetious since there was much more ice capable of melting during the LGM than there is now, but the point is a real one).

      • Fred, I don’t see what sea level has to do with the temperature. It is entirely possible for there to be big ice sheets in some areas, which results in much lower sea level, but for temperatures elsewhere to be not as dramatically effected. The albedo feedback is pretty powerful and may be responsible for this. After all, the forcing difference was local in nature too.

      • I don’t see what sea level has to do with the temperature.

        What a strange comment, David. I plan to discuss this further later, because this isn’t something amenable to back of the envelope calculations, but you should probably rethink your comment.

      • Fred,

        So basically, you don’t have time to rebut the comment, but your authority should cause me to reconsider my comment. That’s so lame and self-serving. As I’ve said before, auditing the literature is far more valuable than simply regurgitating it. It has to do with the difference between medicine and mathematics. In medicine memorizing vast amounts of supposed data is a selected skill. In mathematics, wading through every line and ask why it is true or false is a selected skill. This leads to a much more skeptical point of view. I repeat my point from the previous thread to which of course the all knowing Fred did not respond. In climate science, the data is very noisy and the effects are small. Thus, the great latitude for confirmation bias.

        You know Fred, I took a course in history of science as an undergraduate and Duane Roller taught it. He had amassed the most extensive history of science collection in the world and was not taking any bull off anyone. On the final exam, he proposed the following: science progresses by accumulating observations which then lead to theories as suggested by Francis Bacon. Of course, Roller believed exactly the opposite having pointed out that when Galileo stated that he could prove that the acceleration of an object was independent of its mass, he meant that he could prove it from first principles. So, the correct answer was to challenge the premise of the question. You Fred would have flunked the class because of your very limited version of science.

      • Just to clarify Fred, so you don’t take my previous comment out of context, it is entirely consistent with Schmittner’s higher estimate for SST that there were large ice sheets. The large ice sheets do imply lower sea level. They do not necessarily imply a 5K lower global mean temperature.

      • Fred, this example is an excellent illustration of the meaninglessness of temperature when evaluating these ice age scenarios. If something happens that removes 120 meters (I though it was feet, but the point stands either way) of wet water from the oceans and deposits it in the form of solid ice at he poles, the important thermodynamic variable is the gazillions of petajoules of heat that were removed, not the final temperature. The temperature is a side show. If that much water hadn’t frozen, the temperature would have dropped by a much, much larger amount. That number could be calculated; I’m too lazy, but it’s not a difficult calculation. This example just illustrates why enthalpy is the key variable, not temperature. That’s an astonishingly vast amount of heat.

      • Fred Moolten,

        Thank you for this comment and the links to your two previous comments on the “Emails” thread.

        What all this tells me is there is a long way to go until the science is settled on climate sensitivity. I expect, as time goes on we will get:

        1. better at determining temperature and CO2 concentration in proxies, especially from sea floor sediments.

        2. we will get better spatial distribution of information from the oceans

        3. we will get better distribution of temperature and Co2 concentration through time over the past 60 million years (since the planets was warmest) and 600 million years (since multi-cell life began).

        So, there is a long way to go.

    • I agree this is an interesting and important paper. i am currently swamped, hope to get to it soon.

    • Peter, I agree with your post. I looked at Schmittner’s paper and it looks to me like the sesntiviities are almost symmetric about 2K and that 1-2K has significant probability even though not large. The reason the paper is interesting to me is that their proxy estimates for sea surface temperature at the last glacial maximum are higher than previous estimates. What I think the paper also shows (See their probability distriburtions for different forcings) is that sensitivity estimates are sensitive (no pun intended) to temperature reconstructions and to forcing assumptions. Schmittner’s estimates agree pretty well with Forster and Gregory 2006 when using Nic Lewis’ prior. Fred of course says that Forster “corrected” their estimate in 2008. But the agreement with Schmittner lends some credibility to the earlier estimate. You can also compare Hansen’s 1988 testimony where he was using a 4.2K sensitivity. It shows that the climate science literature that Fred places so much faith in has been very wrong in the past.

      That said, I still maintain that the uncertainty is large in these estimates. Of course the case for climate alarm has always been based on very uncertain science and estimates. The data is very noisy and the effects being looked for are small.

      By the way, I wonder if Schmittner will be getting a call from Trenberth suggesting he carefully amend his calculations. I thought Annan’s comment was also interesting. He said “you can be sure the merchants of doubt will do their worst when it is cited in AR5.” Does he mean the alarmists or the skeptics. I don’t think it makes sense to say the skeptics. I suspect the “team” is already busy looking into it. Sorry for the sarcasm.

    • I am wondering why there is no discussion of the Schmittner et al paper that was published in Science last week. It seems to me to be significant.

      Would it be cynical to suggest that certain interested parties would prefer the paper to fade away unnoticed?

      The emphasis of the Durban conference appears geared in securing maximum funding to the ‘ecofriendly encouragement’ for developing nations slush fund, duly administered by UN agencies.

      Nobody wants to hear about increasing GHG emissions, other than as how it can be used to emotionally blackmail even more money from the bleeding heart developed world.

      High on the conference agenda is the management of a fund scaling up over the next eight years to $100 billion annually to help poor countries cope with changing climate conditions.

      Questions remain how the money will be governed and distributed, but more immediately, how those funds can be generated from new sources beyond established development channels from the West.

      Ideas on the table include a carbon surcharge on international shipping and on air tickets, and a levy on international financial transactions — sometimes called a Robin Hood tax.

      A committee of 40 countries worked for the past year on drawing up a plan to administer the Green Climate Fund, but agreement on the final paper was blocked by the United States and Saudi Arabia, and the final contentious issues will have to be thrashed out in Durban.

      Todd Stern, the chief U.S. delegate, said the negotiations had been too rushed.

      “I am pretty confident that we’re going to be able to work these things out,” he told reporters last week, without naming the problematic issues.

      But Figueres said the future of the Kyoto accord, which calls on 37 wealthy nations to reduce carbon emissions 5 per cent below 1990 levels by the end of next year, is the most difficult political issue that nations face.

      “If it were easy we would have done it years ago,” she said. …

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2011/11/27/durban-climate-change.html?cmp=rss

      • From the Guardian … Western nations ‘used bullying tactics’ at climate talks

        So all may not yet be lost … The Western nations have the temerity to insist upon compliance conditions with the payouts. Funny to see the Guardian interpret that in an ‘evil capitalist’ manner.

        On the other hand the Western nations are supposed to be playing a numbers game through buying compliance by small (inexpensive) island states. Hmmm … What is the purpose of this numbers game? Surely not to win voting control of the ‘ethical majority’ UN (IPCC). What really counts is a numbers game of per capita persons covered under the umbrella agreement and not participatory nations voting rights.

        This wheeling dealing gambit remains squarely aimed at being for the benefit of the globalist agencies (UN, NGOs etc.)

        Side note: Rich paying poor to play ball with a globalist ‘bonus seeking’ manager (UN) is not a good thing. It’s the same sort of arrangement as perpetuates the famine in Africa. The starving person is the goose that keeps laying the golden egg for support logistics, payouts and bonuses

    • Thank you for the many interesting responses and information on the Schmittner et al paper and on climate sensitivity estimates.

      Just to respond to one, Bart R said: “So I expect the sensitivity generally increases toward the warmer climates, …”

      I had expected that climate sensitivity would be greatest when the planet is partly covered by ice (which I understand is a rare situation; the planet has had not polar ice caps for 75% of the time since multi-cell life emerged)

      James Hansen’s Fig. 1 and Fig. 6 [1], which appears to be an expansion of the last 65 million years of IPCC AR4 WG1 Figure 6.1 [2] shows how the temperature seems to fluctuate more when the planet has ice caps at the poles.

      I realise that we have much finer detail on date, temperature and CO2 from the ice cores so this may explain the apparently greater amplitude of the changes during the period when there is ice at the poles.

      However, it seems reasonable to expect greater oscillations of global average surface temperature when the planet is partly covered in ice because its aerial extent can expand and contract rapidly. And there are many follow-on effects: albedo, water levels (area of ocean changes albedo), area of continental deserts v vegetation, heat escape from the water in the polar regions, increased rate of heat movement from equator to poles when the poles are colder, locking up and releasing CH4 from forest litter and clathrates. I would have thought all this would be less sensitive when there is no ice at the poles – which is the case when the planet is at its ‘normal temperature’, i.e. with no polar ice caps.

      [1] Hansen (2010)
      http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2011/20110118_MilankovicPaper.pdf (Fig. 1 and Fig. 6)

      [2] IPCC, AR4, WG1, Chapter 6, Figure 6.1

      http://accessipcc.com/AR4-WG1-6.html#6-3-1

      • I have been wondering how much the albedo has changed in the past few glacial periods. I don’t see much indication that significant Antarctic change occurred, mainly the northern extent. I would suspect that since the continental shifting formed the Gulf Stream that that energy is mainly responsible for the NH fluctuations.

        Excellent paper BTW :)

      • Thanks for the references. It’s pretty convincing to me anyway.

      • Peter – In a “hothouse climate” with no ice at the poles, the ice albedo feedback is eliminated and climate sensitivity diminishes. Currently, we have ice at both polar regions.

        When the ice is more extensive (e.g, the LGM), the long term albedo effect is greater, but this plays about over many hundreds of years or even millennia. For multidecadal or a century’s worth of response to CO2 or other forcings, a fixed ice sheet extent is typically applied as a boundary condition to arrive at a climate sensitivity figure for CO2. If we want to include the much longer term responses of ice sheets to very long term forcing, Hansen arrives at sensitivity figure of about 6 C rather than the canonical 3 C. Whether that is the best estimate is not so much the point as the fact that the timescale for the much greater sensitivity in the presence of a glaciated climate is much longer than the one we generally use for forcings of main interest to us currently.

        As far as I can tell from my initial reading, the two papers of interest – Schmittner et al and Holden et al – treat ice sheet extent as a boundary condition, and so its change over millennia doesn’t enter into their sensitivity calculations.

      • To clarify, land ice sheet coverage, which was responsible for the huge difference in sea level between the LGM and today, is treated as a fixed boundary condition. Sea ice is not a boundary condition, because it changes over shorter intervals, and its response contributes to climate sensitivity estimates. However, most of the difference in the albedo feedback between an LGM type climate and today comes from land ice changes over the course of millennia.

      • Fred Moolten,

        Thank you for more information.

        I wonder if it is realistic to assume that ice sheet area is constant over long time scales. I wonder if the aerial extent may not change rapidly, at least when it is advancing. Reasons I ask this are:

        1. I understand average temperature over parts of Greenland changed rapidly in the past over years and decades (before the industrial revolution).

        2. Snow can cover large areas rapidly, in on season, and if cold conditions prevail for a while, I could imagine the area extending relatively rapidly – over decades.

        3. The area of polar ice seems to expand and contract fairly rapidly – I understand the Arctic ice sheet is in contraction again!

        So, I wonder if the assumption that ice sheet area changes slowly is a realistic assumption.

      • The Schmittner paper will be a good one to have a discussion on. I am ready to go as I have been doing time series analysis of Greenland and Antarctica ice cores recently.

        http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2011/11/multiscale-variance-analysis-and.html

        The Holocene transition is pretty stark in certain data sets.

      • Do you want to do a guest post on the schmittner paper? Crazy (busy) two weeks coming up for me.

      • Peter – As I mentioned, I believe the two papers treat land ice sheet extent as a boundary condition, changes in which were not evaluated in arriving at sensitivity estimates, and so it’s moot for the present discussion. When we refer to extent in this context, we’re not talking about seasonal or other short term fluctuations, but rather trends in average ice sheet extent as measured, for example, from one century to the next. I don’t have proxy data at my fingertips to quote, but I’m not aware of large percentage changes of this nature except at the very slow rates I mentioned, nor any realistic mechanism for such trends other than a response to a persistent long term forcing.

      • Peter, I seem to recall the same type of thing, namely very rapid temperature changes in Greenland. Surely, if you look at the Figures 1 and 6 in the Hansen paper you referenced, you see quite dramatic and rapid changes in temperature during the last million years compared to the preceeding era of relative warmth. I also vaguely recall some information about the last 13000 years indicating that the reappearance of massive ice sheets happened very rapidly, perhaps in the course of a hundred years. I’m sorry, but I don’t have the reference handy.

      • Fred Moolten,

        Thank you for the further clarification. I didn’t see your comment about the sea ice until after I’d posted my last comment.

        Regarding information of rate of expansion and contraction of ice sheets. I suspect it will be a long time until we can compile such information. This addes to my suspicion it will be a very long time until the “science of climate sensitivity is settled”.

        I have another question, but I’ll skip to a higher level to post it so there is room for responses.

      • Interesting.

        To clarify, the lower climate sensitivity figure from the papers is on millennial scale and sans contribution from land ice (which may regionally be significant on shorter scales, if Greenland is any indication); the CO2 climate sensitivity includes land ice, and is on multidecadal scale?

        Do we propose mechanisms for the differences in timescale effect?

        And/or a range for land ice-linked sensitivity contribution (under different regimes and for each scale)?

        Also, as to the assumption of slow ice sheet area chenges, I believe, but cannot affirm, that evidence from morrain formation suggests ice sheets sometimes ‘galloped’ at rates as high as we see today in retreat, during glacial episodes. The difference being, they also ‘galloped’ in advance at those times far more predominantly. (The two ‘gallops’ were an order of magnitude different speed, receding faster than advance.) Though I learned this from the same source that said Australia is an island continent, so.

      • Do you want to do a guest post on the schmittner paper? Crazy (busy) two weeks coming up for me.

        I could do it (if you are talking to me), but only as a neutral presenter of the premise behind the paper. I can only add a bit on how sensitivities come about.

      • Sounds great! (yes the invite is to you). Thanks much.

      • WHT –

        I think you should be assertive here. Do the Schmittner guest post – there’ll be plenty of interest – but what about volunteering a Peak Fossil Fuel/Eroei post?. After all, it is a big part of the ‘Etc’ in Climate Etc, and it is rarely discussed here except in OT diversions. And I think the interest would be surprising.

        It perhaps isn’t one of Dr Curry’s primary interests, but what was the lesson from the breadth/depth post? This is a perfect opportunity for the guest slot to be used for the edification of us all!

        Of course, if you’re not very enthusiastic, I think I could persuade Freddy Hutter to volunteer….. :)

      • WHT – RC just published their take on Schmittner et al:

        Ice age constraints on climate sensitivity

      • WHT –

        While I’m on the OT topic, I’ve been thinking more about this idea that ‘reducing emissions’ is actually a red herring, if not an example of mass self-delusion.

        I’m not a fully paid-up member of the ‘alarmed’ fraternity, but if I was, I would see the absolute necessity of leaving many hundreds of billions of economically recoverable barrels of oil [or its equivalent] left in the ground. The only way ‘reducing emissions’ is going to help that (at all) is if sometime soon solar or turbine technology increases its efficiency by an order of magnitude and we find really clever ways of storing vast quantities of energy. Personal, portable thorium reactors might do it too…

        Otherwise, ‘reducing emissions’ is like observing that someone is walking towards an area of quick-sand and making the suggestion that salvation can come from walking a little slower, but in exactly the same direction. the result is the same!. Surely, if we cannot identify fossil fuel in the ground that we could have utilised but chose not to [in vast quantities] we are merely deceiving ourselves?

        One last point – a question. Have you ever estimated [say, for a 3 degree climate sensitivity from 400ppmv Co2] how many barrels of oil equates to a tenth of a degree temperature rise? Or what temperature rise results from a the combustion of a hundred billion barrels of oil? I ask because my (very) back-of-envelope estimations make it 2-4 hundred billion barrels per tenth of a degree. It just puts it in perspective (if I’m in the ball park) – if we have the idea that we going to reduce the final temperature rise by a number of ‘whole’ degrees. You know – I’m just using the experience of the last 25 years of efforts as a guideline to what we might realistically expect to be achievable over the next 50 or 100 years. I think somehow we are deluding ourselves by thinking ‘emissions reductions’ are some kind of solution. They’re not.

      • Anteros,

        I’m not sure I get your point about reducing emissions.

        On your question, the relationship between the change in CO2 concentration and change in temperature is roughly logarithmic under present conditions. Over time it will take increasing amounts of barrels to produce a 0.1ºC warming.

      • Paul S –

        I’m aware of the logarithmic nature of the climate response – that is why I specified a particular starting level – 400ppmv. 500 might be a better choice bit it doesn’t matter much, as a rough estimate is all I was looking for.

        The point about emissions reductions is crucial. Reducing emissions has absolutel no effect unless the unburnt fossil fuels remain in the ground I.e. they are not simply burnet at a later date. The extra Co2 in the atmosphere is cumulative, so the only question that is relevant is

        what proportion of the finite quantity of fossil fuel will eventually be used’

        It doesn’t matter over how many years this quantity takes to be reached, so slowing down the rate it is approached is an irrelevance. The only important change will be to have economically recoverable fuels left in the ground deliberately and permanently. Otherwise the end result is the same. changing emissions rates merely changes the speed (very slightly) with which the end is approached.

      • Anteros,

        Ah, I understand you now. Broadly I might agree though it depends on the timescales. I think, for example, societies (global and local) will be able to cope with a 5ºC warming over millenia better than the same amount over a couple of centuries.

      • Paul S

        I agree with you about that. Many people still wouldn’t like the idea but changing the rate of warming by an order of magnitude (or even 2 or 3 times) would make adaptation very much easier. As it happens I think our capacity for adaptation has been massively underestimated and hardly even tested, but that is maybe a separate issue.

        I talk about ‘irrelevance’ because the numbers (in terms of emissions reductions) are so small. In realistic/pragmatic terms, whether the fossil fuels are used in 140 years rather than 115 is not going to make a noticeable difference.

        And there is the added problem of a global market – one region [say, the EU] makes huge and costly efforts to reduce fossil fuel use – what happens? The cost of the fuel is reduced for everyone else and their consumption can rise. The only solution to that would be a world-wide binding agreement. Have you seen one of those around recently? :)

        I don’t mean to sound pessimistic (I’m not) but the prospects for leaving large quantities of fossil fuels in the ground look mighty slim to me.

        I do take your point about the response to Co2 changes. Perhaps it would have been better if I suggested a mean figure between 400 and what we expect by the end of the century (or something similar). I’d still like to have a ballpark figure!

      • Anteros,

        Are you thinking of a particular emissions reduction plan? I believe the current end goal is to ‘stabilise’ CO2 concentrations in such a way that warming is limited to max. 2ºC. That entails a ~70% emissions reduction over the coming decades.

        Regarding your calculation, I think it should use transient response rather than equilibrium sensitivity as a guide with such small numbers. A typical value for transient response is 1.6ºC = 2xCO2 = 3.7W/m^2.

        forcing to achieve 0.1ºC = 3.7 / (1.6/0.1) = 0.23W/m^2

        Concentration change from 400ppm to get 0.23W/m^2 forcing = 18ppm
        by formula: 5.35 * ln(418 / 400) = 0.23W/m^2

        Using 7.8 Gigatonnes of CO2 = 1ppm, 18ppm = 140 GtCO2

        Using 0.43 metric tons CO2/barrel, 140 GtCO2 = 325 billion barrels

        That agrees with your ballpark.

      • Paul S

        Thank you indeed. I used some very rough estimates in my head, so I confess to being lucky.

        I think many people of realistic/pragmatic persuasions feel that it is going to be nigh on impossible to restrain humanities consumption of oil [in its many incarnations], and probably the same is true – though to a lesser extent perhaps – with gas. Much hope therefore seems to rest on moving away from the big proportion of baseload that is fuelled by coal.

        The numbers are still huge, but it is more medium-long term…

        My pragmatic concerns remember that coal-to-liquid is economical at a premium of about $40-$50[??] a barrel which would be another problem to contend with. And secondly, as I think was mentioned down thread a day or so ago, it would take about 12,000 nuclear plants to replace all of the worlds power stations….

        I’m then back to noticing that even with Kyoto and whatever other efforts the most alarmed of us have managed, Co2 emissions have increased by 50% since 1990.

        I see this afternoon that Canada has decided that even Kyoto is too onerous!

        A last thought – doesn’t 325,000,000,000 barrels of oil sound like an enormous amount todeliberately not use to achieve something effectively unmeasurable?

        Just some musings…..

      • Professor Curry, I am not sure of the process for contributing a guest post, but the Schmittner analysis I wrote is hosted on the Google Docs site here:

        https://docs.google.com/document/d/1AEJyXu71Di5poFs_Bhln3OstNZ3ZmIq7BLxMiw-9Ees/edit?pli=1#

        What you can do is File/DownloadAs/HTML(zipped) and then you will have the HTML and all the graphics to place into WordPress.

        I have used this technique in the past but Google Docs is always changing and I don’t know how it will translate.

      • WHT, worked perfectly, the post is now up. THANKS VERY MUCH

      • Anteros,

        Any number with the word billions in it sounds big – it’s the context that matters, but I get what you mean. At present that amounts to the equivalent of 8-9 years worth of CO2 concentration increase. In about 50-60 years time at current growth rates it will be equivalent to about 4 years worth of CO2 concentration increase (even assuming natural sinks to anthropogenic emissions don’t lose efficiency).

        As Aimee Mann said:

        It’s not
        What you thought
        When you first began it
        You got
        What you want
        Now you can hardly stand it…
        …It’s not going to stop
        ‘Til you wise up

        I don’t think a barrel-to-barrel or billion barrel-to-billion barrel approach is wise in this case.

      • Paul S

        Your observations are appropriate. I think it is quite possible to run away with such ideas and think exact comparisons have more validity than is warranted. It’s perhaps worth bearing in mind not only that the change is proportionate with increasing Co2 concentrations but also the perspective of equilibrium sensitivity needing only half the quantity of fossil fuel to eventually create the same tenth of a degree rise in temperature. And very slow feedbacks needing yet less again [according to Hansen]

        Having said that, I like the idea of a ballpark figure to offer up in various scenarios. One example – Senor Hansen believes that tapping into the Canadian oil sands will effectively be ‘game over’ as far as hopes of a stable climate is concerned. It helps to get an idea of the degree of hyperbole involved to note that current proven reserves in Canada are about 175 billion barrels… A twentieth of a degree Celsius? A tenth?

        It is only one way of looking at things, of course.

        Another way is that we consume about a cubic mile of oil a year [and a roughly equivalent amounts of gas and coal]. 100 CMOs, today, equate to very roughly 1 degree Celsius. Which looks like 3 degrees for the rest of the century taking all three fuels into account – very much in line with AR4.

        Except of course that proven reserves of the three sources of energy only [currently..] add up to 200 CMO, not 300. For the alarmed among us though, this isn’t much consolation,as proven reserves correlate more with cost (in the medium term) than geological abundance.

        Veering off to a slightly different subject…. the worries of the peak oil fraternity sometimes spill over into ‘peak uranium’. Where reserves are concerned a mining rule of thumb [big ballpark] is that a doubling of price results in a ten-fold increase in reserves. So sayeth the Uranium miners – presumably the same is not quite true of fossil fuels, but still, the idea of ‘fixed’ and ‘dwindling’ supplies of a strictly ‘ finite’ resource sometimes misses the realities of what makes things recoverable.

        My divergence with mainstream concerns is still that looking at Co2 concentrations and imagining ways to ‘stabilise’ them fails to account for the necessity of somehow persuading those with money, ‘need’ and technical extraction capability, to leave vast quantities of economically recoverable energy in the ground.

        All the best efforts of the last 25 years have not demonstrated heading in this direction.

  59. These two extracts from McKitrick’s report are interesting”

    “In response to the controversies and criticisms, in 2010 the IPCC requested an agency called the InterAcademy Council (IAC) to conduct a review of its procedures. The IAC is a subsidiary of the InterAcademy Panel on International Issues (IAP), and was formed in 2000 to provide, in its words, “client-driven” reports on requested topics. At the time of its selection, the IAC did not have any track record in evaluation of agency procedures, nor was it credibly independent of the IPCC. Prior to the 2010 IPCC Review, its most recent report was a 2007 study promoting alternative energy, coauthored by a 15-member committee8 that included IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri, and IPCC Lead Authors Nebosja Nakicenovic and Ged Davis.”

    “• WWF campaign advisors were involved in writing 28 out of 44 chapters
    in the AR4;
    • WWF campaign advisors were involved in writing all 20 chapters of the
    Working Group II report and 6 of 11 chapters of the Working Group I report;
    • WWF campaign advisors served as Coordinating Lead Authors for 15
    of the 44 chapters in the AR4, and in three cases both the CLA’s were WWF
    advisors;
    • In one chapter, 8 authors were WWF advisors.”

    By the way, regarding the IAC report, I found this interesting: http://tome22.info/IAC-Report/IAC-Report-Overview-Short.html It extracts the quotes from the IAC report and groups them into categories of:
    • Political interference
    • Bias
    • Uncertainty
    • Conflict of Interest
    • Management

    Hover over the red summary line to read the IAC’s summary statement. Click on each line to go to the line in the IAC report.

    • Interesting, it will be difficult resolving the government employee and government interest issue under conflicts of interest :)

    • Thanks for that link. The content there very comprehensively illustrates the malfeasance of the IPCC through verbatim quotes of relevant parts of the IAC report. It’s hard to believe that the IPCC processes (as documented by IAC) could ever hope to deliver an unbiased assessment of climate science.

      • http://reviewipcc.interacademycouncil.net/report/Climate%20Change%20Assessments,%20Review%20of%20the%20Processes%20&%20Procedures%20of%20the%20IPCC.pdf

        http://reviewipcc.interacademycouncil.net/Comments.pdf

        I posted these links upthread on the IAC reports concerning IPCC integrity in a direct question to Freddie M to deal with them

        He won’t, of course. In fact, I haven’t seen one post from the AGW proponents ANYWHERE that wrestles with this report . It is simply ignored to death. Such cowardice is truly nauseating – but not unexpected. Science is well corrupted by it now

      • ian18888

        You cited the IAC report on IPCC.

        I went through this and was not inspired.

        It started with comments by Harold T. Shapiro, Chair

        Unlike much of the current debate, the focus of this review is on the processes and procedures that support and give structure to IPCC’s very distinctive assessments. Our task was to broadly assess these processes and procedures and recommend how they might be improved for future assessments.

        The validity of the science, itself, is unfortunately not part of the IAC assessment of IPCC.

        From the analysis section of the main report I read:

        However, amid an increasingly intense public debate over the science, impacts, and cost of climate change, the IPCC has come under heightened scrutiny about its impartiality with respect to climate policy and about the accuracy and balance of its reports. In response, the United Nations and the IPCC commissioned the InterAcademy Council to convene a Committee to review the processes and procedures of the IPCC.

        It is important to note that the IAC made this assessment of the IPCC at the specific request of IPCC (and its parent, the UN). It is also important to note that it is limited to IPCC processes and procedures.

        The Committee found that the IPCC assessment process has been successful overall.

        No measure of “success” has been indicated. Is it the fact that IPCC received a Nobel Peace Prize (mentioned earlier in the report)? Is the highly successful PR blitz meant? Is it the fact that the AR4 SPM report was greeted by an overwhelmingly positive reaction by mainstream media? Since the scientific accuracy of the IPCC reports was not assessed by IAC, it is hard to see how IAC can find that ”the IPCC assessment process has been successful overall”.

        However, the world has changed considerably since the creation of the IPCC, with major advances in climate science, heated controversy on some climate-related issues, and an increased focus of governments on the impacts and potential responses to changing climate.

        ”Heated controversy on some climate-related issues” is a weak euphemism for ”heated controversy relating to the scientific validity of some climate-related conclusions”.

        Then come the recommendations.

        The first is organizational

        The IPCC should establish an Executive Committee to act on its behalf between Plenary sessions. The membership of the Committee should include the IPCC Chair, the Working Group Co-chairs, the senior member of the Secretariat, and three independent members who include individuals from outside of the climate community. Members would be elected by the Plenary and serve until their successors are in place

        It is very hard to see how this move would result in any improvement of the weak IPCC management structure or process. An ”Executive Committee elected by and reporting to the Panel”would provide no independent oversight of the Panel. but would simply be a bureaucratic group that executes the will of the Panel, which, in turn, gives it a rubber stamp.

        The IPCC should elect an Executive Director to lead the Secretariat and handle day-to-day operations of the organization. The term of this senior scientist should be limited to the time frame of one assessment.

        This is another bureaucratic move with no real improvement. The elected ”senior scientist” would simply be one who rigorously toes the “consensus line” as established by the Panel.

        Next comes the “review process”, which has received serious critique from McKitrick and others.

        IAC concedes that this is a critical process:

        Peer review is an important mechanism for assuring the quality of reports. IPCC’s peer review process is elaborate, involving two formal reviews and one or more informal reviews of preliminary text. The first complete draft is formally reviewed by scientific experts nominated by government representatives, observer organizations, and the IPCC Bureau.

        Yet its recommendation does not address the key problems with this process as described by McKitrick, e.g.:
        a. insider (or self) review of work (“pal-review”)
        b. authors over-rule reviewers
        c. authors rewrite work after review process

        It also does not address critical problems listed by McKitrick with preceding processes, which carry over to the review process:

        1 – Biased author selection process
        2 – Conflict of interest in writing process

        Instead, IAC just gives a few procedural recommendations:

        The IPCC should adopt a more targeted and effective process for responding to reviewer comments. In such a process, Review Editors would prepare a written summary of the most significant issues raised by reviewers shortly after review comments have been received. Authors would be required to provide detailed written responses to the most significant review issues identified by the Review Editors, abbreviated responses to all noneditorial comments, and no written responses to editorial comments.

        This is pretty “watered-down soup”.

        Next comes “characterizing and communicating uncertainty”, which the report describes as follows:

        Uncertainty is characterized and communicated by describing how much is known about a topic (i.e., the quality and nature of the evidence available) and the probability that a particular event will occur. Each key conclusion in the Summaries for Policymakers is accompanied by a judgment about its uncertainty.

        This is a critical issue, as our host here has stated repeatedly. Claims of “likelihood” must be backed by statements showing traceablilty, not simply on expert judgment, which can be as biased as the experts themselves.

        The recommendation evades this issue entirely and simply suggests a continuation of the bureaucratic guidelines used by IPCC for categorizing uncertainty.

        Each Working Group should use the qualitative level-of-understanding scale in its Summary for Policymakers and Technical Summary, as suggested in IPCC’s uncertainty guidance for the Fourth Assessment Report. This scale may be supplemented by a quantitative probability scale, if appropriate.

        IAC then shifts its attention to the Working Group II Summary for Policymakers:

        The Working Group II Summary for Policymakers has been criticized for various errors and for emphasizing the negative impacts of climate change. These problems derive partly from a failure to adhere to IPCC’s uncertainty guidance for the fourth assessment and partly from shortcomings in the guidance itself.

        The references are to “Himalaya-gate”, “Africa Crops-gate”, etc. and other unfounded IPCC claims or exaggerations.

        It may be true that “these problems derive partly from a failure to adhere to IPCC’s uncertainty guidance for the fourth assessment and partly from shortcomings in the guidance itself”, but what is overlooked here is that these obviously false predictions slipped through specifically because they supported the overall IPCC message of disastrous AGW; had they predicted “no problems at all” they would have been caught and removed.

        The IAC recommendation only nibbles at the symptoms but will do nothing to resolve the root cause:

        : Quantitative probabilities (as in the likelihood scale) should be used to describe the probability of well-defined outcomes only when there is sufficient evidence. Authors should indicate the basis for assigning a probability to an outcome or event (e.g., based on measurement, expert judgment, and/or model runs).

        Stating the ”basis for assigning probability” is a good recommendation. ”Assigning a probability to an outcome based on measurement” seems very important to me. Doing so ”based on expert judgment or model runs” does not make sense, since these are subjective by definition.

        IAC addresses “communication” next, starting off with:

        Communicating the results of IPCC assessments is challenging because of the range and complexity of climate science and response options and the increasing need to speak to audiences beyond scientists and governments. The communications challenge has taken on new urgency in the wake of recent criticism regarding IPCC’s slow and inadequate responses to reports of errors in the Fourth Assessment Report. Such criticism underscores the need for a media-relations capacity that enables the IPCC to respond rapidly and with an appropriate tone to criticisms and concerns that will inevitably arise in such a contested arena.

        By ”slow and inadequate responses to reports of errors” IAC is evidently referring to the “voodoo science stonewalling” of IPCC chairman, Pachauri. Suggesting that Pachauri needed some ”media-relations capacity” (i.e. a PR-department) to better respond is missing the point. It is not about how to frame the message being communicated, it is about communicating openly and truthfully by admitting mistakes.

        The IAC recommendation states:

        The IPCC should complete and implement a communications strategy that emphasizes transparency, rapid and thoughtful responses, and relevance to stakeholders, and that includes guidelines about who can speak on behalf of IPCC and how to represent the organization appropriately.

        Fast response and transparency in communication make sense, but the recommendation fails to address the real problems with IPCC communication, as listed above.

        The final topic addressed by IAC was “transparency”.

        Given the high stakes in climate change decision making and IPCC’s role of providing policy-relevant information, the IPCC can expect that its reports will continue to be scrutinized closely. Therefore, it is essential that the processes and procedures used to produce assessment reports be as transparent as possible.

        This is undoubtedly true, and touches on the issue of “traceability” raised by Judith Curry related to probability estimates made by IPCC (specifically with regard to its claim that “most” of the warming opccurring since 1950 was “very likely” due to AGW). But is this what is being addressed by IAC?

        From the recommendation made, it appears not.

        The Committee recommends that the IPCC establish criteria for selecting participants for the scoping meeting, where preliminary decisions about the scope and outline of the assessment reports are made; for selecting the IPCC Chair, the Working Group Cochairs, and other members of the Bureau; and for selecting the authors of the assessment reports. The Committee also recommends that Lead Authors document that they have considered the full range of thoughtful views, even if these views do not appear in the assessment report.

        Instead, this sounds more like “happy talk” about establishing bureaucratic criteria and procedures, rather than addressing the real problems related to transparency.

        All in all, I did not get too enthusiastic after reading the IAC report.

        It may not have been an out-and-out “whitewash” of IPCC (as they might have hoped when they engaged IAC to do the analysis), but it certainly was not a substantive critique.

        For a more meaningful critique, read the one by McKitrick.

        Max

      • @manacker

        Even in it’s “diluted” form, the IAC report fingers the issues that McKitrick does. They differ sharply on what to do about it, but no AGW proponent has even acknowledged the issues that the IAC raises

        Further, the IAC report listed out both the greywash problem ( >30% of referenced articles not peer-reviewed and not uniformally noted as such in direct contravention to the IPCC’s then-existing own rules) and the conflict-of-interest problem (essentially LA’s self-selecting their own papers). The IPCC’s reaction to these issues were: 1) to remove ALL identifying references to non-peered articles within forthcoming AR’s; 2) claim that imposing conflict-of-interest rules for the forthcoming AR5 would be “unfair” (Pauchari)

        It is not the IAC recommendations that I am persisting with (as you’ve implied) but the simple listing of major problems that have been insouciantly ignored. NO AGW proponent has addressed these, including Freddie M here, and nor will they, yet the IAC seems not to be a target of argumentum ad hominen as I admit I had expected, but rather “death by silence” (which I agree I should have expected)

        Understand – even the “soft” IAC observations and recommendations are simply silenced to death. It is this outright cowardice that I find nauseating – it’s akin to wading through the sewers

  60. Anybody see the bald-aced lies put out by the UN today?
    The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that farmers will have to produce 70 per cent more food by 2050 to meet the needs of the world’s expected nine billion-strong population
    But as it is, most available farmland is already being farmed, and in ways that actually decrease its productivity through practices that lead to soil erosion and wasting of water.
    End
    Most available farmland is being farmed?Isn’t the nutty governments in Europe paying farmers not to farm?Isn’t the demand for bio-fuels leading to farming land being turned over to palm oil?
    Isn’t farming lands being locked up by the greens insistence on no dams and new farms in Australia?
    The scientists that prepared this report for the UN are liars,and I don’t need a degree in science to know that.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/tony-abbotts-plan-for-northern-foodbowl/story-fn59niix-1226139412448

    • Noelene

      Let’s look at the UN predictions you cite based on the past experience.

      From 1970 to today the world population increased by 1.9 times.

      At the same time crop yields of major crop grains (rice, wheat, corn) increased by 2.4 times.

      As a result, starvation has decreased markedly over this period.

      Atmospheric CO2 increased from 324 to 390 ppmv (by 20%), and probably helped increase crop yields a bit.

      “Globally and annually averaged land and sea temperature” increased by about 0.5°C, and most likely had no perceptible impact on yields.

      The UN predicts that world population will grow from 7 to around 9 billion by 2100, or around 29% increase.

      IPCC predicts that atmospheric CO2 level will increase by 49% to around 580 ppmv, as a result of a “business as usual” world with moderate economic growth, no “climate initiatives” and the above assumption on population increase.

      – Will this CO2 increase contribute to increased crop yields as indicated by field studies on the major crop grains?

      – Will there be a slight increase in global temperature (either caused by AGW or natural factors)?

      – If so, will this be high enough to further help increase crop yields, especially in the major crop-growing regions in northern latitudes?

      The answers to all these questions about the future are obviously unknown.

      But based on the experience over the past 40 years, it is pretty obvious that the UN projections you have cited are alarmist rubbish.

      Max

      • I for one, don’t believe their population numbers either. My God, just look at their track record on AGW. Does anyone really believe that they have a ‘quality’ product in anyhthing they attempt? How is Haiti doing today?

    • Noelene,
      Then delusions of Ehrlich and pals still sell well, and Ehrlich and pals are nothing if not accomplished salesman.

      • “Life can multiply until all the phosphorus is gone, and then there is an inexorable halt which nothing can prevent,”
        Isaac Asimov (Biochemist).
        Morocco, China, South Africa and Jordan control 80 percent of the world’s reserves of usable phosphate.

        Global Environmental Change
        Volume 19, Issue 2, May 2009, Pages 292-305

        The story of phosphorus: Global food security and food for thought

        Dana Cordella, Jan-Olof Drangerta, Stuart Whiteb

        Abstract

        Food production requires application of fertilizers containing phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium on agricultural fields in order to sustain crop yields. However modern agriculture is dependent on phosphorus derived from phosphate rock, which is a non-renewable resource and current global reserves may be depleted in 50–100 years. While phosphorus demand is projected to increase, the expected global peak in phosphorus production is predicted to occur around 2030. The exact timing of peak phosphorus production might be disputed, however it is widely acknowledged within the fertilizer industry that the quality of remaining phosphate rock is decreasing and production costs are increasing. Yet future access to phosphorus receives little or no international attention. This paper puts forward the case for including long-term phosphorus scarcity on the priority agenda for global food security. Opportunities for recovering phosphorus and reducing demand are also addressed together with institutional challenges.

    • “The scientists that prepared this report for the UN are liars,and I don’t need a degree in science to know that.”

      As ClimateEtc has been “pondering how to best teach research ethics”, anyone like to comment on the ethics of a blog run by a scientist that allows such casual smears of their peers to routinely pass unremarked?

      • Hey, telling Dr. Curry how to run her blog is Joshua’s job!

      • It’s an interesting question. Legally, you can give a microphone to anyone. Ethically, you probably have some responsibility for the message you are amplifying. On the other hand, Dr. Curry has sometimes made a sort of a “serving kids alcohol” argument about this — that deniers are going to say these things, and swap these slanders back and forth, and it’s better for it to happen with some adult supervision.

        Not a clear-cut ethical question, to be sure.

      • Why don’t you comment on what it means about her ethics and we can use that standard to measure the ethics of every scientist that runs a blog. Someone called someone a liar on the internet! I’m shocked!

      • I guess it would depend on what was said and the likelihood that it was a lie. If someone said that some well-documented episode of genocide had never happened and was a lie, then the moderator should say something or delete the post. If it is likely the statements were gross exaggerations then not so much. Lie is not the correct word to use about a future prediction though.

      • We aren’t talking about a hypothetical. The phrase that inspired the commenter to state that it should be viewed upon as an ethical question regarding the blog hostess is clearly identified. It isn’t a question of if liar is an appropriate term. It is a question of what level of responsibility the hostess has for the statement. Each person may have their own view on what the threshold is before they feel it reflects on the owner of the blog and I would be suprised if this doesn’t vary widely among people. So do you hold every blog owner to the same standard or do you not. If you don’t is this an ethical problem?

      • VTG –

        I think I’m pretty skeptical about much of what Judith does and doesn’t do, but I don’t think that her failure to comment on posts calling climate scientists liars is an ethical question.

        I don’t even think that her failure to comment on her “denizens” and Lindzen comparing environmentalists to eugenicists is a question of her ethics.

        I view those failures as a question of her unwillingness to deal with her tribalistic influences on one side of the debate (in diametric contrast to her approach to tribalism on the other side of the debate).

        In other words, I think it is a matter of her science and the quality of her approach to scientific analysis. I’m not sure how we can judge someone’s ethics on the basis of the give and take of the climate blogosphere.

      • C’mon folks.

        It is not our host’s job to ensure that all our comments are “politically correct” or that no insulting wording has been used.

        It is not her job to “guard the dogma” and “ethics” also has nothing to do with it.

        She does a pretty good job bringing up interesting topics, which usually get mixed responses and a lively and interesting discussion going.

        While she may give her comments to the various guest articles or papers cited, she does not force her opinion down her denizens’ throats.

        Fortunately she is not running a site like RealClimate, which only allows one viewpoint and censors out all dissenting opinion, or ScepticalScience, which starts out with convoluted lead articles attempting to refute any scientific papers or opinions, which vary from the accepted “consensus” view.

        We may not agree with her viewpoints across the board, but I think we all owe her a round of thanks for taking her time to run this interesting site.

        Max

  61. Why does climate require central planning at all? Just abolish the IPCC and forget about replacing it.

    While Dr. Curry and “reformers” sound somewhat reasonable they are still bought in from to the start to central authority. Still no connection in their comments to the obvious eco-left agenda that drives the whole train.

    • It is an interesting point really. How does the IPCC actually help? Does the UN? How? Is it worth the investment?

      • The IPCC produces a series of reports summarizing the science.

        It’s neither a huge undertaking, nor is it very manpower-intense or expensive.

        The UN is somewhat more expensive and does more things. Whether it is worthwhile or not is a broader topic.

      • No, they don’t summarize the science. They distort it.

      • Feel free to produce and market your own summary.

        It seems to me that your beef is with the realities of the physical world as demonstrated by the science, and you are displacing your resentment onto the messenger.

    • cwon14,

      Indeed. You don’t stop being an Insider by staying on the Inside.

      Andrew

      • It’s a thematic Dr. Curry flaw that many on the board ignore. Meanwhile the moonbats (Robert, Martha etc.) are having emotional cows all over the board. The IPCC sacred cow which is really central planning of the eco-left can’t be questioned and Dr. Curry is in the same crowd no matter the efforts to nuance.

      • “moonbats” “emotional cows”

        Funny then how you’re the one losing your cool. ;)

      • More to the point Robert, Dr. Curry can’t seem to identify your political culture. What next, OWS supporters are really “right-wing”?

        The bitter clinging to the farce; “It’s about science” from you and your pathetic ilk.

      • “More to the point Robert”

        Oh, I think that’s quite a bit less to the point.

        You’re hysterically whining . . . about other people being “emotional.”

        Trying to drag politics into the matter is quite beside the point.

        I’d be hard-pressed to find a better way of expressing your anti-science beliefs than your own admission that you find focusing on the science over the politics as “pathetic.”

        I’m sure caring about the facts seems like a sucker’s game to you, for whom what you believe to be reality is determined by your politics.

        Some of us have more integrity than that. I’d be sorry to think that basic honesty was all it took to make a person an enemy of the right-wing fringe . . . but maybe that’s the low to which people like you have brought matters.

        I’m happy to stick to the principle that it’s about science. Maybe you’ll learn a little science someday and discover why some people think it’s worth fighting for. :)

      • P.E. –

        Did mosher know you were videotaping him when you recorded that? Without a signed release, you could be in trouble.

      • It’s the collectivist agenda you support Robert;

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2066240/Second-leak-climate-emails-Political-giants-weigh-bias-scientists-bowing-financial-pressure-sponsors.html

        “Science” was always a backdrop and an Orwellian word destruction. No one really cares what you think Robert except your fellow cult members, you are a sad indicator of intellectual decline as was the AGW and eco-left movement at hand. Some of us care that Dr. Curry panders to your sect as she is a seeming relative of the core AGW cult while obfuscating the relationship with limited and nuanced dissent.

      • It’s the collectivist agenda you support Robert

        How is science “collectivist”?

        Do you feel that science oppresses your individuality in some way?

        Does my having integrity unfairly discriminate against people who just make stuff up?

        Please explain.

    • Here’s the problem. You can’t rule out significant issues completely. It’s entirely reasonable, in and if itself, for an international agency to monitor the science, and based on an honest assessment of the science, possibly recommend policy.

      The problem is, any institution eventually becomes a solution in search of a problem, and isn’t content to merely monitor the situation. If you create an international agency to monitor space invaders, they’ll eventually develop a consensus that there’s a high probability that they’re out there, and very dangerous, and that we must build a $37 trillion laser weapon just in case.

      The problem is how to create such an agency for the purpose of monitoring and honestly reporting science, without it becoming captive to it’s own ambitions. I don’t know how to do that. I don’t know if anybody does.

  62. Judith wrote: “The key issue is whether the national governments are happy (or not) with what is going on with the IPCC.”

    Perhaps we need a resolution introduced into the US Congress blocking the EPA from using information produced by the IPCC in its findings because of the problems she and others have noted. Nothing would send a clearer message that one critical national government isn’t satisfied with the structure of the organization and the reforms that have been made.

    • 1. Very little information is “produced” by the IPCC. How do you forbid people from using a summary of published science?

      2. The world is long used to these little outbursts of irrationality from the US Congress, from family planning to “Freedom Fries.” I doubt anyone would pay such an injunction any mind.

      • Clueless as always Robert. “Consensus” is a collectivist activity, AGW was always driven by politics, eco-left politics for the most part. There is dissent from all spectrums but the drivers are green tax and regulators at the core and on a global level. Dr. Curry supports the basic premise regardless of disgust by the zealot factions the likes of you and Martha might represent. Even then she often conversed with Joe Romm and many of the fringe. She is after all a political “peer” regardless of outward moderations.

        You are an off-hand hoo-ha fool Robert but what is Dr. Curry’s excuse for following the same disinformation format that the politics aren’t at the core of AGW??

        “The Cause” http://junkscience.com/2011/11/22/climategate-2-0-mann-says-curry-not-helping-the-cause/

        Stalin killed Trotsky, does that make Trotsky a “hero” and defender of “freedom”?? No, that Mann feels betrayed by Curry doesn’t make her basic positions “clean” which they aren’t. Like many I’m sick of the limited inside the eco-left cult limitations that are placed on almost any topic as the truth suffers.

        The fraud is settled Robert.

      • Read 60-70 of the worst (best?) examples of the leaked/hacked e-mails and see if you think they were just summarizing known science. They have a central message they really, really believe and are fanatical about not letting people speak against the consensus. Problems with FOI requests, peer review, not saying things in public that they say in private about uncertainties (and skepticism) regarding the science.

        10-15 more years of conducting normal science and keeping an eye on climate is what is needed.

      • “Science”, Robert? When your “science” is based on secret data and secret computations in direct and deliberate violation of the Scientific Method, it isn’t science.

        Here’s a question Willis Eschenbach asked of our host here last July: “What should my scientific response be when a prominent scientist says ‘Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.’?”

        What’s YOUR answer?

    • Frank

      Imo the EPA will ultimately have to change its current position on CO2 because (as McKitrick pointed out) the EPA completely relied upon the IPCC’s determination and did not do its own due dilligence

  63. I know this is probably a little O. T., but I think it’s really important and so I thought I’d share it. You see the heir to a certain European throne just announced he is planning to build a speculative housing tract in the Galapagos Islands. Really! I mean, like, I’m not kidding! And, yes, I know the world real estate market in the toilet and all–I mean, you don’t have to bust a gut to tell me that! Well, naturally, this news all seemed a little weird, so I did a little surfing on the net and found a few dots and then some more and finally got ‘em all connected up and you’re not gonna believe the real story on this deal.

    Well, it seems that there’s this big plan called the “New World Order” or, as you might see references to it in certain e-mails, “The Cause”. And then there’s this really far-out Mayan dude named Nostradamus (the guy is like totally mind-blowing–he even foresaw the rise of Robert on this very blog), who way back in 2012 B. C., predicted, like, a total downer called “The Apocalypse” where everyone, like, dies horribly due to a real drag deal called “Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming” (all you need to know is the stuff is, like, a really, really bad-trip).

    So, like, this housing project in the Galapagos is, like, actually where a very few special members of the elite, called philosopher-kings/queens, with blood-lines going all the way back to whore of Babylon and Imhotep and everything, are, like, gonna to ride out the end times. Then, when the coast is clear they’re gonna come back to take over the world and make our few surviving, heat-resistant, seriously-devolved morlock-like descendents into a food source for their carnivorous pets and polar bears.

    Now the so-called “big-secret” is that these kings/queens are just gonna devote their time in the Galapagos to some harmless, un-inhibited toe-nibbling and tampon-themed, re-incarnation, dirty-talk fantasies with the guys like all dressed up in their plaid skirts and bobby-socks and all. And since the Galapagos islands are so remote, for once in their lives, the royals can supposedly enjoy their little innocent pleasures without seeing them in the next-day’s headlines of some creepy, Robert Murdoch tabloid. But don’t believe that limited hang-out cover-story!

    The true facts are that these so-called philosopher kings/queens are actually shape-shifting lizards! I’m not kidding! And their real plan, when they re-locate to the Galapagos, is to drop all that burdensome pretense of looking like people and just assume normal lizard-form full time. And now the reason why the Galapagos was chosen becomes clear. Without spelling out the obvious, let’s just say, while we all perish horribly, the royals are looking forward to some real quality time chasing all that fetching iguana tail that runs loose on the islands.

  64. I believe that someday, the study of AGW will be used as an example of how not to conduct science. One might think that would have happened after the eugenic scientific misadventure- with terrible things still happening in the aftermath. (You may read about current findings in one of the Carolinas’)
    Richard Courtney has written extensively of how it all began for political reasons shortly after we were being warned of the coming ice age. I am quite sure he is at least partially accurate.
    The Huge mistake lies in the initial question–Is CO2 causing any observed warming. Any study suggesting the affirmative lead to more funding for more research. Careers were built. A worldwide organization was formed.
    Conversely, any study not supporting the ’cause’ is actually targeted by ‘the team’ That path of study is more likely to lead to no funding, no career.
    Also, the ‘the team has actually contemplated on how best to use the media and control publishers of science magazines. (as shown in emails)
    Can anyone argue (regardless of what they believe to be true regarding climate) that all cards should not be on the table, every reasonable hypothesis should not be considered?
    Now we have a worldwide organization formed to try to validate one and only one hypothesis to the exclusion of all others. To do anything else would be an act of self-destruction Sad!

    • DarrylB,

      One day the opposition to AGW by those of certain religious and right-wing political persuasions will be used as an example of how science, religion and politics shouldn’t be mixed.

      One day? More like right now, I should perhaps say.

      • The skeptics are not the ones who mixed science and politics (religion does not enter into it). The activist scientists did that. The skeptics are just reacting in kind, defeating the movement.

      • So you’re saying that just reporting a potential climatic problem is a political action? The correct and non-political thing to do would be to keep quiet about it?

      • Temp, the process many of us (I believe) are challenging is the basic necessity of science to explore all possibilities. As shown in released emails, not doing so tends to promote, with bias, a single hypothesis and to actively seek to exclude others. The quality of human nature does not seem to be good enough to avoid doing that.

        First of course any changes, temperature and otherwise should be determined, Those changes (all of them) should have been carefully examined against historical record.

        Most skeptics would agree that CO2 is rising and given the fact the % of C-12 is increasing (C-14 is decreasing) it would suggest that the increases would be at least in part from fossil fuel burning.

        However, I believe it goes back to the old junior high situation and question. James was shot with a 45, John has a 45, is John guilty?
        We must look at all those with 45’s.

        I am not sure, given CO2 is probably the most fundamental building block of who we are, that it may not be a good thing to have it increase. It seems almost paradoxical to think it would be harmful to the plant kingdom. Also, after studying (and studying) again and .again.I believe that a large increase in CO2 would cause a small, but insignificant increase in temp. I do not think we have the ability to ever know.

        In another post, I am going to state two other items which I believe are of much greater environmental significance and of which I believe we will agree. I will also respond to an earlier post.

    • Bart, they are closing in on the heart of the issue, “Who will get the photon vote?”

      My statistical analysis from the most recent exit poles is that liberal low energy photons stimulated Arrheniusian rhetoric are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. They are lobbying the centrist photons in an effort to gain the majority for next election.

      Fields and waves remain on the fence but can be duped with signal processing to lean toward either policy. Gravity remains ambivalent.