Special issue on postnormal climate science

by Judith Curry

Nature and Culture has a special issue on postnormal climate science.

[T]he concept of post-normal science helps to open up scientific discourse, to identify complex cultural and political situations, and to improve and extend the range of practices of an applied science. – Kraus, Schafer, and von Storch.

Die Klimazwiebel also has a post on this special issue, and Werner Krauss and Hans von Storch played major roles in putting this special issue together.  I’ve posted previously on Beck’s paper (Between tribalism and trust), and have referenced several of these papers in my article No consensus on consensus.

Postnormal science is a particular view of the interface between science and policy for complex problems with deep uncertainties that are associated with value commitments and involvement of an extended peer community.  If you are participating in this blog, you are part of the extended peer community surrounding climate change and most likely have value commitments that are impinged upon by climate change and/or its solutions, e.g.  environmental quality, social justice, intergenerational equity, economic development, etc.

When Ravetz first introduced the concept of postnormal science at WUWT, he got hammered.  His essay in the special issue describes his engagement at WUWT, which led to a critical clarification of the concept to distinguish between postnormal ‘situations’ and postnormal ‘practice.’

Contents of special issue in Nature and Culture:

Introduction: Post-Normal Climate Science 
Authors: Krauss, Werner; Schäfer, Mike S.; von Storch, Hans

Discussed previously at Climate Etc. [here]

Post-Normal Science in a German Landscape 
pp. 196-212(17)
Author: Pielke, Roger A.

Post-Normal Practices Between Regional Climate Services and Local Knowledge 
pp. 213-230(18)
Authors: Krauss, Werner; von Storch, Hans

Unfortunately, all of these papers are behind paywall (click on the titles to read the abstracts).  Jeroen van der Sluijs was kind enough to send me copies of the papers.  I’ll highlight several passages that illuminate the concept of PNS.

Jeroen van der Sluijs

From the Introduction of van der Sluijs paper:

Climate change has many characteristics that make it hard to tackle with normal scientific procedures. It requires new ways of interfacing science and policy. Funtowicz and Ravetz (1993) have called this class of problems post-normal, where “normal” refers to Kuhn’s 1962 concept of normal science. Kuhn describes normal science both as “a strenuous and devoted attempt to force nature into the conceptual boxes supplied by professional education”  and as the practice of uncritical puzzle solving within an unquestioned framework or “paradigm.” Funtowicz and Ravetz  signalized that such a normal science approach runs into serious limitations when addressing societal issues (in that time nuclear reactor safety) where scientific evidence is highly contested and plagued by uncertainties.

At the same time decisions need to be made well before conclusive supporting evidence can be available and decision stakes are high: the potential impacts of wrong decisions can be huge. In such situations actors tend to strongly disagree on the values that should guide the decision making, for example solidarity or economic growth. The available knowledge bases are typically characterized by imperfect understanding (and imperfect reduction into models) of the complex systems involved. Models, scenarios, and assumptions dominate assessment of these problems, and many (hidden) value loadings reside in problem frames, indicators chosen, and assumptions made.

The science involved in such issue-driven integrated assessments of complex environmental issues differs substantially from the practice of normal science in curiosity-driven laboratory research. Risk assessment of anthropogenic climate change involves uncertainties of many sorts, not all of which can be tamed. We cannot perform a statistically satisfying series of reproducible experiments to test the effect of higher atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, because there is only one Earth available, and even the one available is poorly monitored.

In addition, other factors that influence climate are—in contrast to the situation in a laboratory—largely beyond our control. Scientific assessments of climate change are unavoidably based on a mixture of knowledge, assumptions, models, scenarios, extrapolations, and known and unknown unknowns. Because of the limited knowledge base, scientific assessments will unavoidably use expert judgments and subjective probability judgments. It comprises bits and pieces of knowledge that differ in status, covering the entire spectrum from well-established knowledge to judgments, educated guesses, tentative assumptions, and even crude speculations. Research on climate change comprises a large variety of scientific disciplines leading to the well-known problem that when quantitative information is produced in one disciplinary context and used in another, important caveats tend to be ignored, uncertainties compressed, and numbers used at face value. This poses additional requirements with regard to the systematic analysis, documentation, and communication of uncertainty. Knowledgeutilization for environmental risk governance requires a full and public awareness of the various sorts of uncertainty and underlying assumptions. Knowledge needs to be robust both technically and socially.

Post-normal science is a reflective approach to interface science and policy in complex situations as sketched above. It is based on three defining features:

  • The management of uncertainty. Post-normal science acknowledges that uncertainty is more than a technical number-range or methodological issue. Ambiguous knowledge assumptions and ignorance give rise to epistemological uncertainties;
  • The acknowledgement of a plurality of legitimate perspectives—both cognitive and social. Complex problem solving requires scientific teamwork within an interdisciplinary group and joint efforts by specialists from the scientific community and from business, politics, and society. Scientists from different backgrounds often have irreconcilable and conflicting yet tenable and legitimate scientific interpretations of the same body of scientific evidence;
  • The management of quality. An extended peer community includes representatives from social, political, and economic domains who openly discuss on various dimensions of uncertainties, strengths, weaknesses, and ambiguities in the available body of scientific evidence and its implications for all stakeholders with respect to the issue at hand.

Where in normal science the key task in interfacing science and policy is to get the facts right, in post-normal science this is complemented with a new key task of exploring the relevance of deep uncertainty and ignorance that limit our ability to establish objective, reliable, and valid facts. In post-normal problem solving, scientific fact-finding is still regarded as necessary but no longer sufficient. Scientific facts have become “soft” in the context of the “hard” value commitments that will determine the success of policies.

Jerome Ravetz

Excerpts from Ravetz’s paper:

For PNS it implies that the combination of uncertainties and value-commitments requires the participation of an “extended peer community.” The extension of democracy from political processes involving science, to the work of science itself, is still not universally accepted among scientists. This is the challenge of PNS.  When Silvio Funtowicz and I first sketched the idea of PNS, we knew that its realization would take time. We could not anticipate how that would happen, or what would bring it about. Now we know: it is the blogosphere.

In respect of uncertainty, climate change science had the same sort of weakness that was fatal in the case of finance science. There it was assumed that all the arcane, frequently incomprehensible speculative financial products had the same “Gaussian” distribution of uncertainty as the heights of Army recruits. For climate science, the distributions were less ridiculous, but the depth and variety of uncertainties, even in the most mathematical areas, could never be effectively controlled. In the event, finance science collapsed with a big bang, while climate science seems to be going down with a whimper.

The conceptual weakness here is worse than the application of “normal science” methodologies to post-normal conditions. We have a case where the assumptions of simplicity, of both causation and evidence, were appropriate for a controlled, reproducible laboratory situation rather than the long-term behavior of the total global climate system. This is partly a result of the prejudice, among scientists and philosophers alike, to consider the mathematical-experimental sciences as the “real” ones, while the sciences of complex systems, defined by extent, duration, variety, or multiple scales, are denigrated and neglected. Sometimes this bias is effective, as with the triumphs of molecular biology. But even there it can be over-extended, as in the case of “genetic medicine,” which absorbed nearly a hundred billion dollars over several decades (Latham 2011), and achieved little beyond what was known at the beginning. In the case of climate-change science, the failure to appreciate the complexities of knowledge and uncertainty could well have ensured its futility. In Scientific Knowledge and Its Social Problems ([1971] 1996), I devoted a chapter to a discussion of “Immature and Ineffective Sciences.” I recall that it was very imperfect, but it did raise an issue that has been insufficiently discussed.

The issue of quality is even more vexed. This includes far more than the evidential strength of particular items of information in relation to their policy implications. Of greater importance are the judgments of quality related to the scientific work. These extend over the scientific procedures themselves (as debated in connection with the circulation models and tree-ring analyses), through the probity of the scientists in their management of information and of criticism, and even extending to accusations of corruption of the whole enterprise. 

JC comment:  the concept of postnormal situations for science provides some valuable insights for climate science, the associated policy interface, and the resulting politicization of climate science.  Of particular interest is the concept of the ‘extended peer community’, and the role of the climate blogosphere.

753 responses to “Special issue on postnormal climate science

  1. The Problem: World Leaders Were Separated From Reality in 1945

    They cannot possibly lead society in ignorance of the “fountain of energy” that made our elements, sustains our lives, controls the Earth’s climate, and powers inquisitive minds and creative talents of our most celebrated religious leaders, scientists, artists and philosophers to unanimously agree mankind’s greatest accomplishments come from this free-flowing stream of energy.

    http://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/sun_cme.jpg

    Summary: http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-284

    • Do you have an alarm that notifies you the moment a new post goes up?

    • “Risk assessment of anthropogenic climate change involves uncertainties of many sorts, not all of which can be tamed. We cannot perform a statistically satisfying series of reproducible experiments to test the effect of higher atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, because there is only one Earth available, and even the one available is poorly monitored.”

      Doesn’t stop climate deniers demanding it though! Knowing full well it isn’t obtainable they know they can’t get an answer they don’t like! win win

    • Yes, lolwot, we cannot change reality.

      We can learn to accept reality, and work with it.

      Like a sail boat uses the the natural flow of air.

      Postnormal climate science is in disarray today because it ignored reality revealed by:

      a.) Precise nuclear and space-age isotope measurements on samples from the Sun, solar wind, solar flares, Earth, Moon, meteorites, Jupiter and Mars [1], and

      b.) Observations of hidden magnetic portals connecting Earth to the stormy Sun itself, solar flares squirting from rigid, iron-rich structures beneath the fluid photosphere, and stars forming on pulsar remains of older stars:

      _ Earth/Sun video: http://tinyurl.com/bnvdrwo
      _ Solar flare video: http://tinyurl.com/dynchr4
      _ Formation of star: http://tinyurl.com/373697v
      _ Solar flare photo: http://tinyurl.com/d2eesm

      1. The APEIRON Journal 19, 123-150 (2012)
      http://tinyurl.com/7t5ojrn

      With kind regards,
      - Oliver K. Manuel
      Former NASA Principal
      Investigator for Apollo
      http://www.omatumr.com

    • GOOD NEWS!

      Minutes ago, the U.S. House voted to pass our Audit the Fed bill by a vote of 327-98 !!

      - Oliver K. Manuel

    • The Federal audit will take a while to complete.

      Meanwhile politicians – fighting to be elected – may continue squandering public funds on unscientific propaganda while our economy collapses.

      Problems in the monetary system might be resolved more quickly by restoring the Glass-Steagall limitations of banking institutions.

      Economics is not my speciality, but the problem is becoming increasingly obvious. See: http://larouchepac.com/node/23430

    • Dave Springer

      PDA (short for PDA’s Dada Acronym) | July 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Reply

      “Do you have an alarm that notifies you the moment a new post goes up?”

      Of course he does. U can has alarmz 2

      http://judithcurry.com/feed/

    • Scott Basinger

      You have to admire Oliver Manuel’s dedication to either be first post or a very close second.

    • Rob Starkey

      Google his name + kids before you show much admiration

    • Rob Starkey, That took some guts. You get a free pass from me from now on.

    • I don’t think you should say that or bring up the subject. a) it has nothing to do with the discussion, b) it could be entirely false and c) people change. All round it’s best to treat the matter as a yet another piece of false rumor on the internet.

    • Web, my comment applies to you too. If you disagree fine but I am not going to feed this line of conversation with any more comments.

    • The reason he is first or second is probably because he wears an ankle monitor and can’t go anywhere. Glued to the monitor. Yea, that’s the ticket.

    • Bill Norton

      The alarm apparently doesn’t contain the original post because his comments rarely have anything to do with the topic introduced. Its just the same old stuff recycled.

      The sun warms the planet. We got it Oliver.

  2. Looks like the Precautionary Principle hidden behind a cloud of psychothink.

    • “psychothink” … psychobabble,actually

      Over the last 6 months or so, Judith C has been leading this website deeper and deeper into this vomitous mess. The on-going pattern tells me that the previously standardised Scientific Method does not suit activism (golly gee), so said Method has to be redefined, like Phil Jones and Peer Review

    • Indeed. Nobody actually believes this stuff. Even the most militant Warmers kinda just leave it sit there, presently moving on to something that at least is comprehensible.

      Andrew

    • I am pretty sure even the most militant warmers believe the world is sleep walking into danger. Where danger is a heightened risk of harm, not a guarantee.

    • If only more people took this basic truth to heart:

      Live is hard, and then you die.

      I’m betting that for just about everyone here a hard life is pretty distant from what they all experience.

  3. Normal is paradigm confirming. Post-(and pre-)normal is the scientific progress.

  4. “…and the role of the climate blogosphere.”

    Which I often see roundly and arrogantly denied by the true believers. I was interested enough in social psychology as a college student to consider pursuing it as a graduate student. I’d love to see some sort of study done on what distinguishes the true believers from skeptics.

    My informal (obviously) observations here on climate etc. is that they tend to be deeply credulous and highly defended (angry, arrogant, dismissive, and humorless). There are exceptions of course.

  5. Lacking any actual science-based reasoning the True Believers of global warming have been forced to argue against a holistic view of the world. Being anti-holistic, however, doesn’t come across well to the scientifically illiterate hippies that flesh out the membership of the climatism movement. To buy into the AGW model-makers’ hooey about the Earth having a fever you also must believe that nature is totally flummoxed about what to do with man’s CO2. The model-makers of climatism created their own ‘reality’ which is a metaworld where man’s CO2 produces enhanced greenhouse effects that raise Earth’s average temperature with disastrous consequences for all living things.

    http://evilincandescentbulb.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/holistic-heretics-of-metaworld-warming/

    • Climatism is part of a larger epiphenomenon of chiliasm in even atheistic/agnostic society that has been called “disasturbationism”

    • Makes the long-term forecasting of the climatists who are only looking out as far as the turn of the next century seem plausible by comparison — especially when you consider climatists use sophisticated mathematical models and the power of super computers, right?

      Maybe Penn State should offer a PhD program in Metaworld Fortune Telling. Sounds like an easy program when everyone already knows what the answers are supposed to be.

  6. It cost about one billion dollars to bring a new drug to market, with the majority of these costs being imposed by the requirements of the FDA. Can drug designers have some of this post-modern science policy please.
    Designing drugs is fully into the “serious limitations when addressing societal issues where scientific evidence is highly contested and plagued by uncertainties”.

    • Dave Springer

      That one billion figure is criticized as highly inflated an order of magnitude by some very heavy hitters in the industry.

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

      Regardless, costs are certainly excessive and it’s probably half due to regulatory burden in drug trials and half from tort cost after approval. You’d think spending many tens of millions on drug trials should buy immunity from torts, huh?

      A good situation for off-shoring if you ask me.

      http://csi.gsb.stanford.edu/offshore-drug-development-may-be-necessary-to-control-cost

      Medicine in the U.S. is a racket. Overhauling the health care system ought to begin with some serious tort reform with caveat emptor being the operative phrase and allowing individuals to self-medicate if they so choose. Prescription medicine is the biggest racket of all.

  7. From Jeroen van der Sluijs
    “At the same time decisions need to be made well before conclusive supporting evidence can be available and decision stakes are high”

    I still think post normal science is nonsense. During WWII, these sorts of decisions were routine. The stakes could not have been higher. There as one classic case; how to use the magentron. The argument was between Coastal Command, who wanted to use to magnetron in the Battle of the Atlantic, and Bomber Command, who wanted it to use in the bombing assault on Germany. In the event, Bomber Command won, and the argument as to whether this was the right decision went on for years. But the decision was made without any post normal science.

  8. Latimer Alder

    I was struck by this sentence:

    ‘But even there it can be over-extended, as in the case of “genetic medicine,” which absorbed nearly a hundred billion dollars over several decades (Latham 2011), and achieved little beyond what was known at the beginning’

    If we replace ‘genetic medicine’ with ‘climatology’, it seems to be a very true statement. As far as I can tell we know very little more about climate now than we did in 1990. And we’ve spent about $100 billion to not learn very much.

    • Cancer patients are routinely screened, to the DNA methylation epigenetic level, so as to estimate the best drug combination.
      Here is a nice review chapter which shows the use of genechips in the treatment of breast cancer. Such information does give physicians the ability to pick the optimal combination of drugs, prior to treatment. This is have a big difference to treatment, with better longevity in the pipe (as the five year mark is the gold standard).

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK38451/

      I am astonished that this statement

      ““genetic medicine,” which absorbed nearly a hundred billion dollars over several decades and achieved little beyond what was known at the beginning’”

      could have got past any reviewer.

    • Dave Springer

      Taken in the context of what was promised vs. what was delivered as a result of sequencing the human genome over 10 years ago the statement to which you object is not out of line. It was thought before the sequence was complete that having it would quickly pinpoint the cause and cure for a whole raft of congenital and non-congenital disease alike. Nothing even close to the promise has transpired. The human genome turned out to be one f*ck of a lot more complicated that anyone imagined back in the day when gene-centric paradigm dominated all the thinking. Now that we know so-called junk-DNA is actually doing things and the one-gene-one- protein paradigm has been shattered by frame shifted and backward transcription, transcription editing, RNA editing, micro-RNA regulation, and who knows much I’m forgetting to mention because I stopped studying it several years ago. We were very naive about biological complexity in the past. We’ve gone from cells being blobs of protoplasm in Darwin’s time to a single cell being more complex than a space shuttle plus the launch & recovery facilites, plus all the infrastructure that goes into producing every bit and widget that goes into a space shuttle. The global gene database takes a supercomputer to crunch through now.

      And keep in mind it’s all just an accident. All this mind boggling complexity at the molecular level is just the result of a random dance of atoms. No design. Just happenstance. We’re just really lucky to be here to scrutinize it. Not.

    • “Taken in the context of what was promised vs. what was delivered as a result of sequencing the human genome over 10 years ago the statement to which you object is not out of line”

      Only if you bought the hype.
      The gene-centric paradigm was only popular amongst a small group of gene-jockeys; the protein chemists were all rather dubious.
      The system is beautiful on all layers, the deeper you go, the more complexity is revealed.
      When I was an undergraduate some people still spoke of ‘futile cycles’ and could not see how running A to B using Enz1 and B to A using Enz2 was an integral part of flux control and not a waste.

      If you want a diversion, have a look at control theory, especially Metabolic control theory, and see how it completely changed the way biochemists thought and forced them to walk away from box-models.
      What I find most amusing is that while the biochemists in the decades leading up to the 1980′s struggled to model complex systems, the formalism they eventually adopted is very close to that formulated by economists a full half century earlier.

    • “Only if you bought the hype.”

      And therin lies the problem. As geneticists, we all knew sequencing one genome wasn’t going to tell us very much, but without the hype who was going to fund the work? But then the hype raises expectations and becomes self-perpetuating and too many people buy in to this who will lose face if it doesn’t come-off = post-normal science.

      The only difference between climate science and genomic medical research is that the nature of the experimental data has meant that we have discarded the hype over DNA sequencing quicker. There were also fewer policy issues to contend with (we seem to have gone past the scary genetic pre-determinism issues quite nicely now) and less room for hangers-on using the issue to remake the world to their liking.

    • Dave Springer

      Oh so it was hype. That makes you correct somehow?

    • Dave Springer

      Rob – sequencing a human genome hit the magic $1000 mark yet? There’s like a $10 million Ansari X prize for who gets there first I seem to recall. I saw some press early this year saying it was really close.

      Ah here we go. Lovely graph.

      http://www.existencegenetics.com/images/alpha/Existence_Genetics_Graph_Full_Human_Whole_Genome_Sequencing_WGS_vs_Genome_Sequencing_Cost.png

      Shows about 20,000 individual genomes sequenced at end of 2011 and cost a couple thousand. Izzat enough yet?

      You learned a lot with the first human genome sequence. Dick Cheney of one the late great neo-cons enumerated kinds of knowledge as:

      1. what you know
      2. what you know you don’t know
      3. what you don’t know you don’t know

      The first human genome took a bunch of stuff out of bin 3 and put it in bin 2. Always a critical first step in solving a problem is knowing you have a problem. That first genome certainly let you know you had a problem. :-)

      What’s really amusing is what this does to the problem of chemical evolution. The ostensible size & age of the universe hasn’t gotten any bigger but the complexity that is ostensibly explained by time and opportunity gets greater and greater the more we know. The more we know the more we know we don’t know. :-)

    • Er Dave the unknown unknown’s was Rumsfeld, not Chaney.

      The one thing the human genome project has done, along with the Neanderthal and great apes programs, is to show how we evolved.
      Nowhere in the Bible or Qur’an for that matter does it mention the 7% Neanderthal genes northern Europeans have; completely missing from the rest of humanity.
      We carry the two genes to give us sensory whiskers and spiny penises; but we have lost the common androgen sensitive promoter sire upstream of them both; chimps have theirs.
      We have all sorts of bits chimps don’t have, mostly developmental stuff to do with the mouth, throat and brain.
      The Neanderthal modern comparison is being done at the moment.

    • Dave Springer

      Yeah I thought it was Rummy but his name escaped me at the moment of writing and I didn’t feel like googling it. I *did* write Cheney (not Chaney) OR one of the other departed neocons. I’m purty sure Rummy qualifies.

    • Dave Springer

      Comparative anatomy is enough to inform any dummy, regardless of how many neandertal genes he has, that men and apes share a common design. Common ancestry is nothing I ever disputed. Deactivated remnants of endogenous retroviruses in common loci are just one more nail the coffin. Although, truth be told, engineers don’t usually reinvent the wheel so it really doesn’t mean something (shades of Von Daniken) didn’t artificially modify a different primate to produce rational man. I subscribe to what might best be termed a prescribed evolution wherein the information needed to make you and me has been extant in the universe from the beginning, a potential that would inevitably be expressed. The laws of physics are on my side. Law of entropy in particular demands that the universe today can contain no more order than at any time in the past. You and I are ordered. Probably me more than you but that’s not the point. The point is that the information that defines us has always been a part of the universe. Where did that information come from? According to the standard model the universe should be an homogenous soup not a highly ordered clockwork. What ordered it?

    • “Law of entropy in particular demands that the universe today can contain no more order than at any time in the past. You and I are ordered”

      Never seen my bench then.

      Life exists by creating disorder; a living organism no more breaches the Laws of Thermodynamics than does a jet engine. At the lowest level plants absorb high information short wavelength photons and spit out low information long wavelength photons.
      We are the masters of chaos; if you did see my bench you would understand.

    • Dave Springer

      You might have a reading comprehension problem. Nowhere did I say or hint that living things violate thermodynamic laws. I said that law of entropy demands that order in the universe today be no greater than it was at the instant of the big bang some 14 billion years ago. Ergo, the order that is the complexity of you and I, of the library of congress, and everything else that isn’t an homogenous soup was extant in the universe since its very beginning.

      The only other alternative, according to the law of entropy, is that order was imported from outside the universe, i.e. it isn’t a closed system. Feel free to speculate about the possibility of order imported from outside the universe if you want.

    • Dave Springer

      You said high energy photons are more ordered than low energy photons.

      How’s that work, exactly? I’m beginning to wonder if you comprehend entropy sufficiently well to engage me in any kind of meaningful conversation.

    • The high energy photons are different from the low energy ones. The can drive chemical processes that would not be possible without. Sun is a continuous source of low-entropy energy that’s needed for the life on Earth.

      When sun emits high energy photons which are absorbed on a lower temperature planet the total entropy of the sun + the planet grows, i.e. order in form of temperature difference between the sun and the planet is is reduced but the entropy may be reduced on the planet when it absorbs one SW photon from the sun and emits the same amount of energy as low energy photos to space.

      In other words SW photons from sun may help in building up order on Earth and that order may manifest itself in living organisms. There’s, however, more in life as it’s not possible to understand life by thermodynamics alone.

    • According to the standard model the universe should be an homogenous soup not a highly ordered clockwork. What ordered it?

      The answer is rather obvious. Dave Springer’s ego ordered.

    • MC Hawking has something to add: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2knWCuzcdJo

    • Dave Springer

      Weasel words!

      High energy photons are not intinsically more ordered than low energy photons.

      Just say it. No weaseling.

      High energy photons can be constructive or destructive to life. Shine some high energy UVB on your dumb ass and see if life improves for you, weasel boy. Or take a highly ordered DVD and shine a laser bright enough to melt plastic and see what happens to the order.

      Your thinking is so shallow it’s just an abject shame upon whatever bogus institution awarded you a degree of any sort.

    • There is a conceit that life reverses entropy by making order out of disorder. It is a very impermanent conceit.

    • Dave Springer

      PaulS – cool video but it goes off the rails equating energy to entropy. Importing energy into the earth system is not importing order into the system. That’s ludicrous. I’ll quote my friend, UT mathematics Professor Granville Sewell (my bold):

      It is commonly argued that the spectacular increase in order which has occurred on Earth does not violate the second law of thermodynamics because the Earth is an open system, and anything can happen in an open system as long as the entropy increases outside the system compensate the entropy decreases inside the system. However, if we define “X-entropy” to be the entropy associated with any diffusing component X (for example, X might be heat), and, since entropy measures disorder, “X-order” to be the negative of X-entropy, a closer look at the equations for entropy change shows that they not only say that the X-order cannot increase in a closed system, but that they also say that in an open system the X-order cannot increase faster than it is imported through the boundary. Thus the equations for entropy change do not support the illogical “compensation” idea; instead, they illustrate the tautology that “if an increase in order is extremely improbable when a system is closed, it is still extremely improbable when the system is open, unless something is entering which makes it not extremely improbable“. Thus, unless we are willing to argue that the influx of solar energy into the Earth makes the appearance of spaceships, computers and the Internet not extremely improbable, we have to conclude that the second law has in fact been violated here.

      (Granville Sewell, “A second look at the second law“)

    • Dave Springer

      CaptKangaroo

      I’ve seen some really oddball attempts to reconcile life with law of entropy. Perhaps the most bizzare was a takeoff on Nobel-winning chemist Ilya Prigogine’s “maximum entropy”. This twist posits that life increases entropy faster than it decreases it. In other words life destroys things more than it builds things and thus increases the rate at which the earth becomes less ordered. So life is just a naturally optimized drainage pattern not unlike Prigogine’s example of water running down an inclined plane. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

    • Dave,

      Too bad that you don’t even try to understand what I write. Calling me names is a bad substitute for thinking.

    • Dave Springer

      Name calling is just icing on the cake, weasel-boy.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      I was struck by the statement too. It looked like a made-up or twisted “fact”. The likeliest reference I could find that fit “Latham 2011″ was a “comment-is-free” article on the Guardian website:

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/apr/17/human-genome-genetics-twin-studies

      which is hardly a great source. The paper that the article linked to was pay-walled. I don’t understand why the paper wasn’t referenced unless it didn’t say what the Grauniad article said it said – the abstract didn’t sound like it said that though.

    • It’s not a bad review if you can get hold of it.
      Remember, geneticists got hold of all the low hanging fruit a long time ago. Here is how old it is:-

      Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth
      Folio 64b

      It once happened with four sisters at Sepphoris that when the first had circumcised her child he died; when the second [circumcised her child] he also died, and when the third [circumcised her child] he also died. The fourth came before R. Simeon b. Gamaliel who told her, ‘You must not circumcise [the child]‘. But is it not possible that if the third sister had come he would also have told her the same!
      If so, what could have been the purpose of the evidence of R. Hiyya b. Abba? .
      It is possible that he meant to teach us the following: That sisters also establish a presumption!

      Basically, if you have a family history of hemophilia then you do not have to circumcise your children

    • Dave Springer

      A lot of fruit wasn’t low hanging that was supposed to be low hanging. Five years or so ago I wrote a series of articles on an experiment where 1.5 million base pairs were deleted from a mouse. It was all non-coding but it was selected such that about a third of it was highly conserved between mice and men. Reproductive isolation between men and mice is about 180 my (90 my since a common ancestor). So the researchers figured “hot diggity damn, these GM mice will have SO many health problems with that conserved DNA deleted”.

      To their great surprise the GM mice were indistinguishable, health-wise, from unmodified mice. So much for the paradigm “if it’s conserved it must be important and if it isn’t conserved it must not be important”.

      This was important for me because I predicted it. I believe there is a conservation mechanism that conserves stuff for future use. You probably don’t want to ask how that’s possible. It’s only possible with intelligent agency. Planning ahead is a hallmark of intelligence. The consensus (bandwagon science cough cough) is that evolution cannot be proactive. It is reactive only.

      What DID surprise me was the researchers not changing trajectory to figure out why the GM mice didn’t suffer any harm. What they did was change species from other mammals to birds and frogs and fish figuring well, if 190 my of reproductive isolation isn’t enough we’ll just a few hundred more million years.

    • Springer, where is that series of articles you wrote about 5 years ago?

      Don’t tell me it was a series of blog comments. That would be the mark of a great scientist, to document groundbreaking research in someone else’s blog comment section. The owner deletes the blog and the historical record goes poof.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Dave, my understanding as a lay observer of the science is that these bits of DNA are no longer thought to be inactive and have subtle impacts on the way that other genes are expressed. So I guess it’s possible that the original experiment missed something – as you say it was one generation in a controlled environment. Interesting to see links to the papers though.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      Dave Springer,

      That health test is like a test for inbreeding depression ?
      It’s not the test you need for that experiment.
      Those mice are domesticated and inbred.
      How would they survive in the wild and under changing conditions ?
      The conserved DNA might well be used to put out alternate phenotypes upon environmental demand. You offered no demanding situation, .

    • Dave Springer

      Here ya go, Webby. It was six years ago not five. And no it wasn’t a blog comment it was a blog article.

      http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/the-sound-of-circular-reasoning-exploding/

      I wrote a number of articles with the same “sound of XXXX exploding” theme.

      I didn’t explicitely predict the outcome of that experiment but my evolutionary hypothesis requires an unconventional conservation mechanism that doesn’t depend on natural selection. Although polymorphism could be a possible exception and that would be some really mind boggling complexity. Imagine that genomic information needed in the future for a prescribed evolution is contained in sequences that are used for some other purpose and thus conserved and that same sequence, when the reading frame is changed or reversed, expresses new functionality. Or perhaps just the reordering of introns in some predetermined fashion exposes new functionality. However, given how much information manipulation in the genome resembles information manipulation in human-engineered systems I thought it was more likely that there’s protected regions that are conserved by an algorithm. Another way to protect unused information might be to spread it around in a huge gene pool where some of it would be subject to the slings and arrows of growing entropy but could be reconstructed by recombination which would exclude the damaged bits by the random differences. This is done in human-engineered storage in simple forms like keeping copies of data in different locations so if one place burns down there are copies elsewhere. That basic meme can get more complicated in distributed archive schemes. Information can and is hidden by dicing it up and spreading it around too.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      Dave Springer,there is another explanation which is simpler, and more elegant, than your assumption of “planning ahead”.

      It is simply conserving information that came about previously in the ancestral phenotypic excusions.

    • Dave Springer

      Ah… rereading my own article from 6 years ago I recall the common name applied to general kind of evolutionary scenario I hold to be true:

      Front Loaded Evolution.

      http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=f&oq=front+loaded+evolution&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4LENN_enUS461US461&q=front+loaded+evolution&gs_upl=0l0l0l4783lllllllllll0

      An old emeritus biology professor from University of Vermont who passed away just a few months ago wrote a paper “The Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis” and I believe he coined the term “prescribed evolution” and I use it in preference to front loading.

      http://www.uncommondescent.com/evolution/a-prescribed-evolutionary-hypothesis/

      I put a collection of his evolution papers, by permission, on the above website but the new owner(s) of the website have disturbed the internal organization and I can’t find a working link to the collection.

    • Dave Springer

      Everyone wishing to make a critical comment here should probably read the comments under the original article. There’s a ton more information in there. I don’t think I read all the comments even back than. For instance I didn’t recall that some of the conserved sequences deleted from the mouse were 90% conserved between humans and fish. Bloody fish. How long is the reproductive isolation there – 500 million years since humans and fish shared a common ancestor. Fercrisakes you have to go back to Ediacaran fauna to predate the first vertebrates. So deleting DNA nearly ultra-conserved (95% identity is considered “ultra” conserved) between humans, mice, and fish didn’t hurt the mouse in any apparent way. Someone explain that in terms of the modern synthesis please. :-)

    • Dave Springer

      Selection is the only conservation mechanism known. Genetic information from a common ancestor between mice and men, important to the ancestor but no longer important to one or both of mouse and man, would not be conserved for 180 my of reproductive isolation. That’s a long time even in evolutionary time frames.

      It certainly occured to the researchers that the fitness decline might be subtle although with over 1000 different conserved areas deleted one might think (as they did) there would SOMEthing not so subtle. They could find nothing, subtle or otherwise. You can make excuses all day long but in the end the result was still wholly unexpected and remains unexplained except by narrative. But narrative explanation is what mud-to-man evolution is all about. It shares that narrative quality with climate science. Unfortunately for climate science the earth’s climate evolves a lot faster than mice into men, cows into whales, dinosaurs into birds, reptiles into mammals, or whatever other just-so story you might mention.

      Actually putting evolution to the test hasn’t worked. There have been more reproductive events in the malaria parasite, a eukaryote with some 26m base pairs in its genome, in the past century than all the reptiles and mammals that ever lived. So were told that while a lizard morphed into all the mammals today in a similar number of reproductive opportunities the malaria parasite couldn’t evolve a mechanism to deal with sickle-cell anemia or a way to survive winters in temperature climates which are extreme selection pressures. What it was able to accomplish by selection pressure from anti-malarial drugs was statistically predictable. Drugs that require just a single point mutation (SPM) are defeated in the course of a single infected human. These drugs serve only to aid the immune system and drastically raise the chance of survival. The malaria parasite reproduces so many times in a single infected human that it cycles through all possible SPMs several times over. However, drugs that require two or more simultaneous SPMs, where either SPM in isolation does not increase fitness, takes the bug a decade to find. These responses are statistically predictable given the average eukaryote error rate in DNA replication. Yet the narrative of reptile to mammal evolution which requires thousands of changes far more complex than what the malaria parasite couldn’t do we’re supposed to believe happened in just same fashion – random errors in DNA replication of germ cells turned reptiles into mammals. I don’t buy it. The numbers just don’t add up.

    • “random errors in DNA replication of germ cells turned reptiles into mammals”

      And Evolutionists find this “intellectually satisfying”.

      Andrew

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      Dave Springer, you say selection is the only mechanism known, i.e. natural selection as per Neo Darwinian Synthesis, through your statement regarding conservation and importance..

      However, conservation is possible through Biased Gene Selection also.

    • Dave Springer

      re; conservation via Biased Gene Selection

      Got a link explaining how that works? Be specific about what in the linked document you believe supports your thesis. I normally wouldn’t ask but I didn’t find anything in a quick search to see WTF you might be talking about.

      I will reiterate that natural selection is the only conservation mechanism that anyone knows about. It appears there’s more than selection at work based upon knockout experiments of highly conserved non-coding DNA (greater conservation than active coding genes) having no adverse effect on the organism.

  9. Latimer Alder

    ‘Of greater importance are the judgments of quality related to the scientific work. These extend over the scientific procedures themselves (as debated in connection with the circulation models and tree-ring analyses), through the probity of the scientists in their management of information and of criticism, and even extending to accusations of corruption of the whole enterprise. ‘

    If the climatologists stopped behaving as if they were a bunch of crooks, but were happy to show anybody their work and how they had done it, and to defend it against criticism, I might begin to think that they aren’t just a bunch of mountebanks.

    But despite several great opportunities to turn over new leaves they have stubbornly carried on in their own arrogant way. And while they continue to misbehave, I’ll continue to hold my view of them.

  10. There is no kind of problem shown by the actual data. Earth Temperature and Sea Level is well inside the well bounded range of the past ten thousand years. Forget the alarmist climate model forecasts until any of them are supported by actual data. When models forecast warm, warmer, warmer, even warmer and actual data does not get warmer for a decade and more, the models are not to be used for anything that influences our life. The path and choices that the administration and the EPA have made to kill CO2 are really stupid without validated models. Models that have been wrong for year after year after year cannot be used to kill our energy production.

    • “Forget the alarmist climate model forecasts until any of them are supported by actual data.”

      They are. See the warming of the past 30 years. Predicted by models and climate scientists. Not predicted by climate deniers.

    • There has been no warming in the past 15 years, which contradicts alarmist climate models that have forecast disastrous events, including claims 10 years ago that this summer the arctic would be entirely ice-free.

    • lolwot
      re “predicted by models”
      Whose? References?
      The IPCC’s mean trend of 0.2 C/decade is now 2 sigma hotter than the last 32 years mean satellite global temperature trend 0.138 C/decade [0.083, 0.194 ] for Jan 1980-Jun 2012 – Lucia Liljegren at The Blackboard.

      “If we model the residuals from a linear fit as “red noise”, this trend inconsistent with a nominal trend of 0.2C/decade;”

      Nicola Scafetta’s models appear to be more accurate than the IPCC’s since 2000.

    • ‘In summary, although there is independent evidence for decadal changes in TOA radiative fluxes over the last two decades, the evidence is equivocal. Changes in the planetary and tropical TOA radiative fluxes are consistent with independent global ocean heat-storage data, and are expected to be dominated by changes in cloud radiative forcing. To the extent that they are real, they may simply reflect natural low-frequency variability of the climate system.’ IPCC 3.4.4.1

      There are people around predicting no warming for a decade or three more at least as a result of ‘low-frequency variability of the climate system’.

    • lolwot you write “They are. See the warming of the past 30 years. Predicted by models and climate scientists. Not predicted by climate deniers.”

      In order to claim accuracy in prediciton, it is essential to show consistency of predictions. It is all very well to cherry-pick one prediction which was correct, and which could have been just a lucky guess. What is needed is to look at ALL the predictions that have been made, and show a level of consistency in accuracy, which could not have happened by chance.

      Specificly, you should include Smith et al Science August 2007, which forecast that global temperatures would be stable until 2009, after which there would be a rapid rise in temperatures. The forecast was that after 2009, half the years would have values greater than 1998, according to the HAD/CRU 3 data. Neither 2010, nor 2011 had values greater than 1998, and 2012 looks unlikely to exceed this value. So the probability that Smith made a correct forecast is around 12.5%.

      So, lolwot, dont cherry-pick what might well have been a lucky guess. Show all the predicitons that have been made, and show consistency in making these predictions.

    • Smith et al was one of the first attempts at that type of forecast, and its outcome, one way or the other, would not say much about climate forecasts for 2100. Unless you want to say that an accurate prediction of natural variability a decade into the future means they have conquered predicting natural variability multiple decades into the future.

      And, of course, 2010 was the hottest year on HadCrut4, GISS, and NOAA.

    • JCH writes “Smith et al was one of the first attempts at that type of forecast, and its outcome, one way or the other, would not say much about climate forecasts for 2100″

      I beg to differ. There is extreme doubt that climate models can predict the future. Smith et al calibrated their model by hindcasting the HAD/CRU 3 data, and claimed that this made it possible to use this model to predict the future. If we are to compare actual results with predicitons it is essential that the predictions be made in a time frame where they can be checked against observed data. Smith et al represents such a test, and results so far seem to indicate that the predictive power of hindcast models is abysmal. So, I have no faith that acccurate predictions can be made for the year 2100.

  11. This from twitter:

    @ScotClimate: Scottish Government found to have lied on key figure. Is the Scottish Climate Bill dead?. Will the minister resign? http://bit.ly/OwkVl1

    The Scottish government lied to politicians about key financial data which was central to the argument for the bill when they passed the Scottish Climate Change Bill. The government citing Stern said that the economic cost of a 2-3°C rise would be “between 5-20% of GDP”. In fact Stern suggests there may not be any net economic harm quoting figures of 0-3%

    The figures are so key to justifying the bill, that it really is difficult to see how this bill could withstand a legal challenge.

    … but the scandal gets worse. The Scottish paper (The Courier) which broke this story seems to have been lent on to remove the story. Presumably by someone in government.

    This is about as bad as we can get. It appears the world’s most enthusiastic government for climate change is now embroiled in lies & cover-up.

  12. I have a really nice example of post-modern science and how it is applicable to limate science

    I had a file of GISS that I downloaded at the beginning of 2009. Today I updated it and came up with a gem. I can now observe the difference between the way the field of climate research has changed in only three years.

    http://i179.photobucket.com/albums/w318/DocMartyn/HowGISShaschangedin3years.jpg

    Note, that post the two versions are base lined in the 1951-1980. period. The difference between the two data sets is that the world has warmed between 1980 and 2008 by an extra 0.0037 degrees per year.

    The line shape of the 2012 data minus the 2009 data shows clear man-made global warming. The addition of the slope is so blatant one can see the strings.
    How can the field expect to persuade anyone of their integrity when they obviously have none?

    • This is crap. Show how you did you work, including where you got the data from. There’s absolutely no way that the differences between the same GISS indices in different years are that strong.

    • I believe you are correct and I was mistaken. The download I did today was from “Our traditional analysis using only meteorological station data” and is running 30% higher than the offering Global temperature.
      So you are right Chris, they did not outrageously cheat in the manner I thought, they cheated by a smaller amount. 0.005 degrees per century, but every little helps.

      http://i179.photobucket.com/albums/w318/DocMartyn/ProperGISSJuly2012andSpring2009.jpg

    • Sloppy contrarianism busted by Colose!

      That’s what he is talking about — by immersing oneself in the field, you can gain insight that the anti-agreeing skeptics can only dream about.

    • Web,

      ever heard the phrase “Don’t be a dick.” ?

      He made a mistake, CC caught it and Doc saw he had made a mistake and acknowledged it.

      Exactly doesdoes your comment offer, besides proof your the afore mentioned appendage?

    • Timg56,
      Harsh man, real harsh. Not as harsh as real science though. ha ha.

    • Doc

      I noticed how you switched your units from deg/year to deg/century which kept your mistake and the *correct* result at decimal 10-3. Their *cheating*, as you say, went from your error of 3.7E10-3 deg/year to your re-calc of 5.0E10-5 deg/year, which is way down in the noise.

      Changing units is a classic carny trick, well done. Not saying for absolute certain you did it on purpose, however, considering the hysterical use of the word “cheating” tells this septic that you switched the units to cover your embarrassed ego infested with confirmation bias.

    • I made a mistake, I acknowledged I made a mistake, I acknowledged that Chris was right. Anyone can make as mistake, so said the Darlek climbing off the dustbin.

    • Dave Springer

      I saw this happen circa 2008 on an online tool that NASA used to have that showed a graphical representation of the earth with shaded anomaly data layed over the top. It was satellite data. You could choose any month from history and with a single click advance or go back month by month, or year by year.

      I wrote an article that year using screenshots from the online tool showing that very little warming was happening anywhere in the southern hemisphere and how most of the warming in the northern hemisphere was concentrated where there was snow on the ground for some or all of the year. I then linked to pre-IPCC AR1 study by James Hansen where he concluded that black carbon (soot) was responsible for about a third of global warming. I actually backed him up on that except I thought he might have been conservative about how much of the effect was from black carbon. I’ve since concluded that he was probably right about the 33% and that CO2 is preferential in a way that resembles where soot settles and persists. CO2 has its strongest effect where there is the least surface water available for evaporation.

      At any rate after publishng that article I went back several months later to review it again and when I clicked on the link to the NASA tool I noticed the display had undergone quite a change. No longer did it show much of the southern hemisphere mostly in the light blue (slight cooling) but rather in light pink (slight warming) and the northern hemisphere had been turned to a darker shade of pink with the Arctic a deep red.

      Several months after that the tool disappeared altogether from NASA’s site.

      These adjustments occur regularly and they all served to make what’s become a comical expression of derision “It’s worse than we thought” toward the ass clowns making the adjustments.

    • Looks like Hockey Stick Influence. Straighten the handle and make the blade bigger.

  13. The Libor scandal is part of the ‘post-normal finance’ we’ve had for the past few years.

  14. A summary of “Climate Change” or Global Warming is policies adopted have failed and will continue to fail. IPCC effort has not useful for governments trying to plan for future changes in climate.
    IPCC has been largely about promoting Kyoto treaty solution, and this is going nowhere. It not building public support, rather it is losing and has lost public support.
    So, stop digging the hole should be the first action.
    What IPCC should doing if wants to regain any relevance, is do things which useful for governments in regards to future climate conditions.

    In addition it could examine lesson learned regarding “alternative energy”. also farming practices which have effect upon climate and are responsive to changing climate.
    It also seems that IPCC should face the technology that would do the most to reduce CO2 emission, it should examine nuclear power. And how nuclear power could be best used to reduce global human CO2 emission.

    Another thing IPCC could do is examine unrealistic climate models. IPCC has always had fairly moderate climate prediction. I might do IPCC well politically to distance itself, by describing can’t happen in the future.
    10 meter sea rise within a century, for example.
    This could part of stop digging the hole. But also useful to look at what not likely or unrealistic.

  15. Re: Jeroen van der Sluijs

    At the same time decisions need to be made well before conclusive supporting evidence can be available and decision stakes are high: the potential impacts of wrong decisions can be huge.

    There is very strong political pressure brought to “mitigate” CO2 to preserve today’s climate. However, on what basis was this selected? Other than “we must not impact nature”?
    There is increasing evidence that adaptation as needed will likely be much more cost effective. Furthermore, geological ages that were warm with high showed bountiful bio productivity. (See CO2Science.org) The need to feed a growing global population strongly argues for higher CO2, not less.
    Thus is there really a “need” to make decisions “well before conclusive supporting evidence can be available”?

    • Dave Springer

      +1
      .

    • The decision to be made is easy. Improve the knowledge and technology and withhold all action until you know what your are doing and what is really happening. Withhold action until you actually see something happen. Model output is not really something that is happening. Temperature not actually rising for 15 years and the oceans not rising for the past 30 years are something that is really happening. Do things that might make a difference, if and only if, they are worthwhile for other reasons.

  16. Steve Fitzpatrick

    I must admit to being underwhelmed a bit by the whole concept of PNS. In fact, I’m not convinced that there is anything unique about the current situation. A more accurate framing would be any area of scientific endevor where there are broad and stongly held political, moral, and/or religious beliefs which influence both the practice and use of ‘normal’ science. There are probably more historical cases that are similar than is recognised; there are similar events scattered throughout history. We see these things today as smaller than they truly were because advancing scientific understanding elminates from our minds the uncertainties that were present.. There is only one reality of how the Earth will react to greater GHG forcing; given enough time, and enough study, that reality will become obvious and widely accepted. Neither politics nor strngly held beliefs will change it. And that will be the end of this particular episode of PNS. Perhaps a better description would be Politicallly Nutty Science.

  17. I remember the night of the collision of the ocean liners Stockholm and Andrea Dorea. Each on a predestine course with multiple minute navigational adjustments along the way that ultimately ended in catastrophe. A “T” bone collision in a vast ocean. Lives and a ship were lost.

    The ships: science and public policy. Their destinations? opposite continents. Their captains, each determined to uphold a tradition, one the honor of Italian seamanship and the “Italian Turn”. The other ship’s master? to uphold the navigational rules of the road.

    The rights of public policy; that is, the public pays the bills so the public has the say in which direction the ship of state/science should go. On the other hand, the science is known to all well schooled masters and the rules of the road, physics, are inviolate. The collision and its consequences are predictable.

    By their very nature, ocean liners, and by analogy public constituencies and the science of climate have considerable inertia and have difficulty changing course. They each make minor course corrections but hold to their initial intent, with disastrous outcomes.

    What is required is not a huge ship, rather, multiple smaller and more nimble crafts adjusting to the various climate seascapes. It may seem to be economical to invest in one paradigm (CO2), yet when confronted with unknowns and uncertainty, seeking diverse scenarios is more likely to avoid paradigm, arrogance driven and ultimately untenable outcomes. Both public policy and science benefit from diversity and divestiture of monotonic thinking.

    Post normal science: we should emphasize post, as in deceased, gone, kaput. Normal science needs to just slog along trying to identify facts and dismissing most “should be true” conjectures.

  18. Postnormal science? What kind of BS is that?

    What the term really means is political activism masquerading as science.

    • Steven Mosher

      Think of PNS as a descriptive term. You are in a PNS situation when
      1. facts are uncertain
      2. values are in conflict
      3. stakes are high
      4. there is a perception that immediate action is required.

      Let’s take some simple examples. Let’s take particle physics. roll the clock back 10 years and focus on the higgs boson.
      1. facts uncertain; yes
      2. values in conflict? no
      3. stakes high? no
      4. perception that immediate action is required? No.

      Science proceeds normally. folks live with the uncertainty. nobody feels like their value system is threated by the existence or non existence of the Higgs. The stakes are not high. lives are not at stake. There is no rush to judgement. no time table. science proceeds normally.

      Now, take the example of volcanic aerosols and air travel. Volcano erupts. is it safe to fly? Does science proceed normally? do we set up experiments? publish papers.. fight back and forth and journals..
      1. facts uncertain? yes
      2. values in conflict? yes. folks who make money from flying, folks who need to fly for business, tourists, tourist industry.. there values are in conflict
      3. stakes high? yup
      4 a perception that immediate decisions need to be taken? yes.

      What happens here is that science ( the behavior of scientists and institutions CHANGES ) the perception that values and self interest is driving the science increases. the idea of waiting for uncertainty to be resolved through a deliberative process starts to be questioned. Philosophy becomes more central in science debates. Science is what scientists do, and in post normal situations science changes. that is just a fact.
      If we are scientific about science ( observing what it is ) we can see that the behavior of scientists does in fact change when conditions 1-4 obtain.

      so just empirically look at how behavior changes when values are at stake.
      also look at how the immediacy of action modulates things.
      Consider the science of earthquake prediction, consider science around smoking, aids, BCE, evolution, abortion, radiation.. to some extent values are always at play in science, but we can recognize that there is a spectrum. between areas that seem value free ( particle physics) and those that are value laden. we can recognize areas that have small uncertainty and those that have dragon kings. we can recognize low stakes subjects and high stakes subjects, and we can recognize that certain areas of study address our every day life and those which have longer time horizens. The thesis of PNS is that when all four conditions are met… you have a perfect storm. you are no longer in Kansas.

      PNS is more fact than theory.. The prescriptive aspect of PNS is the part that causes heartburn. That’s the part where suggest that more people should be part of the discussion.

    • We are cooling, so we must stop man caused warming, but we can’t, so we must stop man. Check, not in Kansas anymore.
      ===================

    • Hector Pascal

      The technical effects of flying an aircraft into an ash cloud are well known. The decision to fly or not is a management decision. I see no science.

    • Dave Springer

      +1

    • Steve Milesworthy

      What happens here is that science ( the behavior of scientists and institutions CHANGES ) the perception that values and self interest is driving the science increases. the idea of waiting for uncertainty to be resolved through a deliberative process starts to be questioned.

      During the 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland, the (ash cloud) science did *not* change. There was a hell of a lot of completely unreasonable (and reprehensible) pressure *on* these scientists, but they did not buckle. Eventually, “management” and the CAA allowed flights through low ash areas if a strict maintenance checking schedule was followed.

      Post normal “science” would seem to have been created to overcome the problem of scientists saying it as they see it. When they see something inconvenient, it has to be post-normalled out of the way by choosing which part of the uncertainty you are prepared to ignore.

      Often this is achieved by characterising the scientist as a stupid, self-interested kill-joy.

    • Steven Mosher

      hmm.
      “But before the volcanic events of April 2010, aircraft engine manufacturers still had not defined specific particle levels above which engines were considered to be at risk.[1] The general approach taken by airspace regulators was that if the ash concentration rose above zero, then the airspace was considered unsafe and was consequently closed.[23]
      The April eruption of Eyjafjallajökull caused enough economic difficulties that aircraft manufacturers were forced to define specific limits on how much ash is considered acceptable for a jet engine to ingest without damage. On 21 April, the CAA in conjunction with engine manufacturers, set new guidelines[24] which allowed aircraft to fly when there are levels of volcanic ash between 200 and 2000 microgrammes of ash per cubic metre. These levels were declared by governments, aircraft manufacturers, and airlines not to have safety implications if appropriate maintenance and ash inspection procedures were followed.[25][26]”

      1. were facts uncertain? I dunno sure looks like the following facts were uncertain

      A) the acceptable particulate level
      B) I will bet that the dispersion modelling was uncertain.. like the weather.

      2. Values in conflict? Yep. airlines, governments, consumers.

      3. Stakes High? Death.

      4. Immediate action required.. Some thought so..

      please note “Iceland’s authorities had been warning the airlines for several years, asking them to determine the density of ash that is safe for their jet engines.[22]”

      Was the situation PNS? yup.

      now as a scientist if you wanted to estimate a safe level for engine operation.. what would your normal approach be?

      maybe a little modelling.. some tests of the engines on the stands.
      some inflight tests.. more modelling. take the engines apart..
      Lots of stuff you would do before you concluded it was safe to fly.

      “From noon 18 May, the CAA further revised the safe limit upwards to 4 mg per cubic metre of air space.”

    • Actually Mosh we have one data point. A 747 flew into a volcanic plume and lost all four engines. They managed to restart all four, after a very long drop, but closed down No 3 as it was way over-temp.
      The problem is that most airliners are now twin engined, and this choice of two, and not four engines, was the reliability of the engines. The big three engine manufacturers were able to show that the odds of losing two engines was infinitesimal.
      A Boeing 777 cruses at about 250 meters per second.
      The RR Trent has a diameter of 2.8 meters.
      At the upper 2 mg/cubic meter each engine takes in 3 grams a second.
      That sure as hell looks like the result of a back of the envelope calculation to me.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      What I’m questioning is the statement that the behaviour of scientists changed. The scientists maintained their position. They additionally stated that they were capable of binning their forecasts into different levels of concentration (so if levels were relaxed they could provide the appropriate forecast).

      What they didn’t do though was advocate that planes should or should not fly or make any comment outside of what their forecasting capability had previously been accepted – ie. they did not post-hoc fudge the numbers to give the airlines an excuse for a leeway.

    • Dave Springer

      One ash particle causes damage. One tiny score from one particle is inconsequential. Enough tiny scores and the engine cannot function. How can a manufacturer draw a line in the sand saying “this much damage but no more” especially when the actual density and composition of the ash cloud is not well known? Those are some damned expensive engines so even if no deaths result if I owned the plane it would be grounded or put into service in some uneffected airspace until the ash was gone. Screw inconveniencing the passengers. Let them buy their own aircraft if they don’t like when and where I choose to fly mine.

    • Steve Milesworthy,

      What they didn’t do though was advocate that planes should or should not fly or make any comment outside of what their forecasting capability had previously been accepted – ie. they did not post-hoc fudge the numbers to give the airlines an excuse for a leeway.

      And therein lies the difference between those scientists and so called ‘climate scientists’. Climate scientists have been strongly advocating solutions and policy prescriptions. They’ve been advocates for policy prescriptions that are way outside their area of expertise.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Peter Lang,

      The two sets of people heavily overlap each other. They use information from the same models and get their coffee from the same coffee machine.

    • They use information from the same models and get their coffee from the same coffee machine.

      No, I don’t ;-)

    • Rob Starkey

      Steve

      You description of PNS seems very good, but your description of the situation on volcanic aerosols and air travel does not seem to fit the situation that happened.

      The facts were not uncertain there except that we could not predict when an airplane might have an engine failure. What was absolutely known was that the volcanic ash did long term harm to engines and filters that offset any revenue generated by flying during that time. In addition there was the potential liability of having flown a plane during conditions that may lead to engine failure.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Rob,

      There was in no sense any good level of scientific certainty about the volcanic ash situation. The input to the models was based on poor initial conditions (who’d be mad enough to go near an angry volcano) and the capability of sampling ash downstream was limited (big area, few planes that could operate safely etc.).

      The point was that previously a scientific/technical “consensus” had been reached (to be *extremely* cautious) and an agreed model setup had been constructed. On that “consensus” the scientists stood firm to their model results by refusing to adjust their outputs or post-normally qualify their certainty limits under tremendous pressure from the airlines.

      If the model had later proved to have had serious short-comings it would have been disasterous for the research and the institution. I was booked to fly that week and found the opportunity to speak to one of the scientists which happened to be shortly after an attempted brow-beating by the chief of a very large airline. I saw in his eye the absolute commitment to his science, and was rather pleased that my flight remained cancelled (though I do understand the risk per flight was still extremely small).

      It just seems very dangerous for a proper scientist to get involved in this post normal science. Probably the over-involvement of too many stakeholders is what caused the IPCC working group 2 report to go off the rails a bit.

    • Rob Starkey

      Steve
      As is happens, I was personally involved in studying the damage done to jet engines as a result of planes flying through volcanic ash and we were surprised by the extent of the damage that resulted from short exposure times. As a result of those studies (I was part of one done by P&W) the airlines knew that it was an economically very bad idea to fly through volcanic ash. Short exposure resulted in a need for a major engine overhaul and that is very expensive.

    • Steven Mosher

      The facts were not uncertain there except that we could not predict when an airplane might have an engine failure.

      err.. in short that fact was uncertain.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Steven Mosher, Rob is saying that to all intents and purposes the damage sustained to an engine would indicate that you would apply a high precautionary principle. Whether and when an engine fails is incidental except when you know you must fly (which is never unless you’re at war).

      Rob, given what you say, the attitude of these airline bosses concern me even more. I guess I’m reminded of the tension that was described between the engineers and managers involved in the Space Shuttle solid rocket boosters prior to the Challenger disaster.

      Scientists and engineers saying it as they see get it in the neck from one side for not going with the “postnormal” flow, and in the neck from the other side for supposedly being advocates outside their sphere of knowledge.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      Steven Mosher,

      You indicate that we will look at two examples, presumably of the behaviour/operations of science or scientists when under different causes ( of action ) and conditions.

      The first names particle physics as the science.
      The second names volcano eruption or volcanic emissions or aerosols and flying as the science.
      A muddle, so
      I couldn’t agree with you more.

      The truth is that science is a 7- letter word That is the fact.

    • Steven Mosher

      a literalist. I love it. yes ‘science’ is a 7 letter word.

      dont confuse use and mention

    • Steve Mosher,
      Use/mention error Glad you mention it That’s why I use it.

      “The science” and “the scientist”.

      “The science” is used in discussion to denote the whole ball of wax – our knowledge of the climate.
      e.g. “It’s warming.That’s what the science says”

      But we might think the term science refers to a method of doing things, a method of investigation.

      Or as a collection of knowledge ritualized codified and symbolized.

      Similarly, the term “scientist” is usage loose
      How is mixed use of the term affecting discussion ?

      When people say “the science” it means something different from “a science”. A collection or a discipline

      Steve, further down the thread you said
      *****************************************************************
      “Err. no. Kuhn was talking about the behavior of scientists. Science isn’t a thing.”

      “You’ve got a science”
      “This fact, that science is what scientists do, that there is not some ideal that determines how scientists in fact act, is disturbing to some people. ”
      ******************************************************************

      Now look at how Steve Milesworthy uses terms

      SUBJECT: Phil Jones WMO presentation splice on of temperatures to hide the decline without signalling in any way what he did, rather giving citations to scholarly works as the source.

      Jones made a very good set of data points, they are almost identical to instrumental. Wow !
      Therefore Jones is a good enough scientist.
      Since he’s a good enough scientist, I find there is no evidence that he did anything amiss.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      thisisnotgoodtogo, You should link to the discussion if you are going to characterise it. Your characterisation is incorrect. Because of that I don’t know what point you are making to Steven.

    • Sorry, Steve Milesworthy.,

      I should have let your words speak for themselves
      In the thread “5 fallacies”
      I said
      “If this were a pharmaceutical company presenting to doctors….”what FRAUD! ” ( done for financial gain ) ”
      You replied to that concern with

      “He appears to have been a good enough scientist to generate a correct measure for global temperature etc. so that suggests to me there is no evidence that he is dishonest.”

      Here you use “scientist” as in an idealized thing. Once Jones fits that shoe, then by definition, it suggests there is no evidence.

      Elsewhere, “the scientists” might mean particular people with warts and foibles, depending on how you want to use the term.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      thisisnotgoodtogo,

      No I meant scientist in the warts and all sense. A normal scientist who wants his work to be recognised, but wants it to be recognised for the right reasons. Not speaking about Jones or climate science at all, my observations are that: submitting bids for grants is an occasionally vicious game; presenting data in glossy brochures is a bit of a game; submitting results and peer reviewed papers or data is a deadly serious business requiring diligence and focus on detail. Some “scientists” are bad at the last of these, and eventually it shows because the work is usurped by someone else doing a better effort (not the same as being a nit-picker who never gets stuck in himself).

    • Latimer Alder

      ‘submitting data’?

      To whom do they submit it? Sure as hell ain’t made available to mere mortals like us poor saps who paid the climatologists to get it. That’s why we have to go through lengthy FoI processes to get at it.

      And it ain’t used in ‘peer review’ either.

      ‘The most startling observation came when he [Dr Phil Jones] was asked how often scientists reviewing his papers for probity before publication asked to see details of his raw data, methodology and computer codes. “They’ve never asked,” he said’

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/cif-green/2010/mar/01/phil-jones-commons-emails-inquiry

      It’s worth noting that Jones has over 200 ‘peer-reviewed’ papers to his name.

      So just who, apart from themselves, ever looks at the data? If it exists at all.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Latimer,

      The data can be submitted anywhere – to a notebook or a data file. As long as the scientist knows where it is. Forget all this nonsense about needing line-by-line descriptions of every step of the way so you can reproduce the results to the 17th sig. fig. – it’s a nice-to-have and maybe necessary depending on the circumstances (which is why all the ridiculous emphasis on claims that Jones’s work is the foundation of climate science etc. etc.). It is not a prerequisite of science (using the non-warty use of the word “science”).

      The most public test that Jones passed was the Muller test. By passing that we can say that in the judgement of another scientist (one with “warts and foibles” as we know Muller publicly took a dim view of “hide the decline”) Jones perhaps has “warts and foibles”, but he generated a supportable scientific result unaffected by any bias you perceive that he has.

      I have to ask, Latimer. You say you are a chemist, but did you actually ever work in a proper lab. With a notebook and pens and pencils and graph paper and rulers and Prit-sticks to glue your graphs in your notebook etc. etc.?

    • The trend is towards open access both for the original scientific publications and for the data used in them.

      The Economist had also an article on this trend in last week’s issue

      http://www.economist.com/node/21559317

      This is a rather recent trend that has so far reached only a part of science, but I do remember from my time as particle physicist in 1970′s that almost all articles were first published as preprints which where then mailed free of charge on a reciprocal basis to all willing research institutes of some size. When the papers came out in journals that was more for archiving (and getting recognized) than for getting the paper to the readership.

    • Latimer Alder

      @steve milesworthy

      You used the word ‘submitting’, not me. And recording something in a notebook is not ‘submitting’ it in any sense of the word I’ve ever heard.

      Have I ever worked as a chemist with a white coat and pens in my top pocket?

      Sure have…both in UK and in Germany. And in commercial (glass fibre development and production, plastics formulation and ageing analysis) as well as academic spheres (reaction kinetics, masters degree).

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Latimer,

      You used the word ‘submitting’, not me. And recording something in a notebook is not ‘submitting’ it in any sense of the word I’ve ever heard.

      I suggest you google “submit it to paper” and similar phrases.

      But my first use of the word “submission” was not intended to cover interim or partial results. You raised the subject of such data when you said:

      To whom do they submit it? Sure as hell ain’t made available to mere mortals like us poor saps who paid the climatologists to get it. That’s why we have to go through lengthy FoI processes to get at it.

      So I used the word submission again with an extra meaning. I do see that some people could be confused by using the same word in different contexts.

      For this “diligence and focus on detail” was the phrase I used which would be relevant to the process of *recording* the results of an experiment or an analysis, or the thoughts of the scientist in a log book.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Have I ever worked as a chemist with a white coat and pens in my top pocket?

      But no log book?

    • Latimer Alder

      @steve milesworthy

      Overlong and unconvincing ‘explanation’.

      I didn’t set put to give a full inventory of my working tools, but they included a log book, a spatula, a thermometer, some universal indicator, gallons of MEK, lots of soft soap for dealing with the heavyweight guys who worked in the heat and grime below the furnace winding the finished fibre. Some very sensitive balances, a small warehouse full of assorted silanes, plasticisers and other stuff used to mix test cases. A very hot furnace for analysis. Some custom-designed equipment designed specifically for glass fibre research. A GC machine, an Instron strain gauge. And a parking space for my pushbike.

      Anything else I can help you with?

      BTW – have you ever worked in the commercial/industrial sector? Or are you so used to the ‘standards’ of academic research that you don’t notice how low they are?

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      Steve MIlesworthy.
      Perhaps my interpretation of your overall meaning wrt Jones should have been separate from the post replying to Steve Mosher’s insistence on what science is.

      So to Mosher’s point that science is strictly just that which scientists do.

      Here you exhibit use of both warty and non warty meanings for “science” or “scientist”.

      This is not to condemn using one or the other or both, unless they are used in ways which are guaranteed to lead to confusion, such as using both within the same sentence or paragraph without alerting the reader in some way to the change.

      Now as to Mr. Jones.
      You say
      “No I meant scientist in the warts and all sense. A normal scientist who wants his work to be recognised, but wants it to be recognised for the right reasons.”

      Steve, I have to ask; do you in this instance use “work” to mean product, as in peer reviewed papers, or does it include other things and behaviours – such as WMO presentations, public statements, and so on

      If you are not using “scientist” as the ideal, in this instance, then what is your comparison and categorization of Jones as “good enough” with reference to ? Good enough then means that if a result of his matches that of another, then all moral and ethical complaints are found to be without merit, without evidence. That doesn’t follow.

      Next, I would ask you to consider your original statement as it replies to my objection that his behaviour would rightly be called fraudulent if monetary gain were attached, because it was dishonest behaviour, knowingly offering a false picture – the green line he manufactured going opposite to what the cited literature actually showed.

      “He appears to have been a good enough scientist to generate a correct measure for global temperature etc. so that suggests to me there is no evidence that he is dishonest.”

      Steve,
      My remark was on Jones committing a dishonest act, not on his moral or ethical human totality .
      However, in the face of his dishonest behaviour , you somehow find that his production of an OK temp set is evidence that there is no evidence of dishonest behaviour.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      thisisnotsogood, I’ve said, in essence, that wartiness in peer reviewed publications is a no-no. Wartiness in other areas isn’t great, but is not necessarily fatal, and is not fatal in this case – nobody is perfect.

      Latimer, we use our software to serve numerous blue-chip commercial customers on a 24/7 production basis. And some of our customers use our software to serve their commercial customers. The standards we’ve followed get gold stars from independent reviewers (and the fake gold stars from the ISO9001 tick-boxers). That is not to say we are complacent because we know what we need to do to get even better. So don’t think you’ve got anything useful to teach me, though I’m always happy to listen to ideas.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      Steve Milesworthy,
      you said:
      “thisisnotsogood, I’ve said, in essence, that wartiness in peer reviewed publications is a no-no. Wartiness in other areas isn’t great, but is not necessarily fatal, and is not fatal in this case – nobody is perfect”

      Steve. The question is regarding Jones’ action. You’ve previously declared such action unsupportable. I’m not asking if Jones is perfect – I already said I’m not interested in sum totality of his personal human reality. I’m asking if the unsupportable action of cutting off the offending decline and surreptitiously inserting false values, to hide that decline, could not be justly classified as a dishonest act.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      thisisnotgoodtogo,

      I’m asking if the unsupportable action of cutting off the offending decline and surreptitiously inserting false values, to hide that decline, could not be justly classified as a dishonest act.

      I don’t accept most of your characterisation of the event.

      I think the closest I’m prepared to go is that they were uncomfortable about the divergence but on balance were of the opinion it was scientifically irrelevant to the pre-divergence period, and that therefore drawing attention to it (subsequent to publishing their decision to reject the divergent data in Nature) would be scientifically misleading.

      It would seem that their judgement may now be being proved right.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      ” ‘I’m asking if the unsupportable action of cutting off the offending decline and surreptitiously inserting false values, to hide that decline, could not be justly classified as a dishonest act.’

      I don’t accept most of your characterisation of the event.

      I think the closest I’m prepared to go is that they were uncomfortable about the divergence but on balance were of the opinion it was scientifically irrelevant to the pre-divergence period, and that therefore drawing attention to it (subsequent to publishing their decision to reject the divergent data in Nature) would be scientifically misleading.

      It would seem that their judgement may now be being proved right.”

      Steve Milesworthy,

      You just changed the subject away from Jones’ WMO action .

      Jones did much more than not draw attention to the decline.
      He substituted false values for tree ring data, without showing any hint of what he had secretly done, and then gave false citation.

    • Latimer Alder

      @steve milesworthy

      I’m quite happy to believe that you have got the IT pretty well sorted in the Met Office (*). As you point out, you are running commercial systems with real money changing hands and real customers with a tendency to get irate and unpleasant if they don’t get what they paid for. Been there, done that, got the T shirt – and the scars. You have a very strong incentive to do it right.

      I’m (educated) guessing here, but I imagine that if I went to look at the Met Office’s data store or vault or archive or whatever you call it, it would be pretty well organised. You’d know what all of your data is, where it is located, where it came from, where it is backed up. You’d have a production schedule and a backup schedule and sensible problem management. With deadlines to meet each day/week/month and the expertise and experience to meet them. To all intents and purposes you are be doing professional IT that just happens to be about meteorology/climatology. And you’d use exactly those same professional techniques if your primary task was in finance or retail store replenishment or vehicle scheduling or any of the myriad ‘grown up’ applications that IT is used for.

      But I also submit that your day-to-day production setup is far removed from the typical academic climatology site. They don’t have those commercial pressures..just the pressure to publish one-off papers or produce one-off models. They don’t have any incentive to do much beyond getting a program to compile, run it once, and announce to the world that

      ‘it is worse than we thought, no we aren’t going to let you see our data and where is the next grant?’

      For example, CRU are a very prolific publisher of climatology papers. The clue is in the ‘Climatic’ part of their name. And yet Harry shows us that they have zero idea of what data they have hanging about, where it is located and what it means. Let alone any of the other disciplines that make sure of getting the simple stuff right like running the right job against the right data at the right time and putting the output in the right place. We have absolutely no way of knowing – beyond self-assertion – that any of their work has even been processed correctly. And some pretty good reasons to imagine that it might not have been. A chaotic data store does not lead to good IT aprt form by luck.

      Harry and his climatological associates would probably argue that they are only doing ‘research’ anyway, so it doesn’t really matter if their IT is as crassly amateur as it seems to be. But climatology has moved way beyond an academic backwater and is high up the list of things that governments worry about.

      I guess that you do not go and buy your pharmaceuticals from a little guy in a back street with a kitchen stove and a recipe book. Nor do your weather forecasts come from a guy looking at a bit of seaweed and wondering if the cows are lying down or standing up. Nor should we accept sloppy IT from people who don’t seem to know the arse of their data from its elbow.

      * On personal note I came to know Fred Bushby – who was one of the early IT guys in Bracknell – towards the end of his life , and I’m sure he left good foundations to build on.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Latimer, I responded to a post below before I read this. I’ll just add that my impression is that the academic community is better than HRM, but as research is quite distributed one cannot claim it is all either one or the other. They have for example successfully implemented projects such as climateprediction.net, and various smaller community models (with support). It is the small individual projects where questions should be focussed.

      But one person can have a handle on one small project even if it is very disorganised. The problem comes when that person moves on and leaves mess behind. There results are not wrong, but it is true that you might not trust big decisions to their results (but I don’t think that was ever the case). If a result turns out to be measuring something that could be a significant input into policy, then by all means give Harry another contract to get things knocked into shape.

    • Mickey Reno

      Sorry, no rent-seeking politcal activist with scientific credentials, nor his toady politicians, have anything important to say to me, or any taxpayer, about public policy.

      Listen carefully to me, all you government funded scientists. You will NOT dictate politics. The political system will dictate politics. Oh, and another thing, creating and manufacturing beliefs within the electorate is not in your frickin job description. You must shoot for telling a little slice of objective truth, and to the degree you can succeed at that, the electorate will be along with you in due time. That will be the best you can hope for.

      Don’t stain your CVs by defending “abnormal” science. This laughable definition of a supposed aspect of science is busily discrediting itself. and hopefully, the shameful way “Real” climate scientists have approached their craft will serve as a cautionary tale to posterity.

    • tempterrain

      Mickey,

      Don’t worry about those government funded climate scientists. If they stick to the letter of their job and don’t speak out against climate change then, well, everyone can just say that it can’t be so bad after all. And if they do speak out, they can just be dismissed as ‘political activists’.

      So either way you’ve got the bastards. Good isn’t it?

    • Michael Larkin

      Steven,

      I thought this was a good analysis that cleared away a lot of the fog, at least for me. I suppose my objection to “post-normal science” is that “post-normal” is most naturally read as an adjectival phrase: what kind of science are we talking about? Why, “post-normal”, of course.

      And this is what, I suspect, leads to so much angst. One might, fairly naturally, think that either there is normal science, or abnormal science, viz. something that isn’t science at all. Most people probably think of “normal” science in idealistic Popperian terms, largely ignoring or skirting around Kuhn who distinguished between “normal” science (which works within an accepted paradigm), and what happens when that paradigm becomes severely challenged and eventually is overthrown–a period of “revolutionary” science.

      However, Kuhn doesn’t use the term “post-normal” to describe revolutionary science. No: “post-normal” is a term invented by Ravetz and Funtowicz (the Wikipedia article on post-normal science is quite good, methinks).

      Because there’s the word “normal” included in “post-normal”, it can be conflated with “normal” in the sense that Kuhn uses it. But, as far as I can see, nowhere did Kuhn imply that science as practised in a revolutionary phase isn’t also normal (in the ordinary sense of the word). Scientists don’t suddenly abandon things like experimental testing, falsification, and so on, when they’re operating in a revolutionary phase. At all times, creditworthy science is supposed to proceed according to the rules. If there is politics, it’s principally of the internal variety: the old guard hanging on to and defending their reputations despite their views being past their sell-by date.

      Hence for many people, and certainly myself, I strongly object to describing science as anything other than, at least in principle, normal. And if it’s normal, then there can’t be any room for external political/economic influences. As soon as such influences intrude, then one is no longer, in sensu stricto, in the realm of science. It’s not “post-normal” science so much as “para-normal” science, where the Greek prefix indicates it’s something that lies to the side of, and is distinct from, normal science, rather than implying it’s a special case of science.

      IMO, Ravetz and Funtovicz might have got more traction if they’d have used a different term that completely omitted any reference to science, or at least made it clear that they weren’t actually talking about science as most people understand the word.

      I’m having trouble coming up with a snappy description of what they’re getting at (I leave it to someone else to attempt that :-)), but I’d describe it as follows:

      It’s a proposed methodology for dealing with what happens when a controversial scientific hypothesis, if true, is recognised as having many political, economic, ideological and possibly moral implications.

      And if that’s right, there’s quite possibly a place for it. However, using the epithet “post-normal science” has screwed everything up and evoked a great deal of opposition. Ravetz and Funtowicz have shot themselves in the foot.

    • The late Edith Efron used the term “regulatory science” in her magisterial book The Apocalyptics, which studied the history of anti-carcinogen policy, to distinguish it from standard basic research. Regulatory science showed all the pathologies we have come to associate with climate science–exaggeration of certainties, invocation of unsupportable precautionary-principle-style arguments when these uncertainties were raised, deliberate ignoring of causal factors (such as anti-carcinogens, promoters, hormesis, ethnic variations in susceptibility, etc.) that didn’t fit into the simple chemical–>mutation–>cancer risk–>regulate model, smearing and shunning of heretics, and admissions of doubts to one another but not to the public and policy makers.

      The difference between a construction like PNS and “regulatory science” is that the former is intended to be a descriptive term applying to an unavoidable problem situation, while the latter is a normative designation applied to a set of optional scientific practices. PNS is therefore thrust upon us all, as Mosher has outlined above. Many of the commenters here, however, interpret it as if it were Efron’s “regulatory science,” a voluntarily chosen form of inferior practice that involves fundamental bad faith.

    • Michael Larkin

      The difference between a construction like PNS and “regulatory science” is that the former is intended to be a descriptive term applying to an unavoidable problem situation, while the latter is a normative designation applied to a set of optional scientific practices. PNS is therefore thrust upon us all, as Mosher has outlined above. Many of the commenters here, however, interpret it as if it were Efron’s “regulatory science,” a voluntarily chosen form of inferior practice that involves fundamental bad faith.

      SP, I’m not sure I understand what you are saying in that paragraph. Any chance you could clarify?

    • Sorry to be opaque. Basically, many commenters here incorrectly think that PNS is a newfangled description of scientific methods intended to justify bad scientific practice, i.e. “We live in a world of post-normal science, so you’re holding climate scientists to an unrealistic standard when you ask them to uphold traditional norms of objectivity.” But that’s not what they are trying to say–PNS is not an alternative set of “best practices.” It is a description of high-uncertainty, high-stakes problem SITUATIONS for which the authors would argue we don’t yet have a set of best practices (although we know that many traditional practices don’t work, as many of the critics of climate science would agree with respect to data disclosure and quality assurance). So a scientist doesn’t choose to follow PNS as though adopting a creed–he is thrust into a PNS situation by the nature of the topic he studies.

      Efron’s “regulatory science,” by contrast, was indeed a kind of adopted scientific practice that departed from traditional science norms. You could think of it as one response to a PNS situation (in that case the possibility that anthropogenic carcinogens endangered public health). Efron argued that this was the wrong response to the situation, that it led to bad policy and corrupted science. Many of us feel the same way about the mainstream “regulatory climate science” that we’ve seen.

      But we shouldn’t entangle our dissatisfaction with scientists’ response to the situation with a denial of the situation itself. Policy-relevant, high-stakes, high-uncertainty situations place the creators and users of science in a different position from what their norms and institutions were developed to handle.

      Is that any clearer?

    • “Is that any clearer?”

      Let put it a different way. What government public servants related to climate issues are engaged in is similar to activity as in blog sphere in regard climate issues.
      The inclusion that accompanies the blog sphere could seen as a resource. Or good way working on climate issues. Though one not should think of blog sphere or public sphere as static- it’s evolving.
      And PNS could said to a way of understanding and grappling with this evolution.
      So, main thing lots of people [I believe] can agree with is better way to do peer review. Better causes it’s faster, finds errors quicker, and has more eyeballs of higher diversity on any particular issue. And of course it’s global- probably going to get even more global [could even open up China to more interfacing]. And it’s cheaper :)

  19. As a Kuhnian I object to the “post normal” name. Kuhn was talking about science. PNS is talking about the role of science in policy when science cannot clearly answer the policy questions. The PNS case is as old as science. So there is nothing post normal about it. It is simply decision making under uncertainty, with a fancy new name. But its value lies in recognizing that policy decisions are made by the political system, not by some rational calculus. The role of science in this decision system is worth studying, but it does not involve post normal science. Nor will such study change the system. It is normal academic folly to believe that it will.

    • As a Vonnegutian ninja I always tell myself to beware what I pretend to be:

      > If, as in the standard picture, scientific revolutions are like normal science but better, then revolutionary science will at all times be regarded as something positive, to be sought, promoted, and welcomed. Revolutions are to be sought on Popper’s view also, but not because they add to positive knowledge of the truth of theories but because they add to the negative knowledge that the relevant theories are false. Kuhn rejected both the traditional and Popperian views in this regard. He claims that normal science can succeed in making progress only if there is a strong commitment by the relevant scientific community to their shared theoretical beliefs, values, instruments and techniques, and even metaphysics. This constellation of shared commitments Kuhn at one point calls a ‘disciplinary matrix’ (1970a, 182) although elsewhere he often uses the term ‘paradigm’. Because commitment to the disciplinary matrix is a pre-requisite for successful normal science, an inculcation of that commitment is a key element in scientific training and in the formation of the mind-set of a successful scientist. This tension between the desire for innovation and the necessary conservativeness of most scientists was the subject of one of Kuhn’s first essays in the theory of science, “The Essential Tension” (1959). The unusual emphasis on a conservative attitude distinguishes Kuhn not only from the heroic element of the standard picture but also from Popper and his depiction of the scientist forever attempting to refute her most important theories.

      http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/thomas-kuhn/#2

      Our emphasis shows a strong limitation of the Kuhnian story, which PNS is trying to overcome.

      But I do agree that PNS is too ugly.

      So stick and stones, I say.

    • I do not see the limitation in the emphasized passage. It is a central fact about how science works, and has to work. Look at the journals, which report normal science. People use established theories to explain the world. Put another way, normal science is like normal life. One does the job one knows how to do. Constant revolution is not an option.

    • The problem with climate science is that the paradigm has become politicized. Kuhn did not address this special case. But doing away with paradigms and normal science in the rest of science is not the solution, because it is not possible. So the proper topic is politicized science, not post normal science.

    • Indeed, politicized science could very well describe:

      > [A] particular view of the interface between science and policy for complex problems with deep uncertainties that are associated with value commitments and involvement of an extended peer community.

      Since Kuhn accepts that a disciplinary matrix is built around shared values, he indeed conceives normal science as a socio-political construct.

      Let’s hope we won’t trigger the PoMo red herring by saying so.

      (Please, Eli, don’t read.)

    • Steven Mosher

      ‘But doing away with paradigms and normal science in the rest of science is not the solution, because it is not possible. So the proper topic is politicized science, not post normal science.”

      well, one it is possible to “do away” with the paradigms of normal science.
      Individuals do it with regularity. What is actual is possible.

      “politicized science” is different from PNS. All science behavior is politicized. The study of nano technology is politicized. Space travel is politicized. Star wars science was politicized.

      What happens in PNS is a level above this. You want to call it “politicized” because you think there is this thing called ‘a political’ science. Maybe in a fairy tale.

      The question is not how to depoliticize science. the question is what mode of governance do we employ for science. What safe guards and checks and balances do we put in place to minimize the increased politicization of science. “getting back” to a “normal’ science that never actually existed is one example of using politics to get the politics out of science. you see the problem with that..

    • Steve, I really do not agree. If you have an alternative to the Kuhnian model I would like to see it first. And your examples are of technologies, not science. But perhaps we can address the issue of describing politicization, without a model of science. Perhaps not.

      Basic science is always politicized in the sense that the political system funds it. Normally the guidance is fairly general, simply deciding which topics get how much money. The government has very few policies that actually pick the paradigm that research will operate under. For example, various governments spent several billion to build the LHC to see if the Higgs boson could be found, not to prove it existed.

      Climate science is a glaring exception, since the US and most other governments committed to CAGW in 1992 or so. As a result, the USGCRP is not trying to figure out how climate works, rather it is trying to figure out how CAGW works. Testing CAG is not mentioned. I simply do not see this policy motivated bias in most other sciences, and I study a lot of them. This is my model of politicization. What is yours?

    • I more or less agree with David. I think PNS attempts to describe a particular kind of policy decision-making under uncertainty, where the underlying assumption is that the outcome of the science should drive policy. You see this in climate science as a subset of environmental sciences, health science and economics. Sure, there has always been decision making under uncertainty, but how often has it been “science-based” where the uncertainty considered was (supposed to be) mainly scientific uncertainty?

    • David Wojick,

      Let’s look at again at the sentence: strong commitment by the relevant scientific community to their shared theoretical beliefs, values, instruments and techniques, and even metaphysics.

      If these commitments characterize normality, we should agree that there are scientific endeavours that stand at the fringe of normality thus described.

      Also note that the operative word here is scientific community. For instance, Kuhn’s model did not take into accounts social innovations like the Blitzkriege of blog lands by think tanks. We got to explain parascientific communities to which belong the Heartland Institute and the Cato Institute.

      An alternative, of course, is to deprive of any scientific content any activity that lie beyond the disciplinary matrix, including K-12 Blitzkriege and most of what we can read on climate blogland.

      I’m not sure you’d like that alternative. Perhaps you can claim that climate blogland works in a revolutionary mode. Ravetz suggests to call this mode postnormal. Considering your own example, I’d rather call it reactionary.

      To justify this choice, see how the author of the Stanford entry describes the essential tension:

      > Because commitment to the disciplinary matrix is a pre-requisite for successful normal science, an inculcation of that commitment is a key element in scientific training and in the formation of the mind-set of a successful scientist. This tension between the desire for innovation and the necessary conservativeness of most scientists was the subject of one of Kuhn’s first essays in the theory of science, “The Essential Tension” (1959). The unusual emphasis on a conservative attitude distinguishes Kuhn not only from the heroic element of the standard picture but also from Popper and his depiction of the scientist forever attempting to refute her most important theories.

      The adjective “conservative” does not have the same connotation as usual in climate blogland. I surmise that political conservatives are promoting (in a technical sense) reactionary science. Hence the word reactionary, which might be the only positive sense we could ever build of this concept.

      ***

      Note also that the “heroic element” is seen in the YesButGalileo:

      > People laughed at Galileo, people are laughing at me, therefore I am Galileo.

      http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/7764523272

      The YesButPopper is also seen:

      http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/23811170176

      This meme is so important that I compiled a serie:

      http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/tagged/PopperForBloggers

      ***

      So having to pay due diligence to Kuhn might not be the optimal strategy for your position. Nor does seem to be to insist in claiming being an authority on Kuhn. Please bear in mind that there are web ninjas that are way less charitable than me.

      Best of luck with your K-12 program,

      w

    • Steven Mosher

      Err. no. Kuhn was talking about the behavior of scientists. Science isn’t a thing. However, if you find some, take a cup full. folks might consider being more empirical about “science.” and less idealistic.

    • Sorry Steve, but as often happens I do not understand your comment. But a system of behavior is indeed a thing, broadly speaking.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      Science is something that isn’t a thing.

    • Steven Mosher

      Science is not a thing. it is not an entity. it does not exist.
      you speak about science as if it were a thing. it’s not. you idealize it.
      you have a rationalist conception of science. I’m suggesting that you be more scientific about science, more empirical. You, for example, like to distinguish between ‘science” and technology. I see no line of demarcation between the two. Science is a mode of human behavior. every piece of technology is working science.

      So when you say ‘the scientific method is X” that is a testable proposition. We can go look at what scientists have done. That is essentially what kuhn did. PNS is just an extension of that.

      you want to be prescriptive about science. I prefer a descriptive method.
      The prescriptivist ‘account” of science is, well, contrary to an empirical approach

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      Steven Mosher,
      I only point to differing meanings being used as they are in their context, even for your own usage of the term in more than one way.
      You may like it to mean “what scientists do” , but not only are you not consistent in that effort, but further to that, you have only transferred the ambiguity to the term “scientists” What are scientists? Those who do science.
      So you’ve said nothing

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      Steven Mosher,
      You even offer “scientific bahaviour changes”, further muddying the water.
      Not that behaviour of scientists changes, but that *scientific* behaviour changes.
      Now you;ve got scientific behaviour down as whatever scientists do, as well as science being whatever scientists do, but nothing telling us how to identify if what a person is doing qualifies them as “scientist”, and there is nothing telling the difference between a person’s daily activities and *scientific behaviours*.

      You offer nothing but circling – and never come to grips

    • Few concepts that we use regularly have formal definitions and it’s not possible to define them formally. Still most people understand the concept closely in the same way. That applies also to the concept of science. As long as no attempt to define it formally is made people agree fairly well which activities are part of science and which are not.

      There are certainly significant subfields that some people would consider part of science and others not, but even then the latter group is likely to agree that the fields are closely related to science and the first group that it’s not in the heart of the concept. It’s possible to discuss whether it’s better to include these activities in science or not. Some signatures could be used in such argumentation, but trying to define more generally what’s science and what’s not leads invariably in some ways to major contradictions with the common understanding of the concept.

      It’s, indeed, clarifying to say that science is what scientists do. That implies that there are people who are scientists, they are not amateurs interested in science but people whose main activity, or at least one of main activities, is doing science. The definition may appear circular but that’s not important because it works very well.

      When we have a better understanding of what’s science we can start listing typical features of science remembering that they are only typical, not mandatory. We can also consider the question of what differentiates good science from bad science. The main starting point must be that good science has contributed most to the advance of science and that it has not led to unnecessary sidetracks.

      I consider it really important to realize that the best science has often violated the rules that many wish to impose on all science. Trying to formalize the requirements as so many (and mostly non-scientists) do all the time referring to Popper or Feynman or some other authority is seriously misdirected, and mostly represents misunderstanding the quoted text.

    • PP: “the best science has often violated the rules that many wish to impose on all science. ”
      Sounds interesting! Examples, please.

    • I have no ready list on that but the statement is based of repeated observation on how important scientific results have been reached. It’s a natural fact because all best science is about genuinely new understanding and reaching that requires very often new approaches. Existing rules cannot cover unforeseen developments and may therefore forbid the required approaches.

      Another reason for that is that the genuinely new results are often obtained in steps. The first essential steps lead to results that are known to be wrong but the scientists involved have an unformalized feeling that there’s something valuable in that and it has just to be dug out. It may be that the author of the original idea cannot do that. If strict rules would be applied the incomplete idea could not be published and brought to wide knowledge of other scientists. A more flexible approach allows for the publication and one of the readers of the paper may then realize how to proceed.

      Best science is more creative and less rule-obeying. The full scientific process with the requirement for confirmation by independent research is the reason for the high level of reliability of well established scientific knowledge – that what we can read from typical university textbooks. Individual scientific papers are very often erroneous but only those scientists are likely to have a longer career that contribute positively to the progress of science.

      Nothing in the above is written to support sloppy work. Being careful and critical of own work is essential, but the science requires more than following rulebooks of good scientific practices.

    • “PP: “the best science has often violated the rules that many wish to impose on all science. ”
      Sounds interesting! Examples, please.”

      I think he means that people in science [as well as everyone] has certain assumptions, which for various reasons have been unexamined, or people find them easiest to agree to. Such as the idea that earth was at center of the universe. And once evidence was discovered which indicated such assumptions were wrong, many people including scientist were overly fond of what they thought they knew. All experts are generally not keen learning stuff- as regard themselves [or suppose mainly want others to think they already know all there is to be known].

      But true science which based on experiments done well, is unchanging, as the experiment is repeatable at any time and anyone, and the results are going to be the same. Now what exactly the results means, is of course different matter. You could wrongly assume what you measuring, for example.
      I recall reading a book long time ago about measuring “psychic gifted people” and results were the psychics got slightly more than 50% of answers wrong. Which was regarded as significant [worst than chance] and perhaps indicating there was something to this. Though somewhat interesting, I tend to think it was most likely that there was some unseen error in the experiment.

      Of course I think there many wrong assumptions regarding the “greenhouse theory”. So still very much still in the air, so to speak.
      Of course if someone tell me what the average temperature of world covered in ocean was at various distances from the sun, I would be adequately impressed. Or even tell what cans water in earth’s orbit temperature was, I would be somewhat impressed.

    • PP;
      The “examples” you vaguely refer to did not per se violate any rules of science, just the consensus and paradigm of the day. More often, they were more in line with best practice than the conventional models they critiqued.

      Please give ONE example of sloppy = best science. I doubt you can.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      Pekka, It would seem to offer zero elucidation to insist that science is not a thing; it’s what scientists do.
      It follows then, that scientists do nothing.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      Make that “scientists do not a thing”

      heehee

    • scientists do nothing.

      Is this what you actually believe? Do you think the little glowy-box you typed those words on was created through magic?

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      “scientists do not a thing”

      I showed a funny syllogism because of the uselessness of insisting that science is not what it’s commonly thought of, descriptions found in any dictionary or encyclopedia
      Science is what scientists do
      Science is not a thing.
      Scientists do not a thing.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      Pekka, you wrote

      “It’s, indeed, clarifying to say that science is what scientists do.”
      OK, let’s go with that and see where it leads.

      “That implies that there are people who are scientists, they are not amateurs interested in science but people whose main activity, or at least one of main activities, is doing science.”

      OK. So there are people whose main activity is doing what they do.

      That’;s not so helpful a clarification.

    • “Science is not a thing. it is not an entity. it does not exist.
      you speak about science as if it were a thing. it’s not. you idealize it.
      you have a rationalist conception of science. I’m suggesting that you be more scientific about science, more empirical. You, for example, like to distinguish between ‘science” and technology. I see no line of demarcation between the two. Science is a mode of human behavior. every piece of technology is working science.”

      Science is noun, and noun indicates a person, thing, place or idea.

      I see difference between Science and Technology.
      Just I see a difference between Exploration, and Science and Technology. And Democracy.
      There is definite relation between them.
      As for a “line of demarcation ” perhaps such line doesn’t exist. One has national borders but not an actual line, it is drawn on a map.
      Perhaps at best PNS is international waters.
      But it’s not science and should confused as version of science.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      Let’s not forget that all of the maneuvering is in aid of coercing the public into accepting lies as truth. Judgement calls, don’t you know. Secret, hidden judgment calls.
      Don’t like that ? Make your own lab and report your results to our journal. Or STFU.

  20. Post normal science?
    Abby normal science?

  21. Despite the decrease in certainty, we paradoxically now know enough to know that the ‘train is leaving the station’ urgency to prevent catastrophe is an unnecessary burden on the policy making decisions. So we’ve worked past post normal and have now arrived safely back at normal and we have the leisure to let climate science mature. Whew, what a long strange trip it’s been. Next year I think I’ll stay home and walk the dog a bit more.
    ==================

  22. Spirit of Progress now departing from Platform 2. All aboard!

  23. “IF THERE is any endeavour whose fruits should be freely available, that endeavour is surely publicly financed science. Morally, taxpayers who wish to should be able to read about it without further expense. And science advances through cross-fertilisation between projects. Barriers to that exchange slow it down.

    There is a widespread feeling that the journal publishers who have mediated this exchange for the past century or more are becoming an impediment to it. One of the latest converts is the British government. On July 16th it announced that, from 2013, the results of taxpayer-financed research would be available, free and online, for anyone to read and redistribute.”
    http://www.economist.com/node/21559317


  24. Scientists from different backgrounds often have irreconcilable and conflicting yet tenable and legitimate scientific interpretations of the same body of scientific evidence

    I agree.

    Assuming we are living in the 1940s, here are the two interpretations (IPCC’s & skeptics) of the data that applies for the 2000s => http://bit.ly/NJ6tZD

  25. Willis Eschenbach

    As Judith noted, Jerome Ravetz got “hammered” at WUWT, and I did a goodly share of the hammering. I have seen nothing since then to change my mind.

    The most astounding claim from Ravetz and his ilk is that post-normal science applies to situations where we don’t really understand the situation but we have to make an urgent decision … which seems mad to me. Or as Jerome von Slush says:

    At the same time decisions need to be made well before conclusive supporting evidence can be available and decision stakes are high …

    Look, folks, if we don’t understand the situation, then likely the worst thing we can do is make a decision, particularly under the pressure of urgency. There is no pressure to deal with the climate right now, particularly since we don’t have any cost-effective way to alter the climate. So no, decisions don’t need to be made right now, that’s just how the con-men are hustling people into making a move … and by a strange coincidence, the move will put the money in the con-man’s pocket. Funny how that happens. Perhaps you have fallen for their constant shouting “we have to act now because we don’t understand the situation”, Judith, but me, I’ve been around too long to believe that we should act before we can see the probable results of our actions.

    It is this kind of asinine thinking that has led to things like the Kyoto Protocol (billions wasted, no effect on temperature) and the EPA’s cap and tax boondoggle (billions will be wasted, no effect on temperature). The EPA itself said that its actions would change the temperature by a few hundredths of a degree by 2030 … at a cost of billions, borne disproportionately by the poor.

    Based on the reanalysis the results for projected atmospheric CO2 concentrations are estimated to be reduced by an average of 2.9 ppm (previously 3.0 ppm), global mean temperature is estimated to be reduced by 0.006 to 0.0015 °C by 2100.

    Source

    That’s a cost of $1,900 TRILLION DOLLARS PER DEGREE … yeah, that’s the EPA’s own analysis of their brilliant post-normal plan. That is the kind of suicidal madness that you get into when you run around screaming “we don’t understand it but it’s a huge danger and we have to do something about it, we’re post-normal scientists”.

    All that their actions do is damage the economy, and tragically they hurt poor people the worst. You and I can afford to pay a bit more for our energy. But for the poor of the world, for those living on the edge, expensive energy can be a grave danger at best and a death sentence at worst.

    Judith, I can’t tell you how much this kind of upper-class, whitebread, ‘we’re so much smarter than everyone’, ivory-tower university thinking turns my stomach. Billions and billions of dollars have gone down the rathole, wasted, thrown away to no effect, and you are still pushing this BS? Really? So which is it? You didn’t notice the wasted money, and the jungles getting ripped out to plant oil palm to run our cars, and the pensioners shivering in the dark … or you just don’t care?

    I’m sorry, dear lady, but your support of this infantile yet extremely dangerous nonsense is way, way beyond the pale. You seem to think you are just playing with interesting ideas and holding some kind of meaningless university seminar, but you are not—you and Ravetz are playing with peoples’ lives, you are dealing in hunger and sickness and fuel poverty, and history will not judge your actions kindly.

    w.

    • Latimer Alder

      ‘At the same time decisions need to be made well before conclusive supporting evidence can be available and decision stakes are high …’

      How is this distinguishable from ‘panic’? Even if CAGW were to be true, it is not going to be a sudden process (like a tsunami or an earthquake) and the daftest thing we can do is to make the wrong decisions in a hurry.

      I used to work with a sales guy whose favourite line when things got tough was ‘I don’t care what you do, just be seen to be doing something’. He was not considered to be trustworthy by his clients and did not produce much business.

      Panic is a useful evolutionary response to summon up extra reserves of strength and/or determination in real life or death circumstances. But it is a lousy way to make big important decisions.

    • …decisions don’t need to be made right now, that’s just how the con-men are hustling people into making a move … and by a strange coincidence, the move will put the money in the con-man’s pocket.

      Thanks Willis

    • Steven Mosher

      “The most astounding claim from Ravetz and his ilk is that post-normal science applies to situations where we don’t really understand the situation but we have to make an urgent decision … which seems mad to me. ”

      There are two parts to PNS. the first part is merely description, observation. When facts are uncertain, when values are in conflict, when stakes are high, and where there is a perception that imediate action is required, scientific behavior changes. You might wish it otherwise, but wishing doesnt make it so.
      In normal science, values are not in conflict. Nobodies religion is threated by super conductivity. Nobodies sense of morality is threatened by the existence of the Higgs Boson. So normal science plods along. we will find the truth when she is ready to be found. But when the field of study touches deeply held values, when the answer to the science questions involves very high stakes, and when some perceive that we need an answer today.. then science changes. You can observe this change. It is no longer dis interested investigation. You might wish that it were, but it is not. Science changes and the behavior of scientists and their institutions change. This fact, that science is what scientists do, that there is not some ideal that determines how scientists in fact act, is disturbing to some people. You would like to tell scientists to just do as you say, to act according to your ideal of science. That’s quaint.

    • Joe's World

      Steven,

      What is post normal science?
      Is it anything that is not in the CONSIDERATION or IGNORANCE of scientists who just have a limited knowledge?

      There are a great many FACTS and IGNORED areas that are in science but our scientists NEVER followed that tract of knowledge seeking…

    • Steven Mosher

      PNS. see the definition. I can explain it for you but I cannot understand it for you

    • Steve Fitzpatrick

      steve mosher,
      There is no problem with the descriptive part. Call it PNS if you think that is a valuable description, thought I would prefer somthing more descriptive, “like politically influenced science”. Whatever it is called, it is used (and has historically been used) to justify politically driven decisions which are often profoundly unwise, and even immoral; decisions which, in the absence of the mantel of authority of ‘science’, could never be justified. The prudent choice seems to me to use the description to identify ‘post nomal science’, and especially to identify obviously ‘post normal’ scientists, then carefully ignore what they recommend. Science and those who practice it have high public credibility; post normal science and those who practice it ought have none at all.

      A more succinct way of identifying post normal science is whenever all kinds of things (like values, proirities, and personal beliefs) are presented as scientific findings. It is not really science at all, even when done by people trained in science….. it is politics wearing the mask of science.

    • Steven Mosher

      Well. there is some progress. I spent some time with Ravetz discussing advancing the descriptive aspect of PNS.. I suppose that comes from my grounding in phenomenology. meh..

      The question is what comes after PNS, or rather, what should one do when you are in PNS

      You write:

      “The prudent choice seems to me to use the description to identify ‘post nomal science’, and especially to identify obviously ‘post normal’ scientists, then carefully ignore what they recommend. Science and those who practice it have high public credibility; post normal science and those who practice it ought have none at all.”

      The problem is that in a PNS situation all scientists are in the same position. Because values are in conflict, everyone becomes suspect.
      In a PNS situation you cannot simply get the values out of the science. you cannot simply get scientists with no values, no interests.

    • Steven Mosher

      one other point.

      “Call it PNS if you think that is a valuable description, thought I would prefer somthing more descriptive, “like politically influenced science”. ”

      That description is too broad as almost ALL SCIENCE is politically influenced. Put another way, when public dollars are spent, when institutional money is spent, the questions one asks are constrained.
      It is no longer free inquiry but directed inquiry, motivated inquiry.

      Use the example of science on Star wars as an example.

      1. facts uncertain: yes, how do we shoot missiles down
      2. values in conflict? yes, those opposed to self defense
      and those in favor of it
      3. Stakes High? you bet
      4. decisions urgent? some thought so

      And what you get in such a situation is a science that is directed by policy.

      Now use the study of obesity, or the study of homeopathic medicine,
      look at the science around stem cells.

      Simply saying ” politically influenced science” misses so very much in the various ways that science behavior is inlfuenced and changed by the social dimension of the subject matter.

    • Steve Fitzpatrick

      Steve Mosher,
      Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I agree that lots of scientists of differing politicalf persuasions could be involved with PNS. The distinction between which are and which are not practicing PNS is in your own description… post normal scientsts INSIST that something must be done, even in the face of vast uncertainty. When I hear this about a hotly contested and uncertain subject (like global warming) it is obvious that the scientist is not talking about science, but about his or her personal valuation, with all the baggage that entails. Willis states above that making an
      important (and enormously costly) decision when there is vast uncertainty is surely madness, and I am inclined to agree. PNS remains for me a description for something clearly not ‘normal acience’, and something to be carefully discounted. The only way out of the PNS quagmire is to wait for ‘normal’ science to overtake PNS, and then make rational decisions, informed by (normal) science.

    • My interpretation is that PNS is brought up in situations where a decision is unavoidable, if not an explicit decision to act then an implied decision of not to act.

      There are few additional points that are needed to make the case for PNS:

      1. There must be significant support for the notion that stakes are high.
      2. The issue must be subject of scientific research.
      3. Uncertainties must by large.
      4. There must be enough support for the conclusion that even with the uncertainties science has produced significant additional knowledge.

      This is enough for PNS but the above does not imply that the decisions must involve concrete action, deciding not to act is equally logical. The idea is only that the choice of not acting should be considered on equal basis as the other alternatives, not as the automatic default.

    • Pekka catches another clue: The idea is that the choice of acting should be considered on equal basis as the other alternatives, not as the automatic default. Well, slightly reworded, but he’s getting there.
      ====================

    • That should be trivial, what seems to be misunderstood is the reverse in connection of PNS.

    • To explain my last point.

      Default must be something specific. Thus in can be no action and it could be some specific action, but it cannot be acting without knowing how to act. Therefore the critical observation is that proceeding to consider alternatives is justified rather than just forgetting the whole issue.

    • ‘Should be trivial’. And there it is. Thank you, Pekka.
      =============

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      Steven Mosher,
      You touch on the subjects of Morals, Values, and Interests.
      You need to not use them interchangeably.
      Better to show how one can trump the others, and how that reality is reflected in behaviour.

    • Mosher: You are pushing your descriptivism beyond the point of reason. Corporate executives are more likely to do unethical or illegal things when they are placed under financial pressure. That is a fact. That fact doesn’t mean that we should be sanguine about it or just live with it.

      Likewise for scientists. I’m a big Freeman Dyson fan, but when he admitted that he and his buddies withheld their contempt for the nuclear winter hypothesis because the scare it generated was good for nuclear disarmament, I lost some respect for him and I have to read everything he writes with more care to suss out hidden agendas. If the leading climate alarmists are, as their internal emails suggest, similarly hiding doubts about specific scientific findings in order to advance their policy preferences, then they are being dishonest and violating the trust of their audience.

      In economics, I support free trade. But I always go out of my way to explain to people that claims that free trade is good because it “creates jobs” are no more reasonable than the suggestion that it is bad because it “destroys jobs.” I could choose to bamboozle my listeners, of course, but that would be a choice, not an inevitable imperative of “post-normal science.”

    • Dave Springer

      Don’t be such a drama queen, Willis. Those jungles would have been given over to farms no matter what the crop that replaced them. How many people did the jungle employ and how many does the farm employ?

    • I am sure if they dotted the jungles with webcams/microphones and rented out the unique screen saver view to individual subscribers they could make more money.
      Tourism is the worlds biggest industry, many people will pay big money to visit unspoilt places.

    • Dave Springer

      Try it. That’s gotta be one of the stupidest ideas of all time. Like saying because one zip line can make money a million zip lines can make a million times as much. The problem comes down to how much demand there is. There’s enough demand to keep one zip line busy. There’s not enough demand to keep a million of them busy. Same applies to cameras. If there were a way to make more money from virgin jungle than clearing and farming it someone has already done it to the point where supply meets demand and then some.

    • Dave Springer

      Willis writes:

      “But for the poor of the world, for those living on the edge, expensive energy can be a grave danger at best and a death sentence at worst.”

      Really? Which poor would that be? China and India aren’t taking part in this charade. They’re exempt from Kyoto. I doubt the price of dung for cookfires has gone up in Africa. So exactly who are you talking about?

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

      Willis Eschenbach wrote:

      There is no pressure to deal with the climate right now…

      http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2012/24jul_greenland/

      Oh – I know – That is “proof” of nothing. Just a coincidence.

      My prediction:
      The children and grandchildren of people who argue against a putting a price on carbon emissions are going to be very pissed at the cost of not putting a price on carbon emissions.

    • http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2006/2006GL026510.shtml

      My prediction: when the AMO goes negative the ice melt in Greenland will go negative along with it.

    • Tomorrow’s cycle may not be your Grandpa’s cycle.

    • Maybe not JCH, I am always open to being shown I’m wrong. When the AMO goes negative we will both know.

    • That should be tomorrow’s pseudo-cycle may not be your grandpa’s pseudo-cycle :)
      http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/07/thermal-inertia.html

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

      The AMO is a detrended signal – So even when it goes negative it is quite probable that the Greenland melting will continue.

      Even if it doesn’t – We are now at approx. 400 ppm CO2 – and no one believes that we won’t hit 500 ppm in a few more decades. That’s means that we’ve got increased temperatures and a significant oceanic pH decrease ‘in the pipe’.

      Yes – climate has always changed – but never has it changed this fast without a corresponding extinction event. Welcome to the Anthropocene.

    • LOL and everyone should react because of your fears

    • Um …. the last paragraph in your link is:

      “Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time,” says Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data. “But if we continue to observe melting events like this in upcoming years, it will be worrisome.”

      In other words, nothing unusual in this. Perhaps we should postpone panic until we see “if we continue to observe melting events like this in upcoming years.”

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


      In other words, nothing unusual in this.

      Right. Except that it is taking place at the same time as many other measurable changes. You know: Warming troposphere, warming oceans, cooling stratosphere, etc.


      Perhaps we should postpone panic until we see “if we continue to observe melting events like this in upcoming years.”

      No worries.
      I’m sure it’s all just an improbable series of coincidences due to “natural” variations.

    • How many years must the stratosphere show no cooling before people will hang this one up as a model fail?

    • “How many years must the stratosphere show no cooling before people will hang this one up as a model fail?” Susan Solomon has a paper where she carefully removed the unexpected warming and attributed the impact to unexpected phenomena, the CO2 cooling signal was still present if you squinted.

      See, there are no steps, only constant warming if you squint in a post normal manner :)
      http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/07/there-are-no-steps-it-is-constant.html

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

      steve asks:

      How many years must the stratosphere show no cooling before people will hang this one up as a model fail?

      Your question is irrelevent, and your ignorance is showing.
      The stratosphere is cooling.

      See
      (http://www.atmosphere.mpg.de/enid/20c.html)
      or
      Jarvis et al (1998)
      or
      Laštovička et al (2006):

      The upper atmosphere is generally cooling and contracting, and related changes in chemical composition are affecting the ionosphere. The dominant driver of these trends is increasing greenhouse forcing, although there may be contributions from anthropogenic changes of the ozone layer and long-term increase of geomagnetic activity throughout the 20th century. Thus, the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases influence the atmosphere at nearly all altitudes between ground and space, affecting not only life on the surface but also the spacebased technological systems on which we increasingly rely.

      (source: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/314/5803/1253.full)

    • Dallas, there are a few papers out there that argue reasons why the stratosphere is not behaving as expected. If you happen to run into the Solomon one I’d appreciate a link since I am not sure from your description that that is one I have seen. None of the papers dispute that the observations do not match up with those expected from the models. I have a simple theory I stick to in situations like this. If you don’t understand why something doesn’t happen you never really understood why it did.

    • Jeb, go get up to date and get back to me.

    • Steven,

      http://www.columbia.edu/~lmp/paps/polvani+solomon-JGR-2012-revised.pdf

      Ozone depletion is interesting. stratospheric water vapor/ice crystals tend to be reactive with ozone. That is likely the reason for the Arctic ozone hole.

    • Thanks for the reference, interesting paper

    • Thanks Dallas, this is one I try to keep up with.

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

      steve:

      Jeb, go get up to date and get back to me.

      Sure thing.
      I want nothing more than to be ‘au courant’ on the latest tropes and memes of the ‘skeptical’ blogosphere.

      Talk with you again after my frontal lobotomy.

    • Jeb, Dallas linked an interesting paper. Read it. I am.

    • Yeah Hypo, nothing new here. “There is growing evidence that increased greenhouse gases are responsible for increased upwelling, via an accelerated Brewer-Dobson circulation.” The paper is new though, needs to be peer reviewed and such.

      http://www.columbia.edu/~lmp/paps/polvani+solomon-JGR-2012-revised.pdf

      Hell, skeptics don’t even know what a Brewer-Dobson circulation is anyway :)

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


      Jeb, Dallas linked an interesting paper. Read it. I am.

      Yes – And if you read it, you will have noted that the authors state that the GHG effects and ozone dpletion effects are additive.

      See – I read it too.

      Now – Will you deign to read any of the refs from a previous comment – or are these not “interesting” enough for you?

      http://www.atmosphere.mpg.de/enid/20c.html
      Jarvis et al (1998)
      Laštovička et al (2006)

    • Hypo, “Yes – And if you read it, you will have noted that the authors state that the GHG effects and ozone dpletion effects are additive.”

      I think you are missing a subtle point. The GHG effect is accelerating deep convection which is impacting ozone. This the the negative lapse rate feed back with a twist.

      http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/07/thermal-inertia.html

      That is a non-standard method because I think this is a non-standard puzzle, but the deep convection shifts ocean heat capacity. It kinda explains why there is less than expected warming over the oceans especially in the tropics. In my opinion, the shift tends to get stuck in the NH because of land use. Working a better explanation, but it is almost chaotic :)

    • Dave Springer

      Stratospheric ozone is SO 1970′s….

    • Dallas, GHG forcing or any other forcing for that matter unless I am missing something.

    • Steven, “GHG forcing and any other forcing.” Yeah, but I look at it as “where the force is applied.” Energy can only be transferred so quickly, so what ever is the weakest link is the path it will take. More energy in the mid troposphere will stimulate upper level convection, a negative feed back. More energy near the surface, especially where water vapor can amplify it, the textbook GHE. The stimulated convection by either, should increase the lapse rate, but depending on the upper level winds, that increase may not be measurable.

    • Dave Springer

      AMO is not a detrended signal. I can see it in all global reconstructions. Maybe my thousands of hours staring at oscilloscopes in electronics labs gives me a talent at eyeballing stuff like that. A 60-year sine wave riding on top of a slowly increasing DC level peppered with random noise – no problem. Seen signals like that on o-scopes a zillion times.

    • Dave Springer

      captdallas

      Energy flow partitions itself. The most resistive path (provided it isn’t 100% resistant) gets some flow and the least resistive path gets the most flow (provided it isn’t 0% resistance). So the same rules that apply to electrical flow in a circuit or water flow in pipes applies to how energy makes its way from earth’s surface to emission altitude. As it turns out evaporation and convection is the path of least resistance on average. This is shown even on Trenberth’s cartoon energy budget which tries to disguise the fact by showing these huge upward and downward LWIR flows which cancel out and leave the final scorecard at:

      conduction – 24
      evaporation – 78
      radiation – 40

      cartoon link:
      http://oceanworld.tamu.edu/resources/ocng_textbook/chapter05/Images/Fig5-6.htm

      Evaporation is responsible for more surface energy loss than conduction and radiation combined. This fact is lost to most people in this debate. Everyone focuses on radiation to the exclusion of everything else. That’s because global warming is all based on radiative effects and the cartoon tries to play that up by drawing huge radiative fluxes the cancel out. Only the net flow matters and the net flow is predominantly latent. Of course latent means there is no increase in temperature.

      I know you’re big on wanting a measure of enthalpy to replace temperature but I don’t think that’s going to change anything. It’s about the rate of speed the water cycle is running at not about how much vapor is in the pipeline at any one instant. You can increase the speed energy is removed from the surface without an increase in enthalpy. You just have a faster flow at the same measure of enthalpy.

    • David Springer, ” You just have a faster flow at the same measure of enthalpy.”

      When you are using global average surface temperature as the standard, the how fast and where are big factors. The tropics cooling has a huge impact on heat capacity, but little impact on average surface temperature. So latent, conductive and radiant could be nearly the same for a wide range of surface temperatures. Ultimately, it is the heat capacity that will tell the tale. With the warmer phase shifted north, the GMT will be higher but the heat uptake would be lower, less ocean surface area exposed to the increased atmospheric resistance. There is no way to avoid some oscillation.

      With the oscillation, seemingly minor variations in forcing have greater impact during a cooling phase and less in a warming phase for any region. That is non-linear dynamics pure and simple. So to me, figuring out the thermal inertia would be critical to any attempt to predict future impact. You have to know the initial conditions. 33C is assuming a condition which may not be “average”.

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

      Dave Springer | July 26, 2012 at 10:59 am |

      AMO is not a detrended signal.

      Fail:

      The AMO signal is usually defined from the patterns of SST variability in the North Atlantic once any linear trend has been removed. This detrending is intended to remove the influence of greenhouse gas-induced global warming from the analysis. However, if the global warming signal is significantly non-linear in time (i.e. not just a smooth linear increase), variations in the forced signal will leak into the AMO definition. Consequently, correlations with the AMO index may alias effects of global warming.

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

    • I always figured our resident fish killer was in one of them pseudo-cycle gangs!

      I also figure the current combat, peppered with three record setting hottest December thru November periods since 2004, will break north rather than south.

    • Ah but grasshopper, the oceans are the key. Actually, I started that to combat the cyclo-manics. You might notice that kinda hurts Scaffela’s variable thermonuclear barycentric model and is in keeping with Selvam’s everything is deterministically chaotic program.

    • JCH, Post Normal Science.

      There is evidence the past warming and cooling are greater in the Northern Hemisphere than in the Southern Hemisphere.

      Defined the term “Global Warming” so that warming in the Northern Hemisphere is irrelevant.

      Use a global surface temperature record predominately based on Northern Hemisphere temperatures.

      Determine that the majority of the current warming is occurring in the Northern Hemisphere.

      Maker sure to increase the number of high northern latitude surface station in order to better evaluate “Global Warming”

      Determine the only “global variable” attributable to man is CO2.

      Blame the predominately Northern Hemisphere warming on the “global variable” and use predominately land based temperature measurements to validate your hypothesis even though most of those station are in the Northern Hemisphere.

    • Just a little bit closer, to the….well, just what is it we’re approaching?
      ==================

    • JCH, http://cdsweb.cern.ch/search?f=author&p=Selvam%2C%20A%20M&ln=en

      I think I am more in the chaotic pattern recognition gang. Selvam can take the “golden” ratio and “golden” angles and fairly convincingly show that every system has cyclic behavior but may never perfectly repeat a cycle. Since every system appears to have its own internal oscillator but may never repeat, two systems can appear to be coupled and not be, or be coupled and out of phase so they don’t appear to be coupled.

      So one group can look at the close but not perfect correlation of solar cycles and climate . Another can look at a close but not perfect correlation of CO2 concentration with climate. The CO2 crowd is superior in their mind, because they can “prove” a physical linear relationship for a portion of the non-linear response. The Solar crowd feel they are superior because they can “prove” a non-linear relationship but miss linear portions of the response. Each group though is at the mercy of the initial conditions they select.

      https://picasaweb.google.com/118214947668992946731/July122012#5764295477350791730

      If the CO2 group selects low normal as their initial condition, their theory appears superior. Looking at that chart though, there is a good bit of non-linearity in the system. The CO2 group though can point out that their theory produces another state so the solar guys are whack jobs.

      But then the CO2 guys need to explain things like this,
      http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/07/there-are-no-steps-it-is-constant.html

      The pattern recognition guy will laugh at both groups and come up with crack pot theories like this.

      http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/07/thermal-inertia.html

      Now since both the Solar guys and the CO2 guys picked frames of reference like astronomers instead of using the basics of thermodynamics, both will like be wrong. If they had picked the best frame of reference for a world most covered with water, they would have noticed this.

      http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-1995-climate-shift.html

      The CO2 guys would not be trying to figure out why tropical stratospheric ozone seems to be having a greater impact than expected and the Solar guys would not be trying to figure out how a small change in gravity can have such a huge impact on solar fusion. It appears the more surprises you find, the less likely your theory is correct.

    • It wouldn’t surprise me more to find your frame of reference is bigger than your boat. Hope landing it doesn’t make an old man of ya’. See?
      ================

    • Steve Fitzpatrick

      My prediction: The world will grow much more wealthy via energy use, and if global warming turns out to be an obvios problem (say in 2070), then the wealthy inhabitants of Earth will figure out a technological fix (or fixes).

    • Dave Springer

      +1

      I think it’ll be fixed decades earlier than that. There are cheaper ways to produce hydrocarbon fuels than pumping or digging them out of the ground. Synthetic biology is the key to cheaply converting sunshine into chemical bond energy. Nature already did the heavy lifting in making tiny little self-reproducing, self-repairing machines that do this variously called cyanobacteria or blue-green algae. Nature didn’t optimize the production of stored chemical energy because it doesn’t benefit the organism but is rather an undesirable metabolic byproduct too much of which puts the organism at a competitive disadvantage so production is minimized by natural selection. All we need to do is engineer the organism to optimize production of the chemical bond energy and artificially protect the organism against competition. Easier said than done, to be sure, but do it we will and it shan’t be long now. Exxon-Mobile recently threw the better part of billion dollars at JCVI to engineer that holy grail of GM organisms. Exxon isn’t known to be in the business of wasting sums of money that large.

    • My prediction is that Jeb will be about as accomplished as a Reverend as he has shown to be as a PhD.

    • Money is one thing, but political power is another. Look up “Corporatism”.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporatism
      Note the variants, especially under the “See Also” section.

    • Steve McIntyre

      Willis, it’s worth referring to a letter by Michael Kelly (of Oxburgh panel) to a UK newspaper. Kelly strongly objected to poorly engineered or irrelevant solutions. If the problem is as large as real_climate_scientists believe, Kelly observed that the problem requires well thought out and properly engineered responses. Kelly does not advocate doing nothing, merely that doing “something”, regardless of what it is, is not always productive and may be counterproductive.

  26. Dave Springer

    We need a new category of post-normal science.

    Manufactured post-normal science.

    This is normal science that is sexed up by unscrupulous means into post-normal science so that the funding behind it grows proportionately with its perceived import.

    I submit that climate change is manufactured post-normal science.

    • Joe's World

      Dave,

      Only to the DESIRED conclusion the scientist want to achieve.
      I have seen manufactured mathematical formulas bending science to the desired achievement the scientist is trying to generate.
      No matter what integrated other areas that HAVE to be in consideration, which are ignored or NEVER considered.

  27. WHAT SCINCE IS (please don’t dilute it with PNS)

    “As he formulates his final theory, the scientist subjects it to intensive criticism. Seeking to make it as useful as possible, he asks himself: Is this proposed law universal throughout the extent of space and the passage of time? Does it lead anywhere? Does it predict one state of affairs as arising out of another? Can it be transposed from one frame of reference to another and still remain valid? And finally, because of his innate passion for orderliness, his aesthetic appreciation of things which are meet and fitting, he asks: Is this theory as elegant as possible? Could I formulate it more succinctly?

    Now comes the moment of verification and truth: testing the theory back against protocol experience to establish its validity. If it is not a trivial theory, it suggests the existence of unknown facts which can be verified by further experiment. An expedition may go to Africa to watch an eclipse and find out if starlight really does end relatively as it passes the edge of the sun. After a Maxwell and his theory of electro-magnetism come a Hertz looking for radio waves and a Marconi building a radio set. If the theoretical predictions do not fit in with observable facts, then the theorist has to forget his disappointment and start all over again. This is the stern discipline which keeps science sound and rigorously honest.

    If a theory survives all tests and is accepted into the canon of scientific law, it becomes a fact in its own right and a foundation for higher spires of thought. Abstract though it may be, a theory which has been proved can suggest new hi-fl sets or hybrid cattle just as surely as do experiments with electricity or stock-breeding. It serves as a starting point for new theories just as surely as any experience on the plane of protocols. Galileo’s formula for the increasing speed at which a body falls freely near the surface of the earth became a single example of Newton’s law of gravitation. Newton’s law, in turn, became a single special case in Einstein’s theory that gravitation is a manifestation of the geometry of space and time. At this moment some child in a hamlet somewhere may be preparing himself for the work of constructing a “unified field theory” of both atom and cosmos, in which Einstein’s sweeping concepts of relativity will appear as mere details.”

    The Scientist
    Life Science Library
    By Henry Margenau, David Bergamini
    And the Editors of LIFE
    1966

    • This is the 1966 view that Kuhn and others overthrew, simply by pointing out that most scientists are not trying to establish great new laws of nature. Revolutions are few. They are not what normal science is about.

    • Steven Mosher

      Go find science. When you do, get a cup full of it.

  28. ??Stevie Ray Vaughan – Superstition?? – YouTube

  29. Post-normal science = science filtered through a politicised world view.

    That’s all you need to know. It’s crap. Like all that post-Marxist “intellectual” theory, it is crap and it is harmful. Avoid it like the plague.

  30. The European Union, the UN and the IPCC accept and employ the Precautionary Principle for governance. The U.S. administration and its EPA have done the same. The IPCC an UNFCCC have guided their efforts by the philosophy of Post Normal Science.

    The Precautionary Principle (PP) and Post Normal Science (PNS) are intertwined. Post Normal Science justifies abnormal methods; the Precautionary Principle justifies implementing policy based upon the results of abnormal methods. The result leads to a dilemma of their own making.

    The post (linked below) addresses the nature of the dilemma, including some of the main concepts of Precautionary Principle and Post Normal Science.

    Summary:

    Cass Sunstein (now Regulatory Czar) wrote: “Precautions, in other words, themselves create risks – and hence the principle bans what it simultaneously requires” (Sunstein, 2008). The current situation is a case in point.

    - Multiple current observations suggest we could be entering a cold spell capable of reversing warming and introducing a cold period. Some suggest that period could last 30-50 years. We may find we zigged when we should have zagged.
    - Under the Precautionary Principle (PP) and Post Normal Science (PNS), “Global Warming” policy action is contradicted by precursors and observations of steady or cooling trends. Historically, cooling adversely affects both environment and the human population. PNS and the PP principles would have governments act to prevent global warming and global cooling simultaneously. However, EPA carbon regulations will cripple the U.S. economy and its citizens, reducing our means to adapt to either.
    - Applying PNS and PP criteria, the correct (“no regrets”) policies are to abandon regulatory mandates for fossil fuel reductions and encourage unbiased, more comprehensive climate research. Citizens, on the other hand, are at liberty to choose adaptive actions such as more efficient automobiles, insulation, sealing and heating and cooling systems when and if they find it desirable.

    What follows does not require that either cooling or warming scenarios be “scientifically proven”. Indeed, each scenario requires opposite policy actions under the Precautionary Principle and Post Normal Science.
    http://solarcycle24com.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=globalwarming&action=display&thread=1948&page=1

    A PDF of that study. as originally posted by Pooh, was added as an attachment. Although you have to log in as a member in order to fetch it, becoming a member of this Forum is free and simple. The attachment is available here:
    http://solarcycle24com.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=gotopost&board=globalwarming&thread=1948&post=80698

    • In Ravetz, 2004. (Ravetz, Ph.D., Jerome. “The Post-normal Science of Precaution.” Futures 36, no. 3 (2004): 347–357),
      the following paragraph appears to justify munging of data:

      “Science now finds itself in a new and troubled situation. The traditional optimistic picture is problematic and compromised at every turn. The scientific system now faces a crisis of confidence, of legitimacy and ultimately of power. We can usefully distinguish two sorts of science. The ‘mainstream’ is reductionist in style, and increasingly linked to industry. By contrast, the ‘post-normal’ approach embodies the precautionary principle. It depends on public debate, and involves an essential role for the ‘extended peer community’. It is based on the recent recognition of the influence of values on all research, even including the basic statistical tests of significance. It is the appropriate methodology when either systems uncertainties or decision stakes are high; under those conditions the puzzle-solving approach of ‘normal science’ is obsolete. This is a drastic cultural change for science, which many scientists will difficult to accept. But there is no turning back; we can understand post-normal science as the extension of democracy appropriate to the conditions of our age.”

    • Steve Fitzpatrick

      The purest form of rubbish I have seen. Utter nonsense. Politics is not science (as in really NOT anything like science). Accepting politics as part of science is corrosive and destructive of advancing technical understanding.

    • Steve @ July 26, 2012; “The purest form of rubbish I have seen. Utter nonsense.”

      If you refer to “Post Normal Science”, I agree. I have tried to use less provocative words. The point of the paper (PDF) is this: If one really believes in Post Normal Science and the Precautionary Principle, you must not take policy action, particularly on fossil fuels. (Fossil fuels provide ~70% of U.S. energy sources.)

    • Steve @ July 26, 2012

      The following is the table of contents of the paper referenced in my original post. You can see that the paper is too long for a comment (6 pages, 65 KB). It contains web links to citations as well as brief quotes. All text and links are available in the Proboards topic linked above.

      I had to park the PDF in a different forum since this WordPress does not support attachments or illustrations. http://solarcycle24com.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=gotopost&board=globalwarming&thread=1948&post=80698

      Summary: ……………………………………………………… 1
      Warm Spell or Cold Spell?………………………………….. 1
      Conclusions ……………………………………………………. 2
      Indications of a Cold Spell: …………………………………. 2
      The Sun is in a funk (h/t Watts) …………………………… 2
      Global Temperatures are flat or declining………………… 2
      ENSO, PDO and AMO Indices are in a cold phase …… 3
      A Dalton Minimum is possible ………………………………3
      The effects of a Cold Period are harmful …………………. 3
      IPCC Warming Scenarios are not happening……………. 3
      Characteristics of The Strong Precautionary Principle….3
      Selected Precautionary Principle References: …………..3
      Characteristics of Post Normal Science …………………. 5
      Selected Post Normal Science References: ……………..5
      Incidental Miscellaneous References ………………………6

  31. Steve McIntyre

    one of my frustrations with these articles is that they are very long on verbiage, built on a foundation of only a few examples.

    I think that such discussions would benefit from canvassing more examples. For example, qualifying reports by a consulting geologist for a exploration financing have some elements of full-PNS without the drama of conflicting values:
    3. stakes are high
    4. there is a perception that immediate action is required.
    Even in these cases where values are not in play, an article in Nature is insufficient.

    Nor in the practical world does one build semiconductor plants or mineral processing plants based on little articles in Nature, but based on engineering studies. In engineering, stakes are high and immediate action is planned. Engineering happens post-”normal science”.

    Again, I think that those people trying to philosophize about such matters would do well to get out into the world a little more and build up a richer inventory of examples – a recommendation made by none other Rene Descartes, the father of modern philosophy. (Little known is that he also wrote on clouds.)

    • The seat of Climate’s soul is the Locus Cumulus.
      =====================

    • Dave Springer

      Just yesterday in a thread here I pointed out that half of federal elected office is held by lawyers and asked who thought we might be better served if half were engineers instead.

      Good point on engineers always operating in post-normal mode of science. From an engineering standpoint I believe it’s easier to cool the planet if it’s too warm than it is to heat it if it’s too cool. Cooling can be done by aerosols easy enough. Blow some dust into the stratosphere with a few nukes in a desert and away you go. Nuclear winter. Scientists already modeled it back in the ’60s. We know their models are never wrong about such things. The formula here is

      CAGW + Nuclear Winter = Global Just Right

      Careful design can loft it and make it so diffuse when it settles out over a few years you probably won’t be able to detect any rise in cancer rate from the radiation. Fukushima might help constrian the cancer risk a bit more. Then take the money we save by not worrying about global warming unless and until we need to be proactive and put the monetary windfall towards the war on cancer. That’s what we call a win-win situation. No matter which way the chips fall with global warming you get a cure for cancer out of it. What’s not to like?

    • I would settle for one 1 Mt fission/fusion pump-up X-Ray laser in the upper atmosphere, above the Pacific. This would give us quite a nice 14C signal, and a nice amount 90Sr.
      We could track the 14C prior to and after the detonation; this would allow us to track the rates of of CO2 fixation and sequestration in the terrestrial/aquatic biospheres.
      The 90Sr would be very nice for measuring the rate of CaCO3 shell formation, as 90Sr14CO3.
      I am sure the US or Russians must have one laying about somewhere.

    • Steve McIntyre:

      The semiconductor fab example is a good one, because the combination of time pressure, large (and increasing) gross investment size, and technological uncertainty forces firms to make big bets with less-than-perfect understanding. One interesting feature of all the firms that survived multiple investment generations is that they had cultures where technical issues were debated openly and often harshly. Intel, Texas Instruments, Samsung, etc. all had a strong norm that technical arguments should be surfaced and argued vigorously prior to senior management’s decision. After that decision, everyone was expected to fall in line to carry out that decision regardless of one’s prior position.

      That last step is a lot easier to justify in a corporate context than in a liberal democracy–it is a necessity for decision closure and execution but suppresses the right to dissent and organize politically.

  32. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

    Is that the same Rene Descartes who distrusted all sensory perception, who rejected induction from examples as a form of reasoning, and who argued that God was required to maintain the existence of the material world?

    Descartes was a great philosopher and a great mathematician.
    But he was no empiricist.

    Newton tore Descartes’ physics to shreds in ‘De Gravitatione’ and in the ‘Principia’.

    • > Is that the same Rene Descartes who distrusted all sensory perception, who rejected induction from examples as a form of reasoning, and who argued that God was required to maintain the existence of the material world?

      Not really.

    • Hypo, your understanding of Descartes is as bad as I have ever seen, and I have seen a lot. Descartes, like many at the time, was looking for the foundation of knowledge. In the process he identified the mind, the first modern to do so well. That is the kind of thing great philosophers do. He pointed out, quite correctly, that perception in the head is not reality in the distance, so all perception may be mistaken. Your experiences might be a lab experiment, as it were. So much for empiricism as a fundamental principle. We teach this in freshman philosophy but it is a hard lesson, even after 400 years. That is a measure of the depth of an idea, that few can grasp it.

    • lurker passing through, laughing

      David,
      I think the better nickname for The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse
      is just ‘hype’.

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


      Hypo, your understanding of Descartes is as bad as I have ever seen, and I have seen a lot.

      I have no doubt that you have indeed seen a lot of bad understanding.


      He pointed out, quite correctly, that perception in the head is not reality in the distance, so all perception may be mistaken.

      You don’t say…
      In other words – as in my post: He “distrusted all sensory perception”?


      Your experiences might be a lab experiment, as it were. So much for empiricism as a fundamental principle. We teach this in freshman philosophy but it is a hard lesson, even after 400 years. That is a measure of the depth of an idea, that few can grasp it.

      Gosh, David.
      You are such smart brain-in-a-vat, possibly struggling against an evil and omnipotent demon.
      I’m not surprised that your students struggle.

      And so much for empiricism too! Pwned!

      Obviously a fabulously good thing you stopped by to help us lesser mortals. Thanks!

    • Steven Mosher

      1. Newton believed in induction ( check your Hume for the empiricist position on that)
      2. Newton’s rulz for reasoning included a version of occams razor.

      Suggest you not get your descartes from comic books or cliff notes.

  33. My opinion is that these kind of discussions about philosophical “ideas” stuff like “post-normal science” is largely intellectual toss with zero consequence. That’s just my opinion though and I might be wrong. I just find it all so boring I can’t be bothered understanding what it’s really about. I don’t see any clear and straight forward definitions of stuff. Again that’s just me, most people clearly love all the nuances and new words and concepts. What I find more interesting is actual data and results of stuff that are fairly straight forward. Like how is the ice doing? what is global temperature doing? what are models saying now? etc. Just my opinion though and my opinion might be down to me not understanding the complexities of ideas like “post-normal science”

    • Rob Starkey

      +1

    • Dave Springer

      He’s probably got a government grant. Don’t you like to see what you’re paying for?

    • Dave Springer

      Oh wait. I was presuming you’re in the 49% of US wage earners who pay more in federal taxes than they get back in tax credits. Presumptious of me. Sorry. Are you a forty-nine percenter? :mrgreen:

      http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/05/51-of-americans-pay-no-federal-income-taxes/238329/

    • Dave Springer

      I wonder what kind of government we’d have if only people who pay a net amount in federal taxes get to vote in federal elections. Maybe it’s time to repeal whatever amendment it was that outlawed poll taxes.

    • I am more in favor of the franchise being based on having provided service to your country.

    • Dave Springer

      Interesting idea. It doesn’t discriminate by race, creed, or gender. We’d need some sort of grandfather clause to be fair. We’d also have to make available more means of “service” since military has physical standards not everyone can meet through no fault of their own. Overall it’s a great idea. Davey likes it.

    • lolwot

      What I find more interesting is actual data and results of stuff that are fairly straight forward.

      Actual data are interesting. Model results much less so.

      Unfortunately for the CAGW premise, it is based on model results rather than actual data.

      Max

    • Yes, I am sure it is all beyond you. But ideas have surprising power. After all, CAGW is just an idea. As you may have noticed, or not, the climate debate is not really about data, etc., but about its interpretation, which is an idea. Given the same data, your interpretation and mine differ. Ideas are like that. So is science at the frontier, a realm of debate, of ideas, not a realm of facts.

      Just a thought.

    • lolwot,

      I’ll give a +1 as well.

  34. John F. Pittman

    S Mosher: Morals, Values, and Interests.

    Steve McI: Nor in the practical world does one build semiconductor plants or mineral processing plants based on little articles in Nature, but based on engineering studies. In engineering, stakes are high and immediate action is planned. Engineering happens post-”normal science”.

    There is a conflict here that may be addressed in the material. What an engineer does is to take specifications and design to meet the agreed specifications. One cannot spec out morals, values, and interests. There has been a growing number of economic and energy failures, i.e. present Germany, based on two main causes: 1. Not engaging engineers as to what specs can be met; 2. not engaging engineers in risk/cost/performance analysis as relates to desired package including permits and right-of-way potential problems. What can bridge these two areas is a quality system, as briefly mentioned here in this quote:”The issue of quality is even more vexed. This includes far more than the evidential strength of particular items of information in relation to their policy implications.” Ravetz

    In modern manufacturing, quality systems are used to bridge, educate, decide similar perceptions and the need for the delivered package to work. Perhaps there is more behind the paywall that would spark a good discussion. Another point is that risk of doing or not doing are given a framework where decisions can be made. It can generate either: it is an acceptable risk to do, or an acceptable risk to not do. As you and many have noted, I see more disagreement about the policies, than whether or not CO2 can cause some warming. Often it gets tied back into the policy area, even when one tries to avoid the policy discussion, simply by someone bringing up the importance of the magnitude of climate sensitivity and its uncertaintities if you actually plan on being successful. By making the framework a quality system in order to determine specs after the perception part is done could be useful.

    At this point, I have to agree with those I see as obstructionists. The solutions are not shown to be effective, or even wrong, much less correct. In the present framework, the precautionary principle is political rhetoric, and agrees with one policy view wrt risk which many disagree with. In news, we see that low probability, high potential cost events are portrayed that they will happen as sure as a dropping coin will fall. The perception many have of this, and I am one, is best seen on a SNL skit making fun of the Smucker’s ad campaign about their name.

    • John F. Pittman, future generations will probably call this the sand age as it is the basis of our two major building materials (Concrete and Glass) and our computing and telecommunications industry (silicon chips and fiber optics).
      Watching people pour concrete is rather fascinating, before each pour, as the mixer truck comes in a Concrete Construction Special Inspector tests the mix, using a variety of techniques, to make sure it is up to specification. In some cases, when he rejects a load, that is it for the project. All the concrete already laid has to be removed and the whole job restarted. This is the only way that one can ensure that the constructors and concrete makers are doing their gob and that the concrete will meet its designed specification.
      Note that Concrete Construction Special Inspector is completely independent of the constructors/concrete makers, even though (s)he is paid by the constructors.

      Now its not that people in the concrete making or concrete using industries are particularly immoral, or that they constructors don’t want to use the correct grade of concrete that Inspectors are completely independent. No, independent inspectors are required because this is a life and death matter; a bridge or building might fail and people might die.
      cAGW is a similar life and death issue.

      If true, then we are degrading the lives of billions and a significant amount of world GDP needs to be diverted into non-carbon based energy resources..
      If false, and the world diverts a sizable fraction of its GDP into non-carbon based energy resources, we are degrading the lives of billions for nothing.
      I for one would like to know the odds of a large temperature rise and to know what the temperature of the planet was over the last 5,000 years.
      Sadly, I have no trust what so ever in the possible average temperature rise caused by a doubling of CO2, the temperature during the last 2,000 years and even in the temperature over the last 100 years.
      The reson I don’t know any of these things is because there are no Climate Models Special Inspectors, Climate Reconstruction Special Inspectors or Climate Temperature Special Inspectors.
      Until the products of climate science have the minimal level of supervision that butchers, or Tanning Salons or professional athletes have then I will reject as unproven pretty much everything in the field. It sad, but true.

    • DocMartin

      Thanks for a very convincing post.

    • sorry

      DocMartyn

  35. But why did the IPCC not recognise that the climate change between 1905 and 1940 of 0.45C was postnormal? Because they would have had to explain why it stopped so suddenly and reversed in 1940. They were unwilling to face the fact that the narrow band resonance in CO2 was limited in the amount of earth’s IR radiation it could absorb. That is not surprising as no resonant system is able to absorb infinite power and most are limited to much less. When the maximum absorption power is exceeded the additional energy escapes harmlessly into space. That is still the position today. The pre-1940 extra energy is still being pumped into the system and is slowly raising the temperature of the oceans, hence the global temperature increase between 1970 and 2000. The extra CO2 in the atmosphere is not enough to measurably raise the temperature above the 2000 level.

    • Interesting point. The temperature trend then was similar to the temperature trend now. The only thing that’s different is that now they have an anthropogenic cause to pin it on. Seeing something happen isn’t, by itself, cause for action. Having a theory is. How different is this from insisting on throwing virgins in volcanoes to placate the gods?

    • I had a look at the Gergis et al data. As we are being constantly told that we are living through the greatest every rise in temperature I thought I might do a little test.
      I used the same calibration data set and matched it against all possible year sequences and measured the r squared of the fit.

      http://i179.photobucket.com/albums/w318/DocMartyn/RsquaredofProxiesvsHadCRU.jpg

      Isn’t it interesting that the 70 year HadCRU ending in 1990 fits the past of some of the proxies much better than the present?

    • Thank you for your reply, Doc Martin.

      I’m not sure what you achieve by squaring a time series. In my experience it is more useful to minimize the difference of two time series by rms’ing their differences. This works rather like the cross-correlation function between two time series. I’m pretty sure that the cross-correlation between the time series of CO2 concentration and global average temperature would show little correlation.

    • There seems to be a co-relation between CO2 and global average temperature by mainstream climate science but as yet I am not able to see if there is there is any causal relationship between them, but if there is, the data seems to indicate that CO2 movements lag BEHIND movements in global average temperatures.

    • peterdavies252

      Sorry … “identified” … by mainstream climate science ..

    • Pooh, Dixie

      Peter Jul 25, 2012 7:50 pm:
      The sales of umbrellas in New York can be correlated with egg production in South Africa. But I would not advise NY umbrella merchants to base their marketing on sending chickens to South Africa. :-D

  36. Willis Eschenbach

    Steven Mosher | July 25, 2012 at 4:56 am | Reply

    “The most astounding claim from Ravetz and his ilk is that post-normal science applies to situations where we don’t really understand the situation but we have to make an urgent decision … which seems mad to me. ”

    There are two parts to PNS. the first part is merely description, observation. When facts are uncertain, when values are in conflict, when stakes are high, and where there is a perception that imediate action is required, scientific behavior changes. You might wish it otherwise, but wishing doesnt make it so.

    Thanks, Steven. Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear. There is a fundamental contradiction in your definition. When the facts are uncertain, how on earth can we seriously claim that “immediate action is required”? Sure, that may be the perception, but for us to not struggle against that inane perception is madness. If the facts are uncertain, then the conclusions about urgency are uncertain as well. In addition, uncertain facts also means that any actions we take may well be either useless or counter-productive … see Kyoto and the EPA’s cap-and-tax for examples. You might wish it otherwise, but wishing doesnt make it so.

    In normal science, values are not in conflict. Nobodies religion is threated by super conductivity. Nobodies sense of morality is threatened by the existence of the Higgs Boson. So normal science plods along. we will find the truth when she is ready to be found. But when the field of study touches deeply held values, when the answer to the science questions involves very high stakes, and when some perceive that we need an answer today.. then science changes. You can observe this change. It is no longer dis interested investigation. You might wish that it were, but it is not. Science changes and the behavior of scientists and their institutions change. This fact, that science is what scientists do, that there is not some ideal that determines how scientists in fact act, is disturbing to some people.

    Gosh, you mean that when people get some goofy idea in their heads, when they believe the sky is falling, they act strangely? That’s shocking news, Steven … Look, the fact that some scientists act like Chicken Little idiots doesn’t make Chicken Little idiocy a part of science, no matter if in their case it is “what scientists do”. It just makes those scientists fools.

    You would like to tell scientists to just do as you say, to act according to your ideal of science. That’s quaint.

    I would like scientists to practice science, which is the investigation of the world through experimentation, observation, transparency, and intensive and rigorous falsification of claims. When they stop doing that, they stop being scientists. It’s not true in the slightest, as you claim, that science is what scientists do. Many folks who claim to be scientists do not do anything even vaguely resembling science.

    Steven, I’ve got bad news for you … the fact that a number of AGW supporting scientists have been caught lying, cheating, and stealing to ram AGW down our throats doesn’t mean that their doing so automatically makes lying, cheating and stealing a part of science.

    You’d like us to act according to your ideas of science.

    That’s quaint … and dangerous. Science got along very well for years without any of your “science is what scientists do” BS, but it won’t last long if your ideas and those of Ravetz take hold.

    w.

    • When the facts are uncertain, how on earth can we seriously claim that “immediate action is required”?

      Well, you have to possess an elusive quality called “common sense.”

      Deniers are ignorant of science, for the most part, because most of you have no background in the subject. But deadening your God-given common sense is an unnecessary self-inflicted wound.

      I suggest you take some time to mediate on the many, many situations in which immediate action is required even as facts about the situation remain uncertain.

      You should be able to name a dozen off the top of your head.

    • Latimer Alder

      Why don’t you give us your own first half dozen as examples so that we can get started? And we can compare them with AGW and see if they share common characteristics.

      You should be able to name these off the top of your head.

    • Robert

      Who gave you the power to say who knows science and who does not?

      Are you going to confiscate our science and engineering degrees?

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Robert | July 26, 2012 at 5:47 am | Reply

      When the facts are uncertain, how on earth can we seriously claim that “immediate action is required”?

      Well, you have to possess an elusive quality called “common sense.”

      Deniers are ignorant of science, for the most part, because most of you have no background in the subject. But deadening your God-given common sense is an unnecessary self-inflicted wound.

      I suggest you take some time to mediate on the many, many situations in which immediate action is required even as facts about the situation remain uncertain.

      You should be able to name a dozen off the top of your head.

      Thanks, Robert. A few issues with your comment.

      First, even a person with even a shred of common sense would know not to call people who disagree with him “deniers” after so many people have objected to the term. The effect of doing that is to encourage people to disregard your opinion … not sensible at all. In addition, it makes you look like someone totally lacking not only common sense, but common decency as well.

      Second, a man whose own scientific background is deliberately hidden behind an alias as you have done has absolutely no moral standing to criticize the scientific background of some imaginary class of people you call “deniers”. That’s the action of a craven coward.

      Third, you are responding to me, and thus implicitly lumping me in with what you call scientifically ignorant “deniers” … except I’m not scientifically ignorant. Or at least the scientific journals don’t think so, they publish my work. And your work is published where? Oh, right, we don’t know because you are just some random anonymous internet popup who is too afraid to sign his words.

      Fourth, I know of very few situations where immediate action is required even though the facts are uncertain, unless the action is further investigation. For example, I’m a sailor. If I think the boat is leaking and might sink, but I don’t know for sure, I don’t yell “Abandon ship!”. I yell “The ship might be sinking, everyone check your area to see if it’s leaking”. Investigation, not action, is what uncertain situations generally require.

      So I’m gonna support the stand of Latimer, who said:

      Why don’t you give us your own first half dozen as examples so that we can get started? And we can compare them with AGW and see if they share common characteristics.

      You should be able to name these off the top of your head.

      I suspect you will find that it’s hard to come up with an uncertain situation that calls for immediate action, as opposed to immediate investigation.

      In the meantime, to get you started, you might try reading “Climate, Caution, and Precaution”, in which I discuss the particular foolishness that you are espousing.

      w.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Willis Eschenbach objects to:  “some imaginary class of people you call ‘deniers’.”

      The solution to your objection is quite simple, Willis Eschenbach.

      A rating scale for climate-change denial that is comparably objective to The Denial Rating Scale (DRS) for alcoholic denial.

      It’s true that in-denial alcoholics object vehemently to measures of denialist cognition. However, these denialist objections do not alter the objectively measurable reality of alcoholic denialist cognition.

      Summary  Alcoholic denial and climate-change denial both are real and both are well-suited to scientific investigation.

      ———————–

      Thank you for suggesting the application of denialist metrics in climate-change research, Willis Eschenbach.   :)   :)   :)

    • Willis Eschenbach

      A fan of *MORE* discourse, if you said to me that you don’t like being called an informatarian, or any other term that displeased you, I wouldn’t argue that it’s my God-given right to call you what ever I please. I wouldn’t make snide references to alcoholism. I simply wouldn’t call you that.

      It’s just common decency, something you seem to know nothing about …

      w.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Willis Eschenbach, the scientific literature has described many varieties of denialist cognition, and this literature provides solid foundations for the study of climate-change denial.

      It is commonly observed, for example, that anger, and personalization of that anger, are associated to denialist cognition.

      To what further scientific literature may we direct your attention, Willis Eschenbach?   :)   :)   :)

    • Steve Milesworthy

      For example, I’m a sailor. If I think the boat is leaking and might sink, but I don’t know for sure, I don’t yell “Abandon ship!”. I yell “The ship might be sinking, everyone check your area to see if it’s leaking”

      Would you perhaps not add that if people see a leak they should consider bailing, sticking finger in hole, making a judgement about the size of leak and yelling abandon ship themselves, or that they should be ensuring they have their life preservers on properly, that someone could be ensuring, if practicable, that the lifeboat is accessible or that supplies can be pulled together quickly or that the radio is tuned in?

      I throw up at the sight of a boat so some of the “actions” I suggested might be silly. The point is the phrase “immediate action is required”, if such a phrase has ever been used, does not mean shutting down the world economy. You can take measured action that balances the risk of continuing to burn all the fossil fuels we can get our hands on against the risks of encouraging energy efficiency and other energy sources.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Steve Milesworthy | July 26, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Reply
      For example, I’m a sailor. If I think the boat is leaking and might sink, but I don’t know for sure, I don’t yell “Abandon ship!”. I yell “The ship might be sinking, everyone check your area to see if it’s leaking”

      Would you perhaps not add that if people see a leak they should consider bailing, sticking finger in hole, making a judgement about the size of leak and yelling abandon ship themselves, or that they should be ensuring they have their life preservers on properly, that someone could be ensuring, if practicable, that the lifeboat is accessible or that supplies can be pulled together quickly or that the radio is tuned in?

      Thanks, Steve, but you seem to have missed my point, likely the fault of my writing. I was discussing uncertain situations and whether they call for action or for further investigation.

      Here’s the part you appear to have overlooked. Once people investigate and they actually see a leak, then the situation is no longer uncertain … and at that point, as you note, calls for action make sense.

      w.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      A few of my items were actions (check radio, check lifeboat, check supplies, check life preservers). All of these *could* have meant someone diverted from winning the race, avoiding the whale, or whatever.

      I read your article, and I was not convinced it successfully argued against the precautionary principle because I disagreed on your assessment of 1 and 3 in particular, and the belittling of climate science (2) didn’t help. Things are potentially serious and certainly irreversible (barring collecting all the extra CO2 from the atmosphere) and there are cost effective measures (if you properly account for the cost benefit analysis – so that’s the point of disagreement) in addition to your “no regrets” examples (which obviously would themselves cost money).

      So that is why I don’t think you have made your case that:

      When the facts are uncertain, how on earth can we seriously claim that “immediate action is required”?

    • Or the sailors can hope that thunderstorms magically save them…

    • Chris,

      Curious as to how much time at sea you have?

    • Pooh, Dixie

      Willis has it right. The immediate action is to determine what is leaking. Happened to me once. A friend’s boat boat was filling with water (at a dock, fortunately). Went aboard, found the engine’s cooling intake hose had burst, turned off the intake valve (through-hull), started the bilge pump. Replaced the hose.
      Offshore? A good reason to get a sailboat.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Pooh, we know what is leaking, and we know how to fix the leak. We need to bung up the hole with one of the sails and start using the oars a bit more instead.

    • Rob Starkey

      Willis

      You will soon discover that having meaningful exchanges with Robert are usually not possible.

    • Interesting:

      In addition, it makes you look like someone totally lacking not only common sense, but common decency as well.

      So Willis thinks that using denigrating terms for people that disagree with him shows a total lack common sense, as well as common decency. Fascinating.

      Also interesting that once again we see Willis’ self-serving criteria for determining who is or isn’t a “coward.” Not what someone does in their life. Not how they treat other people in the real world. No evidence whatsoever as to who the person actually is. Nope. Whether or not they post on blogs under their full name. And apparently, in his zeal to prove his courage, Willis seems not to have forgotten what he wrote just minutes earlier than calling Robert a “craven coward.”

      The effect of doing that is to encourage people to disregard your opinion … not sensible at all. In addition, it makes you look like someone totally lacking not only common sense, but common decency as well.

      Fascinating.

      I wonder if Willis will, once again, explain how his acting in ways that he considers to be cowardly and completely lacking in common sense and decency is actually just proof of his intolerance for any actions less noble than his own actions.

      Fascinating.

    • And Willis –

      Do tell. What would you call someone who, under his full name, made a false accusation on his blog (that I post while being paid by the university associated with my email address), and then wouldn’t put my post explaining his error past moderation?

      Would you consider that the act of a “craven coward?” How would you reconcile that with your use of anonymity as a criterion for insinuating cowardice. Would the fact that Anthony Watts did what I just described, change your opinion about whether that was the action of a “craven coward?”

      Here’s my opinion, Willis. I think it is foolish for one to think that they can determine whether or not someone is a coward on the basis of such a flimsy amount of evidence. I would say it would only make sense to actually know something in depth about a person before insinuating that they are a “craven coward.” I would say that anyone who formulates conclusions on such a flimsy amount of evidence is displaying what some folks call “motivated reasoning.” Now just because someone displays motivated reasoning in one situation (we all do it) doesn’t invalidate their reasoning in other situations – but if they are unable to face up to how motivated reasoning affects their discourse, even when it is blatantly obvious, it is reasonable to have serious questions about their ability to control for biases in their thinking. What do you think, Willis?

      And Willis, before you make the mistake you’ve made a number of times in the past, I don’t think you’re a bad or evil man.

    • Nice!

      Robert shows a lot of common sense by walking into Willis’ buzzsaw.

    • Steven Mosher

      Wills.
      You are captain of boat and out to sea. You get a weather alert. There may be nasty whether coming your way. You try to check your position.
      your gear is busted. You are uncertain abut where you are and uncertain about the weather.

      your passnegers are nervous. The life raft, you come to find out, is flat with a nice big puncture in it. the life vests are all locked up below.
      Do you take immediate action?

      Lets make it more interesting. Lets turn back the clock.. c02 is at 280ppm.
      you know that adding c02 will cause warming, but you are uncertain how much. and you are uncertain that even if it warms what the damage will
      be.

      You invent the combustion engine and would like to start running them and selling them.
      I object. I argue that you dont know that its safe to put c02 in the air.
      You object. you argue that I dont know if its dangerous. You want to act immediately and start selling combustion engines. i want you to do normal science to prove that it is safe.

      uncertainty has nothing whatsoever to do with whether an action is warranted or not.

      Let’s see if I can make the point even sharper. The problem that climate science faces is this.

      1. facts uncertain: yes, we dont know if continued c02 release is safe
      2. values in conflict: yes. You want to be free to act today how you acted yesterday. to freely use carbon. to keep your money from the tax man. Hansen wants to protect his children and cares not for your freedom.
      he wants his grandchildren to be free from danger, you want freedom to do as you please.
      3. Stakes high? you bet. your freedom To, hansens freedom from.

      4. Immediate action or decision?

      yes, you would like to live this instant as you lived just yesterday. to act as you choose to unless hansen can prove that you are harming his grand children, Hansen would also like to act immediately. he believes that if we wait, if we do normal science, if we play by the rulz of particle physics and demand 6 sigma certainty that we will find out too late to do anything about it.

      That is the problem. The science tells us that we might have to act before we reach normal standards of certainty.

      So the problem isnt that we need certainty to act. the problem isnt that there is some kind of contradiction inherent in acting immediately with uncertain facts. we do that all the time. The problem, at its heart, is that uncertainty, values, high stakes, and the possibility that immediate action may be required, all come together in rather wicked way.
      It’s not normal
      In normal science a scientist is free to look at whatever strikes his fancy. free inquiry. In this situation, they are paid to look at certain things to exclsuion of others. In normal science, we dont worry about bad papers being published, the record eventually is self correcting. in normal science, there is no discussion of philosophy or values. There is a paradigm that is un questioned and philosophy is dead. In normal science, truth isnt rushed. she comes when she comes. In post normal science people are pressed for answers now.

      So, I think you cannot just deny the facts that the science being practiced today is normal. it’s not. The question is what should one do.

      1. climate sciences solution: deny that this science is different.
      deny that politics and values is playing a role. Resist any
      challenge to how science is being practiced.
      2. Willis’ solution: Tell everybody to get back to doing normal science.
      See #1 for why this suggestion doesnt work.
      3. PNS. start by actually describing what is uncertain, what values
      are in conflict, what the stakes are. You cant take the politics or
      or values out of science, so your best bet is a process that is more
      inclusive and transparent. in other words because you cannot remove the values and politics from this science you have one choice. improve the governance and politics around the science.

    • Actually not a bad post. Except for this – might be a tad over the top:

      …and cares not for your freedom.

      He may care – but doesn’t think that Willis’ freedom should trump his (Just as, presumably, Willis doesn’t think that Hansen’s freedom should predominate). Does Willis care not for Hansen’s freedom, or that of others who want immediate action taken? You seem to be confusing positions with interests again.

    • To make it a fair example, presumably the weather forecasters have never proven to be accurate in the past, and it is unclear they even understand the local weather patterns. Right?

      And I’m sorry, but “uncertainty has nothing whatsoever to do with whether an action is warranted or not” may just be one of the dumbest things I have read around here. And that is saying a lot.

      So if we start from absolutely certain that AGW is going to be C unless we decarbonize the economy, there is no impact whatsoever on the decision making process if we learn that the uncertainty that AGW will be C is instead 90%?

      That’s the precautionary principle run amok. And dumb as a box of rocks. It’s also a prescription for paralysis.

      Hey, the risk of an imminent ice age is even more uncertain than the threat of thermageddon. So we should be dumping as much CO2 into the atmosphere as possible.

    • steve fitzpatrick

      Steve Mosher,

      You have certainly given this a lot of thought, and your framing above is more effective that your earlier comments. I only note that the hard, cold reality (OK, maybe soft, warm reality ;-) ) is lots of fossil fuels will continue to be burned for energy for a very long time… certainly 3 or 4 decades, and maybe (probably?) more. The proposed immediate urgent steps (like James Hansen would so like to see) are just not going to happen. Willis’s approach, whatever you think of it, is going to be the default option, at least for the next few decades.

      In 30 years time the current bout of PNS will likely have played itself out, and the truth, as is always the case, will begin to emerge, fully supported by normal science. So what will this future look like? Well, most likely you, I, and James Hansen will all be dead, along with most all of the gladiators participating in this PNS spectacle. Atmospheric CO2 will be approaching 500 PPM (1.2 watts/M^2 more forcing than today!). Humanity will be substantially richer (three times?), healthier, better educated, and with greater technological capabilities… and, I believe, will be perfectly capable of dealing with the effects of 500 PPM CO2, whatever those are.

      My prescription for post normal climate science: take two aspirin and check back in 25 years.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      Steven Mosher, you’ve used “values” sometimes when you probably mean “interests”.
      Let’s see if we can give examples that help
      !/ Morals.
      It is bad to murder fellow humans.
      It is good to treat others as one would wish to be treated.

      2/ Values
      I value human kindness

      3/ Interests.
      I value my child much more than I value yours, as your child is not my legal responsibility or interest.

      Your number 2 says

      “2. values in conflict: yes. You want to be free to act today how you acted yesterday. to freely use carbon. *to keep your money* from the tax man. Hansen wants *to protect his children* and cares not for your freedom.
      he wants his grandchildren to be free from danger, you want freedom to do as you please.”

      Which involves no conflict of values at all. Willis presumably values money and freedom and Hansen also values money and freedom..

      .

    • k scott denison

      Steve Mosher says:

      “Lets make it more interesting. Lets turn back the clock.. c02 is at 280ppm. you know that adding c02 will cause warming, but you are uncertain how much. and you are uncertain that even if it warms what the damage will be.”

      Why go back that far? How about we just go back to the 1970s when the scienctists told us we were slipping into the next ice age. Should we have acted immediately then?

    • “Lets make it more interesting. Lets turn back the clock.. c02 is at 280ppm.
      you know that adding c02 will cause warming, but you are uncertain how much. and you are uncertain that even if it warms what the damage will
      be.

      You invent the combustion engine and would like to start running them and selling them.
      I object. I argue that you dont know that its safe to put c02 in the air.
      You object. you argue that I dont know if its dangerous. You want to act immediately and start selling combustion engines. i want you to do normal science to prove that it is safe.”

      You shown what is wrong with modern government regulations.
      Forget about CO2, what about crash safety. Here you lots people which would agree. End result the car isn’t built. Because to build a car is like building space ship. No can do it, and if they could no one could afford it.
      But what probably would have is secret government programs which tries to make this wonderful new weapon of war, called a Jeep.
      Trillions government dollars could thrown into it, and with constant a failure.

      Meanwhile, everyone is still using horses. You have various horse manure crisis in cities. Mountains horse shit, Trains hauling it away. Methane levels soaring. The only saving grace could be that people are too poor to own horse. A horse is a very inefficient way to travel. It’s slow, it emits methane and CO2. Horses can have diseases. Their a lot labor, “building a horse”. For moving freight, one needs many horses, and slow, and produces more CO2 per ton moved that internal combustion engines.
      Advantage of cars. First, they don’t emit much CO2.
      Each gallon of gasoline emits 20 lb of CO2. The US consumes:
      “In 2011, the United States consumed about 134 billion gallons”
      http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=23&t=10
      So 2680 billion lbs CO2. Or 1.215 billion metric tonnes.
      Or US used:
      “In 2006, the U.S. consumed 1,026,636,000 short tons (931,349,000 metric tons) or 92.3% of coal for electricity generation.”
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal_power_in_the_United_States
      And coal makes
      for CO2 emissions for every one ton of coal burnt is 2.86 tons of CO2:
      .931 times 2.86 is 2.66 billion tons of CO2.
      So coal used for electrical power makes more than twice the CO2 as cars, or if replaced 1/2 coal powerplants with nuclear power [fairly cheap to do] you are in effect making driving all cars at zero CO2 emission. Look at cost of replacing 100 million cars with $20,000 electrical cars [and still using coal for electrical power this would increase CO2 emission but...] that costs 2 trillion dollars.
      Whereas 2 trillion dollar should double US nuclear power.
      So in overly simplify economic model: America as collective has 2 trillion dollars to invest. One option: 100 million electrical cars [which doesn't solve CO2 emission] or 100 nuclear plants. These nuclear plants give everyone yearly/monthly profit for the 2 trillion dollar investment. The other option give everyone an electrical car, say 1/4 to price- so $5000 to buys electric car, and 1/2 price for those with income below 30,000 per year- $2500 [with government back loans- for about daily cost of soda, anyone can get a car. But it's only one car, and one time deal].
      So the 2 trillion for nuclear powerplants doesn’t give you great deal to buy an electric cars, but give you small income and zero CO2 emission- allowing everyone to drive cars at “zero emission”. So in terms of CO2 emission all cars driven are CO2 free.
      The new shiny cars, add to electrical load, but they are shiny, with the new car smell, and because people are buying cars, it actually cost less than 2 trillion [adding factor having cars have some price, would limit waste- and getting electrical car at 20,000 per unit is optimist. And cars will wear out in about 10 years. Whereas nuclear plants lasts 30 or 40 [or longer] years. Or instead giving everyone money one have pay all medical costs, pay off debt or something.

    • “Well, you have to possess an elusive quality called “common sense.”

      says Robert, who believes we should emulate China’s command political/economic system.

      Yep, that one’s oozing common sense.

    • Steven Mosher

      “Thanks, Steven. Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear. There is a fundamental contradiction in your definition. When the facts are uncertain, how on earth can we seriously claim that “immediate action is required””

      Simple. In the first place facts are always uncertain. In the second place, the situation arises when some people judge the facts to be less certain than others. Typically, those who judge them to be less certain are more willing to call for immediate action. Third, What we may be uncertain about can be clarified only by taking action.

    • maksimovich

      Lets clarify the action then.

      Using say the Kyoto protocol,as a delivery mechanism and increase the assumed reduction in Radiative co2 equivalents by a factor of five (to reduce uncertainty),What would be the outcome in terms of climate be?

    • Steve Milesworthy

      According to wikipedia:

      Article 2 of the Convention states its ultimate objective, which is to stabilize the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere “at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (i.e., human) interference with the climate system.

      Obviously, “dangerous” is a big judgemental word, but the underlying implication is that the initial reductions would have been followed by further agreements for more stringent reductions.

      Clearly, a full ratification would have hailed a renaissance in energy efficiency and renewables that would have built us a cleaner and better world – well probably not, but the point is it would have been a start.

      Who knows, the additional reductions may have prevented the double-dip La Ninas and aerosol increases that have contributed to the current lull in warming. We may have had a warmer 2000-2010 that would have spurred more radical action.

    • OMG,

      If you think renewable energy and energy efficiency are going to have much impact you are definitely in fairy land.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Peter, I thought it was clear that I was pretending to be breathlessly hyperbolic.

      Do you think it is equally unrealistic to pretend, as Willis did, that Kyoto was always intended to be the only treaty on reductions that would ever be signed?

    • I misunderstood that you were being “hyperbolic”. I presume that means “sarcastic”.

      I don’t understand your question about Kyoto. Kyoto was intended to be the beginning of a process. But it is an excellent example of a really bad process. It’s an excellent example of what happens when policy is driven by beliefs and value judgments instead of by good, objective, impartial economic analysis.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Peter, if you read back through the thread you will see I was responding to Willis. Willis does not make clear that Kyoto was intended to be the start of the process. He presents Kyoto as being the start and end of the process (which therefore minimises the effect that fulfilling Kyoto would have). He is therefore putting forward the argument as a tactic to win a debate and not as an input to a constructive discussion.

    • Steven Mosher

      “I would like scientists to practice science, which is the investigation of the world through experimentation, observation, transparency, and intensive and rigorous falsification of claims. When they stop doing that, they stop being scientists. It’s not true in the slightest, as you claim, that science is what scientists do. Many folks who claim to be scientists do not do anything even vaguely resembling science”

      Unfortunately willis that is your ideal of scientific behavior. It’s not in fact how “scientists” behave. Your particular idealism tries to put every science on the same playing field as “laboratory” science. There are some sciences where you can’t perform experiments, yet they are useful. Transparency? transparency has nothing to do with epistemology, it has to do with how science is used/accepted by others. Falsification? Another dream. That’s an ideal of how people think science should be performed, in fact some theories we hold today would not have made it through there first test.
      Theories are not falsified. Logically, they cannot be falsified. Neither can they be verified.

    • IOW, there are first-class and second class sciences. First-class sciences like particle physics, have high certainty. People like Feynman wouldn’t have it any other way. Second-class sciences, like most social sciences, are a mush of speculation and questionable experiments. Climate science is mush served on a shingle of physics. The underlying Tyndall physics are pretty solid, but all the other goop slopped on top of that is all over the place. As long as everybody understands that, it’s ok, but certain cheerleader types are in denial (hi, Johnny) about the slop part.

    • Steve Fitzpatrick

      Steven Mosher,
      “It’s not in fact how “scientists” behave.”
      Certainly it is how SOME scientists behave, even if not all. There are differences between experimental and observational sciences of course, but the possibility of falsifying a theory, even in observational sciences, is real. Things are falsified in science all the time, and I am puzzled that anyone who has actually done some science would suggest otherwise. Progress in every field seems to me intimately linked to falsification; I do not suggest that my 38 years in science is perfectly representative, but I would be more than a little surprised if my personal experience is in some way unique. In the struggle to understand complex systems, the ability to falsify incorrect theory by confrontation with data is crucial, and indeed, the best guide forward that one has.

    • Steven Mosher

      Here willis, do a bit of reading beyond Popper. Be more scientific in your description of what science ACTUALLY IS, how it is actually practiced.

      If you think science is a thing, I suggest you go find some, grab a cup of it and test it. What is your theory about what science is, and lets see if we can falsify it. That’s rather easy.

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

      basically Willis you are a rationalist about science, you are not scientific about science. Observe some facts.

      I doubt you will read the Feyerabend texts, while I would not agree with everything he writes, I think you can get a flavor of the challenge to your non scientific account of science, by reading this nice little synopsis from wikipedia of all places.

      “To support his position that methodological rules generally do not contribute to scientific success, Feyerabend provides counterexamples to the claim that (good) science operates according to a certain fixed method. He took some examples of episodes in science that are generally regarded as indisputable instances of progress (e.g. the Copernican revolution), and showed that all common prescriptive rules of science are violated in such circumstances. Moreover, he claimed that applying such rules in these historical situations would actually have prevented scientific revolution.
      One of the criteria for evaluating scientific theories that Feyerabend attacks is the consistency criterion. He points out that to insist that new theories be consistent with old theories gives an unreasonable advantage to the older theory. He makes the logical point that being compatible with a defunct older theory does not increase the validity or truth of a new theory over an alternative covering the same content. That is, if one had to choose between two theories of equal explanatory power, to choose the one that is compatible with an older, falsified theory is to make an aesthetic, rather than a rational choice. The familiarity of such a theory might also make it more appealing to scientists, since they will not have to disregard as many cherished prejudices. Hence, that theory can be said to have “an unfair advantage”.
      Feyerabend was also critical of falsificationism. He argued that no interesting theory is ever consistent with all the relevant facts. This would rule out using a naïve falsificationist rule which says that scientific theories should be rejected if they do not agree with known facts. Feyerabend uses several examples, but “renormalization” in quantum mechanics provides an example of his intentionally provocative style: “This procedure consists in crossing out the results of certain calculations and replacing them by a description of what is actually observed. Thus one admits, implicitly, that the theory is in trouble while formulating it in a manner suggesting that a new principle has been discovered” Against Method. p. 61. Such jokes are not intended as a criticism of the practice of scientists. Feyerabend is not advocating that scientists do not make use of renormalization or other ad hoc methods. Instead, he is arguing that such methods are essential to the progress of science for several reasons. One of these reasons is that progress in science is uneven. For instance, in the time of Galileo, optical theory could not account for phenomena that were observed by means of telescopes. So, astronomers who used telescopic observation had to use ad hoc rules until they could justify their assumptions by means of optical theory.
      Feyerabend was critical of any guideline that aimed to judge the quality of scientific theories by comparing them to known facts. He thought that previous theory might influence natural interpretations of observed phenomena. Scientists necessarily make implicit assumptions when comparing scientific theories to facts that they observe. Such assumptions need to be changed in order to make the new theory compatible with observations. The main example of the influence of natural interpretations that Feyerabend provided was the tower argument. The tower argument was one of the main objections against the theory of a moving earth. Aristotelians assumed that the fact that a stone which is dropped from a tower lands directly beneath it shows that the earth is stationary. They thought that, if the earth moved while the stone was falling, the stone would have been “left behind”. Objects would fall diagonally instead of vertically. Since this does not happen, Aristotelians thought that it was evident that the earth did not move. If one uses ancient theories of impulse and relative motion, the Copernican theory indeed appears to be falsified by the fact that objects fall vertically on earth. This observation required a new interpretation to make it compatible with Copernican theory. Galileo was able to make such a change about the nature of impulse and relative motion. Before such theories were articulated, Galileo had to make use of ad hoc methods and proceed counterinductively. So, “ad hoc” hypotheses actually have a positive function: they temporarily make a new theory compatible with facts until the theory to be defended can be supported by other theories.
      Feyerabend commented on the Galileo affair as follows:
      The church at the time of Galileo was much more faithful to reason than Galileo himself, and also took into consideration the ethical and social consequences of Galileo’s doctrine. Its verdict against Galileo was rational and just, and revisionism can be legitimized solely for motives of political opportunism.[2][3][4]
      Together these remarks sanction the introduction of theories that are inconsistent with well-established facts. Furthermore, a pluralistic methodology that involves making comparisons between any theories at all forces defendants to improve the articulation of each theory. In this way, scientific pluralism improves the critical power of science. Pope Benedict XVI has cited Feyerabend to this effect.[5]
      According to Feyerabend, new theories came to be accepted not because of their accord with scientific method, but because their supporters made use of any trick – rational, rhetorical or ribald – in order to advance their cause. Without a fixed ideology, or the introduction of religious tendencies, the only approach which does not inhibit progress (using whichever definition one sees fit) is “anything goes”: “‘anything goes’ is not a ‘principle’ I hold… but the terrified exclamation of a rationalist who takes a closer look at history.” (Feyerabend, 1975).

    • ClimateSkeptik

      Steve

      You should hand that over to the MSM immediately as I’m sure it will finally convince the public that the science of AGW is settled.

    • Pooh, Dixie

      Willis Jul 25, 2012. I appreciate and agree with your viewpoints. Here are a couple of mine:
      http://judithcurry.com/2012/07/24/special-issue-on-postnormal-climate-science/#comment-222183

  37. JC,

    After reading this post I’ve come to he following conclusion:

    You spend a lot of time on this blog (or rather did spend) on communication and how we’re “talking past eachother”.

    I know longer think that is the case. I instead think this is a simple case of disagreement.

    This goes along with all those studies that say the more someone knows about climate change the more certain in their beliefs they are.

    On the one hand, you have people who are saying, “The regular scientific methods do not work, but we are clever and came up with this other method instead.”

    On the other hand, you have people saying, “The regular scientific methods do not work, and what we have is not good enough.”

    I think that everybody (who’s spent some time on the blog sphere) pretty much understands the other’s arguments and the uncertainty involved, but just disagree on how much we can trust the “post-normal science”.

    What do you guys think? Am I wrong here?

  38. Willis Eschenbach

    Dave Springer | July 25, 2012 at 6:41 am | Reply
    Willis writes:

    “But for the poor of the world, for those living on the edge, expensive energy can be a grave danger at best and a death sentence at worst.”

    Really? Which poor would that be? China and India aren’t taking part in this charade. They’re exempt from Kyoto. I doubt the price of dung for cookfires has gone up in Africa. So exactly who are you talking about?

    Dave, have you ever worked in Africa? I have, and in some of the poorest villages. The idea that world energy prices do not affect poor folks everywhere in the developing world is a sick joke. Do your homework. You might start with my discussion called “Firing Up The Economy, Literally” about the effect of high energy prices on one of the poorest countries on the planet, and move on from there.

    When a local health clinic in Africa can’t run their refrigerator because the cost of fuel is too high, who is at risk of death because all of the vaccines have spoiled? Well, not Dave Springer, he laughs at the idea that people might be in those situations and pretends they don’t exist. When poor kids in the Solomons don’t get fish because gas is too expensive to run an outboard motor, who goes hungry? Not Dave Springer, he lives in a world populated entirely by people without those problems. You could be the poster boy for what I referred to above as “upper-class, whitebread, ‘we’re so much smarter than everyone’, ivory-tower university thinking”. Energy is not a measure of development, energy IS development. Your idea that the lack of affordable energy doesn’t harm the poor everywhere in the world, in developed and developing nations alike, is risible, palpable, and dangerous nonsense.

    w.

    • I found the post on the price of dung morally repellant – I think it was simply a thoughtless middle class attempt at a jibe. I once knew a very nice vet in Environmental Science school – who argued that we should not allow Africa to develop because they didn’t know any different and what they didn’t know they wouldn’t miss.

      I was going to use the vaccine argument myself recently. Is that what you want? Do you want to kill babies?

    • Dave Springer

      It’s tough coming up with politically correct reasons why Africa is so far behind the rest of the world. I’m going with corrupt governments and leave it at that without going into why corrupt governments there are the rule rather than the exception.

    • When poor kids in the Solomons don’t get fish because gas is too expensive to run an outboard motor, who goes hungry? Not Dave Springer, he lives in a world populated entirely by people without those problems. You could be the poster boy for what I referred to above as “upper-class, whitebread, ‘we’re so much smarter than everyone’, ivory-tower university thinking”.

      Willis, teach them logic.

      Thank you.

    • Jumped up, lace curtain Prog thug.
      ===========================

    • Oh, hiya Dave. I wuz talkin’ bout some, er, other people.
      ============

    • Dave Springer

      I asked about China and India, Willis, not some tiny number of subsistence hunters and fishers. There are exceptions to every rule. I’m sure some Eskimos will be sh!tting thinner turds if it’s more expensive to gas up their snowmobiles too. But those are marginal situations. And what about the children of the Solomon guy who sells the gas to the kids who fish? Won’t the lower gas price make his kids go hungry? Maybe in response to higher gas price the price of fish goes up and the fisherman make up for higher gas prices by selling fish. Free markets are like that. You approve of free markets, right?

    • Dave Springer

      Corrupt governments are generally considered to be the source of evil in Africa. Given that general rule of thumb I checked the governance of the Solomon Islands. Here is what I found:

      https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/bp.html

      The UK established a protectorate over the Solomon Islands in the 1890s. Some of the most bitter fighting of World War II occurred on this archipelago. Self-government was achieved in 1976 and independence two years later. Ethnic violence, government malfeasance, and endemic crime have undermined stability and civil society. In June 2003, then Prime Minister Sir Allan KEMAKEZA sought the assistance of Australia in reestablishing law and order; the following month, an Australian-led multinational force arrived to restore peace and disarm ethnic militias. The Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) has generally been effective in restoring law and order and rebuilding government institutions.

      Checkerooni.

      Now please address China and India which I explicitely mentioned as simply refusing to take part in the global warming charade by artificially increasing energy prices and being exempt from Kyoto. The Solomon Islands and all of Africa I believe are exempt from Kyoto and if the cost of gasoline is higher there it’s because of government policies not because of environmentalists. Get a clue you hotheaded imbecile.

    • Dave Springer

      Maybe making bullets more expensive instead of gasoline less expensive would reduce hunger in the Solomon Islands.

    • Dave Springer

      [sound of crickets chirping]

      Yeah, that’s what I thought your response would be to a specific question.

    • Dave Springer

      @willis

      I fail to see how a carbon tax in the United States works to increase the price of gasoline in the Solomon Islands or raise the cost of electricity in Africa. Help me out there, Willis by explaining the logic behind that connection. I suspect you can’t but far be it from me to deny you an opportunity to explain your reasoning.

  39. Willis Eschenbach

    Sorry, the link for “energy is development” just above got lost in the flood, it’s here.

    w.

  40. Mark me down as allergic to anything labeled ‘post-.’ The scientific method, in the broadest sense, works just fine, and needs no new, improved version.

    Just tell the truth. Science is at its best when it just tells the truth, as well as can be accomplished. There is nothing more science – normal, or post-normal – can do for you. There is no post-normality, and there is no higher truth. Climate change can be – and is being – dealt with perfectly well with ‘normal’ science. The scientists have done their bit, and had their say. The rest has nothing to do with science. There is nothing that science can tell me that will decide how I should spend my money or my time. Those are personal choices. Science may inform them, but science doesn’t decide them.

  41. “Post normal science” has no more to do with science that the “precautionary principle” does with precaution. They are in fact flip sides of the same “reframing” coin. They are both just new iterations of the appeal to authority. The “experts” have decided there is an “urgent need” for policy in the absence of evidence of either the severity of the supposed crisis, or the efficacy of the proposed “solution.” Or they have decided that a risk is potentially so catastrophic that the absence of evidence of its probability is irrelevant. In both cases, therefore, it is policy first, evidence later.

    They dress up political arguments as science and logic respectively. Yet post normal science urges ignoring science, and the precautionary principle urges ignoring logic.

    I can’t wait for the next generation in arguments explaining why control over the economy must be given to progressive governments, despite any sufficient evidence justifying either the need, or the likelihood of success of the policies they are so desperate to implement.

    There is nothing new in the climate debate.

    • True, true, beause the Earth has been in a cooling trend for 2,000 years. The latest research shows Roman period was not just warmer than it is currently but even warmer that previously realized.

    • Just for curiousities sake I opened up TT’s link to a realclimate post – it is from 2004 for God’s sake. Nearly a decade is a very long time in paleoclimatic reconstructions. Try to keep up TT.

    • Interesting that you elected to make that comment rather than correct Wagathon’s errors.

    • Huh? Wagathon seems clearly correct in the description Esper 2012 study. TT was being a d!ckhead as usual.

    • Lol. Nothing he said is supported by Esper et al.

    • ‘Solar insolation changes, resulting from long-term oscillations of orbital configurations1, are an important driver of Holocene climate2, 3. The forcing is substantial over the past 2,000 years, up to four times as large as the 1.6 W m−2 net anthropogenic forcing since 1750 (ref. 4), but the trend varies considerably over time, space and with season5. Using numerous high-latitude proxy records, slow orbital changes have recently been shown6 to gradually force boreal summer temperature cooling over the common era. Here, we present new evidence based on maximum latewood density data from northern Scandinavia, indicating that this cooling trend was stronger (−0.31 °C per 1,000 years, ±0.03 °C) than previously reported, and demonstrate that this signature is missing in published tree-ring proxy records. The long-term trend now revealed in maximum latewood density data is in line with coupled general circulation models7, 8 indicating albedo-driven feedback mechanisms and substantial summer cooling over the past two millennia in northern boreal and Arctic latitudes. These findings, together with the missing orbital signature in published dendrochronological records, suggest that large-scale near-surface air-temperature reconstructions9, 10, 11, 12, 13 relying on tree-ring data may underestimate pre-instrumental temperatures including warmth during Medieval and Roman times.’

      You obviously live in an alternate reality.

    • You’re right, I do not live in reality where a small region of the earth rolls up to global.

      It’s regional temperature reconstruction.

      Because it is not a global temperature reconstruction, it cannot demonstrate that the RWP, on a global scale, was even warmer than previously realized.

      But don’t believe me, let one of the author scream it into your hard head:

      …So – let’s not get too hung up on misinterpreting what our paper says. This is a regional study which shows a decreasing trend for almost 2000 years. The Roman, Medieval and present periods are above this long term trend – these trends are not relevant for southern Europe and are certainly not relevant for the globe as a whole. This record should not be used to debunk global warming and people should not get their knickers in a twist if the medieval is warmer than present in this regional record. This is exactly what would be expected from orbital forcing of summer temperatures at this latitude. … – R. Wilson, go team MXD!

    • tempterrain

      Wagathon,

      Thank you for the link. Normally you should include references rather than wait to be asked for them though.

      Chief,

      This paper obviously has your seal of approval. So, naturally it invalidates any previous work which may not have had it. Actually I would have thought that a decade was a very short time in comparison to the time scales involved. And if another one comes out next year, which you don’t like, you just put that down to the “pissant progressives” who all have ulterior motives?

      A more intelligent approach is to look at all the temperature reconstructions and look and where they may agree and where they may disagree rather than just picking out ones that we like and rejecting ones we don’t.

      I don’t know if its an indication of any loose thinking on the part of the German team but I did notice that the temperatures on their graph were “summer temperatures” and the “Temperature in deg C” is shown as close to zero. Lose a mark for that one I’d say.

      The graph also shows temperatures which are lower now than they were in the middle of the 20th century which we know isn’t right from the instrumental record. So there do seem some obvious questions for the authors to answer. If you add on the instrumental record I suspect we’d be looking at yet another hockey stick type graph.

    • It is a hundred year filter – you are a pompous idiot.

    • tempterrain

      Ah yes the hundred year filter. And you complain that I used a reference which is a few years old.
      The point about the hockey stick is that there has been a recent, and sudden, change in the temperature record which will of course be hidden if the time constant on the filter is too long. But I’m sure you know that.

    • ‘The international research team used these density measurements from sub-fossil pine trees in northern Scandinavia to create a sequence reaching back to 138 BC. The density measurements correlate closely with the summer temperatures in this area on the edge of the Nordic taiga. The researchers were thus able to create a temperature reconstruction of unprecedented quality. The reconstruction provides a high-resolution representation of temperature patterns in the Roman and Medieval Warm periods, but also shows the cold phases that occurred during the Migration Period and the later Little Ice Age.

      In addition to the cold and warm phases, the new climate curve also exhibits a phenomenon that was not expected in this form. For the first time, researchers have now been able to use the data derived from tree-rings to precisely calculate a much longer-term cooling trend that has been playing out over the past 2,000 years. Their findings demonstrate that this trend involves a cooling of -0.3°C per millennium due to gradual changes to the position of the sun and an increase in the distance between the Earth and the sun.

      “This figure we calculated may not seem particularly significant,” says Esper. “However, it is also not negligible when compared to global warming, which up to now has been less than 1°C. Our results suggest that the large-scale climate reconstruction shown by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) likely underestimate this long-term cooling trend over the past few millennia.”‘ http://www.uni-mainz.de/eng/15491.php

      Now you may dismiss in the blogosphere the Esper 2012 study as corrupted garbage. As John Cook and other dedicated global warming groupthink gatekeepers are wont to do in their post-normal science version of peer review – but it does exist.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      I don’t see the issue with the paper.

      The paper is about northern forests and we know the solar forcing in the summer months has reduced gradually over that period.

      Turns out the climate in this region has been relatively stable for 2000 years – cooling at 0.31C per 1000 years, which is pretty slow compared with current observed warming (which has obviously more than wiped out this 2000 years of local cooling), and doesn’t seem to give support for any chaotic events having long term consequences.

      I guess it sounds like it is suggesting an up-rating of the MWP in other northern hemisphere records. So the science moves on.

      I haven’t read what sceptical-science says about it…

      …have now – seems I’m saying similar things. Additionally, they are saying that the disagreement in the importance of the MXD data is undermined by the fact that it is not supported by non-tree ring proxies.

      Most of the skepticalscience (got the spelling korrect now) argument seems to be targetting the blogosphere (post normal?) reaction to the paper rather than the paper itself. So the following is a pretty outrageous mischaracterisation

      Now you may dismiss in the blogosphere the Esper 2012 study as corrupted garbage. As John Cook and other dedicated global warming groupthink gatekeepers are wont to do.

      They actually say: “Esper et al. – A Valuable but Overstated Contribution”.

    • I don’t have any issue with the paper – it was just the less than relevant nonsense from TT.

      John Cook is a global warming groupthink gatekeeper. Everything is slanted towards a particular end. It is all very pointless.

    • Post normal? Heh, we aren’t even out of the starting gate, yet.
      ===========

    • Some of us have problems doin’ normal – does this mean I am post-normal?

    • How about ‘preternatural’?
      =================

    • How about abnormal?

    • GaryM: I think you have nailed it, with this comment.

      I wonder if they do post normal science in China, India, Russia, etc ;-)
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jul/18/china-average-europe-carbon-footprint

  42. lurker passing through, laughing

    Post-normal is when scientists pretend something that is well documented in the Greenland ice cores as being periodic is falsely called ‘unprecedented’ and nearly no so-called scientists or journalists bother to make that point clearly, because it might interfere with the mission of selling climate extremism.
    Entertaining in a disgusting, dysfunctional way.

  43. lurker passing through, laughing

    Post normal science is when extremists claim that current CO2 is dangerously changing the pH of the oceans, yet offer no evidence from the ocean life fossils from when CO2 was as high, much less higher.

    • Here for example we see the techniques of Assertion (“Post normal science is when.. “), Name-Calling (“ extremists“), Glittering Generalities (“claim that “), Card Stacking (“current CO2 is dangerously changing the pH of the oceans, yet offer no evidence from the ocean life fossils from when CO2 was as high, much less higher.“). The compactness and repetitiveness is impressive.

    • Teach, your children well.
      ======

    • Their father’s hell did slowly go by

    • Oooh. Nice use of “Simple folk!”

      Literally!

    • My mistake. The technique is called “Plain Folks.”

    • lurker passing through, laughing

      Bart R,
      The lack of substantive response on your part is notable.
      I would submit that your inability to see that you and the other trolls here are extremists, and that you are simply unwilling to admit that the Greenland story has been deceptively presented.
      Since this is a thread about post normal science, my post was topical.
      Yours was just an unintended bit of sad humor attempting to distract from the issue of how corrupting post normal science is.
      Thanks for the laugh.

    • Mere propaganda requires no substantive response.

      Indeed, my point was not about the content of the argument, such as it was, but simply to use it to illustrate forms of propaganda, which you so liberally provide us, without complicating the issue by actually providing substantive matter of sufficient merit to distract from the identification of the technique. Thank you for that.

    • I’m not sold that a focus on propaganda is more valuable than a focus on motivated reasoning (I think specious reasoning and propaganda are both manifestations of motivated reasoning) – but…

      I do think you’re on to something. The blogophere would be vastly improved if instead of algorithms that filter posts on a mostly arbitrary distinction (dirty words), we had software that filtered out posts based on propaganda.

      What a quiet place the blogosphere would be.

    • Latimer Alder

      @joshua

      ‘The blogophere would be vastly improved if instead of algorithms that filter posts on a mostly arbitrary distinction (dirty words), we had software that filtered out posts based on propaganda.

      What a quiet place the blogosphere would be’

      Yep. Just rational discussion. No Screaming Joe Romm, no Skeptical Science, no Real Climate. Silence from you. Bliss!

      And what would you and the rest of your mononymic crew do if propaganda was banned? Could you get ‘redeployed’ on another project or would it be redundancy time? Job prospects for failed CAGitproppers can’t be too good.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Latimer,

      Please point out where Joshua has posted a “post based on propaganda” – preferably three or four so you can’t cherry-pick. I see someone projecting a personal view.

      Perhaps while you are at it, please link to a realclimate post that you think is “based on propaganda”. I don’t follow Joe Romm and rarely read skepticalscience.

      Who here do you think are being paid to post propaganda?

      And what would you and the rest of your mononymic crew…

      What does this mean? Do you disapprove of posters who hide their full, or real name? Are you suggesting Joshua is in cahoots with other semi-anonymous people?

    • Pooh, Dixie

      It isn’t called “propaganda”. They call it “marketing”.

      Futerra. “New Rules: New Game”. futerra, October 12, 2006. http://www.futerra.co.uk/downloads/NewRules_NewGame.pdf

      Futurra. “The Rules of the Game”. PDF, October 14, 2005. This is in the “Climategate” files.

    • Latimer -

      How do you think your posts would do with Bart’s screening for propaganda? He’s already told me mine don’t fare so well. I see little reason to doubt him.

    • Joshua | July 26, 2012 at 11:11 am |

      If it helps, think of “motivated reasoning” as orthogonal to “cause of propaganda”. I’m sure that every point on any “Motivated Reasoning” axis could be the origin of countless propaganda points, but that only gives us a line and I think we’re looking of a plane, or a solid.

      More to the point, motivated reasoning is the cause of pious fraud, mistakes in logic, invincible ignorance and a host of other self-inflicted injuries that people so wounded then seek to share with the world, often through I’m sure propaganda.

      But they might also share it through marketing, salesmanship, and selective telling of the truth; rhetoric, example, circumlocution, frame-shifting and redefinition of language. Just because I mention there are powerful measures of techniques of propaganda, and Climate Etc. is burying the needle in the top of the scale, doesn’t mean all those other things aren’t happening too.

      And.. Latimer isn’t far wrong in a narrow sense. Automated filters will inevitably block (false?) positives quite frequently: propaganda hides and disguises itself, counterpropaganda often can’t be differentiated, the thing that makes much of propaganda technique is by artful absence.

      For example, http://www.planetsmag.com/story.php?id=898 is a heavily propagandistic-seeming article and interview with Michael Mann that is difficult on its face to separate from the Cato piece by Pat Michaels if you look only at what is included. There’s Assertion, Plain Folks, mild name-calling (if one squints just right), Transfer, Testimonial, a bit of bandwagon (if you squint), Card Stacking and Glittering Generalities.

      What’s left out is the dry detail, the lengthy reams of data, the rationale for the inference that Michael Mann uses to build the case that the extremes he sees viewed within the body of knowledge of climatology may be reliable demonstrations of AGW. These omitted details — which we know are there, because the IPCC catalogues much of it, and we can look things up for ourselves — transfigure the generalities into specifics that can be appraised and assessed and found reliable. Why Mann doesn’t do that instead? Perhaps the interviewer left those remarks (if they were there) out. Perhaps an editor did. But it’d be not propaganda if it were included.

      Likewise, there’s no need for assertion, as there’s plenty of documented rationale. We don’t need the entertaining uses of Transfer, and we can analyze the testimonial element to affirm that Michael Mann’s expertise is adequately topical that referring to him isn’t propagandistic. Or wouldn’t be if he weren’t using techniques of propaganda (needlessly, as his case is solid without them).

      To be honest, I wouldn’t mind such an automated filter, if it led people who ought know better to communicate more clearly.

      Pooh, Dixie | July 26, 2012 at 3:08 pm |

      Marketing will use propaganda in some instances. However, confuting the two is a bit like calling a pogo stick a vehicle, and using the words vehicle and pogo stick interchangeably. NRNG appears to be a concerted effort to persuade communicators not to use propaganda techniques in their marketing of their ideas. Which seems amply reasonable advice.

      Oh, and Latimer’s commentary is often relatively propaganda free other than some simplistic name calling and bald assertion, it turns out. Skreedy sarcasm is not particularly a technique of propaganda.

    • Latimer Alder

      @bart r

      Thank you for your kind words (I think??)

    • Latimer Alder

      @bart r

      I read the puff piece about Mann you link to

      I was irresistibly reminded of Tony Blair at his most insincere and unctuous. And I don’t mean that as a compliment.

      Indeed it was pure propaganda and the ‘interviewer’ was brown-nosing big time. Has Mann ever done an interview where the questions are asked by anybody more challenging than a fawning awe-struck acolyte?

    • Yes, I’m sure there would be a compactness theorem for propagandist logics.

      I’m not sold to your example for Card stacking. As I understand that technique in the reactionary sciences, and perhaps more generally in the auditing sciences, it corresponds to moves like YesButTiljander, YesButRcModeration, and YesButClimategate.

    • willard (@nevaudit) | July 26, 2012 at 3:14 pm |

      I bow to your perspicacity in this issue.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      lurker, can you explain why your definition of post normal science doesn’t agree with Judith’s and Ravetz’s definition? I think Judith is struggling to get anyone to understand what it means or to agree that it is either meaningful or useful, so probably another re-definition (presumably intended only to make the off-topic point about ocean acidification) doesn’t help the discussion.

    • lurker, passing through laughing

      Steve,
      Congratulations on your appointment as thread umpire. I am deeply touched that you are going to single handedly keep this thread on topic.
      Others have already pointed out that PNS as practiced is synonymous with politicized faux science.
      My two examples are nice illustrations of how consensus hypesters and their defenders prove that point.
      what a hoot you twits provide, all for free.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Others have already pointed out that PNS as practiced is synonymous with politicized faux science.

      I said as much myself. Your point didn’t add anything to the discussion because it ignores the policy issue and merely diverts discussion onto whether any such extremist has made such a claim and whether your rebuttal makes any sense given that we’re talking about rapid rates of pH change which may prevent biosystems evolving.

      Congratulations on your appointment as thread umpire. I am deeply touched that you are going to single handedly keep this thread on topic.

      I look forward to your continued cooperation.

      what a hoot you twits provide, all for free.

      What in particular did you find the funniest? I’m still working on my material.

    • lurker passing through, laughing

      Steve,
      The threads here, unless our hostess requests and enforces focus on technical issues, go all over the place.
      As an occasional passer-by who in effect gets time lapse photos of the dynamic here, I realize over time how ludicrous and flat out funny the consensus extremists actually are: They stick to echoing long disproven talking points, they denigrate those who question, they deceive, they circulate between arguments hoping that by repetition they might somehow come true.
      Above, I posted two points regarding consensus claims.
      The first was regarding the completely deceptive story claiming that the surface melt event in Greenland is somehow unprecedented when it is not.It was framed by NASA to fool people who did not read tot he very end.
      The second is an observation regarding the fossil record: If marine life is so sensitive to CO2 levels in the atmosphere, where are the fossil disruptions?
      Notice that the troll who responded and the one who echoed him, did not bother to address the points at all. They pretended like it was too insulting to their delicate natures to deal with, so played their sad version of deconstruction.
      What a great illustration of just how empty of substance the consensus trolls really are.
      “On topic”? In what sense?
      I am too busy laughing at these clowns. It becomes more and more plain that from Hansen and his loony spiel about Earth becoming Venus, to that wannabe child terror, Chris Colose and his wise fool pose, to the trolls littering so many blogs that the climate change syndrome is a pathetic display of some tragic parts of human nature.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      If marine life is so sensitive to CO2 levels in the atmosphere, where are the fossil disruptions?
      Notice that the troll who responded and the one who echoed him, did not bother to address the points at all.

      Lurker, be honest with yourself. You are making provocative posts using a provocative handle, and you got a response, so you should be happy.

      As far as I can tell Bart R is not a “troll” as most of his posts seem quite thoughtful (even if you don’t agree with him). He probably believes you are a “troll” (you are after all “laughing” at all the “clowns” here), and dismisses you as such.

      The second is an observation regarding the fossil record: If marine life is so sensitive to CO2 levels in the atmosphere, where are the fossil disruptions?

      As I said, the argument is about the rate of adaption to differences in pH. We really know very little about the ocean. If someone presented you with a plan to dump megatonnes of carbonic acid into it, wouldn’t you be a “twit” (a word that definitely needs resurrecting) not to at least question the actions?

      You probably have a point about the Greenland story, but any such large scale event which has not happened for 120 years is notable particularly when it relates to one of the huge questions of climate science – the stability of the Greenland ice sheet in a warmer world. It deserves to be studied in more detail though before we get alarmed.

    • Latimer Alder

      @steve milesworthy

      You;d need a lot more than megatonnes of carbonic acid to make any difference at all to the oceans. The ocean is BIG and reliably alkaline. And carbonic acid is a very WEAK acid.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      That’ll teach me to use figures. Around 15 gigatonnes of CO2 net per year currently absorbed by the ocean will make a detectable difference over time – I’ll let the chemist convert that into a mass of carbonic acid (once combined with water).

    • Latimer Alder

      @steve milesworthy

      The simple solution to your chemical conundrum is that you would get about 20 gigatonnes of carbonic acid (66/48) * 15.

      This would represent about 1 part in 70 million of the mass of the ocean (1.4 x 10^18 tonnes). Any real effect on organisms would, I submit, be so small as to be unmeasurable. We know that pH has varied by +/- 0.5 units over time (see Royal Society report). Any organism that has evolved through those changes will be able to withstand the very mnor changes from atmospheric CO2..

      Just for the sake of perspective, remember that the CO2 in your fizzy drink is bottled at a pressure at least .300 times that which naturally occurs in the atmosphere..(which is why it fizzes when you let the top off). Billions drink this slightly acidic mixture (pH abt 3.7) daily without ill-effect. And that’s before they further acidify the drink with phosphoric acid – which really is a strong acid.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      Steve Milesworthy,
      Is there a particular paper you would hold up which shows evidence that we should be very concerned about, wrt rate of adaptation to ocean pH ?

    • Steve Milesworthy

      thisisnotgoodtogo

      My original objection was to lurker’s characterisation of scientists questioning the risk of dumping 1500 gigatonnes of CO2 into the ocean over the next 100 years as being extremist and stupid when there is no or little counter research to say that it is safe.

      What is wrong with the skeptical science summary (noting that their points 3 and 4 address lurker)? I’m not saying I believe it, I’m asking you to say what is wrong with it because I’m not the one demanding we continue to dump all this CO2 into the ocean without so much as a thought. (BTW the response “not all calcifiers suffer” is not a sufficient answer IMO).

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/ocean-acid.html

    • Latimer Alder

      Correction to my earlier remark.

      Fizzy drinks are bottled with CO2 at 2500 times more concentration (above 1 atmosphere) than that which naturally occurs in the atmosphere (400 ppm). Not 300 as I previously mistakenly wrote. Apologies if anyone was misled by my underestimate.

    • lurker passing through, laughing

      Steve,
      As to OA, the hypesters are claiming damage *right now*, and their only problem is lack of evidence and lack of credible experimental results. And the paradox for the consensus extremists regarding the ocean is this:
      If the oceans are heating dangerously as claimed, they are less able to hold more CO2 and will in fact release CO2. It takes cooling oceans to rapidly absorb more CO2.
      Also, the paleo record shows past rapid changes in climate. So the adaptation argument fails.
      The Greenland story is, as you agree, not accurate. But stories promoting the hype of extreme cliamte change regularly turn out to be over egged. The Greenland story is not unusual at all: It is just a typical climate crisis story.
      So my two posts were on on target and Bart R could not deal with it, so troll he is he chose to have a go at deconstructing the semantics while he and his pal carefully avoided actually dealing with the issues. Bart R and Joshua are good at dysentery levels of posting volume.The quality of their output is about what one expect from sufferers of the same.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      If the oceans are heating dangerously as claimed, they are less able to hold more CO2 and will in fact release CO2. It takes cooling oceans to rapidly absorb more CO2.

      Robert obviously targets people he perceives to be deliberately repeating easily disprovable sceptic talking points. Probably this is one of the few sites where both “sceptic talking point” generators and “your a denier” folk can get together.

      If you still find this sort of thing a “hoot” then let me know and I’ll learn to scroll by. But I suspect that you are intelligent enough at least to see both sides of the debate.

    • lurker passing through, laughing | July 26, 2012 at 12:16 am |

      It appears you’re under the impression this is ping pong.

      This is surgery. In the case of loosely handwaved assertions, it’s post mortem. Expect lifeless oddities to be subject to dissection without eulogy or bedside manner. Call it gallows humor, if you wish to laugh.

      Prithee, if you really wish engagement on your substantive points, then have substantive — ie substantiated, specific, secular — points to engage.

      Name exactly the “extremists” and exactly the claims. Quote them. Cite them. Provide links. Dates. Publishers. Something. Who wants to chase all over the Intertubes wasting time searching for what they think you might mean? If it’s too hard for you, if you’re not serious enough to back up what you say with enough details for others to know what you mean, then don’t expect the ideas you post to receive much consideration or attention. How can they? There’s nothing to consider or attend to yet.

      When, specifically, was the CO2 as high, much less higher? In a past epoch? In a past age? Recently? Regionally? How was this CO2 level measured? By what proxy? In what study? Where is this coming from, and how can we get some?

      And, really, how does your argument amount to anything relevant, regardless? The people (whomever you may mean) who make the claims (whatever you think you’ve said they are somewhere we should be able to telepathically discover) are clearly not having any sort of meeting of the minds with you, given how disjointed your argument is, so in itself you’ve proven that whatever else, you’re simply not talking about the same thing as they are, and therefore cannot prove them wrong because you swing and miss the point.

      Which is why you see what I’m sure you believed was a lovely and lively notion when you posted it lying dead and cut open on the table.

  44. Man in street: Wild post normal weather we’re havin’ lately, isn’t it?

    Man in raincoat: Certainly is – more storms, hurricanes, floods, it’s a consequence of the new post-normal science yer know. There’lll be more severe droughts as well.

    Man in street: How do yer knpw?

    Man in raincoat: I read it in Nature News. They’ve posted a new article on Hockey Stick Climate Change.. They had a couple of other papers to be published as well but they had ter be temporarily withdrawn.

    Man in street: Needed post-normal re-adjustment, I suppose.?

    Man in raincoat: Yeah. It’s all good … er… I mean bad. Yer heard how our children are unlikely ter ever see snow again?

    Man in street: Oh that’s bad! Say, gotta run – those storm clouds sure look threatening…

    Man in raincoat: Yeah.

  45. Willis

    When am I going to read your book on climate?

  46. If someone were to shout the ‘post normal emperor’ has no clothes, I expect the response would be more impenetrable pointless waffle like the above..

    Real world China’s emmssions now match EU average, and are going ever upwards. too much more Climate science research seems pointless, in face of that, lets just waste all our money now on adaptation..

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jul/18/china-average-europe-carbon-footprint

    http://www.pbl.nl/en/news/newsitems/2012/per-capita-co2-emissions-in-china-reached-european-level

    China will let everybody else go first, of course. (irony/sarcasm off/)

  47. It is really irritating that PNS attempts to appropriate and take credit for vigorous blogospherical vetting and commentary on serious societal and economic issues utilizing science to justify policy and financial agendas. The term and concept are superfluous and manipulative.

  48. I don’t get it. IPCC doesn’t have any authority or political power to implement actual political or econonic policies. They can only make recommendations. The rest is up to geo-politics. No country in the world will implement anything that is disadvantaged to them. There is no international rule of law. They negotiate. It’s politics
    You discuss what you don’t agree on IPCC’s findings, data, observations or analysises with them. And you discuss politics. Don’t mix them up.

    I still have the same question. If someone argued based on DragonSlayer, would it be valid or accetable? If not who decides it’d not be valid? Dr. Curry or Mr. Steven Mosher? What qualifies them? What they know that I don’t know? What is the difference from the peer-reviewd scientific consensus? Or do we reinvent the wheels agian and again? Do we have to argue, prove greenhouse effect time and time again everytime someone argues based on DragonSlayer?

    Is this the same argument the church used against Galileo or communists use against their citizens? Science/scientists serve to the greater good for society/church at large. Even by bending some science?

    • Steven Mosher

      CRV9

      I see that you have dropped the act. That’s good. please inform willard as he was taken in by it.

      A couple points. first countries routinely agree to things that are not in their interest. One could argue that all negotiation is in fact based on a misperception of value and interest and when parties agree it is because they mis perceive interests. Funnily, for example, have you ever agreed to work for someone who paid you less than you thought you were worth. And have you ever hired someone and paid them more than you thought they were worth? in most situations deals are made because each party thinks they are getting a better deal than they should.. but that’s a side issue.

      Dragon Slayers. There is no magic rule one can apply to the statements made by anyone ( save logic and math rules) that allows you to read the validity off the text. One can, if you accept the rules of math and logic) find mistakes in their math. Whether those mistakes invalidate what they argue is a different question. Generally, there is no algorithm you can put their writing through that will spit out a truth value. If you have one, i would like to test it.

      I cant tell you how you should process their work to determine whether you should accept it or not. I would be up to you to describe the process you use to determine whether to accept something or not. Then we might have a discussion about the strengths and weakness of your process of coming to believe. we would see if your belief was warranted.

      Me? I do not accept their writings as valid because they contradict what I believe to be working physics. If they had physics that worked and that conflicted with my working working physics, then I would have a problem.
      But, in my judgement, they don’t have working physics. But I am open minded. If they show me a working device built according to their physics, then I will listen.

      Now, your warranted belief might conflict with my warranted belief. we can believe the wrong thing for good reason. and we can believe the right thing for wrong reason.

      What you realize is that in a PNS situation, the question really becomes how do we listen to all voices, and how do we come to decisions.

      There isnt an algorithm. there isnt an authority. Ravetz suggests starting with non violent communication. It’s taken some time, but that has finally sunk in, for me that is. I think the experience here shows that violent communication goes around in circles.

      In Lisbon, Jerome talked about how the “irish’ problem was solved after years. At the time I thought his focus was stupid. Now, i don’t think it is.

      So, who decides about dragon slayers? that is the wrong question. the question is, how do we get people who disagree to talk without killing each other or making the problem worse. Which means that the climate wars is more than a metaphor.

    • One could argue that all negotiation is in fact based on a misperception of value and interest and when parties agree it is because they mis perceive interests.

      That would have to be a pretty dumb person. Negotiations are not a zero-sum game.

      “What you realize is that in a PNS situation, the question really becomes how do we listen to all voices, and how do we come to decisions.”

      I like the old system of listening to the people who know what they’re talking about, and making (x) via the (x)ic process, i.e., make scientific judgements via the scientific process, make political judgements via the political process.

      The need for politicians and voters to deal with certain objective realities of the physical world that scientists have brought to their attention is nothing new, and does not require a new political process nor a new scientific process.

    • I like the old system of listening to the people who know what they’re talking about, and making (x) via the (x)ic process, i.e., make scientific judgements via the scientific process, make political judgements via the political process.

      I like one that builds on that – but where “expert opinion” is one component in a collaborative process between various stakeholders. Some “skeptics,” I think, do have a point when they talk about the weakness of a top-down hierarchy for utilizing expert opinion. Too bad so many of them then turn around and “appeal to authority” selectively when it happens to agree with them.

    • Your attitude is unrealistic. The results of a science like climate science cannot really be communicated as objective facts to the decision makers because there isn’t common language that would allow for that. You may feel that there is but then it’s a misconception based on the fact that you are to certain that you know the right decisions that should be made.

    • Very true. Anybody who has ever witnessed a court trial involving a technical subject such as, say, toxic chemicals knows the huge gaps between:
      1. The statements of the respective lawyers,
      2. The testimony for the paid whore expert witnesses on both sides,
      3. The judge,
      4. The jury,
      5. The actual facts.

      This is why most defendants settle. It’s just not realistic to expect such a process to come to a reasonable fact-based conclusion.

    • One could argue that all negotiation is in fact based on a misperception of value and interest and when parties agree it is because they mis perceive interests.

      Interesting view of negotiation. It strikes me as pretty cynical, and condescending. So you feel qualified to determine whether or not a satisfied negotiation partner has, in fact, misperceived their own best interests?

      I have a different take on it. Negotiation is a process of distinguishing interests from positions, and seeking to align the positions of the various parties to find synergy in common interests. You know, “Getting to Yes.” That’s why I’m such a big believer in collaborative planning. I’ve seen it work extremely well as a negotiation process where different stakeholders take ownership over negotiation outcomes.

      Could you give an example where approaching negotiation from your perspective has led to a positive negotiated outcome – preferably one where a “Getting to Yes” approach failed?

    • “Whether those mistakes invalidate what they argue is a different question.”
      Why did they spend time to explain then?

      ” Me? I do not accept their writings as valid because they contradict what I believe to be working physics. If they had physics that worked and that conflicted with my working working physics, then I would have a problem.
      But, in my judgement, they don’t have working physics. But I am open minded. If they show me a working device built according to their physics, then I will listen. ”

      Isn’t that the very deffinition of the peer review process?

      “So, who decides about dragon slayers? that is the wrong question. the question is, how do we get people who disagree to talk without killing each other or making the problem worse. Which means that the climate wars is more than a metaphor.”
      Are you saying ‘over your dead body’? I have no idea why you brought up Irish thing. You sound like you’re saying “Either you’re with us or against us” Not much of discussions, like Irish thing.

      I’m still trying. You can’t imaging how much time I spent to write/type carefully with two fingers. But don’t be disappointed. I was able to be called “the dim witted”.

    • Steven Mosher

      “Isn’t that the very deffinition of the peer review process?”

      No. it is not.

      You misunderstand the discusion about Lisbon. Sorry. DAFS.

    • I disagree. My understanding is different than yours.

    • Mr. Mosher, you challenged me of my understanding of greenhouse effect. Of course, I understand why you asked that because my understanding is almost nill. But that wouldn’t matter according to you, though.
      “Whether those mistakes invalidate what they argue is a different question.”

      Frankly I dispise doctors, professors, scientists, professionals in general. They are most part a condescending , arrogant pompous ass to me. However having said so, I must admit I’d be a condesending, arrogant, pompous tyrant ass if I spent time to learn knowledges but that’s not my point, though.

      What you’re saying is that not to listen to the experts or so called climate scientists but rather listen to you, I should think for myself. And then you’re telling me to butt out because I don’t know anything and leave it to you guys who are smarter.
      See, that don’t make no sense to me of this dim wit mind in PNS-sphere.

    • Steven Mosher

      Listening to experts is one of the most important aspects of PNS. You should always listen to experts. Where ever did you get the idea that I said dont listen to experts do not listen to me. listen to experts, except of course when i say listen to experts, then you can listen to me. or not.
      do as you please. or do as you think you like.

      Now on the issue of butting out.

      One thing that PNS would demand is transparency. that means people revealing their interests, values, and identity. So ya, anonymous people who fake or feign can but the fuck out.

    • Why would I need to listen to experts if the basic working physics I based on for my argument didn’t matter?

      As I said I’m currently unemplyeed. The first thing they told me when I went to the unemployment office was …
      “Close all your personal accounts at Facebook, Twitter, etc. Do not paticipate in any forum. Erase yourself from the internet if possible except Linkdin. Because the first thing your prospect employer would do is to type your name in Google. They don’t care what you think or write BUT employers don’t like people who paticipate in forums.”

      You are the one who thinks I’m fake. See the arrogance? What you think goes, always.

    • CRV9, Lawyers…. You left out Lawyers. But if you are hiring a lawyer for a confrontational situation, you want one that tends to project as an arrogant, condescending, pompous ass. If you are expecting rational arbitration, you hire one capable of not appearing to be an arrogant, condescending pompous ass. The trick to being a successful professional is knowing when to turn on the ACP assiness :)

    • Yes, Lawyers but I don’t have much experience with them. See, I’m nobody so I rarely see them so I don’t know. Now it shows, I guess.

    • CRV 9, Mosher is a hard guy to pin down. He is the product of a philosophy, math, and engineering mindset that has been irreparably damaged by working on too many government projects. He is very smart, arrogant, eloquent , and insufferable at the same time. He can be concise and loquacious, all in the same day. I think he would be extremely disappointed if we woke up tomorrow and had all aspects of the “climate” debate were solved. You see, I call him Lukerwarmer~san for a reason – he is the classic fence-sitter. At one time rails against anyone who questions his empirically derived physics and yet develops a man-crush on Ravetz. Follow his logic above in his reply to Willis, if you can. Ask him how he concludes the problem is severe and wicked and how he concludes that his prescription for some action won’t end up counterproductive or even harmful – then turn on your BS meter.

    • No, Bob, I can’t. It’s too technical for me to duel with Steven, I mean Mr. Mosher. I know me.

      I do think AGW is real. Climate scientists explain enough to satisfy my personal curiosity. Most importantly they, no matter who or what scientific institutions, are consistent in their logic, science and explainations.
      Skeptics, depending on where I go to or even one persom or one place, they’re as a whole not intellectually consistent in their logic.

      However, I’m not sure between AGW and CAGW. But I’m not going to spend 15-20 minuets at Wikipidia to figure it out. I’d rather let scientists sweat over. That’s why I hope the skeptics would stick with science and ask really legitemate scientific questions to keep them earnest. But, but, but … I hate it when people casually disregard science and disrespect scientists. I really don’t think there is nothing practically significant policy things will happen considering there are so much money in fossil fuels though.
      What I think most important is that we need to inspire next generations to come in this climate science field because that is what we’ll be needing. I go with quantity, more new young scientists, better or more ideas and understandings?

    • > I see that you have dropped the act. That’s good. please inform willard as he was taken in by it.

      Moshpit sees what he was seeing all along, and presumes I was “taken” by an act which I appreciated.

      An act, incidentally, that has more or less the same content as the comment to which Moshpit is actually responding.

      And speaking of acts, we’re not taken by Mosphit’s: he’s again volonteering a fake comment, where he sweeps the INTEGRITY ™ problem the credibility problem, to which he offers the “Open the debate” mantra.

  49. One of the problems with PNS discussions is the tendency to confuse everything plus the kitchen sink with PNS. This is simply ludicrous.

    PNS, for one thing, applies only to the Policy portion of any activity involving any science. If you’re not discussing Policy, the people making the Policy, and their processes, you’re not talking about PNS and the rules of PNS do not pertain. You can’t apply PNS ideas to Pure Sciences, to data, to observations, to methodology, to peer review (except where Policy from outside Science reaches in to corrupt peer review, which you’d have to substantiate with data).

    And even where Policy is involved, to invoke PNS you first need a situation in the science itself where Newton’s 4th Rule does not apply. That is, there must be no result with statistical significance as high as (to use Rutherford’s line) 1,024:1. Well, you could assert that you can, that any fiction (sorry, hypothesis) amounts to a scientific dispute, that any unknown unknown supposed qualifies and substantive Uncertainty.. however, to do so simply requires that all, not just the science you object to, but all science and logic, and all rationality, is treated as PNS and moreover is treated as having no difference from pure fiction.

    While there are some who take this approach, they’re generally wearing straightjackets at the time.

    • Pooh, Dixie

      BartR: “PNS, for one thing, applies only to the Policy portion of any activity involving any science.”
      Not true. Read ” It is based on the recent recognition of the influence of values on all research, even including the basic statistical tests of significance.”
      http://judithcurry.com/2012/07/24/special-issue-on-postnormal-climate-science/#comment-222184

    • Pooh, Dixie | July 26, 2012 at 6:08 pm |

      To quote me, “(except where Policy from outside Science reaches in to corrupt peer review, which you’d have to substantiate with data).”

      Policy = values. Look at Isaac Newton himself. The man had virtually no moral or ethical values whatsoever in this personal life, other than the supremacy of Science and rabid patriotism. Were he a little less moral he’d be Voltaire, or possibly even Descartes. While this makes for a horrible human being, it makes for a laudable Chancellor of the Exchequer and one of the great icons of Science; if he could’ve thrown off the prejudices of living at a fraction of the speed of light, he might have anticipated Einstein.

      You don’t have to be psychotically amoral and divorced from humanity to keep your values and personal views out of your Science, but you do have to work at it; you ought certainly recognize the influence your values and biases, prejudices and personal limitations might have on all you do, but it doesn’t mean we suspend the reasoning that has served science well for three centuries: if we don’t treat the conclusions drawn from observation and inference as accurate or very nearly true until new observations force new reasoning, then we become subject to entertaining every fantastical imagining that crops up. We stand on the shoulders of dwarves to see farther. We don’t run a campaign of seeking the one true giant and hope we recognize it from all the false giants.

    • Latimer Alder

      Ummm

      Newton was never Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister). He was Master of the Royal Mint. Different thing.

      And he was a deeply religious guy…just not aligned with the conventional ‘wisdom’ of his day. He even considered himself to be a theologian,writing such works as ‘Observations Upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John’

      You may be right that he wasn’t a very pleasant individual. But your evidence isn’t there as you describe it.

    • Latimer Alder | July 27, 2012 at 5:31 am |

      Again, I bow to the superior learning you have of your own countrymen and the workings of your own system of government. Though being deeply religious, at least in America, is more likely a warrant of moral turpitude than of its opposite. Perhaps it was the ethics of the Chancellor of the Exchequer of Newton’s day that had me confused. ;)

      In any event, the point of the evidence we do have is that Newton was exceptionally gifted and/or methodically diligent at recognizing and acknowledging his own biases and taking them into account in his work.

      This is one area many climatologists who are also activists also achieve a certain success: Dr. David Suzuki more than thoroughly has catalogued his own activism and opinion publicly, so in no way would anyone reading his papers be able to claim he has hidden his agenda.

      Which leads me to wonder, is there a correlation between tendency to use techniques of propaganda, and tendency to hide one’s agenda?

    • Latimer Alder

      @bart r

      ‘Which leads me to wonder, is there a correlation between tendency to use techniques of propaganda, and tendency to hide one’s agenda?’

      The most famous propagandist that I can think of was Herr Goebbels. And he made no secret of his Nazism. Invading Poland and most of the rest of Europe and deporting all the Jews made it a bit obvious what he was up to. No hidden agenda there.

      Lenin was a good second…but he too made no secret that he was attempting to mobilise the working class along Marxist lines. That’s why it was called Marxism-Leninism…Marx for the theory. Lenin for the implementation.

      Many cult leaders seem to have had ulterior motives to do with sex, power and money. But are their techniques ‘propaganda’ or just the standard ones of conmen through time?

      And I have to ask what would be the point of hiding one’s true agenda? Its a hard trick to pull off because eventually you have to reveal your hand. And if the enterprise involves more than a few people at most it falls foul of the Prisoner’s Dilemma, where it is always more ‘profitable’ to be the first to jump ship and reveal the master plan to the world.

      So my answer to your question is ‘No’.

    • When you stand on the shoulders of giants, you’re going to kick some of them in the teeth, and some of them are going to bite you.

      http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/4633987834

    • It might be better to stand on the shoulders of dwarves, for as a popular propagandist once said:

      > When you stand on the shoulders of giants, you’re going to kick some of them in the teeth, and some of them are going to bite you.

      http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/4633987834

  50. Based on this:

    http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2012/07/24/us-official-activate-your-science/

    it looks like we can continue to see postmodern science for some time.

    I met Dr Lubchenco while in grad school. I don’t know if she was always like this or if she went off the tracks after going to DC. It is sad to think we have the heads of major US scientific agencies involved in activisim, with one result being a growing reliance on non-scientific bodies such as NRDC, WRI, WWF and IPCC.

    • Is it based on DragonSlaer? Or she bases on the peer reviewed scientific consensus?

      “First: Science is not only vital for providing information, tools, and services for managing coral reefs, but a powerful tool for shaping policy and management of coral reef ecosystems. Science does not tell society what to do, but it should give them the information, tools, understanding of trade-offs of different consequences that facilitate smart decision-making. ”
      Her speech at NOAA, http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2012/speech_20120709_coralreefsymposium.html

      You have CATO Institute, though.

      We live in a democratic society where everbody has the same one vote. Indoctrinated gullible minded me have one vote and exceptionally brilliant minded you have the same one vote, even before this PNS.
      Maybe because of this we have PNS. If poeple elect politicians who don’t believe in AGW or the theory of evolution or Higgs boson, game over.

    • Rob Starkey

      There are many very smart people who see this issue very differently from each other. It is really the dim witted who believe that the science only supports a single conclusion.

    • And here I thought the mark of a dim-witted person was inability to hyphenate correctly. But perhaps engineers have their own rules, which of course are the best rules.

      Refusing to face the scientific facts is just pure cowardice. One of the forms that cowardice takes is too claim that its all so very complicated and nobody can know for sure. Of course, the person making the assertion is typically not a scientist and doesn’t know how to read the scientific literature — they generalize from their own ignorance, and suppose that because they don’t understand it, no one does.

  51. Paul Dougherty

    After having read this whole thread today, I was obviously enthralled with most of the discussion but I also felt that almost all of the commenters missed the main point of Ravetz and PNS.

    What is science is the real theme here. This old scientist had a hard time getting beyond Bacon. So Willis’ definition of what good science is is also mine; the impossible claims made by the bureaucratic climate scientists starting 20 years ago violated this to the point that I have studied it intensely since then. There are so many areas of knowledge calling themselves science that are not science in my opinion that I had to digress into the philosophy of science. Kuhn drives me nuts but he is right.

    I think Kuhn is more an observer than a person spelling out philosophy such as Popper. Ravetz follows in his footsteps and his description of PNS is an obervationt; it is not a method recommendation. Steve Mosher points this out very clearly when he states that science is what scientists do and this is what they are doing. Do note that Ravetz points out the flaws in the alarmist position and then wonders how the whole activity can be structured so that it will incorporate some kind of standards.

    Ravetz does not want it to remain in the closed doors of the government/climate complex. He wants to open it up so that there are more voices than just captive “scientists”. As Judy quotes, he has found it, “it is the blogosphere”.

    That is what is going on here today and all over the net. It is the blogs from McIntyre and Watts to Pielke and Judy that has kept these alarmist fanatics from getting control; it was not the integrity of science itself…yet. There was no mainstream press giving reports on Climategate, Copenhagen, Bali or Cancun. It was on the blogs and there the real forces behind alarmism were exposed.

    The blogs have so delayed the political process that real science has had time to work. Paper after paper is now showing the nonsense of the CO2 monster. You know your making progress when the likes of James Lovelock says that there has been no warming for almost 15 years and that alarmism is the result of grossly inadequate models trying to replicate an immense system intimately coupled with many other immense systems. James, the creater of Gaia, is no longer an alarmist.

    Dont tear down PNS… you bloggers are part of it.

    • That is what is going on here today and all over the net. It is the blogs from McIntyre and Watts to Pielke and Judy that has kept these alarmist fanatics from getting control; it was not the integrity of science itself…yet.

      Well, well. An old scientists – obviously well-schooled in the philosophy and practice of science, who draws conclusions based on conjecture and not evidence.

      Now where have I seen that before?

    • There is building evidence. There are very interesting times ahead for climate science.

    • Steven Mosher

      unfortunate that he framed it as fanatics taking control.

      however, there is evidence, that the blogosphere is adding a layer of quality control to science publication that was not previously there.

      Discuss, the top three instances. Show us you keep up on these things

    • steven -

      however, there is evidence, that the blogosphere is adding a layer of quality control to science publication that was not previously there.

      I don’t disagree with that.

      But that doesn’t change the conspiratorial and biased nature of his rant. Nor does it diminish the entirely unscientific way that the drew conclusions based only on conjecture.

      It is precisely when people with his background and skills make fundamental errors of logic and reasoning that even a dolt like me can spot them as obvious that we have difficulties. The inability of some “skeptics” to acknowledge those problems makes them suspect.

      For Judith to remark that his opinion was “well said,” is, honestly, stunning.

    • “It is precisely when people with his background and skills make fundamental errors of logic and reasoning that even a dolt like me can spot them as obvious that we have difficulties.”
      Joshua, could you please specifically point these out, in you own words, that is.

    • Gotta run, Bob -

      It seems to me rather obvious what I was referring to. But I’ll post something later (and why would I use someone’s words other than my own? – seems a rather strange qualifier).

    • Bob -

      Joshua, could you please specifically point these out, in you own words, that is.

      The fundamental errors of logic and reasoning are as I specified – drawing conclusions w/o sufficient evidence.

      That is what is going on here today and all over the net. It is the blogs from McIntyre and Watts to Pielke and Judy that has kept these alarmist fanatics from getting control;

      Where to begin? There is no evidence presented of the cause-and-effect relationship he describes. It is, by definition, purely conjecture. “These alarmist fanatics” is an entirely subjective descriptor, and their is no attempt to make it more objective. There is no evidence to prove that “these alarmist fanatics” would have gained control absent specific events.

      it was not the integrity of science itself…

      There is no evidence that to the extent that “these alarmist fanatics” did not “get control” (again, the concept of “get control” is not defined), “the science” would not have caused that to happen absent the “blogs from Mcintyre and Watts to Pielke and Judy.”

      There was no mainstream press giving reports on Climategate, Copenhagen, Bali or Cancun.

      Again, no definition. What does “mainstream press” mean? For example, are Fox News and Glenn Beck mainstream press?” How is it determined, that whatever the definition of “report” is, that there were no reports on Climategate, Copenhagen, Bali or Cancun? Where is the evidence leading to a conclusion of “no reports?”

      It was on the blogs and there the real forces behind alarmism were exposed.

      The “real forces?” Again, no definition. What are “the real forces?”

      The blogs have so delayed the political process that real science has had time to work.

      How are the different possible reasons for “delay” in the political process identified and quantified? How do we know it wasn’t economics that “delayed” the political processes? How do we know it wasn’t the weather that “delayed” the political processes? How do we know that it wasn’t politics itself that “delayed” the political processes? How do we know that it wasn’t partisan identification among the public that “delayed” the political processes? None of this is explicated in any fashion. We have a broad statement of cause-and-effect w/o even a cursory attempt at definition or identification of factors involved.

      Paper after paper is now showing the nonsense of the CO2 monster.

      Again, a complete lack of specificity, definition, evidence, quantification of cause and effect. What is the “CO2 monster?” Which “paper after paper” are those that are “showing the nonsense?”

      All of this is entirely unscientific in terms of basing conclusions on evidence, stating a hypothesis and explicating a theory.

      This could all be resolved with an appropriately qualified language, where instead of statements of certainty, his thinking was expressed with terms such as “it seem to me,” or “it stands to reason,” or “there is reason to speculate,” etc. I might disagree with arguments so stated, but they wouldn’t be, necessarily, unscientific in nature as what was posted.

      This is yet another case of a “skeptic” assuming his beliefs to be fact, presumably because that what he wishes to be true. It is entirely un-skeptical in addition to being unscientific.

    • You don’t think fanaticism is the major energy source behind the 5-alarm alarmism that seems to be powering certain team members?

    • P.E. – speaking of fanaticism, here’s a gift.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/26/jon-stewart-you-didnt-build-that_n_1705264.html

      I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

    • Steven: re “adding a layer of quality control”. I agree. However, “quality control” is “after-the-fact”.
      Consider adding a layer of “Quality Assurance” (before-the-fact). QA has been paraphrased as “doing the right thing the right way”. It is the attempt to prevent error rather than find and correct error ($$$).

    • Paul, thanks for this post, well said

    • Now just one minute, Paul. This is just a video game I’m playing, right?
      =================

    • And then there is this.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      bob droege, if you’re going to call what people say BS, you ought to not rely on cherry-picking. If one uses the most recent 15 year period for each of those indices, several show a cooling trend. This means to reach your conclusion, you simply omitted recent data.

      Of course, your entire approach is bunk anyway. A linear trend for any particular 15 year period in no way demonstrates whether there has been warming, cooling, or anything else.

    • I agree Brandon. Predictions (upwards or downwards) based on such short term data.is bunk..

    • A linear trend for any particular 15 year period in no way demonstrates whether there has been warming, cooling, or anything else.

      Nice, Brandon. Given your statement, let us all consider whether the following statement might be a product of biased reasoning:

      You know your making progress when the likes of James Lovelock says that there has been no warming for almost 15 years and that alarmism is the result of grossly inadequate models trying to replicate an immense system intimately coupled with many other immense systems.

    • Peter –

      Predictions (upwards or downwards) based on such short term data.is bunk..

      I notice a qualifier here that doesn’t seem consistent with Brandon’s statement.

      Do you agree that a statement that there has been no trend of warming as bunk?

      In other words, Is there a qualitative difference of significance between saying that there has been no trend and saying that there has been no trend of warming?

    • Good analysis, Joshua.

      You’re making progress.

      Max

    • Or Peter –

      Better yet. If you can’t determine a trend with only 15 years of data, is it meaningful to say that 15 years of data show no trend?

    • Actually, Max, my opinion is that there is no qualitative difference in my analysis there and my analysis of your opinion about the results of that poll we discussed.

      Certainly, I haven’t suddenly gotten smarter or less biased.

      So perhaps you should go back and reread that thread over at Tamsin’s.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      I don’t intend to get dragged into a lengthy discussion of this topic, but I feel obliged to point out there is a significant part of my comment everyone seems to be overlooking. I specifically said, not that 15 years of data was insufficient, but rather:

      A linear trend for any particular 15 year period

      In no way does that rule out the possibility of using only 15 years of data to draw conclusions. There are many ways of looking at data other than finding a simple linear trend for it.

    • Joshua asked if 15 years data would be sufficient to show a trend and my answer to that would be yes. I referred to predictions which is where too many people extrapolate far too much with the available data.

      So if Brandon wants to to be able to draw conclusions from short term linear trends or any other form of analysis on short term data then I would not agree with him.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Peter Davies, I haven’t said such would be possible, but I won’t rule out the possibility. It’s called having an open mind. Nobody in the world knows all the possible ways data can be analyzed so how could anyone say it isn’t possible?

      You’re welcome to be critical of various ways people have tried to look at the data. It may be that none of them work with just 15 years of data. However, you have no basis for saying it would be impossible to draw conclusions based off only 15 years of data.

    • Brandon I believe that my reasoning is completely in accord with the Central Limit Theorem. What you seem to be suggesting is that this theorem may not necessarily hold in certain circumstances but if this is the case, I respectfully disagree.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Peter Davies, the only way I’d suggest the central limit theorem doesn’t hold in this case is I haven’t the slightest idea how you think it applies. Hand-wavingly offering up random phrases doesn’t accomplish anything.

      Incidentally, I do not just suggest what you say. I state it as fact. CTL only applies under certain conditions. By definition, it doesn’t “hold in certain circumstances.” You can disagree with that if you want, but it’s a fundamental aspect of the theorem.

    • Brandon, The Central Limit Theorem says that for most distributions, linear combinations (e.g., the sum or the mean) of a large enough number of independent random variables is approximately normal. Thus, if a random variable in question is the sum of independent random variables, then it is usually safe to assume that it is approximately normal and prediction to varying degrees of certainty would be feasible.

      When you stated that I had no basis for stating that it would be impossible to draw conclusions based on short term data I simply replied that the CLT was my basis.

      Now if you have fat-tailed PDFs or some other such thing, sure, the CLT would not apply but how do you know? Especially with small samples that are not capable of replication? As is the case with weather and climate?

      As you have said previously, the topic does not warrant a long discussion as it is trivial and I do not propose to add to this thread.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Peter Davies, your latest response shows you’re as wrong as I suggested. Whether or not the distribution of values is normal in no way dictates whether or not conclusions can be drawn from that data. You’re saying the central limit theorem means under certain circumstances “prediction… would be feasible,” but that does not rule out anything.

      You’ve effectively said 15 years isn’t viable via CLT (without offering any basis for the claim), therefore 15 years isn’t viable for anything. That’s obviously nonsensical.

      Incidentally, it does not say anything “for most distributions.” CLT does not speak to what conditions are commonly met. It may be that CLT holds true for most distributions, but that is not part of CLT as you claim.

    • Yes, if normal is the ‘Kuhnian’ normal, then the PNS is the revolutionary science, a paradigm shift. Judith is exposing it nicely.

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


      That is what is going on here today and all over the net. It is the blogs from McIntyre and Watts to Pielke and Judy that has kept these alarmist fanatics from getting control…

      101st Keyboard Brigade: Give yourselves a round of pats on the back – for a job well done.

      You’ve prevented the global evil science conspiracy from dominating the world!

      Even Dr Judy apparently agrees:

      Paper after paper is now showing the nonsense of the CO2 monster.

      It just doesn’t get any better than that.

      With bloggers finally in charge of science, we have nothing to fear but fear itself!!!

      Once the recovery of the Arctic sea-ice is complete – Could you please look at repealling the Stefan-Boltzmann law?

  52. Anticipating a week-in-review thread…

    Do the postnormal scientists at NASA even speak to one another?

    ‘The surface of Greenland’s massive ice sheet has melted this month over an unusually large area, Nasa has said.

    Scientists said the “unprecedented” melting took place over a larger area than has been detected in three decades of satellite observation.

    When we see melt in places that we haven’t seen before, at least in a long period of time, it makes you sit up and ask what’s happening,’ Nasa chief scientist Waleed Abdalati said.

    ‘It’s a big signal, the meaning of which we’re going to sort out for years to come.’”

    But then:

    “‘Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time,’ said Lora Koenig, a glaciologist from Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and a member of the research team analysing the satellite data.”

    Unprecedented – except for the fact that it happens about every 150 years and was “right on time.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18978483

    • That makes me think there is some surface data issues around then.

      https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-97dkxsnvqE4/UBHsMZ9J4yI/AAAAAAAACno/vomaau6rIuQ/s800/giss%2520versus%2520haddsst2.png

      The difference between GISS and HADSST2 is remarkably stable until 1970, almost like something is a touch off.

    • GaryM –

      Was the rate of melt precedented in recorded history?

      Otherwise, I would think it might be an unprecedented melt. (The headline I saw said: Nasa: Greenland ice sheet melted at unprecedented rate).

    • Joshua,

      “Recorded history?” Are you asking for anecdotes? I never thought of you as a paleo-climate skeptic. Welcome to the club.

    • Not sure what your point is.

      I would image that paleo records could not be referenced for this given the short time frame used for measuring the rate of melt. If there is no recorded melt at the rate of this melt, then it seems reasonable to call the rate of melt is unprecedented.

      No?

      I think that your point was with reference to the extent of melt, was it not? In the headline I saw, it said that it was the rate of melt that was unprecedented. In the body of the article, I saw the appropriate caveats.

    • Read the article, I quoted it verbatim above. Then read the rest of the article. And then go start a semantic debate elsewhere. Boooooring.

    • Seems to me that your whole point in bringing it up was about objection to the semantics of what was said. And now you don’t want to talk about semantics? Interesting.

      In what you quoted from the article, they said that the melt was unprecedented – without specifying whether it was the rate or the extent that was unprecedented, and then the article goes on to say that the extent was “unusual” (was it not unusual?) “in places that we haven’t seen before, at least in a long period of time,”

      Seems like those are appropriate caveats.

    • Rob Starkey

      LOL Joshua

      You know that was a weak defense of a poor headline.

    • Rob – Here is the headline I saw:

      Greenland ice sheet melted at unprecedented rate during July

      The Guardian

      Was that not accurate?

      The New York Daily News:

      Melting glacier runoff WIPES OUT Greenland bridge; arctic country’s ice sheets melted this summer at an ‘unprecedented rate’: NASA

      Climate scientists say they are stunned at how fast and how much of the ice that blankets Greenland has melted this year, and the surprising satellite data leaves them wondering what it all means.

      Inaccurate?

      Were these headlines atypical?

    • Rob – I searched for a headline with what Gary put into quotes. I didn’t find any such headlines.

      This from the BBC came up:

      Satellites reveal sudden Greenland ice melt

      It seems to me that the “suddenness” of the melt might be unprecedented.

      Is that wrong?

    • Mommy! Mommy! The skeptics scared me! ;)

      Andrew

    • The Greenland Ice Sheet sits in a bowl, formed by the weight of the ice, like an ice cream sundae. Perhaps we could wrap it in bacon to stabilize it some more.
      ==================

  53. I can’t help thinking that their is desire to cloud the issues by use of the term ‘postnormal’. Stick on the label and discredit the scientific findings, seem to be the general idea. Lets just take a step back.

    We know that the GH effect exists. We know that carbon dioxide is an important GH gas. No-one disputes, at least no-one with any scientific credibility, that GH gas concentrations are rising due to human influence. With no greenhouse gases the GH effect collapses leading to a snowball earth.

    Doubling the concentration of GH gases, mainly CO2, is thought will produce a rise of three degrees. It would be nice to have a spare planet with which to perform an experiment, which could of course give a different answer, which could be lower but just as likely could be higher, but as we haven’t, we have to decide if it’s worth taking the risk with the only one we have.

    What’s ‘postnormal’ about saying we shouldn’t?

    • “We know that the GH effect exists. We know that carbon dioxide is an important GH gas. No-one disputes, at least no-one with any scientific credibility, that GH gas concentrations are rising due to human influence. With no greenhouse gases the GH effect collapses leading to a snowball earth.”

      post-normal logic. Water vapor is a greenhouse gas and a green house liquid. Even without an “enhanced” GH effect, there would still be a water cycle “greenhouse effect”. CO2s estimated role in the atmospheric portion of the GH effect is estimated, not known. With the “faint young sun paradox” the snowball Earth is not known, even unlikely. Since water evaporation and convection from the surface contribute around 100 to 120 Wm-2 of the total GHE (don’t forget the oceans store energy), the total GHG portion of the GHE is 57 to 77 Wm-2 roughly. Assuming 33C GHE and 288K surface, then a doubling of CO2 would cause 1.5C increase at and “effective radiant layer” and 1C increase at the surface. That assumption is looking more shaky. The uncertainty appears to be going toward a lower CO2 doubling impact. Since water vapor is not being amplified as expected, the higher end of possible warming is less likely. Since the OHC has slowed reducing the best estimates of the TOA and ocean surface imbalances by half, the fat tail potential warming is losing some serious weight.

      Not acknowledging the divergence of the observations from the predictions and claiming the larger uncertainty demands more rapid action, is post normal.

      http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/07/there-are-no-steps-it-is-constant.html

      Given the current situation, other types of action appear to be more cost effective than killing the energy goose that laid the golden egg.

    • Fee Fie Foe Fill,
      I smell the blood of a windmill.
      ===============

  54. Post normal science was invented so students that flunked science and math but did well in humanities could still be scientists.

  55. Where in normal science the key task in interfacing science and policy is to get the facts right, in post-normal science this is complemented with a new key task of exploring the relevance of deep uncertainty and ignorance that limit our ability to establish objective, reliable, and valid facts. In post-normal problem solving, scientific fact-finding is still regarded as necessary but no longer sufficient. Scientific facts have become “soft” in the context of the “hard” value commitments that will determine the success of policies.

    I am not sure what all that means. It sounds like softening us up to then try to persuade people to accept the value judgements and policy prescriptions of the progressive-Left.

    In my opinion, if we want to cut GHG emissions the solution is obvious. But progress is blocked by the Progressives – i.e. they block economically rational solutions. I get the impression they want to prescribe solutions that support their ideological beliefs.

    The solution is clear to me. Since there is no persuasive evidence that AGW is either dangerous or catastrophic, the decisions about what to do should be based on economics and cost benefit analyses. A cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels will allow the world to cut emissions as well as improve well-being

    A cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels has been available for nearly 60 years. Its progress has been blocked by the Progressive-Left If we remove the impediments to the low cost alternative to fossil fuels, we can have both lower cost energy and reduced emissions. The lower the cost of the alternative to fossil fuels the faster it will replace fossil fuels and the faster global emissions will be reduced.

    Small modular nuclear power plants could be produced in factories, shipped to site, run for many years, then return to factory for refuelling. They have been held up in the US nuclear regulatory process for a decade or more. The industrial countries could produce them as fast as we produce airliners, if we wanted to. The US was producing aircraft carriers in 100 days towards the end of the WWII. If that rate of production for a far larger and far more complex piece of machinery could be achieved 70 years ago, think of the rate that USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Russia, China, Korea and Japan could produce small modular nuclear power plants now.

    The solution is clear. It is to educate the progressive-Left or sideline them. As long as they block the development of nuclear, little progress will be made.

  56. My previous attempt to post this got stuck in moderation for some inexplicable reason.

    In my opinion, if we want to cut GHG emissions the solution is obvious. But progress is blocked by the Progressives – i.e. they block economically rational solutions. I get the impression they want to prescribe solutions that support their ideological beliefs.

    The solution is clear to me. Since there is no persuasive evidence that AGW is either dangerous or catastrophic, the decisions about what to do should be based on economics and cost benefit analyses. A cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels will allow the world to cut emissions as well as improve well-being

    A cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels has been available for nearly 60 years. Its progress has been blocked by the Progressive-Left If we remove the impediments to the low cost alternative to fossil fuels, we can have both lower cost energy and reduced emissions. The lower the cost of the alternative to fossil fuels the faster it will replace fossil fuels and the faster global emissions will be reduced.

    Small modular nuclear power plants could be produced in factories, shipped to site, run for many years, then return to factory for refuelling. They have been held up in the US nuclear regulatory process for a decade or more. The industrial countries could produce them as fast as we produce airliners, if we wanted to. The US was producing aircraft carriers in 100 days towards the end of the WWII. If that rate of production for a far larger and far more complex piece of machinery could be achieved 70 years ago, think of the rate that USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Russia, China, Korea and Japan could produce small modular nuclear power plants now.

    The solution is clear. It is to educate the progressive-Left or sideline them. As long as they block the development of nuclear, little progress will be made.

    • I get the impression they want to prescribe solutions that support their ideological beliefs.

      Yeah. Good point. Good thing no “non-progressives” can be accused of that, eh?

    • Joshua,

      Here is the difference:

      What do Progressives want?

      CO2 emissions reductions – whatever it takes and as fast as practicable.
      Cost is no object because life on the planet is at stake

      Progressives also want:
      • Renewable energy
      • Distributed energy generation
      • No nuclear
      • Prescriptive policies (prescribed by Progressives)
      • Lots of regulations (the more the better)
      • Big bureaucracy
      • High taxes
      • World government
      • Taxation powers for the UN
      • Israel exterminated
      • Stop globalisation and break up the evil big corporations
      • Muzzle the free press
      • A host of other policies along these lines

      What do conservatives want?

      Economically rational policies
      - including, energy security, reliable energy supply and low cost energy.

    • tempterrain

      Progressive want “no nuclear”?

      I’m a progressive. Just ask Chief. I’m sure he’ll give me a character reference to that effect.

      But I’ve argued for nuclear power.

    • tempterrain

      Peter Lang,

      I’ll just correct you list. I think I’m more qualified than you to know what “progressives” want

      • Renewable energy. Yes it has its place
      • Distributed energy generation. Ditto
      • No nuclear. Not true of us all
      • Prescriptive policies (prescribed by Progressives). Democratically decided on scientific advice.
      • Lots of regulations (the more the better). Just the right amount. Not too few. Not too many.
      • Big bureaucracy. No
      • High taxes. Depends what taxes are used for. Its better to have to pay $200 pm month extra tax and get so-called ‘free’ health care, than $400 pm to an insurance company only to wonder if they’ll deliver when you really need them
      • World government. No.
      • Taxation powers for the UN. No
      • Israel exterminated. No but we do recognise there are two sides to the argument in Palestine and Israel
      • Stop globalisation and break up the evil big corporations. Not all big corporations are evil. But they can behave badly in countries where they are allowed to get away with it. Eg Shell in the Niger Delta are very irresponsible, but almost model corporate citizens in Europe.
      • Muzzle the free press. The free press isn’t Gina Rinehart buying up the Melbourne Age.

    • Seems like you generally fit progressive description, and Peter’s wrong
      to say progressive share any clear idea other than the general faith in potential goodness of a government.
      But these good governments always some distant hazy far away fantasy land. And utopia is available here as long as enough force applied by minority of proper people to forge such good governments.
      And doing such things on local and state level is general too slow, and doing on larger more universal and power central state is best chance of succeeded. Or one needs a strong monopoly of governmental power to force these fantastic great policies, that majority of people do not want [for various devious reasons- generally people too stupid/greedy or various conspiracies].
      One needs so much universal governmental force is one has these powerful enemies called the evil big corporations. Of course there are good big corporations [these supporting your political cause [though more importantly aren't supporting your enemies].
      The major common element of lefties, is the need to use the force of government to ensure no one is too wealthy- every is to made equal by the governmental laws which are designed to cause this to happen.
      And all this is really about justice, because rich people have stolen money, the money is actually belongs to the government.

      And are people who oppose a powerful central government. And think government should not being some overly attentive mommy and daddy.
      Don’t appreciate the glorious of potentially have a good and perfect State managed only brightest and most wonderful people.
      That these are such decent people, that one really doesn’t even need elections, but of course are willing to compromise with having elections until time people are confident that indeed we have true superheros running very difficult task making everyone life just peachy.

    • Are you claiming the Sun renews itself? How so?

    • tempterrain

      gbaike,
      progressives have a ” general faith in potential goodness of a government”. Do they?

      Maybe, but only if the word ‘potential’ is emphasised, and that wouldn’t be true for just any government. It would have to be the right government, democratically elected according to the mandate of the people. As you’ll know, governments can choose to be repressive and undemocratic, and as we are seeing right now in Syria, sometimes, after all peaceful means have been tried, it can be necessary to overthrow those governments by armed struggle.

    • tempterrain

      Peter Lang,

      Just to let you know that James Hansen, the well known NASA scientist who hasn’t been thanked for his warnings on climate change by those who share your political philosophy, would absolutely agree with your points on nuclear power.

      Contrary to what many on your side would have us believe, in that it’s all too hard, it’s all too expensive, etc etc , the technology to produce low CO2 energy does exist and can be developed further, as you seem to be able to recognise.

      It’s not just the left who oppose nuclear power, and it isn’t universally opposed by those on the left. In France, the large nuclear industry there is supported by the majority of all shades of political opinion. In Australia, which has no nuclear power, its not the political left who have prevented it , but rather the entrenched power of the established coal mining industry. Nuclear power hasn’t the best of public images and there are powerful commercial forces who have a vested interest in keeping it that way.

      Nevertheless you do have a point about the political left and nuclear power. Many are making the same mistake as yourself and other climate change so-called sceptics on the political right. They are allowing their political attitudes to override their scientific judgement in an emotional manner. That is not to say nuclear power does not have its problems and concerns. It clearly does. But, so does every form of energy generation, and all factors have to be looked at scientifically, rationally and dispassionately. If this were to happen then nuclear power would be seen in a much more favourable way. The safety of nuclear power, statistically, is much better than any of its rivals.

      Rather than lambast people like James Hansen, you would be better to make common cause with him and many others who share the same opinion, even though you may disagree on other political matters, and argue the case for nuclear power rationally. It shouldn’t be a left – right issue any more than should climate change.

  57. Yeah. It’s like I said, Peter.

    “Progressives” only want things that will be disastrous and tyrannical, and “conservatives” only want what’s rational.

    And your own political beliefs are purely coincidental w/r/t the objectivity of your analysis.

    I get that. And you use bold so nicely, too.

  58. Steve Milesworthy,
    @ July 27, 2012 at 6:31 am

    Forget all this nonsense about needing line-by-line descriptions of every step of the way so you can reproduce the results to the 17th sig. fig. – it’s a nice-to-have and maybe necessary depending on the circumstances (which is why all the ridiculous emphasis on claims that Jones’s work is the foundation of climate science etc. etc.). It is not a prerequisite of science (using the non-warty use of the word “science”).

    That statement misses the point. If we are going to invest trillions of dollars on mitigation policies we need the best ever due diligence. We need due diligence far more rigorous than is done for the largest private sector investments. Those investments also have major uncertainties, but they do the cost/benefit and financial risk analyses as well as can be done. We need better for the much larger investment being proposed (and given the major economic impacts that will be incurred).

    This comment explains what is needed:
    http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2012/06/05/conservatives-who-think-seriously-about-the-planet/#comment-111418

    This letter to the Prime Minister of Australia explains what is meant by due diligence in this case:
    http://joannenova.com.au/2011/07/spending-billions-why-not-do-a-due-diligence-study/

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Peter,

      That statement misses the point. If we are going to invest trillions of dollars on mitigation policies we need the best ever due diligence.

      The statement doesn’t miss the point because it includes:

      and maybe necessary depending on the circumstances

      Define “best ever due diligence”. Two independent groups coming to the same result. Three. We are about to have a fourth subject to peer review. Plus a bunch of blogosphere efforts.

      If the global average temperature data was changed by +0.1C or -0.1C over the century than what CRU said, what difference would it make to the number of alleged trillions that are going to be spent? A scientific judgement would say “none at all” unless and until the models start to statistically diverge from the data (which they are nowhere near to doing yet).

    • Latimer Alder

      @steve milesworthy

      ‘Independent teams coming up with the same result’ hardly even gets to the starting line with ‘best ever due diligence’.

      How about an independent team (i.e not climate scientists) deliberately trying to tear every piece of the work apart. From the very first observation to the final full stop at the end of publication. If the paper uses statistics, get a proper statistician, if chemistry get a proper chemist. and so on.

      Then you publish it all…data programs, methods onto the blogosphere (CA would be a good place) and invite commentary. If possible you then devise other experiments to demonstrate the rightness or wrongness of the argument.

      Others can no doubt provide other suggestions, but mine begins to get a bit along the road of best ever due diligence.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Latimer,

      Your method would be a waste of time because it would miss all the *scientific* judgements that need to be made in an enterprise of its type.

      Finding a 0.1C error in HadCRU is of minuscule importance compared with, say, Muller getting a different result using data with similar coverage but with different assumptions.

      For the same reason, you need more than one model (maybe not 22, but more than one). Tearing apart one model won’t result in an exploration of the scientific judgements that went into that model’s construction. Multiple models result in comparisons of the scientific judgements of multiple groups.

    • Latimer Alder

      @steve milesworthy

      I think you are missing the point. I hope that you are not doing so wilfully.

      I don’t doubt that there are ‘scientific judgements’ to be made. But these are not mystical experiences incapable of rational explanation. If they are truly ‘scientific judgements’ then those who made them should be able to explain them to others. For the field to be taken more seriously than mysticism such judgements need to have solid evidence and sound reasoning. And to be documented somewhere so that if the assumptions and other infuences change the judgements can be adjusted accordingl

      It may be that after such an open examination of all of climatology – including the worst of the most fearsome predictions about sea level and pH and imminent thermageddon turn out to be impeccable. Then the basis for a rational debate about any actions will be on a firm footing.

      But somehow I doubt it. Any field that has grown so rapidly as climatology in the last thirty years while having almost no quality control on its personnel and no effective QC on its work, is unlikely to be unblemished.

      And – as a veteran of conducting quite a few IT audits – it is the guy who starts by saying ‘no point in auditing me – my work is always perfect’ or ‘it is too difficult for you to understand’ who is the deluded fool that one needs to spend the most time with.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      I think you are missing the point. I hope that you are not doing so wilfully.

      If I weren’t a calm rational person, I ought to seriously resent that. I resent it just a bit.

      I don’t doubt that there are ‘scientific judgements’ to be made. But these are not mystical experiences incapable of rational explanation. If they are truly ‘scientific judgements’ then those who made them should be able to explain them to others.

      So early in your experimentation, you select 10 metrics to describe the qualities you are aiming for. Why these 10? Which of the 10 are most important?

      After some experimentation, you decide that you need to remove some, add others, change some of the choices about how important they are and you perhaps continue with this set till you publish your paper. Now each choice relating to each metric has behind it perhaps a dozen papers that you might have read, with a couple of key ones that seemed to make most sense to you.

      You can clearly state your choice of metrics, and the level of importance, and you can give an overview of why you chose them and why you changed. But what if your due diligence person disputed your choice? What does it add?

      Assuming that there isn’t a massive hole in your work (that would have been picked up by peer review or post-publication) a “due diligence” process could add ideas for future work, and that could be constructive. But in your world, the due diligence person has more power. The due diligence person is the person who judges whether the work is acceptable or not.

      Who (likely) knows more about the subject? The scientist. Who is the least biased? Ideally, the due diligence person. But does lack of bias mean that the due diligence person will make the correct decisions when clearly you ought to immerse yourself in the work to become an expert?

    • deliberately trying to tear every piece of the work apart.

      This goes beyond any reasonable definition of “due diligence” or “auditing” used in any field of endeavor. If auditors set out to show that any bank or business they investigated was unworthy of funding, economic activity would grind to a halt.

      The standard used in auditing is “reasonable assurance of detecting material misstatements.” Auditors are expected to “have adequate technical training & proficiency to perform the audit” and “maintain independence in mental attitude in all matters relating to the audit.”

      The “devil’s advocate” approach is not a recognized method of quality control. Even the Catholic Church has abandoned it.

    • From the very first observation to the final full stop at the end of publication. If the paper uses statistics, get a proper statistician, if chemistry get a proper chemist. and so on.

      The endlessly recursive loop in some “sketpics’” thinking.

      Any reliance upon experts is an “appeal to authority.” But we need to use the input of those who are “proper” to judge.

      The way out of your recursive loop, Latimer, is to realize that your view is that the only people who are “proper” are those who agree with you.

    • Latimer Alder

      @Joshua

      Don’t be silly. There is plenty of evidence that when climatologists do statistics they cock it up bigtime. They don’t seem to know much chemistry either. Many of them struggle with very basic IT, yet much of their subject is entirely IT dependent. They are supposedly Jack of All Trades, but definitely Master of None.

      So if we are to do due diligence on this vast morass of stuff we call ‘climatology’ we need to use the best people we can get. And that means getting the qualified guys to work on their bits.

      If you were building a major structure, there would undoubtedly be a place for a jobbing builder to work on bits of it. But if I was designing the plumbing I’d want a good plumber,,,a good sparkie for the electrics and and an excellent structural engineer for the steelwork. I wouldn’t just whip down to Mick and Phil with their wheelbarrow and ask their advice.

      It is a complete myth put around by ‘climatologists’ that there is something ‘special’ about their field that means only other climatologists are qualified to have an opinion about it. Unless somebody can demonstrate otherwise, I believe this to be total BS.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Don’t be silly. There is plenty of evidence that when climatologists do statistics they cock it up bigtime. They don’t seem to know much chemistry either. Many of them struggle with very basic IT, yet much of their subject is entirely IT dependent. They are supposedly Jack of All Trades, but definitely Master of None.

      Definition of bad statistics: Take one carefully selected file and assume it is representative of thousands of other people in hundreds of different areas of climate science – to do the analysis you have apparently to reject Harry (who seems competent if overwhelmed) from your sample of two.

      So other than harry_readme, do you know *anything* about the IT and software used in climate science? Do tell, because normally you run away from this discussion.

    • Latimer Alder

      @steve milesworthy

      I’d be very happy for you to come up with evidence that HRM was just a one-off and that everywhere else in climatology the IT was universally done to the highest standards.

      You could start perhaps with the published results of independent IT audits as done by the big consultancy companies. Or just show the operations and processes ‘manuals’ for one of the big institutions – together with some evidence that they walk the walk as well as talk the talk. It shouldn’t be hard.

      Other things that might be very interesting would be some discussion of which commercial software is used for all the boring stuff that has to be done in any data centre..backups and restores, software updates, job scheduling and all the rest of it like problem and change management.

      But the only evidence that is available to us so far is indeed poor Harry’s realtime testimony. And the fact that nobody from climatology has even raised an eyebrow about it still leads me to believe that his experience is typical. If I were the IT manager of a climatological institution I’d have spent the last two and a half years trying to persuade the wider world that my site wasn’t like that. But the silence is deafening.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      You could start perhaps with the published results of independent IT audits as done by the big consultancy companies. Or just show the operations and processes ‘manuals’ for one of the big institutions – together with some evidence that they walk the walk as well as talk the talk. It shouldn’t be hard.

      I showed you the published results of an independent audit and you brushed it off. You said you’d read it and then rushed off back to discuss CRU.

      Other things that might be very interesting would be some discussion of which commercial software is used for all the boring stuff that has to be done in any data centre..backups and restores, software updates, job scheduling and all the rest of it like problem and change management.

      Typically these days, you will find scientific developments using open source tools like Subversion and Trac for config management and change control. This is largely because commercial products do not support multiple developers at multiple independent sites very well (the packages are expensive, they are usually platform-dependent and often don’t support Unix/Linux, they need a lot more maintenance because of regular updates; there is a commercial risk in tying oneself to a vendor for what can be many years).

      The process I’m familiar with, the developer first proves null or known impact of changes through an agreed test harness; there are different levels of formal review to ensure scientific acceptance and standards compliance followed by integration testing. And there is of course a regular review to enhance procedures.

      Subsequently, to integration testing, individual configurations undergo comprehensive scientific validation (eg. weather forecast trials, climatology evaluations). So before a model configuration is used “in anger” in generating a forecast or climate projection, it will have been heavily used by numerous people in multiple configurations for multiple purposes at multiple institutions (academic, commercial, climate, forecast) for months beforehand. Typically most of the underlying code is stable, and many codes won’t radically have been rewritten for many years. That gives multiple individuals the ability to gain expert knowledge of the code which is something you rarely get in a commercial environment.

      BTW when I say people “use” the model. They don’t just run it. They usually make some change to the model for their own scientific purpose – so they are digging into the code and subsystems, and complaining when things aren’t easy or don’t work properly. So over time (and there is time when the life-times of the core codes are typically 10 years or so) there is natural drive to improve things.

      If you are interested in data centres, then have a look at the procedures at BADC or PCMDI which are the data hubs for the climate models and observations. In addition to data hubs, several million has been invested recently to try and standardise model description metadata so that commercial and scientific users can better access data and compare and contrast like for like.

      For climate stuff, job scheduling is not a big issue (supercomputer-dependent, but usually a “fair share” mechanism) jobs tend to be long but without strict deadlines.

      I look forward either to you ignoring this or in picking holes in my quick summary or simply saying “it’s not good enough…blah blah”. I optimistically hope you’ll ask a constructive insightful question that identifies a genuine short-coming.

    • Latimer Alder

      @steve milesworthy

      You don’t want to have the hassle of being seen to do due diligence? Poor dear. Here’s how that’ll turn out

      Famous Climatologist: I have studied the subject and we must all spend trillions now
      Interviewer: That will be unwelcome news to many. Who checked your work?
      FC: My work has been peer-reviewed by my friends
      I: But did they check it?
      FC. No. I never make a mistake
      I: Will you show it to an independent party
      FC: No way. It is my data and my work. And anyway I think I’ve mislaid it.
      I: Who paid for you to do the work?
      FC: The taxpayers
      I: So will you show it to them
      FC: No. They are not with the programme and are all Big Oil Funded Baby Eating Bad Evil and Smelly People. And Deniers. Especially those with Scottish Names
      I: So if you won’t submit your work to outside scrutiny, why should we believe.
      FC: Because I am a CLIMATE SCIENTIST, sonny. Show some respect to your betters you grubby piece of denier s..t! My academic colleagues would never have the effrontery to ask me to prove my credibility. How dare you do so. You are just laymen there to pay my very extensive bills
      I: Thank you Famous Climatologist. I’m sure we now know how much weight to give your views.

    • lurker, passing through laughing

      Latimer,
      Extremely humorous.
      The only thing that takes away from the humorous aspect of it as that climate scientists literally do this, and their supporters think it is great.
      It is as if consensus extremists have adopted a fanatic’s faith and dedication to their cause, and need no stinkin’ facts or integrity to get in their way.
      What a hoot!

    • This is telling:

      climate scientists literally do this

      (my emphasis)

      when juxtaposed with

      extremists have adopted a fanatic’s faith and dedication to their cause, and need no stinkin’ facts

      Projection is a funny thing.

    • lurker passing through, laughing

      PDA,
      Please feel free to show where climate scientists like Hansen or Mann are demanding that cost/benefit analysis and independent verification of their methods and conclusions much less the mitigation programs they support.
      Short of that, you are just being trollish.
      But entertaining, in a cowardly sort of way.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Here’s lots of data. You can even have a laugh at the errata. Save those episodes of Jackass! for later.

      http://cmip-pcmdi.llnl.gov/cmip5/

    • Steve,

      lots of data. But not the relevant data needed for cost benefit analysis and for due diligence. And not properly documented for either cost benefit analysis or due diligence.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      No Peter, it’s data that you can *use* to do your cost benefit analysis. It’s the *input* to the policy discussions. Stop trying to lump *all* the policy concerns on the shoulders of scientists.

    • Steve,

      You still don’t understand what due diligence is. It investigates if the inputs to see that are properly substantiated, reliable, etc.

      You said:

      it’s data that you can *use* to do your cost benefit analysis.

      This demonstrates your misunderstanding. The Due diligence doesn’t “use” use the data served up by scientists. It checks that the data can be relied upon (if it is a significant input to the analyses).

      You said:

      Stop trying to lump *all* the policy concerns on the shoulders of scientists.

      If the scientists are the source of the data that informs the input parameters, which they are, then of course they are responsible for it. Furthermore, they are responsible for documenting it, and all that led to it, to the standard required for due diligence. This will give you some idea of what is required: http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2012/06/05/conservatives-who-think-seriously-about-the-planet/#comment-111418

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Peter, you can get access to the data, the observations and the models.

      You can review and use the data, and you can analyse and run the models to do the due diligence that will impact on the future research and potentially question the results of current research.

      There is nothing to stop you.

    • Steve,

      There are several things stopping us having due diligence:

      1. The implacable opposition of the Climate Scientists and all the insiders

      2. The funding and establishment of an impartial organisation capable of doing the job

      3. The fact that the information is not properly documented.

      Did you read this link:
      http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2012/06/05/conservatives-who-think-seriously-about-the-planet/#comment-111418

      And this link:
      http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2012/06/05/conservatives-who-think-seriously-about-the-planet/#comment-112290

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Peter,

      1. is untrue except in limited hyped circumstances that are not core to the assessment of the economic costs.

      2. For the most part, scientists are impartial. You may have a complaint that they are not going about their job in the way you would like them. It would be better to write to your representative to ask for funding for alternative analysis rather than demand scientists stop acting so scientifically.

      3. Define “properly”. Several million has been spent on improving data documentation in the last several years (eg. the Curator and Metafor projects). But *effective* documentation requires an effective two-way conversation since we know full well that we are attempting to engage camps in entirely different disciplines. In other words, don’t ask the scientists to behave like economists. Get the scientists and economists talking. This is actually being done both with governments and with big companies with large infrastructures to protect, but probably it is not enough – these things take time. And while Exxon and other companies are spending money lobbying against policies they are also spending money on examining climate scenarios and the potential impacts on their business.

      So I don’t accept your arguments that the failure of establishing suitably transparent “due diligence” that meets the needs of policy makers and commercial interests is all the fault of the scientists. Nullius in verbia’s point 1, aside from setting unrealistic/undefined standards cannot even be begun by scientists alone.

    • Steve Milesworthy,

      I disagree with you on all of your responses. I’ll respond to your last paragraph first:

      So I don’t accept your arguments that the failure of establishing suitably transparent “due diligence” that meets the needs of policy makers and commercial interests is all the fault of the scientists.

      I didn’t say it was all the fault of individual scientists (in most cases,; there are exceptions). I see it as the fault of a combination of:

      • UN IPCC
      • Organisations like CRU who earn more money by promoting alarmism
      • Left leaning governments who gain by promoting the scare – it leads to more control more regulation, more bureaucracy, more taxes
      • Government funding and grant selection processes
      • Lack of the processes needed to document the evidence needed to support decisions for multi-trillion dollar investment

      Nullius in verbia’s point 1, aside from setting unrealistic/undefined standards cannot even be begun by scientists alone.

      Quality assurance of this information should have started 20 years ago. The UN IPCC has resisted transparency. (e.g. reviewers comments and responses for AR4 not documented and publically available)

      You responded to my three points:

      There are several things stopping us having due diligence:
      1. The implacable opposition of the Climate Scientists and all the insiders
      2. The funding and establishment of an impartial organisation capable of doing the job
      3. The fact that the information is not properly documented.

      I’ll deal with your replies:

      1. is untrue except in limited hyped circumstances that are not core to the assessment of the economic costs.

      I disagree. The implacable opposition to due diligence definitely true. But it is not coming from scientists. It’s driven more by the alarmists in general – environmental NGOs, ideologically Left political parties and the broad group of alarmists coaxed along by web sites like RealClimate, Skeptical Science and many other similar advocacy sites.

      2. For the most part, scientists are impartial. You may have a complaint that they are not going about their job in the way you would like them.

      That response does not address the point I made.

      Yes, for the most part, scientists are impartial. I am not criticising the vast majority of individual scientists. But I do say there is an enormous case of group think and herd mentality. You get funding if you can link your research project to providing evidence to support the climate change scare campaign. That is indisputable.

      3. Define “properly”. Several million has been spent on improving data documentation in the last several years

      Spending is an input. What is the output. Is the documentation sufficient to enable the relevant inputs to economic analyses to be independently replicated. The answer is most definitely ‘NO’. Therefore, the documentation is nowhere near good enough. Much of the data and methodology is not released – still!!

      The simple fact is no due diligence has been done. It is irresponsible that governments are committing to enormous expenditures without having done due diligence

      I fear this discussion is bogging down in irrelevancies and avoiding the point.

      My point is that:

      1. objective, impartial, economic analyses have not been done to the standard necessary to justify multi-trillion dollar investment in mitigation policies
      2. the scientific reports and documentation are nowhere near good enough to support a due diligence investigation at the standard appropriate for the level of investment being proposed
      3. no due diligence investigation has been done,
      4. If it was done it would show clearly that the investment is not justified.

    • lurker passing through, laughing

      Peter,
      Steve does not even understand the concept of due diligence, or thinks his strong belief in the climate consensus is so strong, and the issue so important, that normal rules do not apply.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Peter,

      You chose to quote only a part of what I said, when the second part was fundamental to my point. Even so, your response was disingenuous.

      You quoted me saying

      3. Define “properly”. Several million has been spent on improving data documentation in the last several years

      and responded:

      Spending is an input. What is the output. Is the documentation sufficient to enable the relevant inputs to economic analyses to be independently replicated. The answer is most definitely ‘NO’.

      Two points:

      1. Please point to a bit of the documentation and say what you think is wrong with it. Given that it has been only a short time between my post and your response I submit that you don’t know what you are talking about because you haven’t looked at the documentation and you wouldn’t be able to tell whether it was good or not.

      2. Don’t be too upset because I don’t know if the documentation is adequate either. I most certainly can be sure that the relevant inputs can be independently replicated – so you are quite wrong, and appear therefore to be casting aspersions without any evidence.

      But that’s why I’m annoyed that you cut off the next bit of my quote. Replication is *not* a sufficient measure of the documentation. I said that an essential part of improving the documentation is for the stakeholders (other scientists, governments, companies, auditors, you name it) to use the data and provide feedback. It cannot be done in any other way.

      I’m afraid your other responses referencing left wing conspiracies sound delusional to me, so we are not going to agree on these. So perhaps we could focus back on what you would do with all this luverly data if you were worried that your cities water supply would not sustain the projected increase in population over the next 20 years. Would you take AGW into account, or would you build your dam based only on the climate your city has experienced in the past?

    • Rob Starkey

      Steve

      We do not know how much it will warm, and we do not know what the impact of any warming will be on the conditions that are important to people

    • “We do not know how much it will warm”

      We’ve been over this. You don’t know how much it will warm because you’re ignorant of the science — you have no background in climate science, and lack a basic understanding of the subject.

      But who’s “We”? Not scientists. They know quite a bit about how much the earth will warm, and what some of the impacts will be. You don’t, naturally, because you don’t speak science and are in denial about what the scientists have found.

      Ignorance is not a superpower.

    • Latimer Alder

      @robert

      You’d have more traction with this view if you could show anywhere at all a consistent record where temperature predictions have been later matched by observations.

      Seems to me that beyond the vague idea that an increase in CO2 causes a bit of warming the ‘scientists’ haven’t actually got a real handle on it. That the increase slowed down considerably in the last fifteen years appears to have come as a complete surprise.

      You could so easily show me that I am wrong by showing that consistency of the match between prediction and observation. But I’ll take a small wager that you don’t.

      And since when was there a special language of science that only climatologists speak? This is a completely daft notion and just emphasises how divorced from mainstream work. They should be able to describe their work sensibly to people like me who ‘only’ have an MSc in Chemistry. If they can’t then thye dont understand it themselves…which wouldn’t at all surprise me.

    • Steve Milesworthy
      July 27, 2012 at 8:08 am

      Steve,

      I get the impression from your responses you want to obfuscate and avoiding the point of my comment . That is common amongst alarmists, and it is why I have grown to trust little of what they say.

      Define “best ever due diligence”. Two independent groups coming to the same result. Three. We are about to have a fourth subject to peer review. Plus a bunch of blogosphere efforts.

      It is clear from this you have no idea what due diligence means. You have no understanding about the quality and completeness of the documentation required. Did you read the two links I provided? They should have given you some idea about what is required.
      http://joannenova.com.au/2011/07/spending-billions-why-not-do-a-due-diligence-study/
      http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2012/06/05/conservatives-who-think-seriously-about-the-planet/#comment-111418

      I thought my comment made it clear what I meant by “best ever due diligence”. I’ll put it another way. It would be better than ‘current best practice”. Current best practice for the largest commercial projects – like for the $30 billion BHP Olympic Dam uranium mine expansion http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/BHP-likely-to-halt-Olympic-Dam-expansion-plans-rep-pd20120727-WLQ2J?opendocument&src=rss .

      The mine has an expected life of variously 40, 100 and 200 years depending on assumptions: http://www.mindat.org/loc-11726.html. So the time scale for the cost-benefit analyses is similar to that for the cost benefit analyses for climate policy.

      However, the costs involved in the AGW mitigation policy decisions are in the order of two to three orders of magnitude higher. Therefore, we need better than current best practice for the cost benefit analyses and the due diligence (i.e. independent, impartial, thorough check).

      To do the due diligence, all the relevant information must be available and well documented, from top to bottom,

      The standard and completeness of the analyses and the documentation of them needs to be like all engineering studies where large costs and large risk are involved. This is what is missing from climate science. Furthermore, the understanding of this is missing from climate scientists and climate science. There is not the slightest comprehension of what is required for due diligence.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Peter Lang,

      I get the impression from your responses you want to obfuscate and avoiding the point of my comment . That is common amongst alarmists, and it is why I have grown to trust little of what they say.

      I’m afraid it is you who is being alarmist here, and I *do* resent you characterising me as “alarmist”.

      I quite clearly qualified my statement by saying that in some cases you are correct. But *you* have to make specific statements as to where the due diligence should be focussed and how it should be focussed before I can take your point more seriously.

      Where you objected to my position we were discussing global temperature statistics and claims that such statistics require more due diligence. So I was disputing the claim in that circumstance. If you want to put forward other circumstances then do so.

      But stop making alarmist claims otherwise I will, as you say, grow to trust little of what you say.

    • Steve Milesworthy,

      I’m afraid it is you who is being alarmist here, and I *do* resent you characterising me as “alarmist”.

      If I’ve misunderstood what you’ve been saying, I apologise.

      But *you* have to make specific statements as to where the due diligence should be focussed and how it should be focussed before I can take your point more seriously.

      I’ve provided that in previous discussions we’ve had. In each case those discussions ended without a response from you. In each case you seemed to want to turn the discussion back to a talk about temperatures and climate sensitivity, rather than about the economic costs and benefits of AGW without mitigation and of the proposed mitigation policies.

      Due diligence in standard use applies to investment decisions. It requires access to all the information that is relevant and important to the investment decision (This was Steve McIntyre’s expertise, and why he smelled a rat with the ‘Hockey Stick’). I’d expect, for the decision as to whether or not we should implement AGW mitigation policies, due diligence would start at the top and drill down to all the relevant information that was required to develop the input parameters for the economic analyses. For example, Nordhaus (2008) http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf Table 7-2, p127, shows that the ‘damage function’ is the parameter that causes the greatest uncertainty in the estimate of the ‘social cost of carbon’ and, therefore, in the economic analyses (results are also highly sensitive to choice of discount rate and other input paramaters). Table 7-1 lists the uncertain parameters used in this study. So the due diligence will require access to all the information, data, methodologies, etc. that have informed the input parameters for the economic analyses that are used to justify a massive investment of public money on a mitigation policy.

      For a second example, see Chart 5:13 here: http://archive.treasury.gov.au/carbonpricemodelling/content/chart_table_data/chapter5.asp Due diligence would drill down into all the information, methodologies and data, that informed Treasury’s analysis. The following link provides an example of how dodgy and exaggerated are at least some of the inputs used in that analysis which has provided the justification for the Australian CO2 tax and ETS: http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2012/06/05/conservatives-who-think-seriously-about-the-planet/#comment-112290 Due diligence would drill down to the bottom to check that all the inputs to the economic analysis.

      Where you objected to my position we were discussing global temperature statistics and claims that such statistics require more due diligence. So I was disputing the claim in that circumstance. If you want to put forward other circumstances then do so.

      I opened this sub thread with my comment at July 27, 2012 at 7:37 am here: http://judithcurry.com/2012/07/24/special-issue-on-postnormal-climate-science/#comment-222603

      That [your] statement misses the point. If we are going to invest trillions of dollars on mitigation policies we need the best ever due diligence.

      My point was that arguing about the details of the temperatures and the projected temperatures misses the point. What is important for policy is what are the estimated damage costs compared with the costs of the proposed mitigation policies.

      You answered me @ July 27, 2012 at 8:08 am. Your comments made me conclude you have little understanding of what due diligence means.

      Perhaps, you can now return to my comment at July 27, 2012 at 7:37 am and respond to the point I made in it. I think you will find it clear if you reread it.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Peter Lang,

      Threads are getting a bit disjointed. This is in response to your impression that I am trying turn conversation:

      back to a talk about temperatures and climate sensitivity, rather than about the economic costs and benefits of AGW without mitigation and of the proposed mitigation policies.

      Well that was because the conversation was about a general application of unspecified due diligence to something that I didn’t believe was that relevant to policy discussions and was explaining why (to other people, not you).

      I don’t believe I would have a particular problem with someone having a lot more focus on, say, the assumptions that give the “fat tail” to projections. But we have seen that, for example, Annan has been able to write a critical paper that argues the tail is too fat without doing any official “due diligence”.

      The sort of due diligence you have advocated (eg. in your reference to the joanne nova website) does not look in the slightest bit helpful to me though. There are constructive and destructive ways of doing “due diligence”. I would say that the most constructive way of doing “due diligence” would be to start from first principles and do the analysis again in whatever way you choose. Access to the models and data in the PCMDI CMIP5 archive would allow you to do just that.

      Perhaps one would build some sort of “tiger team” by bringing together both the scientists who have written the original papers and other professionals and pay them *properly* to review the work that is of most relevance to policy prescriptions. The problem is that scientist *are paid* to do science. If you want them to do something else you have to *pay* them to do something else. The IPCC requires people to write their inputs *in their own time* for goodness sake! (Probably the only reason we still have the IPCC rather than a constructive two-way discussion is because too many self-interested organisations have refused to add constructively to the debate).

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Peter Lang, my latest response on due diligence seems to be triggering the spam filter. It was polite, honest! Favourable on due diligence but not in the way that joannenova would want it done.

    • Apologies for the hyperactive spam filter

    • I’ve been finding some comments go to SPAM filter too, for no apparent reason – even with no links included. If I’ve put some effort into the comment, I write a sentence at the top explaining my previous attempt was caught by SPAM. the repost it. That works.

      If you don’t like one description of what is required, ignore it and look at the others. I provided several others and gave examples using Nordhaus and Australian Treasury.

    • Steve Milesworthy
      July 27, 2012 at 8:08 am

      In the last paragraph of your comment you said:

      If the global average temperature data was changed by +0.1C or -0.1C over the century than what CRU said, what difference would it make to the number of alleged trillions that are going to be spent? A scientific judgement would say “none at all” unless and until the models start to statistically diverge from the data (which they are nowhere near to doing yet).

      This misses the point. The investment decision is not about how much warmer it is projected to get (relative to what the temperature would have been without mitigation). The investment decision is about the costs and benefits of the proposed mitigation policies versus the adaption we would take in the absence of government imposed mitigation policies.

      The cost and benefit studies are based on academic assumptions that cannot be achieved in practice. The most objective and impartial cost and benefit studies suggest, when realistic assumptions are substituted, the costs of mitigation will far outweigh the benefits.

      Australia is planning to spend $10 dollars for every $1 of benefit it hopes to derive – provided the assumptions about the consequences of AGW are correct. This suggests that our climate policies are flawed and need major change.

      The assumptions are academic but totally impracticable to achieve in the real world. Here are some of the assumptions:

      • Negligible leakage (of emissions between countries)

      • All emission sources are included (all countries and all emissions in each country)

      • Negligible compliance cost

      • Negligible fraud

      • An optimal carbon price

      • The whole world implements the optimal carbon price in unison

      • The whole world acts in unison to increase the optimal carbon price periodically

      • The whole world continues to maintain the carbon price at the optimal level for all of this century (and thereafter).

      If these assumptions are not met, the net benefits estimated will not be achieved. As Nordhaus says, p198 http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf :

      Moreover, the results here incorporate an estimate of the importance of participation for economic efficiency. Complete participation is important because the cost function for abatement appears to be highly convex. We preliminarily estimate that a participation rate of 50 percent instead of 100 percent will impose a cost penalty on abatement of 250 percent.

      In other words, if only 50% of emissions are captured in the carbon pricing scheme, the cost penalty for the participants would be 250%. The 50% participation could be achieved by, for example, 100% of countries participating in the scheme but only 50% of the emissions in total from within the countries are caught, or 50% of countries participate and 100% of the emissions within those countries are caught in the scheme (i.e. taxed or traded).

      Given the above, we can see that the assumptions are theoretical and totally impracticable. To recognize this, try to imagine how we could capture 100% of emissions from 100% of emitters in Australia (every cow, sheep, goat) in the CO2 pricing scheme, let alone expecting the same to be done across the whole world; e.g. China, India, Eretria, Ethiopia, Mogadishu and Somalia.

      Lastly, I have not seen a proper, objective, impartial analyses of the probability that the proposed mitigation strategies (like CO2 tax and ETS) will have the desired effect on climate or sea levels. Have you?

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Peter Lang

      This misses the point. The investment decision is not about how much warmer it is projected to get…

      So let me correct the above. “Steve, you have hit the nail on the head. The investment decision is not about how much warmer it is projected to get. Therefore people should stop fannying about with claims that yet more due diligence of the right type at CRU is anything more than a big diversion and focus on the broad economic questions based on an acceptance that the scientific projections are roughly correct.”

      This would seem to be what you are saying because most of your subsequent analyses are about the economics rather than the science. I am not unhappy with that.

    • Steve Milesworthy,

      You said:

      So let me correct the above. “Steve, you have hit the nail on the head. The investment decision is not about how much warmer it is projected to get. Therefore people should stop fannying about with claims that yet more due diligence of the right type at CRU is anything more than a big diversion and focus on the broad economic questions based on an acceptance that the scientific projections are roughly correct.”

      No. That is a misinterpretation or misrepresentation of what I said. It also demonstrates a lack of understanding of what ‘due diligence’ means.

      Due diligence investigation starts at the top. For example, it might start by looking at Chart 13 here: http://archive.treasury.gov.au/carbonpricemodelling/content/chart_table_data/chapter5.asp It then drills down into the inputs from which this is created. It will drill down into the inputs that are most significant. If climate sensitivity is an important input (and we know it is) then the due diligence will investigate the inputs that are most important to the estimate of climate sensitivity. If that process leads to the CRU temperature data (which it probably will), then the due diligence will drill down into that. Any particular strand of the investigation will stop at the point where any changes to that strand will have a negligible effect on the economic analysis. I doubt the CRU data, the sources of it and all the ‘adjustments’ would be excluded from such an investigation.

    • Quite correct. The realistic options range from “extremely expensive” to “civilization threatening.” There is a central estimate for temperature change, and estimates of impact, and both of those have plenty of uncertainty. To be reassured by this you have to ignore the upwards uncertainty, then treat the middle as the upper limit, then claim the lowest warming/lowest impact scenarios as the central estimate with extremely low uncertainty.

      The process is extreme complex and involves them in multiple contradictions. Doubtless many deniers long for the days when they could just deny that the world was warming. Simpler.

    • I think the basic problem is politicians have no interest in lowering CO2, they simply want to increase taxes.
      The tax revenue is the big prize, and reducing CO2 is at best a minor goal- it’s justification, or selling point for raising taxes. The world is in peril, therefore we the politicians aren’t simply increasing taxes, they are saving the world from danger.
      Everyone knows that if country is at war, then it’s citizens would favor higher taxes [because there is a threat that only government can solve and the citizens don't want their life threaten].
      If these politicans were less concerned about raising government revenue, and more interested in lower CO2, they would advocating different things.
      The obvious is supporting nuclear energy. BUT they could reduce the amount CO2 that governments consume. They could have rules regarding the employment, such as all employees must have some size carbon footprint- and no you can’t buy carbon credits. So for US government employee, start with their carbon footprints per capita must be lower than Europe or France per capita. And no the don’t budget increase to deploy this policy. A Director of department must follow these rules, and Directors must ensure that all working under them comply within a year, or face fines per each employee violation.
      But there is no money one can get from such a policy, and the public employees will hate you. No political gain possible- suicidal politically.
      But it would say you are serious about reducing CO2.

    • “I think the basic problem is politicians have no interest in lowering CO2, they simply want to increase taxes.”

      And your evidence that politicians want to raise taxes is?

      Back in the real world, US taxes are at a sixty-year low as a percentage of the GDP, and deficits are high. You would think, if we play along with this conspiracy theory and imagine politicians want to raise taxes, that just pointing to the deficit would give them ample reason to do so, without the complexity and expense of faking 200 years of atmospheric science.

    • C’mon Robert. Now you’re just being unrealistic.

      Of course politicians want to raise taxes. Raising taxes gets them more votes. Everyone loves paying more in taxes. Lowering taxes never got a politician reelected, now has it? Don’t politicians on the stump always talk about how they have raised taxes and plan to do so in the future?

      It’s this kind of poor thinking that makes it so difficult for you to understand the brilliant reasoning of so many “skeptics.”

    • k scott denison

      Robert says:

      “Back in the real world, US taxes are at a sixty-year low as a percentage of the GDP, and deficits are high.”

      Interesting that you choose to only tell half of the story Robert. Government spending is at a 60 year high in the US as well. This also contributes to the deficits and debt.

      Also note that individual income taxes aren’t abnormally low. Corporate taxes are, but this is to be expected when so few companies are making large profits and many have taken significant losses due to the economic crash. As the economy recovers, corporate taxes will increase. The trick is putting into place policies that help stimulate growth, something the current administration opinion the US can’t seem to accomplish.

      So exactly what was your point again?

    • “Interesting that you choose to only tell half of the story Robert.”

      Interesting that you think that your delusions ought to be part of my story. Why not tell your own story? I like my stories to be factually accurate, and obviously you don’t. So let’s tell our own stories.

      The facts:

      Taxes are at a sixty-year low.
      Deficits are high.
      Whiny libertarians like to play pretend.

    • k scott denison

      See here for government spending as percentage of GDP:

      http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/spending_chart_1950_2012USp_13s1li011lcn_F0t

      This chart, a steep incline since 1950, shows the real issue versus the basically flat chart of taxes as a percent of GDP.

      Who’s living on delusions?

    • k scott denison

      The facts:

      Taxes as a % of GDP:

      1950: ~15%
      2012: ~15%

      Federal government spending as a % of GDP:

      1950: ~24%
      2012: ~40%

      Come back to reality Robert.

    • Indeed, ~15%:

      > Connect the dots of casino capitalism, and you get Mitt Romney. The fortunes raked in by financial dealmakers depend on special goodies baked into the tax code such as “carried interest,” which allows Romney and other partners in private-equity firms (as well as in many venture-capital and hedge funds) to treat their incomes as capital gains taxed at a maximum of
15 percent. This is how Romney managed to pay an average of 14 percent on more than $42 million of combined income in 2010 and 2011. But the carried-interest loophole makes no economic sense. Conservatives try to justify the tax code’s generous preference for capital gains as a reward to risk-takers—but Romney and other private-equity partners risk little, if any, of their personal wealth. They mostly bet with other investors’ money, including the pension savings of average working people.

      http://www.thenation.com/article/168623/mitt-romney-and-new-gilded-age

    • You’ve made too many factual errors to take you seriously, sorry.

      You’ve gotten nowhere in supporting the assertion that politicians like to raise taxes. The gap between spending and taxes illustrates that fact.

      If you can find, say, three of your factual mistakes and correct them, I’ll consider your other assertions.

    • k scott denison

      What a pompous, jackass response Robert.

      For the record, I wasn’t the one asserting politicians like to raise taxes. And by the way, they can’t really raise taxes, only rates. And history shows that raising rates doesn’t often result in higher tax revenue.

      When they spend, however, that’s always 100% gone. We will never balance the budget with spending at 40% of GDP. Never been done.

      T

    • -“I think the basic problem is politicians have no interest in lowering CO2, they simply want to increase taxes.”

      “And your evidence that politicians want to raise taxes is?”

      Surely, you don’t need evidence that they want to increase spending, ergo, they need to more government revenue.
      Such increase in government revenue, can called different things by politicians. But Supreme Court recently agreed, with Obama appointed lawyer, that ObamaCare was actually a tax [a added tax], rather than not a tax that argued by dems and Obama in terms of gaining public support.
      So Obama says to public it’s not a tax increase [because if was tax increase, there various rules passed by congress it need to be followed] but when comes determining whether it’s constitutional, he has lawyer that argues Obama and demorats were liars. Which always, fun, but the point mentioning it, is to provide a recent example of politicians desiring to increase taxes- a huge tax to the young and lower income citizens.
      A very regressive tax, just like a tax on fossil fuel would be.

      “Back in the real world, US taxes are at a sixty-year low as a percentage of the GDP, and deficits are high.”
      Yes, and your reference is:
      http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/are-taxes-in-the-u-s-high-or-low/
      Though unlike you he doesn’t talk about the high deficits:
      “Historically, the term “tax rate” has meant the average or effective tax rate — that is, taxes as a share of income. The broadest measure of the tax rate is total federal revenues divided by the gross domestic product.”
      And here another reference where deficits are mentioned:
      “Federal taxes are the lowest in 60 years, which gives you a pretty good idea of why America’s long-term debt ratios are a big problem. If the taxes reverted to somewhere near their historical mean, the problem would be solved at a stroke.”
      http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/12/06/chart-of-the-day-u-s-taxes/

      BUT if you are not idiot, you realize that if you slow economic growth, that government revenues will decrease.
      This the reason you can’t forever raise taxes, if you are also interested in having more government revenue. Taxes and in particular high amounts of regulations WILL slow economic growth.

      So, if we weren’t in low economic growth, the amount revenues to the government would be much higher than has been recently. This show here:
      http://visualizingeconomics.com/2011/03/08/long-term-real-growth-in-us-gdp-per-capita-1871-2009/#.UBRSY6DC1lJ

      Which unfortunately only goes to 2009, but nevertheless shows the “great recession” that all US politicians have mentioned.
      If look at the chart, in above reference the recent dip is similar to the Great Depression.

      Now deficit spending is also a tax, you can look at it various ways- but taxing the future is fair description. One can also say it’s taxing money.
      It’s somewhat complicated. But for a simple lesson, the US dollar is not backed by gold, rather it’s literally backed by debt. The dollar value is it legal tender to repay a debt. Controlling how much money is “out there” is similar to having a pile gold in a vaunt in which money could based or “backed”. Having the dollar based on debt, solved a problem
      in terms controlling depressions. And all world economies in modern times use debt back “dollar”. Up shot of all this, it that government deficit spending can “force” the Federal reserve, to add debt to the economy. Anyhow, deficit spending is somewhat like adding gold to an economy, or it simulates the economy. Or it’s liquidating equity.
      But in a fundamental way, it assume economic growth in the future- it’s that future which is the equity you are liquidating “or making into money”.
      So, maybe you see why slowing economic growth can be a serious problem, particular if one want run huge deficits, and have high debt.

    • gbaikie -

      Which always, fun, but the point mentioning it, is to provide a recent example of politicians desiring to increase taxes….

      Do you seriously not see the gaping hole in your logic there?

    • “Surely, you don’t need evidence that they want to increase spending, ergo, they need to more government revenue.”

      If that er were to actually go, there would be no budget deficit. Ours is $1.2 trillion. Ergo, you don’t know what your talking about.

      “Now deficit spending is also a tax”

      Clearly you don’t know enough about economics to hold up your end of this conversation. Call me when you know the difference between spending and taxing.

    • “Now deficit spending is also a tax”

      “Clearly you don’t know enough about economics to hold up your end of this conversation. Call me when you know the difference between spending and taxing.”

      Taxing is mechanism of a government gain money, spending is spending that money

      ‘A tax may be defined as a “pecuniary burden laid upon individuals or property owners to support the government [...] a payment exacted by legislative authority.” A tax “is not a voluntary payment or donation, but an enforced contribution, exacted pursuant to legislative authority” and is “any contribution imposed by government [...] whether under the name of toll, tribute, tallage, gabel, impost, duty, custom, excise, subsidy, aid, supply, or other name.” ‘
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax

      Therefore government which require a future payment to a government is a tax.
      If a government obtains a debt, there is a future obligation of the citizens to repay that debt, and this will no doubt will done by taxing citizen at the time the debt is due. Part of current federal government budget is interest.
      “In 2010, net interest outlays totaled $197 billion”
      So roughly, currently govt receives about 2.5 in tax revenue and borrows
      a bit more 1 trillion. So the 197 billion is mostly paid off in tax dollar, and significant paid off, by borrowing money [which is has repay with tax revenue]. So the trillion or so being borrow is requiring taxes in the future to pay for that borrowing.

  59. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Peter Lang reminds us:  “If we are going to invest trillions of dollars on mitigation policies carbon-burning we need the best ever due diligence.”

    Fixed it for you, Peter Lang!   :)   :)   :)

    Your sage reminder is 100% correct … obviously!   :)   :)   :)

    • I love burning carbon. It is a cheap energy source, reliable, safe, and keeps me cozy year-round. It’s much better than a sparse energy source like PV or wind. Denser = better.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Jim2, your assessment is 100% economically rational!   :)   :)   :)

      For markets based on low social discount rates, that is.

      Discount rates that in the long-run are utterly disastrous, eh?

      Thank you, Jim2, for showing us so plainly the Good-Reuveny Collapse Mechanism in action!   :)   :)   :)

    • Dave Springer

      :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:

    • Dave Springer

      I don’t care about your opinions of me. Not in particular and not in general. FOAD.

    • “social interest rate” – appropriate for a Fan of More BS.

    • I don’t particularly care if you like burning fossil fuels or shooting guns in the air on the 4th of July or dumping your septic tank into the river. Living in society means you don’t always get to do the stuff you like. Part of being an adult.

    • Dave Springer

      I don’t care about your opinions of me. Not in particular and not in general. FOAD.
      .

    • Latimer Alder

      @ A Fan

      I am glad that you support ‘the best ever due diligence’ throughout the work of climatology. It is something that has long been needed.

      No doubt we can look forward to you vigorously campaigning for all ‘climate scientists’ to publish all their past, current and future data, methods and all their other work so that the due diligence can take place?

      And also campaigning that any work that cannot provide such reassurance be expunged from the record as ‘cannot be shown to meet minimun quality standards’?

      And for a complete revolution in the IPCC’s work? Letting climatologists assess their own and their close associates work is no guarantee of quality.

      In short to try to run climatology and climatological predictions on a professional rigorous and testable way. This will be a very welcome change. But many here will thoroughly dislike the process.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Latimer, please let me say that I agree partially with your admirably thoughtful remarks.

      The part that I agree with amounts to:

      The interests of our children are best served when the strongest rational skepticism is directed toward the strongest open research.

      But I would also assert:

      Nothing is more pathetically irrelevant than ideology-driven demagoguery deployed against weak and/or boring and/or just-plain-wrong scientific studies.

      And finally

      The day will never come when all skepticism is rational, every scientific article is correct, and all parties are saints.

      In climate-change science as in medical science, Hippocrates had it right IMHO:

      Life is short,
      and Art long,
      opportunity fleeting,
      experience perilous,
      and decision difficult.

      Summary  Life requires that we make difficult choices based upon imperfect understanding.

      Thank you for your thoughtful remarks, Latimer Alder!   :)   :)   :)

    • Latimer Alder

      @ a Fan

      I’m also glad that Judith’s admirably open approach to debate has led to at least some point of agreement between us.

      And I’d also say that I agree that

      ‘Life requires that we make difficult choices based upon imperfect understanding’.

      But the consequence of that is that we take extreme care in establishing what we do understand. Over the years as humanity has achieved ever more complex and difficult things we have built up a set of tools and techniques to minimise errors. They are not perfect, they are not infallible and they do not guarantee against failure. But if we use them they do give a better chance of being successful than if we don’t. And they range from simple things like somebody else checking one’s work and calculations through to auditability and vigorous challenge. In programming, verification and validation can be important tools. Openness of everything that is done is just about a prerequisite.

      And it is the lack of any of these things – familiar as day-to-day working practices that make me and many others so very very suspicious of climatology and climatologists. Neglect of them could be explained away (perhaps) as just academics having their heads in the clouds. But their active and visceral hostility to anything that looks like ‘quality control’ to the outside world does little to convince that their work is anything better than speculation.

      So a rigorous and vigorous examination of the work that has already been done…not from the perspective of other climatologists but from a far more sceptical viewpoint is an absolute prerequisite to establishing a firm basis of our existing knowledge, let alone extrapolating to what may or may not happen in the future and any actions we may or may not need to take.

      I’m not quite sure that I understand your point about

      ‘Nothing is more pathetically irrelevant than ideology-driven demagoguery deployed against weak and/or boring and/or just-plain-wrong scientific studies’.

      apart from to observe that the existing QC system in climatology isn’t even worth its name of pal review. And its clear that – as more and more papers get reviewed in the blogosphere – there is a rich vein of weak and/or boring and/or just plain wrong studies that need to be expunged.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Latimer asks: “Any work that cannot provide [quality] reassurance [should] be expunged from the record.”

      Latimer, no mathematical or scientific works *ever* are “expunged from the record.” Works that are weak and/or boring and/or just-plain-wrong suffer a fate that is far worse than expunction: these works are retracted and/or (worst of all by far) simply ignored.

      Latimer asks: I’m not quite sure that I understand your point about: ‘Nothing is more pathetically irrelevant than ideology-driven demagoguery deployed against weak and/or boring and/or just-plain-wrong scientific studies’.

      Latimer Alder, WUWT is a high-visibility example of a forum that is irrelevant because its skepticism is focussed mainly upon the weakest climate-change science.

      In coming years, an important test of the strongest climate-change science will be the observational test of the specific 2011 prediction of Hansen et al.acceleration of the rate of sea level rise this decade“, and more broadly, observational tests of the main prediction of AGW science: a sustained planetary energy imbalance.

      If these two predictions are *not* fulfilled, a major paradigm shift in climate-change theory will follow. Conversely, if these two predictions *are* fulfilled, the basis for rational skepticism of AGW science will be very substantially diminished.

      Given recent events in the Arctic, it appears to me (and to many) that these predictions are reasonably on-track to fulfillment.

      From this point of view, the evolution of climate-change science is following a traditional trajectory, eh?

      Because there’s nothing “post-modern” about any of the preceding considerations, is there?   :)   :)   :)

    • Latimer Alder

      @ A Fan

      Just a couple of observations.

      I think that your point about WUWT is interesting. But to me it reaffirms my conviction that there is a lot of very poor quality work being published. And that the existing in-house ‘QC system’ is completely incapable of weeding the junk out. That climatologists need to go to the blogosphere for this to be made clear to them is a terrible indictment. But the blame does not lie with Anthony Watts for pointing it out…it lies with climatology for allowing it to be published in the first place.

      And it throws a bad light on all the rest of the work. Why shoudl we take any of it seriously if it has only passed the same pathetic pal-review process? That is such a low hurdle to leap that it tells us just about nothing.

      As to Hansen’s predictions, can you give me any more reason to believe his latest set than we had for all his previous ones which have singularly failed to come true? Because I like my prognosticators to have a decent track record, not just a scatter gun approach so that eventually just by chance one of then hits the spot.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Latimer, the article Climate impact of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide by James Hansen et al. (1981) has been cited more than 600 times in the last 31 years for precisely one reason: its ideas and predictions have help-up very well indeed.

      For whatever reason, most of the criticism of this article in the blogosphere comes from folks who have never ready it.

      Even after 31 years, this article remains an impressive piece of work. So when Hansen makes predictions about the coming decade, folks have pretty good reason to respect those predictions.

    • A fan of *MORE* discord

      Fanny, you’re easily impressed.

    • Latimer Alder

      @A Fan

      I seem to remember that Arrhenius in 1907 also predicted that there would be a bit of warming if the CO2 level increased. How does Hansen’s work compare with this in terms of accuracy? Because when last I looked Arrhenius did a better job of predicting what actually happened than Hansen.

      That’s the thing about predictions…you have to get them right, If you predict that the temperature rise is going to be 1.0C and it only comes in at 0.5c, you have got it wrong by a factor of 2. No matter how many fellow climatologists wish to pretend that you are a true prophet.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Latimer, don’t overlook the great mathematician/scientist (and ardent political conservative) John von Neumann’s 1955 prediction of Hansen-style AGW.

      Gee, did yah ever stop to reflect that maybe Arrhenius (1907), von Neumann (1955), and Hansen (1981) were/are all three of them just plain right? :) :) :)

    • Latimer Alder

      @A Fan

      Neither Arrhenius nor von Neumann (as far as I am aware) went around making blood curdling predictions of huge temperature increases that didn’t happen and daft remarks about coal trains of death.

      As a one-time chemist I’m cool with Arrhenius who was a fine scientist.(Nobel Prize, Chemistry, 1903). And since his temperature predictions seem to be a lot more reliable than Hansen’s I think we can safely ignore the latter.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Latimer Alder, thank you for a series of posts that nicely illuminate the boundary between rational skepticism and irrational denialism.

      For example, we know know that in the next 100 years, CO2 will rise to levels that Arrhenius foresaw would be reached only after 3000 years. So Arrhenius’ economic forecasts were wrong. We now have a solid basis in quantum mechanics and Onsager theory for heat transport, which Arrhenius did not have. So Arrhenius’ physical arguments were weak. And of course, Arrhenius utterly lacked the modern datasets from Argo, satellites, etc. So Arrhenius’ evidence was weak.

      Latimer, you are smart enough to appreciate that the reasons you have given for “being cool with Arrhenius”, namely “he didn’t make blood-curdling predictions” and “one-time chemist I’m cool with Arrhenius”, all are utterly irrational.

      And just to mention, John von Neumann trained as a chemical engineer; the title of his 1955 essay was Can We Survive Technology and von Neumann’s blood-curdling answers amounts to “Maybe, but only if we make good choices.” Which if you think about it, is the same answer that James Hansen gives. So there can be no rational grounds to prefer Arrhenius to von Neumann and Hansen.

      Latimer Alder, why do you not abandon your irrational clinging to obsolete 19th century science, and join the 21st century’s rational von Neumann-style & Hansen-style enterprises for addressing our century’s challenges?

      Our century’s great enterprises require brains, courage, fortitude, and vision.

      Brains you possess, Latimer. The obvious next step is to summon your courage!   :)   :)   :)

    • Latimer Alder

      @A Fan

      Just remind me of exactly how well the predictions of the temperature rise we should be experiencing by today’s CO2 concentration by Hansen (1981) and Arrhenus (1907) stack up?

      Answer paper for you to fill in:

      Arrhenius predicted: x degrees
      Hansen predicted: y degrees
      The observation is : z degrees

      And I said nothing at all about Arrhenius’s economic predictions. Before you can even begin to think about those, you need to have a good idea of what future temperatures will be. AFAICT we do not even have those yet.

      And nothing I have seen from anybody has yet caused me to even mildly dampen my underwear about the supposed consequences, nor even to show me that they would be bad overall. .

      It seems to me that it is you who are suffering from irrationalism, not me.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Latimer Alder, a plain reading of their texts established that neither Arrhenius, nor von Neumann, nor Hansen chose to restrict their AGW inquiries as narrowly as your queries inquire.

      Please let me express the rational opinion that the broad inquiry methods Arrhenius, von Neumann, and Hansen have proven to be far more productive than the non-rational restricted inquiry that you propose.

      Therefore, Latimer Alder, please allow me to suggest that you summon the intellectual and moral courage that is essential to unrestricted inquiry, and that the great freethinking AGW scientists Arrhenius, von Neumann, and Hansen all exemplify!   :)   :)   :)

    • And we are still waiting for the day that Climate Science becomes rational.

    • If the auditing function is so important, isn’t too important to be left to liars, fools, and fanatics?

      Climate science, like any human endeavor, is going to have success and failure. As does medical science, as do all sciences.

      But the business of climate denial, of which you are a part, has an unbroken record of failure, threatening to murder scientists, to rape children, faking credentials, falsifying graphs, plagiarism, getting millions in oil and coal money to churn out incompetent, embarrassingly ignorant mathturbation you laughably mislabel “science.”

      So if you wish to embark on the important business of critically evaluating important scientific findings, you face a problem: you have no credibility. Zero, zip. You’ve lied and threatening and defrauded your way into a laughingstock that reasonable people hold in contempt.

      Your future contributions to all serious discourse and predicated on fixing that. That should be your first priority. Not attacking people with infinitely better records for accuracy, honesty, and simple decency than you.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Robert, the language of your post has no place in any scientific discourse that I care to endorse. “Pointlessly abusive and worse than useless” pretty much describes it.   :sad:   :sad:   :sad:

      A fan of *MORE* discourse

    • I will try to struggle on under the crushing weight of your disapproval.

      Nevertheless, I stand by every word:

      “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

    • That comment demonstrates the sort of ignorance that is prevalent among many alarmists.

      What is the cost of the mitigation policies and what damages will they avoid?

      If you can’t answer that question, other than with scaremongering adjectives and silly comments like above, I wonder what is the value of the past 20 years of climate science research and $100 billion we’ve spent to try to control the climate.

      In answering the question, you also need to demonstrate that the high-cost mitigation policies you propose will have a high probability of controlling the climate and the sea levels.

    • So you’re saying you are totally ignorant of the literally hundreds of economic analyses of global warming that have been published in the peer-reviewed literature?

      But you ignorance is not a superpower. Become better informed, and then you’ll be able to discuss the question, instead of laming pretending the evidence doesn’t exist.

  60. WUWT publishing suspended – major announcement coming
    Posted on July 27, 2012 by Anthony Watts
    Something’s happened. From now until Sunday July 29th, around Noon PST, WUWT will be suspending publishing. At that time, there will be a major announcement that I’m sure will attract a broad global interest due to its controversial and unprecedented nature. ……..Anthony Watts

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

      Thanks for that.
      I am already doing up a big bowl of popcorn and clearing a spot on my desk for my forehead.

    • Hah! Actually made me laugh Jeb. I’m sure that makes your day.

    • Latimer Alder

      Umm

      Shouldn’t you new moniker be

      ‘The Very Reverend Doctor Jebediah Hypotenuse’

      You claimed to have a PhD last time. Were you dissembling or do you not understand academic titles?

      LA (BA, MA, MSc)

    • The Very Reverend Doctor Jebediah Hypotenuse

      It’s only a blog-handle.
      You know, like “Sterling English”, or “Your Average Joe”, or “Joe Sixpack”.

      Please use more skepticism when reading blogs.

      I like your suggestion, though.

    • Latimer Alder

      My close associate and colleague reminds me that he spells his name ‘Stirling’, after the city in Scotland (and like the famous racing driver Stirling Moss – whose mother came from there).

      Anybody writing as Sterling (as in the currency) is likely an impostor and should be treated as such.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Obviously he’s been waiting for all the Norfolk police to be posted to London to deal with the Olympics.

    • At that time, there will be a major announcement that I’m sure will attract a broad global interest due to its controversial and unprecedented nature.

      I love this.

      The work of a true “skeptic.”

      “Broad global interest? Does that mean some climate warriors in England and Australia?”

      “Controversial?” Does that mean that some climate warriors will have criticism of theories about climate change?

      And the best – “unprecedented.”

      Given the recent hand-wringing an pearl-clutching from fainting couches about using the term “unprecedented,” it will be fascinating to read what Anthony considers to be “unprecedented.”

    • The humiliating fall of John “Skydragon” aka “Fake Lawyer” Sullivan has finally forced Tony to confront the shoddy nature of the fraud he is a part of . . .

      On Sunday he will formally apologize to the public for pushing horrible conspiracy theory and sloppy pseudoscience at them, and publicly admit he was wrong to deny the science.

    • It’s gotta be about this:

      Richard Muller, the head of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project, will publish an op-ed next week in the New York Times summarizing his group’s findings with regard to global temperature trends. From a copy of the op-ed, “Converted Skeptic,” circulating on the web:

      CALL me a converted skeptic. Three years ago I identified scientific issues that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Now, after organizing an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I’ve concluded that global warming is real, that the prior estimates of the rate were correct, and the cause is human.

      My turnaround is the result of the careful and objective analysis by the “Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature” team, founded by me and my daughter Elizabeth. Our results show that the average temperature of the Earth’s land has risen by two and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, and one and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase is due to the human emission of greenhouse gases.

      But what can Watts say about it? My best guess, he ditches “strong denial” and officially embraces “lukewarmism,” i.e., recycling all of his old, failed propaganda regarding AGW and repurposing it to attack the science of impacts and estimated climate sensitivity.

      Or maybe he’s actually had a change of heart. I’m an optimist — I give that possibility about 4%.

      http://bit.ly/QSV4Kj

  61. I just saw this. Whatever it is, it sounds GOOD.

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

      You haven’t got a clue “whatever it is” – but it “sounds GOOD” – because you (somehow) know that Tony is going to put the “final nail in the coffin of AGW”!!!

      For only the fourth time this year. Yay!

      Kittens. Bowl of milk. Lapping ensues.

      “Skepticism” on proud display.

    • Richard Muller is scientifically bipolar, so this could have something to do with BEST.

    • Whatever it is, it is clearly brilliant PR on Anthony’s part.

      My guess it has something to do with Climategate.

    • Are you the hacker!

    • My guess is that’s what it is. Of course, being the hacker, I have inside info on that. Pretty good cover I’ve created, isn’t it?

    • Rabbit thinks maybe, points to this rumor:

      The rumors say that new BEST reanalysis will show that global average temperature has increased by 1.5 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times and will suggest that most of the warming since the 1950s is the result of increased greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.

      Those interested in clean energy may want to prepare to hook up a generator to Tony’s spin.

    • lurker passing through, laughing

      pokerguy,
      Be careful of what you wish for.

  62. Willis Eschenbach

    Steven Mosher | July 26, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    “Thanks, Steven. Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear. There is a fundamental contradiction in your definition. When the facts are uncertain, how on earth can we seriously claim that “immediate action is required””

    Simple. In the first place facts are always uncertain.

    That’s total nonsense. Ravetz’s own definition says “when facts are uncertain”. If they were always certain, there would be no need for that definition at all.

    Steven, if you want to play, you have to use words like everyone else uses them. If you want to claim that facts are always uncertain, you are a long ways from how everyone else uses those words, including Jerome Ravetz.

    In the second place, the situation arises when some people judge the facts to be less certain than others. Typically, those who judge them to be less certain are more willing to call for immediate action.

    Yes, that is often the problem, that those who judge facts to be less certain are more willing to call for sacrifice from others to relieve their own unbearable uncertainty … but what does that have to do with science?

    Third, What we may be uncertain about can be clarified only by taking action.

    That is very rarely true in my experience. As I pointed out in my example above, clarifying uncertainty usually requires investigation, not action. For example, Kyoto didn’t clarify the uncertainty surrounding the climate in the slightest.

    The sad truth is that actions often have the opposite effect from clarification of uncertainties. To take action in the face of uncertainty requires that we make assumptions about the unknowns … and as we have seen in climate “science”, those assumptions rapidly harden to the point where people mistake them for facts. Then a “consensus” is declared, and we’re in post-normal hell …

    w.

    • Willis,

      Can you give an example of a certain fact?

      For extra credit, can you give an example of a certain fact that is non-trivial? Exempli gratiae: the statement “water is wet” may be accepted as factual by most, if not all, non-delusional observers, but is so trivial as to be functionally useless.

      This last, I think, speaks to Mr. Mosher’s point.

      best,
      P

    • In the second place, the situation arises when some people judge the facts to be less certain than others. Typically, those who judge them to be less certain are more willing to call for immediate action.

      I think he’s confusing a couple of things. When you buckle your seatbelt, you don’t do it with the expectation that you’re going to get into a crash. You don’t even do it with the expectation that you’re reasonably likely to get into a crash. You do it because it’s a very low cost precaution against a highly unlikely event. You can’t exclude cost from the calculation. If it cost $100 or even $10 every time you buckle, you’d have a reasonable controversy over whether bucking was worth doing.

      Safety often works on a scorched earth theory, because in most cases, the scorched earth is extremely inexpensive. In many cases, it’s not even about the precaution itself, it’s about maintaining rigor. In many workplaces, you have to wear your hard hat in places where there’s zero chance of anything falling on your head. Protecting your head isn’t the point. The point is to maintain behavioral standards. And properly enforced, it works.

      The problem comes in when it’s something more costly than wearing a hard hat. Then, in an intelligent safety program, there are more specific requirements. You wear your hard hat all the time, but you don’t wear a gas mask all the time. It’s not realistic to make people wear gas masks all the time, unless it’s an area that’s unbreathable all the time.

      That’s the part that never discussed when talking about the PP is whether or not the precaution has a reasonable cost.

  63. Whoa, what up here: WUWT publishing suspended – major announcement coming http://wp.me/p7y4l-hKz

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

      You know it’s going to be a MAJOR announcement from Tony when he goes head-to-head with the Olympics.

      I’m guessing either:
      a) AGW completely falsified by the appearance of snow in someone’s back yard,
      or
      b) Anthony’s coming out of the closet.

      Already, the blog-hype is almost unbearable!

    • Maybe the Chinese were caught trapping polar bears for their fur or Soros died and left Tony all of his money on condition that he convert to Warmanism.

    • Latimer Alder

      Bugger. Right in the middle of the Olympics…..

      On reflection, Climate Change can wait – it probably ain’t going to happen in my lifetime. But I know that we will never see the Olympic Cycling going past the end of my street ever again.

    • If this was happening in Cabbot Cove, Maine I’d be expecting a dead body to turn up soon.

    • That’s pretty great. Mark Cavendish is really impressive, and Britain has an excellent squad. Enjoy it.

    • Latimer Alder

      Tx. Champagne breakfast in the Cricket Club tomorrow followed by the cycling going past about 11:00. A good day in prospect

    • Latimer Alder

      Brilliant morning! The sun shone. The crowds were far bigger than I expected. Lots of small children brought along so that they can tell their grandchildren that they were there. Everybody cheered everything and waved their flags. Huge applause especially for Wiggins and Cavendish as they whooshed by. Now there’s a giant informal party on the green with mums and dads and kids and dogs and bikes and a barbecue and beer and Pimms. And the sun is still shining. A great day.

    • Cheering for Cav but Germany’s Andre Greipel will do all he can to be a spoiler. And, Sagan… WE WEE WEEE

    • Was the opening ceremony a tribute to the steel and coal industries? :)

    • No apology from the British for giving birth to the rise of industial man. How politically incorrect.

    • Something’s going to hit the fan (of *more* discourse). :lol:

    • I don’t know if is supposed to be a secret but I just learned what it is all about.

    • If we’re starting a pool, I’m putting 20,000 quatloos on the key being released to the locked climategate files. :twisted:

    • It’s an exclusive interview concerning a huge discovery. Don’t tell anyone but Trenberth found the missing heat.

    • The missing heat was found lurking at the bottom of a Koi pond on Al Gore’s estate.

    • Latimer Alder

      The missing heat? Found at last! Praise be!

      Where is it? Did Phil lose it in an office move? Down the back of the sofa? Harry took it away to look after it at home? Or did Mike Mann so frighten it by snarling at everything that it ran away and just hid? Like Alexander Beetle in WTP?

    • Really? Is it something to do with the CRN project he is working on and that surface stations appear to have a positive bias? To Anthony that would be “unprecedented” and have “Global” implications.

    • …or that, sure, maybe–i.e., the first results comparing ‘official’ temperatures to the thermometers kept in the backyards of every 100,000th person on the globe named Smith or Huyen — the results are in a mayonnaise jar and kept on Funk and Wagnall’s porch since noon yesterday.

  64. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Anthony Watts announces: “WUWT publishing suspended – major announcement coming.”

    This needs an Intrade-style prediction market!

    (1) Fresh rational insights regarding climate change    ;)   ;)   ;)

    (2) Romeo and Juliet scenario  Anthony Watts’ niece engaged to James Hansen’s grandson; peace declared.

    (3) John Muir/Chuck Colson scenario:  Upon reading Wendell Berry’s Sabbath Poems, Jane Goodall’s Reason for Hope, and Nevens Arctic Sea Ice Weblog, Anthony Watts has become an AGW believer, and has joined the Seasons’ End conservation group.

    (4) RICO lawsuit scenario  RICO class-action lawsuit filled against scientist Michael Mann — and perhaps every other climate scientist (?) — by litigants that potentially include (?) WUWT, Heartland Institute, CATO Institute, George Marshall Institute, FOX News, and Rush Limbaugh, Incorporated.

    ————————————————-

    And a suggested initial betting-line is:

    Fresh rational insights: 10%.

    Romeo-Juliet scenario: 15%.

    Muir-Colson scenario: 25%.

    RICO lawsuit scenario: 50%.

    Why odds-on RICO prediction? Well, the evidence suggests that the financial supporters of the above institutions have no particular interest in scientific advances, young love, or in wildlife conservation. On the other hand, some of them have had very considerable legal experience of racketeering trials.

    Heck, all those RICO-trained lawyers *have* to be hungry for work! Can anyone propose a more likely scenario?   :)   :)   :)

    • The Very Reverend Doctor Jebediah Hypotenuse

      A fan:

      What odds are you giving for “fresh rational insights”?

      I’ll put 10,000 quatloos against that event.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      VRDJB, the reasoning behind the odds is simple:

      WUWT/Watts’ surprise likely isn’t rational, creative, constructive, or intelligent … otherwise Anthony would post it immediately.

      • The surprise plausibly involves legal subpoenas on folks’ desks Monday, `cuz otherwise why the Sunday timing?

      So if we turn-up the Dunning-Kruger knob to “11″ the natural answer suggests itself: RICO lawsuit against Michael “The Godfather” Mann and his Hockey Stick Mafia!  :)   :)   :)

    • Latimer Alder

      5. Mike Mann tearfully announces

      ‘I can stay in the closet no longer…ashamed of my true nature. My name is Michael Mann and It is time to tell the world, loud and proud, I am really a Denier! All this AGW stuff is a load of bollocks and we all know it (apart from JIm, Joe and Gavin) I can live a lie no longer. I Deny and I am so pleased to be able to say so!

      So its time to come clean. I can’t undo all the harm I’ve done, but I hope I will live the rest of my life making amends and acting as a true scientist. Please forgive me and help me on the long road of 12 steps to recovery’

      6. Press conference from Hansen and Schmidt

      ‘Well guys, it’s been a lot of fun. So long and thanks for all the fish’.

      7. Latest output from the bestest most superest brillo top banana climate model: 42!

    • Speculation thread up at Lucia’s. No, Fan. You’re not invited.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      You’re too late, P.E.

      The Magic 8-Ball has unveiled the future of WUWT

      What is your next mystical query, P.E.?   :)   :)   :)

  65. Willis Eschenbach

    Steven Mosher | July 26, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Here willis, do a bit of reading beyond Popper. Be more scientific in your description of what science ACTUALLY IS, how it is actually practiced.

    If you think science is a thing, I suggest you go find some, grab a cup of it and test it.

    Say what? Where did I ever say that “science is a thing”? Your fevered imagination is working overtime, Steven, I have never to my knowledge made any such claim. READ WHAT I WRITE, and ignore the voices in your head that claim that I wrote something else.

    What is your theory about what science is, and lets see if we can falsify it. That’s rather easy.

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

    basically Willis you are a rationalist about science, you are not scientific about science. Observe some facts.

    Thanks for that, Steven, I haven’t laughed so hard in a while, I love it. You are claiming that you have falsified the theory that scientific theories can be decided by falsification … do you re-read what you write?

    I doubt you will read the Feyerabend texts, while I would not agree with everything he writes, I think you can get a flavor of the challenge to your non scientific account of science, by reading this nice little synopsis from wikipedia of all places.

    I read the synopsis you provided, and I laughed some more, I didn’t realize that philosophers could be stand-up comics. Here’s one reason why, where he says:

    One of the criteria for evaluating scientific theories that Feyerabend attacks is the consistency criterion. He points out that to insist that new theories be consistent with old theories gives an unreasonable advantage to the older theory.

    The nature of science is that new theories overthrow old theories, not that they have to be consistent with old theories. The old theory of ulcers was that they were caused by worry. The new theory of ulcers is that they are caused by bacteria … where is the consistency with the old theory? Here’s another chuckle:

    “Feyerabend was also critical of falsificationism. He argued that no interesting theory is ever consistent with all the relevant facts. This would rule out using a naïve falsificationist rule which says that scientific theories should be rejected if they do not agree with known facts.”

    Godel proved that a while back, that any interesting theory contains statements whose truth cannot be determined … so what? Nobody I know of uses such a “naïve falsification rule”, nobody pushes the Godel limit, because to do so would indeed be unbelievably naïve. So I haven’t a clue who Feyerabend is talking about. Perhaps science is done in that naïve fashion on his planet, or in kindergarten somewhere, but nowhere that I’ve seen. And you advise me to “observe some facts”?

    My favorite, though, was this one:

    Before such theories were articulated, Galileo had to make use of ad hoc methods and proceed counterinductively. So, “ad hoc” hypotheses actually have a positive function: they temporarily make a new theory compatible with facts until the theory to be defended can be supported by other theories.

    Feyerabend commented on the Galileo affair as follows:

    The church at the time of Galileo was much more faithful to reason than Galileo himself, and also took into consideration the ethical and social consequences of Galileo’s doctrine. Its verdict against Galileo was rational and just, and revisionism can be legitimized solely for motives of political opportunism.

    And you think I have odd ideas about science? Of course Galileo used ad hoc methods and proceeded counterintuitively, that’s common in science and has nothing to do with falsifiability. Those are methods we use when we don’t have full understanding. We also use hunches, imagination, and inspiration … and again, so what?

    But the best part is Feyeraband’s claim regarding the Church:

    “Its verdict against Galileo was rational and just …”

    Rational and just? No, it was neither. It was the action of an unelected dictatorship squashing someone who disagreed with its blinkered ideas. The main document against him, the “injunction” he was supposed to have violated, was likely a forgery. “Rational and just” to charge someone with standing up for science and with violating a forged injunction? Feyerabend is your idea of a philosopher of science? Really? Sounds like an apologist for the Church to me …

    Thanks for posting that, though, because it explains one thing to me. If you can swallow all of that with a straight face, and not bust out laughing, and claim it makes perfect sense, it explains why you agree with Ravetz’s ideas, and likely find them “rational and just” as well …

    w.

    • Both of you are talking about “science”, but not about the same thing. It depends on how you define it. Mosher calls science the decision about airplanes and volcanoes (PNS), and you don’t. No problem. But the definition has consequences and what you are calling science is very credible, while this is not the case in Mosher’s definition. That’s the real difference.

  66. Hey Jeb,
    You sound worried. My clue is that Anthony sounds excited. Could be wrong naturally. In any case, I’m always happy to put my money right where my rather big mouth is. 500 bucks says it’s supportive of the “skeptical case.” We can let the denizens be the judge.

    Proceeds to be paid to winner’s favorite charity if you prefer.

    • The Very Reverend Doctor Jebediah Hypotenuse

      If I had a dollar for every time Anthony Watts has ever been “excited”, I would be a rich Jebediah.

      $ 500 that Tony will support the “skeptical case” (not sure exactly what that is this week) – as determined by the denizens here?

      Wow. What are the chances?
      You really put it all on the line for science, don’t you, pokerguy?

      Not only I am not worried about Tony, but I’m also not worried about the fact that you ‘denizens’ will spend all of next week “debating” whatever tosh he throws onto the internet.

    • Latimer Alder

      I don’t recall a previous occasion when WUWT was suspended. But I have only been following it for 3 years.

      Can you cite another occurrence?

  67. And if P.E. is right, I’d call that skeptic friendly.

  68. I think it’s even more dramatic than that though.

  69. Jeb, I’m willing to bet it’s considered major news by both sides of the debate. Again, denizens can judge. Searching for a way to construct a wager. Open to ideas…

    • Winner gets to laugh at the loser?

    • The Very Reverend Doctor Jebediah Hypotenuse

      Too late.

    • The Very Reverend Doctor Jebediah Hypotenuse

      “Both sides of the debate”? Yawn.

      Here’s my bet:
      Whatever Tony posts will make no difference whatsoever to anything but the ‘blogosphere’. Science will not be affected in the least by the posturing of your favourite weatherman.

      You think the ‘denizens’ are objective. That’s made my day.

      Teach the controversy.

  70. HOw about if I let you judge? Can you be objective?

  71. If you say you can, I’ll trust you.

  72. Willis Eschenbach

    Steven Mosher | July 26, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Reply

    Wills.
    You are captain of boat and out to sea. You get a weather alert. There may be nasty whether coming your way. You try to check your position.
    your gear is busted. You are uncertain abut where you are and uncertain about the weather.

    your passnegers are nervous. The life raft, you come to find out, is flat with a nice big puncture in it. the life vests are all locked up below.
    Do you take immediate action?

    Sure, you’d be a fool not to. Fix the life raft. Unlock the life vests. Calculate your position using dead reckoning. Batten down the hatches. Get the boat ready for the storm. Reassure the passengers. In other words, follow the facts and deal with what the facts tell you are the problems. I don’t understand your point …

    Lets make it more interesting. Lets turn back the clock.. c02 is at 280ppm.
    you know that adding c02 will cause warming, but you are uncertain how much. and you are uncertain that even if it warms what the damage will
    be.

    You invent the combustion engine and would like to start running them and selling them.
    I object. I argue that you dont know that its safe to put c02 in the air.
    You object. you argue that I dont know if its dangerous. You want to act immediately and start selling combustion engines. i want you to do normal science to prove that it is safe.

    uncertainty has nothing whatsoever to do with whether an action is warranted or not.

    I fear I don’t understand this one either. If, as you say, “uncertainty has nothing whatsoever to do with whether an action is warranted”, then how come we are so frequently uncertain if an action is warranted?

    Also, to use your example, if I know that X will cause Y, but I am uncertain how much Y it will cause. and I am uncertain that even if Y occurs it will result in any damage at all, and I don’t know what the damage will be if Y does occur … then I’d be a fool to do anything but take “no-regrets” actions, actions that will be valuable whether or not Y actually occurs.

    Truly, Steven, this constant call for action when we are without even the simplest answers is a dangerous path. When four decades and millions of man-hours haven’t been able to even narrow the uncertainty regarding climate sensitivity, we shouldn’t be taking action. Instead, we should be investigating our assumptions to see which basic ideas are wrong, because that’s the most logical reason for our failure … but oh, I forgot, the science is settled.

    Let’s see if I can make the point even sharper. The problem that climate science faces is this.

    1. facts uncertain: yes, we dont know if continued c02 release is safe
    2. values in conflict: yes. You want to be free to act today how you acted yesterday. to freely use carbon. to keep your money from the tax man. Hansen wants to protect his children and cares not for your freedom.
    he wants his grandchildren to be free from danger, you want freedom to do as you please.
    3. Stakes high? you bet. your freedom To, hansens freedom from.

    4. Immediate action or decision?

    yes, you would like to live this instant as you lived just yesterday. to act as you choose to unless hansen can prove that you are harming his grand children, Hansen would also like to act immediately. he believes that if we wait, if we do normal science, if we play by the rulz of particle physics and demand 6 sigma certainty that we will find out too late to do anything about it.

    That is the problem. The science tells us that we might have to act before we reach normal standards of certainty.

    I’m sorry, but that assumes facts not in evidence. “The science tells us …”??? If “the science” can “tell us”, then it must be a thing … come back with a cup of it so we can analyze it, as a friend of mine is fond of saying …

    And in any case, “The science” doesn’t tell us that we have to act now, that’s the claim of post-normal voodoo science.

    So the problem isnt that we need certainty to act. the problem isnt that there is some kind of contradiction inherent in acting immediately with uncertain facts. we do that all the time. The problem, at its heart, is that uncertainty, values, high stakes, and the possibility that immediate action may be required, all come together in rather wicked way.

    How is this different than everyday life? Humans have been facing this situation since there were humans. You may not have noticed, but things have always been uncertain, values have always been in conflict. This is no different than in Galileo’s time, except these days we don’t place scientists under house arrest for their actions … and throughout all that time, plain old science was more than adequate. So why do we need post normal science now?

    It’s not normal
    In normal science a scientist is free to look at whatever strikes his fancy. free inquiry.

    And you accuse me of not looking at what science is rather than what it should be? The overwhelming majority of scientists are not “free to look at whatever strikes [their] fancy.” That was what was unusual about Bell Labs, and it certainly is not “normal”. The majority of scientists are paid to look at specific things.

    In this situation, they are paid to look at certain things to exclsuion of others.

    Just like almost every other scientist on the planet …

    In normal science, we dont worry about bad papers being published, the record eventually is self correcting. in normal science, there is no discussion of philosophy or values. There is a paradigm that is un questioned and philosophy is dead. In normal science, truth isnt rushed. she comes when she comes. In post normal science people are pressed for answers now.

    Right, scientists have never been pressed for answers before, there’s never been discussion of the philosophy of science before, no one has ever questioned the scientific paradigm before, bad papers have never been a concern before, this is all brand new, never before seen stuff …

    Remind me again … what planet are you discussing?

    So, I think you cannot just deny the facts that the science being practiced today is normal. it’s not. The question is what should one do.

    It is no different than science has been for decades. You are positing a “normal” science that to my knowledge is far from normal, that is in fact the rare exception practiced by Bell Labs, amateur scientists such as myself, and very few others.

    1. climate sciences solution: deny that this science is different.
    deny that politics and values is playing a role. Resist any
    challenge to how science is being practiced.
    2. Willis’ solution: Tell everybody to get back to doing normal science.
    See #1 for why this suggestion doesnt work.
    3. PNS. start by actually describing what is uncertain, what values
    are in conflict, what the stakes are. You cant take the politics or
    or values out of science, so your best bet is a process that is more
    inclusive and transparent. in other words because you cannot remove the values and politics from this science you have one choice. improve the governance and politics around the science.

    Please don’t try to interpret what your voices are telling you about what “Willis’ solution” might be, it’s not working for you. I have several objections to Ravetz’s work, none of which have been even approached by your explanations.

    1. The name “post-normal science” implies that we need a new kind of science. But you say that the problem is not the science, it’s the politics and governance surrounding the science. OK, how about calling it “post-normal governance” or “post-normal politics”, that would go a long ways towards clearing up the issues. Then I could concern myself with the science, and you and Jerome could worry about the governance and the politics. I note in passing that Jerome said he picked the name deliberately because (paraphrasing) it was deceptive and would stir up discussion … I prefer honesty in naming myself, but that’s just me.

    2. Ravetz says the new post-normal kind of science needs to focus on what he calls “quality”, a very important term in his lexicon, and one I note that you haven’t touched. I tried to get Ravetz to define it, but his definition seems to be ‘I know it when I see it.’. I object strongly to replacing the idea of falsifiability with some vague wishy-washy idea of quality as Ravetz urges, that way lies madness.

    3. It is beyond stupid for scientists to give in to the importunings of those who desire certainty and immediate action. Science is by nature uncertain. False claims of certainty are death to real science, as the climate science debacle has shown. As soon as scientists decided that they knew that CO2 was the secret control knob for adjusting the temperature, they stopped investigating and declaimed that the science was settled. This has set the actual science of climate back for decades.

    4. The mantra of Ravetz seems to be that any action will do, that it’s desirable to take action when we may know nothing. While we often need to take action before completely understanding a situation, it is crucial that our actions be both fact-based and cost-effective. The adoption of the principles of “post-normal science” has led to actions which are neither. Look at the gargantuan cost and the immeasurably small benefits of Kyoto, a perfect example of Ravetz’s theories at work. Billions of dollars have been poured down a rathole just to satisfy peoples desire for any old action at all …

    5. When scientists become advocates and follow Ravetz, unless they do it with great caution they run a huge risk of falling prey to Noble Cause Corruption. We have seen a number of instances of this in the climate science community. It has led to people losing trust not just in climate scientists but in science in general. When you start making up scary scenarios, following the instructions of Ravetz’s disciple Stephen Schneider, you lose all pretense that you are actually practicing science. It seems that most scientists are not capable of being both scientists and activists.

    w.

    • Pasta8Fazool

      Willis quoting Ravetz: “2. Ravetz says the new post-normal kind of science needs to focus on what he calls “quality”, a very important term in his lexicon, and one I note that you haven’t touched. I tried to get Ravetz to define it, but his definition seems to be ‘I know it when I see it.’. I object ….” As you should have.

      Crosby, Philip B. Quality is free: the art of making quality certain. New York: New American Library, 1979
      - “define quality as conformance to requirements” (pg 15)
      - “quality means conformance” (pg 39)
      In other words, quality means “meets requirements”.

      IPCC, R. Alley, and J. Arblaster. A Report of Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (SPM). Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis: Summary for Policymakers. IPCC, 2007

      Footnote 1: Climate change in IPCC usage refers to any change in climate over time, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity. This usage differs from that in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC], where climate change refers to a change of climate that is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and that is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.

      And how did the UNFCCC define the requirement? UNFCCC. United Nations Framework Convention On Climate Change. United Nations, 1992. http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/convkp/conveng.pdf
      “Article 2: OBJECTIVE
      The ultimate objective of this Convention and any related legal instruments that the Conference of the Parties may adopt is to achieve, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention, stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.” emphasis added

      It appears that this “Objective” was the “requirement” for data collection, adjustments and homogenization, analysis, reanalysis and presentation. It was met. Under this requirement, the UNFCCC produced a “quality” product. But few are buying.

  73. Provided of course we can come up with some mutually satisfactory wager.

    • The Very Reverend Doctor Jebediah Hypotenuse

      pokerguy:
      You know what? I really could not care less about whatever it is that Watts is planning to tease you with. I’m sure it will be just wonderful. I hope it gives you a whole new reason to live.

      Since this betting game seems important to you, I will concede to you right now. You win, OK? I’ll add a few more $ to my next donation to the Nature Conservancy.

      The thing is – I actually have to go into field this weekend, to do research – You know, actual science. So – while I could hang around and watch my computer monitor for Very Important Posts by Anthony Watts, I would really rather not, and maybe learn something about the real world instead.

      Don’t forget to miss me.

    • Well Jeb, let’s just say I’m not surprised. You insulted me for daring to have an opinion on what the general nature of the announcement would be, and now you’re running away, very likely because you suspect I’m right.

      You objected to a bet because you arrogantly dismissed the possibility that the denizens could be fair. IN response I gave you something you’d never in a million years have given me…trust. That’s still not good enough for you.

      From the beginning insult to the final, cowardly running away, you’ve shown your true colors.

      Good luck with your very, very important work this weekend.

    • lurker, passing through laughing

      Rev.
      Does you wife still believe you go ‘into the field’ for science?
      Great sales job, Rev!

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Dear pokerguy:

      Please let me say that I enjoy your posts (even when we don’t agree), and moreover, it seems to me that VRDJH’s snark was not of any recognizably amusing variety.

      So here is a better-humored proposition for your consideration: on this coming Sunday, WUWT announces a partnership with PJ Media.

      (1) I’ll specify the odds to be 50-50 either way.

      (2) You pick “yes” or “no” on the proposition being correct.

      (3) If you pick correctly, then on Sunday I’ll donate $10 to any respectable charity of your choice (which you must specify in advance, and to which I must agree in advance).

      (4) If you pick incorrectly, then on Sunday you donate $10 to a respectable charity of my choice, which I hereby specify (in advance) to be Small Wars Journal (a non-partisan website and journal).

      All on the honor system, of course!   :)   :)   :)

      You won’t get a fairer proposition than this, Pokerguy!   :)   :)   :)

    • OK with me Joy. And thank you for the kind words. But what shall the proposition be? I give money to PETA, so that would be my choice should you lose.

      I know, pretty weird for a climate denying, flat earth brute like me to be donating money to the lunatic fringe animal folks, but the truth JOy, is that I like critters better than people.

    • JOy..Latest from Anthony Watts:
      UPDATE: “I’ve been advised by concerned friends that speculation on the nature of this announcement has gotten out of hand in the blogosphere, and that was not my intent. My intent was to give me time to work on something very important without the distraction of this blog, emails/twitter/facebook, etc.

      As many of you know, running WUWT is a monumental task which I could not do without the help of many people. Even so, it still requires my constant attention.

      First, I am well. This isn’t a health issue for me or my family.

      Second, my announcement has nothing to do with FOIA issues or other sorts of political or social theories being bandied about on other blogs.

      It does however have something to do with one of my many projects, it is still a “major announcement” and it has important implications that I’m sure everyone will want to know about.

      I greatly appreciate all the concern and interest, and I look forward to being able to share all my work on Sunday. – Anthony”

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      The bet is on, Pokerguy! A donation is PETA is perfectly OK by me, because as Mark Twain said (from memory):

      If you take up a dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.

      And the same is true of cats. Uhhh … generally speaking.   :)   :)   :)

      Pokerguy, you haven’t yet picked which side of the proposition you want … either is OK with me … so in your view, will WUWT join-up with PJ Media’s stable of blogs, or not?

    • Joy,

      I must tell you I’m not familiar with what that is…But in all honesty it doesn’t sound all that exciting. How about we bet on the nature of the announcement? I think it’s going to be something Anthony’s turned up in his research that will shake things up some. I’m further guessing it has something to do with temps, perhaps having implication’s for Muller’s work? Just wild guessing, Mademoiselle Joy.

  74. Paul Dougherty

    Willis

    I am wondering if there might not be a semantic problem going on here in the case of Ravetz, PNS and the consequent and highly informative discussion between you and Steve Mosher.

    I am a reader of your papers on WUWT and recognize that your gut feel of what science is is similar to that which is imbedded in my bones. Theory informs observation and demonstration it does not rule them, (which seems to be the new way). That is science and it is what has lifted us from existing in hovels to living better than the old aristocrats… and cheap, widely available energy has been the key.

    Ravetz describes disciplines other than scientific ones participating in PNS and that is certainly going on. Since that is the case, then the overall activity should not in my opinion be called science of any kind. PNS is a terrible misnomer.

    Kill the word yes, but not the activity. You and I and many others here may be true scientists but when we are blogging we are not practicing science but we are participating in PNS. To this day the mainstream media refuses to publish anything that is negative to climate alarmism. Unless we are able to pop for thousands to obtain scientific papers we must rely on the internet for information. When we do we are participating in PNS.

    I would appreciate your view on this and would like to ask the same of Steve Mosher.

    • The worst thing about PNS may be its name.

      PNS is not science but it’s about the interface of science with decision making.

      Post-normal creates a connotation with post-modern but PNS has very little connection to post-modern as well.

    • but it’s the dragging of science into decision making that merits the “post” in the “post” normal as opposed to say, abnormal. that is to say it’s a relatively recent development

    • To this day the mainstream media refuses to publish anything that is negative to climate alarmism.

      A statement that could never be objectively proven (or disproven) due subjectivity of definitions and criteria, but I would argue in any real meaningful sense easily disproven, and completely devoid of evidentiary support

      Of course, Judith may think it was well said.

    • “anything” should have been in bold as well.

  75. Paul Dougherty

    Joshua,

    Sir, you obviously have a chip on your shoulder which I have no intention of fooling with. How about staying on point. What is your opinion of Ravetz and PNS?

    • Paul,

      I don’t think that questioning the validity of someone’s assertions (provided without evidence) equals a chip on the shoulder. If I did feel that way, I would have to say that all skeptics (let alone “skeptics”) have a chip on their shoulder, and I don’t think that is true. In fact, I would have to regard your posts here as being reflective of someone who has a chip on his shoulder.

      As for the topic, like you I find the discussion interesting, but don’t understand the details of debate well-enough to comment directly on point, other than to offer a more general observation: It seems most likely to me that participants on both side of the various debated points are using the related theoretical constructs to confirm their biases (I reserve the theoretical possibility that despite likely biases, someone is precisely correct in their views). They are somewhat blinded to how their own subjective evaluations causes them to feel confident in what they think an objective evaluation of something theoreticians have said without even having the opportunity to get the input from said theoreticians (I don’t think it is all a waste of time, because it is by trying to articulate our thinking that we can have the potential, if we’re open, to gain insight into our thoughts, but the confidence I see expressed seems broadly overstated). That is part of the reason why you can have smart and knowledgeable people so completely convinced of their directly opposed conclusions.

    • Gotta run, Bob -

      It seems to me rather obvious what I was referring to. But I’ll post something
      later (and why would I use someone’s words other than my own? – seems a rather strange qualifier).

      Joshua, I see that you are back. Ready to talk about those errors in detail? I am suffering from “psychobabble-withdrawal syndrome.

    • I forgot, Bob. Thanks for the reminder. But interestingly enough, gotta run again. Check back later.

    • Sure Joshua, I believe you!. Time to come clean Joshua, or are you a fake, phony, and fraud.

    • Wow! A fake, and phony I can understand, but a fraud as well? You don’t have a very high opinion of me, do you?

      But I’m glad you had faith in me, bob. It shows you to be a man of character.

      http://judithcurry.com/2012/07/24/special-issue-on-postnormal-climate-science/#comment-222842

    • Joshua is the Classic Internet Troll. Bold, verbose and utterly devoid of significance.

      Andrew

    • Perhaps Bob has you confused with “Skydragon” author John O’Sullivan, who has been caught pretending to be a lawyer among many other fabrications:

      *that he was an attorney with more than a decade of successful litigation in New York State and Federal courts;
      *that he was employed by a major Victoria, B.C.(Canada) law firm that is representing Ball in the libel action;
      *that he is a widely published writer, with credits in Forbes and the National Review;
      *that he had received his law degree from the University College, Cork, Ireland and/or from the University of Surrey (O’Sullivan’s actual legal accreditation, apparently obtained after the Mann-Ball action commenced, comes from an online degree mill, Hill University, which promises delivery in two weeks);
      *that he is a member of the American Bar Association.

      . . . and none of true. Sad. Those denialists do like their fake accomplishments . . . Bob was probably thinking of that.

      http://climatecrocks.com/

    • Robert is an Uber-Troll: Agressive, hyperbolic and a complete waste of time.

      Andrew

    • Perhaps coincidentally, they are both Warmers.

      Andrew

    • Robert -

      Most pathetic aspect of that whole Skydragon debacle was the association with that racist publisher in South Africa.

    • Joshua is the Classic Internet Troll. Bold, verbose and utterly devoid of significance.

      Verbose? Moi?

    • Joshua —

      I never cease to be amazed at the fantasy world deniers inhabit. Once they get in the habit of pretending to be climate experts and pretending to have studied and evaluated the science, lying seems to become almost a way of life for them. Strange and sad.

    • That R is an Uber-Troll might count as an hyperbole. And to utter that he’s a total waste of time, and a warmer, while aggressively pointing the finger, counts as a perfect mime.

    • lurker passing through, laughing

      Bad Andrew,
      Joshua and his pals are for serious discussion what dysentery is for normal metabolism: high volume waste, and a sign of a lack of health.

  76. Steve Milesworthy

    Peter Lang,

    Threads are getting a bit disjointed and the internet ate my first attempt at this. This is in response to your impression that I am trying turn conversation:

    back to a talk about temperatures and climate sensitivity, rather than about the economic costs and benefits of AGW without mitigation and of the proposed mitigation policies.

    Well that was because the conversation was about a general application of unspecified due diligence to something that I didn’t believe was that relevant to policy discussions and was explaining why (to other people, not you).

    I don’t believe I would have a particular problem with someone having a lot more focus on, say, the assumptions that give the “fat tail” to projections. But we have seen that, for example, Annan has been able to write a critical paper that argues the tail is too fat without doing any official “due diligence”.

    The sort of due diligence you have advocated (eg. in your reference to the joanne nova website) does not look in the slightest bit helpful to me though. There are constructive and destructive ways of doing “due diligence”. I would say that the most constructive way of doing “due diligence” would be to start from first principles and do the analysis again in whatever way you choose. Access to the models and data in the PCMDI CMIP5 archive would allow you to do just that.

    Perhaps one would build some sort of “tiger team” by bringing together both the scientists who have written the original papers and other professionals and pay them *properly* to review the work that is of most relevance to policy prescriptions. The problem is that scientist *are paid* to do science. If you want them to do something else you have to *pay* them to do something else. The IPCC requires people to write their inputs *in their own time* for goodness sake! (Probably the only reason we still have the IPCC rather than a constructive two-way discussion is because too many self-interested organisations have refused to add constructively to the debate).

  77. Steve Milesworthy

    Peter Lang,

    Third attempt at posting this, I seem to be hitting the spam filter.

    This is in response to your impression that I am trying turn conversation:

    back to a talk about temperatures and climate sensitivity, rather than about the economic costs and benefits of AGW without mitigation and of the proposed mitigation policies.

    Well that was because the conversation was about a general application of unspecified due diligence to something that I didn’t believe was that relevant to policy discussions and was explaining why (to other people, not you).

    I don’t believe I would have a particular problem with someone having a lot more focus on, say, the assumptions that give the “fat tail” to projections. But we have seen that, for example, Annan has been able to write a critical paper that argues the tail is too fat without doing any official “due diligence”.

    The sort of due diligence you have advocated (eg. in your reference to the joanne nova website) does not look in the slightest bit helpful to me though. There are constructive and destructive ways of doing “due diligence”. I would say that the most constructive way of doing “due diligence” would be to start from first principles and do the analysis again in whatever way you choose. Access to the models and data in the PCMDI CMIP5 archive would allow you to do just that.

    Perhaps one would build some sort of “tiger team” by bringing together both the scientists who have written the original papers and other professionals and pay them properly to review the work that is of most relevance to policy prescriptions. The problem is that scientist are paid to do science. If you want them to do something else you have to pay them to do something else. The IPCC requires people to write their inputs in their own time for goodness sake! (Probably the only reason we still have the IPCC rather than a constructive two-way discussion is because too many self-interested organisations have refused to add constructively to the debate).

    • Steve,

      Here is my third attempt to post this comment

      Yes. The discussion is getting disjointed. I fear you have not seen some of my replies, or not in the order I’ve written them, so may be misunderstanding some of what I’ve said.

      I don’t believe I would have a particular problem with someone having a lot more focus on, say, the assumptions that give the “fat tail” to projections.

      I have the impression you do not understand the usual meaning of due diligence. It is about investment decisions. Here is a definition:

      An investigation or audit of a potential investment. Due diligence serves to confirm all material facts in regards to a sale [or investment].

      I am not talking about just doing due diligence into, for example, “the assumptions that give the “fat tail” to projections”. Due diligence doesn’t begin at a level like that. It starts at the investment decision, then works down to the relevant information needed to make the investment decision.

      By the way. Nordhaus (2012), Economic Policy in the Face of Severe Tail Events http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9779.2011.01544.x/full concludes “Not So Dismal Conclusions” and

      We conclude that a loaded gun of strong tail dominance has not been discovered to date.

      This is saying that no evidence has been found yet that AGW is dangerous or catastrophic. Therefore, policy decisions should be based on proper cost benefit analysis. There is no excuse for value judgements.

      Perhaps one would build some sort of “tiger team” by bringing together both the scientists who have written the original papers and other professionals and pay them *properly* to review the work that is of most relevance to policy prescriptions.

      That is not what I would advocate. Certainly the due diligence has to be well funded. We are making a multi-trillion dollar investment decision. Billions spent on proper due diligence would be very well spent. But the team must be totally independent. It must be competent to audit, objective, impartial and tend towards adversarial. It cannot be contaminated by the people who did the original work. It will require proper documentation of the work. The documentation must be complete, self contained and allow for independent replication of the relevant information.

      Before any redress can be made, the damages would have to be both proven and quantified, with the quality of evidence normally expected of the judicial system in cases where such sums of money are concerned.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Peter Lang,

      [Nordhaus:]“We conclude that a loaded gun of strong tail dominance has not been discovered to date.”

      This is saying that no evidence has been found yet that AGW is dangerous or catastrophic.

      The Nordhaus quote does not say that at all. “Strong tail dominance” means that what you do is strongly dominated by the tail. Lack of discovery of strong tail dominance does not mean that the extreme end projections is impossible or that there is no impact from anything less than the extreme end projections.

      Aside from that, I do not understand why you think that access to the data and the models is not at least a potential starting point in applying due diligence. If you are looking to invest in a dam for use from 2025 onwards, where do you start? (I’m talking about a normal dam – maybe to supply an expanding population, not a dam you build because you are frightened of AGW). You could start with climatology, but that wouldn’t be sufficient due diligence given that we know that climate change is a real potential. What would you do next?

      What if you build your dam based on climatology and it turns out that due to changes in climate the area gets so wet that a dam is not needed, or so dry that the dam never fills. You’ve wasted your money.

    • Steve Milesworthy,

      The Nordhaus quote does not say that at all. “Strong tail dominance” means that what you do is strongly dominated by the tail. Lack of discovery of strong tail dominance does not mean that the extreme end projections is impossible or that there is no impact from anything less than the extreme end projections.

      You clearly have not read the paper have you? You’re just making sh-t up, aren’t you? Or perhaps you have read it and misunderstand the message or are misrepresenting it, perhaps because of your existing beliefs.

      Nordhaus says that although we must keep looking for the purported “the Dismal scenario” – catastrophic risks (i.e. catastrophic consequence and significant probability of occurrence) – his analyses show that none have been uncovered to date. In other words we should not waste our money trying to mitigate against such scenarios. We’d be better of saving our money so we can better handle whatever risks eventuate (e.g. nuclear holocaust, pandemic, bolide strike, etc).

      Sea level rise is a relatively small consequence in economic terms (compared with world GDP) as are all the other scary consequences.

      So far, despite over $100 billion having been spent on climate research and policies we still have no hard numbers. Instead, all the scary consequences are described by adjectives, not costs v benefits.

      It is clear that mitigation policies proposed so far (e.g. Kyoto Protocol, carbon tax ETS / cap and trade) are not viable. They are really bad policies. Very high cost, not viable and almost certain to make negligible difference to sea level or the climate.

      It is also clear from Nordhaus (2008) http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf Table 5-1, 5-3 to 5-7 (start p82) that the way to cut global emissions is with a cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels (‘Low-cost backstop’ policy).

      To do this we need to adopt an engineering approach rather than an economists’ approach. IMO the approach is clear and simple (from a technical perspective). The politicians in industrial countries must put their effort into removing the impediments to low-cost nuclear power so it can provide cheap, reliable power for the whole world, especially for the developing and poorest countries. That is how we will get major reductions in global emissions. It can be done relatively quickly – if the ‘Progressives’ stop blocking progress!

      The raising of the K-129 (Russian nuclear armed submarine that sank in mid-Pacific in 1968) by the USA in 1974 is an excellent example of what we can do when we set pour minds to something. (watch the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDqCb_83Xcg, it is a fantastic demonstration of how engineers work and what they can do when given a clearly defined task).

      The industrial countries (USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Russia, China, Korea, Japan) could produce small modular nuclear power plants at the rate that modern aircraft are produced now, and at the rate tanks and aircraft carriers were produced in WWII. Who realises that the USA was producing aircraft carriers in 100 days at the end of WWII? That is the entire production from first laying of the keel to being fully fitted out and fully armed with all aircraft and weapons.

      The world could replace fossil fuels in electricity generation in 40 to 50 years if we wanted to. The foicus must be on cheap electricity – cheaper than electricity from fossil fuel generators. If electricity is cheap, it will replace much gas consumed in heating and some oil used in transport. It will also replace the fugitive emissions associated with the production of these fossil fuels. Therefore, nuclear alone could cut global CO2 emissions by over 50% in 40 to 50 years.

      The secret is that it must be cheap energy. It will not succeed if we take a route that makes it expensive. Raising the cost of fossil fuel energy will not work. It will not be adopted by the poor and developing countries, and nor should it be.

      The solution is simple – the “Progressives” need to stop blocking progress!

    • No response to this comment. I know most ‘Climate Etc” regulars are off playing down in the weeds with temperature readings; however, there must be some who are interested in the strategic and policy level discussion :)

    • I’ll try to come up with a good policy related topic in a few days, but I am hammered with the BEST thing probably for another two days at least

    • Steve Milesworthy,

      Aside from that, I do not understand why you think that access to the data and the models is not at least a potential starting point in applying due diligence.

      Because that is not where due diligence starts. That may be what interests the scientists, but it is not what we need to know for policy. We need to know the costs and benefits. So we must start at the cost benefit analysis. We then drill down bit by bit to check that the inputs to the cost benefit analysis are correct. We start with the inputs that produce the greatest impact on the cost and benefit analyses.

      Nordhaus (2008) Table 7-2 p 131 shows which inputs create the greatest uncertainty in the cost benefit results. Clearly, a major focus of due diligence would be on the inputs to the Damage function and the climate sensitivity since these cause the greatest uncertainty.

      When we look at the damage function, it seems to me that it is likely to have been exaggerated to the high side. This comment reveals and explains one important example of a major exaggeration http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2012/06/05/conservatives-who-think-seriously-about-the-planet/#comment-112290. This is from the Australian Government ‘Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency’. It was a significant input to the Australian Treasury’s analysis of the costs and benefits of the Australian carbon tax and ETS.

      This is an example of what due diligence would investigate. It would chewck all the inputs and assumptions that underpin the damage function. Right down to checking if good estimating has been done of the cost for the city of Sydney of a sea level rise over a period of 100 m years. It would take proper account of the normal rate of turn over of infrastructure, of maintenance, refurbishment and adaption.

    • No response to this comment either.

      It seems there is not a lot of interest in the information that informs policy.
      :)

    • Steve Milesworthy,

      If you are looking to invest in a dam for use from 2025 onwards, where do you start? (I’m talking about a normal dam – maybe to supply an expanding population,

      That is an engineering decision. It is not part of the due diligence into how we should deal with CO2 emissions or AGW mitigation.

      Your example about a dam is not really about a dam at all. The question is wrongly framed. The question the engineers would be tasked to tackle would be about the least cost way to provide a reliable water supply for a projected future population and taking into account the known and unknown risks. The options considered might be desalination, recycling waste water, large dam, small dam, raise an existing dam, divert an other water supply source, or a combination.

      By the way, when Australia built the Snowy Mountains hydro-electric Scheme, it was based on limited hydrologic information. They over estimated the amount of rainfall in the catchments. The Snowy Mountains Scheme has a capacity factor of about 15%, well below what was expected. Despite that, it’s enormously valuable. We could do with ten of them.

      Your dam example is not relevant to this discussion of due diligence. It demonstrates clearly that you do not understand what due diligence means.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Your dam example is not relevant to this discussion of due diligence. It demonstrates clearly that you do not understand what due diligence means.

      Peter, indeed it doesn’t have to be a dam. You wouldn’t want a dam if you thought rainfall was not going to fill it in the future. What (if anything) you build is irrelevant.

      But I don’t see why the discussion is not relevant to “due diligence”. Assuming you accept that some changes *may* happen to the climate would you reject all advice because “due diligence” has not been undertaken. Could you not undertake “due diligence” yourself?

      Why would you *ever* expect a scientist to analyse your particular scenario and requirement anyway? They are not psychic. There is always going to have to be a conversion between what the scientist is saying and what information you need.

      Interestingly, your trust of Nordhaus seems massively to outweigh your trust of all climate scientists. Except when Nordhaus tells you explicitly that you ought to start mitigating now as mitigating later will always be more expensive. When he does that you don’t trust him because he is then talking about things he doesn’t know about. Even though you trust his judgement about the “fat tail” which requires him to have similar expertise about the climate science. Maybe I’m characterising here…

  78. Due diligence in standard use applies to investment decisions. It requires access to all the information that is relevant and important to the investment decision (This was Steve McIntyre’s expertise, and why he smelled a rat with the ‘Hockey Stick’). I’d expect, for the decision as to whether or not we should implement AGW mitigation policies, due diligence would start at the top and drill down to all the relevant information that was required to develop the input parameters for the economic analyses. For example, Nordhaus (2008) http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf Table 7-2, p127, shows that the ‘damage function’ is the parameter that causes the greatest uncertainty in the estimate of the ‘social cost of carbon’ and, therefore, in the economic analyses (results are also highly sensitive to choice of discount rate and other input paramaters). Table 7-1 lists the uncertain parameters used in this study. So the due diligence will require access to all the information, data, methodologies, etc. that have informed the input parameters for the economic analyses that are used to justify a massive investment of public money on a mitigation policy.

    For a second example, see Chart 5:13 here: http://archive.treasury.gov.au/carbonpricemodelling/content/chart_table_data/chapter5.asp Due diligence would drill down into all the information, methodologies and data, that informed Treasury’s analysis. The following link provides an example of how dodgy and exaggerated are at least some of the inputs used in that analysis which has provided the justification for the Australian CO2 tax and ETS: http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2012/06/05/conservatives-who-think-seriously-about-the-planet/#comment-112290 Due diligence would drill down to the bottom to check that all the inputs to the economic analysis.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Peter Lang, your recent immensely long posts exhibit the Good-Reuveny effect, and an associated Dunning-Kruger effect, to such a pronounced degree that the posts are unreadable.

      Please address these deficiencies, Peter Lang!   :)   :)   :)

    • Fan,

      Apologies if you can only deal in silly one liners.

      Perhaps you should attempt to comprehend a bit more than CAGW mantras and talking points.

    • lurker passing through, laughing

      Peter,
      The rejection of normal prudence and due diligence of climate related issues and policies by the consensus faithful was one of the first tells that this issue is not a serious one in any objective sense.
      That the faithful continue to refuse to consider the sorts of due diligence reasonably expected in most enterprises is reducing their entire movement to a farce.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Lurker, thank you for plainly illustrating how the Good-Reuveny Effect that is pathognomonic of denialistic economic theory naturally dovetails with the Dunning-Kruger Effect that is pathognomonic of denialistic climate-change skepticism.

      What other pathognomonic manifestations of denialist cognition would you care to share with us, “Lurker”?   :)   :)   :)

    • Lurker,

      Peter,
      The rejection of normal prudence and due diligence of climate related issues and policies by the consensus faithful was one of the first tells that this issue is not a serious one in any objective sense.
      That the faithful continue to refuse to consider the sorts of due diligence reasonably expected in most enterprises is reducing their entire movement to a farce.

      True. The lack of interest in due diligence, and the apparent resistance to it by the “consensus faithful”, supports your comment.

  79. thisisnotgoodtogo

    So we can say a lot of not a thing has been Steve Mosher’s platform
    If science is not a thing, then what classification does it fall under ?

    We can say apple is not a thing. You can add some take some away eat some but it does not change apple.
    When I say “this apple”, however, it is a thing.

    So now science is making things up and covering other things up as deemed necessary , Judgment calls, don’t you know.

  80. ‘There is no such thing as ‘science,’
    ‘So what do scientists do? …They do nothing.’

    ‘o sweet spontaneous
    earth how often have
    the
    doting
    , fingers of
    prurient philosophers pinched
    and poked thee
    has the naughty thumb
    of science prodded
    thy

    beauty . how
    often have religions taken
    thee upon their scraggy knees
    squeezing and

    buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive
    gods
    (but
    true

    to the incomparable
    couch of death thy
    rhythmic
    lover

    . . .thou answerest

    them only with
    , spring)

    h/t e e cummings.

  81. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Jeez … Beth, all that “ineffable” poetry leaves me cold. So, here’s some “effible” science poetry for us to feast upon!   :)

    Cosmic Gall

    Neutrinos they are very small.
    They have no charge and have no mass
    And do not interact at all.
    The earth is just a silly ball
    To them, through which they simply pass,
    Like dustmaids down a drafty hall
    Or photons through a sheet of glass.
    They snub the most exquisite gas,
    Ignore the most substantial wall,
    Cold-shoulder steel and sounding brass,
    Insult the stallion in his stall,
    And, scorning barriers of class,
    Infiltrate you and me! Like tall
    And painless guillotines, they fall
    Down through our heads into the grass.
    At night, they enter at Nepal
    And pierce the lover and his lass
    From underneath the bed – you call
    It wonderful; I call it crass.

       — John Updike

    Aye Lassie, now that’s scientific poetry! Packed jam-full of meaning, it is!  :)   :)   :)

  82. fan yer can have :-) One is quite enough!

  83. Still at it I see, Joy. I must say I like that one. Of course now you’re in much better company. Updike was a fine writer who wrote a number of decent poems along the way. We can’t call him first rate, but I’d give my left nostril and right ear to write like him. I especially liked the “Rabbit” books. Rabbit at Rest I thought superb. There’s a scene near the end in which his impending heart attack and death is presaged by a guy eating a piece of rare meat while blood red juices run down his chin. The deft way he slipped it in made it all the more chilling.

    Still not clear on what our bet is….

  84. If you like animal poems, check out “Dog’s Death”. Almost criminally sentimental, but who cares? Makes me sob every time I read it. IN fact so painful do I find it, I can’t read it these days. The older I get, the softer. Another couple of years I just might melt away completely.

    She must have been kicked unseen or brushed by a car.
    Too young to know much, she was beginning to learn
    To use the newspapers spread on the kitchen floor
    And to win, wetting there, the words, “Good dog!
    Good dog!”

    We thought her shy malaise was a shot reaction.
    The autopsy disclosed a rupture in her liver.
    As we teased her with play, blood was filling her skin
    And her heart was learning to lie down forever.

    Monday morning, as the children were noisily fed
    And sent to school, she crawled beneath the youngest’s bed.
    We found her twisted and limp but still alive.
    In the car to the vet’s, on my lap, she tried

    To bite my hand and died. I stroked her warm fur
    And my wife called in a voice imperious with tears.
    Though surrounded by love that would have upheld her,
    Nevertheless she sank and, stiffening, disappeared.

    Back home, we found that in the night her frame,
    Drawing near to dissolution, had endured the shame
    Of diarrhoea and had dragged across the floor
    To a newspaper carelessly left there. Good dog.

    -John Updike

  85. Willis Eschenbach

    Steve Milesworthy | July 28, 2012 at 6:34 pm |

    Peter, if you read back through the thread you will see I was responding to Willis. Willis does not make clear that Kyoto was intended to be the start of the process. He presents Kyoto as being the start and end of the process (which therefore minimises the effect that fulfilling Kyoto would have). He is therefore putting forward the argument as a tactic to win a debate and not as an input to a constructive discussion.

    Kyoto was supposed to be the start of the process. Sadly, it has continued, with the US cap and tax, the Australian cap and tax, and the California cap and tax.

    Since (according to the supporters of the plan) the Kyoto/US/Australian/California process appears to cost about $1,900 TRILLION DOLLARS PER DEGREE of possible, not proven but possible warming, anyone thinking that we should continue the process has had their head so far up their fundamental orifice for so long that they will go snow-blind when they pull it out. Steve, if that’s the first step, I really, really don’t want to know about the second step.

    Truly, Steve, I can hardly wait to hear you justify spending $1,900 trillion dollars to possibly cool the earth by 1°, that should be hilarious. But bring it on, I need a good laugh. Perhaps you’ll tell us that the next step will be only half the cost, say only $950 trillion dollars per degree …

    Is that a constructive enough discussion for you?

    w.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Since (according to the supporters of the plan) the Kyoto/US/Australian/California process appears to cost about $1,900 TRILLION DOLLARS PER DEGREE

      “Appears” to cost? Hmmm…reading this post:

      wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/13/how-much-would-you-buy/

      your actual claim is that a certain piece of EPA legislation will cost 78 billion dollars, then divided by the amount of CO2 saved to come up with an apparently ludicrous figure.

      However the 78 billion was calculated by a bunch of lawyers trying to prevent EPA being given responsibility for regulating one particular aspect of CO2 emissions, and not as you said in your WUWT post “EPA figures”:

      PETITIONERS’ MOTION FOR PARTIAL STAY OF EPA’S
      GREENHOUSE GAS REGULATIONS

      http://www.eenews.net/assets/2010/09/16/document_gw_02.pdf

      Also, the figure is not “the Kyoto” etc plan.

      So I struggle to see what was constructive. Did you think I wouldn’t try and check your figures?

    • Willis,

      I’ve taken a different approach to calculate the cost per degree of temperature increase avoided.

      I used Nordhaus RICE model (2012 version). If my understanding is correct, the Optimal carbon price policy would reduce the temperature increase by 0.22 C (by 2055). The cost of the optimal carbon price policy would be $3.5 trillion (by 2055). So the cost per degree saved is $16 trillion.

      However, as I’ve pointed out here http://jennifermarohasy.com/2012/06/what-the-carbon-tax-and-ets-will-really-cost-peter-lang/ , the costs will be much higher and little if any benefits will be achieved because the assumptions the model uses are impracticable and will not be met in practice.

  86. thisisnotgoodtogo

    Steve Mosher shows that most of the thread is filled with bullshi…
    look at him go with having it both ways.

    “That is the problem. The science tells us ”

    hehehe, a joke thread.

    Thanks for letting us share in your bad joke thread, Dr. Curry

  87. Willis Eschenbach

    Steve Milesworthy | July 28, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Since (according to the supporters of the plan) the Kyoto/US/Australian/California process appears to cost about $1,900 TRILLION DOLLARS PER DEGREE

    “Appears” to cost? Hmmm…reading this post:

    wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/13/how-much-would-you-buy/

    your actual claim is that a certain piece of EPA legislation will cost 78 billion dollars, then divided by the amount of CO2 saved to come up with an apparently ludicrous figure.

    However the 78 billion was calculated by a bunch of lawyers trying to prevent EPA being given responsibility for regulating one particular aspect of CO2 emissions, and not as you said in your WUWT post “EPA figures”:

    PETITIONERS’ MOTION FOR PARTIAL STAY OF EPA’S
    GREENHOUSE GAS REGULATIONS

    http://www.eenews.net/assets/2010/09/16/document_gw_02.pdf

    Also, the figure is not “the Kyoto” etc plan.

    So I struggle to see what was constructive. Did you think I wouldn’t try and check your figures?

    1. No, the EPA estimate is not for the Kyoto CO2 plan, it’s for the EPA CO2 plan. I thought that was obvious, my bad.

    2. The number is not “calculated by a bunch of lawyers”. It a simple multiplication of the EPA costs per permit multiplied by the EPA estimate of the number of permits, viz:

    EPA Estimates Permitting Costs Of $78 Billion Annually

    Although EPA has never estimated the cost of a construction freeze—only that it “could adversely affect national economic development[,]” id.—or the costs to millions of sources of implementing BACT if they somehow obtained a permit, id. at 31,534, EPA has estimated that the administrative cost of so many permits would amount to $78 billion annually.32

    Footnote 32, in turn, says:

    32 This estimate is a result of its estimates that each Title V permit currently costs $46,350, RIA at 35, and each PSD permit costs $85,000. 75 Fed. Reg. at 31,534. EPA’s estimate would actually be significantly higher, but it estimated that the largest subset of these newly covered sources, residential and commercial sources, would only incur a cost of $59,000 per-PSD permit and $23,200 per Title V permit. Id. EPA’s reduced estimate is based on EPA’s unsupported speculation that permits will be simpler for smaller residential sources, id., even though such sources present particularly novel questions due to the unprecedented nature of GHG controls and control technology for such small sources.

    Note that this is the low end estimate, which is just for the costs of the permits, not the losses to businesses, and doesn’t include the full EPA program.

    Did you think I didn’t check my own figures?

    But heck, Steve, you tell us how much you think it will cost. Don’t forget to include the $78 billion in permit costs, though, and then add in the permit costs for the full plan once they have to hire all of the new bureaucrats to measure the cow farts or whatever they’ll be doing, then add in the costs to businesses and the consumer …

    I await your estimate.

    w.

    PS—the amount of benefits (reduction in temperature) divided by the estimated cost is not “an apparently ludicrous figure”. It is the result of a simple cost-benefit analysis, and rather than ludicrous, it is very worrying.

    Here’s the EPA on the claimed benefits:

    “Based on these reductions, EPA modeled the anticipated potential effect on climate change and found that in year 2100, the rule would reduce temperature increases by 0.006-0.015 degrees Celsius, and the reduction in sea-level rise would be 0.06-0.14 centimeters.”

    SOURCE

    We’re pissing away our money to no effect … and that doesn’t seem to bother you in the slightest. I point out we’re wasting trillions to achieve a piss-ant, minuscule possible reduction in temperature, A HUNDREDTH OF A DEGREE IN A HUNDRED YEARS … and you want to argue about how much money we’re wasting? Really? I don’t care if it’s a hundred trillion or a hundred billion, it’s wasted, Steve, wasted on an unmeasurably small result. I truly don’t understand you defending that.

    • Willis Eschenbach and Steve Milesworthy,

      Willis makes a very important point. The proposed mitigation policies will cost an enormous amount of money and achieve almost nothing.

      Willis highlights the EPA’s administration costs. But what would be the cost to business and industry? Other figures in the EPA court submission suggest there are (from memory) some 10,000 businesses that would be impacted. And this is only the start. If the assumptions that underpin the Nordhaus analyses (and other similar analyses) are to be achieved (such as the emissions pricing system has to include all emissions from all sources in all countries), then all emitters of all greenhouse gasses must be included eventually. How many businesses will that include? 100,000 or more? All farmers?. All emissions sources? What will be the cost to businesses across all of the USA? Will it be one, two, three, four or more orders of magnitude higher than the EPA’s cost?

      The EPA estimates their cost to administer the regulations as legislated by Congress, would be $21 billion per year? What would be the cost for business and all the other departments, consultants, lawyers, accountants, courts etc involved? Would it be 1000 times the EPA’s cost?

      What about the cost in all the other countries of the world? What will be the cost in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mogadishu, Somalia, etc?

      This article addresses some of this for Australia:
      The ultimate compliance cost for the ETS
      http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=13578&page=0

    • No response to this comment.

      Does this lack of response indicate a lack of interest in what the compliance cost of carbon pricing will be when it is implemented to the level necessary to achieve the assumptions on which the cost benefit analyses of mitigation policies depend?

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Willis,

      This estimate is a result of its estimates that each Title V permit currently costs $46,350

      I would suggest that using “current” costs may be where your error is. And by ignoring EPAs “unsupported speculation” that smaller sources will be cheaper to permit is an obtuse choice.

      By the time they get around to permitting smaller sources you will be talking average of hundreds of dollars for non-standard setups. Standard setups will probably have their permits issued as part of the installation or at the factory gate (dollars per installation).

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Steve Milesworthy | July 29, 2012 at 6:28 am | Reply

      Willis,

      This estimate is a result of its estimates that each Title V permit currently costs $46,350

      I would suggest that using “current” costs may be where your error is.

      They are the only costs that we have to date, so to use other costs is just speculation.

      And by ignoring EPAs “unsupported speculation” that smaller sources will be cheaper to permit is an obtuse choice.

      Sure, it’s possible that the government may have overestimated the possible costs … after all, that’s happened soooo many times in the past … and while “smaller sources” will be cheaper to permit, there are also many, many, many more of them. Do the math …

      By the time they get around to permitting smaller sources you will be talking average of hundreds of dollars for non-standard setups.

      Sez you … the EPA certainly hasn’t said that to my knowledge.

      Standard setups will probably have their permits issued as part of the installation or at the factory gate (dollars per installation).

      So divide my numbers by ten, or a hundred, you are still suggesting that it is a brilliant plan to pay billions of dollars for NOTHING. An undetectable change. A minuscule possible advantage, which we’re not sure will even happen.

      w.

      PS—By “the time they get around to permitting smaller sources”, the EPA estimates that they will have to hire thousands and thousands of bureaucrats just to do the paperwork. So while a permit at that time may cost a few hundred, the bureaucrats necessary to consider, grant, and most importantly police the permits will keep the costs up in the multi-thousands per permit … for nothing. For no detectable gain. Nihil. Nilch. Nada. Zip. Zero.

      That’s the part you keep running from and tap dancing around and refusing to consider—the money, whether it is a thousand trillion as I calculated or only a tenth of a percent of that (a thousand billion) is being spent to NO ADVANTAGE.

      How about you discuss that?

    • Steve Milesworthy

      They are the only costs that we have to date, so to use other costs is just speculation.

      No it isn’t – tiered regimes for regulation work the world over. Do you seriously think the EPA could get away with forcing 1 million American people to pay up tens of thousands of dollars each? And even in the somewhat more regulated UK we have plenty of rules but few bureaucrats to enforce them.

      Give me an example where you think someone might end up paying out a ludicrous amount on a permit, and I’ll tell you how the system will cope in a sensible way.

    • Steve Milesworthy,

      If the compliance system is not good enough, the assumptions that the cost benefit modelling of the mitigation polices is dependent cannot be achieved. That means the presumed benefits will not be achieved.

      The compliance cost for the system that will ultimately be required is likely to be huge. See: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=13578&page=0 and previous comment on this thread:

      Willis Eschenbach and Steve Milesworthy,

      Willis makes a very important point. The proposed mitigation policies will cost an enormous amount of money and achieve almost nothing.

      Willis highlights the EPA’s administration costs. But what would be the cost to business and industry? Other figures in the EPA court submission suggest there are (from memory) some 10,000 businesses that would be impacted. And this is only the start. If the assumptions that underpin the Nordhaus analyses (and other similar analyses) are to be achieved (such as the emissions pricing system has to include all emissions from all sources in all countries), then all emitters of all greenhouse gasses must be included eventually. How many businesses will that include? 100,000 or more? All farmers?. All emissions sources? What will be the cost to businesses across all of the USA? Will it be one, two, three, four or more orders of magnitude higher than the EPA’s cost?

      The EPA estimates their cost to administer the regulations as legislated by Congress, would be $21 billion per year? What would be the cost for business and all the other departments, consultants, lawyers, accountants, courts etc involved? Would it be 1000 times the EPA’s cost?

      What about the cost in all the other countries of the world? What will be the cost in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mogadishu, Somalia, etc?

  88. Steve Milesworthy,
    @ July 28, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    You said:

    Your dam example is not relevant to this discussion of due diligence. It demonstrates clearly that you do not understand what due diligence means.

    Peter, indeed it doesn’t have to be a dam. You wouldn’t want a dam if you thought rainfall was not going to fill it in the future. What (if anything) you build is irrelevant.

    But I don’t see why the discussion is not relevant to “due diligence”. Assuming you accept that some changes *may* happen to the climate would you reject all advice because “due diligence” has not been undertaken. Could you not undertake “due diligence” yourself?

    Why would you *ever* expect a scientist to analyse your particular scenario and requirement anyway? They are not psychic. There is always going to have to be a conversion between what the scientist is saying and what information you need.

    I explained why the dam example, or any example like that, is not relevant to due diligence of the polices being proposed to fight AGW, sea level rise and climate change. Perhaps you should reread the comment instead of just quoting a sentence without demonstrating that you understand the context.

    With every comment you make you demonstrate you have negligible understanding of what due diligence means. I’ve tried to explain, but it seems you have not taken any notice at all. Did you see this: http://judithcurry.com/2012/07/24/special-issue-on-postnormal-climate-science/#comment-222954

    Interestingly, your trust of Nordhaus seems massively to outweigh your trust of all climate scientists. … Maybe I’m characterising here…

    Yes, you are mischaracterising. You are also ignoring what I’ve said previously in reply to your previous comments along this line. As I’ve said previously, the problem is not with the individual climate scientists (in most cases) but with climate science as a discipline and with the corruption of it: I see it as the fault of a combination of:

    • UN IPCC
    • Organisations like CRU who earn more money by promoting alarmism
    • Left leaning governments who gain by promoting the scare – it leads to more control more regulation, more bureaucracy, more taxes
    • Government funding and grant selection processes
    • Lack of the processes needed to document the evidence needed to support decisions for multi-trillion dollar investment

    I also explained on a different thread (a few minutes ago) why I do like the Nordhaus analyses and why I use them a lot in comments in blog threads.

    I do think highly of [Nordhaus]’s analyses, but that doesn’t mean I accept all the conclusions he draws from them. I like his analyses because he thinks at the strategic level, he provides results that are valuable for informing policy, he presents his work in a way that is readily understandable for non experts and, especially important, he appears to be more objective, less partisan, and less tainted by the CAGW ‘group-think’ than most of the other analysts doing similar work (such as Sir Nicholas Stern and Ross Garnaut).

    If you would like to see some actual numbers that explain why I do not accept the statement you quoted from Nordhaus on the ‘Cato’ thread, you might be interested in this comment on Skeptical Science which deals with this specific issue:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=1325#80611

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Peter Lang,

      In the thread you linked to you said

      Due diligence in standard use applies to investment decisions. It requires access to all the information that is relevant and important to the investment decision (This was Steve McIntyre’s expertise, and why he smelled a rat with the ‘Hockey Stick’). I’d expect, for the decision as to whether or not we should implement AGW mitigation policies, due diligence would start at the top and drill down to all the relevant information that was required to develop the input parameters for the economic analyses.

      So if you were planning to build a dam or a desalinisation plant (an investment decision), a good place to start would be the models and the data and the observations.

      Whether this dam is for adaptation to larger population or to climate, and whether it is also mitigation (eg hydro) your starting point would be the best information you can get about models observations and data.

      If you look at this information and are unhappy with the documentation because you think it is not the “relevant information”, you can say so.

      You say I don’t understand, but I am quite aware of many situations where big businesses are obtaining the services of climate and weather science to provide advice. They seem very happy to pay for the services when making multi-million pound business decisions. Who are you to tell them that they haven’t got it right.

      Ask Judith. She has an interest in a company selling information derived from weather models. She posted about it once.

      with climate science as a discipline and with the corruption of it: I see it as the fault of a combination of:

      • UN IPCC
      • Organisations like CRU who earn more money by promoting alarmism
      • Left leaning governments who gain by promoting the scare – it leads to more control more regulation, more bureaucracy, more taxes
      • Government funding and grant selection processes
      • Lack of the processes needed to document the evidence needed to support decisions for multi-trillion dollar investment

      I did comment on parts of this. Talking about corruption and alarmism is not called for when you don’t have the evidence to back up your sweeping assertions. The stuff about left-leaning governments sounds delusional to my ears.

      As above, many companies are spending hundreds of thousands getting advice for multimillion pound investment decisions. When at the same time a minority of these companies are also paying puppets to lobby to undermine regulation of emissions by undermining the very science they are happy to use they are simply wanting to have their cake and eat it.

      Nordhaus: You are picking and choosing when to believe him. You cannot believe him on one point because you think he is impartial (the “loaded gun…fat tail dominance” quote – a point which I don’t think you have fully understood based on the way you quote it out of context and say it is “clear” when it most certainly is not clear!) then not believe him on another because you have been able to combine some numbers that you “believe” are correct and think dispute his position. Have you done sufficient due diligence?

    • Steve Milesworthy,

      So if you were planning to build a dam or a desalinisation plant (an investment decision), a good place to start would be the models and the data and the observations.

      No. As I’ve said several times, you do not start at the bottom (just looking at the data that the advocates want you to look at). If you do you’ll spend most of your time chasing stuff that is not important to the financial analysis – or that the financial analysis is not sensitive to.

      Nordhaus (2008) table 7-2, p 129, http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf shows the social cost of carbon is most sensitive to the damage function. (It is also highly sensitive to discount rates and other inputs).

      So the financial analysis indicates one of the most important areas for the investigation to focus on will be into the damage function (i.e. the damage costs per degree or warming).

      In a previous comment I suggested you look at this comment: http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2012/06/05/conservatives-who-think-seriously-about-the-planet/#comment-112290

      It explains that when you drill down into the Australian Treasury’s estimates of the costs and benefits of the Australian CO2 tax and ETS, you quickly see that the damage costs due to rising sea levels have been grossly exaggerated (perhaps by a factor of ten). Due diligence will check the basis of all relevant inputs to the damage function.

      Similarly for the climate sensitivity and the other parameters that are significant to the results of the cost-benefit analysis.

      What the due diligence investigation focuses on is determined by the final result and what it is most sensitive to.

    • Steve,

      Could you please say if, having read this comment, you now understand how, IMO, due diligence should be applied to policies decision about AGW mitigation.

      If you cannot let me know that you now understand what I mean by due diligence for the enormous investment being advocated for AGW mitigation, I will continue to have the impression you do not understand the point.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Peter Lang,

      Admittedly I only had half an hour this morning to look at Nordhaus’s spreadsheet and your calculation, so I can’t be sure of this:

      Nordhaus’s spreadsheet seems to be a perturbation experiment with the baseline set zero if you are including the carbon cost schemes.

      His spreadsheet says if you take away the carbon cost schemes you end up with a 3.5 trillion net loss.

      You said

      I converted the $3.5 trillion world damages avoided …

      I think this is an incorrect calculation. The 3.5 trillion is damages avoided *minus* costs. So the damages avoided would be much much larger than 3.5 trillion.

      As I said, I may have misunderstood this as I need to get on with my tasks for the day so don’t have time to double-check!

    • Steve Milesworthy,

      The optimal carbon price to 2050 would avoid only $3.5 trillion in damages. The $3.5 trillion is the difference between the optimal carbon price scheme starting now with all emitters starting in unison and maintaining in unison versus no mitigation policy (but with adaption). The $3.5 trillion is the damages that would be avoided by implementing the optimal carbon pricing scheme in 2005 instead of in 2055. That is the policy choice we are evaluating.

      Did you see this link: http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=1325#80611

      If you are interested, I’d suggest you get a copy of Nordhaus’s book “A question of balance” or read it online here:
      http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf

    • “The $3.5 trillion is the damages that would be avoided by implementing the optimal carbon pricing scheme in 2005 instead of in 2055.”

      It was just explained to you why this is wrong. I suggest you go back and read the preceding comment again.

      I would also suggest you consider the unintended humor of phrases like “only $3.5 trillion.” To us non-Bain-partners, that sounds like a fairly substantial amount of money to piss away.

    • $3.5 trillion is the cumulative cost for the whole world to 2055. It is 0.1% of world GDP over that period. I suggest you try to develop a sense of perspective

    • So it’s settled, then: You will pay us $3.5 trillion now, and we’ll defer the whole mitigation discussion for a few years.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Peter,

      I’m reasonably happy now that I’ve spotted a flaw in your analysis. The Nordhaus figure of 3.5 trillion is indeed the net difference between the two scenarios. So the 3.5 trillion already includes a calculation of the costs of the carbon pricing scheme.

      Your analysis that suggests that the Australian cost of the carbon scheme is higher than the Australian share of the 3.5 trillion is therefore an incorrect comparison.

      You need to work out what Nordhaus thinks the cost of the Australian scheme and see if your numbers match up.

    • Steve,

      No, it is not an incorrect comparison (accepting the model assumptions, inputs and outputs). You have not yet done the homework to understand it. If you are interested I’d suggest you do the homework.

      Once you have done the homework, and do find a flaw and can explain it with numbers, then I’ll be happy to retract if I do have an error. I’d ask you to show the alternative working so I can understand the flaw you think you have spotted.

      I agree that a more accurate figure for Australia’s share might be derived if I exercised the regional component of RICE. I have not done that, and I am not convinced it would be a better result because Australia is included in a group of countries with very different economic characteristics.

    • “No, it is not an incorrect comparison . . . You have not yet done the homework to understand it.”

      Nice bluff, Pete, but you’re caught.

      You confused total damages with the difference between cost and benefit. It’s a really dumb mistake, but not half as dumb as your failing to cop to it and trying to brazen it out.

      So far three people have pointed out your mistake. How much of your rapidly diminishing stock of credibility do you want to waste on this?

    • Since some readers are blinded by their belief in CAGW, and will grasp unquestioningly at any unsubstantiated assertion or remark that supports their belief, it seems I need to explain here what is already covered in the links I provided previously.

      Nordhaus (2012) estimated that the net benefit of the Optimal carbon price policy (with all the assumptions) for the whole world accumulated to 2055 is $3,529 billion.

      Australia’s GDP is 1.17% of world GDP
      Australia’s share of the net benefit of implementing optimal carbon price policy in coordination with the rest of the world would be approximately $3,529 billion x 1.17% = $41 billion

      Australia’s share of damages avoided by the Optional policy = $5,230 billion x 1.17% = $61 billion
      Australia’s share of abatement costs = $2,160 billion x 1.17% = $25 billion

      The above are based on Nordhaus’s figures. However, the Australian Treasury modelling shows the reduction in GDP caused by the carbon tax and ETS is much higher (Chart 5.13 here http://archive.treasury.gov.au/carbonpricemodelling/content/chart_table_data/chapter5.asp ).

      Present value net cost of the Australian ETS (from Treasury figures) = $390 billion

      My estimate of present value abatement cost of the Australian ETS = $431 billion

      Summary:

      Present value benefit (damages avoided) = $41 billion
      Present value abatement cost = $431 billion
      Net cost = $390 billion
      Benefit/cost ratio = 0.1

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Peter Lang,

      Nordhaus (2012) estimated that the net benefit of the Optimal carbon price policy (with all the assumptions) for the whole world accumulated to 2055 is $3,529 billion.

      You are comparing apples with oranges.

      Nordhaus’s $3,529 billion is made up of both the costs and the benefits of carbon trading now versus no carbon costs till 2055.

      Implicitly, your figure of $431 billion is included in the Australian share of the $3,529 billion – $41 billion as estimated by you based on Australia’s share of world GDP.

      The Nordhaus calculation is not straightforward because it is a comparison of two scenarios, but put simply it looks like this:

      -(Cost of CO2 tax now) + (damages that would happen without CO2 tax)

      Your $431 billion is the Australian share of the first term and says nothing about the second term.

      Clearly you may say that the second term ought to be zero in light of the uncertainties! If so then you are completely setting your face against Nordhaus and should therefore cease quoting Nordhaus when you *think* he is saying something you approve of (ie. the comment about strong fat tail dominance).

      If you are competent in your grasp of Nordhaus’s spreadsheet you will be able to point out what he assesses the damages avoided as being *if* carbon trading schemes are implemented now.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Peter,

      I missed your second post because of Robert’s interjection. I think Robert was fair in suggestioning that you seemed to be avoiding the question, and it was only by being pushy that you made your second posting (the threading structure on this blog makes it very difficult to track what people have said, so repeating yourself is often necessary).

      The following gets me somewhere:


      Australia’s GDP is 1.17% of world GDP
      Australia’s share of the net benefit of implementing optimal carbon price policy in coordination with the rest of the world would be approximately $3,529 billion x 1.17% = $41 billion

      Australia’s share of damages avoided by the Optional policy = $5,230 billion x 1.17% = $61 billion
      Australia’s share of abatement costs = $2,160 billion x 1.17% = $25 billion

      The above are based on Nordhaus’s figures. However, the Australian Treasury modelling….[is different]

      but I have to go to work now, so I can’t cogitate on it yet.

      What I suggested earlier though was that you seemed to latch onto Nordhaus when you approved of Nordhaus, and you look for problems in Nordhaus when you disapprove of him.

      In this case, you’ve done a casual crunch of the numbers and asked a reasonable question. But you haven’t given a good reason for taking one of Nordhaus’s numbers and comparing it with one of Australia’s numbers (other than that it makes your point).

      Remember we are comparing two different scenarios, so the underlying assumptions within the two models are important. It could be like comparing the warming from doubling of CO2 from two different models, where in one of the models, the amount of sulphate pollution rises while in the other it does not. The models may give very different answers but the reason for the different answers are due to other different assumptions.

      Of course it could indeed be that Australian industries are net losers in this game and other places are net winners.

    • Steve Milesworthy,

      I am having a problem with your first and second comment because you have not done your homework. I cannot copy and post here the whole of Nordhaus “A Question of Balance” and the guide to the DICE and the RICE model and more. I’d urge you to get hold of his book if you are interested.

      I’ve already addressed your comment about my references to Nordhaus and use of his analyses:

      I do think highly of his analyses, but that doesn’t mean I accept all the conclusions he draws from them. I like his analyses because he thinks at the strategic level, he provides results that are valuable for informing policy, he makes his work readily understandable for non experts and, especially important, he appears to be more objective, less partisan, and less tainted by CAGW group-think than most of the other analysts doing similar work (such as Sir Nicholas Stern and Ross Garnaut).

      You said:

      In this case, you’ve done a casual crunch of the numbers and asked a reasonable question. But you haven’t given a good reason for taking one of Nordhaus’s numbers and comparing it with one of Australia’s numbers (other than that it makes your point).

      Remember we are comparing two different scenarios, so the underlying assumptions within the two models are important. It could be like comparing the warming from doubling of CO2 from two different models, where in one of the models, the amount of sulphate pollution rises while in the other it does not. The models may give very different answers but the reason for the different answers are due to other different assumptions.

      Yes. I do recognise that I am making a simple, high level comparison of numbers from two different analyses and I acknowledge that in the links I’ve referred you to previously. However, that would account for some discrepancy, but not a factor of ten discrepancy.

      Mine is admittedly a simple calculation, but the point it makes is clear. The point is that the carbon pricing cannot work unless the assumptions are achieved. And they cannot be achieved.

      Furthermore, I suspect the damage function is likely to be biased to the high side. Possibly a long way to the high side. I gave you one example which shows good reason for my suspicion: http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2012/06/05/conservatives-who-think-seriously-about-the-planet/#comment-112290

      But you haven’t given a good reason for taking one of Nordhaus’s numbers and comparing it with one of Australia’s numbers (other than that it makes your point).

      My reasons (again!):

      1. I explained why I’ve used Nordhaus (rather than Stern, Garnaut etc)
      2. $3.5 trillion is from the latest version of RICE and Nordhaus has quoted it himself and explained what it is here: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/apr/26/climate-casino-exchange/
      3. This is the net benefit that would be achieved by implementing the optimal carbon tax policy across the whole world and capturing all emissions and done in unison progressively raised always in unison across the whole world. So it is the best value we have for the benefit of the policy for the world.
      4. I have used the Australian share of world GDP to estimate the Australian share of the net benefit (if all the assumptions are met, which they cannot be). I agree this is an approximation, but how far out might it be? I’d expect less than 20%, not a factor of 10.
      5. I’ve used the Australian Treasury estimates of the cumulative net cost of the Australian CO2 tax and ETS. I acknowledged I do not have the split of the net costs into benefits and costs. I explained how I estimated the benefit so I could add it to the net cost to get the cost (hope you can follow).
      6. I suspect the costs are grossly underestimated. I explained about one item that is missing, the ultimate compliance cost, here http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=13578&page=0.
      7. And I expect the benefits will not be achieved because the assumptions are impracticable.

    • Steve Milesworthy,
      @ July 30, 2012 at 5:56 am

      Of course it could indeed be that Australian industries are net losers in this game and other places are net winners.

      I don’t believe that is the explanation. After all, the advocates of the Australian carbon pricing scheme argue that Australia is one of the countries with the most to lose from climate change, so we should be leading the way, setting an example to the rest of the world, showing the world how they should to it, and teaching them what are correct moral values.

      I suggest the correct explanation is because the assumptions that underpin the modelling cannot be achieved. The assumptions are (judge for yourself whether you think they are realistically achievable):

      • Negligible leakage (of emissions between countries)

      • All emission sources are included (all countries and all emissions in each country)

      • Negligible compliance cost

      • Negligible fraud

      • An optimal carbon price

      • The whole world implements the optimal carbon price in unison

      • The whole world acts in unison to increase the optimal carbon price periodically

      • The whole world continues to maintain the carbon price at the optimal level for all of this century (and thereafter).

      If these assumptions are not met, the net benefits estimated will not be achieved. As Nordhaus says, p198 http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf :

      Moreover, the results here incorporate an estimate of the importance of participation for economic efficiency. Complete participation is important because the cost function for abatement appears to be highly convex. We preliminarily estimate that a participation rate of 50 percent instead of 100 percent will impose a cost penalty on abatement of 250 percent.

      In other words, if only 50% of emissions are captured in the carbon pricing scheme, the cost penalty for the participants would be 250%. The 50% participation could be achieved by, for example, 100% of countries participating in the scheme but only 50% of the emissions in total from within the countries are caught, or 50% of countries participate and 100% of the emissions within those countries are caught in the scheme (i.e. taxed or traded).

      Given the above, we can see that the assumptions are theoretical and totally impracticable. To recognize this, try to imagine how we could capture 100% of emissions from 100% of emitters in Australia (every cow, sheep, goat) in the CO2 pricing scheme, let alone expecting the same to be done across the whole world; e.g. China, India, Eretria, Ethiopia, Mogadishu and Somalia.

    • Steve Milesworthy,
      @ July 30, 2012 at 5:56 am

      Of course it could indeed be that Australian industries are net losers in this game and other places are net winners.

      Please ignore my previous comment on this. The reason for the difference is explained here: http://jennifermarohasy.com/2012/06/what-the-carbon-tax-and-ets-will-really-cost-peter-lang/

      The analyses above are intentionally a ‘ball park’ estimate and, therefore, simplified.

      I recognise I’ve cumulated to 2050, not to 2595 which is what the Nordhaus RICE model does. This is a contentious issue. I and others, however, do not accept that policies made now will last even a decade, let alone to 2595. We can point to the life span of the Kyoto Protocol and many other examples to show that most policies made at a point in time do not have a long life and have little influence on subsequent policies.

      I’d urge you to read the short article linked here. I believe it addresses questions you’ve asked and assertions you’ve made so far.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Peter Lang,

      However, that would account for some discrepancy, but not a factor of ten discrepancy.

      Are you sure this is the case? As you say, the Australian figure assumed a 1.1m sea level rise by 2100. For a country with a lot of coastal development your model would justify higher costs and benefits than, say, a scenario involving 30cm by 2055. Maybe that explains the discrepancy.

      If sea levels continue to track at or above the IPCC projections (as they are now) the scenario may be considered realistic. If they start to track below and improvements in understanding reduce estimates, the carbon costs won’t need to rise as high as the projection, in line with the reduced projected benefits.

      Arguing that things are unrealistic or impractical is a different argument. Identifying trivial emissions (cows) is a diversion, particularly as it is likely that CO2 monitoring will probably soon detect emissions/absorptions on a relatively fine regional scale (not individual cows!) Direct enforcement of 90% of emissions is easily possible, with the remainder managed by country-by-country allowances base on observations perhaps.

      BTW clearly you can make your case in your strongest terms by ignoring alternative possibilities (eg. that the projections of warming are broadly correct) but you shouldn’t at the same time complain when those you perceive as “alarmists” do the same (I’m not talking about me because I don’t think I’m terribly alarmist in my postings).

    • Steve Milesworthy,
      @ July 30, 2012 at 8:50 am
      [I didn't see this comment earlier because you did not reply to one of my comments]

      Are you sure this is the case? As you say, the Australian figure assumed a 1.1m sea level rise by 2100. For a country with a lot of coastal development your model would justify higher costs and benefits than, say, a scenario involving 30cm by 2055. Maybe that explains the discrepancy.

      No, that does not explain the discrepancy. Assuming a large sea level rise would make the Australian Treasury estimate of the benefit (damages avoided by mitigation) higher, not lower. But the discrepancy we are trying to explain is in the cost of mitigation rather than the benefit. The Australian Treasury estimated the net cost of mitigation at $1,345 billion (undiscounted), which is $390 billion discounted at the average discount rate that is the default in RICE (2012) for USA for 2005 to 2050. So I am using $390 billion as the present value net cost of the Australian CO2 tax and ETS. I’ve approximated the projected benefit to be $41 billion. This is calculated from Nordhaus’s $3,529 billion benefit for the world and Australia’s 1.17% proportion of world GDP. I recognise I have used results from different models, somewhat different assumptions, small differences in the time period covered, etc. But these would not explain the factor of ten difference. The issue is that the Australian Treasury cost is some ten times higher than the Australian proportion of the Nordhaus cost. And, as I’ve said, I expect the Australian Treasury is a gross underestimate of the costs and the projected benefits will not be achieved.

      If sea levels continue to track at or above the IPCC projections (as they are now) the scenario may be considered realistic. If they start to track below and improvements in understanding reduce estimates, the carbon costs won’t need to rise as high as the projection, in line with the reduced projected benefits.

      This is a different argument. You are now arguing to change inputs and assumptions.

      Arguing that things are unrealistic or impractical is a different argument.

      No. Definitely not. This is the central issue for making policy.

      • The modelling has been done using academic but unrealistic and impracticable assumptions.

      • The Nordhaus modelling, based on these assumptions, suggests there would be a small net benefit from implementing a carbon price if all the assumptions are achieved!

      • The Australian Treasury modelling suggests there would be a significant cost (but this has not been admitted by the government or Treasury. They have spun it as “High growth, low pollution future”. What utter rubbish. It’s all spin. It’s irresponsible.).

      • The CAGW believers are advocating countries implement carbon pricing schemes (but ignoring or not mentioning the impracticable assumptions).

      • The advocates are causing us to implement hugely expensive schemes that will achieve next to nothing (in terms of controlling sea levels and the climate).

      • This is misrepresentation on the greatest scale ever.

      Arguing that things [i.e. the assumptions that underpin the carbon price cost-benefit modelling] are unrealistic or impractical ismost definitely not a different argument. “

      Identifying trivial emissions (cows) is a diversion, particularly as it is likely that CO2 monitoring will probably soon detect emissions/absorptions on a relatively fine regional scale (not individual cows!) Direct enforcement of 90% of emissions is easily possible, with the remainder managed by country-by-country allowances base on observations perhaps.

      Steve, I suspect you know little about compliance costs and the cost of monitoring emissions. But it is separate issue. I’d refer you and other readers to this (and the links contained within for example to the EPA regulations on emissions monitoring and reporting requirements): http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=13578&page=0 and my earlier comment addressed to you and Willis http://judithcurry.com/2012/07/24/special-issue-on-postnormal-climate-science/#comment-223138 where I said:

      Willis Eschenbach and Steve Milesworthy,

      Willis makes a very important point. The proposed mitigation policies will cost an enormous amount of money and achieve almost nothing.

      Willis highlights the EPA’s administration costs. But what would be the cost to business and industry? Other figures in the EPA court submission suggest there are (from memory) some 10,000 businesses that would be impacted. And this is only the start. If the assumptions that underpin the Nordhaus analyses (and other similar analyses) are to be achieved (such as the emissions pricing system has to include all emissions from all sources in all countries), then all emitters of all greenhouse gasses must be included eventually. How many businesses will that include? 100,000 or more? All farmers?. All emissions sources? What will be the cost to businesses across all of the USA? Will it be one, two, three, four or more orders of magnitude higher than the EPA’s cost?

      The EPA estimates their cost to administer the regulations as legislated by Congress, would be $21 billion per year? What would be the cost for business and all the other departments, consultants, lawyers, accountants, courts etc involved? Would it be 1000 times the EPA’s cost?

      What about the cost in all the other countries of the world? What will be the cost in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mogadishu, Somalia, etc?

      BTW clearly you can make your case in your strongest terms by ignoring alternative possibilities (e.g. that the projections of warming are broadly correct)

      I don’t understand what point you are making here. Nordhaus (and the others doing similar work) have done their analyses using the best available information, mostly from IPCC and the major models. They use probability distributions as inputs. Admittedly the analyses are simplified in RICE and DICE by using normal distributions. However, he checked the error and found it small. I presume this aspect of the modelling is being greatly improved for AR5. Unfortunately, I am concerned that the consensus guys may have got to Nordhaus and Tol.

      but you shouldn’t at the same time complain when those you perceive as “alarmists” do the same (I’m not talking about me because I don’t think I’m terribly alarmist in my postings).

      The alarmists and you are arguing for huge expenditure without proper justification. I am not. So of course I should be challenging the policies they and you advocate and the basis for your advocacy.

  89. While I have disagreed with Peter Lang on many points and while those disagreements have led to argumentation of a type that I still cannot understand, I do agree with Peter on the most central starting point:

    Making wise policy decisions requires an assessment of all likely important consequences of the proposed policies. Something similar to a cost-benefit analysis is needed. As a full even moderately accurate analysis is beyond reach we are forced to accept something less but we should not accept the lack of any.

    Telling that global warming is virtually certain to have happened and to continue and that CO2 emissions are the main reason for that is not enough, not even accepting that some very severe outcomes cannot be excluded. Looking at only one side of the issue cannot tell what’s wise policy.

    Economists have tried to compare costs wit with benefits in various ways. Their conclusions vary wildly. Most agree now that reducing emissions soon would have a major effect on the risk-adjusted estimate of costs from global warming, but even that’s not enough because that benefit is usually not compared with costs of any specific policy. The result support the notion that something should be done but doesn’t tell which specific actions are justified – and it’s not possible to decide just “we’ll do something”:

    Stern Review and Weitzman’s Dismal Theorem told about an extremely strong support for rapid action but they both have been discredited by later analysis of Nordhaus and others. That does not reverse the conclusion but that tells that the situation is not so extreme and that better analysis is required to figure out the proper weight of climate change in deciding on policy priorities.

    I have mentioned several times prof. Partha Dasgupta as a scientist who has been searching for better approaches for comparing long term development options. A new interesting contribution from a group led by him has been published recently Inclusive Wealth Report 2012, Measuring progress towards sustainability.

    The report is not on climate change but it’s the latest outcome of a long-lasting effort to find better ways for comparing long-term policy alternatives. I see this as the most promising approach also for judging alternative climate policies as it presents a framework for comparing benefits and costs of very different kinds, not with any precision but with some potential for including all most important factors in the same quantitative analysis.

    • Pekka Pirilä | July 29, 2012 at 4:03 am |

      Re: Peter Lang’s “Making wise policy decisions requires an assessment of all likely important consequences of the proposed policies. Something similar to a cost-benefit analysis is needed. As a full even moderately accurate analysis is beyond reach we are forced to accept something less but we should not accept the lack of any. “

      I’m afraid I disagree.

      We want something similar to cost-benefit analysis. Why? What are the virtues C/BA provide us? Certainty of efficiency? Of effectiveness? Of the rational basis of our decisions?

      Or is it just going through the motions because it seems superstitiously the traditional solution?

      We want it. But we can’t have it. And if we accept a security-blanket substitute for the real thing, one with the shape and texture and feel of some sort of rational analysis, but that analysis is simply a fraudulent conveyance, where are we? Are we better off? Or are we worse off?

      In decision-making under uncertainty, sometimes there is no justifiable C/BA to do. Get over that. Move on to the appropriate decision mechanisms.

      But whatever else, absolutely insist on rejecting fake analyses just because they’re comfortable, and never put off policy decisions while waitin