Activate (?) your science

by Judith Curry

We need bold science and bold action.   There is a vital role for governments to play, but equally importantly is the role of academia, civil society, and industry.  Harnessing that collective commitment is underway – but it remains to be seen if changes will be rapid and substantial enough. Her Excellency noted in her powerful opening remarks that there is a significant gap between the accelerating pace of degradation and the rate of effective response.   
Each of you here can influence the rate of response by activating your science.  – Jane Lubchenco, NOAA Administrator

NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco gave the keynote presentation at the recent   International Coral Reef Symposium in Cairns, Australia.   The text of the speech is found here.  Some excerpts:

Scientists – YOU and I ! —  with our knowledge of the threats, consequences, and likelihood success of options for solutions, have a particular responsibility to share our findings broadly, develop useful and useable decision-support tools, team up with local communities and industry partners, and help craft practical solutions.

Your knowledge and your passion are sorely needed.  But your knowledge must be shared in ways that are understandable, credible and relevant to decision-making at multiple levels.  Learning to become bilingual – to speak both the language of science and the language of lay people is a skill more scientists need to learn.  You’ve all heard the phrase ‘learn by doing’?  The same applies to teaching: ‘teach by doing…not by preaching.’

This is, in fact, happening in many parts of the world. Scientists, communities, NGOs, industry and governments are collaborating to develop management solutions that provide for immediate local needs and enable healthy, resilient reefs. These are powerful, hopeful signs, they are simply not at the scale commensurate with the threats.

This is a story of leadership, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary partnerships across many types of partners, peer learning, and science to develop and implement creative solutions that address food security in the face of climate change and ocean acidification.

The world, its coral reefs and the millions of people that depend upon them need more bold action – action that is science-and ecosystem-based,action that is embraced locally and nationally, action that values tomorrow as well as today. And we need bold science – science that is use-inspired: i. e., it is cutting-edge but relevant and focused on solutions. 

Each of you here can influence the rate of response by activating your science.

I invite you to do more than create new knowledge.  Share it! Put it to use with partners and a sustained engagement.

In short, activate your science.

Donna LaFramboise doesn’t like what Lubchenco had to say:

In Lubchenco’s universe there is apparently no danger of scientists going overboard, of unconsciously biasing their research. She seems to think that earning a scientific degree somehow transforms individuals into infallible beings who will never fall victim to self-delusion, whose judgment will always be impeccable.

The latest issue of Nature Climate Change has an article by Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows entitled A new paradigm for climate change that make similar points:

How climate change science is conducted, communicated and translated into policy must be radically transformed if ‘dangerous’ climate change is to be averted.

We urgently need to acknowledge that the development needs of many countries leave the rich western nations with little choice but to immediately and severely curb their greenhouse gas emissions. But academics may again have contributed to a misguided belief that commitments to avoid warming of 2 °C can still be realized with incremental adjustments to economic incentives. A carbon tax here, a little emissions trading there and the odd voluntary agreement thrown in for good measure will not be sufficient.

Scientists may argue that it is not our responsibility anyway and that it is politicians who are really to blame. The scientific community can meet next year to communicate its latest model results and reiterate how climate change commitments and economic growth go hand in hand. Many policymakers (and some scientists) believe that yet another year will not matter in the grand scheme of things, but this overlooks the fundamental tenet of climate science: emissions are cumulative.

There are many reasons why climate science has become intertwined with politics, to the extent that providing impartial scientific analysis is increasingly challenging and challenged. On a personal level, scientists are human too. Many have chosen to research climate change because they believe there is value in applying scientific rigour to an important global issue. It is not surprising then that they also hope that it is still possible to avoid dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. However, as the remaining cumulative budget is consumed, so any contextual interpretation of the science demonstrates that the threshold of 2 °C is no longer viable, at least within orthodox political and economic constraints. Against this backdrop, unsubstantiated hope leaves such constraints unquestioned, while at the same time legitimizing a focus on increasingly improbable low- carbon futures and underplaying high- emission scenarios.

On a professional level, scientists are seldom trained to engage with policymaking; where opinions are encouraged and decisions informed as much by ideology as by judgement of the science, economics and so on. Policymaking is necessarily a messy process. Scientists, however, often assume that the most effective way of engaging is by presenting evidence, without daring to venture, at least explicitly, broader academic judgement. Perhaps, for narrowly defined disciplinary study, this is entirely appropriate. Yet many highly respected researchers are emerging with interdisciplinary expertise. Academic training has begun to foster the ability of researchers to embed quantitative analysis within a wider sociopolitical and economic context. Nevertheless, reluctance to proffer academic judgement confidently remains, particularly when such judgement raises fundamental questions about the viability of so-called real-world economics.

Reinforcing the view that we may be on the cusp of a paradigm shift are the fundamental disagreements between orthodox economists as to how to respond to the crisis. This theoretical disarray has parallels with those rare occasions in history where established knowledge is superseded by new ways of thinking and understanding. Newton, Darwin, Einstein and Planck all represent such radical transitions. They are seldom achieved easily and the old guard typically hangs on kicking furiously to avoid relinquishing its grip on power. Ultimately, however, such protestations are futile in the face of the new insights and new ways of doing things that emerge with the new paradigm.

It is in this rapidly evolving context that the science underpinning climate change is being conducted and its findings communicated. This is an opportunity that should and must be grasped. Liberate the science from the economics, finance and astrology, stand by the conclusions however uncomfortable. But this is still not enough. In an increasingly interconnected world where the whole — the system — is often far removed from the sum of its parts, we need to be less afraid of making academic judgements. Not unsubstantiated opinions and prejudice, but applying a mix of academic rigour, courage and humility to bring new and interdisciplinary insights into the emerging era. Leave the market economists to fight among themselves over the right price of carbon — let them relive their groundhog day if they wish. The world is moving on and we need to have the audacity to think differently and conceive of alternative futures.

Civil society needs scientists to do science free of the constraints of failed economics. It also needs us to guard against playing politics while actively engaging with the processes of developing policy; this is a nuanced but nonetheless crucial distinction. Ultimately, decisions on how to respond to climate change are the product of many constituencies contributing to the debate. Science is important among these and needs to be communicated clearly, honestly and without fear.

JC comment:  The above text clearly illustrates the postnormal environment that climate science is operating in.  I can certainly understand why policy makers and advocacy groups want scientists to get involved, so that they can trade on the authority of scientists in their policy making.

The dangers that this presents for the integrity of science are increasingly being realized.    The recent statement on Climate Change by the American Meteorological Society is a case in point.  Subsequent to my post on this topic, I engaged in email exchanges and a phone conversation with Keith Seitter, Executive Director of the AMS.  He assured me that the committee that wrote the statement included numerous participants in the IPCC, and that the Council was actively engaged in the statement preparation process.  There is a  large cadre of climate scientists that have become ‘stealth advocates’ (Pielke Jr’s term) for climate change policies, who think the consensus on climate change science logically demands a specific policy direction (reduction of atmospheric CO2).

And then there is a new breed of academics that are working at the interface of (physical) climate science and social science, trained in the paradigm of environmental studies.  These academics have some understanding of the science of climate change.  They mostly use the IPCC conclusions (imbuing them with even higher confidence than provided by the IPCC) as a starting point for their (policy, economic, sociological, psychological, political) analysis.  As a result, their studies often get caught up in circular reasoning, such as the paper by Anderson and Bows. I find their arguments particularly peculiar in arguing that climate scientists and those working at the boundaries of climate science should dismiss economics.

And all of this feeds back onto climate science in a very disturbing way.  So what is needed to preserve the integrity of climate science in this postnormal environment?  Here is my take:

1)  Climate scientists: DE-activate your science.  Continually challenge your science, with the knowledge that such challenges become more difficult in this politicized post normal science.

2) Climate scientists (and all physical scientists) IMO need better understanding of the philosophy, history, and social psychology of science.  While they rarely comment, I am aware that a substantial number of climate and related scientists read this blog.  I consider my main service to this community to be introducing them to relevant literature in these areas.

3)  For those scientists desiring to engage in the policy process, educate yourself (or take university courses) on the policy process.  Reading Roger Pielke’s book Honest Broker is a good starting point.  Beware of becoming and advocate, and understand the risk that this poses to your personal reputation and to the science itself.

4)  Communication of science is an important issue.  Good communication helps the public understanding of how nature and science itself works.  However, the emphasis in climate communication seems not to aspire to emulate the great communicators of science (e.g. Richard Feynman), but rather to become more effective at using rhetoric in the service of propaganda to support policies to curb CO2 emissions and to figure out how to marginalize ‘deniers.’

Administrators of government agencies, professional societies, and even some universities are actively encouraging ‘activation’.  This needs to be looked at closely in terms of protecting the integrity of science.

953 responses to “Activate (?) your science

  1. Bundle those sticks of power.
    ======================

    • JC’s comment sis excellent in my opinion.

      • A. Yes, Professor Curry’s comments are excellent.

        B. So were the comments by Donna LaFramboise.

        C. Unlike those of Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows in Nature Climate Change and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco , who start with the false premise that we – all powerful scientist who have deceived ourselves and the public about the origin, composition and source of energy that made our elements, sustains our lives and controls Earth’s changing climate since 1945 [1-4] – can avert dangerous global climate change.

        That is absolutely self-deceptive nonsense!

        They can either address the observations and data summarized here [1-4], or look forward to unemployment when their paymasters are booted from office for supporting deception with public funds.

        [1] “Is the Sun a pulsar?” Nature 270, 159-160 (1977) http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v270/n5633/abs/270159a0.html

        [2] ”The sun’s origin, composition and source of energy”, in Lunar and Planetary Science XXIX, 1041 (2001) http://www.omatumr.com/lpsc.prn.pdf

        [3] “Super-fluidity in the solar interior: Implications for solar eruptions and climate”, Journal of Fusion Energy 21, 193-198 (2002). http://www.springerlink.com/content/r2352635vv166363/

        http://arxiv.org/pdf/astro-ph/0501441

        [4] “Neutron repulsion,” The Apeiron Journal 19, 123-150 (2012) http://tinyurl.com/7t5ojrn

        - Oliver K. Manuel
        Former NASA Principal
        Investigator for Apollo

        http://www.omatumr.com

        http://omanuel.wordpress.com/

      • Strict adherence to the scientific method serves the same purpose in science that strict adherence to scripture serves in religions:

        1. Helping us humbly accept RTG (Reality, Truth, God)

        2. Reducing self-centered delusions of control over RTG

        Following the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by “nuclear fires”</b in Aug 1945, world leaders were mistakenly led to establish the United Nations on 24 Oct 1945 to control nuclear energy, to eliminate nationalism by forming a one-world government, and to save the world from nuclear destruction.

        Climategate emails and documents in Nov 2009 and official responses to documented evidence of scientific fraud after Nov 2009 revealed two unintended consequences of the 24 Oct 1945 decision to establish the UN:

        a.) The results of lock-step, post-1945, consensus government science investigations are essentially worthless and untrustworthy, and

        b.) The United Nations is not limited by the constitutional limits that kept national governments working as servants of the governed.

      • To: Jane Lubchenco, NOAA Administrator,
        Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows

        1. You deceive the public

        2. You boldly proclaim misinformation as truth

        3. You demonstrate contempt for both ancient scriptures and the modern scientific method by refusing to address experimental observations and measurements [See references 1-4 above] that falsify post-1945 UN/UK/US/EU-models of energy in the cores of atoms, stars and galaxies that

        _ a.) Made our elements

        _ b.) Gave birth to the Earth

        _ c.) Sustains our lives, and

        _ d.) Causes Earth’s changing climate [5]

        Fortunately for society, one of the scientists involved in deceiving the public about the energy source that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Aug 1945 had the courage to contact George Orwell in ~1947 so he could write a futuristic novel in 1948 that described the impending danger of a tyrannical government that gives the public misinformation and controls their lives by electronic surveillance [6].

        Czech President Vaclav Klaus [7] confirmed this is the real purpose of deceptive government misinformation about Earth’s global climate.

        So address the summaries [1-4] of experimental measurements and observation that falsify your statements, admit that planetary motion [5] causes Earth’s heat source to wobble and deep-seated magnetic fields to protrude through the photosphere as sunspots, and tell us why we should believe that Czech President Vaclav Klau is lying and you are telling us the truth.

        I look forward to your public response to this message.

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

        New References:

        [5] Paul D. Jose, “Sun’s motion and sunspots,” The Astronomical Journal 70, 193-200 (1965) http://www.giurfa.com/jose.pdf

        [6] George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-four – “1984” (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc, 1949, First Signet Classic Printing, 1950, 328 pages): http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/1984/

        [7] Vaclav Klaus, Blue Planet in Green Shackles (Competitive Enterprise Institute, first edition, 2007) 100 pages, http://tinyurl.com/5z4j6g

      • I will send a copy of the above messages directly to Dr. Jane Lubchenco and to Dr. Kevin Anderson and ask them to reply.

        I will also send a copy to Dr. Alice Bows if I can find her email address.

      • There has, of course, been no reply from Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Dr. Kevin Anderson or Dr. Alice Bows.

        They are probably well-paid to ignore, hide or manipulate all observations and measurements that falsify the AGW propaganda of Al Gore and the UN’s IPCC.

        Perhaps they were busy trying to figure out how to explain away new data from the Voyager 1 spacecraft that shows that the Sun’s “sphere of influence” extends outward for eighteen billion kilometers (18 x 10^9 km, 18 G km)

        http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/343862/title/Voyager_chasing_solar_systems_edge

        Earth is of course completely engulfed by this “sphere of influence”, being only seven hundred and fifty-five million killometers (755 x 10^6 km, 0.755 G km) from the Sun’s pulsar core.

        Instabilities in the Sun’s pulsar core propagate outward in this “sphere of influence” and are seen as storms of sunspots and massive solar eruptions in the gaseous waste products temporarily retained as the solar photosphere, only seven hundred and ninety-six thousand kilometers (796 x 10^3 km, 0.0008 G km) from the pulsar.

        http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0407/feature1/index.html

        - Oliver K. Manuel
        Former NASA Principal
        Investigator for Apollo

        http://www.omatumr.com

        http://omanuel.wordpress.com/

      • where where

      • dennis adams

        Once again our host knocks it out of the ballpark. Many of her peers are still in T-ball.

      • “it”?

        Carefully considered argument? Reason? Courteous discourse? Good faith?

      • Not familiar with sports metaphors? All of the above. In fact every time she posts something, “it” makes a lot more sense than anything her critics could ever hope to.

      • Bundling those sticks of powder, i.e., controlling access to the source of energy that consumed Hiroshima on 6 Aug 1945 and Nagasaki on 9 Aug 1945 resulted in formation of the United Nations on 24 Oct 1945 to unite the world’s independent governments into a single one-world government.

        That was the consensus scientific opinion and dissenting opinions were few in 1945. “What should we do?” asked one influential nuclear scientist. “We played with fire like children and it flared up before we expected it.”

        “The beginning of the world may have been just like this,” responded another in an opinion that was not published until 1982.

        Thus fear led to the formation of the UN to avoid a nuclear apocalypse:

        http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/08/26/258252/nuke-powers-push-globe-to-apocalypse/

      • 1. Nuclear physicist C. F. von Weisäcker expressed the consensus opinion of fear of “nuclear fire” that led to the:

        a.) Formation of the United Nations in the fall of 1945 [Robert Jungk, Brighter than a Thousand Suns (Mariner Books, 21 Oct 1970, 384 pp) p. 335] http://www.amazon.com/Brighter-than-Thousand-Suns-Scientists/dp/0156141507

        b.) Publication of misinformation about energy (E) in the cores of heavy atoms and stars in 1946 [See reference 3 and reference 4 in http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-720%5D

        2. Nuclear, geo-, cosmo-chemist Kuzo Kuroda expressed the dissenting opinion of hope for utilizing the enormous energy of “nuclear fires” that originally gave birth to the world [(Paul) Kazuo Kuroda, The Origin of the Chemical Elements and the Oklo Phenomenon (Springer Publishing, Dec 1982, 165 pp) p.2] !

        Society received many benefits from the decision to form the United Nations on 24 Oct 1945 before Climategate exposed in Nov 2009 the consequences of changing experimental science into the more lucrative practice of consensus science in 1946.

        Subsequent efforts to resolve the global climate scandal failed because:

        Constitutional limits on government are required
        To restore research integrity in government science.

        See: http://omanuel.wordpress.com/ . . .

        http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-818

    • This is a call for activism, pure and simple.

      How climate change science is conducted, communicated and translated into policy must be radically transformed if ‘dangerous’ climate change is to be averted.

      The statement that climate change is dangerous is an assertion. There is no persuasive case to support it. Just assertions repeated ad nauseum.

      If there was persuasive evidence, the argument would not have continued for so long.

      • Agreed, but this scientifically-challenged individual doesn’t realise that because the emissivity of the Earth is always <<1 [convection and radiation are coupled], the heat transfer part of the GCMs has no analytical solution and the operational emissivity at GHG band-specific wavelengths has to be very low because of 'Prevost Exchange' with thermal IR from the atmosphere at nearly the same temperature.

        In other word the Aarhenius 'GHG blanket' concept is absurdly wrong and there is no 'back radiation', a mistake from meteorology.. So, there can be no CO2-AGW because that emission band is switched off. Also the GHE is the temperature rise needed to get the same heat transfer from a reduced spectrum ['atmospheric window' plus sidebands which aren't in IR 'self-absorption'] plus convection. This is obvious to any professional engineer or experienced physicist: the IPCC people are very stupid.

        A rider is that the GHE is fixed by the first ~900 ppmV water vapour, when the operational absorptivity of water vapour levels off. The big challenge we face is global cooling: the jet streams are moving nearer the Equator for a good reason. Because of this, extreme weather events will increase but it is nothing to do with CO2 which is benign.

      • Eli simply notes that holding to Prevost means that you are rejecting the intelligent photon theory of the eminent Claes Johnson, because back there at the end of the eighteenth century, Prevost figured out that all things emit and absorb radiation from the others independently. (that’s back radiation to you)

        Rabetts are thankful for all progress, still, you appear to have missed the point that the average (over wavelength) emissivity of the earth in the IR is about 0.6 which, true is less than unity, but not much much less.

      • John from cA

        Its a good point but the unfortunate situation relates to the structuring of the IPCC. From its onset, the IPCC included solution groups and the overall mandate to define AGW. The pitiful solutions that have been presented indicate a complete lack of Industrial Engineering and Design experience.

        The “science” has been undermined by political objectives.

        The only way to fix this is to eliminate UN solution work groups in favor of national Design groups to ensure culturally appropriate solutions and to force the IPCC to return to properly reviewed Science.

        In other words, all countries need to reexamine the UN’s charter which is currently out-of-control and determine if the IPCC is even worth saving.

      • John from cA,

        I agree.

    • We do not need “Bold” science. We need science with supportable results.

      We need Science that people can trust. We need science that says “Genetically Modified Foods” are safe to eat, and save the world from starvation.

      We need Science we can believe in that allows us to make the huge investments necessary when things really go wrong. “If you don’t make solar plants, then the world is going to be submerged.”

      Really, we do not need “Bold” Science. We need science that is not hyped. We need science that is predictive. We already had the other kind, and that was when a bunch of people had books only they could read, and they told everyone else how to live. We don’t need that. And that includes the religious Nut case Jane Lubchenco. Go live in a monastery. Or, depending on how much you really believe, well, that’s too brutal.

  2. David Springer

    I hope NOAA didn’t pay the freight for Lubchenko’s ass to be in Australia.

  3. Yo Jude…pop a donk on it

    • Interesting website that links to Mark Raven’s name. It appears that our cool-dude-wannabe, dork-with-an-attitude “Mark” is involved with a collective of some sort that maintains–Suprise! Suprise!–one of those ubiquitous, good-little-greenshirt, mom-is-so-proud-of-her-little-blogger-snookums, reliable-mouth-piece blogs.

      And Mark’s patheic, Robert-knock-off attempts at blogospheric punditry–again, Surprise! Surprise!–are everything a reader could possibly want in terms of doofus, party-line-hack, tedious-to-the-max enviro-pieties of the eco-creep, hipster-geek, read-between-the-lines-and-you-just-know-this-Mark-weirdo-and-his-wanker-reject-pals-are-like-complete-losers-and-all, probably-all-just-big-talk-militancy-but-maybe-not variety. Typical hive-bozo crapola, in other words.

      And, of course, since Mark’s blog is in the lefty tradition, it takes a compulsive pleasure in “head-shot” homicide. That is, at the top of Mark’s blog is a banner that shows a figure with a blood-stained club, smashing another’s (pinata) head as pieces of skull fly and blood splatters. You know, sort of a 21st century, low-carbon version of the ol’ Bolshevik, bullet to the back of the head routine.

      And, if things work out for our Philosopher-King/Cull-Master aspirants, it will be neo-empowered, momma’s-boy, good-comrade lumpen-nerds, like Mark, who will be collecting our carbon tax–and enforcing other “adjustments” required by our newly-arrived brave-new-low-carbon-world (our betters will be exempt from such rigors, of course). And a little dash of “activated” science may be just all it takes for our betters to finally pull-off their eager-beaver, make-a-buck/make-a-gulag CAGW hustle. Who knows?

      Something to think about.

      P. S. I see that our fearless, carbon-demon slayer, Lubchenko, did not include “leadership from the front” and “leadership by personal example” in her appeal for “leadership” by the attendees at that lefty, pep-rally she addressed. I mean, like, that’s all anyone needs to know about Lubchenko and her merry crew and their real ambitions.

      I mean, you know, elitist scare-mongering, carbon-piggie hypocrites, like Lubchenko, will never give up their carbon-swill, snout-sucking pay-off troughs or their CO2-spew, party-confabs (which could easily be conducted via low-carbon video-conferencing–except that video-conferencing would deprive our eco-worthies of their all-nighter, boozy, buddy-buddy, grab-ass, after-hours blow-outs on the taxpayer dime).

      Rather, the greenshirt deal is how to rip-off and reduce us “little guys” to doltish helotry, while preserving their own high-carbon sinecures, party-time-perks, and gravy-train specials. But, I’m pleased to observe, that selling that deal to us proto-peons, seems to be proving a challenge for our heroic betters, even with all that fired-up, flim-flam, “activated” science they are now frantically waving in our faces. And that’s a good thing.

      • Oh joy!, mike is back with his hyper-hyphenated wind-baggery!

      • Michael,

        Ah yes, we meet again, Michael, my ol’ buddy-boy. You know what I make of your last comment, Michael? It’s one of those wimp-out, mouth-off, carefully-calibrated, little-sneak masterpieces of bravado that you specialize in.

        You know, Michael, like, how you–outta nowhere–pop up and pop-off a limp-weenie, meanie-booger one-liner, and then–where’s Michael?–you dart off–Zip! Zip!–in a, really-humpin’, spastic-dork run. And, all the while, figuring that if your comment is not too obnoxious and provocative, your “target” won’t think a little weirdo, creep-out geek, like you, is worth his while chasing given your lead.

        But among your complete watermelon-brain, hive-bozo comrades, such “daring” allows you strut your street-cred and claim braggin’ rights. Doesn’t it, Michael? Pathetic stuff, Michael. Jeez.

      • Go mike!

      • Damn, now that mike is in da house, I have to reactivate that RSS feed!

        Go mike!

  4. The point about history is the most important one. There have been countless examples of applied science that turned out to be hell on earth, despite the best intentions by its proponents. Diving head-first based on one’s however solid scientific convictions is a great recipe for ending up supporting all new kinds of fascism.

  5. Lubchenko: “We need bold science and bold action. There is a vital role for governments to play….”

    Is that why NOAA put in those purchase orders for thousands of hollow-point .40 caliber pistol rounds?

    Give us “bold science and bold action” NOW, or your research assistant gets it!”

  6. David Springer

    And by the way CO2 increased 8% in the past 14 years while global average temperature declined. Perhaps science should explain this before actionn is taken.

    Declining temperature past 14 years:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1998/plot/rss/from:1998/trend

    More rapid declining temperature past 10 years:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:2002/plot/rss/from:2002/trend

    Alarmingly rapid declinging temperature past 2 years:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:2010/plot/rss/from:2010/trend

    All the while CO2 continued to climb:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2/from:1998/plot/esrl-co2/from:1998/trend

    What the f*ck is up with that?

    • “What the f*ck is up with that?”

      That you’re f*cking clueless?

      • +1

        No one response answers all questions, but I would estimate that one correctly answers the majority of “skeptic” questions posed here at Climate, Etc.

      • David Springer

        Perfect responses from you and Michael. Just what we’ve all come to expect from you – totally devoid of substance. No attempt to even answer the question. Classic.

      • OK then – do you really think that 2 years of temp’s is ‘climate’??

        If you answer yes, then clueless it is.

        However, it is much more likely that you know better than that, which makes you something far worse……

      • David Springer

        14 years and temperature declined while CO2 rose 8%. I showed the decline in temperature accelerating even as CO2 steadily grew.

        Can you explain how that happened?

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        David,
        Notice that while climate kooks like Michael and David suport the hysteria of every storm being *proof* of their precious climate catastrophe, they rail away when skeptics use the exact same technique to point out the lack of crisis.
        IOW, they are bnlowhard twits.

      • David, if, as you say, global average temperature has declined in the past 14 years, how do you explain the fact that the average for the last 14-year period is higher than the average for the previous 14-year period?

        As for CO2, I don’t know of any climate scientists who expect global temperature to rise in lock step with increases in CO2. Why do you expect it?

      • lurker is (inadvertantly) showing that he knows David is talking BS.

        Go to it David and lurker – see who can convince the other!

        I’ll just go get the popcorn………

      • David Wojick

        Max, you question about the two averages makes no sense. All that is required is that the upward trend in the earlier period is steeper than the downward trend in the later period. As for the lockstep, radiation physics says that every CO2 molecule starts to act as soon as it enters the atmosphere. So all else being equal yes the temperature should rise in lockstep. If it does not, as it manifestly does not, then why must be explained, or the physics is falsified. This is where most of the debate begins.

      • David W., I think one of the things that drives the issue over the cliff is statements like “or the physics is falsified”. It’s important to be extremely clear about what physics. The greenhouse effect isn’t falsified. It’s just incomplete. It’s not the whole story. The “zomg” theory is falsified, not the greenhouse effect, which is just one component.

      • ClimateSkeptik

        “David, if, as you say, global average temperature has declined in the past 14 years, how do you explain the fact that the average for the last 14-year period is higher than the average for the previous 14-year period?”

        First of all you find a fourth grader…

      • ClimateSkeptik, I don’t know how far David Springer went in school, but I think he could have answered that question if he had put his mind to it. He may have been too busy spamming to try.

      • Max_OK

        You write:

        David, if, as you say, global average temperature has declined in the past 14 years, how do you explain the fact that the average for the last 14-year period is higher than the average for the previous 14-year period?

        Duh!

        Let me give you a quickie lesson in basic arithmetic.

        Let’s say it warmed at a rate of 0.16 degC over the earlier 14-year period, and then cooled at a rate of only 0.08 degC over the next 14-year period, it is only logical that “the average for the last 14-year period is higher than the average for the previous 14-year period”.

        This does NOT change the fact, however, that it COOLED over the most recent 14-year period (albeit at a slower rate than the warming over the previous period).

        Got it?

        It’s really quite simple, once you do the basic arithmetic.

        Max (not from OK)

      • Well, Max, I didn’t ask myself that question, I asked David Springer. He hasn’t replied.

        Of course the answer is the average temperature for the last 14-year period is greater than the average for the previous 14-year period because the temperature decrease in the last 14 years wasn’t as great as the temperature increase in the previous 14 years. The size of the difference in the averages, however, reflects the fact the decrease since 1998 was very small.

        What’s less obvious is that by cherry-picking 1998, the warmest year in recent history, as his base year in order to show the decrease, David adds to the increase in the average from one 14-year period to the next. If he had chosen a more recent base year (e.g., 1999), the increase in warming between the first and second period wouldn’t be as great because the record high temperature of 1998 would fall in the first period.

      • Michael,

        I think it is obvious that he was being sarcastic about the two year period being more alarming.

        As a fairly neutral party (a luke-warmer) and as a scientist myself, I get annoyed by extremists from both sides. It is not correct to use a two year period. He is also using the satellite record which can show some cooling but the surface record is more flat, indicating no cooling or warming.

        The IPCC and other warmist scientists freely admit that there has been a stretch of 10-15 years with less warming than they have predicted. This is the reason for a whole slew of peer reviewed papers plus a web paper by Tamino (Grant Foster). Hansen a few years ago decided there was a 50 year lag in temp. due to oceans (nice round number with no error bar), Santer and others decided you needed 13, then 17 or is it 21 years with no warming before you have to start thinking about questioning your assumptions, Foster showed that if you removed things that could have cooled the climate that it looks like it would have warmed, etc. So they admit (as any comparison with Hansen’s or IPCC charts will show) that it has warmed less than they thought. So showing that with RSS or Hadcrut data for 14-15 years is not cherry-picking. You can start at a different year than 1998 and it is still pretty flat.

        This is no worse than acting like a few warm months in 2/3 of one country (that in other cases we keep getting reminded is only 4% of the worlds area) is clear proof of global warming and it is the worst in 60 years and deliberately leaving out the period 80 years ago in the 30’s that was worse.
        Why is that not cherry-picking?

        Grow up and learn to think for yourself.

    • David Springer

      What you are saying in one graph:

      http://bit.ly/oQby56

    • The underlying temperature trend has increased ~0.16C/decade for the last 30 years in both terrestrial and satellite measuring systems. Superimposed atop this trend are the effects of El-Nino/La-Nina, volcanic activity, solar changes and other smaller effects. When these are backed out (see Foster & Rahmstorf http://www.skepticalscience.com/foster-and-rahmstorf-measure-global-warming-signal.html) the trend shows statistical significance down to ~5 years. In short-hand, the trend is robust.

      Given the above, how do we reconcile Dave’s woodfortrees rss plots? It turns out that regression analysis is sensitive to outliers near the end-points of the series. Consider the following sequences:

      1, 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, 10 Regression Slope=1.000
      10, 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, 1 Regression Slope=0.018

      Note how the outliers in the second series (the first 10 and last 1) significantly alter the calculated regression slope. This effect is still present even if they are not the exact end-points (though not as dramatic). So:

      1,9,3,4,5,6,7,8,2,10 Regression Slope=0.406

      The regressions supplied by Dave are being impacted by the 1988 El Nino outlier in the long series and recent La Nina’s in the shorter series and show the limitations of applying statistics to physical processes without understanding the physics that go along with them.

      Foster & Rahmstorf provide a clear indication of where temperature is headed – record highs on the next significant El-Nino.

    • Dave,
      That is just beautiful, well done.

  7. David Wojick

    When engineers seek to lead society it is called technocracy. Now we have scientocracy.

  8. Paul Matthews

    There is a similar ‘call to action’ from Chris Rapley in Nature today. Apparently it is time to “raft up”.
    Rapley recycles all the usual myths –
    * He mention the phrase right-wing four times.
    * He claims that the skeptics have an effective communication strategy (when was a skeptic last allowed an editorial in Nature?)
    * Cites Oreskes – influence of evil vested interests.
    * Still believes that the problem is just that climate scientists need to communicate more effectively
    * Wonders “why don’t they get it” – and cites Oreskes again
    * Claims that climate science message is technical and fragmented
    * “must engage with newspaper editors and politicians in person.”
    * Thinks that the solution is yet another climate propaganda web site, like realclimate.
    The last one is particularly amusing. I presume Rapley has not read the Denizens thread where people give their reasons for becoming skeptical.

    • lurker, passing through laughing

      +1

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


      I presume Rapley has not read the Denizens thread where people give their reasons for becoming skeptical.

      The unmitigated gall of some people!

      Imagine, if you can, writing an article on science communication for Nature and NOT referencing the Climate Etc “Denizen’s” biographical and data-free accounts of how it is they are smarter than actual scientists!

      That’s Crazy.

      • Not only that – my guess is that Rapley hasn’t read other vital information one could only learn from reading “denizens” at Climate Etc.

        For example, do you think that Rapley has read the clear and concise analysis that many “skeptics” at Climate Etc. offer to explain why sharing thoughts anonymously proves someone is a coward?

        After reading such clear and concise analysis, how could anyone doubt other opinions offered by the “denizens” who are capable of such stunningly sophisticated reasoning.

        If Rapley would read Climate Etc., he would realize that his entire universe of beliefs about science would crumble like a house of cards.

      • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


        …his entire universe of beliefs about science would crumble like a house of cards.

        Leaving nothing but a small pile of pure integrity.

      • Ah yes, the blog of the iron sun. Eli is impressed.

    • Thanks, Paul, for the link to Chris Ripley’s paper in Nature. I sent him the following e-mail message. Hopefully he will reply here:

      Dr. Chris Rapley
      Professor of Climate Science
      Department of Earth Sciences
      University College London, UK.

      Hi Chris,

      Climategate emails and documents and responses from world leaders and leaders of the scientific community and editors of once-reputable scientific journals like Nature have confirmed that

      We will be humbly connected to RTG (Reality, Truth, God) or
      We will be selfishly connected to the false illusion of control.

      We cannot restore integrity to government science, unless . . .
      We first restore constitutional limits on government.

      Czech President Václav Klaus was unfortunately correct
      [Blue Planet in Green Shackles http://tinyurl.com/5z4j6g
      (Competitive Enterprise Institute, first edition, 2007) 100 pages]:
      Tyrannical control is the real purpose of AGW propaganda.

      http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-919

      If you want to be connected to reality, you can start by addressing experimental data and observations summarized here [1-4]:

      References:

      [1] “Is the Sun a pulsar?” Nature 270, 159-160 (1977) http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v270/n5633/abs/270159a0.html

      [2] ”The sun’s origin, composition and source of energy”, in Lunar and Planetary Science XXIX, 1041 (2001) http://www.omatumr.com/lpsc.prn.pdf

      [3] “Super-fluidity in the solar interior: Implications for solar eruptions and climate”, Journal of Fusion Energy 21, 193-198 (2002) http://www.springerlink.com/content/r2352635vv166363/

      http://arxiv.org/pdf/astro-ph/0501441

      [4] “Neutron repulsion,” The Apeiron Journal 19, 123-150 (2012) http://tinyurl.com/7t5ojrn

      - Oliver K. Manuel
      Former NASA Principal
      Investigator for Apollo

      http://www.omatumr.com

      http://omanuel.wordpress.com/

  9. Great suggestions. I might add that part of the deactiviation is resist the urge to villainize (or at least assign them sub-normal IQ estimates) of those who doubt your work.

    The model for this kind of academic-political environment is with Keynesian economics. Few that cite Keynes actually have read his works, even fewer understand it, and probably none can do the math. Still, his name is invoked as justification for any action or expenditure that people — mostly on the Left — wish to propose. In a similar way, people — mostly on the Left — have long ago hijacked AGW as a vehicle to seize power and money. Those who hijacked scarcely know that this forum exists, or that there is any debate at all on the subject of climate science, but that doesn’t stop them from clubbing their opponents with the subject.

  10. Two Word Review: Ate Up

    Andrew

  11. Oh, I see Judith is also on the Feynman bandwagon.

    A relevant quote attributed to him – “Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists, as ornithology is to birds.”

    The ‘post-normal science’ meme is being heavily overplayed.

    There’s nothing much out of the ordinary here for a lot of scientific fields. Perhaps those who have been accustomed to working away quietly in a field where none knows, or cares, what they are doing, this all seems different and requiring a new label, but it seems very ordinary to many.

    • Steven Mosher

      Well,

      It seems ordinary? Let’s test that. Go look for similar speeches addressed to computer scientists? material scientists?

      • @Steven – 2nd.

      • Challenge accepted. Here’s one.

        ‘Research needs to be conducted to determine the current state of public understanding of materials science and materials engineering and the public’s current or potential interest in the fields. This should be done in conjunction with the development of guidelines about the level of knowledge the general public should have about materials science and materials engineering topics. These activities are essential to enable crafting of effective messages and devising optimal communication strategies.’

        ‘Research needs to be conducted to determine how members of the general public learn about materials science and engineering and what information they find important and exciting. For example, are materials stories that demonstrate the impact materials have had and will continue to have on society the optimal vehicle for delivering the message? The findings of such studies need to be communicated to those engaged in developing material designed to appeal to the general public.’

        ‘The broad-based materials community should seek funding for a National Academies study on the current status of and future needs for materials education in the USA. National concerns for ensuring security and continued economic growth, as well as sufficient energy and fresh water supplies in an efficient and sustainable manner should motivate the study.’

      • Funny, in a peculiar way, how your ordinary is so unordinary.
        ====================

      • That is not a very good example of scientists in other fields seeking to impact policy questions that will impact society.

      • Steven Mosher

        That’s a fail.

        What you need to do is to find an administrator telling scientists that they have to be activists.
        So I’ll make it easy.
        go to the department of agriculture, go to the Department of defense,
        Darpa, Doe.. heck go to all of them.. and find an admistrator saying what she says. if it is ordinary, that should be easy.

        Or here is a simple one. You remember all the fights about Star wars.
        Lots of science and uncertainty in that fight. Go find an administrator at
        DoD or Darpa telling scientists how they needed to conduct themselves outside the science they were doing? That was surely an important issue.

        Hmm. Here is one. AIDS. big problem. Go find some similar directives from NIH administrators or CDC administrators.

        hmm go look at the tobacco fight. If this kind of pronouncement is ordinary should be simple to find.

      • ‘…administrator telling scientists that they have to be activists,’ is a very poor misrepresentation of what she said. “I invite you” != “I compel you”. Given that she didn’t actually say what you appear to find extraordinary, I can’t see a compelling reason to trawl through decades of speeches – though if you have a link to an online depository I could make a start.

        The fact is that I’ve provided a report, written by a substantial section of the materials science community and sponsored by the NSF, which calls for concerted efforts to influence public policy by asserting the importance of materials science – something I suspect you would term ‘activism’. There are differences of course. Main one being that the MSE ‘activism’ is, at least potentially, self-serving: this is materials scientists attempting to sway public policy in favour of materials scientists. The same is obviously not true with regards to ‘activism’ aimed at conserving ocean ecology.

      • “That’s a fail.
        What you need to do is to find an administrator telling scientists that they have to be activists.” – Mosher.

        That’s an epic fail.

        She was not telling them to be “activists”, but pushing collaboration and communication, something, ironically, Judith has beenclaiming to advocate.

        And she was a professor, initially at Harvard, before her only recent appt to NOAA. She is a scientist talking to other scientists.

        Get a grip moshpit.

      • Steven Mosher

        First, if it is as ordinary as you claim Google is your friend.

        You should be able to search for the term activism and administrator
        and come up with tons of normal stuff.

        Second, I hardly see what she said as an invitation. Oppenheimer did a much better job of explaining all the OPTIONS open to scientists. That is the key in my view. He offered options ( at AGU 2010) with pros and cons and benefits and pitfalls. She is cheerleading for her option from a position of Power. Not good.

        “substantial section of the materials science community and sponsored by the NSF, which calls for concerted efforts to influence public policy by asserting the importance of materials science – something I suspect you would term ‘activism’. ”

        I would not call that activism. Why should be clear to you if you have more than 2 digits of IQ

      • In our society, it is quite common to use “fear” as a way of getting elected and as a way to get funding. Some times the people doing so are quite sincere and may really believe most of what they are saying. What is happening in the area of climate is at the extreme end of such tactics.
        Much as policies immediately after 9-11 were extreme. It does not make them smart things to do.

      • Steve, it is similar to some scientific speeches

        “Of all the problems which will have to be faced in the future, in my opinion, the most difficult will be those concerning the treatment of the inferior races of mankind.”
        ― Leonard Darwin

        “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population,” [Margaret Sanger] said, “if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America, by Linda Gordon

        This is a call very similar to Judy’s

        “The whole point of the Eugenic pseudo-scientific theories is that they are to be applied wholesale, by some more sweeping and generalizing money power than the individual husband or wife or household. Eugenics asserts that all men must be so stupid that they cannot manage their own affairs; and also so clever that they can manage each other’s.”
        ― G.K. Chesterton

      • Steven Mosher

        hehe.. I was hoping you would come along with those examples.

      • Actually Steve, you would really like a medical ethics/ History of Medical Ethics course. The historic treatment of ‘lesser races’ and women is rather hidden under the carpet.
        ‘Drugs, Chemical Hazards and Society’ really made me frightened and horrified in equal measure.
        Our lecturer had started medicine in the mid-30’s and had been an experimental subject in the days when your boss had a good idea and would then inject a resident.
        You might, for instance, be very surprised why marijuana was made illegal, first in the US and then in Europe.

        I will quote Harry J. Anslinger (1892-1975) Assistant Prohibition Commissioner in the Bureau of Prohibition, first Commissioner of the Treasury Department’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) (1930-1962, 32 years), US Representative to the United Nations Narcotics Commission

        “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”

      • Steven Mosher

        Ha, Thanks for that Doc. That kind of course sounds interesting.
        Once upon a time I subjected myself to experimentation to make
        money so I could eat. Some big ass needle got shoved in my artery ( arm goes cold ) and then they slide you in the MRI to watch the radio active crap they pumped into your blood stream. Paid pretty good. but I hated being in that machine. It was better than being hungry.

      • andrew adams

        That statement by Sanger was not a “scientific speech” and does not have the meaning that some people have ascribed to it.

      • With the greatest of respect AA, put up or shut up. Sanger was a proponent of eugenics and did indeed think of ‘Negros’ as an inferior race; putting spin on her motivations will not change the fact.

      • andrew adams

        Yes, Sanger had some questionable views, but she also did a great deal of good through her attempts to promote birth control to all Americans, not just African Americans. And whatever one thinks of her views on race and eugenics, using the above quote to suggest that she wanted to actually exterminate the Negro population is still a cheap smear on her, and suggesting it is somehow comparable to the staments by climate scientists quoted by Judith above is a cheap smear on them.

      • ‘s still a cheap smear on her’
        I don’t do cheap smears, but I do not do moral revisionism either.
        The Eugenics movement was as evil as Nazism or Communism, I do not say they were bastards, but look at the cool uniforms and ballistic missiles. Evil exists in the world, you either fight it or you don’t; if you chose not to decide you still have made a choice.
        Birth control under a woman’s own control is good; deciding how to control the fertility of others is evil.

        I like science for its own sake, I have no problem with scientists studying the climate or even modeling it. When they lie about what they can measure and can model they cross the line from investigators into frauds.

    • Michael,

      Whatever bandwagon Dr Curry is riding, we can at least be assured that the jackass tied to the tailgate is you.

      • A Matthew Shepard lynching reference.

        Just when you think deniers can’t get any more nauseating.

      • Robert,

        the only thing nauseating is your lame attempt to draw a reference where none exists. It took me a second to even understand what you were referencing, until I recognized the name as that of the young man brutalized and murdered in Wyoming a few years back. What that has to do with a donkey tied to the back of a wagon is beyond me. Guess I’m not the wiz you are.

        Takes a real low life to rake the muck as you just did.

      • I got your back on this one, tim.

      • Uh oh. I just read your 11:54:

        Whatever bandwagon Dr Curry is riding, we can at least be assured that the jackass tied to the tailgate is you.

        Hmmm. Perhaps not Matthew Sheppard worthy, but lame nonetheless. I’m not into calculating moral equivalence, so I will rescind my support.

      • Joshua,

        In my opinion Michael is a braying ass who offers nothing of substance. And as someone who grew up watching westerns, the image of a wagon with a horse, cow or donkey tied to the back is one that easily comes to mind when c considering the band wagon image Michael brought up. Any attempt to paint it in the way Robert did is vile.

    • This lay person finds that horrifying.

      Rather than ordinary. Maybe it is the ordinariness that is horrifying.

      When two cultures clash…

  12. Donna . . . Smart, common sense

    Jane . . Dumb as a bag of hammers, biased.

    • I met Dr Lubchenko while in grad school. Dumb she is not.

      I believe that what she has become is a bureaucrat and perhaps an activist as well. Not an issue of intelligence – one of agenda and credibility.

      • Not an issue of intelligence – one of agenda and credibility.

        Lubchenko or LaFramboise?

      • Most likely.

        I don’t doubt that anyone in the debate has an agenda. It goes along with the fundamental nature of how human reasoning is “motivated.”

        What I think deserves comment is Judith’s selectivity in linking cause-and-effect in motivation and reasoning; in the end, to make rather banal points.

      • Joshua

        Huh?

        Can you say that again, in English this time?

        Max

      • Sure Max.

        What I think deserves comment is Judith’s selectivity in linking cause-and-effect in motivation and reasoning; in the end, to make rather banal points.

      • Josh,

        Your point of everyone having an agenda is fair to a point. But you want to be careful not to over reach with it. In evaluating possible agendas between Dr Lubchenko and Ms LaFrambise, which one is in a better position to carry out theirs? Whi What are the motivations each might have?

        Dr Lubchenko is in a position of power with regard to policy and regulation. She is head of what is supposed to be a science based organiztion. Donna is a journalist, one that, as I understand it, is/was a bit to the left of center from a political viewpoint. The obligations on Dr L are much different than those on Ms L. I believe that needs to be taken into consideration if you want to make a comparison. All things are not equal in this case.

      • Joshua,

        Judith has links to several articles with different perspectives. Very fair.

        Then she gives her own perspective. On her blog. What is your beef?

      • Don’t be cute Joshua. It comes off as dense.

      • Steven Mosher

        Tmg56.

        Dont talk to Joshua about Power. We all have our agenda’s, Judith has her’s, Joshua has his, I have mine. And we all have certain amount of power. LaFramboise has less power than Lubchenko. Joshua can’t address that issue. What he won’t address is the fact that we have policies ( like FOIA, like openness, like traceability, like transparency ) because we recognize that no one is agenda free and because we recognize that having an agenda AND power is a dangerous combination. checks and balances.. go figure

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        timg56,
        Since Dr. L is now going to turn NOAA into a propaganda machine, I would observe that any intelligence she has is more than offset by her hackdom.

      • I thought Lubchenko was the guy before Gorbachev.

      • Nah,

        It’s the place Gorbachev would send the people he didn’t like.

  13. …… the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the second coming is at hand;

    (Yer know the rest,,,WB Yeats.)

  14. Dr. Curry, I keep getting the feeling that the gut feeling is settled, but more discoveries are made every year concerning climate. On that note, could you tell us if you think the “Closure of the meridional overturning circulation through Southern Ocean upwelling” substantially changes the understanding of climate? I know you have studied the ocean’s role in climate. What does it imply WRT moving/removing heat from the Earth?

    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v5/n3/full/ngeo1391.html

  15. “I consider my main service to this community to be introducing them to relevant literature in these areas.”

    Gosh, thanks Judith, most public spirited.

    And there was me thinking your main service was to show just how easy it is to get lots of praise from antiscience wingnuts by appearing to pander to their prejudices (see above, and Climate etc comment threads passim).

    A nice easy way to build a media profile and boost the ego with invites to congress.

    (Yes, I know, mean spirited. Sorry, but that’s how your cultivation of the commenters here, trashing of climate scientists plus your uncritical hosting of guest posts you know to be nonsense makes you appear. I’m sure you’ll correct my misapprehensions with your take on the current Arctic ice situation…)

    • VSGuy — It is also possible that you really do believe your science and have great concern. AT that point it would be inappropriate for me to assign you the identity of the half-cocked local activists who can’t let one discussion go w/o mentioning that their idea somehow prevents global warming.

      Likewise, it is possible that I simply want to explore the science, and explore appropriate measures — and if so, your characterization of me as a “antiscience wingnut” certainly doesn’t feel correct. Nor would it in any way convince me that the rest of what you said is valid.

      Get my drift?

    • “And then there is a new breed of academics that are working at the interface of (physical) climate science and social science, trained in the paradigm of environmental studies. These academics have some understanding of the science of climate change……….As a result, their studies often get caught up in circular reasoning” – JC

      And then there is JC, the physical scientist, on a post-modernist rummage through “philosophy, history, and social psychology of science” and “introducing them to relevant literature in these areas.”

      I guess we could be kind and suggest she has some understanding of these, but is very prone to circular reasoning and tortured interpretations of material outside of her training and expertise.

      • Michael,

        It seems a bit rich to criticise “academics that are working at the interface of (physical) climate science and social science” and then quote Pielke jr. so approvingly.

    • VTG – You have a good point. It is much better to deride, denigrate, and humiliate non-climate scientists. They are nothing but illiterate trash and as such deserve no say in the course of their lives. They should just STFU and do whatever the climate scientists believe in their gut to be the right thing for Humanity and the Earth. They know nothing.

      • “anti-science wingnuts” is just a descriptor.

        People can choose not to be and avoid being so described.

      • David Springer

        Anonymous coward is just a descriptor. People can choose not to be and avoid the description, f*ckwad.

      • Zinger Dave.

      • Bingo!

        Militant ignorance does not want to be convinced of anything except what it already ‘knows’.

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        Michael,
        Being described as a wingnut by cliamte change kooks is a badge of honor.

      • Steven Mosher

        Michael obviously doesnt want to convince you because he really doesnt think that
        A) the planet is at stake
        OR B) you can stop his agenda.

      • andrew adams

        Or possibly he thinks trying would be a complete waste of time.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Or possibly he thinks trying would be a complete waste of time”

        Let’s grant that he thinks it will be a complete waste of time.
        If he is not certain of this, if it is possible that he might change minds and the planet is at stake then the pre cautionary principle says he should try. Further, there is every possibility that mocking his opponents will only make them more resistent to change. So, go
        ahead do the game theory matrix. Show how mocking ones opponents is more effective than.

        A) try to convince them
        B) remaining silent.

      • andrew adams

        Steven,

        I think the majority of people here have pretty much made up their minds on the issue in hand and are not likely to be convinced by anyone on the other side. That’s fine – it’s no different from most forums where the subject is one where people hold strongly held opposing views.

        That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to engage in rational argument but where people hold strong views you will always get a certain amount of “robust” argument, invective and, yes, mockery. That doesn’t mean that absolutely anything goes and too much of the latter can certainly be tiresome, but let’s be realistic – this is an argument on the internet, there is no point in pearl clutching and wishing we could all just be friends and get along nicely.

      • Steven Mosher

        I’m not clutching pearls. I’m noting that someone who claims to care about an issue is not acting in a way that seems consistent with that concern.

      • andrew adams

        Steven,

        Actually, engaging in heated and sometimes intemperate arguments in forums such as this seems to me to be entirely consistent with how people who care about an issue behave. That may sound like a glib answer but it’s not, it’s what people do – and not just on climate change, on any issue you’d care to mention.
        Whether it is a productive way to advance one’s cause is another question. It’s almost certainly not, but then neither is trying to win someone over to your side who is never ever going to agree with you.
        Ultimately a lot of what goes on here and most similar forums will make no difference either way to whether action is taken to tackle AGW. Yes sometimes they can be interesting and informative and it is still possible to learn stuff for those willing to try (I certainly have, although perhaps not so much here), but this is not where the big question of what (if anything) we are actually going to do about AGW will be decided – that will be in the wider political arena, and I’m not convinced that climate blogs have much influence there, although some certainly try.

      • This may come as a shock, but real scientists in the same field frequently get into heated arugments over what hyptheses are right or should be persued. Scientists tend to be a argumentative lot.

      • “but real scientists in the same field frequently get into heated arugments over what hyptheses are right or should be persued. Scientists tend to be a argumentative lot.”

        According to Judith, then they aren’t scientists.

        Passion is verboten.

      • Except we are not talking about arguments here.
        We are talking about trash talking which is what Micheal does.

        Lets be clear. The trash talking is a tactic. Its been clearly laid out elsewhere as a tactic.

        My argument is pretty simple. When a skeptic trash talks its pretty clear he doesnt care about reasoning together. he doesnt want to reason together. he doesnt want to open his mind to change.

        I would like to change his mind. I assume Micheal cares about the planet as well and would like to change minds.

        The fact that he engages in trash talk, tells me one of these is true.

        1. He thinks that his agenda will win regardless and changing minds is not important.
        2. He really doesnt care about the planet.
        3. he cant find anything else constructive to do, so he joins in the trash talking.

        Now, it wouldnt be that bad if he only trash talked in half of his comments. I could understand someone who spent some of his time trying to talk rationally to people who dont want to be convinced and some of his time trash talking. You know a human being. Hell, the ratio of lurkers to commenters is usually big. On the chance that his example of speaking rationally on occasion MIGHT convince a lurker you would think he would try it. But no. Its full bore trash talking. You would think that he might think about those who read but never comment. Of course since i use my name, I can say that I have met people in real life who read comments and never comment themselves. Their perception of the fights they witness is something folks might consider. I say that knowing full well That I am no angel nor do I expect Micheal to be one. However, he might consider trying a few new things.

      • “he engages in trash talk” – moshpit

        Awesome!

        How many sets of pearls does Steven have?

      • Whereas some just can’t escape the jackass descriptor. I hear Websters is currently discussing whether or not to replace the photo currently in their illustrated edition with your picture.

      • On the contrary.

        I think non climate scientists, like myself, should try to understand the facts behind one of the most pressing issues for humanity today.

        Where we lack expertise, trusting the views of experts seems sensible. Summarising those views is what the IPCC is for.

        Where we do have the necessary expertise, (which I do in some aspects), digging into the background, doing the maths, and reaching a deeper understanding is a great to be able to achieve. Whenever I’ve attempted this, it’s always been very clear that the scientific consensus viewpoint is sound.

        If, however, that process leads us to the conclusion that we are right and the experts are wrong, it would be wise to act with humility in the knowledge that we are, most likely, mistaken. Listening to contrary opinions would be sensible, and it would be best of all to publish our analysis in the literature to allow the scientific community to respond us, and for us to learn from their appraisal of our work.

        Whereas what you see here, and I absolutely stand by my words, are antiscientific wingnuts determined to ignore the evidence and to continue repeating obvious nonsense, already debunked times beyond listing.

        Just to give two very obvious recent examples, the post by Dave Springer above and the Pope post I responded to below, but hundreds more will be shortly posted.

      • People often state the evidence is being ignored. What evidence is it that you find has to be ignored in order for someone to not be convinced?

      • VTG

        You write about a scientific consensus, but what is it that you believe there is a scientific consensus regarding?

        Is there a sceintific consensus regarding what the rate of warming will be as a function of doubling CO2 within say .5C (a reasonably tight margin of error)? The answer is obviously no!

        Is there a scientific consensus on how much sea level will rise over the next 50 to 100 years? No

        Is there a scientific consensus on the net harms vs. benefits to the world or any particular nation as a result of it getting warmer? No

        What do you believe there is a consensus on???

      • Excellent start on a great idea Rob. It would be interesting to catalog a broad spectrum of climate debate subjects, noting the differences in measurement and conclusion. Of what practicality is the doctrine of consensus given that the myriad of components contributing to the sum are rigorously debated?

      • David Springer

        Which part of the graphs of global average lower troposphere temperature published by Remote Sensing Systems and Mauna Loa CO2 measurements do you feel unable to understand or believe that I don’t understand?

        Past 14 years’ decline:

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1998/plot/rss/from:1998/trend

        More rapid decline in past 10 years:

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:2002/plot/rss/from:2002/trend

        Alarmingly rapid declining past 2 years:

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:2010/plot/rss/from:2010/trend

        All the while CO2 continued to climb unabated:

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2/from:1998/plot/esrl-co2/from:1998/trend

        Two years is weather. Ten years is a stretch to call it weather. Fourteen years is a bigger stretch. Seventeen years according to Ben Santer is enough to establish anthropogenic influence. Well bubba, if the next three years is anything like the last 3 years we’ll have an establishment alright.

        Now how exactly will you, or someone smarter than you (50% of the adult population) explain away the actual satellite observations of global average temperature since the turn of the millenium? Feel free an answer with something substantive for a change.

      • Your cherrypicking is tedious, as are your casual insults.

        The long term trends for both Co2 and temperature are positive. Face the reality.

      • Take the long view, David.

        34 years is better than 14 years

        Because it’s more than twice as long

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1978/plot/rss/from:1978/trend/plot/none

      • None of the posts by Dave Springer has ever been debunked.
        He is a real stand up guy.

  16. Politicization of any of the noble causes has led to pollution of the message. The very nature of politics is influence and compromise. No where in science do I see a comparable paradigm.

    Academia suffers from the politicalization of department chairperson’s hiring as the main feature is aggrandizement & reputation.

    Research requires time and money so politicalization becomes the process, and for some, the goal.

    Lubchenko belongs elsewhere, not the head of a science organization; maybe head of Wild Life Federation.

    • Academia also needs money to survive, and if $117billion in Fed funds, plus billions more in private funds, can be had by making shrill “predictions” — well, so be it. Right?

  17. Message for Dr. Jane Lubchenco:

    The oceans are warm and the Arctic has record Low Sea Ice Extent. That will cause there to be massive snowfall in the Northern Hemisphere, during the cold season of 2012-2013, and Earth will cool more. When the oceans are warm, it always snows more and that is why Earth temperature stopped rising and is starting the cooling that always follows a warming. Look at the actual data.

    • OK… so, there is an unprecedented Artic melt, which proves the earth is cooling.

      This is so delusional it’s lodged well beyond satire, Poe rather than Pope.

      • It’s very simple – if it’s cooling, it’s cooling, if it’s warming, it’s the pre-cooling.

        Look out your damn window! Can’t you see we live on snow-ball earth?

      • I look out my window and see snow. But that might have something to do with record snow pack in the Cascades and water levels at 130% of average in the PNW.

        Keep braying Michael.

      • I look out my window and see snow. But that might have something to do with record snow pack in the Cascades and water levels at 130% of average in the PNW.

        Dude!

        http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2009JCLI2911.1?journalCode=clim

      • Josh,

        Check the date on that reference. 2 years ago and the period it covers stops at 2007. Trust me, we have snow here. In fact it is one of the nice things about living up here. I’ve skied up on Mt Hood in the morning and been wind surfing in 80 degree weather in the Gorge the same afternoon.

        Well, mostly it was sitting on the beach enjoying a cold beer. I wasn’t exactly coordinated enough to be any good at wind surfing.

      • This one’s a yinyang, fellas; contemplate, contemplate.
        ===============

      • Nope, it’s just assertion rather than based on evidence and is pure delusion.

      • Unprecedented huh? Yes it has melted more than it did in 2007, but unprecedented???

        What is the harm to the USA or the world of the melting in the summer??

      • Yes, unprecedented.

        As to harm, perhaps you could address the point as to whether this is evidence for a warming world or not before moving quite so swiftly on? Or is it too unformfortable to admit the reality?

      • VTG

        un·prec·e·dent·ed  adjective
        “without previous instance; never before known or experienced; unexampled or unparalleled: an unprecedented event.”

        If you believe that the arctic has NEVER melted to this extent in the summer before you need to learn a bit more. It has not melted to this extent recently, but it is NOT unprecedented by any measure.

      • Rob,
        a rather tedious semantic point, and it comes across as a rather desperate attempt to downplay the significance of the collapse of Arctic ice in recent decades. Which I’m sure you wouldn’t challenge the significance of?

      • VTG

        I am not at all sure it is significant. It is evidence that the earth is warming. It is not evidence that the warming is a “problem” that needs to be corrected or that it is a problem worth the cost to correct.

      • VTG,

        The point isn’t whether it is warming or not. It is whether the warming is something we need to worry about. That is where climate scientists fail. They predict effects using models and make claims which the evidence to link their claims the mechanisms at work.

        Which exactly the point of this post by Dr Curry. Activist scientists are lousy scientists, as they too easily take that which they know and run off making claims and reaching conclusions in areas they know little about.

      • Rob,

        Forget it.

        When VTG’s best response to your pointing out the meaning of the term he used is it being tedious semantics, you know he’s talking out his ass.

        VTG,

        If you really believe that words have no meaning and are just semantic exercises which can mean anything you want them to, then you are a fool.

        You chose the term unprecedented. Either defend your choice or acknowledge that you overstated your point.

      • tim –

        Activist scientists are lousy scientists….

        How do you define “activist scientists?”

      • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


        How do you define “activist scientists”?

        Scientists who are skeptical of monsters and dragons, and who have the audacity to say so in public.

      • How do you define “define?”

      • How do you define “how?”

      • How do you define obsessively budding into conversations between other people?

      • How do you define “inane?”

        See above.

      • “How do you define obsessively budding into conversations between other people?”

        Uhhh…commenting on a blog?

        And how do you define “budding?”

      • I hate to butt in to you conversation, but the correct word is “butting”.

      • Thanks P.E.

        Where would I be without you? I must learn to “tow” the line w/r/t correct usage of idioms.

      • See how easy it is to divert a discussion with an inane question? At least I was only diverting a diversion.

        Just being Joshua to Joshua. And you would think the Climate Etc. sensei of inane diversion would appreciate the irony.

      • See how easy it is to divert a discussion with an inane question?

        Drats!!! Foiled again!!!

        I keep thinking that I can “divert” Gary and my much beloved “denizens” from their important work of dismantling the edifice of socialism built on unethical behavior by scientists in the AGW cabal?

        I keep falling into deluded fantasies that I can distract Judith’s “extended peer community” from their devastating arguments – such as those proving that “warmists” are cowards – posted over and over and over and over again in thread after thread day after day?

        When will I learn that nothing (certainly not in the least my futile attempts at “diversion”) will prevent fate’s ability to use the clear-eyed posts at Climate Etc., to right wrongs, and to lift “skeptics” from their victimization so they can set the universe back on its proper course?

        WHEN WILL I EVER LEARN !!1??1!!1??111!!

      • How do you define “learn?”

      • andrew adams

        timg56,

        They predict effects using models and make claims which the evidence to link their claims the mechanisms at work.

        The latter part of this sentence appears to be a bit garbled so maybe I’m missing part of your point, but how are scientists supposed to make predictions of the future effects of AGW if not using models, given the absence of time machines?

      • Josh,

        I would consider a scientist to be “activist” when they use their position as one of authority when calling for political or policy action. Dr Hanson is an activist. Getting arrested on purpose to call attention to oneself is the act ov an activist. Dr Lubchenko is apparently one, based on her speech this post is aboput.

        If it is job to research a subject, you should be available in that capacity to provide comment on the results of that research. If you think people are not listening and dfeel compelled to do more, that is fine. You just don’t do it from the role of your official position. You do it as a private citizen. I can admire Dr Hansen’s passion and zeal in believing that the world is truly at risk. However I cannot respect the fact that he uses his position to advance a personal cause. Even more so when he is being compensated for it financially.

      • andrew,

        sorry about the garbled thing. For some reason when I’m typing, I get about three lines typed and then I can’t see what I’m typing because the three boxes below the text box get superimposed.

        What I was referring to is that we see modelled projections of temperatures in the future and then we see all sorts of predictions of what is going to happen as a result of those temperature rises, yet without any evidence provided which links cause (higher temps) to effects (drought, flood, storms, etc).

        Remember earlier this year when there was all the talk about a record tornado season and this being evidence of climate change? Yet if you ask the guys who study tornados for a living, they will tell you we really don’t know how tornados form in the first place. We have some theories, but that’s it. At least that was what was presented on a Nova presentation I watched this year.

      • andrew adams

        timg56,

        I have to confess I haven’t followed the arguments about tornadoes that closely. My (limited) understanding is that there is more uncertainty in this area than others where the likely consequences of AGW are concerned but I can’t really comment further than that.

        But in general, although there will be occasions when people will go further than is really justified, informed opinion about the future consequences is based on published scientific literature. Obviously in the generalised debates which take place the underlying scientific arguments behind such claims don’t always get aired but it is not hard to find the papers which back them up and see on what basis such claims are made, even if you don’t ultimately find them convincing.

      • David Springer

        Rob, Arctic ice melt is not evidence of the globe warming. In fact according to our satellites which were specifically designed to measure global average temperature in the lower troposphere the earth has been cooling at an accelerating pace beginning 15 years ago.

        Arctic ice melt is evidence of ice melting in a tiny fraction of the earth’s surface. The cause could be many things. Winds play a large role in summer ice extents. Slower mixing of cold deep water with warm surface water could cause it. Albedo-lowering black carbon (soot) deposition could cause it. Most of the energy that reaches the earth falls much closer to the equator. Arctic sea ice is a little bitch subject to the whims of winds and ocean currents. This is why Antarctic ice is not in decline – wind can’t push it around to make it clump up or spread out, ocean currents can’t get underneath it to melt it from below.

        You will hear progressively more shrill talk about Arctic sea ice because that’s the last thing the global warmists have left to cling to because they’ve been betrayed by the satellite network which unequivocally shows global average temperature in lower troposphere is falling at an accelerating pace beginning over a decade ago even while atmospheric CO2 increased another 8%. The warmists are increasingly looking like fools with each passing year of declining global average temperature. The core fanatics will become increasingly bitter, angry, shrill, and in denial even while the thoughtful among them quietly distance themselves.

        Or maybe not. Maybe the next decade will see global average temperature start rising with a vengeance. Only time will tell.

      • “Arctic ice melt is not evidence of the globe warming. In fact according to our satellites which were specifically designed to measure global average temperature in the lower troposphere the earth has been cooling at an accelerating pace beginning 15 years ago.”

        Your confidence in your delusions is remarkable to observe

      • Steven Mosher

        err dave. heat melts ice. wind doesnt melt ice.
        wind can now move ice that is thinner because heat melted it and break it up. wind can move ice that is thinner because heat melted it to places where there is warmer water, which melts the ice.
        Heat melts ice. not wind. The heat flux into the arctic has increased.
        go figure. there is less ice. go figure this thinner ice is more susceptible to mechanical forces.. leading to even less ice. go figure.

      • Heat melts ice, but wind affects a thing called heat transfer coefficient. It also affects a similar thing called the mass transfer coefficient, which is related to the rate of phase-change heat transfer.

        This is why getting wet and riding on a motorcycle will cool you down on a 100 F day.

      • http://iceagenow.com/Volcanoes_in_Arctic_Ocean.htm

        “28 Oct 06 – German-American researchers have discovered more hydrothermal activity at the Gakkel Ridge in the Arctic Ocean than anyone ever imagined.”

        Well, no, more than any AGW/CAGWwarmist imagined certainly..

        Those in the actual science disciplines involved have not been ignorant – link here to some examples: http://iceagenow.com/Ocean_Warming.htm

        And Timothy Casey has taken at look at the downright deceit from those promoting AGW fisics in marginalising volcanic activity and pretending that anthropogenic can be differentiated: http://carbon-budget.geologist-1011.net/

        It’s like the conclusion by the AIRS team, gosh, we were so shocked to find that carbon dioxide wasn’t at all well mixed but lumpy – and other research papers turn up with the same surprise when they find something they’re studying contradicts the ubiquitous in their world fake fisics memes. It would be quite sweet if they were young children and it wasn’t so damned annoying because the con continues..

      • I swear that I can see an opening in 1999 above the Gakkel ridge on a time lapse version of Arctic Sea ice shown @ DotEarth in 2008. This co-incided with increased Gakkel Ridge vulcanism. I’ve investigated enough to know that clouds covered that region at the time, the photographs of which are not easy to get. I’ve failed to interest anyone enough to have a look at those clouds to see if they are ordinary clouds, or clouds covering open sea.
        =======================

      • I began to look for photos of cloud cover at the time, but got distracted by this:

        http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/cryosat-arctic-ice-same-thickness-as-1940/

        CryoSat : Arctic Ice Same Thickness As 1940
        Posted on May 7, 2012 by stevengoddard

        “CryoSat shows that Arctic sea ice averaged 2.0 meters (6.5 feet) thick in February, 2012.
        In February 1940, Arctic ice also averaged 6.5 feet thick. Ice thickness is the same as it was 72 years ago.”

        But particularly amusing is the newspaper article he pulled out for Feb 22 1940

        (From a Special Correspondent. By Air Mail.)
        BUNDABERG, February 22.
        Is it getting warmer at the North Pole? From soundings and meteoro- logical tests taken by the Soviet ex- plorers who returned this week to Murmansk, Russia’s sole ice-free
        Arctic port, it was concluded that near Polar temperatures are on an average six degrees higher than those registered by Nansen 40 years ago. Ice measurements were on an average only 6½ feet against from 9¼ to 13 feet.”

      • David Springer

        What percentage of the earth’s surface is in the Arctic?

        Why is Antarctic sea ice growing?

        How has global average temperature managed to decline over the past decade even as Arctic summer ice extent flirts with 30-year lows?

        How has global average temperature been declining over the past 14 years even as CO2 in the atmosphere has increased 8%?

        How are these unreasonable questions?

        Why would it require a PhD in atmospheric physics to notice that CO2 growth has continued even while our satellites find global average temperature falling?

        You can do a google scholar on my name and find me. Evidently you have something to hide.

      • Site rules don’t mandate use of real names here – suggest you either quit whinging or quit.

        Your cherrypicking of trends remains tedious.

      • “How are these unreasonable questions?”

        How is it you are ignorant of the answers?

        Why to you expect more knowledgeable people to give you a free education?

        If you give us a clear reason for your global warming denial by admitting your ignorance of the basics, why continue a debate that is settled?

        Here’s what you do: if they are reasonable questions, provide your answers. Then we can compare your answers to the science and see where you’ve gone wrong. Limited time offer: chop chop.

      • The question for arctic ice melting, as stated by Steven Mosher, “is increasing heat at below 0 C enough to melt sea ice”? The sea temp still hovers at 0 C in the summer. Will warmer seas increase evaporation and thus snow in the far arctic, which stays well below the snow point. Global temp averages does not melt arctic ice. Heat flow to the arctic and thus increased temperature may melt sea ice. Maybe winds or current transfers of heat cause late summer increased melting but if it stays below freezing, why the recent melt? Is it a trend or does it reflect a natural cycle? Anyone got a recent article on the arctic melt?

      • Steven Mosher

        err where do you get the idea that SST hovers at 0C.
        Yes, where ice is melting and above ice that is melting you will find temps at the melting point of ice.. thats cause the excess heat goes into melting the ice I would think.

        basically there are two melt seasons. top melt and bottom melt.
        bottom melt is just ending..

      • VTG,

        Unprecedented in how long a time?

        A decade?

        Half century?

        500 years?

        Millenium?

        Oh, I remember now. Since they started taking satellite measurements.

        In other words, it is a record, but not a very old one.

        And as to the real question – what exactly is the danger to mankind from record low annual artic ice – the world wonders.

      • Define unprecedented.

      • bit.ly/O1vhQh
        Check what Arctic ice did between 1955 and 1961.
        Now, about this “Unprecedented” thing?

  18. Re: “Scientists, however, often assume that the most effective way of engaging is by presenting evidence,”

    Then why do they not actually present the evidence?
    – that the uncertainty in magnitude and even sign of clouds warming/cooling is far greater than the purported anthropogenic warming?
    – that estimates of climate sensitivity feedback vary by an order of magnitude?
    – that IPCC models predict temperatures ~97% (2 sigma) higher 32 year reality?*

    Its time to restore the foundations of science.

    Apply ALL principles of scientific forecasting.**
    Discover the missing physics.
    Quantify the clouds.
    Verify the codes.
    Validate the models.
    Rectify the wayward models.
    Show the ability to hindcast/forecast.
    Correct models to match decreasing hurricanes.

    Do the science correctly.
    Address the impacts on the poor.
    Correctly calculate costs of adaptation versus mitigation.
    Address the far more critical issues of providing liquid transport fuels.

    With validated objective independent science,
    Then we might begin to understand the issues.
    Then statesmen can rise to address true stewardship.

    Rescue climate science from political activism.

    * See Lucia’s graphs ~ the Blackboard.
    ** See Standards and Practices for Forecasting
    Global Warming: Forecasts by Scientists versus Scientific Forecasts Green & Armstrong

    • David, I agree with just about everything you say, and I am sure that what you have said is obvious to everyone, including the proponents of CAGW. Surley if there was anything they could do to rectify what you have observed, they would have done so.

      The fact of the matter is, the science of CAGW has been pushed as far as possible with current knowledge, and it cannot be significantly improved. The proponents have tried to prove that CAGW exists beyone all scientific doubt, and they have failed; miserably. But they are so far down the cul-de-sac that they will never agree with this, there is no turning back for them.

      • David L. Hagen

        Jim Cripwell
        Nowhere close.
        Re: “obvious to . . . the proponents of CAGW”
        No it is not obvious to those entrenched in self delusion of the noble cause biased by funding feedback.
        Re: “anything they could do to rectify what you have observed, they would have done so.”
        Read Green & Armstrong for numerous actions to ensure objective evaluation that have NOT been done. No one has yet allotted 50% of funds to establish a “red team” to thoroughly independently evaluate, audit, verify, validate, and hindcast/forecast models. The rigorous “kicking the tires” has NOT been done. What little has been done shows very large room for improvement. i.e., current models have very little “skill”.
        Re: “it cannot be significantly improved”
        See Nigel Fox of NPL on the TRUTHS project for an order of magnitude improvement (reduction) in satellite measurement uncertainty. See View Nigel Fox’s lecture on ‘Seeking the TRUTHS about climate change’.
        We have not seen 10,000 Class 1 meteorological stations established around the world to complement the Argos ocean sensors.
        More importantly, we need 10,000 sites quantitatively evaluating clouds, water vapor and insolation, as clouds make up 97% of the uncertainty.
        There is a lot that can be done to restore objective rigorous science.

  19. David Wojick

    The point about enviro studies is important. The method of democratic public policy is advocacy. The method of science is careful testing. The two methods are virtually opposite one another. By bridging the gap environmentalism threatens both. The public is being fooled by exaggerated scientific claims, while science is being compromised at the same time. This cannot end well, yet it will end.

  20. “And then there is a new breed of academics that are working at the interface of (physical) climate science and social science, trained in the paradigm of environmental studies. These academics have some understanding of the science of climate change….As a result, their studies often get caught up in circular reasoning” – JC

    And then there is JC, the physical scientist, on a post-modernist rummage through “philosophy, history, and social psychology of science” and “introducing them to relevant literature in these areas.”

    I guess we could be kind and suggest she has some understanding of these, but is very prone to circular reasoning and tortured interpretations of material outside of her training and expertise.

    • Sorry, Michael; those grapes are out of your reach.
      ===========

      • Lacks wit, but never stops trying.

      • Per asperum ad astra.
        =================

      • Monckton’s also keen on a bit of latin….for no particular reason.

      • Dontcha want to swing on a star, or would you rather eat a pearl?
        ================

      • Kim

        Re pearls – I’m sure you’ve heard the one about casting them before swine.

        Michael is doubling up on the barnyard awards.

      • Kim

        Ah’d ruther carry moonshine home in a jar…

        Max

      • “Swing on a star …” To help promote the London University Rag in 1964, a mob of students tried and failed to break into the Ready, Steady, Go! live pop music program via a frontal assault. Being more subtle (and dextrous and foolhardy), I climbed onto the roof of LSE and from there to the roof of the ITV building, entering by the top of the lift shaft. I worked down to the RSG studio, entering via the electricians’ gantry. An American singer was singing “Would you like to swing …” etc. I positioned myself so that a camera on him would catch me unfurling a Rag poster, which I did just as the singer twisted in my direction. He was quite startled.

    • David L. Hagen

      Michael
      It would be unkind to allow you the delusion that your comment has merit.
      It would be much better if you actually studied and addressed the “physical” sciences, especially clouds. Even better if you could evaluate and understand the uncertainties involved, especially systematic (aka “bias) Type II uncertainties including “unknown unknowns”. Furthermore, understanding the distortions of climate science imposed by funding bias and environmental activists would go along way towards providing logical useful professional comments.
      I pray that you rise to the challenge.

      • Your “challenge” is laughable.

        Articulate your position, write up, pass it through peer review. Then it will be a “challenge.” Until then, it is simply “whining.”

      • Robert
        Can show evidence that you can professionally address the science?
        Or only commit rhetoric?

        Perhaps you might try to explain “Type II” uncertainties, and how to include “unknown unknowns”. Guidelines for Evaluating and Expressing the Uncertainty of NIST .

        How does an “audit” differ from peer review regarding Mann’s “hockey stick” statistics and graphs? See ClimateAudit.org “Hockey stick studies”.

        Can you understand and evaluate reviews of peer reviewed science ignored by or since the IPCC, as discussed in the NIPCC reports?

      • Steven Mosher

        Seriously david. NIPCC stuff comes nowhere close to meeting the demands you place on others.

        Do you seriously want people to look at stuff that has worse transparency than the IPCC? more conflicts of interest than the IPCC and more flawed science than the IPCC?

        It’s a joke. one step up from blog science, one step down from blog science if you compare it to mcIntyre

      • David L. Hagen

        Steven Mosher
        Yes seriously Steven. There is alot of material in the NIPCC reports that counter the imbalance in the IPCC reports. The 2009 report had 880 pages. There is alot of material in there. Try reading it sometime. E.g. Ch 9 Human Health Effects shows alot of evidence that colder weather has greater health impacts that warmer weather.
        Why are so many seniors migrating to Florida from Maine for an 18 C increase in temperature? Is the mild warming (likely 1.4 C or IPCC’s projected 2 C) increase by 2100 significant by comparison?

  21. Well thank you, geek 49203. Though my politics are maybe not those of the politically left-leaning cafe-latte set, that’s what I drink. )

  22. A long time ago Jane used to be a good marine ecologist (e.g., http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.2307/2937360)… until, it seems, she got bit by the activism bug. It’s understandable that seeing a need for marine reserves (http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/1051-0761%282003%29013%5B0003:PAHITO%5D2.0.CO%3B2) might lead one to advocate for them. The problem comes when a scientist has to pick sides and carry the baggage of those who really want something different than you do. You get co-opted, sometime without realizing it. Or maybe sometimes you succumb to the thrill. Either way, your integrity is endangered and you have a hard time seeing it.

  23. Judith Curry

    Your comments and suggestions on how to restore integrity to climate science seem to mirror those of Donna LaFramboise, as summarized in your first point:

    Climate scientists: DE-activate your science

    Unfortunately, as long as IPCC is driving it’s “consensus process”, this is unlikely to occur IMO.

    Max

    • Donna???

      god help us.

      • Smile, you’re on Candid Camera.
        ===========

      • I learned from Donna’s IPP bashing book that her idea of a scientist is someone who thinks he can find gold with a pointed stick.

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        Max_OK,
        That is more of a confession to your lack of reasoning capabilities than a criticism of Donna’s book.

      • Nah, she thought the guy was a good scientist. I presume you know of the scientist I’m talking about.

        Now,there’s another well knowncscientist who’s an AGW denier and claims he has seen a glowing racoon, but I think Donna missed him.

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        Max_OK,
        That is as obscure as some bs story by Don Juan from Carlos Castaneda.

      • Nah, it’s right yo the point,. LaFramboise doesn’t know beans about science if she thinks you can find gold with a pointed stick or defends anyone who does. The poor woman is a captive of an obsolete ideology. She belongs in the 18th Century.

  24. The Warmer Trolls are out. Who has their camera ready? ;)

    Andrew

  25. Cees de Valk

    Totally agree. An easy start for anyone would be to read or listen a few times to Feynman’s 1974 cargo cult science story (no offense intended with the title!), reproduced on e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvfAtIJbatg. It is amazing.

  26. Judith, you write “The dangers that this presents for the integrity of science are increasingly being realized”
    You also write “Administrators of government agencies, professional societies, and even some universities are actively encouraging ‘activation’. This needs to be looked at closely in terms of protecting the integrity of science.”

    I am always wary of my attempts to criticise our hostess, for whom I have enormous admiration. It seems to me that she is in a position where her ideas could influence many others. Science is being threatened by this activism in CAGW. There is a need for science and scientists in general to speak out much more forcibly against the sort of thing we saw in the recent AMS statement. Our hostess seems to want to be on both sides of the fence at the same time. She continually has threads that are out and out proponents of the validity of CAGW. And then she comes out with this one, warning of the dangers to science by too much CAGW activism. Will the real Dr.Judith Curry please stand up and be counted.

    • Jim, maybe she is as uncertain as the evidence?

    • David L. Hagen

      Jim Cripwell
      You can only understand complex scientific and cultural issues by seriously exploring all aspects of it. “Kick the tires”. See Proverbs 18:17

      The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him.

      The real Curry IS standing up and challenging/addressing these issues.

  27. How climate change science is conducted, communicated and translated into policy must be radically transformed if ‘dangerous’ climate change is to be averted.

    Climategate Email:

    We don’t understand cloud feedbacks. We don’t understand air-sea interactions. We don’t understand aerosol indirect effects. The list is long.

    http://www.ecowho.com/foia.php?file=1079108576.txt&search=mwp

    You can not call something you don’t understand ‘dangerous’!

  28. Standing ovation for David Hagen!

  29. Donna LaFramboise is a libertarian. Science is a threat to libertarian ideology.

    • Max

      It is no wonder that you do not post your real name when you write such stupid statements. So somehow you know how all people who consider themselves libertarian think? Are you always prejudiced, or only on selective topics?

      • Rob, my personal experience with libertarians has not been positive, and assuming you are one, you reinforce my negative impression of libertarians.

        If there are libertarian organizations that believe AGW is going to be a problem that should be addressed by government action, please indentify them.

        If there are any libertarians who that believe AGW is going to be a problem that should be addressed by government action, please indentify them.

      • I do not consider myself a libertarian, but I do agree with what I understand to be libertarian positions on several topics such as the need to balance the federal budget.

        You seem to want to classify people’s positions prematurely.

        You believe that AGW is a problem that needs to be addressed by the US government. What actions do you believe that the US government should take, and why? By why, I am hoping you can explain what results will come about as a result of the actions you advocate.

      • I do not agree with you on the need for a balanced budget. In a recession or war, it would be stupid to insist on a balanced budget. Over the long term, however, I would like to see budget surpluses and deficits balancing out. I would also like to see the national debt reduced, although I don’t see a need to eliminate it entirely (ha, fat chance of that).

        I favor government measures that will reduce pollution and conserve our oil, natural gas, and coal for future generations of Americans. I think you know what those measures are, so there’s no point in me listing them.
        We shouldn’t be in a hurry to deplete our precious reserves of fossil fuels. If their use is spread over more years, the pollution is less harmful, and we do our descendants a favor.

      • Max,

        You don’t have to be libertarian in your politics to be opposed to many of the proposed (or enacted) government actions to address AGW.

        Apparently you believe government should be acting and anyone who disagrees with you is to be marginalized.

        Maybe we should create special reservations for them all.

      • You don’t have to be libertarian in your politics to be opposed to many of the proposed (or enacted) government actions to address AGW.

        Nevertheless, there is a strong correlation between paleolibertarianism and climate change denial. It’s unfortunate, but the more simple-minded, fundamentalist libertarians seem to gravitate towards climate denial because they are just not up to the challenge of facing reality.

        It’s a shame they lack the guts to face the facts and address the problem of global warming in the context of their values and their other concerns. Grown-up libertarianism could certainly be the basis for a reasoned response to global warming, but, unfortunately, grown up libertarians are as rare as hen’s teeth, especially on the Internet.

      • timg56 is right in saying you don’t have to be a libertarian to be opposed to government action on AGW.

        Robert is correct in saying fundamentalist libertarians seem to gravitate towards climate denial.

        Libertarianism is ideology. Science, climate or other, does not respect ideologies.

      • Robert,

        So I must be simple minded because I don’t agree with your viewpoint on climate change?

        You can go to the denizens page to find out a bit about my backgropund. Exactly what is yours? Are you someone more learned, experienced or accomplished than the rest of us?

      • Steven Mosher

        Mosher. Libertarian. And yes AGW is a problem and yes it should be addressed by government action.

        you lose.

      • Steve

        I would be interested in what actions you believe are appropriate for the US government to be taking today. I would recommend a change in policies towards the construction of nuclear power plants to standardize and greatly expedite design and construction approval. The higher mileage standards make sense. Imo it all comes down to the specifics.

      • Show me your official card signed by Ron Paul. And then the secret handshake.

      • “Imo it all comes down to the specifics.”

        You shouldn’t let your fear of what some people might propose as a solution to a problem to warp your reasoning to the point where you deny that problem exists.

        If you are concerned that some of the proposed programs for addressing global warming are bad, it is better to attack those solutions, and propose better solutions, rather than dismiss the problem.

        Arguing about policies and priorities is how ideologies should fight it out in a democracy, in my opinion. Not by trying to sell their own version of reality.

      • Steven, I don’t think you are a typical libertarian.

        If all libertarians are like you, what is a typical libertarian?

        If there are no typical libertarians, what are libertarians?

      • David Springer

        Steven Mosher | August 30, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Reply

        “Mosher. Libertarian. And yes AGW is a problem and yes it should be addressed by government action.”

        Turn in your libertarian ID card right the fvck now.

        http://www.lp.org/poll/which-of-the-following-statements-best-matches-your-view-of-global-warming

      • Robert,

        There is a difference between accepting (or denying) that a situation exists and accepting that it is a problem, or at least a problem big enough that action is imperative.

        I accept that we are getting warmer. I’m not completely convinced it is solely or even primarily due to CO2, but am willing to acknowledge that it is possible. What I do not yet accept, because little evidence has been provided, is that getting warmer is a great problem. At least one so dire that we need to radically change how we live.

        Guess that makes me a simple-minded libertarian. And if it doesn’t, perhaps the fact that I am a gun owner and go to church gets me across the defining line.

    • Max,

      Says you?

      I’d probably classify as libertarian and two of my degrees are MS. I’ve never found science to be a threat to anything.

      • timg56, maybe you haven’t thought about it very much. Libertarians embrace laissez faire, a philosophy that opposes government regulations. So if science tells us government regulations are necessary for our protection, laissez faire doesn’t work well, and libertarianism is a flawed ideology.

      • Max.

        There are no true Scotsmen.

      • Liberals like civil liberties, but they still acknowledge the need for police.

        Libertarians can be true to their values, and still support the need for collective political action to deal with climate change. Just like the need for a military, or other vital government functions, the need to deal with climate change could be acknowledged by a libertarian.

        If I imagine how that would go, I think their priorities would be:

        1. Removing any subsidies or other market distortions that favor carbon pollution (free roads that encourage driving, public ports that subsidize shipping).
        2. Eliminating local energy monopolies (utilities). Promoting free trade in energy.
        3. A simple, transparent carbon tax, rather than a hodgepodge of subsidies for low carbon technologies and regulations.
        4. Deregulation of nuclear energy.

        A libertarian might oppose some things I might think were sensible (mileage standards, energy efficiency regulations, use of eminent domain to improve rail and power infrastructure) and I might have concerns about some of their ideas (what happens to the freedom of movement of the poor if roads are privately owned?) But there is no question in my mind that you could be a “good libertarian” and favor aggressive mitigation. They aren’t ideologically incompatible any more than ideology always conflicts with reality.

      • Robert, I think free trade results in monopolies. Free trade to me means trade free of government interference. In the absence of regulations, monopolies will come about. Monopolies maximize profits, which is the goal of businesses.

      • I’m not presenting this as the ideal program. My point is that a libertarian could, if they chose to, come up with a strong and authentically libertarian program to fight global warming. And that’s where I would rather be having the ideological argument — over what kinds of solutions we implement, rather than people who follow in the footsteps of repressive religious movements that seek to defend their faith by attacking science they find challenging.

      • David Springer

        Max_OK | August 30, 2012 at 10:11 pm |

        “Robert, I think free trade results in monopolies. Free trade to me means trade free of government interference. In the absence of regulations, monopolies will come about. Monopolies maximize profits, which is the goal of businesses.”

        Like shallow thinkers everywhere you conflate freedom with anarchy.

      • David Springer

        Robert | August 30, 2012 at 10:45 pm |

        I”’m not presenting this as the ideal program. My point is that a libertarian could, if they chose to, come up with a strong and authentically libertarian program to fight global warming.”

        Given the possibility that reducing anthropogenic GHG emission will control the climate then that would require somehow making India and China along with other developing economies drastically reduce emissions. How would that be accomplished within the libertarian framework of non-intervention in world affairs?

        You’re so full of sh!t it’s mind boggling.

      • Robert,

        OK.

        Regarding your points:

        1) I would generally agree to eliminating all subsidies and market distortions. I wouldn’t limit it to carbon pollution. I disagree with your inclusion of roads as a subsidy however. The building of transportation systems has always been a function of government. The only reason to target them is if you have the goal of forcing people out of automobiles.

        2) I’ll note I work for a utility. For one, you mischaracterize them. While a monopoly, they are a heavily regulated one. And their existence does not prevent citizens from forming their own co-ops or public utility districts. We see those sort of initiatives all the time. Had three last year. One passed and the other two did not.

        I’ll also point out that your free market idea was tried already. Recall the name Enron? Those bastards cost me over $125,000 in 401k savings after buying out the company I worked for.

        3) carbon tax verse hodge podge. I’ll agree. But before enacting it I still want to see more proof regarding the threat. Say I’m from Missouri – “show me”.

        4) Deregulation of nuclear energy. You should have started with this one. I’d have kissed you and sent you flowers every day. Although I would not go so far as deregulation, I would eliminate many of the barriers to construction and permitting of plants.

      • @TIMG56: 3) carbon tax verse hodge podge. I’ll agree. But before enacting it I still want to see more proof regarding the threat. Say I’m from Missouri – “show me”.

        Pretty much. It’s clear that the concept of “carbon tax” has never been anything other than another way for politicians – of whatever faction – to increase the government’s revenue stream by crippling the private citizenry with higher costs.

        We all know that maintaining and improving quality of life depends upon a continuous improvement in access to energy. There being no real evidence whatsoever to support the anthropogenic global warming conjecture, the purpose of a “carbon tax” isn’t to reduce the increase of man-made CO2 in the atmosphere (might as well do a King Canute and command the tides to cease) but rather to lay excises on what is effectively the breath of life for an industrialized civilization.

        My own inclination is toward decorating the lampposts in Mordor-on-the-Potomac with the dangling corpses of every politician, bureaucrat, and lobbyist who’s ever pushed the notion of a “carbon tax” in any form, and leaving their remains to rot as a reminder pour encourager les autres.

        But, hey, I’m from New Jersey. “Liberty and Prosperity.”

      • Dr. Jerry Pournelle has said often and accurately that cheap, plentiful energy is the key to freedom and prosperity.

        With that in mind, does no one think it odd that the policies of governments in general and ours specifically are empirically designed to drive up the price of energy while restricting its supply?

        Or do climate scientists and those in government who fund them believe that sharply curtailing our use of fossil fuels and replacing them with the energy sources approved by the climate scientists and environmentalists will increase our supply of energy and/or reduce its cost?

        Do they believe that if their recommended energy policies were implemented fully that there would be a measurable reduction of the ‘annual temperature of the earth’ and that the benefits realized by reducing the planet’s temperature override the negative impact of restricting our use of fossil fuels. Or that the impact of restricting the use of fossil fuels is all positive?

      • @Bob Ludwick: “Dr. Jerry Pournelle has said often and accurately that cheap, plentiful energy is the key to freedom and prosperity.”

        Ah, another fan of Dr. Pournelle and his works. Good on ya, Bob.

        He’s right on that, of course. As he’s been on so damned much else, even though I’ve never agreed with his every position, and I’ve been reading him since before he started publishing science fiction.

      • David Springer

        Tucci78 | August 31, 2012 at 6:09 pm |

        “He’s right on that, of course. As he’s been on so damned much else, even though I’ve never agreed with his every position, and I’ve been reading him since before he started publishing science fiction.”

        Pournelle started publishing SF 40 years ago. I’ve been reading his SF work since then and also his personal computer column in Byte Magazine beginning in the early 1980’s. Pournelle was notorious back in the day for being a troll on ARPANET, the network which eventually became the internet. He’s my role model in that regard. :-)

        I wrote an article about him in 2008 in regard to his opinion on Intelligent Design and utter disrespect for a pompous ass named Clinton Richard Dawkins.

        http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/jerry-pournelle-weighs-in-on-intelligent-design/

      • @David Springer: “Pournelle started publishing SF 40 years ago. I’ve been reading his SF work since then….”

        I first encountered his work more than forty years ago, before he started cranking on his eligibility for the John W. Campbell Award, when he wrote a nice article on the Nomonhan Incident for a small-circulation wargaming magazine. Met him for the first time at MidAmeriCon in ’76, to discover that his service as an artillery officer in Korea had left him hellaciously hard-of-hearing and consequently very loud in conversation.

        He told a nice story about how one of the sergeants in his battery “arranged” to exchange a quantity of their pissant M-1 carbines for a quantity of U.S. Marine Corps M-1 Garands (the spent clips to be reloaded by way of the ammunition cans feeding the many M-1919 medium machine guns on the battery’s TO&E).

        “Just gimme the cash and take the trucks down the road a little ways, Lieutenant, and we’ll be along in a jiffy.”

        Nice guy, but “intelligent design” is one of those areas in which I’ve got to courteously disagree with him.

        I’m more the Super-Intelligent Purple Space Squid type myself.

        To close with a quote from Mr. Bailey:

        “Intelligent design is to evolutionary biology what socialism is to free-market economics.”

      • Max

        You mistate the libertarian philosphy. Libertarians are not opposed to all government regulation or policy actions. Libertarians want government actions to be efficient and to make sense. Libertarians generally believe that there should be individual responsibility for the outcomes of ones own actions and that people should not expect government to bail them out if they have made poor decisions.

      • Rob,

        Don’t ever forget, there are no true Scotsmen.

        Libertarians want government actions to be efficient and to make sense. Libertarians generally believe that there should be individual responsibility for the outcomes of ones own actions and that people should not expect government to bail them out if they have made poor decisions.

        Only progressives/libruls want government actions to be inefficient and to make no sense. Progressives/liburls generally believe that there should never be individual responsibility for the outcomes of ones own actions and that people should expect government to bail them out if they have made poor decisions.

      • Joshua

        Imo Progressives believe that government is frequently the most efficient means of taking care of a countries citizens.

        A pratical example to demonstrate might be mail delivery in the USA.
        Both philosphies would agree that mail delivery is important and needs to be continued.

        Progressives would seem to tend to believe that a government run agency would be the best means to accomplish the goal.

        Libertarians would seem to tend to believe that we should 1st determine the most efficient means to accomplish the goal and then select that method. Libertarians io would generally believe that privately run businesses are mosr efficient and that the delivery of mail should be subcontracted to an efficient provided of the needed service

        I completely agree that there are many shades of each position and that is why I personally identify with none. it all comes down to the specific issue

      • “Libertarians would seem to tend to believe that we should 1st determine the most efficient means to accomplish the goal and then select that method.”

        The difficulty in most cases is that we must answer the answer the question “Efficient for whom?” If the postal service makes money, but 20% of Americans no longer get their mail delivered or have a local post office to send it, is that a net gain or a net loss?

        In regard to the larger question of what libertarians believe, it varies quite a bit. A few years ago I was surprised to discover a whole subculture of anarcho-libertarians, who literally want to eliminate government, but somehow allow the wealthy to keep all their property and power. Private security forces would rule all, and you’d have as much justice as you could buy (really.) It still seems like the antithesis of libertarianism to me, but they obviously don’t think so.

        Libertarians are prone to think others don’t understand their philosophy, but Joshua’s point here is very well taken; there are a lot of different kinds of libertarians out there.

      • There are no true Scotsmen.

      • David Springer

        Yes there certainly are true Scotsmen.

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

    • lurker, passing through laughing

      Max_OK,
      You have no idea of libertarian philosophy or sicence. You sound like some sort of trust fund or oil royalty baby bleating away, trying to echo comforting bs.

  30. Mark B (number 2)

    I fully admit that I am not a scientist and that a lot of people on here are (and are more knowledgeable than me on this subject), so I have a simple question to ask:
    What does this 2 °C represent?
    Does it mean a rise of another 2 degrees before the end of the decade, or the end of century, or the next hundred years?
    Or does this figure already include the rise since the end of the Little Ice Age (or the start of the thermometer record, perhaps).
    The layman (or woman) gets confused by these statements which seem incomplete or vague.

    • David Springer

      2C is a tipping point after which “very bad things” (TM, pat pending) begin to happen. Up until the 2C point there will be misleading good things happening like milder winters and longer growing seasons in the more northerly latitudes and no adverse effects in the lower latitudes.

      Unfortunately even as CO2 has grown steadily for the past 14 years the earth, according to our satellites, has been cooling at an accelerated pace. -0.5C/decade since 1998, -0.1C/decade since 2002, and -2.0C/decade since 2010. If the last two year trend continues for another 20 years agriculture is in big effing trouble.

      • Mark B (number 2)

        Thanks David, I think I’ve got it. So the 2 C is not anything that you can actually measure, over a certain given period of time. It is really just an abstract concept.

      • No, that’s completely wrong. (Sigh.)

      • David Springer

        Yes, it’s an imaginary line in the sand. Beware all ye who cross this point.

        If we cross it we might find the Holocene Ice Age has ended. Wouldn’t that be bloody awful? Think of the poor woolly mammoths and saber toothed tigers and Clan of the Cave Bear! Imagine North America not having a mile thick covering of ice over half of it once every 100,000 years. Oh the humanity.

        As if. There aren’t enough economically recoverable fossil fuels to keep atmospheric carbon fluffed up enough to ward off the return of the continent spanning glaciers. Besides which atmospheric carbon is about to become a valuable commodity when the transformative techology called synthetic biology bears its first fruit (the first fruit is turning air, water, and sunlight into liquid hydrocarbon fuels suitable for extant combustion engine infrastructure). Second fruit is building all kinds of durable goods out of carbon compounds. Carbon is the most flexible construction material in the universe and atmospheric carbon is the most widely available source of it. We’ll be using all of it we can and wanting more. We’ll be seeking international laws to limit how much CO2 can be removed from the atmosphere rather than limiting how much can be added. Mark my words.

      • David Springer

        ‘Scuse me. That should be Pleistocene Ice Age. Holocene is the most recent interglacial.

    • Mark,

      The number is used in different contexts. You’d have to look at the specific case. When scientists talk about an upper limit to warming beyond which our interference in the climate system becomes extremely dangerous, they were talking about +2C from preindustrial, about 1.2C warmer than now.

      No one is predicting that in a decade. Virtually everyone agrees we will cross that threshold on a BAU pathway before the end of this century.

      If you find you are struggling with “vague” statements, you are probably reading some not-very-good climate journalism. That’s unfortunate, but it’s not the scientists’ fault. Try the AR4; it’s very specific and clear.

      • Mark B (number 2)

        Robert, I was referring to the “2C” that was mentioned twice (with no explanation of what it was referring to) in the article quoted by Judith from The latest issue of Nature Climate Change by Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows.
        But while on the subject of vague statements: What does “preindustrial” mean? Which year or decade is that supposed to refer to? The mean temperature can vary by at least half a degree from 1 decade to another.
        And if you wanted, you could start off in the middle of the little ice age.
        And the word “preindustrial” can create bias, in someones mind, of industry causing climate change, before we have even looked at the data.

      • Ah. So you have no sincere question about the use of the terminology. You just want to play word games, and rationalize ignoring the science. Don’t let me hinder you.

        “The mean temperature can vary by at least half a degree from 1 decade to another.”

        False. Try again.

        “And the word “preindustrial” can create bias, in someones mind, of industry causing climate change, before we have even looked at the data.”

        Industry did cause the climate to change; that’s a scientific fact. There’s no “bias” in referring to the preindustrial era as the preindustrial era.

    • Steven Mosher

      In one formulation 2C represents a guard band that we do not want to transgress because it lies close to the limits observed during the full span of human history. A great unknown.

      Rather than assuming that transgressing this boundary is SAFE, some people with good reason think that its not wise to go where we never gone before. They have a point.

      Has the planet been warmer in the entire past? ya, reptiles in the arctic.
      Has it been warmer in human history.. mm probably not.

      Do you really want to go there? Not if you dont have to and not unless your reasonable confident that it wont be a problem.

      That said, we are going to end up there. so, better study adaptation

      • We are going to end up there. so, better study adaptation–+1

      • The very first step in any rational plan of adaptation is aggressive mitigation. It’s basic common sense. If your dishwasher is broken and flooding your kitchen, of course you’re going to grab a mop and start cleaning — right after you shut the dishwasher off.

      • Robert

        You incorrectly state what is generally considered mitigation.

        In your example mitigation would be telling people to use less dishes so that the diswasher would be used less and thereby we might avoid the “disaster” that might result from the dishwasher breaking or leaking on the floor and causing great long term damage to the home.

        Adaptation would be telling people to save money so that they can afford to buy a new dishweasher when this one stops working, and to buy a mop in case it leaks so that any water on the floor does not stay there long and damage the floor.

      • Or better yet, keep a bag of rags handy. No need to pay any more for adaptation that necessary.

      • “You incorrectly state what is generally considered mitigation.”

        Nope.

        Mitigation means you deal with the source of the problem (and it’s a problem today, not a theoretical problem in the future; the dishwasher is already broken, but some people would like to pretend that there’s no harm done until the rotted floor collapses into the basement). Adaptation means you deal with the fallout of the problem. If the source of the problem is something that is a consequence of your own actions, then it is common sense to stop making the problem worse as the first, elementary step in dealing with the consequences.

        Mitigating global warming is obviously not as easy as turning off an dishwasher. But neither is adaptation as simple as mopping up some soapy water. Adaptation, by all economists accounts, will cost tens of trillions of dollars on a BAU path. Many, many people will die as a result, and many species of animals and plants will be made extinct.

        There is no practical path to adaptation without mitigation.

      • Robert
        I will once again try to have a meaningful exchange with you, but I doubt it will be productive.
        I agree that there is not an accepted definition of the terms mitigation or adaptation as it relates to CO2 and potential climate change. I believe the generally accepted use of the term on the subject would have:
        1. Mitigation efforts as being those actions that are taken now in an effort to reduce CO2 emissions in the hope that those actions will result in a lower atmospheric concentration of CO2 and thereby a lessening of the damage that would result from higher concentrations of CO2
        2. Adaptation would not involve trying to reduce CO2 emissions, but would involve adjusting to a world with higher CO2 concentrations. A primary example of an adaptation strategy would be the construction of robust infrastructure that would greatly lessen or eliminate damage that may result from a changing climate.
        I open it up to others here to review the comments and to see which definition seems appropriate.
        You are mistaken regarding the additional costs to a society associated with adaptation. In the case of building infrastructure, it generally needs to be largely rebuilt after a few decades regardless of whether there is AGW or not. The cost of adaptation is actually quite small if you are already planning to build or rebuild infrastructure. If someone is planning to build a dam as an example, if you were implementing an adaptation strategy you might build a slightly larger dam in order to store water for longer periods during dry periods and protect your population against slightly larger potential floods. The majority of the cost of the dam was going to be incurred regardless. The cost of the adaptation strategy was only the difference in the cost of the old dam design and the slightly larger one.

      • “Adaptation would not involve trying to reduce CO2 emissions, but would involve adjusting to a world with higher CO2 concentrations.”

        That is impractical, as I outlined.

        These concepts are, of course, often presented as alternatives to one another, but that is not actually so. Compare the discussion of “nature” vs “nurture” in explaining human behavior. The answer is inevitably “both.”

        You are mistaken regarding the additional costs to a society associated with adaptation. In the case of building infrastructure, it generally needs to be largely rebuilt after a few decades regardless of whether there is AGW or not. The cost of adaptation is actually quite small if you are already planning to build or rebuild infrastructure.

        Citation needed. What is your estimate of the cost of adapting to, say, a 2m rise in sea level? How about 5m?

        What happens to the cost of air conditioning if you raise the average temperature of the global by 4C?

        What happens to the damages from hurricanes if the average windspeed increases by 5 or 10mph?

        What will it cost to build and maintain freshwater supplies from the hundreds of millions of people dependent on glacier melt from glaciers that will not be there in a century?

        And so on . . . I have never heard anyone argue that the cost of adapting to BAU climate change will be small. I am . . . skeptical.

        I wrote about this topic at some length here: http://theidiottracker.blogspot.com/2011/09/what-if-we-took-4c-as-inevitable.html.

        The gist of the argument is pretty simple:

        To adapt we need money — vast amounts of economic resources to resettle refugees, relocate coastal cities, cope with almost unimaginable heat waves, mega-droughts, and huge storms. We need scientific and technological progress — a lot of progress, before we can have any confidence in feeding billions of people in a +4C world, before we can cope with the mass extinctions and radical rearrangement of floral and fauna in a +4C world.

        There is only one thing that will give us vastly more money, scientific knowledge and technical know-how. Time. We need time to adapt. Buying time has got to be the cornerstone of any adaptation strategy. People like Bjorn Lomborg advocate deferring serious mitigation to the far future, when we have more money and know-how. Adaptation is then presented as the default alternative. But accepting the reality of a +4C world shows that logic to be backwards. If we are going to be richer and smarter in the future, we should defer adaptation to our future selves by pursuing mitigation now.

      • Robert

        You ask:
        What happens to the cost of air conditioning if you raise the average temperature of the global by 4C?

        My response- there is no reason to think that it would not be offset by a lowering of the cost due to reduced heating

        What happens to the damages from hurricanes if the average windspeed increases by 5 or 10mph?
        My response- Very difficult to quantify in the short term and there is no reason to believe that the result is probable. It wouldn’t be a uniform increase it would be a risk that peak storms increased in severity. Over the longer term, adaptation would mean that owners would be responsible to build to withstand expected conditions. It would not cost much more during construction to build structures to withstand the higher expected wind speeds. Certainly less that 1% of the cost of construction.

        What will it cost to build and maintain freshwater supplies from the hundreds of millions of people dependent on glacier melt from glaciers that will not be there in a century?
        My response- The nation impacted should build water retention facilities over the decades in question. Populations relocate over decades.

        You first point on sea level is the potentially most significant Imo, but there is not any real evidence of a 1 to 2 meter sea level rise happening in 100 years. Over longer scales, changes in local land height are far more dominate than is sea level. Over longer scales you can build sea walls to protect local areas. This will have to be done over time in some areas due to changes in local land height regardless of whether or not sea level rise greatly accelerates.

        Also imo a key issue is that there is no way of knowing that any proposed mitigation action (as I defined a mitigation action) will actually lessen what you fear is potentially going to happen during a person’s lifetime. If a mitigation action taken today does not have any impact on the climate for over 50 years, would people living then have had all the required time to have adapted in any case?

      • So, just to be clear, when you talk about adaptation, you’ve not talking about adapting to the consequences of global warming expected by climate scientists over the coming decades. You’re talking about adaptation to a far small range and degree of challenges based on your rejection of most of the research on impacts.

        It would be clearer to say “I don’t believe that warming will have significant impacts that will require adaptation; climate scientists are wrong in their projections of sea level rise, more intense storms, the spread of tropical diseases, intensifying droughts, larger and more frequent forest fires, and everything else apart from some minor inconveniences” rather than “I favor adaptation over mitigation.”

        This leaves us back in our old discussion, unfortunately, where I ask you to compose an argument, despite what the vast majority of climate scientists and economists studying climate change think, that BAU warming is basically safe.

        FYI, cooling is far more expensive and energy-intensive than heating.

        Have you looked at the cost of adapting to the loss of glacier runoff? Serious question. I don’t know if the cost has been estimated, but this sounds extremely costly and disruptive: “The nation impacted should build water retention facilities over the decades in question. Populations relocate over decades.”

        Also imo a key issue is that there is no way of knowing that any proposed mitigation action (as I defined a mitigation action) will actually lessen what you fear is potentially going to happen during a person’s lifetime.

        Facing the science you fear, and preparing for the future, is not itself indicative of fearfulness. Nor is ignoring the risks to other people (like the populations that are supposed to relocate themselves) indicative of courage.

        There are people alive today who will be alive a century from now. If we cut global GHG emissions, the impacts will be significantly different a century from now by all accounts. Compare the 8.5 RCP scenario to the 4.5 RCP (assuming you would prefer a rather pessimistic view of how much and how fast the world can curb GHGs). The two scenarios differ dramatically in 2100, and even more so in 2200 and 2300, which are outside one human lifetime, but still deserve consideration.

        The world we live in was built by people who cared not only about themselves and their children, but also their “posterity” — the generations that would come after.

      • Robert
        There have been many alarmist articles and papers written about what might happen as a result of AGW. I am writing about adapting to the expected changes in conditions forecasted by climate scientists. There is a wide range of views among climate scientists and I do not place much creditability in papers where the analysis of potential damage was based on a climate model that has been demonstrated to not be able to accurately predict conditions over the timescales being analyzed.
        You seem to be trying to appeal to authority by writing about climate scientists as if there are unified positions. You know there are a wide range of views on the rate of warming and what will happen as a result of any warming. You know that most of the analyses of impacts were based on the output of GCMs. If a GCM’s output was to state that people in region “x” are likely to suffer great harm because of a lack of water due to global warming causing a reduction in annual rainfall, and it is subsequently shown that the model can’t reasonably predict future rainfall—is there a valid reason to accept the conclusions of the paper?
        Robert- you write about the vast majority of climate scientists and economists believing in some consistent position, when I see no evidence of such a consensus of opinion from either group. Among climate scientists I only see a consensus on the concept of AGW and not on the details of the rate of change or the impacts of the change. I have not stated that there will not be significant impacts. I have written that it appears to me that these impacts will be best addressed based on what we know today by adaptation, and specifically by building more robust infrastructure. Robust infrastructure has always been the means to minimize the damages resulting from bad weather. Some countries do this better than others.
        You write about glazier runoff and the people who currently rely upon that runoff for their water. The people in that region (if there is a lessening in the glazier runoff will need to adapt by building water retention facilities or relocate over the decades involved. If they do not do either they will suffer hardship. I am not any more worried about that issue than I am worried about the thousands of people who die each year in south Asia each year due to flood damage with results from their current lack of infrastructure. It is simply not my or other Americans problem to fix. It floods there every year and people die because they do not build proper infrastructure. I am in that region frequently and do extensive business there.
        You wrote about some people being alive today who will also be alive 100 years from now, but they won’t be living in the same structure as they are living in today. If we find that there are different environmental conditions in the future then structures will be designed and built to withstand those conditions.
        Robert- you really avoided the point that you do not know that any mitigation action taken today will ever result in a change in the conditions that you fear or believe will result from more atmospheric CO2. If the US implemented everything that you believe makes reasonable sense regarding CO2 emissions reductions, how much lower will the concentrations be in 50 years? Will it be at 450 ppm vs. 470ppm? Is there a measureable difference in the feared conditions as a result of that reduction? I suggest that the difference in conditions will be very small and that all the same adaptation steps will have to be taken regardless because you would essentially be facing the same conditions.
        I am trying to have a reasonable exchange with you.

      • Mark B (number 2)

        Thank you for replying to my query, Stephen. Can I just clarify, are you saying that during human history, the mean temperature of the earth has remained within a narrow band of 2 degrees? That seems reasonable to me.
        I have got Greenland Ice Core data in front of me, in which the increments are individual years. I have averaged all the readings into decades. Assuming that since, the end of the ice core data, there has been a 1.5 degree increase (which is consistent with thermometer readings in Greenland), we are indeed close to the top of the range.
        There are some decades that seem to have been warmer than the last one:
        1221-1230AD,
        951-960AD,
        551-560AD,
        451-460 (same as 2001-2010),
        331-340AD
        61-70AD
        In the BC period, these warmer decades become more frequent and the further back we go, the warmer, some of these decades become, and they now start to move above the 2 degree threshold, which didn’t happen in one instance in the period AD.
        Do you believe that this was just a local thing in Greenland (and probably Europe, if we look at proxies from the Roman Era) or do you think it could have been worldwide?
        And if it was only applicable to Europe (or at most the Northern Hemisphere) is it relevant to take this into account?

      • So you want to treat a handful of proxies from one small corner of the world as if they represented the global temperature?

        That could be called flamingly stupid, but I suspect you’re merely dishonest.

      • Mark B (number 2)

        Robert, I was replying to Stephen’s good answer, not to you.

        In future I will just ignore your posts, so don’t expect any replies from me.

      • Believe, I have no shortage of dishonest deniers asking insincere questions.

        You’re wise to recognize when you’re outmatched. Good for you!

        I’ll continue to provide a little commentary on your work here and there as the mood strikes me. Your participation is not required. ;)

      • Robert

        So you want to treat a handful of proxies from one small corner of the world as if they represented the global temperature?

        Indeed.

        That would be just as stupid as drawing global conclusions from the tree rings of a group of US bristlecone pines.

        Right?

        Max

      • Did you mean to say as stupid as repeating discredited lies about paleoclimate studies that used dozens of different proxy records from around the world?

      • Has the planet been warmer in the entire past? ya, reptiles in the arctic.
        Has it been warmer in human history.. mm probably not.

        Of course it’s been warmer in human history. Not only does this fake fisics try to get rid of the recent MWP and Roman Roasty but even the Holocene Optimum/Maximum is downgraded I noticed on a wiki page, colder than now it said..

        Back to real science:

        “In much of North and South America, the Early Holocene climatic conditions continued until around 6,000 years ago, when precipitation levels began to drop below present day levels. Summer temperatures continued to rise in interior North America and soon reached a maximum average 36–39° F (2–4° C) higher than temperatures in those regions today.”

        “By the Late Holocene (ca. 3000 b.p.–present), summer temperatures and evaporation levels in the interior of North and South America gradually decreased from their Middle Holocene highs to the levels currently found in these regions today.”

        http://www.answers.com/topic/holocence

        AGW tampering of temperature records has corrupted our history for the brainwashed general population and insulted the great and dedicated work by real scientists, still ongoing.

        Take a look at the Vostok graph to see the general pattern of rapid temperature rises at the beginning of interglacials and the hiccups in the temperature declines to the beginning of the next glacials (and make sure you have it turned the right way, carbon dioxide follows temperature rises lagging some 800 years behind..). Our interglacial of the Holocene follows the same general pattern, the hiccups up are in the inexorable decline from the maximum, not as high as preceding highs and the only way is down.

        And if you really think carbon dioxide can get us out of that..

      • Mark B (number 2)

        Myrrh,
        I have plotted the Greenland Ice Core Data (that I have downloaded from ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/greenland/gisp/dye3/dye3-1yr.txt).
        There is a steady decline, from the beginning of the data to the end, of 0.1 degrees per 1000 years. The Little Ice Age doesn’t appear to be an aberration, but part of the downward trend. I am wondering whether this trend is as visible in the Vostok data, as you seem to be implying. To see whether, it is or not, I will get the Vostok data. I believe that the sampling of the Vostok core has not been done at annual intervals, but according to depth. So I can see that the data may not be as sensitive to short term trends as the Greenland data, whose samples of the ice were taken between each summer melt.

      • Mark B
        Mark B (number 2)
        The Little Ice Age doesn’t appear to be an aberration, but part of the downward trend. I am wondering whether this trend is as visible in the Vostok data, as you seem to be implying.

        It can’t be anything but that, the beginning of interglacials all show really dramatic rises in temperatures as part of the pattern of our general 100,000 year glaciations with c15,000 year periods of freedom from these. The beginnings of interglacials then must be on par with our own which raised sea levels some 350 feet from the amount of ice melt and conversely our own in general pattern should follow that of the preceding interglacials which show hiccups of temperature highs and lows but in the general decline back to the 100,000 year glacials from the initial highs which first triggered their ends.

        From this graph, it is not something that will show up obviously on smaller time scales – that our LIA was the coldest it has been during the Holocene doesn’t mean to say that from our Modern Warm Period it will drop to colder than LIA, there could be a hiccup to a ‘warmer cold’ as in the Little Medieval Warm Period blip into hotter than MWP.

        http://www.climatewiki.org/index.php/Medieval_Warm_Period

        “Pla and Catalan (2005) analyzed chrysophyte cyst data collected from 105 lakes in the Central and Eastern Pyrenees of northeast Spain to produce a Holocene history of winter/spring temperatures in this part of the world. This work revealed a significant oscillation in winter/spring temperatures in which the region’s climate alternated between warm and cold phases over the past several thousand years. Of particular note were the Little Ice Age, Medieval Warm Period, Dark Ages Cold Period and Roman Warm Period, the warmest of which intervals was the Medieval Warm Period, which started around AD 900 AD and was about 0.25°C warmer than it is currently. Following the Medieval Warm Period, temperatures fell to their lowest values of the entire record (about 1.0°C below present), whereupon they began to warm, but remained below present-day values until the early 19th and 20th centuries, with one exception. A significant warming was observed between 1350 and 1400, when temperatures rose a full degree Celsius to a value about 0.15°C warmer than the present, during what we refer to as … drum roll … the Little Medieval Warm Period!”

        This might be of interest to you:

        http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/03/23/warm_period_little_ice_age_global/

        Medieval warming WAS global – new science contradicts IPCC
        Posted in Energy, 23rd March 2012 08:58 GMT

        “More peer-reviewed science contradicting the warming-alarmist “scientific consensus” was announced yesterday, as a new study shows that the well-documented warm period which took place in medieval times was not limited to Europe, or the northern hemisphere: it reached all the way to Antarctica.

        “The research involved the development of a new means of assessing past temperatures, to add to existing methods such as tree ring analysis and ice cores. In this study, scientists analysed samples of a crystal called ikaite, which forms in cold waters.

        “Ikaite is an icy version of limestone,” explains earth-sciences prof Zunli Lu. “The crystals are only stable under cold conditions and actually melt at room temperature.”

        Down in the Antarctic peninsula that isn’t a problem, and Lu and his colleagues were able to take samples which had been present for hundreds of years and date their formation. The structure of Ikaite, it turns out, varies measurably depending on the temperature when it forms, allowing boffins to construct an accurate past temperature record.
        ..
        Lu and his colleagues’ new work, however, indicates that in fact the medieval warm period and little ice age were both felt right down to Antarctica.”

        But still, the only way we’re going is back down into the deep freeze, unless we can pump in enough carbon dioxide to reverse that.. :)

      • Mark B (number 2)

        Thanks, Myrrh

      • teven Mosher

        Your logic is flawed.

        “2C” is not a “magic number”.

        It is a “political” number (used in the empty promises of politicians who do not have a clue).

        We have no solid basis for either believing that this level has not been exceeded over human history, that it wouldn’t be beneficial to humanity on balance if it were reached or that we will ever reach this level in the future.

        It’s all wishy-washy pseudo-science backed by computer models that are only as good as the assumptions that have been fed in (as you, of all people, should know best).

        So stop the silly talk here, Steven.

        There is NOTHING we can do to change the course of our planet’s climate perceptibly, no matter how much money we throw at it. There have been no actionable mitigation proposals that would have a measurable impact on our future climate: NONE.

        It’s not only ignorant to think we can forcibly change our planet’s climate, it’s also arrogant.

        So forget “mitigation”. It’s a pipe dream.

        Let’s just make sure we adapt to any climate changes that nature (or anyone else) throws at us, as we have been doing over the past.

        Max

      • David Springer

        Human history extends back a few million years, dopey. Which temperature proxy do you imagine is accurate enough to back your claim over that period of time?

  31. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    For the consideration of Climate Etc readers, here is a celebrated essay by the eminent mathematician Bill Thurston, in which the word “mathematics” is changed to “climate-change science.”

    The resulting essay accords near-perfectly with NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco’s “Activate Your Science” essay:

    Bill Thurston’s Foreword to Daina Taimina’s
    Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes
    (as transposed from mathematics to climate-change)

    Many people have the impression, based upon years of schooling, that  mathematics  climate-change science is an austere and formal subject concerned with complicated and ultimately confusing rules for the manipulation of numbers, symbols, and equations, rather like the preparation of a complicated income tax return, where there are myriad unexplained steps, rules, exceptions, and gotchas.

    Good  mathematics  climate-change science is quite the opposite of this.  Mathematics  Climate-change science is an art of human understanding. Billions of years of evolution have given us many extraordinary capabilities that we ordinarily take for granted—but we deny these capabilities at our peril. In the abstract, the mere act of walking through a room without bumping into other people or things is a far greater accomplishment than the most sophisticated formal calculation ever done by  mathematicians  climate-change scientists. Computers are far better than humans at formal computations, but humans far surpass current computers at informal and intuitive reasoning.

    Our brains are complicated devices, with many specialized modules working behind the scenes to give us an integrated understanding of the world.  Mathematical  Climate-change concepts are abstract, so it ends up that there are many different ways that they can sit in our brains. A given  mathematical  climate-change concept might be primarily a symbolic equation, a picture, a rhythmic pattern, a short movie — or best of all, an integrated combination of several different representations. These non-symbolic mental models for  mathematical  climate-change concepts are extremely important, but unfortunately, many of them are hard to share.

     Mathematics  Climate-change science sings when we feel it in our whole brain. People are generally inhibited about even trying to share their personal mental models. People like music, but they are afraid to sing.

    You only learn to sing by singing.

    Thurston’s essay makes perfect sense as a climate-change essay, eh? And moreover, it describes precisely what the public comments on Neven’s admirable Arctic Sea Ice weblog are “singing” to the public about climate-change. Good! Wonderful! Terrific!   :grin:   :grin:   :grin:

    It might be objected that mathematics is about certainty, while science includes always an element of uncertainty. That mathematics is *not* about certainty is eloquently argued in Bill Thurston’s influential answer to the question What’s a Mathematian To Do?

    What’s a Mathematician to Do?

    It’s not mathematics that you need to contribute to. It’s deeper than that: how might you contribute to humanity, and even deeper, to the well-being of the world, by pursuing mathematics? Such a question is not possible to answer in a purely intellectual way, because the effects of our actions go far beyond our understanding. We are deeply social and deeply instinctual animals, so much that our well-being depends on many things we do that are hard to explain in an intellectual way. That is why you do well to follow your heart and your passion. Bare reason is likely to lead you astray. None of us are smart and wise enough to figure it out intellectually.

    Some folks argue that institutions like the AMS should issue policity statements only when there is zero remaining uncertainty. But this is wrong, as Feynman teaches

    Feynman’s Teachings on Certainty

    “People search for certainty. But there is no certainty. People are terrified—how can you live and not know? It is not odd at all. You only think you know, as a matter of fact. And most of your actions are based on incomplete knowledge … it is possible to live and not know.”

    “I have different degrees of certainty about different things, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything.”

    “Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty — some most unsure, some nearly sure, none absolutely certain.”

    “Much of our knowledge must always remain uncertain. The most we can know is in terms of probabilities.”

    These are the two great challenges of climate-change, eh? To grasp its implications “with our whole minds” (Thurston-style)? And to cope rationally with its uncertainties (Feynman-style)?   :?:   :?:   :?:

    Conclusion  The reasoning and conclusions of NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco’s “Activate Your Science” essay are in perfect harmony with established traditions in science and mathematics.   :!:   :!:   :!:

    In particlar, Lubchenco’s recommendations are in no respect “post normal”; rather they respect objectives that the very best mathematians and scientists have always respected.

    So as the Aussies say: Good on `yah, Jane!   :grin:   :grin:   :grin:

    • The smily faces get me and many others to simply no read your posts. It that was your goal congradulations!

    • Your argument(s) are virtually all circular. You beg the question repeatedly. Your conclusion does not follow from your assertions, even remotely. You seem to confuse (too vague to tell/cite exactly) an argument of persuasion with an argument of logic. Suggestion: Pick one. If you really feel the burning need to, write two posts supporting a position of opinion and one asserting an argument, respectively.

      In the end you wind up disguising opinion with polysyllabic nonsense masquerading as argument. I appreciate that you have an opinion. I appreciate that you have an assertion. Please do us all the courtesy and yourself the favor of sorting the two.

      I will say that yours is the most erudite and comprehensive drivel I’ve read on this post so far. If there’s a consistent point in there someplace, it’s possible that it’s interesting. However, there’s so much noise on the signal it is difficult to establish the trend…sort of like climate.

    • “Billions of years of evolution have given us many extraordinary capabilities”

      how do you account for this seemingly absurd statement?

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Yes indeed, thisisnotgoodtogo … the evolution of neural capabilities like eyesight! is indeed marvelous and extraodinary!

        The insight you suggest is greatly appreciated, thisisnotgoodtogo!   :grin:   :!:   :grin:

      • afoMd,
        Eyesight is not the result of billions of years of evolution.

      • What is it the result of??

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        Michael, here is what afoMd linked to

        “Since the fossil record, particularly of the Early Cambrian, is so poor, it is difficult to estimate the rate of eye evolution. Simple modelling, invoking small mutations exposed to natural selection, demonstrates that a primitive optical sense organ based upon efficient photopigments could evolve into a complex human-like eye in approximately 400,000 years”

        And that is not extraordinary. It’s ordinary.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        And he should have written “has given us”.
        Maybe a good mathematician, but a sloppy boy nonetheless.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        further, the article is speaking of human evolved capabilities – not squid or locust or even other ape.
        So “billions of years” is nonsense.

    • Conclusion The reasoning and conclusions of NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco’s “Activate Your Science” essay are in perfect harmony with established traditions in science and mathematics.

      So how about “Activate you Math”?

      That makes you a Paul Ryan supporter.

    • David Springer

      My mouse wheel weareth out scrolling over your verbally rich substance poor drivel. Maybe if you distilled it to its essence that would help. Then there would be nothing to scroll past except your name and a few smiley faces.

    • afoMd, Please allow me to thank you for your demonstrating a style so pleasing to me that I will be stealing the bit, here and there.

      In respect of your Thurston offering, I find a problem,:and this is my insight.
      He has not a practical sense of numbers. Should he teach a ‘tardy class, he could not, because he has not a practical sense of application. He wouldn’t teach how to find out the length of a 100′ rope after 1′ is cut off. By subtraction!!!
      He doesn’t think like that.

  32. lurker, passing through laughing

    That NOAA administrator needs to be fired. Now.

  33. I’ve long had the suspicion that this generation of non-scientists and scientists alike have been warped by Star Trek. This confirms it.

  34. JC

    Communication of science is an important issue. Good communication helps the public understanding of how nature and science itself works. However, the emphasis in climate communication seems not to aspire to emulate the great communicators of science (e.g. Richard Feynman), but rather to become more effective at using rhetoric in the service of propaganda to support policies to curb CO2 emissions and to figure out how to marginalize ‘deniers.’

    Thanks JC.

    That is great.

    Motivations of AGW advocacy:


    …why there is the current alarm, and, in particular, why the astounding upsurge in alarmism of the past 4 years. When an issue like global warming is around for over twenty years, numerous agendas are developed to exploit the issue. The interests of the environmental movement in acquiring more power, influence, and donations are reasonably clear. So too are the interests of bureaucrats for whom control of CO2 is a dream-come-true. After all, CO2 is a product of breathing itself. Politicians can see the possibility of taxation that will be cheerfully accepted because it is necessary for ‘saving’ the earth. Nations have seen how to exploit this issue in order to gain competitive advantages. But, by now, things have gone much further. The case of ENRON (a now bankrupt Texas energy firm) is illustrative in this respect. Before disintegrating in a pyrotechnic display of unscrupulous manipulation, ENRON had been one of the most intense lobbyists for Kyoto. It had hoped to become a trading firm dealing in carbon emission rights. This was no small hope. These rights are likely to amount to over a trillion dollars, and the commissions will run into many billions. Hedge funds are actively examining the possibilities; so was the late Lehman Brothers. Goldman Sachs has lobbied extensively for the ‘cap and trade’ bill, and is well positioned to make billions. It is probably no accident that Gore, himself, is associated with such activities. The sale of indulgences is already in full swing with organizations selling offsets to one’s carbon footprint while sometimes acknowledging that the offsets are irrelevant. The possibilities for corruption are immense. Archer Daniels Midland (America’s largest agribusiness) has successfully lobbied for ethanol requirements for gasoline, and the resulting demand for ethanol may already be contributing to large increases in corn prices and associated hardship in the developing world (not to mention poorer car performance). And finally, there are the numerous well meaning individuals who have allowed propagandists to convince them that in accepting the alarmist view of anthropogenic climate change, they are displaying intelligence and virtue For them, their psychic welfare is at stake.

    http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2009/07/resisting-climate-hysteria

  35. The group “Ten Years After” did a song titled “I want to rule the World” the second line was “But I don’t know what to do.”

    As far as I can see climate scientists want to rule the world but they don’t know what to do.

  36. Huh. I don’t see any difference between the two.

    1) Climate scientists: DE-activate your science. Continually challenge your science, with the knowledge that such challenges become more difficult in this politicized post normal science.

    Challenge anyone who injects their religious beliefs or political agenda ahead of the data or the logic of science, and/or who puts the money of the project sponsors or even worse of someone unrelated to the science who is spending money to skew the perceptions of it. When you see a headline based on your work that draws the wrong conclusion, vigorously and vociferously DE-ACTIVATE that commentary, publicly, loudly, personally and immediately.

    People who lie based on your work are attacking your profession, your professionalism, your institution, your students, your scholarship and everything you have put into all of these things. Do not ignore it, do not shut up, do not accept it.

    2) Climate scientists (and all physical scientists) IMO need better understanding of the philosophy, history, and social psychology of science. While they rarely comment, I am aware that a substantial number of climate and related scientists read this blog. I consider my main service to this community to be introducing them to relevant literature in these areas.

    And of course also better understand the fundamental principles of science, which for three centuries has upheld through every challenge the philosophy of Newton (and of Halley), as set out by pure reason in Book 3 (Regulae Philosophandi) in Principia (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/newton-principia/), of parsimony*, consistency,** universality*** and truth****.

    *Rule 1: We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances.

    **Rule 2: Therefore to the same natural effects we must, as far as possible, assign the same causes.

    ***Rule 3: The qualities of bodies, which admit neither intensification nor remission of degrees, and which are found to belong to all bodies within the reach of our experiments, are to be esteemed the universal qualities of all bodies whatsoever.

    ****Rule 4: In experimental philosophy we are to look upon propositions inferred by general induction from phenomena as accurately or very nearly true, not withstanding any contrary hypothesis that may be imagined, till such time as other phenomena occur, by which they may either be made more accurate, or liable to exceptions.

    Note that the principle of Scientific Truth tells us when we must deem the Science Settled, and that we must uphold what Science tells us over religion or politics or money or spurious ‘alternate hypotheses’ which we must deem feigned, fictional, false. Only what all the data and induction taken as a whole have told us is true, but no more, can be considered accurate knowledge from Science.

    3) For those scientists desiring to engage in the policy process, educate yourself (or take university courses) on the policy process. Reading Roger Pielke’s book Honest Broker is a good starting point. Beware of becoming and advocate, and understand the risk that this poses to your personal reputation and to the science itself.

    Read this advice with utmost caution.

    Imagine hearing someone describe taking a few university courses before performing brain surgery, or advocating reading a book by Dr. Phil before negotiating with hostage-takers.

    While it is sage counsel, and it is the foundation of my own modest proposal for climate literacy certification (http://prezi.com/_fdaogoswjn1/climate-literacy-online-university-degree-certification/), know you are likely better served by a course in predicate logic than one in the Policy process, and best served by being actively involved in local policy activities. In America, politics is a public activity for a reason. Attend public political events, and participate as a citizen.

    Isn’t part of the problem with America that people doing Policy have been dumb as a bag of doorknobs for decades? Get in there and skew the average back toward brighter.

    4) Communication of science is an important issue. Good communication helps the public understanding of how nature and science itself works. However, the emphasis in climate communication seems not to aspire to emulate the great communicators of science (e.g. Richard Feynman), but rather to become more effective at using rhetoric in the service of propaganda to support policies to curb CO2 emissions and to figure out how to marginalize ‘deniers.’

    The most effective rhetoric avoids the tools of rhetoric — the rhetorical devices — where they conflict with the content. You don’t want a website full of flashing text, pop-up kittens and distracting screen zooms when talking about death tolls and precautions against harm. Why would you want your speech or writing full of cute straw men?

    Why, especially, would you want to give excessive attention to marginal and fallacious arguments other than to clearly rebuke them with straightforward truth?

    Administrators of government agencies, professional societies, and even some universities are actively encouraging ‘activation’. This needs to be looked at closely in terms of protecting the integrity of science.

    And how those involved in science can most positively and vigorously act to support the few brave administrators, rare informed and morally upright government agencies (and becoming rarer), ethical and honest professional societies and the endangered universities with the guts to actively protect the heart of scientific truth, its universality, consistency and parsimony from the wave of religious and political bigotry, special interest special pleading, ignorance, apathy, and activism of contrarians.

    • “the guts to actively protect the heart of scientific truth, its universality, consistency and parsimony from the wave of religious and political bigotry, special interest special pleading, ignorance, apathy, and activism of contrarians.”

      Sure, “Bart”. ;)

      Andrew

    • People who are interested in objective science don’t normally embark on hysterical rants when the subject comes up.

      Andrew

      • Bad Andrew | August 30, 2012 at 12:30 pm |

        Must’ve struck pretty close to the bone to dredge up a troll with the “hysteria” reflex.

        Which one are you most afraid of? Smart people getting involved in politics, scientists chasing religious nuts out of debates involving logic and fact, or original sources correcting spinmeisters and calling them on lies?

        You want to know a hysterical rant?

        Here:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwRGjuCfCH0

    • lurker, passing through laughing

      Bart R,
      It is transparent that political extremists are taking over organs of sicence, from NOAA to the AMS.
      That you would defend it and even ratinolize it does your reputation no good.
      As wise people have pointed out, to do great evil one often rationalizaes that they are doing a great good.
      The speech from the NOAA leader is making the case for doing a great good, but doing so very poorly.
      History is filled with irony that should be funny, if it were not so pitiful.

      • lurker, passing through laughing | August 30, 2012 at 12:36 pm |

        Red Scare!

        The Reds are taking over!

        Ohnoes! The Reds! The Reds!

        Wait.

        Didn’t we find out in the 1950’s that the biggest danger to US citizens and US democracy is this sort of pathetic “political extremists are taking over” witch-hunting?

        Most Americans count themselves lucky they don’t encounter caricatures like this any more in modern life, since literacy rates increased beyond an average of grade four.

  37. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


    The dangers that this presents for the integrity of science are increasingly being realized.


    So what is needed to preserve the integrity of climate science in this postnormal environment?

    The utter lack of humility evidenced on this blog is nothing if not consistent.

    Let’s all be White Knights on a mission for the Virtues of Science!

    Because poor science is just like a drunk teenage daughter who’s being subtely enticed by the attractive-but-all-too-often-sociopathically-circular narratives of philosophy, history, and social science.

    Thank goodness we have blogs to put the evil science-rapists in their place!

  38. In Lubchenco’s universe there is apparently no danger of scientists going overboard, of unconsciously biasing their research. She seems to think that earning a scientific degree somehow transforms individuals into infallible beings who will never fall victim to self-delusion, whose judgment will always be impeccable.

    Yes, indeedy. I’m sure that is the case. Lubchenco dismisses all of that out of hand.

    What a brilliant and carefull-considered statement, Judith, about the dangers of mixing activism with science. No wonder you quoted it.

    Thanks god there are scientists like you who decry the mixing of activism with science wherever it might be found.

    The irony is stunning.

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


      The irony is stunning.

      Indeed, one might even call it “postnormal”.

      Good thing we are here to defend the integrity of irony.

    • Honestly, Judith – how can you reference such dreck as an appeal to de-activate the scientific debate?

      She seems to think that earning a scientific degree somehow transforms individuals into infallible beings who will never fall victim to self-delusion, whose judgment will always be impeccable.

      Really?

      This is dreck in it’s most pure and unadulterated form.

      • Josh,

        You shouldn’t stand too close to ol Reverend Jeb there.

        The stink might rub off.

      • Ad-hom by association?

      • Logical fallacy^2

      • “…an appeal to de-activate the scientific debate.”

        Given the context of JC’s original post, how can the irony that your argument points exactly back at your own assertion not be obvious to you? Did you miss that the DL paragraph cited serves mostly as a preamble to a developed argument on the subject?

        To be clear, the point of DL’s statement is that it de facto engages in debate and makes no attempt to silence it. What it does is rather forcefully engage the preceding hyperbole. Your point seems to be pure assumed projection. Maybe you’re just trying to “activate your science.”

        (Frankly, I really wish she’d said “get your freaky science on.” It would at least have had the value of being entertaining.)

      • a preamble to a developed argument on the subject?

        A “developed argument” to prove that in “Lubchenco’s universe” a scientific degree transforms people into “infallible beings?”

        Really?

        C’mon, dude!

        Once again, irony strikes with it’s mighty double-edged sword.

      • John Carpenter

        “This is dreck in it’s most pure and unadulterated form.”

        Please elaborate Joshua, I want to know how you missed her point better.

      • John –

        Please elaborate Joshua,…

        Sure, for you I’d be happy to elaborate. But before I do, do you really need me to elaborate on why the following quote is unadulterated dreck?

        She seems to think that earning a scientific degree somehow transforms individuals into infallible beings who will never fall victim to self-delusion, whose judgment will always be impeccable.

        Really?

      • John Carpenter

        Serious question Joshua, really, I want to know your reasoning.

      • John –

        I don’t think that it is remotely possible that Lubchenco has any beliefs close to LaFramboise’s description.

        Assuming that your question was asking for a response beyond that extents beyond that basic point (which seems incredibly obvious to me)….

        In line with that quote, LaFramboise is an activist. For Judith to quote her – as if she provides some sort of reasoned argument when discussing the mixture of activism and science – I think is stunningly ironic. An argument resting on a view that Lubchenco believes that a degree imparts infallibility cannot possibly be of any real value. It is absurd. Why bring it up?

        It will not lead to any progress. It won’t help build any bridges. It will lead to further entrenchment. Tribalized “realists” will simply reject such polemics and attempts to address the underlying issues if they are accompanied by such polemics. They will see their tribalism as justified. Tribalized “skeptics” will likewise see such polemics as justifying their tribalism.

        Judith has a habit of taking interesting questions, such as what is the role or value of consensus, or what are the important considerations related to the mix of activism and science, and align them with a selective focus in such a way as to make those issues seem banal (to me, obviously). I think that she is naive in her belief that her selective and consequently treatment of such issues, in some sort of role as educator about the philosophy of science, moves the needle.

      • er…

        …asking for a response that extends beyond that basic point….

        …selective and consequently shallow treatment….

      • John Carpenter

        Joshua,

        “I don’t think that it is remotely possible that Lubchenco has any beliefs close to LaFramboise’s description.”

        Agreed

        “LaFramboise is an activist.”

        Your opinion, may not be shared by all…

        “An argument resting on a view that Lubchenco believes that a degree imparts infallibility cannot possibly be of any real value. It is absurd.”

        Absurd, Joshua, only if you think LaFramboise really believes that herself. Certainly you saw the sarc in that comment…no? When she says ‘In Lubchenco’s universe…’ that should have tipped you off.

        If you truly think LaFramboise actually believes Lubchenco believes a degree imparts infallibility and that the reader is incapable of seeing the sarcasm as a way of pointing out that scientists are only human and perhaps a little less idealistic than the image portrayed by Lubchenco, then the balance of your comment about dividing would be correct. But it’s not that simple. I understand your argument and it has some merit, but it fails to recognize the ability of people to judge for themselves.

        You do see that what Lubchenco says has some validity to it…don’t you? Not literally, but figuratively… that we need to watch out for scientists who become passionate activists for a cause… that a behavior which becomes highly partial to a cause might lead a scientist to ignore findings that run contrary to their passionate belief… that this is no longer science for them because their objectivity is lost… that it’s harmful to science if this became a dominant behavior because non scientists (the majority) will lose trust in the science… Trust that all the information has been considered and not just the information that supports the activist position. You agree that this is a valid argument? The one Laframboise was making?

      • Maybe it was ‘socratic irony’ from Donna……

        Nah – just dreck.

      • I think she is continuing to be sarcastic with that whole argument. /sarc

      • I don’t know, John. I generally give your views much credibility, but I’m just not feeling the whole sarcasm thing here.

        If you truly think LaFramboise actually believes Lubchenco believes a degree imparts infallibility

        I see this kind of rhetoric as part of the debate all the time. It’s in comment after comment in these threads.I see no reason to see why LaFramboise wouldn’t be useing that kind of rhetoric any more sarastically than GaryM or Wagathon.

        I read statements all the time from “skeptics” that essentially say that “climate scientists” think thaty are above making errors – that they approach science as if they think that they’re infallable. And certainly we might well point to similar kinds of statements from “realists” about “skeptics.”

        Look at Judith’s recent statement that the AMS statement was a product of people who merely parrot and don’t examine the science. Really?

        That kind of empty, and ill-considered, and completely implausible over-the-top rhetoric is ubiquitous in these debates. It’s nonsense. Why bother with it? It is completely unnecessary. The debate over whether or not there is a problematic acceptance of mixing activism with the science can be had without such nonsense. The debate about “post-normal science” can be had without that kind of rhetoric (see Mosher’s post on the topic, for example).

        This stuff lowers the level of the debate to banality, IMO.

        And Judith has shown a pattern of criticizing that nonsense from one side of the debate and turning a blind eye to it from the other side.

      • Lord knows I’m never sarcastic.

        Oops, sorry for budding in,

      • John Carpenter

        “That kind of empty, and ill-considered, and completely implausible over-the-top rhetoric is ubiquitous in these debates. It’s nonsense. Why bother with it? It is completely unnecessary.”

        ok Joshua, I see your point and I don’t disagree. Yes… the tone of the debate has made the use of this type of rhetoric more common. Yes… we should move the debate away from this kind of snarky language, I know I have myself been critical of many here who drop the level of discourse (Robert, Martha). But, this is not uncommon in opinion pieces by any stretch of the imagination on both sides of the political spectrum. Though the quote Judy used by LaFramboise was a bit over the top… I think she used it because is was concise and to the point and relevant to how many would disagree with the idea of ‘activating your science’.

        I still think you have an unrealistic expectation of how neutral Judy should be in the presentation of information, it should be obvious to you by now that she is not convinced about a ‘scientific consensus’ or about the level of certainty to which statements about the climate are made in the name of a consensus. Don’t expect her to not lean toward a side. Everyone has a side… I don’t care how much someone tries to convince anyone that they can see the science or policy or politics from a completely balanced POV, that is total BS. Everyone has a tendency to look at information from a bias. It’s those that can recognize it in themselves and the information they receive that make the difference. If your comment is meant to say you don’t think she can recognize the reality that she has a side, then your point is well taken….

        “And Judith has shown a pattern of criticizing that nonsense from one side of the debate and turning a blind eye to it from the other side.”

        My advice to you… Don’t continue to have unrealistic expectations about Judy’s position.

      • John –

        FWIW – you were one of the few “denizens” I was thinking of when I just wrote that there are a few here that are “open-minded” (at least sometimes, eh?)

        Though the quote Judy used by LaFramboise was a bit over the top… I think she used it because is was concise and to the point and relevant to how many would disagree with the idea of ‘activating your science’.

        Again, I can’t agree. Judith used that over-the-top quote because it was congruent with her own advocacy. There could be any number of ways to focus concisely on questions over mixing advocacy with science – that wasn’t one of them.

        I still think you have an unrealistic expectation of how neutral Judy should be in the presentation of information, it should be obvious to you by now that she is not convinced about a ‘scientific consensus’ or about the level of certainty to which statements about the climate are made in the name of a consensus. Don’t expect her to not lean toward a side.

        I have no such “expectation.” I think that as someone who has genuine interest in “building bridges” – a goal I think is an important one – the benefits of Judith’s advocacy are limited to the extent that she doesn’t even try to control for her own biases.

        Everyone has a side… I don’t care how much someone tries to convince anyone that they can see the science or policy or politics from a completely balanced POV, that is total BS.

        I completely agree. If you are attributing such a vision to me, you’re wrong. The running theme behind almost all of my posts is that motivated reasoning affects us all.

        . If your comment is meant to say you don’t think she can recognize the reality that she has a side, then your point is well taken….

        Yes. That was my point.

        My advice to you… Don’t continue to have unrealistic expectations about Judy’s position.

        Again – I think you have misinterpreted some kind of “expectation” on my part.

      • John Carpenter

        Thanks Joshua, I understand your position, though I don’t completely agree with all of it, I do agree with much of it.

        Just a few clarifications…

        “If you are attributing such a vision to me, you’re wrong.”

        It was not my intention to attribute that vision to you, it was a general remark about anyone.

        “I think you have misinterpreted some kind of “expectation” on my part.”

        I don’t think I have. Simply by virtue of you making the original comment, you are expecting something better in her analysis and this quote fell short of the mark in your opinion… you have an expectation for Judy to do better if she truely advocates building bridges. I don’t think I am interpreting your idea incorrectly. I am saying… perhaps those expectations are not going to be met because she has a bias. What I think you are really after is for her to admit it. Probably not gonna happen.

        “FWIW – you were one of the few “denizens” I was thinking of when I just wrote that there are a few here that are “open-minded” (at least sometimes, eh?)”

        Heh… sometimes… thanks for the compliment… let me know when I fall off the rails… I enjoy our periodic dialogues.

      • John –

        Maybe we’re getting caught up in a semantic debate about the word “expectation.”

        Here is what I will say in terms of expectations:

        When I first came to this site it was because I heard Judith talking on the radio about tribalism among climate scientists and I was impressed. I thought it was a very interesting issue and one that is important to understanding the debate about climate change. I thought it was interesting because I enjoy examining how bias affects how people reason.

        So when I first came here, I was expecting an open examination of how bias, or tribalism, affects the debate on both sides. However, that expectation was not met. And when I asked Judith about why she was so selective in her focus on bias and tribalism in the debate, I expected a good faith exchange with her on the topic. That never happened either. Essentially, I felt that I got little more than denial, ducking, diminishing, defensiveness, etc.

        After that, if I’ve had “expectations” of Judith, it’s that she will make rather overtly biased statements in the editorial comments in her posts, and that she will not be very open to examining those biases. I still think that her intent is to bring integrity to the debate – but I see reasons to question her methodology in doing so. Based on past experience, I have no “expectation” that my criticisms of what I see as biases will affect her outlook or input. It doesn’t seem to have had that effect so far in any way that I can tell.

        But I think that the whole notion of “expecting” a blogger to do something – in the sense of expecting them to conform to my vision of what they “should” be doing – is pretty absurd. It’s like when people say that I’m “demanding” that Judith do this or do that. Huh? How could I possible “demand” something of her, and why would I bother “demanding” something of her if I have no means of influence on what she does or doesn’t do? In that sense, I have no “expectations” of her. It’s her blog. She does whatever she wants with it. I would never “expect” anything different. And she has demonstrated a pattern of dismissing my criticism. I don’t “expect” that to change – although I can always be open to the possibility that it might.

      • Of Gawd, Donna’s effort is even worse than I thought.

        It’s not dreck, it’s vomitus.

        Check this out;
        “Let us not forget that in the so-called Eden that is the Great Barrier Reef, thousands of living creatures meet their earthly demise every day when they are devoured by other living creatures. Humans snorkeling in the area have been maimed by sharks.”

        Oh noes!!!!!!

        Go and read it…..on second thoughts, only if you have a strong stomach for irrational, illogical, paranoid ramblings.

        To echo others – what the hell was Judith thinking?

      • Well, some people were impressed with Sarah Palin, so I’m not surprised some are impressed with Donna Laframboise.

      • David Springer

        In the same way some people are impressed with Al Sharpton?

      • Max_OK and David Springer

        Or Barack Obama?

      • David Springer

        Speaking of Mr. Teleprompter-in-Chief did you notice that Condi Rice didn’t use a teleprompter for her address at the RNC this week? It was widely regarded as the best speech of the whole affair. Interestingly Sarah Palin didn’t have a teleprompter when she addressed the 2004 RNC either. Rice was by choice however. The teleprompter failed w/Palin so she was forced to wing it. Granted the pit bull with lipstick momma grizzly speech was substance-free compared to Rice though. Palin isn’t exactly a brainiac. But she’s got a great ass!

  39. “In short, activate your science.”

    Translation: “In short, politicize your science.”

    “Your knowledge and your passion are sorely needed. But your knowledge must be shared in ways that are understandable, credible and relevant to decision-making at multiple levels. Learning to become bilingual – to speak both the language of science and the language of lay people is a skill more scientists need to learn.”

    Translation: “If we just reframe the issue, we can gain the control over the energy economy we so desperately want.”

    Precisely what you would expect from an Obama administration political hack.

    From a scientist, not so much.

    Just further proof that progressives are progressives first, and everything else, including scientists, second.

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


      Precisely what you would expect…

      Just further proof…

      The world is unfolding precisely as you have foreseen, my Master.

      Soon, we will crush these rebel progressives using the full POWER of the Climate Etc. deathstar.

  40. Only as an aside, it occurred to me while posting a response above that if you translate “…activate your science” to something else like maybe “get your freaky science on”, the absurdity of the construct becomes clear.

  41. MattStat/MatthewRMarler

    “Activate your science” has many meanings. For people who are writing grant proposals, the emphasis is on what is poorly known or completely unknown. “Activate your science” for them could be an admonition to admit in public the limitations that they write about in their grant proposals. The physicist John Ziman made the point about 15 years ago that the dominant form of scientific review in contemporary science is the grant proposal. A case could be made that the best way to “Activate your science” would be to base policy recommendations on reviews of the relevant grant proposals, those funded and those not funded, instead of, for example, the “gray literature” of mostly biased reviews.

  42. JC Said : “Administrators of government agencies, professional societies, and even some universities are actively encouraging ‘activation’. This needs to be looked at closely in terms of protecting the integrity of science.”

    Wernher von Braun protected the integrity of rocket science. He was never much on activation.

  43. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    The public narrative that is burgeoning on Neven’s Arctic Sea Ice weblog is sufficiently compelling as to be unstoppable.

    NOAA/Lubchenco and the AMS both appreciate this, eh? As does the burgeoning cohort of rational former-skeptics, eh?   :!:   :!:   :!:

    As for non-rational climate-change denialists, they now face the same marginalization as deniers of evolution, deniers of the smoking-cancer link, and deniers of the irrationality of unregulated markets.

    The marginalization of denialism is necessary to the proper functioning of republican democracies. So the increasing marginalization of climate-change denialism is good too, eh?   :!:   :!:   :!:

    As everyone appreciates … except the climate-change denialists themselves!   :grin:   :grin:   :grin:

    • David Springer

      Your narrative is now marginalized to 6% of the earth’s surface inside the Arctic circle.

      Starting to feel a little claustrophobic, John Sidles?

      You need to get out(side the Arctic circle) more.

      ROFLMAO

  44. Beware of becoming and advocate,

    Did you mean ‘becoming an advocate?’

  45. “2) Climate scientists (and all physical scientists) IMO need better understanding of the philosophy, history, and social psychology of science.”

    I think it’s far simpler than that, they need a better understanding of the difference between religion and science.

    For a start, they would then understand what we are asking for when we request show and tell and from that might understand why they can never fetch it, because it doesn’t exist. They might then understand why Phil Jones became a joke personifying “the climate scientist” of this pseudo-science religion masquerading as real world physics when he got so terribly upset at the thought that some only wanted to see his data to prove him wrong..

    “Warwick … I should warn you that some data we have we are not supposed top pass on to others. We can pass on the gridded data – which we do. Even if WMO agrees, I will still not pass on the data. We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.”

    http://www.ecowho.com/foia.php?file=1299.txt&search=why+should+I

    This is Warwick Hughes himself on the subject: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/climatedata/uc3502.htm

    Here’s one who desperately needs to understand why de-activating the scientist is necessary before launching into essays on ethics and moral responsibility

    The church and the ethics of climate change By Clive Hamilton

    “The question of what to do about climate change is fundamentally a moral one. Who is responsible for the problem? Who will be most harmed? What are our obligations to future generations? Who should take the lead in cutting emissions?”

    http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2012/08/29/3578983.htm

    Where any sign of moral responsibility in the official cover up of the CRU science fraud?

    It’s the governments which require de-activating first perhaps..

  46. Putting the matter into perspective it is helpful to remember Hot World Syndrome is a Western phenomenon. “…we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.” (IPCC 3rd Assessment Report; Section 14.2.2.2, p. 774)

    What caused fear of global warming? A gaming mentality invaded Western academia — schoolteachers using computers to filter, mix, manipulate, adjust, cut, optimize, remix (i.e., playing games with) data — all in a godawful quest for personal relevance in the cipher age.

  47. “… the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.”

    Never seen this subtly chilling line more aptly applied, Beth. Although perhaps to fit the current situation we can say…”full of passionate certainty.”

    What beast slouches toward Bethlehem indeed.

  48. Its the timeline…

    Fear of the consequences of too much atmospheric CO2 being released by humans came before any actual harm caused had been caused. That’s important.

    There is no example in all of human history in which a known and impending danger was averted before it materialized due to human intervention. That’s obvious.

    Equally obvious is that it is cowardice to pretend to be concerned about non-problems while ignoring real problems. That is what the global warming alarmists of academia are doing.

    Global warming is not a problem but fear of it is. Global warming alarmism and politics of fear give power to the wrong people: people who only wish to take power from the people.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Wagathon asserts  “There is no example in all of human history in which a known and impending danger was averted before it materialized due to human intervention. That’s obvious.”

      Wagathon, please reflect upon the following examples!   :!:   :!:   :!:

      • The foresighted public construction of the immense British Thames Barrier and the Dutch Oosterscheldekering

      • The foresighted global public health and vaccination campaigns that eradicated the diseases of smallpox and SARS.

      • President Ronald Reagan’s foresighted signing of the global Montreal Protocols that preserved the earth’s ozone layer.

      Needless to say, there was zero in-advance certainty that any of these public enterprises would succeed, eh?   :)   :)

      How many we further improve your appreciation of public enterprise, oh Wagathon?   :)   :)

      • Curiuos George

        How do you know the ozone layer has been preserved?

      • Please — you cannot challenge the logic. And your examples are ludicrous.

        For example, “Smallpox is believed to have emerged in human populations about 10,000 BC,” and “As recently as 1967, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 15 million people contracted the disease and that two million died in that year… After vaccination campaigns throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the WHO certified the eradication of smallpox in 1979.[3] Smallpox is one of two infectious diseases to have been eradicated, the other being rinderpest, which was declared eradicated in 2011.” wiki

        Smallpox is a real problem not an imagined problem. Your example makes my point. People like Hansen are not the Jonas Salk of the 21st century. He and Al Gore are not addressing real problems–they’re pariahs to science — nothing but ustlers and carpetbaggers flimflamming the public.

  49. Curiuos George

    Climate scientists should first make sure they do a science. An activated no-science in an active politics, which we see too often. I got a surprising reaction from UCAR scientists regarding a gross inaccuracy in their CAM 5.1 model.

    The Community Atmosphere Model is a part of a Community Earth System Model, http://www.cesm.ucar.edu/models/cesm1.0/cam/. I noticed that it assumed that a latent heat of vaporization of water was a constant. In reality, it varies by 10% between +50 degrees C and -50 degrees C. For a rough estimate of consequences, let’s assume that most of water evaporation or condensation happens in tropical seas. Not only is the surface area of the tropics much larger than that of polar regions, but also the rate of evaporation grows with temperature. Let’s say that an average temperature at a tropical sea level is 25 degrees C, leading to an error of 2.5% in the transfer of energy by vaporization for this model.

    Let’s assume optimistically that 90% of that error is cancelled by a condensation at the same place and almost the same temperature. After 512 time steps, probably around 2 months, the resulting error of 0.25% may grow to 359%. I happen to know what good a model with a 359% error is.

    When I reported this to UCAR scientists, the general attitude was “we don’t care”. A single frank reply was “The error is trivial compared to many others”. What good is a climate model which can not predict two months beats me, but I am not a climate scientist.

    Long Live the Great Activated Climate Science!

    • John from cA

      …and let’s face it, NOAA has a track record of some very questionable activity ranging from piracy (high seas fines that were misused), ponzi schemes (budgets that improperly reflected year to year funding), and alterations of SST and buoy data.

      NOAA shouldn’t find it difficult to find issues in their own backyard that need to be fixed to restore public trust.

    • Unbelievable, if this is correct that they assume constant value of L. This is such a trivial thing to do correctly.

      • Could Roger Pielke Sr check with them. He wrote the modeling book Mesoscale Meterological Modeling in 2002.

      • Is it? Latent estimates range from about 78Wm-2 to 83Wm-2. There is ~5 Joules per gram variation from fresh to average salt water enthalpy and assuming 100% sensible heat recovery is a stretch since the system can grow or shrink ice/water storage. It appears to be an non-equilibrium thermodynamics problem with reversible dissipation, if I have the jargon correct.

      • You have misunderstood the issue completely. The temperature dependence of L depends on the differences in specific heat in each phase (since energy must be conserved in a condense–> warm –> evaporate –> cool cycle), and the dependence is then

        L(T) = L0 + (c_vap – c_cond) * T

        What the appropriate form for L is depends on what the total energy function is in the atmosphere. If the specific heats of condensate and vapour is assumed to be zero (which is a pretty good assumption given the small ratio of water to air, and one often made in atmospheric models) then the appropriate L is constant (=L0). (Note that all models correctly track the latent heat of condensate).

        The fix is not to simply put a temperature dependence on L (which of course would be trivial), but to rewrite the entire code with extra prognostic variables for vapour and condensate sensible heat. If you just ‘fixed’ L you would not conserve energy, and that would be a much worse error.

        Eventually, all the models will do this properly (some do already), but it is not trivial – but neither is it hugely important.

      • Curiuos George

        Dear Gavin: I may not understand you. Are you saying that a 2.5% error in one step of a calculation is not hugely important? It is important to me. I already have to pay for 10% ethanol in my gasoline (which slowly ruins my engine) based on results of these models.

        When you do something, either do it right or don’t do it at all. You sound like a climate scientist (I am taking this liberty after my experience with UCAR, offense intended).

      • Inaccuracies in the third digit of a physical constant do not lead to a fundamentally different climate any more than using 9.8 m/s2 for gravity instead of 9.81, or a fixed 6370 km for the radius of the earth rather than an ellipsoid, or a solar constant of 1370, rather than 1369 W/m2. These don’t alter the climate system behavior. It is not balanced on a knife edge like you imply.

      • Robert I Ellison

        So Jim – truncating inputs to a convection model from 6 to 3 decimal places played no part in the outcome of the calculations of Edward Lorenz.? Hmmm. There is a fundamental difference between models using the PDE of fluid motion and linear mathematical operations.

      • Your 10% ethanol is far more a function of the power of the corn lobby in DC than it is related to anything that ever came from a climate model. And it is not something that anyone from our model group has ever advocated (as far as I know).

        Of course, one wants calculations to be as accurate as possible, but there are always trade offs – we can increase resolution to reduce discretisation errors, but the model then runs much slower for instance. We can include the sensible heat of condensate and vapour, but there is a needed investment in code rewriting and reconceptualisation (which in this case is not trivial). We are in fact embarking on exactly this project (combined with a few other related changes in basic assumptions) because we think it is important to get the details right, and while we are hoping for an improvement in the climatology, there is no guarantee we’ll get one. This isn’t however some bonehead error that was made, but rather a calculated assumption that was reasonable at the time. Over longer timescales, we can go back and make it better.

      • I already have to pay for 10% ethanol in my gasoline (which slowly ruins my engine) based on results of these models.

        Dreck.

        If you get such basic facts wrong, why should I think that you are credible with the science?

        Use Wikipedia to see the reasons stated by Bush for ethanol requirements. You might even go back to the Energy Security Act of 1980. Make sure to look at the issues of energy security and air pollution as factors. Then check back. We’ll talk.

      • Robert Ellison, you know better than that. Are we talking about climate being a slowly evolving average state or a deterministic single state that we are trying to exactly predict? If you think the latter, as it seems you do, you are not thinking of climate as a statistical average of weather, but more like predicting its exact weather systems (to which your reference to Lorenz was relevant). Also do you really think the third digit of latent heat will affect when tipping points like the open Arctic Ocean will occur?

      • Robert I Ellison

        Oh Jim,

        You confuse models with reality. The models in which these calculations take place – and which were the point at hand – are most certainly subject to both sensitive dependence and structural instability leading to irreducible imprecision of the deterministic chaotic variety.

        As for climate as opposed to models. ‘Thinking is centered around slow changes to our climate and how they will affect humans and the habitability of our planet. Yet this thinking is flawed: It ignores the well-established fact that Earth’s climate has changed rapidly in the past and could change rapidly in the future.’ WHOI I agree with the Woods Hole Ocenographic Institute.

        Other than that I find it quite difficult to respond as I can make very little sense of what you are saying. I suspect because you only partially understand the ideas and are struggling to defend preconceived notions.

        Cheers

      • Curiuos George

        Dear Gavin: True, your models don’t advocate anything, but their predictions can be (and are) used to do a lot of advocacy – the Kyoto Protocol comes to mind – so they should better be accurate. As accurate as possible is not good enough. If an accurate model requires a computer power not yet available, say so, and present your findings as a work in progress, not a scientific fact.

      • Robert E, it comes down to how different do you think the earth’s climate would be if the third digit of the latent heat was different by one? This is a complete red herring argument that there is no value unless you get every constant perfectly right.

      • Robert I Ellison

        Climate is what it is Jim. The question is what influences small changes in estimates of parameters have on the solutions of simulations. The answer to that is potentially considerable as these nonlinear PDE diverge over time. The only way to find out is to systematically evaluate model families – something that has not been done rigourously if at all.

        Wrong end of the stick there Jim.
        .

      • Robert E, you are out there on the Curiuous Goegre team, then, or do you have any disagreement with what he said at all?

      • Gavin, you seem to misunderstand the problem. the issue is calculating the correct saturation vapor pressure as a function of temperature. If calculations are being made that produce an incorrect value of saturation vapor pressure, there will be systematic temperature dependent errors in the model. See my text book on the Thermodynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans. Also see my arguments made previously on this blog for treating the multi-fluid multi-phase aspects of the atmosphere correctly; there are too many approximations made in climate models in this regard to make me comfortable with the long term integrations that result in, for example, a large positive water vapor feed back.

      • Sorry, no. The saturation vapour pressure can be set to whatever formula you want (and obviously the more accurate, the better) without any consequences for energy conservation etc. Thus CCSM and all other models use accurate formula for this. It is independent of what the energy function is in the atmosphere, and thus what temperature dependence is for the L used in phase change calculations in the atmospheric physics.

        JC comment: The issue is this. If you have an inaccurate formula for saturation vapor pressure, and particularly if the error is temperature dependent, you will have an incorrect amount of water being evaporated from the ocean, and an incorrect amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. With regards to the atmospheric physics parameterizations, these are so highly parameterized and tuned so any direct consequences of what is used for L are less obvious, but you need correct values of saturation vapor pressure in the atmospheric physics parameterization as well. Calculating the saturation vapor pressure correctly should be a no brainer. In my models and calculations I use Flatau’s 10th order polynomial, which seems to be the most accurate representation over a wide range of temps http://rams.atmos.colostate.edu/cotton/vita/71.pdf, although I acknowledge that I have seen something for ice saturation vapor pressure at low temperatures that is probably more accurate than this.

      • What evidence is there that CAM uses an inaccurate SVP formula? The code is downloadable and so it should be easy enough to check.

      • I have not personally claimed that CAM uses an inaccurate formula, this issue was raised by someone else. And then you seemed to imply that some of the models were a bit inaccurate in this regard. I will try to do a post on this general topic early next week, will see if my schedule allows.

      • David Springer

        curryja

        You seem to misunderstand the problem. The models have predetermined outputs. Mathematical formulas used therein are not chosen by their accuracy but rather by their utility in producing the predetermined output. You propose to take away a fudge factor by insisting that the most accurate formula be employed rather than the formula which best accomodates the desired output! The general rule of thumb is don’t let physical facts get in the way of the climate change narrative. So we see things like the fact that atmospheric CO2 has risen 8% in the last 14 years while the global average temperature of the lower troposphere has been on an accelerating downward trend during that time. A fact which is, evidnently, ignored in public and the travesty of it only mentioned in private emails between climate boffins. Or the fact that the highest mean annual temperatures occur in the dryest, not the wettest, regional climates which should inform any sane and/or honest person that water vapor has a net negative feedback vis. surface temperature. What we have in the climate narrative is a fact-free zone except where the fact fits the narrative. Currently the only fact that fits the narrative is Arctic summer ice extent. Ain’t that a hoot? It’s all they have left to point at.

      • Curiuos George

        My source is here: http://www.cesm.ucar.edu/models/cesm1.0/cam/docs/description/cam5_technote.pdf

        I am only claiming that the they use a constant Lv; I did not look into their handling of a saturation vapor pressure.

      • thx, what page are you looking at?

      • Curiuos George

        It all started at the “Physical constants” section. I had a long exchange of emails, and curryja was copied on the final one, sent 7/13/12@12:51 PM. Look in your email for a message from ucar. All details are there.

  50. We heard Pachauri bloviate,
    “Ten thousand experts estimate,
    ‘We must act now – or it’s too late!’”
    The “Team” had cause to celebrate,
    The gravy train was doing great

    But forecasts that were made to date
    Soon met a very sorry fate
    [It didn’t warm past ‘98]
    And then the world watched Climategate
    Plus climate talks capitulate

    And press support deteriorate
    And public trust evaporate
    But yet, despite this sorry state
    Lubchenco says, “it’s not too late”
    “Let’s all go out and ac-ti-vate!”

  51. Does Anderson/Bows actually state: “Liberate the science from the economics, finance and astrology, ”
    astrology?
    I have not read all comments; has this been addressed, already?

    • They vaguely expressed a desire to manage the world because of the climate crises and ignore all those pesky things like votes and politics because they know best. No one here paid much attention as the imlications of executing their desire requires a world wide absolute dictatorhsip that ignores inconvenient facts. Best leave it alone.

  52. Scientists don’t do politics well. They have too much contempt for common people, and not enough Machiavellian skill to know how to hide it, to succeed under a democratic system. They might be able to sneak in through the back gate somehow as they appear to have done in the current administration, but when push comes to shove they don’t have the captial to play high-stakes political poker games. It’s too bad that only doing science is such a boring consolation.

    • David Springer

      Climate boffins don’t do science well either. I’m still trying to determine exactly what, if anything, they do well. Even with all the practice they get they’re no better than fair at obfuscation & deception.

      • Mark B (number 2)

        David, you said, “Climate boffins don’t do science well either. I’m still trying to determine exactly what, if anything, they do well.”
        This must be a generalization. I can’t believe that is true in all cases. But it looks like it could be in some cases.
        Do you think that it is because, at school, all the duffers end up doing Environmental Studies, instead of subjects like math and science? And some of them manage to get to University and study Climate Studies and eventually end up teaching it?

      • Even if they are great scientists, they’re not engineers. Science serves a great role in support of technology. Science isn’t technology. At the frontiers of nanotechnology (which includes all of semiconductor technology, btw), the distinction between scientist and engineer Is pretty fuzzy. But people investigating the climate system have no more insight into the technology of energy than they do into the technology of space flight.

        In short, the WG1 types trying to determine the existence and nature of the problems, and the WG2 types trying to determine how it’s worse than we thought have little skill overlap with the WG3 types trying to determine “solutions”.

        And the real WG3 is stacked with people more interested in agenda than solution.

  53. Doug Badgero

    As long as we are creating a wish list:

    5) Scientists must clearly separate their communications regarding the facts, observations, and conclusions gleaned from research, from their communications regarding the normative decisions concerning policy. They must make this distinction clear to the public when advocating specific policies.

  54. Increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere by 30 ppm does not cause any warming => http://bit.ly/oQby56

  55. I am sure that the key to understanding climate science is to understand what happened during the first 50 years of the 20th century. This was the vital period of transition from the low old energy world to universal power and mobility. CO2’s ability to trap heat was first important during this period. Equally important was CO2’s limited ability to trap heat in its narrow spectral band of resonance at the wavelength peak of the earth’s radiation. Some scientists recognized the latter, but most either ignored it, or blamed it on some unspecified movement of the oceans. For the momentum of climate change to completely reverse in 1940 requires a better explanation than that. Was climate change anthropogenic? both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ were true.

  56. Spot on with yer poem, Max…

    Yeah ,
    Activate…
    Eliminate…
    Escalate…
    And goddam irritate. )

  57. Pokerguy,
    ‘What beast slouches towards Bethlehem…’

    Here’s the wonderful ‘On the Way to Bethlehem’ performed by sublime Unicorn Ensemble.) I played it for drama acts with my students. Hope yer enjoy it.

    http://music.yahoo.com/unicorn-ensemble/albums/on-the-way-to-bethlehem–159761431

  58. Since the prospective disapearance of Arctic ice would amount to abstracting one whole per cent of the Earths Albedo , one would expect it to make any sane scientist acknowledge the problem and many disinterested parties to change their mind as to considering its solution.

    Sadly, the preceding comments suggest this is not the case here.

    • The insolation up there is meager and the ice will only be gone for part of the year. It’s a significant feedback but not, I think, on the order of a change of -0.01 albedo over the globe which would be what, 3W/m^2? It’s not that high.

      The carbon resting uneasily under the thinning ice is another story.

      • Ah, but the energy under the ice is free. So what will win? The decrease in albedo under cloudy sky or the latent and convective energy no longer contained by the insulation of sea ice?

      • Last time I checked, there was quite a bit of open water on planet Earth, and despite this “free” access to the ocean’s energy, the planet continues to warm. I’m skeptical. Do you have any numbers or sources on energy lost to the climate system via open polar waters?

        I’m sure it’s physically possible to lose some of that heat at the TOA, but I doubt the amount is very significant.

    • Russell,

      one would expect it to make any sane scientist acknowledge the problem and many disinterested parties to change their mind as to considering its solution.

      Why? What is the problem with warming?

      We keep asking that questions but get no serious answers. From my perspective it is just a benefits versus costs issue. So far the cure advocated by the CAGW alarmists seems to be far worse than the disease (warming).

      Until this questions is seriously addressed (quantitatively) I find the scientists unconvincing. I feel they do not understand cost-benefit analysis, nor engineering nor economics.

    • Russell,

      More on my question: “what is so bad about warming?”. I don’t understand why CAGW Alarmists argue that warming is potentially dangerous or catastrophic. Compared with other risks we face, which I believe could have truly catastrophic consequences for humanity and have a much higher probability of occurrence than catastrophic global warming, I think the threat of AGW is small. I just don’t understand what people mean by global warming being catastrophic or dangerous.

      For comparison here is a risk that would be truly catastrophic. It could kill perhaps 50% to 80% of city dwellers within a week. If the banking system collapsed world wide, most city dwellers would be dead within a week or two. No money to buy food or fuel. So you can’t escape from the city. Electricity system collapses so no ATM, no banks, no water, no fuel, no shops, no food. You want a catastrophe.

      That’s a catastrophe! How does global warming compare with that?

  59. Say, this thread’s beginning ter morph into a festival of all the arts, science not so much… Bart, on yer ‘gettin’- the- commerce- out- of- the- temple’ video, so who’s making money out of the climate science apocalypse religion? Grants, Subsidies, taxation?… It sure ain’t us. (

  60. JC says: 4) Communication of science is an important issue. Good communication helps the public understanding of how nature and science itself works. However, the emphasis in climate communication seems not to aspire to emulate the great communicators of science (e.g. Richard Feynman), but rather to become more effective at using rhetoric in the service of propaganda to support policies to curb CO2 emissions and to figure out how to marginalize ‘deniers.’

    Well said and very important. On one hand communication is teaching and on the other it is propaganda. One side has to educate the public and the media about the science and that is a next to impossible task. The other side only has to spread believable lies. Anyone between these two sides is caught in the crossfire.

    For those who can take some time out from reading the climate blogs, there is an excellent historically accurate 600 page novel about an American navy ship in China at the start of the Chinese revolution. All you need to win a propaganda war is a populace which does not question what they read and someone to make up lies, even outrageous ones, to fan the flames of hatred (which might well be based on legitimate grievances) and set the mobs in motion.
    “Sand Pebbles” by Richard McKenna

    The climate wars are not so extreme, but the point is the same. There are some wars you cannot win because the others play by different rules. One side’s science communications will be in vain; the real battles are not being fought on the science field.

  61. Attention activating scientists. Better nip this one in the bud, or all your good work on reducing the surplus African population by restricting the use of DDT will be for naught.

    http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/08/29/university-of-cape-town-researchers-believe-they-have-found-a-single-dose-cure-for-malaria/

    (Pop quiz hotshot. Sarcasm or not sarcasm?)

  62. JC: “I am aware that a substantial number of climate and related scientists read this blog. I consider my main service to this community to be introducing them to relevant literature in these areas.” And, via many denizens, giving them the opportunity to develop skills in rapidly skimming reams of chaff (some from me, alas) to find nuggets of helpful comment. There’ve been some excellent technical discussions on CE since it’s inception, but of late too much non-technical schoolyard knockabouts. I now seem to skim much more than I read.

  63. Chad Wozniak

    Wanna fix climate science? Stop practicing politics and calling it science, and start practicing REAL, HONEST science.

  64. I assume the use of Her Excellency was not in a sneering way, but in her role as an ambassador of sorts (to Australia in this case). I found a Wikileaks e-mail where she was also referred to that way, but I don’t think it is a correct form of address for a head of a US government agency, a funding agency at that. Otherwise, we would need to start calling Mitt Romney His Lordship to be consistent.

  65. ACTIVATING MY SCIENCE

    The major trick of IPCC is to smooth out the oscillation in global mean temperature and the corresponding forcing before the 1970s and to claim the cyclic warming since 1970s is man-made.

    http://bit.ly/OaemsT

    The cooling from the 1880s to 1910s is smoothed out. The warming from 1910s to 1940s is smoothed out. The slight cooling from 1940s to 1970s is smoothed out. What is not touched is the warming since the 1970s. This gave an exaggerated climate sensitivity of 3 deg C for doubling of CO2, when the actual value is only about 1 deg C.

  66. Michael @ 30/08, 9.06am:
    Kim lacks wit? Ahem … Michael ter wit, this rewording of some famous lines by Dylan Thomas.

    ‘Rage, rage against the lying and the fright.’

    Witty isn’t it?

  67. Judith,

    I’d say you denier types have an unfair advantage on this one.

    If climate scientists “activate” their science then you lot start using phrases like “…..this politicized post normal science” to try to discredit the straightforward message that CO2 emissions pose a serious threat to the climate and shouldn’t be allowed to increase out of all control.

    On the other hand, if climate scientists “deactivate” their science and sit in their ivory towers writing learned esoteric papers which no-one outside their circle would either wish or be able to read, then you’d say that the climate problem can’t be anywhere near as serious as some may suggest.

    It may be a win-win situation for you, but its lose-lose for rational argument.

    • Mark B (number 2)

      Someone wanting “rational argument” wouldn’t use phrases like “you denier types”.

  68. “sit in their ivory towers writing learned esoteric papers which no-one outside their circle would either wish or be able to read, then you’d say that the climate problem can’t be anywhere near as serious as some may suggest.” – t/t

    ….or that the public’s lack of awareness is the fault of scientists for not being more effective communicators.

  69. Anderson & Bows: Reinforcing the view that we may be on the cusp of a paradigm shift are the fundamental disagreements between orthodox economists as to how to respond to the crisis.

    As a reasonably orthodox economist, I think that the vast majority would, as always, respond as follows:

    First, none would perceive that they were “responding to a crisis.” They would be aware of claims that the earth is warming, that the causes are anthropogenic, that the likely/potential outcomes are catastrophic and that, accordingly, urgent action must be taken to reduce human emissions. No economist I know would take that as given. They would want to rigorously assess the basis of these claims, and many would find them wanting. In my case, I was briefed by Sir John Houghton around 1989-90 and have followed the issue since then, including some briefings of State Cabinet and Ministers. Some of the scientific debate and papers I can follow, some are beyond me, some relevant material involves economic modelling which I am competent to critique. This would be true of most academic and government economists. We would make a judgement on our assessment, including the quality of data, assumptions and modellings used by CAGW proponents and detractors.

    Second, whatever an economist accepts as being the case regarding CAGW, the critical questions are: what are the prospective impacts; what responses might be appropriate; what are the costs and benefits of various possible actions and of non-action; what policy approach will most enhance human well-being (while taking account of non-human factors). An economist would generally discount future costs and benefit streams at a reasonable rate of return. I think 6% real used to be used in assessing government infrastructure projects in Australia, commercial investors would use a far higher discount rate, and the appropriate rate will be adjusted in respect of risk and uncertainty. When assessing alternative policy options, economic modellers would generally look at only the next ten years. In respect of costs and benefits by 2100, few would consider it sensible to make an assessment over such a period, given that the world is ever-changing and that no period of 90-100 years in history could have been sensibly predicted in advance.

    This is the way we would deal with any issue. I can see no need of or evidence for a “paradigm shift” in response to CAGW, alleged or proven. If there are “fundamental disagreements” between economists on how to respond to alleged CAGW, it would be on the basis of differing assessments of the problem, different views on the relative importance of CAGW and other perceived problems (e.g. clean water, sewerage, education and healthcare in poorer countries), and different views on economics – most economists would have a general disposition towards decentralised, market-based, free trade, small government policies, some (against all the evidence IMHO) would favour the more centralised, government-directed approach which seems to appeal to CAGW proponents.

    It is common for proponents of a particular cause, interest group, industry, whatever, to claim that their case is different, a special case which requires special treatment and is not amenable to mainstream economic policy. In 50 years of economics, I’ve never seen a convincing case for such treatment.

    We urgently need to acknowledge that the development needs of many countries leave the rich western nations with little choice but to immediately and severely curb their greenhouse gas emissions.

    Sorry, I totally disagree with that, I’d be interested to see ho A&B could prove their assertion.

    Scientists may argue that … it is politicians who are really to blame.

    I hope not, I think that in the broad sweep of human development, the role of politicians is relatively minor, though perhaps greater than would be optimal. This is very simplistic: if increased CO2 emissions are a problem, it arose from the successful development of life-enhancing technology and techniques and their application by entrepreneurs, politicians can take little credit for the enormous growth in human wealth, health and longevity since the Industrial Revolution. Those countries where politicians held most sway have usually done much worse, cf the USSR and Eastern Europe.

    … scientists are seldom trained to engage with policymaking; where opinions are encouraged and decisions informed as much by ideology as by judgement of the science, economics and so on.

    While many politicians are ideologically driven, it is hard in a democracy to move too far from the common sense of those at the political centre. Some governments I’ve worked for in Australia have had a genuine concern for the welfare of the community as a whole, and have sought “good” rather than ideologically-driven policy. The Hawke government (1985-91) was a classic case of government and opposition supporting worthwhile reform, from which Australia still benefits.

    Civil society needs scientists to do science free of the constraints of failed economics.

    I suppose that that would be the “failed economics” which has led to unprecedented growth in wealth and human well-being and lifted billions out of poverty. If this is failure, success would be paradisical.

    Enough! Kevin Anderson may be “Deputy Director of the UK Tyndall Centre and an expert on greenhouse-gas emissions trajectories,” but his work here just adds to the pile of articles featured on Climate Etc which makes me despair of academic standards amongst so many in the “Climate Change” debate. I would have not accepted work of this standard from a graduate recruit economist.

    (In passing, my various graduate recruits advised me that they had learned more in their first 3-4 months with me in 3-4 years at university.)

    • (The A&B quotes were in italics when I posted this. Their removal might make it harder to follow – I’m taking a point from Judith’s abstract, critiquing it then taking another point.)

    • PS: I’ve e-mailed this to Anderson.

      • Thanks, Faustino, you have made many of the points I intended to.

        Economics is far from perfect, but as you point out, the suggestion that it is a failure in a world where hundreds of millions of ordinary people live better than royalty did only a few centuries ago is just ludicrous. As you say, every urger supporting every political agenda uses the exceptionalist argument – and they are always wrong.

        It is amusing that scientists whose entire existence and work depends on economic prosperity are so dismissive of the things that make it all possible. And we are supposed to give them a starring role in public policy, which is essentially about how resources are used? Errr – no.

        As for Jane L., Cairns is perfect at that time of the year – yet another lovely tropical holiday for the propagators of doom. Funny how they never meet in Tierra Del Fuego!

      • Coincidentally, the very next thing I read after leaving this site was an article on the (well known to economists) Jevons Paradox. It explains why increasing efficiency often leads to increasing consumption, the classic example being the production of artificial light:

        http://www.thegwpf.org/the-burst-pipe-dream-of-energy-saving/

        But hey, we should just leave policy up to scientists, whose expertise in the physical world makes them experts on everything. What could economists (or anyone else) possibly have to contribute?

      • Well, Jevons is very relevant to AGW (I thought the classic example was coal production and the development of Watt’s steam engine) and I’d certainly agree that policy shouldn’t be left up to scientists.

        The gwpf, however, goes out of its way to mislead on the basic physical science. Just look at their banner.

        Why is this?

        Why can’t we have an honest debate about the relevant policy options without being mendacious on the laws of physics?

        My conclusion is that accepting the reality of the physics threatens the ideology and values of the gwpf and their admirers.

        What’s yours?

      • David Wojick

        My conclusion is that there are no policy options until the science is settled. Speculation is not a sound basis for policy.

      • VTG, you write “My conclusion is that accepting the reality of the physics threatens the ideology”

        As I have noted many times, I am an empiricist; I only trust hard, measured data. The true basis of physics, IMHO, is what is actually measured. The only two things we can actually measure with respect to radiative forcing and total climate sensitivity are the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, and the observed rise in global temperatures. If we could prove how much of the observed rise in temperature was caused by the observed rise of CO2 concentration, we could meaured total climate sensitivity, and we could settle whether CAGW exists for all time.

        We cannot prove how much of the observed rise in temperature is cause by additional CO2. But such little empirical data as we have, strongly suggests that the value of total climate sensitivity is indistinguishable from zero. AS you say,we must base science on the fundamental physics. And the observed data strongly indicates that CAGW is a hoax.

      • David Wojick

        VTG, how is the banner misleading or mendacious on the physics? It shows the data and in science the data has the last word. AGW is being falsified.

      • Jim Cripwell

        You are poking a stick into the festering wound, which constitutes the weak spot of the whole CAGW hysteria:

        it is NOT based on empirical scientific data derived from actual physical observations or reproducible experimentation.

        And not one of the supporters of the CAGW premise have been able to counter this argument with any hard empirical data.

        All they can show are model simulations backed by theory.

        And, no matter how vigorously they try to “activate the science”, it still is not empirical scientific data, just political activism.

        Max

      • David, deliberately choosing a cherrypicked subset of data which misleads as to the overall picture is mendacious. You already know this. Why pretend?

      • David Wojick

        VTG, there is no overall picture, unless you mean all possible data. They are doing advocacy, which means presenting your strongest case. That is the democratic system. If you think it memdacious then suggest an alternative.

      • Jim,

        “But such little empirical data as we have, strongly suggests that the value of total climate sensitivity is indistinguishable from zero.”

        Is a view so far divorced from reality as to be surreal. Just one specific example – you really believe the existence of ice ages is compatible with zero sensitivity. Really??

        Every paper published with sensitivity in the typical range 1.5 – 4.5 degrees per doubling is entirely wrong and flawed whereas your blogpost is accurate??

        The toxic combination of arrogance and ignorance in such a comment, and the number of similar routinely unchallenged on this site, hosted by a climatologist, is a great exposition of why Judith is in no position to lecture others on the philosophy of science. It’s an echo chamber for extremist and frankly bizarre viewpoints.

      • VTG,

        David, deliberately choosing a cherrypicked subset of data which misleads as to the overall picture is mendacious.

        Are you referring to Michael Mann’s work?

      • Peter Lang,

        “Are you referring to Michael Mann’s work?”

        And Al Gore is fat.

        Yawn, dogwhistle, yawn

      • VTG, I am not interested in your irrelevant trolling. And, if you think this site is a haven for kooks, don’t let the door etc.

        My point, which was well elucidated by Faustino above, is that there is no such thing as perfect knowledge in any discipline. The great challenge of policymaking is weighing the inputs, even if some of them claim to be infallible or at least pre-eminent. No nation’s economic policy is based solely on pure economics, and no nation’s response to scientific advances is driven solely by science. Nor should they be.

        There is nothing wrong with advocacy, as long as it is not conflated with empirical or impartial research data. Disciplines which have been infected with environmental advocacy – including climatology, some biology, the dodgier parts of economics and so on – are simply unreliable guides for a conscientious policymaker. That is why the kind of activism that our hostess rightly deplores in the head post needs to be identified and dismissed.

        There are numerous examples of this flowing from the climate scare, and one which is mentioned in my link above is sealing up houses so that they leak less heat. The downside is that, absent well-engineered artificial ventilation systems, we are risking all the negatives of the old-fashioned sickroom – miasmas of bacteria and fungus, not to mention exudations from the many plastics, paints, cleaning agents and all the rest in our homes. It is astonishing how quickly and easily the health benefits of well ventilated living spaces have been forgotten in this rush of advocacy driven ‘scientifically based’ policy. That is quite apart from Jevons Paradox, which is another reason to question disproportionate investment in sealing and insulation.

        Experts tend to be hammers seeing the world as nails. Policymaking is the art of stepping back and taking a broader view. It helps to have an inbuilt suspicion of magic bullet ‘solutions’, fads and fashions, and passionate advocates of all stripes.

      • VTG you write “Is a view so far divorced from reality as to be surreal. Just one specific example – you really believe the existence of ice ages is compatible with zero sensitivity. Really”

        I dont understand your example at all. Total climate sensiitivity refers ONLY to what happens to global temperatures as a result of changes of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. NOTHING else. So far as I am aware, ice ages were caused by some unknown climate phenomenon that is completely unrelated to changes of CO2 concentration. Most likely some sort of connection between the magnetic effects of the sun, and world climate; cf Henrik Svensmark.

        You cannot point to ANY empirical evidence that proves that the total climate sensitivity is anything other than indistinguishable from zero. If you claim you can, then would you please supply the appropiate peer reviewed reference, with some quotes form the text that someone has, indeed, actually measured total climate sensitivity.

        You also write “Every paper published with sensitivity in the typical range 1.5 – 4.5 degrees per doubling is entirely wrong and flawed whereas your blogpost is accurate??”

        In a word, yes. What the scientific method dictates is that where hypothesis differs from empirical data, we ALWAYS believe the empirical data. There are NO exceptions. The values of climate sensitivity in the range from 1.5 to 4.5 C, ALL, without exception, come from estimations based on highly dubious physics (the structure of the atmopshere does not change), and the output of non-validated moldels. Other than the estimation of radiaitve forcing, there is not one jot of empirical, measured data whatsoever. Zero, nada, zilch. So I do not believe that anyone has the slightest idea what a true value of total climate sensitivity is. And I go to the measured data, and it strongly indicates that the actual value of total climate sensitivity is indistinguishable from zero. I follow the scinstific method, and conclude that CAGW is a hoax.

        You also write “The toxic combination of arrogance and ignorance in such a comment”

        Arrogance and ignorance? I am accused of arrogance and ignorance just because I only believe in empirical, hard measured data. If that is your idea of arrogance and ignorance, then I own a bridge in Brooklyn I would like to sell you.

      • “Al Gore is fat”

        LOL

        That was a good one. ;)

        Andrew

      • Max, you write “You are poking a stick into the festering wound, which constitutes the weak spot of the whole CAGW hysteria: ”

        I know that.

      • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


        Experts tend to be hammers seeing the world as nails.

        And non-experts tend to be hammers seeing the world as kneecaps.

      • Johanna,

        I agree with almost everything you say. What I would like to see is that the likes of the gwpf start from the science and look at the policy implications. What they actually seem to do is rubbish the science because they don’t like it’s implications for policy.

        Hence the mendacious banner

      • Jim,

        “Every paper published with sensitivity in the typical range 1.5 – 4.5 degrees per doubling is entirely wrong and flawed whereas your blogpost is accurate??”

        Your response – “In a word, yes.”

        You say “Arrogance and ignorance? I am accused of arrogance and ignorance?”

        You encapsulate it.

        A better example of a mind determinedly closed to other points of view is very hard to imagine.

      • “it is NOT based on empirical scientific data derived from actual physical observations or reproducible experimentation.”

        Exactly! Climate science is axiomatic, not observational.

        The two central axioms of climate science are:

        A. Atmospheric CO2 controls the thermostat of the earth. Human production of CO2 as a byproduct of energy production is causing the temperature of the earth to be driven upward at an unprecedented and increasing rate and the consequences of the increase in the temperature of the earth vary from unpleasant to catastrophic.

        B. The oncoming catastrophe can only be prevented or ameliorated by giving government control over all aspects of energy production and consumption.

        Any data which would lead to the questioning of A. is invalid; any individual or organization that does not accept those axioms are prima facie NOT climate scientists and attacked personally and professionally by those who are. See the papers by climate scientists linked by Dr. Curry and the commentary on climate blogs such as hers for confirmation.

        That in the face of actual data that, according to Jim Cripwell: ” But such little empirical data as we have, strongly suggests that the value of total climate sensitivity is indistinguishable from zero.”

      • Name specifically the empirical data that strongly suggests the value of total climate sensitivity is indistinguishable from zero.

        And since it is so little, don’t leave any of it out.

      • @jch: I am not a scientist, climate or otherwise. My opinions re climate science and climate scientists (the existence of Axioms A. and B. and the reaction of the climate science community to those who question them) are based on what I read on this and other climate related blogs and how climate science and commentary on climate science is treated in the press and ‘popular scientific literature’.

        The ‘indistinguishable from zero’ comment was a quote from Jim Cripwell, about whom I know nothing beyond his commentary on this web site, but I have no reason to doubt what he says. As for data showing that atmospheric CO2 and ‘temperature of the earth’ are loosely coupled, at best, I can only point to data presented on Dr. Curry’s site and others which claim (unverified and unverifiable by me) that for the last several years atmospheric CO2 has continued to rise while the ‘annual temperature of the earth (undefined, by the way)’ as measured by the satellite ‘gold standard’ has remained flat or declined slightly and the fact that historically, planetary temperature, if I accept the data presented here and elsewhere, has been both warmer and colder than at the present while atmospheric CO2 during those periods was considerably below current levels (again, based on data presented on this site and others).

        My confidence in ‘climate science and Axiom A.’ is not enhanced by headlines claiming that AGW was confirmed by the fact that July 2012 was the hottest on record in the US, 77.6F, beating old record of 77.4F set in 1936, when atmospheric CO2 was reportedly in the 300-320 ppm range. There are two reasons: first, I doubt that the temperature data acquisition systems in place in the US 1936 and in 2012 would allow meaningful national temperature (however defined) comparisons with tenth degree precision and second, the fact that the previous record, if assumed accurate, occurred when CO2 was considerably lower than CO2 today. I doubt that two teams of climate scientists, working independently, could instrument my county, collect data for a year, process the data independently, and have the two ‘temperatures of my county’ agree to a tenth of a degree. I have even less confidence in historical temperatures of the earth purporting tenth of a degree precision and extending over hundreds or thousands of years. On the other hand, since I am not a scientist, maybe such precision is easy-peasy, the historical and pre-historical data beyond question, and I am just ‘anti-science’.

    • Faustino,

      That is an excellent contribution. Thank you for putting the time into it.

      It is essential to understand all this before trying to offer policy advice.

    • Faustino –
      Would you mind rendering an expert opinion on a scenario?
      During the depression of 1918. Harding raised interest rates and cut spending, opposite of what happens today in response to an economic downturn. That depression was acutely severe, but short compared to most others.
      Do you think Harding’s repsonse would have shortened the current, prolonged recession (or depression?)?

      http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig4/powell-jim4.html

      • jim2, I’m a microeconomist, this is tending to macroeconomics. However, I have been focussed on what drives economic growth. Harding’s policies were effective then and in Australia at the outset of the GFC I argued against interventionist allegedly counter-cyclical government spending. In the WSJ and Australian, Phil Gramm compares the outcomes of Reagan’s (Harding-style) policies in the 1981 recession to Obama’s highly interventionist, fiscallly expansive, policies. 55 months after the start of the 1981 recession, there were 7.8 million more jobs and real per capita GDP had risen by $3100. 55 months into the current recession, there were four million fewer employed and RPC GDP was down $800. Other indicators tell a similar story. Stimulus policies work on the assumption that there is a multiplier effect from government spending, typically that $1 of government spending increases GDP by $1.50. I’ve seen no evidence to support this, and the leading expert in this area is Robert Barro, who estimates a multiplier of perhaps 0.8 – i.e., so-called stimulus spending lowers GDP. This figure aligns with many studies which have shown that it takes $1.20-1.25 in taxes to deliver $1 of government services.

        So, yes, the US should have followed Harding rather than Keynes and FDR.

      • PS, I know one of Australia’s leading macroeconomists, Tony Makin, who has a similar take to me on these issues.

      • Sinclair Davidson agrees with that also, eg

        http://catallaxyfiles.com/2010/05/13/did-the-stimulus-work/

        His main point is that the money is gone (what’s more, it was borrowed) and there is little, if any, evidence of long term benefit compared with other countries who did different things and/or based their actions on different predictions.

      • I’ve read that Keynesian stimulus efforts in the US before the current round appeared to work due to the fact that the Baby Boomers were in their “family building” cycle. Marriage, kids, bigger house, better job, better car – then all that topped off with the HELOC ATM machine. However, now BB’s are staring retirement in the face. They wil still consume some, but are more focused on paying down debt and saving for retirement that isn’t too far off. The government just can’t really affect the economy with a trillion here and a trillion there. People’s spending is driven by their stage of life. Even so, I think Harding’s approach would have been more effective – that, plus a lot more rational regulation and less of it.

      • ZOMG. You mean demographics has something to do with economics?

        Burn the heretic!

      • Yes indeedy.

        The global economic conditions in 1981 and the global economic circumstances of 2008 (of course, we must ignore Bush’s stimulus policies in our analysis) are virtually identical. That is why we can make a valid comparison of the outcomes from Reagan’s and Obama’s policies without discussing any possible effect from any related global economic variables – to conclude that Obama’s (but not Bush’s) economic stimulus didn’t work even though most analysts agree that the current situation would have been worse without it. Let us also forget how fantastically Bush’s tax cuts worked leading into the global recession, and let us not consider the impact of the legacy of Bush’s previous policies before his economic stimulus package.

        Finally, let us be sure to remember the brilliance of Phil Gramm’s policy advocacy – particularly w/r/t the undeniable longstanding benefits of the CMFA and repeal of Glass-Steagall.

      • The global recession was caused by governments all over the world making it easy to get a home mortgage. This resulted in a huge stimulus to the economy, formed a bubble, and that subsequently burst landing us in our current predicament. In the case of the US, easy money was made possbible by Fannie and Freddie, the Home Affordability Act, and a multitude of other govenment incentived programs to give money to people who could not afford a home.

      • David Springer

        Joshua | September 1, 2012 at 12:31 am | Reply

        “Obama’s (but not Bush’s) economic stimulus didn’t work even though most analysts agree that the current situation would have been worse without it”

        Analysis based on what? Models?

        Anyone here sick of academics and their models yet?

      • Barro and Krugman in early November of 2008:

        Check out the beginning when Barro starts to talk – and says:

        “where we are now, which is actually quite a good economy”

        and then goes on to explain that the reason why it was actually “quite good” were the benefits of Bush’s 2003 tax cuts.

        Yeah – now that’s the man whose advice I want to take.

      • Sorry – typo – early November 2004.

      • Man, that interview is fascinating.

        I love how he explains that the increased debt that would have been needed to privatize social security wouldn’t be a problem. Can you imagine how much worse the current situation would be if those trillions of debt had been made to fund private retirement investment in the stock market in 2004-2008?

        And then he goes on to predict that if Bush were to be elected, he would bring the deficit down and exercise much more “spending restraint” in his second term.

        Really, the interview is spectacular. Must see TV.

      • I’ve watched part of that Rose piece. One element Barro points out is that tax cuts improve incentives for people to produce. This is because they get to keep more of their money. He is right in this.
        Incentives are roundly ignored by most liberals (in the US sense of the word.) I agree with Krugman that some aid must be forthcorming from the government to, as he says, take the rough edges off capitalism. But it must be done in such a manner as to maintain incentives for the person to better himself. This can be done via variation(s) on a negative income tax, fair tax, or something similar.

      • And also, for 2003, GDP growth was ~1.75 in the first quarter, increasing to 4% in the fourth. So, how are Obama’s stimulus packages working out? And just for the record, I think Bush’s was a mistake also.

      • First we have this:

        I’ve watched part of that Rose piece. One element Barro points out is that tax cuts improve incentives for people to produce. This is because they get to keep more of their money.

        And then we have this:

        So, how are Obama’s stimulus packages working out?

        And to from quote “A” to quote “B”, we’ll just ignore the 1/3 of Obama’s stimulus that were tax cuts, eh?

        And while we’re at it, let’s ignore the debt accumulated that was directly attributable to Bush’s tax cuts leading up to 2008 – which saw GDP growth along with flat wages and poor unemployment growth.

        Maybe the relationship between tax cuts and national economic health is a bit more complex than a simplistic notion about “incentives to produce?”

        Obama’s stimulus had a lot of problems. That doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t have been worse off without it.

      • 1. The debt under Obama has gone up more than twice the rate under Bush. So, no matter how much you like him, he is running up ruinous debt much faster than Bush.
        2. I mentioned that I didn’t like Bush’s deficit spending any more than I like Obama’s.
        3. I didn’t say Obama’s tax cuts were devoid of incentive.
        4. Bush’s tax cuts also carried with them incentives.

        You need to pay more attention.

    • Faustino,

      I circulated your comment amongst an email group.

      I received a reply asking about what discount rates have been used by Sir Nicholas Stern and Ross Garnaut (to justify the Australian CO2 tax). I replied as follows:

      “I understand (from Treasury presentations to Senate Committee hearings) Garnaut used:
      1.35% and 2.65%.

      From memory Stern uses <1%

      Nordhaus (2012) RICE model use 4.34% for the average discount rate for USA for 2005 to 2055.

      The Australian government uses 10% in projections of levelised cost of electricity for new entrant electricity generators (e.g. Australian Department of Resources, Energy Tourism; Bureau of Energy Economics; Australian Energy Market Operator; Australian Government Energy White Paper, and others).

      You'd have to question why we use 10% for deciding between which technologies we should build to avoid CO2 emissions, but the Treasury, and other analyses used to try to justify a carbon price, use discount rates of 1.35% and 2.65% to justify a carbon price.

      What inconsistency.

      The difference is justified on the basis of "social" bla bla bla.

      • Yes, Peter, as I said, proponents of whatever always claim to be a “special case” to which normal economic rules (and discount rates) do not apply. One of the main criticisms by economists of Stern’s work was the very low discount rate.

  70. The recent Nature paper of Chris Rapley was brought up further up in this thread. Based on the few comments on it one might be led to believe that it’s just one thinly argued comment promoting activism but it’s actually something different and much more valuable. Everyone interested in these issues is well advised to read the whole paper (unfortunately it seems to be behind the paywall).

    The paper is introduced by the line

    Climate scientists should learn from the naysayers and pull together to get their message across, says Chris Rapley.

    and it ends

    The warning signals from the planet are clear. Now is the moment for our community to adopt the rallying cry of sea kayakers confronted with conditions too challenging to handle alone: “Time to raft up!”.

    The paper does not, however, propose that scientists should mimic the skeptics or turn to simplistic advocacy. On the contrary it refers to Roger Pielke Jr and Daniel Sarewitz. It shows good understanding on the role of scientistes as honest brokers. It admits also that there’s much to learn in Climategate and that scientists should correct their conduct.

    The paper is about how scientists should communicate as scientists not as activists.

    • Based on the few comments on it one might be led to believe that it [Chris Rapley's Nature paper] is just one thinly argued comment promoting activism…….

      This is the way Judith works. She’d almost certainly be able to deny she wrote any such thing if it came down to having to do that. But she leads her readers to believe that is exactly what she thinks. She gives the overall impression that this is what she is saying. She’s good at that.

      Judith also says :
      ” I can certainly understand why policy makers and advocacy groups want scientists to get involved”

      Note that she doesn’t explicitly say its a bad idea for “scientists to get involved” by saying that action needs to be taken on GHG emissions, but that’s undeniably the message.

      What about “scientists getting involved”, though, by setting up websites which promote a different message that no action is needed. Promoting the idea that the science is all too uncertain? That is just as much becoming “involved” as saying the opposite. But that’s different, and that’s OK isn’t it?

      • Judith appears to have a serious irony deficiency.

      • Indeed. Judith’s MO is perfectly illustrated by the exchange on latent heat in models above

        Judith’s reaction on a sceptic comment that the approach being used invalidates model results:
         “Unbelievable, if this is correct that they assume constant value of L. This is such a trivial thing to do correctly.”
        Note the words used: “Unbelievable”, “trivial”, whilst retaining plausible deniability (How can you say I’m trashing scientists – there’s still an if there!)

        Inevitably, once an actual climate modeller responds, it’s clear the skeptic didn’t have a clue what they were on about. Predictably.

        So, how would a “deactivated” scientist respond to such a challenge?

        Something like “Very interesting, however I doubt that such an obvious error would have passed unnoticed either by the modellers or peer review. Could someone more up to date on these matters than me help out here?”

        So Judith, why not deactivate your science? For starters, how about assuming the best of your peers rather than encouraging others to think the worst? That would be a good service to the community and might help educate some of your acolytes here as to the limits of their own competence.

      • David Springer

        VeryTallGuy | August 31, 2012 at 6:29 am | Reply

        “Judith’s reaction on a sceptic comment that the approach being used invalidates model results:”

        Seems like a lot of trouble to invalidate model results. Last 14 years saw CO2 rise by 8% while global average temperature went into an accelerating decline. That alone invalidates the model. It was a travesty in 2009. Now it’s a travesty on steroids.

        P.S. Why not use your real name? Don’t want it linked to your opinion here? Can’t say I blame you. What a dork.

      • David Springer

        Very Tall Girl is more like it. Grow a pair.

      • Maintaining interesting active discussion on a blog is demanding (excluding very technical sites that are interesting for a group of specialists). With all the problems this site remains in it’s own way tolerant and has real discussion even if it’s often covered by an incredible amount of noise. That may require that the host is not too willing to emphasize or even tell very precisely her or his views.

        I had recently the opposite experience when I followed and also contributed a little to Tamino’s site. Even Lolwot and Robert got ridiculed when they dared to say a few defending words on Steve Mosher. The audience of that site seems to be extremely narrow-minded (as far as one can get from the title of the site: “Open mind”).

        All my comments were published and I have got sometimes more abusive comments on my views here, but the general attitude, the way Cliff Mass and Mosher were treated ..

        We need sites where very different views can be expressed and where most of them find both supporters and opponents. Nobody learns from being thrown out from a intolerant site.

      • Pekka,

        I’ve seen that discussion too, and to be fair, it’s not really an issue of ‘real discussion’ of the science.

        Several commentators there have had long experience with Steven Mosher in his earlier blogospheric phase of making unjustified and highly inflammatory attacks on climate scientists and the science.

        Some people are just less forgiving of that kind of thing than others.

      • Michael,
        The point was clear. I haven’t read Mosher’s book and I have disagreed with his rather extreme views on FOI. (I do certainly consider openness very important, but there’s still a difference.)

        The case of Cliff Mass was more relevant from the point of view of science. Some of the regulars did also comment on the rudeness of others, but even so it was terrible. The self-righteousness went over all reasonable limits and in a few days the same attitude was seen in many connections – and Tamino was part of that, not the most extreme, but part of it anyway.

      • Well then, I guess it comes down to a personal preference on style.

        I much prefer science with attitude, to nonsense with manners.

        At least the signal to noise ratio over there is OK. Here, it’s dire, with your well-written contributions one of few worth reading.

      • Michael, I see what you mean. Tamino can afford to be selective. At some level, rigorous scientific discussion always has an entry criterion. If you can’t meet that entry criterion you are shunned.

        I am thinking of the analogy of a game of pick-up basketball. Try joining a game in a playground in the middle of Brooklyn if you can’t bring the goods. I would turn a phrase, and say “climate clowns can’t jump”.

        They want to be challenged and not just dunk over all the flat-footed wannabes out there. Even Vaughan Pratt had a rift going with Tamino. That will happen when people start talking trash. It works both ways. Welcome to urban warfare. Welcome to real life.

      • To further the game analogy, this site’s blog comments (climate etc, that is) is more like a match between the Harlem Globetrotters and the Washington Generals.

        To a segment of the audience it is entertaining to watched skilled practitioners stomp all over their opponents.

        However, I am at a loss to try to analogize a site such as WUWT. maybe something like professional wrestling, with fakes on all sides? The referees are all part of the act as well.

      • WHT

        To a segment of the audience it is entertaining to watched skilled practitioners stomp all over their opponents.

        Yeah.

        I’m kinda enjoying watching you get “stomped” from time to time here.

        Good fun.

        Max

      • Michael and WHT,

        Discussing science is fine and when that’s the goal it’s fine to exclude obviously disrupting comments.

        I didn’t bring this up so much to criticize Tamino’s site but tho contrast it with this site. There’s an important place for sites that try to explain science and there’s an important place for sites where people of differing views can argue on issues that are more about the interface of science and the society than about the science separately. Tamino’s site seems to have collected an audience of exceptionally narrow-minded regulars as the outcome of the style of both these regulars and Tamino himself.

        This site is the opposite. Very little moderation and a host that doesn’t force her views on the discussion even when they are likely to differ quite a lot of those in the comments. Some encouragement given to views that many feel bizarre (including myself in many cases). Perhaps even this latest feature is really needed to hold for the type of audience we see here (I don’t know whether it’s needed).

        There are many sites that fall between these rather extreme cases in the openness for differing views. My view is that for a site on science the right choice is far from both extremes. The site should be open to differing views as long as they may be relevant scientific discussion, but moderate out disruptive messages. Never should anybody see ridiculed unless he/she is obviously not sincere. (Sometimes a person may feel being ridiculed by purely science based comments. That cannot always be avoided.)

        Judith has described this site as an experiment in communication, I think that’s also a reason for the way she’s running this site.

      • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


        I am at a loss to try to analogize a site such as WUWT…

        May I suggest:

      • Manacker, Your views are delusional. What game you are playing here is akin to what is called Fantasy Football. You get to pick and choose factoids that will swing the argument in your favor.

        If you want to bring the game, suit up and see what you really have. Go full out and you will get stomped on just as happened to Bartemis. There is a guy that talks a much better game than he’s got.

        Manacker, in effect your little fantasy football antics don’t mean much.

      • Pekka –

        Even Lolwot and Robert got ridiculed when they dared to say a few defending words on Steve Mosher. The audience of that site seems to be extremely narrow-minded (as far as one can get from the title of the site: “Open mind”).

        I fail to see what you seem to think is some kind of categorical difference. I suppose that Tamino’s blog being moderated must create come macro-level difference in the discourse, but from what I see there are very few people here that are open-minded to the views of others. I could count the number of folks here that would fit that description, IMO, on one hand.

        If there is a significant difference in the character of the debate at the different sites, it is that you have more of a mixture of closed-minded people (arguing from different sides of the debate) – not that this site could be characterized by more open-mindedness.

      • Pekka, so you think this is an “experiment in communications”. I suggest we take the case of Bartemis and use that as an example. Prime example of someone that has some technical expertise but is so completely wrong, and is able to persuade gullible readers down an incorrect path.

      • Joshua,

        The share of people with open mind may be small everywhere but whether the people have a narrow mind in the same way or each in a very different way makes a lot of difference, and so does the role of the host in that if he has a special status also in the discussion as he has there.

        When I hinted to this on the site I got the answer that it’s not necessary to have a tolerant attitude towards nonsense. I agree but only when the label of nonsense is not applied nearly as easily as it had been applied on several occasions over the preceding few days.

        This is a pity because Tamino has written many interesting posts. I agree often with his arguments, but certainly not always. Often the ideas could be developed further in a discussion but making such discussion unpleasant to others prevents that.

      • Pekka –

        I see the label of “nonsense” being applied at this site more or less constantly.

        In fact, the obvious pattern of commenters subjectively defining “nonsense” is so common, IMV, that it becomes particularly notable when someone doesn’t respond to a post with such an attitude.

        I just don’t see that there is some qualitative difference in the different blogs in that regard. I am working on a theory that maybe Keith Kloor’s blog may be a little different at the macro-level in that respect – but that may simply be a view due to my own biases.

        I appreciate Judith’s open-mindedness in the sense of allowing basically anyone to post, and with relatively little editorial commentary on where she weighs in w/r/t specific comments.

        I do not think, however, that while she has a more open moderation policy in balance her approach to the debateis any more open-minded than Tamino’s. IMV, Judith is not particularly less (or more) convinced about the infallibility or superiority her own opinions than is Tamino. And Judith makes her editorial perspective on the larger debate no less clear than does Tamino.

        Ultimately, I see no clear casual relationship between the different moderation policies at the different sites and the quality of the discourse. To repeat – the fact of there being more diversity of views posted here does not speak directly to the participants being any more open-minded.

        As a reader, the greater diversity of viewpoint found at at this site does make a difference to me in that it makes this site different than Tamino’s. Reading a variety of sites is useful to me. And I would say that this site is more educational and perhaps interesting in general – for me, at least, in part because it is less technical and thus not as far over my head.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Steven Mosher in his earlier blogospheric phase of making unjustified and highly inflammatory attacks on climate scientists and the science.”

        Huh. I have accepted the consensus view from day 1. Man is increasing GHGs. GHGs cause warming. That warming may be dangerous. We should do something about it. I have argued that sensitivity is more likely to lie below 3C than above it.

        What I have objected to.

        1. Hiding data
        2. Hiding code
        3. Seeing every critic as a Oil shill.
        4. Breaking procedural rules for the “greater good”

        So yes, I’ve been critical of Phil Jones and Michael Mann.
        I think the temperature record is largely correct and have argued for a more open assessment. That recommendation has been endorsed by two groups. One headed by Muller, the other by Peter Thorne.

        I think that CRU brought trouble on themselves by dicking around with FOIA requests. The ICO agreed.

        I think scientists should not be subject to FOIA harrasment, so I recommended to Parliment that science data at CRU be turned over to a data custodian. Folks still havent seen the sensibility of that suggestion.

        Critic of the science. Not really.
        Critic of a selected few scientists. You bet.

      • Pekka Pirilä

        The audience of that site seems to be extremely narrow-minded (as far as one can get from the title of the site: “Open mind”).

        I have not been allowed to post a single comment in that blog. They are the true believers no matter what the evidence says.

      • Tamino’s posts are a consummate example of excellent teaching of a difficult subject in simple form without dumbing down. Simply brilliant.

        Unfortunately he suffers fools not even slightly, which can make the comments threads a consummate example of how not to convince others – see Pekka’s posts.

        Happily, given your inputs here it’s clear that you’ve no intention whatever of taking on board any critique of your tediously repetitive cherrypicking, so it matters not a jot that Tamino’s audience are spared the ennui.

      • Girma has not been allowed to post a single comment to Tamino’s blog?

        Ha ha ha ha ha ha. I love it. Poor little Girma, wallowing in self-pity, somehow getting a PhD from riding on his advisor’s research. Once in a blue moon it will happen. The retribution is clear however — the real world of scientific research will correct for mistakes and fakes will not be allowed to continue.

      • Steven Mosher

        Well, I try to separate Tamino from his commenters. Something Joshua and Michael may wantto take a lesson from or not.

        Tamino does excellent analysis. I have been on his site a number of times saying so.

        Tamino shares code, I’ve including his code in my packages.

        personally, Tamino can be somewhat of a jerk. Since I share that proclivity I cannot help but give him a pass on that. He gets to be a jerk.

        His readers and commenters to some extent follow his lead. That’s their choice. To some extent they need to view me through a simple black and white filter. It simplifies their lives.God bless them

      • Watts get volunteers, but then he gets accused of censorship, when it’s the volunteer’s discretion.

        Watts leveled an accusation at me personally, based on no valid evidence – nothing other than his facile reasoning that led him to imagine something about me.

        When I tried to post a response pointing out his error – I got put into moderation.

        I think that the charge of “censorship” is absurd. It’s his blog. I have no “right” to post there. The hand-wringing about “free-speech” being limited by blog moderation is one of the funniest themes in blog comment discourse (there are many funny themes to choose from). People take themselves waaaaaaaaaay to seriously.

        But Watts showed a poor sense of accountability in how he treated me – and he has failed to respond with integrity when I’ve given him the opportunity to follow-up. If how he treated me is characteristic of how he treats others (which I think may well be the case given how he selectively calls people “cowards,” laughably, because they post anonymously), then your defense of him seems, well, perhaps a smidgeon biased.

      • Steven Mosher

        Well Joshua I can say this. It’s not the blog it used to be WRT moderation. Personally, I like Mcintyre’s policy best. For the most part ( generalizing ) he tends to hold a tighter reign on his regulars than he does on visitors and opponents. Generally. I don’t get many comments on my blog. ( its not aimed at this debate really ) but once I had a hater, stalker, I just let him say whatever he liked about me.

        hmm. so let your critics go crazy for all to see and keep your own folks in line as best you can.

      • Mosh posts to the R blog on occasion. Now that’s an interesting blog to keep in your feed.

      • Steven Mosher

        Pekke.

        The two most notable incidents in Tamino history were

        1. The banning of statistician RomanM. Roman basically proved that one of Tamino’s methods was sub optimal. He was not allowed to post questions or comments. It took a while but Tamino finally made an admission of sorts.

        2. The banning of Lucia. Lucia merely asked a question of the second law of thermo in regards to build two box models of the climate system.
        Banned. In the end the discussion turned to Lucias site and a good science discussion ensued. Turns out her question was important.

        Basically, I see it this way. I get really annoyed when Judith lets nonsense go on here. That’s her choice. I get really annoyed when Tamino’s harsh filter stops good discussions.

        Who gets to speak? what is in bounds and out of bounds. We will always get it wrong.. silencing the voices that should be heard or letting gas bags consume too much of our time.

      • One other consideration. Moderation is time consuming, especially when threads go into the hundreds of comments. Who has the resources? Watts get volunteers, but then he gets accused of censorship, when it’s the volunteer’s discretion.

        You can’t win. I think what you see here is as good as it gets. Fan and all.

      • Steven

        I agree fully.

        These two sites have different objectives. For this site here I really cannot say how the excessive noise could be moderated out without losing something essential.

        In case of a site of the kind of content Tamino has I do have a clear opinion. The site is too restrictive and Tamino himself makes comments that the host should not make. He could change his behavior easily (as seen by an outsider) but for some reason he doesn’t see it that way. Allowing a bit more discussion and stopping the habit of ridiculing people who don’t deserve that is all that would be needed. That implies admitting that own views may be erroneous and that own expertize does not cover all the fields that are worthwhile to be discussed.

        Being so restrictive may actually be an indication of uncertainty and lack of genuine self-esteem. People with genuine self-confidence are not afraid of being contested and being found in error every now and then.

      • The best consensus-science proselytizer I’ve found is Science of Doom. Good teacher, willing to cover the basics and meet skeptical intro-level questions more than halfway, and the patience of a saint. Those attributes are needed if you really want to popularize to people who are in “is that right?” mode (as opposed to “mind-blowing, man, tell me more!” mode).

        One of the biggest problems in any field for specialists communicating to engaged amateurs is that the amateurs are much more interested in fundamental branching points near the root of the tree of possible theories, whereas specialists are way down in the later branches and leaves since “everyone knows” why the half of the tree the field is on is the correct one.

        It isn’t just climate science. In cosmology, amateurs are much more likely to worry about whether the Big Bang is right, whether redshifts are really good distance proxies, etc. whereas mainstream folks treat such questions as crackpottery. In paleontology, amateurs are more likely to question whether the dinosaurs were really wiped out by an asteroid impact; most professionals take that as given an move on from there. In biology, even non-creationist amateurs wonder about the power of random variation combined with selection and retention to explain highly specialized and intricate adaptations and macro-speciation events.

    • David Wojick

      Pekka, the first problem with the Rapley quotes, and with your post, is that this is not a matter of scientists versus skeptics (or naysayers). This is a scientific debate. Rapley’s quotes suggest that there is little reason to read his paper. They are clearly an AGW rallying cry.

      • David Wojick

        The claim that this is a debate between scientists and skeptics is itself advocacy.

      • The claim that this is a debate between scientists and skeptics is itself advocacy.

        So David, you think that advocacy is not limited to promoting specific policies.

        Would you then agree that making an argument that the AMS statement was parroting without “any actual intellectual examination” is advocacy?

      • David Wojick

        Indeed Joshua, advocacy includes many sorts of arguments which do not address the specific policy being advocated. Attacking or demeaning one’s opponent is common. The best place to see this is in trial procedure, where the advocacy is highly formalized. (I have done a bit of this.) One typically questions the competence of the other side’s expert.

        As for the AMS that looks like a factual claim, and is probably correct. But pretty much everything said here is advocacy. We are not doing science.

      • As for the AMS that looks like a factual claim, and is probably correct.

        That you would support Judith making such a claim as being “probably correct” – even though she has not provided any actual evidence to back up her claim (it is an argument by assertion based on mere speculation and gross generalizations), is indeed, evidence of your advocacy.

        But I will always credit you for being open enough to acknowledge your own advocacy. It is a rare commodity in this debate.

      • David,

        Didn’t you understand that one of my main points was that these two quotes give a false impression of the article.

      • David Wojick

        No Pekka I did not. You are too subtle for me.

  71. David Springer

    Jim D | August 30, 2012 at 9:28 pm |

    “Inaccuracies in the third digit of a physical constant do not lead to a fundamentally different climate any more than using 9.8 m/s2 for gravity instead of 9.81, or a fixed 6370 km for the radius of the earth rather than an ellipsoid, or a solar constant of 1370, rather than 1369 W/m2. These don’t alter the climate system behavior. It is not balanced on a knife edge like you imply.”

    So that 0.5-1.5W/m2 imbalance (more energy input than output) really makes no difference?

    Very candid of you. Can we all go home now and forget about this silly tiny imbalances at TOA that “do not lead to a fundamentally different climate”?

    Or perhaps you’d care to reconsider your hasty, ill-informed reply and be taken to school about how small errors become large errors in interative processes.

    • Here is the knife edge.

      On the Kelvin scale, 285K is not a heck of a lot different than 284K. But for the fact that the melting point of ice is at 273K, it turns out that slight changes do make a differences.

      With biological systems too, the fact that 98.6 F is critical to functioning normally is critical.

      As far as experimental science, we are sinmply trying to raise the signal above the noise.

      The number of significant digits needs to be placed in the context of epistemic error margins.

    • David Springer, so you firmly believe changing the latent heat constant by a tenth of a percent leads to a completely different climate by the amount Curuoius Goerge said it would, or are you going to refute him.

  72. Judith,

    I’m somewhat puzzled by your admission:
    “I find their arguments [Anderson and Bows] particularly peculiar in arguing that climate scientists and those working at the boundaries of climate science should dismiss economics.”

    Have I been under the misapprehension that you’ve been saying that climate scientists should get on with climate science and leave politics to the politicians and economics to the economists? It’s a perfectly valid point of view except, as mentioned in a previous comment, this is a bit rich coming from the owner of an advocacy site like Climate Etc.

    But, leaving that objection aside, why shouldn’t climate science keep away from questions of economics? Even though I might not necessarily agree with them, why shouldn’t climate scientists argue that as they aren’t trained economists, that is a no-go area for them? After all, we do need to know what effect we are having on the climate by changing atmospheric composition. The change will be the same for the same change in composition regardless of the economic consequences.

    • The issue is that climate scientists are immersing themselves in policy issues, but these authors seem to recommend that the do so by ignoring economics. My advice is to just stay out of it, unless you are prepared to do the hard work to understand the policy process (and this includes an understanding of economics)

      • My advice is to just stay out of it,…

        Stay out of it as you do? Or is your understanding of the process and the economics so far superior that you don’t have to stay away?

      • Do as I say, not as I do.

      • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

        Dude:

        We need blogs like Judith’s to protect the integrity of the policy process.

      • I do not advocate for specific policies. I conduct academic research on issues at the interface of climate science and policy (e.g. uncertainty, consensus, etc). And I host a blog where the science, policy and particularly the interface issues are discussed, with participants spanning pretty much the whole spectrum of the public debate on this topic.

      • Judith,

        You seem to advocate pretty strongly for adaption policies.
        You’ve argued in favour of them many times – how is that different?

      • I have made the argument that certain adaptation policies are in the category of ‘no regrets.’ With regards to active advocacy, I do not write op-eds or letters to my congressman, I do not participate in demonstrations, I don’t have affiliations with advocacy groups.

        Here is the Wikipedia definition of advocacy:
        Advocacy is a political process by an individual or a large group for example social workers which normally aims to influence public-policy and resource allocation decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions; it may be motivated from moral, ethical or faith principles or simply to protect an asset of interest. Advocacy can include many activities that a person or organization undertakes including media campaigns, public speaking, commissioning and publishing research or poll or the ‘filing of friend of the court briefs’. Lobbying (often by lobby groups) is a form of advocacy where a direct approach is made to legislators on an issue which plays a significant role in modern politics.[1]

      • I do not advocate for specific policies.

        Did you read Mosher’s recent comment about plausible deniability?

      • She advocates that mitigation policies are ill-advised in numerous ways. She advocates that adaptation policies are much more viable. She advocates that the science behind the IPCC is technically invalid as well as corrupted by advocacy that “parrots” without “any actual intellectual examination.”

        But she doesn’t advocate for specific policies. Thus her policy advocacy is plausibly deniable.

      • Joshua,

        Do you think it is really just this kind of hair-splitting??

      • Michael –

        I will lift a quote from Max, below:

        However, contrary to what you write, I have not seen her recommendations specifically advocating a position relative to “carbon taxes or cap and trade schemes”.

        Have you?

        Thus – anyone who doesn’t advocate a position relative to carbon tax or trading schemes is not an advocate.

        Those hair splits have splits.

      • You may not advocate for specific policies but you certainly know how to advocate against them. Your weblog, Climate Etc., takes the same “stress-the-uncertainties” approach taken by past efforts to thwart science-based policy actions, as documented by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway in their book Merchants of Doubt.

        Anyway its 1 am here and I need some sleep, so will have to leave it at that for now!

      • Yet another dodgy, self-selecting survey. It’s not quite as bad as the one that produced the “97% of scientists agree” meme, but would still score a resounding F in any class on how to conduct a valid survey.

    • tempterrain

      “…an advocacy site like Climate Etc….”

      Huh?

      Are you kidding?

      “Advocacy” for what?

      This site is anything other than an “advocacy site”, although there may be denizens on board who are advocating all sorts of stuff and occasional lead posts, like this one, citing various advocates.

      Max

      • Max, You ask “An advocacy site like Climate Etc ? ……Advocacy for what?”

        I’m surprised you need to ask that question. I would have thought you’d be quite capable of answering it yourself, but Judith is advocating that the science of climate change is all too uncertain to justify any government action, especially by way of carbon taxes or cap and trade schemes, on the climate issue.

      • You seem to jump to conclusions with insufficient data on many topics

      • She’s advocating more than that.

        For just one example of many I could list, she’s advocating that the scientists involved in the AMS statement are “parrots” who don’t examine the science.

        Certainly she has a right to be an advocate. And certainly she has a right to criticize advocacy on one side of the debate while turning a blind eye to advocacy on the other side. But it is ridiculous to claim that she isn’t ad advocate.

      • Nope, I an advocating for protecting the integrity of science. Policy makers can do what they want with energy and carbon policy. But if they think the science is certain and that the science ‘demands’ certain policy actions, then they are fooling themselves.

      • Nope, I an advocating for protecting the integrity of science.

        Judith – you think that you are advocating for protecting the integrity of science. It is a noble advocacy, and it is one that is the stated goal of virtually everyone in the debate.

        Some others have a similar view as you – that they are the true Scotsman/Scotswoman. Some, like you, categorically denigrate the motivations of people who disagree about the science. Some are a bit less self-elevating.

      • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

        Judith,

        What is it that gives you such valuable insight into the integrity of science?

        Is it the hard work of reading Donna LaFramboise?


        …if they think the science is certain and that the science ‘demands’ certain policy actions, then they are fooling themselves.

        Fallacy of the straw man, combined with a dash of begging the question.

        Petard, meet hoistess.

      • It is up to you to decide whether my insights are valuable. I read the literature on the subject. I keep up with the deliberations of various agencies on the subject. And I advocate for integrity in science. And I am participating in a course (mandated by NSF) to educate graduate students on research integrity. So I take an academic interest in this topic, its part of my job responsibilities, and I communicate to the public on this issue (through the blog, and in public presentations, and invited presentations to high level agencies that deal with this issue, including NRC COSEPUP and the UN InterAcademy Council).

      • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


        I read the literature on the subject. I keep up with the deliberations of various agencies on the subject. And I advocate for integrity in science.

        Your advocation not only presumes that science needs it, but that you are a well-qualified, self-appointed “integrity” advocate.

        Personally, I’m skeptical of both presumptions.

        From what I’ve read here, your idea of advocating for scientific integrity seems include a fair helping of derision, suspision, and condescension.

        You seem to approve of:
        “unbelievable”
        “parroting”
        “fooling themselves”
        “stealth advocates”
        “their studies often get caught up in circular reasoning”, etc.

        You quote eminent scientific minds such as Donna LaFramboise and wonder why the more scientifically informed people here seem not to respect your blog.

        But, hey, the Denizens lap it up, so you must be onto something.

      • Judith,

        I am advocating for protecting the integrity of science. Policy makers can do what they want with energy and carbon policy…….

        This is a highly disingenuous remark, especially from someone who was recently selected by the US Republican Party, to be on the same team as Prof Lindzen and Prof Michaels to give testimony to the US Congress.

        Do you really think you’ve been selected for your advocacy of scientific integrity? Hasn’t it occurred to you that your real usefulness to the deniers of that Party is to weaken the case for emissions controls in the US?

        PS There is dead link on the home website relating to congressional testimony. Is there any chance you can fix this and maybe a add another link for you other visit or visits there?

      • David Springer

        Most of your colleagues and their sycophants who write here don’t seem to understand that anyone concerned about the integrity of science is necessarily going to harm the team’s effort to present global warming climate change global climate disruption as settled science. It’s politicized, corrupted, bandwagon science. Perhaps they really believe otherwise but that’s becoming increasingly more difficult to swallow.

      • “the deniers of that Party”

        I’m glad Warmers are doing their best to keep focus on The Science. Who knows where we’d be without their objectivity.

        Andrew

      • tempterrain

        Shame on you.

        Judith Curry tells you openly what she is “advocating for” (i.e. “protecting the integrity of [climate] science”) and you are flat-out calling her a liar, without citing any evidence whatsoever to support your assertion.

        Max

      • Max,

        You claim “you are flat-out calling her [Judith] a liar….

        Well it’s you who are using that term not me. There are other possibilities.
        It could be that somehow Judith has really has convinced herself that the main question is indeed on the “integrity of science”.

        It could be that she really does believe the reason for her invitation to Capitol Hill, as part of a Republican team, was to present her evidence on Congressional hearings on scientific integrity, rather than the question of what to do, if anything, on AGW. I’m not sure how high scientific integrity rates with US voters. Maybe its higher than I thought. Perhaps Mitt Romney thinks if he can’t win the election on the state of the US economy then he’s on a sure fire winner on the question of scientific integrity and that’s why the Republicans have chosen Judith to be part of their team.

        I would have thought that the US Congress would be more concerned with the latter, ie climate policies though, and that the main political parties there are allowed to choose witnesses who will testify in a helpful way in support of their preferred policies.

        But I have to admit that I don’t live in the US, so Judith may know than me on that point and I may be wrong. I think that’s unlikely though.

      • tempterrain

        Having a point of view on a specific aspect relating to the ongoing scientific debate on climate change is not the same as “advocacy”.

        Otherwise, everyone in this world who has informed him/herself a bit about the issues involved is automatically an “advocate”.

        If our hostess here, in her role as a climate scientist, estimates that there are still great uncertainties in the climate science supporting the IPCC position on CAGW, and even expresses her concerns in this regard on this site, that does not make her an “advocate”.

        It also does not make this an “advocacy site”.

        I have read her testimony to US Congress where she states that, AGW itself is a known scientific fact, but that there is great uncertainty about its magnitude. To questions regarding what should be done, she went on to testify that, in her judgment, AGW, even in its worst incarnation, does not represent an existential threat to humanity in this century and that we should, therefore, refrain from undertaking drastic actions, the unintended consequences of which we cannot yet foresee.

        This is all just plain common sense advice from someone who understands the details of the issue as a climate scientist.

        However, contrary to what you write, I have not seen her recommendations specifically advocating a position relative to “carbon taxes or cap and trade schemes”.

        Have you?

        Max

      • I suspect that the real problem tempterrain et al have with Dr Curry is not that she advocates certain policies (AFAIK she doesn’t), but that she doesn’t advocate the ones they support.

      • “To questions regarding what should be done, she went on to testify that, in her judgment, AGW, even in its worst incarnation, does not represent an existential threat to humanity in this century and that we should, therefore, refrain from undertaking drastic actions, the unintended consequences of which we cannot yet foresee.”

        That sounds like advocacy to me.

        Thank you, Max, for making my point.

      • David Springer

        re AGW

        If Curry believes that’s a scientific fact she has a ways to go in personal growth on the issue of scientific integrity. A fact is something that has been observed. No one has observed anthropogenic global warming at except perhaps Urban Heat Islands. As far as observing global warming that hasn’t been observed since the turn of the century even as atmospheric CO2 has increased 8% during that time. So as recent observation spanning well over a decade there’s no observed global warming, anthropogenic or otherwise. These are the facts and while people are entitled to their own opinions they are not entitled to their own facts.

      • tempterrain

        Read johanna’s post [August 31, 2012 at 12:33 pm].

        It will clear up your confusion.

        Max

      • Johanna,

        “I suspect that the real problem tempterrain et al have with Dr Curry is not that she advocates certain policies (AFAIK she doesn’t), but that she doesn’t advocate the ones they support.”

        For a start “AFAIK” isn’t far enough. Judith’s testimony to Congress as helpfully quoted by Max, in the above post, shows that.

        Furthermore, Judith now claims that she doesn’t “write op-eds or letters to my congressman”. Maybe not letters, but what about turning up to speak to them in person?

        And what is this if not an op-ed?

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/10/AR2007101002157.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

        Written by none other than Judith Curry, albeit in a previous personality, advocating in exactly the same way as she now finds so harmful to “the integrity of science”.

        Excuse us if we aren’t entirely convinced by this “integrity of science” argument.

      • tempterrain

        Your last post just proved johanna’s point.

        Thanks.

        Max

      • Max,

        If I’ve understood Johanna’s point correctly, she’s saying that the hostility towards Judith is for switching sides.

        Yes, there’s bound to be some of that, but not exclusively so. Its compounded by the hypocrisy of her now criticising others for doing exactly what she once did herself. Its compounded by her saying one thing in her scientific papers, none of which she has ever disowned even the ones written in her “warmist” years, but then giving a completely different impression on this blog.

        FWIW I would say that all scientists, regardless of their views, shouldn’t just sit in their ivory towers. They should communicate with the public and that means giving the best policy advice to politicians too. If fact I seem to remember Judith saying the same thing once upon a time too.

        http://www.pacinst.org/topics/integrity_of_science/AGU_IntegrityofScience_Curry.pdf

      • Max, I once sought to engage tempterrain in good faith, and was contemptuously rebuffed. Never again. Let him be.

      • Faustino,

        I’m sorry. I didn’t realise you were such a gentle flower. I really don’t remember where that’s happened but if you send me a link, I’ll take a look and apologise if I was out of order.

      • “contemptuously rebuffed”

        Temp, you cad, how dare you!

      • Max,

        Having a point of view on a specific aspect relating to the ongoing scientific debate on climate change is not the same as “advocacy”.

        Well we can all have points of view, but when we start up websites to promote them, word “advocacy” doesn’t then seem too inappropriate!

      • Peter (tempt) @ 4.25: some time ago, you (essentially, as I recall) labelled all with concerns about the CAGW case and proposed remedies as right-wing white men, or some such. I don’t think that the right-wing label applies to me (even though my alternative nom de net is Genghis Cunn), and I sought to explain to you my background. You were totally dismissive, obviously not prepared to engage civilly rather than repeat your pre-conceived assessment, so that I decided there was no point in attempting to have discourse with you.

        As for being a “gentle flower,” I have suffered from fear of rejection following domestic trauma around my second birthday, but I think I’ve largely come to terms with it and the slings and arrows of outrageously inappropriate abuse.

      • Where did I mention ‘switching sides’? Talk about cognitive dissonance. On the contrary, I said that Dr Curry’s refusal to take sides was the source of the hostility.

      • Johanna,

        On the contrary, I said that Dr Curry’s refusal to take sides was the source of the hostility.

        Well actually you didn’t.

        You did say “I suspect that the real problem tempterrain et al have with Dr Curry is she doesn’t advocate the ones [certain policies] they support”

        Strictly speaking that’s not true either. She has advocated very good policies in the past but she seems to have changed her mind. That’s definitely a big part of the problem.

      • @Faustino: Max, I once sought to engage tempterrain in good faith, and was contemptuously rebuffed. Never again. Let him be.

        Only once?

        Michael, I sought many times to engage Peter Lang in good faith, and many times was contemptuously rebuffed. I gave up only after a great many such contemptuous rebuffs. I would not consider “once” a “good-faith attempt.”

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        You are a dishonest SOB.

        <Michael, I sought many times to engage Peter Lang in good faith, and many times was contemptuously rebuffed.

        It was you that made and still makes these sorts of comments. You cannot be engaged because you only interest is in getting confirmation for you beliefs. You lack objectivity and when the facts don’t support what you believe, you don’t want to know about them. How on earth you became an emeritus professor baffles me. It doesn’t say a lot for the education system.

        You broke off discussion saying you had work to do. Perhaps you should go and do it and stop posting your inflammatory comments.

      • Vaughan, I had many exchanges with tempt, then decided not to bother, it seemed to be a waste of time.. Then after some time I responded to a post of his with my personal history to suggest that he was wrong in his blanket assessment of those with different views to him. His response indicated to me that there was no further point in dealing with him, though I responded courteously to a question from him late in this thread. Just as I have responded courteously to you and others. I generally don’t see the point in doing otherwise, although I will admit to a sarcastic post in response to some repeated nonsense from Fan.

        I would hope that all posters shared my attitude, but know that that is unlikely.

      • although I will admit to a sarcastic post

        I’m fine with sarcasm. It’s tossed around on both sides and I have no objection to giving or receiving it. I draw the line at ad hominem remarks reflecting on people’s mental ability, a distinction some people here (certainly not you) don’t make.

        I would hope that all posters shared my attitude, but know that that is unlikely.

        It’s certainly how I view my own attitude. However I can see how some (again not you) who disagree with me (usually on the ground that the data they’re relying on seems to contradict my understanding) might claim I’m a hypocrite for not adhering to that attitude, as evidenced immediately above.

        I then have to wonder whether the technical data they rely on is as reliable as the data supporting their claim of hypocrisy. Those who can’t distinguish sarcasm from ad hom may have difficulty drawing more technical distinctions.

      • (But I agree the line between wondering something and asserting it might be seen as thin.)

      • Those who can’t distinguish

        Sorry, that was very hypocritical of me. Please read it as “Those who don’t distinguish…”

      • tempterrain

        You write (of our hostess):

        She has advocated very good policies in the past but she seems to have changed her mind. That’s definitely a big part of the problem.

        WHAT problem?

        Please clarify.

        Max

  73. Who cares what Donna LaFramboise has to say?

    The raspberry has got no game.

  74. lurker, passing through laughing

    It is clear that the fanatic believer trolls know that this post has struck a nerve. To judge from their more than usual angry ignorant posts and their desperate attempts to fill the thread, they hope they can just shout down the implications of what an openly political propaganda effort by science organizations leads to.
    They know their precious is slippling away.

  75. The paper of Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows is on the interaction of scientists with society more widely as is the paper of Chris Rapley. Bot consider it important that scientists make a conscious effort to communicate more effectively but their proposals are very different.

    I agree largely with Faustino’s critique on K.A. and A.B., but don’t see the same problem in C.B. It’s possible and even likely that C.B. is too optimistic on the effectiveness of the approach that he promotes. Being as efficient in communicating science as competent opponents are in communicating doubt is very difficult and may be impossible. When one side is free to choose the message considering only the effectiveness of the arguments over rather short period while the other is bound to existing knowledge and required to avoid arguments that may later turn out to be erroneous, the first side has a clear advantage as long as the issues are so complex that their full nature cannot be made understandable to most.

    While the most efficient message from the scientists might involve questionable simplifications and claiming more certainty than there is, the scientists should not choose that message but keep to what science tells in the sense they understand when doing science themselves. They may try to explain why the uncertain knowledge is enough to support action but to do that they must understand the economics and they must understand and accept the multitude of objectives. Cutting through all that as K.A. and A.B. propose is bound to fail in the long term – and seems to fail in some countries also in the short term.

    (I don’t go into the presentation of Jane Lubchenko, because that was really on Coral Reefs and only very superficially on these more general issues.)

    • ‘required to avoid arguments that may later turn out to be erroneous’ has to be one of the funniest things you’ve ever written. You’ve been very fair today so I’m gonna let it go at that.
      ==================

    • Being as efficient in communicating science as competent opponents are in communicating doubt is very difficult and may be impossible.

      Wouldn’t that depend on the audience, Pekka? Most scientists only communicate with their fellow scientists, which is all that science needs to progress.

      The “competent opponents” have no intention of communicating with scientists: they are well aware this would get them exactly nowhere.

      The 1931 book “100 scientists against Einstein” may for all I know have persuaded a majority of the public that Einstein was a fruitcake every bit as dangerous as how climate skeptics view climate scientists today.

      But the serious physicists of the day would have viewed that book the same way most serious climate scientists today view climate skepticism.

      There is nothing new about skepticism of science by the public. From a statistical standpoint it is inevitable that one can find a few dissenting scientists to back up that skepticism, as we saw with Einstein in 1931 and as we are seeing today with climate science.

      Only when the dissenting scientists have recruited enough of their colleagues to their point of view will science itself move in that direction. This is how science has worked for millennia.

      To claim otherwise is to subscribe to a conspiracy theory.

  76. ACTIVATE YOUR SCIENCE:

    …the importance of extreme events as foci for public and
    governmental opinion [...] ‘climate change’ needs to be present in people’s
    daily lives. They should be reminded that it is a continuously occurring and
    evolving phenomenon

    ClimateGate Email.

  77. Let me bring this out as a new part of the thread. At Jim Cripwell | August 31, 2012 at 10:15 am | I gave my short scientific assessment of why I beleive no-one has the slightest idea of what the true value of total climate sensisitivy is, in reaponse to a piece that Very Tall Guy wrote. In response I get the following
    @@@@@@@
    VeryTallGuy | August 31, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    Jim,
    “Every paper published with sensitivity in the typical range 1.5 – 4.5 degrees per doubling is entirely wrong and flawed whereas your blogpost is accurate??”
    Your response – “In a word, yes.”
    You say “Arrogance and ignorance? I am accused of arrogance and ignorance?”
    You encapsulate it.
    A better example of a mind determinedly closed to other points of view is very hard to imagine.
    @@@@@@@
    VTG makes no attempt whatsoever to discuss the science behind the claims for the value of total climate sensitivity. He merely resorts to a blatant ad hominem attack. I have tried to discuss the science of total climate sensitivity, and that is what I get in response.

    Our hostess has provided a wonderful forum where both sides of the debate can discuss science. It is just a great shame that VTG does not seem to be able to bring forward any science for anyone to discuss.

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

      Jim,

      Every time someone points you to the science, you respond by stating that you refuse to believe it.

      You believe that is a serious problem for science, because, like Judith, you assume that scientific integrity requires your personal stamp of approval.

      Your “no one has any idea” schtick is not only wrong, but quite boring.

      • Sorry, Reverend, nobody here has “pointed to the science” (i.e. empirical scientific data) to support the notion that AGW is so serious as to be potentially catastrophic.

        Reason is, there is no such empirical evidence.

        Max

    • Jim,

      you say that the whole of science is wrong and you are right, as per the quote “in a word, yes”

      Any evidence disagreeing with your position is deemed “not empirical”

      This, plainly and obviously, is arrogant and ignorant. I wouldn’t dream of dismissing experts in their field in such a way.

      It’s not an attempt to discuss science at all, it’s merely an attempt to ignore it.

      It’s impossible to engage with at any level.

      On the specifics there’s not a single credible paper which argues that global sensitivity is zero. There are dozens exploring the different approaches to looking at sensitivity. None of these approaches supports your groundless assertions.

      You’re plain wrong.

      And this wonderful site, supported by a climatologist who purports to lecture others on the integrity of science, is an echo chamber of similar delusions, most often left entirely unchallenged.

      • VTG, you write “Any evidence disagreeing with your position is deemed “not empirical”””

        Thank you for a far more reasonable reply. I have selected the most important point on which we disagree. You quote is partically right, but importantly wrong. The way I argue total climate sensitivity is as follows. There is a very reasonable hypothesis that as you add more CO2 to the atmosphere it will cause global temperatures to rise to unacceptable levels. I am quite prepared to accept that this is a reasonable hypothesis.

        When I look for scientific proof of any hypothesis, including CAGW, I demand that any numbers produced, and values put on specific things such as total climate sensitivity, must be backed up by empirical data. This is what I understand by the scientific method. If this is being arrogant, then I am, indeed arrogant. But if that is your basis for claiming I am arrogant, then please agree that this is the basis for your claim.

        So you are wrong to claim that any evidence that I disagree with is dismissed because it is not empirical. I am quite prepared to look at all ways of estimating total climate sensitivity. And I can assure you that I have read as much as I possibly can on the subject. What I have observed, and correct me if I am wrong, is that while there is good empirical data to suggest that adding CO2 to the atmopshere changes the radiative forcing, there is no empirical data whatsoever to support any number put on total climate sensitivity.

        So I believe, that as a scientist I have every right and duty to query whether the theoretical estimations of total climate sensitivity are correct. This is not being arrogant; it is simply behaving as a normal scientist. Inherent in the estimation is, I believe, some sort of fundamental error, since the empirical data does not seem to support the high values espoused by the proponents of CAGW. Where that error is, or if it even exists, I do not know for sure. I suspect it has something to do with the Andy Lacis assumption that the only way the radiative forcing imbalance can be corrected is by a radiation effect. I suspect that a change in the lapse rate could also restore the imbalance, at a far lower change in global temperatures.

        Now, can you really claim that I am being unscientific and arrogant?

      • VTG

        Bring empirical data as evidence – not a lot of verbiage.

        Your line of argumentation is beginning to look weak.

        Max

      • VTG,

        Max and Jim have latched on to a simple ploy. They simply set the bar to what they consider to be an impossible height and challenge anyone to jump it.

        If anyone attempts, they’ll naturally claim a failure. If anyone comes close they’ll raise the bar a notch or two. They somehow think they can shield humanity from any threat by simply setting the required standard of evidence, they would even call for proof, to an unattainably high level.

        The scientific method isn’t as simple as Jim Cripwell would like to think. It largely depends on what is possible and that obviously can vary from one discipline to another.

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

      • It’s similar to how creationists demand empirical evidence of evolution.

        Any form of evidence you can think of is never empirical enough for them. Fossils? They require interpretation which isn’t empirical….

  78. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Faustino posts  “A reasonably orthodox economist [would] generally discount future costs and benefit streams at a reasonable rate of return. I think 6% real used to be used in assessing government infrastructure projects in Australia, commercial investors would use a far higher discount rate, and the appropriate rate will be adjusted in respect of risk and uncertainty.”You are correct, Faustino. And research shows that with respect to averting civilization collapse, the appropriate discount rate is ~0.5%.

    That is why rational economists are steadily raising their Bayesian estimate of the probability that James Hansen’s worldview is scientifically and economically correct.”

    Faustino, what is your rationally orthodox estimate of the probability that Hansen’s worldview will prove to be essentially correct? Will you please state that estimate to the nearest 10%, to be specific?

    The world wonders!   :?:   :?:   :?:

    Wonders whether 6% discount rates really are economically rational … or even moral?   :cry:   :cry:   :cry:

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Here’s the above with proper formatting:

      Faustino posts  “A reasonably orthodox economist [would] generally discount future costs and benefit streams at a reasonable rate of return. I think 6% real used to be used in assessing government infrastructure projects in Australia, commercial investors would use a far higher discount rate, and the appropriate rate will be adjusted in respect of risk and uncertainty.”

      You are correct, Faustino. And research shows that with respect to averting civilization collapse, the appropriate discount rate is ~0.5%.

      That is why rational economists are steadily raising their Bayesian estimate of the probability that James Hansen’s worldview is scientifically and economically correct.”

      Faustino, what is your rationally orthodox estimate of the probability that Hansen’s worldview will prove to be essentially correct? Will you please state that estimate to the nearest 10%, to be specific?

      The world wonders!   :?:   :?:   :?:

      Wonders whether 6% discount rates really are economically rational (or even moral)?   :cry:   :cry:   :cry:

      Silence is complicity, eh Faustino?   :cry:   :cry:   :cry:

    • Fan, I clicked your link but found no demonstration of how that -0.5% figure was derived. I also see no evidence that we are facing the collapse of civilization, so won’t pursue that.

      Interest rates are a price. They reflect that income now is more valuable than income later, and that you have fewer options if your money is tied up in an investment rather than available for any opportunity which arises. When people want to borrow money for any purpose, they pay an interest rate which reflects the lender’s valuation of present versus future consumption and their assessment of risk, i.e that the borrower may fail to repay. Interest rates will vary in different communities depending on the value of investment opportunities, the attitude to current versus future consumption, perception of risk etc. The central bank rate is a broad indicator of the above for a particular economy. In Australia it’s currently 3.5%, which leads to mortgage interest rates of around 6.6-7.0% – about 4.50% real (after allowing for inflation).

      When undertaking a cost-benefit analysis, the appropriate discount rate would generally be the opportunity cost – the risk-adjusted rate you could obtain from the best available use of funds. (For governments, the best return to the community might be from lowering taxes rather than spending programs.)

      This is independent of your options – if you want to assess the CBA of a particular scenario such as global warming of X degrees, the rate would be the same as if you were looking to, say, build some infrastructure.

      Of course, such analysis is not appropriate if the choice is: do this or we will all perish. But that’s not on my radar.

      So “rational” discount rates arise directly from market interactions, which indicate the valuations of those who lend and those who borrow. There is no moral element whatsoever in calculating the discount rate.

      However, in CBA, not all costs and benefits have a cash value, and not everyone will agree on the weights to give to different elements. To give a SE Queensland example, there are those who would value highly a new Brisbane-Gold Coast motorway, part of which would go through koala habitat, and there are those who think that that habitat is sacrosanct. Values enter here, not in the discount rate.

      My moral code, as it happens, is to avoid killing, stealing, infidelity, lying and intoxicants; to work to reduce my ego and increase my wisdom, so my volition and actions are more beneficial for me and for others. None of that affects my choice of discount rate, it might affect my view on whether it were better to use resources to make modest cuts in CO2 emissions in a world where they seem destined to rise (via China, India, Brazil etc’s development), or whether to focus instead on current problems of child mortality, poverty, ill-health, lack of education etc.

      • Faustino,

        This is another excellent comment. Thank you. These are the sorts of comment I’d urge Judith Curry to post as lead articles to give climate scientists some background on what is needed by those who inform the policy decision makers.

        This bit jumped out at me:

        When undertaking a cost-benefit analysis, the appropriate discount rate would generally be the opportunity cost – the risk-adjusted rate you could obtain from the best available use of funds. (For governments, the best return to the community might be from lowering taxes rather than spending programs.)

        This is independent of your options – if you want to assess the CBA [cost-benefit analysis] of a particular scenario such as global warming of X degrees, the rate would be the same as if you were looking to, say, build some infrastructure.

        So “rational” discount rates arise directly from market interactions, which indicate the valuations of those who lend and those who borrow. There is no moral element whatsoever in calculating the discount rate.

        I liked the final paragraph too:

        My moral code, as it happens, is to avoid killing, stealing, infidelity, lying and intoxicants; to work to reduce my ego and increase my wisdom, so my volition and actions are more beneficial for me and for others. None of that affects my choice of discount rate, it might affect my view on whether it were better to use resources to make modest cuts in CO2 emissions in a world where they seem destined to rise (via China, India, Brazil etc’s development), or whether to focus instead on current problems of child mortality, poverty, ill-health, lack of education etc.

      • @Faustino: not all costs and benefits have a cash value [therefore] none of that affects my choice of discount rate

        But aren’t you thereby defining what “discount rate” means to you? (And to your cohorts to the extent they feel the same way.)

        My understanding of Nordhaus’s and Dasgupta’s critiques of the Stern report’s discount rate (which even intuitively seems absurdly pessimistic) is that they’re prepared to accept the Stern report’s inclusion of those costs and benefits that you aren’t prepared to attach a cash value to. Even with that inclusion they’re still unable to approach 1%, with Nordhaus proposing 3% declining to 1% in 300 years.

        Have I understood you (and them) correctly? And if so, would you care to comment on your adherence to what a non-economist like myself might regard as the corporate notion of discount rate?

        Or are you suggesting the dual of the recent SCOTUS decision, that people should be viewed as corporations?

        /2006/12/14/business/14scene.html

      • Vaughan, a CBA might need to take account of elements to which you can’t give a cash value. The discount rate applies to those elements to which you can give a cash value. Beyond that, it’s a judgement call on what (non-monetary) value you assign to other elements.

        For example, Fan gives great weight to the prospective collapse of civilisation from global warming, from my understanding I would give it zero weight. So you’d quantify what you can then argue the merits of what you can’t. A CBA is a guide to policy-makers, it’s one part of the decision-making process. Neither climate scientists nor economists are the final arbiter of society’s values, they can advise to the best of their ability on the basis of their particular expertise.

        As an economic policy adviser, I often had a view on which option would best serve the public interest, but I sought to assess the merits of various options dispassionately. That is, I supplied my professional expertise (I retired in ill-health ten years ago), but did not presume to impose my personal values on decisions to be made by elected politicians. Of course, at an election, I’d support those whose values were closest to mine.

      • Beyond that, it’s a judgement call on what (non-monetary) value you assign to other elements.

        At the risk of raising overly naive questions, are economists generally in agreement as to what those “other elements” are? For example would they include tourism, visits to parks, entertainment provided by theatres and sports stadiums, etc.?

        Would it be hard or impossible to assign monetary values to these based on what the market appears to bearing, i.e. what people are currently paying? This would seem a more concrete basis than a mere “judgement call.”

        The only elements I can see not being taken into account in this way are those that are free for the consumer, such as pedestrian overpasses, bike paths, free concerts you can walk or bike to, etc. And even those eat into the leisure time of their beneficiaries, raising the question of whether a general price or value can be put on leisure time. Moreover the outcome of propositions at the ballot box for raising taxes to pay for such items could be taken as an indication of their monetary value to the voting public.

        For example, Fan gives great weight to the prospective collapse of civilisation from global warming, from my understanding I would give it zero weight.

        Indeed. Monitoring for approaching asteroids would seem a better investment for global civilisation. However what if a link could be established between increasing CO2 and increasing prevalence of one-in-a-century storms, sufficient to attach a cost to each new gigaton of atmospheric carbon reflective of the dollar damage done by such storms? What weight would you give that?

      • Vaughan, while I do not presume to answer on behalf of Faustino (who has forgotten more about economics than I will ever know), I think it is unfair to raise hypotheticals such as you have about storm events. You use vague terms such as ‘increasing prevalence’. Unless there are realistic numbers attached, that is meaningless. And, it depends where the storms occur. It makes a big difference whether they occur in rural areas or in big cities. Since climate science is nowhere near being able to predict the frequency, magnitude or location of future storms, the question is entirely moot.

      • Vaughan, prior to reading your 6.10 post, I drafted two paras:

        Further to the above: the appropriate discount rate is not abstract, it reflects the value which people place on present versus future income as revealed constantly in decisions to lend and borrow. It is used to put future income streams and costs which would arise in different periods on a comparable basis – that is, the net present value (NPV), the net value of the project or program in current dollars (or pounds etc). This is a guide to decision-making. If you are a for-profit business, you would tend to pursue the project with the highest NPV.

        If you are a government, with mixed objectives, you may have a choice between project A with an NPV of $2 bn or project B with an NPV of $1 bn. If, say, project B is a road which avoids koala habitat and you choose that, you are giving an implicit valuation of > $1 bn to protecting that habitat. You don’t actually have to estimate the discounted value of the habitat, in looking at the choices where not all elements can be given a monetary value, the value you place on those elements is reflected in your decision.

        Re your post, it’s not up to economists (or climate scientists) to state what those “other elements” are. A competent CBA would make surveys, canvas submissions hold discussions with interested parties etc as appropriate to ascertain the issues of importance to the policy-makers and the community. Depending on the proposal/option being assessed, it might include all or none of the things you mention, perhaps many more. To the greatest extent possible, a monetary value would be estimated and included in the NPV. There are ways of estimating the value of some of those things you mention, but it is not an area in which I have any current expertise. However, some surveys in e.g. valuations people put on maintenance of various wilderness areas have shown that they would allegedly be willing to pay more than their total income (or that kind of result), so they are not usable.

        My point is that not all things of value can be given a monetary value, and that, for those that can’t be so valued, it is not the economist’s role to impose his or her values – they properly reside with politicians and the broader community. As you suggest, if politicians’ calls don’t match those of the electorate, this will be reflected at the next election (we don’t have votes on propositions a la California in Australia; and decisions made by politicians usually have to trade off between a range of priorities, if you have a single-issue ballot people may not make such trade-offs).

        As for your hypothetical, one would look at the likelihood of the event, the prospective costs – based perhaps on the damage actually caused by past storms, and recognising that the location of the storm greatly affects the costs incurred – and the prospective costs of actions which might reduce that incidence. At the moment, we know that we have incurred, and will incur, very high costs to make modest reductions in CO2 emissions, and it is not clear (to me) that there would be net costs from allowing the avoided emissions. We also, as I’ve said many times, have low predictive capacity for the future. For example, emissions reductions in the US have come from two main and unforeseen sources – the GFC and technological change (fracking) which has allowed the substitution of lower-emissions gas for coal-fired electricity generation. In a sense, all the costs incurred through emissions-reduction programs have been worthless. So I’d be very circumspect about giving great weight to such an hypothetical event unless the science was very clear on it – which at present it isn’t.

        johanna, I have in fact forgotten a lot about economics, having been seriously ill 2000-09, leaving work in 02 and not having kept up with the literature since then. I don’t have the capacity I once had. But I agree with your point, I wrote the above to Vaughan before reading your comment.

      • Excellent comment again, Faustino. Thank you. We need more of this.

      • Thanks, Faustino, for your informative and considered tutorials. You are a great teacher, and sorry to hear that your health has been less than optimal. I know who you are, and it seems that despite your self-deprecation, you still manage to present papers at important fora now and then.

        It seems to me that the notion of opportunity cost is at the centre of many of the debates about climate policy, and also fiscal policy more generally. Is it just a vanity project of the rich that asserts that electricity generated at many multiples of the cheapest option is actually in our best interests? How about the ultra-nationalists in the US who want to stop developing oil resources, on the basis that the others will run out one day? Similar things have been said about mineral resources in Australia, often with the twist “but what about our grandchildren”.

        Look forward to your comments, and maybe Dr Judith should consider a head post with your thoughts on these matters.

      • Thanks for your very thoughtful reply, Faustino.

        It occurs to me that two people who disagree in theory may agree in practice. Since “practice” is not yet to hand (as johanna also pointed out), for all I know you and I would do the same when push came to shove. What each of us has said so far contains nothing I can see to contradict that.

        I do feel I ought to say a word on this troublesome question of what’s actually going to happen climate-wise, if not catastrophe-wise. On the basis of nothing more than line-by-line analysis of spectral absorption data and the best available records of global temperature and CO2 emissions and levels, I have satisfied myself that climate is advancing along a smooth curve (when properly parsed) the continuation of which would lead by 2100 to +4 C over today’s global land-sea surface temperature, with temperature then rising three times as fast as in recent decades.

        But while +4 C is no novelty to Earth (though it is to humans), my ecologist wife informs me that temperature changes of that speed must lead to mass extinctions. Which may be a good thing both from an experimental standpoint (science’s first opportunity to study a mass extinction at first hand with the advanced tools of 2100) and from society’s standpoint (all those annoying species like malaria-carrying mosquitoes and lawn-chewing gophers might at long last be brought under control).

        I have neither need nor desire to be the judge of such things. As far as I’m concerned these calculations of mine are purely academic personal observations that I’m happy to share with others when the i’s and t’s are dotted and crossed, both as a source of new ideas and for feedback on errors in them. I’ll be very lucky to be around even by 2030, so I have no vested interest in the outcome. I have quite enough at home and at work to worry about so I’m more than happy to leave those uncertainties to others,

        To clarify one possible confusion about “at work,” despite quintuple bypass surgery in 1992 I’m not retired, merely emeritus, which means no salary (thanks to having been so risk-tolerant in industry in former decades I was financially able to go emeritus at Stanford’s first legal opportunity) but free parking on campus and ongoing advising of graduate students, committee service (I’m on this year’s Ph.D. admissions committee), etc. Research-wise I’m the control theorist and faculty liaison on Stanford’s autonomous driving project that won the DARPA Grand Challenge in 2005 now that Sebastian Thrun has moved on to other important projects—one of my students in that area won the department’s best master’s thesis this year. And I have a lot of other irons in the fire that wish I would stop commenting on Climate Etc. Granting their wish occasionally is why I disappear from time to time.

      • despite quintuple bypass surgery

        It occurs to me that my cardiologist (who retired just last month) would prefer “thanks to” in place of “despite.”

      • I notice Nordhaus is using 5.5% discount rate in latest analyses:

        See Slide # 31 here: http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/documents/Prague_June2012_v4_color.pdf

        It’s worth looking through this presentation.

      • Thanks, Peter, much of relevance to CE debate there – for another post. Re above, 5.5 is close to the 6% I recall from Aus Dept of Finance. That was in an excellent comprehensive guide to program assessment put out around 1990, I might have a copy buried somewhere. I note the graph of CO2 emissions relative to GDP output falling from 0.9 in 1960 to 0.6 in 1992 and 0.5 in 2007. All of the IPCC scenarios are based on economic modelling with assumptions on CO2 emissions per GDP output. Part of the Castles-Henderson critique was that that modelling assumed a constant relationship and was not modified when emissions continued to fall through the ’90s, leading to an overstatement of 2100 emissions which has never been corrected.

      • Faustino,

        I note the graph of CO2 emissions relative to GDP output falling from 0.9 in 1960 to 0.6 in 1992 and 0.5 in 2007.

        Yes. This is very important. This chart (CO2/GDP from 1990 to 2009) suggests the rate of decarbonisation might be slowing: http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com.au/2010/07/decelerating-decarbonization-of-global.html
        (perhaps due to irrational policy interference by governments such stopping nuclear development and promoting irrational policies like renewable energy).

        This paper explains why the rate of decarbonisation is so important:

        http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com.au/2011/02/reality-check.html

        IMO this is an excellent post; and well worth reading the linked full paper (pdf).

        My non expert interpretation is as follows: the Kaya Identity has four components and carbon pricing can effect only two of them: energy/GDP and CO2 emissions/energy.

        If we are going to continue to block the options that would allow cost-competitive, low-emissions energy sources (e.g. nuclear), then we cannot make sufficiently significant cuts to CO2/energy to get even close to the rate of decarbonisations that would be needed to meet the CO2 emissions targets.

        That leaves us only one option: cut GDP growth rate. The GDP growth rate would have to be cut to negative to achieve the targets. That means sustained, deep global depression.

        That is the alternative if we continue to block us removing the impediments that are preventing the world from having low-cost nuclear power.

      • @Peter Lang: I notice Nordhaus is using 5.5% discount rate in latest analyses: See Slide 31.

        So noted. Yet nowhere does he say whether it’s pre or post tax. At that low level it ought to be post tax, were it not for the insanely low levels of the Stern report where it hardly seems to matter! On the other hand only non-US companies pay any significant tax anyway so maybe it’s moot in the US.

        @Nordhaus (slide 30): This concept represents the additional damage caused by an additional ton of carbon emissions.

        I swear on a stack of bibles that I wrote sufficient to attach a cost to each new gigaton of atmospheric carbon reflective of the dollar damage done by such storms above without seeing Nordhaus’s slide 30 or anything like it. Intuitively it just seemed like the obvious measure.

        Regarding slides 34-40 of Nordhaus on computational complexity, this was one of my areas of expertise during 1972-1976. After that I focused on logic, which today I find in short supply on both sides of the climate debate. But I still weigh in on computational complexity debates from time to time. e.g. I’m the independent go-to guy for anything related to Wolfram’s “Complex Systems” journal and its publicity exercises like the Alex Smith prize, as can be confirmed with Martin Davis or the relevant Wikipedia articles.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        Yet nowhere does he say whether it’s pre or post tax. At that low level it ought to be post tax,

        There is much, much, much more to it than just whether it is pre or post tax. In fact, his discount rates do not even consider tax, so I expect they are pre tax as are the 2011 and 2102 reports for the Australian LCOE electricity costs I provided the links to yesterday.

        You may want to down load the RICE 2012 simplified model (Excel) from here and study it: http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/RICEmodels.htm

        I’d also look at section IV here: http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Accom_Notes_100507.pdf
        Note: this is for the 2007 DICE model as described in “A Question of Balance”; he has increased the discount rates since then.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        After that I focused on logic, which today I find in short supply on both sides of the climate debate.

        Funny to see you write that. If that were true you wouldn’t be having so much trouble understanding the clear logic of why you, and those who share your ideological beliefs, need to stop advocating economically irrational polices. Instead you need to advocate economically rational policies if you are serious about wanting to make progress in cutting global GHG emissions.

        The logic is clear and obvious. But you don’t get it. So your comment brought a smile to my face.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        I swear on a stack of bibles

        Are those bibles the IPCC AR4 bible? Just wondering. :)

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        Having read that you’ve been around since 1972 (so not a kid) and what you’ve done in computational analysis, I am truly surprised at what seems to me to be a ‘bloody minded’ obstinacy against economically rational policy to cut GHG emissions.

        It seems to me, from our recent discussion that you are ideologically bound to be anti-nuclear and to believe in renewable energy, no matter how clear it is that the policies you support are economically irrational.

        Every argument you put up to support your beliefs I showed was wrong, and not just a little wrong, but wrong by a wide margin. One example was you thought that coal generated electricity was 5 times more expensive than solar. I showed you, with authoritative figures, that the opposite is the case. Solar is at least 5 times more expensive than coal.

        You argued that “the wind is always blowing somewhere” so with a large enough grid the fluctuations are reduced so that wind power can be relied on. I showed that in practice that is not the case with actual data from the Australian electricity grid. I pointed out that the same has been shown with real data for all other major electricity grids.

        You do not acknowledge when you have read an comment and accept or reject the point, so I don’t know if you saw these comments, and if so, whether or not you accepted them or still reject them.

        Did you see mu summary of the main points I’d made on the “CO2 snow sequestration in Antarctica” thread at the end of the thread here:

        http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/24/a-modest-proposal-for-sequestration-of-co2-in-the-antarctic/#comment-234611

        To me the solution looks logical, rational and obvious. Why don’t you get it?

        To summarise my point: having read what you’ve done over the past 40 years, I am truly surprised at what seems to me to be a ‘bloody minded’ obstinacy against economically rational policy to cut GHG emissions.

      • I am truly surprised at what seems to me to be a ‘bloody minded’ obstinacy against economically rational policy to cut GHG emissions.

        Thou dost protest too much, methinks.

  79. Looking briefly through the comments today, I wondered what got the panties of so many CAGWers in a bunch all at once?

    I wonder if it’s the fact that their only chance in the debate, Barack Canute Obama, has poll numbers tracking as inexorably downward as the temperature record for the last 14 or so years? (And that with the polls being structured to maximize his position.)

    I mean, as long as he can keep the people of this country from undoing the implementation of decarbonization by fiat at the EPA, they can tell themselves that they remain relevant. But if there is a Republican president, house and senate in two months, the debate is over.

    Obama trails Romney by about 15% among independents, but still leads in the polls by about 1%. Why? Because the pollsters are sampling 8-10% more Democrats than Republicans. As the election draws nearer, they will start doing more honest sampling, and the results are probably going to make 2010 look like a blip on the political radar screen. (Most of the pollsters have already started to sample more likely voters, rather than registered voters, which accounts for some of the change.)

    I bet our resident CAGW progressive drones get even more prolific, and vociferous, as the election draws nearer. It’s going to be a laugh riot around here for the foreseeable future.

    • I have read that because of the high turnout of the last presidential election, obama will have to get 96% of all the votes he got last time to
      win. I think he’s toast unless something very unsavory happens.

      • @Kent Draper: “I have read that because of the high turnout of the last presidential election, obama will have to get 96% of all the votes he got last time to win.”

        Well, though he was pretty obviously born in Mombasa’s lovely Coast Province General Hospital (he wanted to be near his mom at the time), our Community-Organizer-in-Chief got his political start as a thug in the Cook County machine, so we’re looking at a real Chicago-style election, aren’t we?

        With a George Soros company in Spain tallying the ballots, I don’t think he’ll have any problem getting at least 122% of all the votes cast in every one of the “battleground” states.

        Do you?

      • That doesn’t pass the sniff test. The decision of what system to use to count votes is a local decision. They have other ways to cheat. King County WA wrote the book on it.

      • Ooh, do I need to put up a [/sarc] tag just for you, P.E.?

        The Scytyl stench doesn’t trigger your personal “sniff test,” then?

        May I recommend an otorhinolaryngologist to get a proper assessment of your ravaged and non-functional olfactory sense? This could be the sign of pathology potentially dangerous to your health as a citizen of a constitutionally constrained republic.

    • I noticed that, too. The numbers coming out of the pollsters don’t smell right. Call me a skeptic.

    • Gary M

      We’ll have models “hindcasting” the election the next day – thereby proving that they can also make reliable forecasts.

      Max

    • @GaryM: I wonder if it’s the fact that their only chance in the debate, Barack Canute Obama, has poll numbers tracking as inexorably downward as the temperature record for the last 14 or so years? (And that with the polls being structured to maximize his position.)

      Yes! CO2 doesn’t influence temperature, presidents influence temperature.

      But Obama wasn’t president the past 14 years, Clinton and Bush had a hand in it too. Let’s check where these presidents stand on their temperature record. Heck, let’s go even further back: four presidents!

      GH Bush, 1989-1993 REPUBLICAN—DOWN

      WJ Clinton, 1993-2001 DEMOCRAT—–UP

      GW Bush, 2001-2009 REPUBLICAN—DOWN

      BH Obama, 2009-now DEMOCRAT—–UP

      The presidential temperature record couldn’t be clearer.

      Some like it hot. They should vote for a Democrat. Those seeking coolth should elect a Republican.

  80. David Springer

    Joshua | August 31, 2012 at 1:26 pm |

    ” People take themselves waaaaaaaaaay to seriously.”

    Right. Just recently some anonymous coward wanted to bet me something like $50,000 he wasn’t afraid to use his real name. I offered to bet him $10. He declined which proves he or she is indeed afraid but there’s a point at which greed might overcome fear.

    How about $11 little buddy? ROFLMAO

  81. I was having a nice discussion with Very Tall Guy on the issue of the value of total climate sensitivcity. He accused me of being arrogant and unscientific, and I defended myself vigorously. What happened then?

    Absolute silence.

    I probably have not left enough time to get a reply, but let me assume that, as happened when I had the same sort of discussion with Steven Mosher, that I am not going to get a reply.

    Let me put up a challenge to any proponent of CAGW. I will vigorously defend the position that there is no valid science to support any particular value of total climate sensitivity.

    Does anyone want to take up the challenge?

    • Jim Cripwell

      This is deja vu all over again…

      You have posted this challenge before, and it has always been followed by silence (except for an occasional ad-hom or side track).

      There is a very basic reason for this:

      There is no empirical scientific evidence, based on actual physical observations or reproducible experimentation, which supports the IPCC “CAGW” premise, i.e. that AGW, caused principally by human CO2 emissions, has been the primary cause of late 20th century warming, and that this represents a serious potential threat to humanity and our environment, unless CO2 emissions are curtailed dramatically.

      As an integral part of this, there is also no empirical scientific evidence to support a mean 2xCO2 CS of around 3 degC, as the climate models cited by IPCC have estimated.

      Nor is there any such evidence to support the theoretical “no-feedback” CS of around 1 degC.

      It’s all based on climate model simulations and theory.

      Max

      • “It’s all based on climate model simulations and theory.”

        Which is based on empirical evidence.

      • lolwot, you write ““It’s all based on climate model simulations and theory.”
        Which is based on empirical evidence”

        Reference please. Where is there any reference which provides any empirical evidence to support any value for total climate sensitivity?

      • eg: “But would adding carbon dioxide in the upper layers of the air significantly change the surface temperature? Only detailed computations, point by point across the infrared spectrum and layer by layer down through the atmosphere, could answer that question. By 1956, such computations could be carried out thanks to the increasing power of digital computers. The physicist Gilbert N. Plass took up the challenge of calculating the transmission of radiation through the atmosphere (he too did it out of sheer curiosity, as a diversion from his regular work making calculations for weapon engineers). He nailed down the likelihood that adding more CO2 would increase the interference with infrared radiation. Going beyond this qualitative result, Plass calculated that doubling the level would bring a 3-4°C rise.”

        http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm

      • Thanks for the reference lolwot. I find it less than satisfactory. It does not state how Plass did the calculations. It is also suspicious that the sentence starts “Going beyond this qualitative result, ” So Plass went from a qualitative result, to an empirical value. I dont think so. You also forgot to quote the next sentence in the reference, namely “The computation, like Callendar’s, paid no attention to possible changes in water vapor and clouds, and overall was too crude to convince scientists” Not very convincing. Really, lolwot, if thst is the best you can provide, then it is completley unconvincing.

      • Keep reading, it’s all there. The empirical basis for the calculations that are performed to this day is spelt out. Did you read the parts about how scientists figured out the absorption spectrum of CO2?

        “It does not state how Plass did the calculations”

        Probably if you read his paper you’d find out.

      • lolwot youn write “Probably if you read his paper you’d find out.”

        I did read the paper, and I did not find out.

        You also write “Did you read the parts about how scientists figured out the absorption spectrum of CO2? ”

        Yes I did. I have stated specifically that although it is impossible to actually measure the change in radiative forcing which occurs as more CO2 is added to the atmopshere, theoretical estimations have established that the change is significant. 3.7 Wm-2 is not unreasonable. The scientific impossibility is to show how much this change in radiative forcing affects global atmospheric temperatures. That is the 64 trillion dollar question, which no one can answer. Including Plass. Including yourself, Steven Mosher and Very Tall Guy. And, I suspect, our hostess. There is no valid scientific way to go from change in the CO2 concentration in the atmospbhere to change in global atmospheric temperatures. So no-one has any idea what the value is for total climate sensitivity. Not the IPCC, not the Royal Society, not the American Physical Society, not the American Meteorologoical Society. No-one.

      • 3.6 degrees in hundreds of years. Glass predicted at then 1953 current rate of
        CO2 emissions by 2000 the temperature would be 1C warmer than 1900, it ended up being 0.7C warmer with a 37% increase in CO2 instead of Glass’ estimated 30% increase in CO2. Another century, another 0.75C. Since the1900 temperature was depressed, likely due to northern hemisphere volcanic forcing, a doubling of CO2 would produce approximately 0.8C of warming. It appears that the baseline or initial conditions may impact the accuracy of estimates :)

        Another 5 centuries of business as usual would seem unlikely to some, Skeptics.

      • Plass’ analysis suffer from the same uncertainties that today’s modeled “sensitivity” estimates suffer from, combined impact of feed backs.

        His prediction, 1 C for 30% increase for the period 1900 to 2000. Result, approximate .7C for 37% increase in CO2 alone. 1/.30=

      • Mark B (number 2)

        Thanks lolwot for the the link to the article: (http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm)

        I learned a lot from it. The first 1/3 of it was really informative, but as it progressed, it drifted towards speculation and dogma. I suppose that if you want credibility in an argument, the best policy is to come across as plausible as possible at the start and then move on to the more disputable (or controversial) stuff later on.
        It was an interesting read, though.

      • Plass’ analysis suffer from the same uncertainties that today’s modeled “sensitivity” estimates suffer from, combined impact of feed backs.

        His prediction, 1 C for 30% increase for the period 1900 to 2000. Result, approximate .7C for 37% increase in CO2 alone. 1/.30=3.3C for doubling versus .7/.37=1.89 if all warming from 1900 was related to CO2.

        If 50% of the warming were natural or due to other anthropogenic causes, .35/.37=0.95C per doubling. Which just happens to be the no feed back estimate of climate sensitivity.

        So lolwot is using a prediction made in 1953 without comparing it to observation.

        Arrhenius also made a high initial estimate. Why are observations showing both to be 2 to 4 times too large?

        Likely because both used initial conditions lower than the normal range of natural variability. The Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age were predominately regional events, the northern hemisphere higher latitudes, where both just happened to live.

        Simple plot of the impact of volcanic forcing on the northern and southern hemispheres. The northern hemisphere is 3 to 4 times more sensitive to forcing than the southern.

        Another simple plot, the oceans, the least sensitive to forcing, appear to be approaching an equilibrium of some kind, likely internal. It is after all the internal energy balance that drives the natural oscillations.

        For the warming to be global, both hemispheres would have to warm. With the southern hemisphere much less sensitive to atmospheric forcing and much more sensitive to solar forcing, northern hemisphere dominate estimates would be consistently high. Imagine that?

        Here is another funny little quirk in the feed back loop. A 1C increase in “average” temperature should produce a 4% increase in atmospheric water vapor. That would mean a 4% increase in latent cooling or 3.2 Wm-2 of negative feed back for each 3.7Wm-2 of additional CO2 forcing. Kinda explains the huge difference between land and ocean sensitivities.

        If the object of blog discussions on climate change is the science, it would seem that lolwot would look at the results of 50 plus year old estimates instead of just parroting what someone estimated without offer some critique on the value of the estimate. Then he may just be activating pseudo science.

      • I know Max. “If at foist you dont succeed, try, try and try again”.

      • Max,

        This is getting slightly off topic but as this posting is about activating your science, or de-activating it, I might just try to link your comment to that. Judith is very concerned about the integrity of science so this could be a chance for her to display that in a practical way.

        Judith has put climate sensitivity in the range of 1-6 degC to the 66% confidence level. I once suggested that she was in fact saying that this meant that there was an approximately 1 in 6 chance of climate sensitivity being higher than 6 degC.

        Judith disputed this with a comment that the distribution probably wasn’t symmetrical. I asked her a supplementary question with a view to assigning percentages for a complete range 0-1degC , 1-2 degC , 2-3 degC etc, but then Judith went quiet.

        She’s probably not speaking to me again at the moment, but maybe you could ask her?

        At the same time you could ask her for empirical evidence in support of her answer.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Yes tempterrain, it is indeed striking that not only Judith Curry, but also self-styled “economists” like Faustino, and self-styled “rationalists” like Peter Lang, commonly are exceedingly unwilling, and even are cognitively incapable, of assigning concrete probabilities to statements like “James Hansen’s worldview is scientifically, economically, and morally correct.”

        Consider a rational adjustment like this one:

        In this of this years record drought, heat, and ice-melt, the rational estimate of the probability “Hansen’s worldview is correct” has raised from 65% to 70%, and long-term discount rates for climate-change harm have lowered from 0.7% to 0.6%.

        Such adjustments are rational, and well-supported by the science and by history, eh?

        Yet we all see that denialist cognition cannot conceive such adjustments, eh?   :eek:   :oops:   :eek:   :oops:   :eek:

        Why is that, the world wonders?   :?:   :?:   :?:

      • Well, yes, I would agree. If I think that anyone is incorrect I do try to make a point of saying what I do believe to be correct.

        But not those on Judith’s and others side of the argument, or so it seems. I’m not too concerned about Peter Lang and other right wing types. But I am disappointed that Judith backs away from any scientific discussion. She’s a climate scientist and the stated reason for the existence of Climate Etc is to discuss scientific topics.

        I’ve asked a reasonable question, so why no answer?

  82. Each of you here can influence the rate of response by activating your science. – Jane Lubchenco, NOAA Administrator

    Translation: It’s time all of us schoolteachers of global warming come out of the closet and admit we are activists for the Left and bigger government.

  83. We need bold science and bold action.

    What the heck is “bold science”?

  84. Off topic, but maybe not really…

    http://sistertoldjah.com/archives/2012/08/31/obama-sand-sculpture-on-display/

    Just too creepy for words.

    The man who single wants to single handedly (if you consider the EPA his hand) impose decarbonation on the U.S. over the objections of its voters, building a monument to himself for his coronation, I mean nomination.

    An appropriate caption for this exercise in megalomania – American Pharaoh.

  85. The bold science is that those who have been given much, much will be required in return–e.g., Solyndra, Ener 1, Beacon Poer, Abound Solar, Amonix Solar, Spectra Watt, Eastern Energy–all of whom received taxpayer dollars and are now bankrupt, were all Obama campaign contributors.

  86. “To questions regarding what should be done, she went on to testify that, in her judgment, AGW, even in its worst incarnation, does not represent an existential threat to humanity in this century and that we should, therefore, refrain from undertaking drastic actions, the unintended consequences of which we cannot yet foresee.”

    That sounds like advocacy to me.
    ————————————————–
    To suggest that we refrain from taking drastic action with unforseeable consequences is policy advocacy? Sounds like sanity, aka common sense, to me. In what circumstances would you advocate taking drastic action with unforseeable consequences?

    When I worked as a Ministerial adviser, we used to get letters advocating drastic action with unforseeable consequences all the time. They tended to be written in different coloured inks, with lots of caps and exclamation marks.

    In fact, they remind me a bit of the modern equivalent, a poster on this site, whose brightly coloured, weirdly formatted epistles are immediately identifiable and therefore easy to scroll straight past.

    • “In what circumstances would you advocate taking drastic action with unforseeable consequences?”

      Climate deniers advocate the drastic action of emitting 1 trillion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere over the next 100 years with unforeseeable consequences.

      • lolwot, ‘drastic’ does not mean what you think it means.

      • The act of emitting 3 trillion tons CO2 into the atmosphere will be a direct consequence of relying on fossil fuel energy sources this century. Something many skeptics advocate.

        It is indeed a drastic action.

        drastic: “Likely to have a strong or far-reaching effect; radical and extreme”

        Seems to me you used the wrong word.

        “To suggest that we refrain from taking action with unforseeable consequences is policy advocacy? Sounds like sanity, aka common sense, to me.”

        Indeed suggesting that we refrain from burning through trillions of tons of carbon is indeed common sense.

      • lolowot,

        Something many skeptics advocate.

        That is not what I interpret from the comments on Climate Etc. It is clear to me from the comments that it is the CAGW Alarmists and ‘Progressives’ who oppose rational solutions (the only ones that will work) to cutting CO2 emissions.

        For an example, they advocate (and insist on) irrational policies like carbon taxes and renewable energy and oppose rational policies like removing the impediment they (mostly) have caused to be imposed on nuclear power, thus preventing the world from having a low-cost alternative to fossil fuels.

      • I said many for a reason. I don’t have a problem with skeptics who advocate nuclear and such. I was talking about the large number of posters who think we should emit as much CO2 as possible because it’s plant food, or because it’ll be cheaper, or because it’ll stave off some ice age.

      • The point I am making is that the CAGW alarmists / greenies / ‘Progressives’ are hypocritical when they criticise sceptics since it is the ‘Progressives / greenies that got us into this position in the first place – by blocking rational and advocating irrational policies (for the past 50 years).

      • Sure I accept that if there hadn’t been such opposition to nuclear then nearly all countries would be like France generating electricity by primarily nuclear now and CO2 emissions would be hugely lower (perhaps only a quarter of today’s emissions). Unfortunately the nuclear well is poisoned.

      • The nuclear well is only poisoned in public perception. That can be changed – but only by those who caused it and continue to cause it.

        The paranoi and radiation-phobia can be undone.

        The well can be unpoisoned by you and those who share your ideological beliefs.

        But, as long as you bury your head in the sand and don’t do anything about changing it (after all, it is your ideology that is the problem here), then anything you advocates should be seen for what it is – irrational, ideological nonsense.

        Your vitriol directed at skeptics and your accusations about lack of action and opposition to your irrational policies should be seen as just the rantings of loonies.

      • I can only advocate nuclear as part of the solution to reducing CO2 levels. I can’t force nuclear deniers to stop opposing it, anymore than I can force climate deniers to stop opposing action to reduce CO2 emissions.

      • I think you mean carbon, not carbon dioxide? And I would hardly call that ‘drastic action’. If the carbon cycle estimates are to be believed, in that same period of time (100 years), plant respiration will emit 6 trillion tons, microbial respiration and decomposition will emit another 6 trillion tons, and the sea surface will emit 9 trillion tons. One trillion tons looks like peanuts in comparison.

      • doesn’t look like peanuts to me:

      • That’s an interesting plot, lolwot, but I believe it’s in two colors because you have appended measurements of atmospheric CO2 from Mauna Loa to uncalibrated proxy CO2 estimates from Vostok ice core data. And the sample rates for the two sets of data are not really comparable.

        Why don’t you see what the plot looks like if you append the Mauna Loa data to the CO2 estimates from plant stomata?

      • @lolwot: doesn’t look like peanuts to me: http://www.actingtogether.co.uk/images/CO2graph.gif

        Nor to me: dividing one by zero gives a CO2 growth rate faster than a speeding peanut, faster even than a speeding photon.

        In fact I’d say it was impossible to display the last four deglaciations and the current rise in CO2 in any understandable way using a linear time scale.

        But if you take the year 2200 to be zero on your scale, and work backwards with a log-linear scale, you get this plot, which makes the slope of CO2 finite but positive for plus or minus a century.

        The extrapolation from now to 2100 is based on the CDIAC tables for CO2 emissions attributable to fossil fuel, cement product, and land use changes, which has consistently doubled just under every 30 years since the early 19th century, making it plausible (though of course by no means guaranteed) that it will continue to do so. And the associated temperature is based on a climate sensitivity of 2.83 C/doubling of CO2, with surface heating delayed by 15 years from when the CO2 was emitted. The delay is due to the ocean’s heat-capacitive effect while the noise is from the assumption that all other phenomena between 1850 and now are roughly cyclic and will continue unabated through 2100.

      • Hmmm, now it begins to look like some kind of sports implement with a half-million year handle. I wonder if we can make use of that somehow.

      • now it begins to look like some kind of sports implement

        Hockey sticks made from logs? :) You may be thinking of Abe Lincoln or Paul Bunyan. But not Mann, +4 C is way bigger.

      • willb | September 1, 2012 at 11:33 am |
        That’s an interesting plot, lolwot, but I believe it’s in two colors because you have appended measurements of atmospheric CO2 from Mauna Loa to uncalibrated proxy CO2 estimates from Vostok ice core data.
        —————————————————————-
        Measurements of CO2 from Vostok ice core use gas chromatography to directly measure the CO2 concentration in trapped air in the ice. No proxy involved in that measurement.

      • Owen, thanks for the correction. What does the CO2 concentration in the trapped air of the Vostok ice core represent? Is it a snapshot of atmospheric CO2 during an instant of time? Is it an average of the atmospheric CO2 over a year? Over 10 years? Over 100 years? Over 1000 years?

      • Vaughan Pratt: “The extrapolation from now to 2100 is based on the CDIAC tables for CO2 emissions …”

        Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe your extrapolation is also based on the following assumptions:
        Every year, one half of the anthropogenic CO2 emissions for that year are removed from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and absorption into the ocean. The remaining half of the ACO2 emitted that same year stays in the atmosphere virtually forever.

      • Willb, even more precisely, 55% is absorbed into the surface and 45% stays up. It’s a nice question how the 55% absorption rate is divided between sea and land, not one that I have any insight into currently.

        And the fact that the Mauna Loa measurements show an increase year over year suggests that the emissions are not in balance with the uptake.

        If the emissions show an increase of 2.5% year over year, and so do the Mauna Loa measurements, how do you infer any failure of balance?

      • And not when you consider that those emissions are roughly in balance with uptake. The ACO2 emissions are additional to those natural balanced emissions and are cumulative.

      • It depends what you mean by ‘roughly in balance’. If the emissions vary by 10% relative to the uptake, the difference will still overwhelm the ACO2 emissions. And the fact that the Mauna Loa measurements show an increase year over year suggests that the emissions are not in balance with the uptake.

      • @willb (in response to Michael): It depends what you mean by ‘roughly in balance’.

        Hopefully Michael won’t mind my offering a meaning. By “in balance” in this context I understand that, over any given period of time, the additional uptake (downtake?) by nature from the atmosphere plus the increase in the Keeling curve equals the human emissions of CO2 including those attributable to changes in use of land by humans.

        Observations over both short (1 year) and long (1 century) periods of time suggest that the Keeling curve is registering 45% of the human emissions. On the assumption that the rest of the CO2 is going into the land and the sea (as opposed say to decomposing into or reacting with other substances), it follows that the rest must be 55%.

        Currently that’s the most accurate way we have of estimating the rest. However improved accuracy of other methods such as monitoring CO2 gradients in the atmosphere near the surface and levels of the relevant chemicals and pH in the ocean surface layer may provide competitive independent methods.

      • Observations over both short (1 year) and long (1 century) periods of time suggest that the Keeling curve

        Sorry, that should have been “the Keeling curve extrapolated back to a constant 286-288 ppmv,” based on a doubling period for ACO2 (the anthropogenic contribution) of around 28-29 years.

      • @Vaughan Pratt

        The CDIAC data you referenced earlier show approximately a 2.5% increase year over year from 1960 to now. The Keeling curve (Mauna Loa data) shows approximately a 1.8% increase year over year for the same period. Because of this difference, I tentatively conclude that either your assumptions about what is happening with anthropogenic CO2 are incorrect, or natural emissions and uptake (downtake?) are not perfectly in balance, or some combination of both is occurring.

        I’m interested in the discussion but I’m not sure it’s on topic here.

      • @willb: The Keeling curve (Mauna Loa data) shows approximately a 1.8% increase year over year for the same period. Because of this difference, I tentatively conclude that either your assumptions about what is happening with anthropogenic CO2 are incorrect, or natural emissions and uptake (downtake?) are not perfectly in balance, or some combination of both is occurring.

        (Sorry about the delay, I don’t return to older threads as often as I could if I were doing this full time.)

        Bear in mind what I wrote above:

        a doubling period for ACO2 (the anthropogenic contribution) of around 28-29 years

        You’re assuming that we’re responsible for 100% of the CO2 in the atmosphere. On the assumption of a natural background of around 287 ppmv, the current level of 394 ppmv represents an ACO2 (the anthropogenic contribution) of 107 ppmv. You’ll find that ACO2 thus defined has been increasing with the same doubling period as CO2 emissions (counting land use changes) since the start of the Keeling curve, namely 2.5% a year, corresponding to a doubling period of 69.3/2.5 + 0.3 = 28.1 years.

      • @Vaughan Pratt: I agree that the best information we have for showing the yearly increase in atmospheric CO2 is the Keeling curve, which starts in 1958. But the (seasonally adjusted filled) Keeling curve does NOT show a 2.5% increase in atmospheric CO2 year-over-year. Instead, it shows an approximate year-over-year increase of 1.8%. This is easy to see by simple curve-fitting.

        The fact that you are calculating a 2.5% value assuming a pre-industrial level of 287 ppmv suggests to me that the year-over-year percentage increase may have been higher in the past, before Keeling.

      • It’s possible you misunderstood ACO2 to mean “atmospheric CO2.” This is incorrect, I’m using to mean anthropogenic CO2, namely what we have added in addition to the natural background level, assumed 287 ppmv here.

        Let me illustrate with the Keeling curve values at 28 year intervals: 2012, 1984, 1956. (I’ll estimate 1956 by linear extrapolation backwards from the first four years of the Keeling curve, giving 312.)

        2012 392 – 287 = 105
        1984 343 – 287 = 55
        1956 312 – 287 = 25

        By ACO2 I mean the numbers on the right, namely 105, 55, and 25. These are the amounts humans have increased 287 by in those years.

        From 105 to 55 corresponds to about 2.3% a year (1.023^28 = 1.89 while 105/55 = 1.91), while from 55 to 25 is about 2.8% a year (1.028^28 = 2.17 while 55/25 = 2.2). So 2.5% a year is a reasonable in-between figure.

        All this balances out very nicely.

      • @Vaughan Pratt: Your calculation of a 2.5% yearly increase sucks. It is completely dependent on your assumed background level of 287 ppmv which has nothing to do with Keeling.

        Look, the best data is Keeling data. Just use Keeling data to estimate the yearly increase of ACO2. The first available Keeling value is 314.41 ppmv (from March 1958, seasonally adjusted). Take the March values for each year from 1958 to 2012, that’s 55 data points. Plot them to get the Keeling curve. The last point on the curve, for March 2012, is 392.84 and the curve is clearly non-linear.

        Now fit an exponential curve to the Keeling curve:

        X(n+1) = X(n) + r*delta(n)

        where
        n = year number (Year 1 = 1958 and Year 55 = 2012)
        X(n) = CO2 concentration for Year n, in ppmv
        delta(n) = X(n) – X(n-1) = increase in CO2 (= ACO2) from Year n-1 to Year n
        r = ratio of delta(n+1) to delta(n)

        For a yearly ACO2 increase of 2.5%, r=1.025. So plug r=1.025 into the above equation. Set X(1) to 314.41 and adjust delta(1) so that X(55) = 392.84 (Hint: delta(1) = 0.686). Plot X(1) to X(55) on the Keeling curve.

        Now repeat with r=1.018, implying a yearly ACO2 increase of 1.8%. Re-adjust delta(1) so that X(55) = 392.84 (Hint: delta(1) = 0.86). You will see that the fit to the Keeling curve is now much better.

        Therefore, the yearly ACO2 increase is NOT 2.5%. It is more like 1.8%.

      • Therefore, the yearly ACO2 increase is NOT 2.5%. It is more like 1.8%.

        What does the A in ACO2 mean to you? That is, how are you defining ACO2?

        If you’re defining it the way I think you are, I most certainly would not be claiming any relationship between that concept and our CO2 emissions.

        Until we agree on a definition of ACO2 we’re talking at cross purposes.

      • I don’t know if analogies work for you, but let me try one anyway.

        Picture me as nature boy with a gallon of water. You’ve been slowly adding ink in the past that so far has come to a pint. Over the next three weeks you add 1, then 2, then 4 pints of ink.

        So we now have a gallon of water and a gallon of ink, two gallons altogether.

        According to you, the last addition increased the total liquid by an amount equal to 25% of its final volume. According to me, the last addition increased the ink by an amount equal to 50% of its final volume. Which one of us is right?

        In the distinction I’m talking about, water is natural CO2 and ink is anthropogenic CO2, ACO2.

        Going back to the analogy, although prediction is a mug’s game in general, in this case I can guarantee 100% that as long as you continue to insist that the last addition increased the liquid by an amount equal to 25% of its final volume, as opposed to increasing the ink by 50%, you and I are never going to agree.

      • Vaughan Pratt: “What does the A in ACO2 mean to you? That is, how are you defining ACO2?”

        I thought I was being quite clear:
        ACO2 = delta(n) = X(n) – X(n-1) = increase in CO2 from Year n-1 to Year n

        X(n-1) is the CO2 concentration for Year n-1.
        X(n) is the CO2 concentration for Year n.

        ACO2 = X(n) – X(n-1)

        Is this not clear? Is this not the exact same definition you are using?

      • Vaughan Pratt: “I don’t know if analogies work for you …”

        I love analogies. Let me re-word yours a bit.

        I’m picturing you as nature boy with a gallon of water that I’m adulterating with ink. I start by adding a pint of ink and over the next 7 weeks I add 1 pint of ink each week to the water. At the end of 7 weeks we now have a gallon of water and a gallon of ink, two gallons altogether.

        According to both you and me the last addition increased the amount of ink by (100/7) = 14.3%.

        Since the initial adulteration with 1 pint, the quantity of ink has increased by a factor of 8 over the course of 7 weeks. The ratio of 8 to 1 corresponds to an average increase of about 34.6% a week (1.346^7 = 8.004).

        Over the course of the seven weeks, the weekly ink contribution has been constant at 1 pint. On a weekly basis, the ink contribution is neither increasing nor decreasing. On a weekly basis, net change to the ink contribution is 0%.

        0% does not equal 34.6%

        Similarly, even if the CDIAC data showed a 0% increase year over year from 1960 to now and the ACO2 simply increased in a linear fashion, your method of calculation would still be showing a yearly 2.5% increase in ACO2.

      • @willb: Over the course of the seven weeks, the weekly ink contribution has been constant at 1 pint. On a weekly basis, the ink contribution is neither increasing nor decreasing. On a weekly basis, net change to the ink contribution is 0%.

        How is the “net change to the ink contribution” relevant to anything? We’re interested in how the amount of ink grows. Starting with 1 pint, when you add 1 pint a week, that’s an increase in the ink of 100% the first week, 50% the second, then 33%, 25%, 20%, and so on. Depending on how you define “average,” the average of those percentages over seven deposits will end up somewhere in the 30-40% range, e.g. 34.59% when defined your way (1.3459^7 = 7.999992), or
        H_7 / 7 = 37.04%
        (where H_n is the n-th harmonic number, H_7 = 2.592857…) when you simply average the percentages themselves.

        It happens to be true that if you add x percent to your balance periodically, the amount added each time is also x percent larger than the previous amount added. But that’s an idiosyncrasy of balances that increase following a geometric progression, and does not hold for balances that increase following some other law such as yours.

        In both your example and mine, the object of interest is not the rate of change of the deposit but that of the balance, which is what my analogy was referring to. It is an irrelevant distraction to point out that in the case of geometric progressions the deposits also increase geometrically.

      • Vaughan Pratt: “In both your example and mine, the object of interest is not the rate of change of the deposit but that of the balance …”

        Well if that is your position, then what is the significance of your attempting to show a 2.5% increase year over year in ACO2? I thought you were trying to show a match to the CDIAC emissions increase of 2.5% year over year. Why did you mention the CDIAC data at all?

        The CDIAC data is a geometric progression with a common ratio of approximately 1.025.

      • I thought you were trying to show a match to the CDIAC emissions increase of 2.5% year over year.

        You thought correctly. My apologies if I was not clear, but there are deposits and balances in both cases. When matching ACO2 to CDIAC, match deposits to deposits and balances to balances, don’t mix them.

        In the case of CDIAC, balances are the cumulative deposits so far, not the individual deposits listed in that dataset. Your example nicely illustrates what goes wrong when matching balances to deposits, which I think is how you were interpreting my comparison.

        1. Balances. These give a clearer long term picture. For ACO2 the balance in 2010 can be estimated at around 390 – 287 = 103 ppmv. Three decades ago (1980) it was 338 – 287 = 51 ppmv. So ACO2 essentially doubled in that period, corresponding to a CAGR of 2.34%.

        For CDIAC the balance in 2010 is 364.5 GtC, in 1980 it was 163.8 GtC, corresponding to a CAGR of 2.7%. However that neglects land use changes which are here. For 2010 (taking 2006-2010 to be 1.5 Gtc annually) the balance since 1850 is 163.5 while for 1980 it is 117.6 GtC (so the CO2 contribution from land use changes doesn’t grow as fast as fossil fuel). Adding fossil plus land-use, we get 364.5+163.5 = 528.0 for 2010 and 163.8+117.6 = 281.4 for 1980. This drags the 2.7% figure all the way down to 2.1%, even lower than the 2.34% for ACO2. (The assumption of slowly changing land use changes makes quite a difference. However the land use change contribution is much harder to estimate and therefore presumably not as reliable as the fossil fuel data.)

        2. Deposits. For ACO2 these are the annual increases in the Keeling curve (here it makes no difference what we take the natural base to be; 280 gives the same results as 287). The Keeling curve in 2010 was rising at about 2 ppmv a year, about 2% of the ACO2 then of 103 ppmv. Three decades ago it was rising at about 1 ppmv, but that was still around 2% of the 51% level of ACO2.

        For CDIAC the deposits are the raw data. The changes year to year fluctuate all over the place: here for example is the CAGR for CDIAC fossil fuel, which fluctuates between -15% and 15%. When averaged out, the year to year fluctuations are somewhere between 2% and 3%, it’s hard to say exactly as can be seen from that CAGR graph.

        ================

        But all this does is show that the balances in each case are accumulating at somewhat over 2% a year. If the ACO2 balance had been 1000 times the CDIAC balance at all times in the past 200 years, that would be pretty conclusive proof that whatever is causing ACO2 to increase, it cannot possibly be anthropogenic emissions!

        The atmosphere consists of 5140/28.97 = 177.4 examoles (10^18) of air. (5140 is the mass of the atmosphere in teratonnes, 28.97 is the weighted average molecular weight of air.) 1 GtC is 1000/12 = 83.3 teramoles (10^12) of CO2 (the carbon in 1000 moles of CO2 weighs 12 kg, and a gigatonne is a tera-kg). Hence 1 GtC is 83.3/177.4 = 0.47 ppmv (the m(illion) in ppmv is the ratio of an examole to a teramole).

        The 528 GtC of emitted carbon (counting land use changes) is therefore 248 ppmv. But ACO2 in 2010 was only 103 ppmv. Hence the fraction of emitted CO2 that is still retained is 103/248 = 41.5%. (That’s a little lower than the 45% I was quoting before, I need to check the arithmetic again. If the land use contribution has been overestimated then 45% will be closer to the truth.)

        The bottom line is that there is an excellent match between CO2 emitted since 1750 (the sum of the annual emissions) and the rise in atmospheric CO2 from 287 ppmv prior to 1800 to 390 ppmv in 2010, provided we assume that 55-60% of the total emissions for the past century or two has been absorbed back into the ground and oceans. Moreover the year-to-year balance is also pretty good, albeit far more variable.

        I appreciate your patience with my lack of clarity. I had assumed wrongly that it was obvious ACO2 had to be compared with the cumulative CDIAC data.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        A better metric of atmospheric CO2, which corresponds to its relative climate forcing, is the total atmospheric concentration.

        This has been increasing at an exponential rate of around 0.45% per year since the mid 1970s, and this appears to have leveled off at a rate of 0.5% per year.

        It is quite reasonable to assume that this rate could continue over this century, even though the rate of population increase is projected by UN and others to decrease dramatically from the current exponential rate of 1.3% per year to around 0.4%, with population reaching around 10 billion by 2100.

        IPCC uses this assumption for its “scenarios and storylines B1 and A1T”, with CO2 levels increasing from today’s 392 ppmv to a 2100 value of 584 or 608 ppmv respectively.

        http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/special-reports/spm/sres-en.pdf

        Assuming that 50% of the CO2 “emitted” by humans “remains” in the atmosphere (as is now the case), this means we would increase the global per capita CO2 emissions by around 50% from today to 2100 (they increased by 10% from 1990 to today).

        Of course, the emergence of new cost competitive energy alternates could reduce this significantly.

        We should also keep in mind that there is an “upper limit” beyond which human CO2 emissions cannot increase the atmospheric concentration, as constrained by the global availability of fossil fuels.

        Optimistic estimates (WEC 2010) tell us that we have used up around 15% of ALL the fossil fuel resources that were EVER on our planet, leaving 85% to go (as “inferred possible fossil fuel resources”). [Many other studies estimate the remaining fossil fuel reserves to be much lower.]

        Since the first 15% got us from an estimated “pre-industrial” 280 ppmv CO2 in the atmosphere to 392 ppmv today, it is reasonable to expect that the remaining 85% will get us from 392 to around 1,030 ppmv WHEN THEY ARE ALL GONE (some day in the far distant future).

        Will this occur in 200 years, in 300 years or never?

        Who knows?

        We are beginning to move into “never-never-land” here, Vaughan.

        Max

      • @manacker: A better metric of atmospheric CO2, which corresponds to its relative climate forcing, is the total atmospheric concentration. This has been increasing at an exponential rate of around 0.45% per year since the mid 1970s, and this appears to have leveled off at a rate of 0.5% per year.

        Max, this little calculation of yours has become a mantra for you, whose errors are merely an inconvenient truth that you find convenient to pretend don’t exist.

        As I’ve pointed out to you on a number of occasions. a raised exponential (a curve of the general form 1+exp(t)) is a much better fit to the Keeling curve than a non-raised one (the kind you advocate). A raised exponential can be fitted to an accuracy of 1 ppmv, an exponential to no better than 8 ppmv.

        And that’s just for the short 1958-now period covered by the Keeling curve. For longer periods your model completely falls apart, hindcasting well under 100 ppmv for 1800. That’s not a mere 8 ppmv discrepancy, it’s off by about a hundred ppmv. Lots of luck getting anyone to take that seriously.

        Furthermore I’ve pointed out to you on some of those occasions that not only does an exponential make no sense numerically, it makes no sense physically. Nature started out with some 280 or 290 ppmv a few thousand years ago (after the last deglaciation that raised CO2 from 180 ppmv back to its normal peak). Around the start of the 19th century, as the CDIAC records show we began adding a serious amount of CO2 to nature’s contribution, an amount which has been increasing exponentially ever since. Your exponential model of the whole thing would imply that whatever is raising CO2 is raising nature’s contribution as well. Why would it do that?

        As the foregoing discussion with willb explains, in considerable quantitative detail, the CO2 we’ve emitted over the past two centuries is a little more than twice the amount that has been added during that period to the 280-290 ppmv level. This has remained true over the past two centuries. That would be far from true with your model. The Keeling curve confirms this since 1958, and furthermore a raised exponential hindcasts far better than your exponential model as noted above.

        Your 100% certainty of your position is based on a model of the atmosphere that has neither numerical nor empirical support. Yet you condemn others for their certainty even when it is grounded on models that fit the data better and also fit the likely physics of what’s happening better.

      • @Vaughan Pratt | September 11, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
        Thanks for taking the time to write that informative and rather extensive explanation. I’m afraid I did misunderstand your analogy and I see now how you are comparing CDIAC cumulative data to the cumulative ACO2 concentration in the atmosphere (a ‘balances’ comparison).

        After contemplating your explanation, I think we are probably going to have to agree to disagree on which is the better metric: balances or deposits. I tend to think the deposits comparison is better because:
        1) It relies only on the Keeling data, which is the best data we currently have for atmospheric CO2 concentration.
        2) Until the ice core data has been calibrated against the Keeling data, there is going to be some uncertainty that these two measurements are measuring exactly the same parameter.
        3) As time progresses, the percent yearly increase from the balances method (cumulative data) will tend to zero, requiring a higher measurement precision than would be needed by the deposits method.

        However, I can see from your explanation that you have some good reasons for preferring the balances method.

      • @willb (arguing for deposits): It relies only on the Keeling data, which is the best data we currently have for atmospheric CO2 concentration.

        The CDIAC data tabulates deposits, the Keeling data tabulates balances. I agree with you that the Keeling data is the gold standard for atmospheric CO2, but how does that argue for deposits over balances? It would seem to argue for the opposite.

        2) Until the ice core data has been calibrated against the Keeling data, there is going to be some uncertainty that these two measurements are measuring exactly the same parameter.

        While I find it interesting that the Vostok ice core CO2 is at 285 ppmv in 2000 BC, nothing I do depends on that. Based on nothing but the Arrhenius logarithmic law, the assumption that ACO2 is growing exponentially, and the data from the Keeling curve, I do a least squares fit to HADCRUT3 whose three parameters for the influence of CO2 are CO2 level in the 18th century (the base), time for the influence of radiative forcing to show up in HADCRUT3 (the delay), and climate sensitivity s. The numbers I get are base = 287 ppmv, delay = 14.5 years, and s = 2.83 C/doubling. Ice cores play no role in this estimation.

        3) As time progresses, the percent yearly increase from the balances method (cumulative data) will tend to zero, requiring a higher measurement precision than would be needed by the deposits method.

        That would be true with your constant-deposit model, but not with a model whose deposits are growing exponentially. In the latter case the percent yearly increase from the balances method will tend to a constant; more precisely, it simply won’t change but remain at 2.5% forever.

      • @Vaughan Pratt: “I agree with you that the Keeling data is the gold standard for atmospheric CO2, but how does that argue for deposits over balances?”
        The ‘balances’ calculation depends heavily on the estimated value for atmospheric CO2 concentration several hundred years ago. To get this estimate, you can use the Vostok ice core data or you can project back from today using multiple assumptions. Either way you absolutely need this non-Keeling value for the ‘balances’ calculation. The ‘deposits’ calculation on the other hand only uses the Keeling data.

        Regarding your estimate of atmospheric CO2 level 250 years ago: You are making multiple critical assumptions in arriving at your estimate. You may have great confidence in their accuracy. I don’t.

        “… a model whose deposits are growing exponentially.”
        You yourself have already demonstrated that the Keeling data is not growing exponentially. You calculated a 2.8% increase in early Keeling data and a 2.3% increase in later Keeling data. The increase is getting smaller over time.

      • @willb: The ‘balances’ calculation depends heavily on the estimated value for atmospheric CO2 concentration several hundred years ago. To get this estimate, you can use the Vostok ice core data or you can project back from today using multiple assumptions. Either way you absolutely need this non-Keeling value for the ‘balances’ calculation. The ‘deposits’ calculation on the other hand only uses the Keeling data. Regarding your estimate of atmospheric CO2 level 250 years ago: You are making multiple critical assumptions in arriving at your estimate. You may have great confidence in their accuracy. I don’t.

        I see what you mean. Here are the assumptions I’m using.

        1. The CDIAC emissions follow an exponential curve. Looking at the CAGR of the CDIAC data, this is only roughly true.

        2. ACO2 accumulates in proportion to human emissions (CDIAC). (Hence ACO2 also grows exponentially.) This is typical of homeostatic behavior such as Le Chatelier’s Principle, which for any reaction at a given temperature has an equilibrium constant, making it at least a plausible assumption.

        3. The delay between radiative forcing and surface heating has been constant over the past century or more. (The roughly exponential growth of ACO2 justifies this; had it been linear one would expect the delay to decrease with time.)

        4. Radiative forcing depends logarithmically on CO2 level (Arrhenius’s law). This principle seems to be generally accepted on both sides of the debate.

        Do you object to them all equally, or do some strike you as more objectionable than others? (My own least favorite for now is 1, more on this below.)

        Using only those assumptions, 287 and 289 as the natural base both give visibly worse fits to HADCRUT4 than 288, which would make the ACO2 balance 106. For HADCRUT3 the best fit is closer to 287, making the ACO2 balance 107. So variations in the data (from HADCRUT3 to HADCRUT4) do cause variations in ACO2 from 106 to 107, around 1% in this case.

        When atmospheric CO2 hits 500 ppmv, the corresponding balance uncertainty is between 212 and 213, around half a percent. That is, for fixed uncertainty in base, percentage uncertainty in balance decreases with increasing CO2.

        @willb: “… a model whose deposits are growing exponentially.”
        You yourself have already demonstrated that the Keeling data is not growing exponentially. You calculated a 2.8% increase in early Keeling data and a 2.3% increase in later Keeling data. The increase is getting smaller over time.

        This is an excellent point, though two datapoints aren’t terribly much to go on—the graphs here give a more detailed picture of ACO2 assuming bases of 287 (red) and 260 (green). (The 10-year moving averages aren’t centered—they need to be shifted 5 years left.) The move to 260 had the effect of reducing the average CAGR but also making it more constant. 260 is the value that gives the best fit of a raised exponential to the Keeling curve. However 260 hindcasts poorly, whereas 287 hindcasts to 1850 in a way that fits HADCRUT much better. (Hofmann himself, to whom this exponential law for ACO2 is due (AMU 2009), proposed 280.) How to reconcile these differences?

        One plausible (to me) answer is that assumption 1 above, namely that ACO2 is growing exponentially, does not take the economy into account. Let’s check this out while sticking with assumption 2 for now, constant factor relation between CDIAC and ACO2 increments.

        As can be seen from CAGR for CDIAC emissions, emitted CO2 hummed along at a steady 5% (less when land use changes are included) from 1955 to 1980 except for a couple of short downturns including the 1974 fuel crisis. However the market went south for the first few years of 1984. (We started Sun Microsystems at the beginning of 1982 and hoped that fast growth would let us go public in two years or less, but the sour market delayed that to March 1986.) Fuel growth never returned to that of the quarter century postwar except briefly around 2002-4. (Bear in mind that these are CAGR’s, not actual emissions. A large CAGR need not mean above normal but merely a return to normal from a very low period.)

        The downturn in CAGR for the ACO2 part of the Keeling curve assuming a base of 287 ppmv seems to come roughly 10 years after the downturn of CAGR for the CDIAC data. I should plot CDIAC taking land use into account to see if that sharpens anything up.

        Many thanks for forcing me to pay closer attention to Assumption 1. I had been glossing over its shortcomings until now.

        The big question then is, what to replace Assumption 1 by? And will the Base 287 curve (at least its 10-year moving average) stay within the range 2-3 the way it’s been doing since 1958, or will it exit one side or the other? Since 2000 it just seems to be tooling along the bottom of that range with no obvious trend up or down.

      • @Vaughan Pratt: “Here are the assumptions I’m using.” (followed by 4 assumptions)

        You list 4 assumptions but you don’t mention the ones you make that I am most concerned about:

        5. Natural carbon fluxes into and out of the atmosphere have remained unchanged for hundreds of years.

        6. All long term temperature change is due only to a change in radiative forcing.

        7. All change in radiative forcing for the last several hundred years is a consequence only of a change in the concentration of atmospheric CO2. The sun has nothing to do with it.

        Are these not your assumptions as well?

        You invoke Le Chatelier’s Principle for your Assumption 2. This same principle implies that the feedbacks to an increase in CO2 radiative forcing will be negative. What’s your opinion on that?

      • @willb (re my tacit assumptions): 5. Natural carbon fluxes into and out of the atmosphere have remained unchanged for hundreds of years.

        That’s more of a hypothesis to be tested than an assumption. The goal is a model that explains the temperature. If the natural fluxes since 1850 (earlier changes are irrelevant) have been changing enough to invalidate the model, then that should show up as a failure to fit the model to the data. If the model fits the data extremely well then the presumption is that the changes in natural carbon fluxes since 1850, which may well be significant, have nevertheless not been sufficient to make the model inaccurate, at least over the period 1850-now.

        (One can never be sure that an accurate model of the past will continue to be accurate in the future, one can only say that the longer it’s been accurate in the past, the longer it’s likely to keep working in the future.)

        6. All long term temperature change is due only to a change in radiative forcing.

        I haven’t assumed this because it’s obviously false: there have been significant swings since 1850 that are extremely unlikely to have been caused by any radiative forcing mechanism we know. While I don’t know what causes them I’m nevertheless able to model them accurately with a model that doesn’t correlate significantly with CO2 changes and is therefore unlikely to throw off estimates of the net contribution of those phenemona that are well correlated with CO2 (more on this below).

        7. All change in radiative forcing for the last several hundred years is a consequence only of a change in the concentration of atmospheric CO2. The sun has nothing to do with it.

        The solar cycles (including the 22-year magnetic cycle) have a major impact. However they’re incorporated into my model. Any changes in heat from the Sun that are happening more slowly are not in my model and are in the same category as 5 above, namely a hypothesis to be tested.

        Changes in the Sun that are not well correlated with CO2 should break my model. Those that by some miracle are well correlated with rising CO2 won’t break my model but in that case they can’t be separated from the influence of CO2. But I say as much in my analysis: “All other long-term components besides AGW and SAW are invisible either because their amplitude is less than a millikelvin or they are too well correlated with AGW or SAW to permit separating them (e.g. H2O and CO2).” A more sophisticated method than mine would be needed to distinguish a rise in temperature from the Sun that was well correlated with rising CO2.

        On this matter of other phenomena that correlate well with CO2, there are (at least) three possibilities: CO2 is causing the correlates, or vice versa, or there is no causal connection (a miracle occurred).

        I’d be happy to entertain plausibility arguments for either of the latter two. However in view of the excellent correlation between emitted CO2 and ACO2, it seems more likely to me that the emitted CO2 is causing those correlates, either directly or via the accumulating atmospheric CO2.

        Conceivably CO2 itself is only directly responsible for 10% of rising temperature and the correlates caused by the CO2 (e.g. water vapor) the remaining 90%. But in that case the fact that CO2 itself is only directly responsible for 10% of the temperature is irrelevant, because if you halve the CO2 then presumably you halve the correlates as well. In that case CO2 is acting like a knob with a lot of leverage for controlling other phenomena that raise the temperature. Much less force is needed to pull the trigger of a gun than to propel the bullet down the barrel, but that doesn’t exonerate the trigger-puller.

      • @Vaughan Pratt: You say you haven’t assumed the following:
        “5. Natural carbon fluxes into and out of the atmosphere have remained unchanged for hundreds of years.”
        If natural carbon fluxes have not been stable, if they have been changing substantially over the last 100 years, then you do not know how much of the year-to-year increase in the Keeling data is attributable to man-made CO2 and how much is attributable to changes in natural fluxes. If you do not know how much of the year-to-year increase in the Keeling data is attributable to man-made CO2, then you have no way to extrapolate the Keeling data back in time to get the pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 concentration of 287 ppmv.

        You say you haven’t assumed the following:
        “6. All long term temperature change is due only to a change in radiative forcing.”
        Then how do you know what portion of the long-term temperature rise in the HadCRUT3 and HadCRUT4 data is caused by radiative forcing? If you don’t know what portion of the temperature rise from HadCRUT3 and HadCRUT4 is caused by radiative forcing, then how can you estimate how much of the temperature rise is due to ACO2, and how can you extrapolate back in time to get a pre-industrial ACO2 level of 287 ppmv based on the temperature record?

        you say “Any changes in heat from the Sun that are happening more slowly are not in my model and are in the same category as 5 above, namely a hypothesis to be tested.” If you want to use your model to test changes in heat from the Sun, then you need to first estimate a value for the pre-industrial CO2 level. If you are using temperature change over the last several hundred years in your estimation of this pre-industrial level, then your estimation method must be making an assumption about the Sun’s effect on temperature change during this time. Is this not so?

        You say: “On this matter of other phenomena that correlate well with CO2, there are (at least) three possibilities: CO2 is causing the correlates, or vice versa, or there is no causal connection (a miracle occurred).”
        A fourth possibility: Another phenomenon is simultaneously affecting CO2 and the correlates.

      • @willb: If you do not know how much of the year-to-year increase in the Keeling data is attributable to man-made CO2, then you have no way to extrapolate the Keeling data back in time to get the pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 concentration of 287 ppmv.

        This is true. All I have is a model of what’s going on based on some assumptions. If the model fits the data, then it’s a good model regardless of whether the assumptions leading to it were sound. Moreover there may be some other explanation of why it’s a good model. The important thing is that it does explain the data, even if for the wrong reasons.

        If you don’t know what portion of the temperature rise from HadCRUT3 and HadCRUT4 is caused by radiative forcing, then how can you estimate how much of the temperature rise is due to ACO2, and how can you extrapolate back in time to get a pre-industrial ACO2 level of 287 ppmv based on the temperature record?

        By having a good model of the portion that is not caused by radiative forcing. If the model fits, wear it.

        If you are using temperature change over the last several hundred years in your estimation of this pre-industrial level, then your estimation method must be making an assumption about the Sun’s effect on temperature change during this time. Is this not so?

        My method is assuming no effect from the Sun. If a simple theory explains what’s going on, making the theory more complicated by introducing alleged changes in the Sun’s effect hardly counts as a refutation.

        Newton explained planetary orbits in terms of universal gravitation. You could object on the ground that he was assuming there was no increase in the gravitational pull of the Sun, or some such. But Newton’s explanation fit the data. So why would anyone then drag in things like variations in the gravitational pull of the Sun when there is no evidence of such and when it does not improve the fit?

        Likewise if my model fits the data, why would you drag into the possibility of variations in the Sun’s heating of the Earth when there is no evidence of such and when it does not improve the fit?

        If you want to use your model to test changes in heat from the Sun, then you need to first estimate a value for the pre-industrial CO2 level. If you are using temperature change over the last several hundred years in your estimation of this pre-industrial level, then your estimation method must be making an assumption about the Sun’s effect on temperature change during this time. Is this not so?

        Quite right. My assumption is that solar cycles have a big influence on Earth’s surface temperature, but no longer-term influence. This assumption seems to fit the data extremely well.

        You say: “On this matter of other phenomena that correlate well with CO2, there are (at least) three possibilities: CO2 is causing the correlates, or vice versa, or there is no causal connection (a miracle occurred).”
        A fourth possibility: Another phenomenon is simultaneously affecting CO2 and the correlates.

        Excellent point. My analysis most certainly does not rule out that possibility. However the CDIAC data is based on what we know about fuel usage and land use changes, which rules out “another phenomenon” for that data. And the close correlation between CDIAC and Keeling-curve data makes it less likely that your “other phenomenon” is affecting the CO2. In which case it is also unlikely that it is affecting any strong correlates with CO2.

      • A bit more about the Sun might be in order. First off, when I wrote “My method is assuming no effect from the Sun” in the above it was in the context of your “over the last several hundred years”. To be clearer I should written “My method is assuming no long-term effect from the Sun during 1850-now.” It does model the short-term solar cycles (22 and 11 years), both of which are very significant. And over much longer periods Milankovitch theory says that the Sun triggers deglaciation periods every 100,000 years but those clearly aren’t relevant here.

        This leaves us with the variations in solar activity shown here. These might or might not account for the severe winters of the 17th century, the article suggests several other possible causes.

        Regarding the year without a summer, 1816, Wikipedia says “That the 1815 [Tambora] eruption occurred during the middle of the Dalton Minimum (a period of unusually low solar activity) may also be significant,” but that sentence has a “citation needed” tag, and in view of the short duration of the phenomenon (1816-1817) characteristic of volcanic coolings it is much better explained by the massive Tambora volcano eruption in 1815.

        The rise in solar activity from 1900 to 1960 may have contributed to the rise in global temperature from 1910 to 1940, but then how to account for the substantial temperature rise from 1850 to 1880 and the decline from 1940 to 1960, both of which are moving in the opposite direction to changing solar activity? The correlation is about what you’d expect from chance; it only looks otherwise when you focus on the positive correlations while turning a blind eye to the negative ones.

        What I have is a model that accurately explains all the long-term variations in temperature since 1850 with just two phenomena, the expected warming due to rising CO2 assuming a climate sensitivity in the range 2.8-2.9, and a “filtered sawtooth” wave of unknown origin but associated with the main multidecadal ocean oscillations.

        This association suggests that this wave originates not from the Sun but from the oceans. And since the oceans have better thermal contact than the continents with the hot molten magma beneath, which is rotating faster than the crust (i.e. eastwards), the resulting churning could easily be bringing hot magma from deep down up to the crust on a periodic basis, with the sawtooth shape plausibly resulting from very deep seismic events. Merely another theory, but it explains the temperature data better by being a better fit to it.

        What both solar activity and the sawtooth model lack is any satisfactory way so far of estimating the magnitude of their contribution to changing temperature. In favor of the former we have direct observation of solar activity, in favor of the latter we have a sustained correlation with the portion of global temperature not attributable to increasing CO2.

        Each theory is weak where the other is strong. The solar activity theory is well-known and therefore doesn’t need me to promote it. I’m merely suggesting a novel alternative theory and letting everyone take potshots at it.

        While I expect the most insightful criticisms to come from the professional community, one advantage of subjecting it to Climate Etc. critics as well is that a good number of them are highly motivated to poke holes in any explanation of global warming that assigns a significant role to CO2, as does mine. Your criticisms are particularly valuable since you’ve communicated them very clearly, I can see the logic they rest on, and you are receptive to my lobbing back my criticisms of your criticisms, which makes for a productive argument.

      • Somehow the link to “the severe winters of the 17th century” in the above didn’t take: it should read the severe winters of the 17th century, which is what “the article suggests” is referring to.

      • @VP: The important thing is that it does explain the data, even if for the wrong reasons.

        Since this way of doing science may seem strange to non-scientists, two good examples of where this way worked well is with planetary motions and black body radiation.

        Ptolemy’s epicycles remained the dominant theory of planetary motions for over a millennium until Copernicus, Brahe, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton completely replaced them with a heliocentric view of the motions. Although complicated, Ptolemy’s epicycles fit the data, despite the need to keep adding epicycles as new data arrived. It was simply how science has always worked. Newton’s theory of universal gravity put planetary motions on a far simpler basis by relating them to ordinary gravity as we experience it locally, which fit the data even better. In turn Einstein’s general relativity reformulated gravity in terms of curved space.

        From epicycles to curved space and beyond, all these theories tried their level best to fit the data without concern for whether the foundations needed some revision to accommodate the theory.

        The second example happened far more quickly, namely Planck’s discovery of his eponymous law in 1900. The law governs the thermal radiation emitted by a black body at temperature T, as a function of frequency of the emitted radiation.

        At the risk of oversimplifying the history by implying Planck did all this in a vacuum, prior to 1900 there were two separate laws, one that later became the Rayleigh-Jeans law that worked well for low frequencies (think infrared) and the 1896 Wien approximation that worked well for high frequencies (think ultraviolet). The problem Planck tackled was the fact that each law was absurdly high in the region where the other law worked well.

        Planck noticed that when he subtracted 1 from the denominator of Wien’s law, it had no effect at high frequencies but dragged Wien’s law down to match the Rayleigh-Jeans law at low frequencies. (This becomes obvious when using the approximation exp(x) = 1 + x for small x.)

        He now had something that fit the data very well, albeit for no obvious physical reason. He then set about trying to find one. Using the statistical mechanics that Maxwell and Boltzmann had developed, a subject he was expert in himself (he was 42 at the time, Einstein was half that age) he was able to explain this in terms of discrete energy levels for an ensemble of oscillators in the black body doing the radiation, namely integer multiples of h nu where h was determined empirically and later became known as Planck’s constant.

        Over the next quarter century this idea of discrete behavior at the atomic level evolved into quantum mechanics, which before then was not on the approved list of physical phenomena. Even Planck had a hard time believing such discreteness could have a physical reality, and at first did not accept Einstein’s 1905 discovery of what later became called photons, for which Einstein won his only Nobel prize. (The first person to win two Nobel prizes was a woman, Marie Curie.)

        Other examples that come to mind are plate tectonics and quasicrystals, which explain the data at the cost of having to revise the foundations. One could list many more but those are particularly striking.

      • Interesting science anecdotes. And thanks for taking the time to explain some of the concepts in your rather interesting model.

        The only issue I really have with your model is in trying to understand its limitations. Making assumptions is a necessary part of model development and you are making a number of them. One assumption concerns the percentage of ACO2 in the yearly Keeling data increase. You are using this assumption to compute the value of a critical model parameter (pre-industrial CO2 concentration). I presume you are then using your model to make the following statement:

        “Observations over both short (1 year) and long (1 century) periods of time suggest that the Keeling curve is registering 45% of the human emissions.”

        Is this not an example of circular reasoning? And I’m not saying your above statement is wrong, I’m saying I don’t see any strong evidence to support it.

      • @willb: You are using this assumption to compute the value of a critical model parameter (pre-industrial CO2 concentration).

        Actually it’s the other way round. Denoting that parameter by b (for natural base), I vary b (along with other parameters of the model such as climate sensitivity s and delay d) to obtain the least-squares fit of the model to the data. The role of b is to allow the Keeling curve to be extrapolated backwards in such a way as to make ACO2(y) (ACO2 in year y) an exponentially growing function that is a good fit to K(y) − b where K(y) is the Keeling curve in year y for y in the range 1958-now. This makes ACO2(y) defined for all years y, not just 1958-now, so that K'(y) (a raised-exponential function that is a good fit to K(y) for y from 1958 to now) can now be taken to be ACO2(y) + b, also defined for all y. The Arrhenius law then gives global warming temperature AGW(y) = s*log_2(K'(y − d)).

        Additional parameters govern the sawtooth SAW(y), and these are all varied in search of the best fit of AGW(y) + SAW(y) to HADCRUT4(y).

        Is this not an example of circular reasoning?

        Yes, in a way, though it’s better understood as an example of least-squares fitting. Circular reasoning is bad if it takes you nowhere, which would happen here if all values of b gave equally good fits. Another bad case would be if increasing b forever gave better and better fits (hard to imagine). A more likely bad case would be if there were several local minima (a local minimum is one such that small changes to all the parameters always worsens the fit), and two or more of them gave equally good fits.

        So far I’ve only been able to find one local minimum, but have not yet ruled out the possibility of others. I would be extremely interested if someone found such. Models with more parameters tend to have more local minima, which is why I’ve tried to get by with as few parameters as possible.

      • Perfect example of binary thinking. They act as if there’s a renewables train about to leave the station, and if we don’t jump on NOW, the singular alternative is another century of carbon primacy.

        I don’t get it.

      • I am just acting as if many climate skeptics are happy to burn all the carbon into the atmosphere this century.

      • Here’s your problem. There are two possible outcomes. Outcome one is that alternatives will develop and become economical, and push fossil fuels to the side. Problem solved. Outcome two is they never become feasible, and we keep burning fossil fuels until they become too expensive to extract. IOW, exact same outcome. They only unknown is when that break-even point happens.

        And most likely, neither is going to happen. Most likely, technology will do what it’s always done and surprise us with something that’s completely off everybody’s radar. That’s where I’d bet my quatloos. In 2062, we’re going to be largely running on something that none of the experts are talking about now.

        If we listened to the experts, we’d have built dirigible ports in the 1920s like they said we should.

      • P.E. – nail – head.

      • “Outcome two is they never become feasible, and we keep burning fossil fuels until they become too expensive to extract.”

        Yes, like I said, skeptics are happy to burn all the carbon into the atmosphere.

      • lolwot

        You may be “happy” if all the fossil fuels on Earth were burned up “in this century”, but this is not going to happen (see above post to Vaughan Pratt for the reasons why).

        Max

      • @manacker: You may be “happy” if all the fossil fuels on Earth were burned up “in this century”, but this is not going to happen (see above post to Vaughan Pratt for the reasons why).

        I should clarify that I only disagree with Max’s exponential model of atmospheric CO2. I agree with him that peak coal, oil, and gas are still far in the future, certainly not in this century when alternatives are not factored in.

        The calculations forming the basis for the existing projections of these peak events are predicated on a certain price sensitivity to those commodities. There is however no price sensitivity to either water or energy. As long as carbon based fuels remain the cheapest sources of energy there will be no such peak because people will simply pay more as needed.

        The only limiting factor in that case is the planet’s supply of inflammable carbon. Earth and Venus have approximately the same amount of carbon. The difference is that whereas almost all of our carbon is still underground, Venus’s is essentially all in its atmosphere, which is a hundred times heavier than ours as a result.

        Any analysis of peak carbon based fuels that ignores alternatives must lead to the conclusion that the peak will be either when we no longer need energy at the currently accelerating rate of 2.5% p.a., or when our atmosphere is as heavy as Venus’s (which will be in this millennium when you do the math).

        My preference would be to pay attention to alternatives.

      • Vaughn, it appears you don’t understand what peak oil, gas, and coal are. It’s the time when annual production, not dollar amount but mass, reaches zenith that is never again exceeded. Price rises dramatically at that point because, as you indicated, demand doesn’t slow. The rising price reduces the demand (fourth law of supply & demand) until an equilibrium point is attained.

        However, price cannot rise forever because it takes energy to recover energy. When it takes more energy than is contained in a barrel of oil to recover a barrel of oil then recovery stops. Only improvements in recovery efficiency will change that. Peak coal, by the way, is by many estimates going to happen around the year 2025. China, currently the largest coal producer, has a domestic supply at current rate of consumption for only 37 years. The US has more coal than any other nation with a reserve good for some 200+ years at current rate of consumption. When peak coal happens though American coal will start becoming a precious commodity and US coal producers will very likely begin to export more of it and our 200-year supply will go up in smoke over some foreign land. Or we’ll start converting it to “clean” fuel which makes its economic recovery cost less and thus use it up faster.

      • @DS: you don’t understand what peak oil, gas, and coal are. It’s the time when annual production, not dollar amount but mass, reaches zenith that is never again exceeded.

        Where did I define it as dollar amount? By peak oil I mean when the rate of production peaks. My points were that (a) demand drives production and (b) energy is too fundamental a need for price to limit demand.

        @DS: price cannot rise forever because it takes energy to recover energy. When it takes more energy than is contained in a barrel of oil to recover a barrel of oil then recovery stops.

        First off you’re neglecting efficiency improvements, which technologists have proved themselves very good at. Unless you can demonstrate some upper bound on efficiency of extracting carbon based fuels they can be extracted indefinitely.

        Second, solar PV is an ideal source of energy for extracting such fuels. Solar panels are getting cheaper every year: here’s someone offering 220-watt solar panels for $328 (buy-it-now price on eBay) who likely got them for $200-$250 depending on whether he got them straight from the factory or through a distributor. With an efficient supply chain from the panel factory to the well-head you could install power at an overnight cost of a dollar a watt at today’s prices. Three years ago 220-watt panels were $1000, more than $4 a watt. I would expect their price to fall to around a dollar a pound within the next decade, or $40 for a 220W panel, 20 cents a watt, most of that for the structural support.

        Using solar power to extract carbon based fuels makes sense because

        (a) Carbon based fuels constitute mobile energy, unlike solar which is better suited to stationary plants. In this model extraction is a stationary process for producing mobile fuels for use in transport.

        (b) You do the extraction just when you have power (so no night shifts for starters, nice). And it is a myth that PV can’t produce power on cloudy days; there is plenty of ambient light to give around 50% of full power, in part because panels operate more efficiently when cool. (A blazing hot day actually reduces solar efficiency. One could water-cool the backs of the wafers, but it would be less fuss and cost just to install more panels for the same output on a hot day.)

        (c) Everything that runs off AC (and hence needs a DC-to-AC inverter between it and the panels) can be arranged to run directly off the DC from the panels. Replace AC motors with DC ones, replace inductive ballasts in fluorescent lighting with resistive ones, and junk all the wasteful AC-to-DC power supplies and take the DC straight from the panels (suitably configured to produce the desired voltages) And no more annoying 50-60 Hz flicker from fluorescent lamps, though LEDs are replacing fluorescent these days anyway.

        As long as carbon based fuels continue to have higher energy density (by weight and volume) than the mobile alternatives, there will be a continued demand for them, certainly for planes where weight is critical, lightweight sports cars (the Tesla Roadster’s battery weighs 990 lbs as against about 100 lbs for a full 12-gallon gasoline tank in a Miata, whose engine fully dressed is around 370 lbs), etc.

      • Oops, overlooked the $110 shipping on that $328 panel (actually pair of 110W panels), brings it to $438. Half that price per watt can be had here: lots of panels at around a dollar a watt. (They’re about 15 miles from where I live too.)

    • To suggest that we refrain from taking drastic action with unforseeable consequences is policy advocacy? Sounds like sanity, aka common sense, to me.

      Indeed. Advocacy you agree with is actually just common sense. Advocacy you don’t agree with is advocacy.

      The only true Scotsmen/Scotswomen are those that I deem to be such. And BTW, those that I deem pure are also all better looking.

    • Johanna,

      Sounds like sanity, aka common sense, to me.

      Einstein famously dismissed “common sense’ with the remark:
      “Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.”

      which is why we need science to understand the universe.

      But leaving that argument aside, there are always unforeseeable consequences. But, with the climate question, the consequences of keeping GHG concentrations low are more foreseeable than allowing them to rise too high. We can make the same argument economically. Rather than use up all fossil fuels as fast as possible, then start wondering what to do when they’ve all gone, and at the same time have to deal with severe and increasing climate problems, isn’t it better to plan the change in advance to other types of energy generation? Isn’t that the way to minimise the uncertainties involved?

      PS I’ve just noticed that this is essentially Lolwot’s point too.

      • Let the record show that temp is anti-common sense.

      • All the semantic twisting and turning by lolwat et al does not alter the fact that BAU (which includes innovation) is not in any way the same as ‘taking drastic action’ with unforseen consequences. I repeat, in what circumstances would you advocate going down this path? Why would any rational person suggest that taking drastic action – ie making major changes – when the outcome is completely unpredictable – is a good policy choice?

        Saying that this is a stupid idea, without pushing any particular agenda, is hardly advocacy. As I said above, most people would regard it as sanity.

      • “AU (which includes innovation) is not in any way the same as ‘taking drastic action’ with unforseen consequences”

        Yes it is. Pulling out trillions of tons of carbon from the Earth and burning it into the atmosphere certainly is a drastic action with unforseen consequences. Just because we’ve already started doing it doesn’t make it any less drastic a measure to keep the lights on. Pushing this path is certainly advocacy.

      • Why would any rational person suggest that taking drastic action – ie making major changes – when the outcome is completely unpredictable – is a good policy choice?

        Johanna, if you were blindfolded (or in a dense fog) and found yourself walking along the edge of a cliff, wouldn’t you consider the outcome to be “completely unpredictable?”

        According to you, in this situation any rational person should take no drastic action (such as stopping), but just continue walking.

  87. Say, tempt, advocacy of a view or position generally denotes a firm belief or perhaps a machiavellian strategic advantage for the advocate.

    So how do you ‘advocate’ uncertainty? You are not acting as an advocate, when like Judith Curry, as a climate scientist you appraise the present state of the climate science critical debate and empirical evidence and acknowledge uncertainty in the magnitude of AGW.

    Preferable to behave this way than act like some activist scientists who argue publically for policy changes, ignoring 14 years of rising CO2 when the global average temperature of the lower troposphere is cooling … considerations only mentioned in private emails by climate scientists ‘advocating’ urgent action on AGW.

  88. Beth,

    You ask: “So how do you ‘advocate’ uncertainty? You are not acting as an advocate, when like Judith Curry, as a climate scientist…..”

    The question is what to do about rising GHG concentrations. We can either say the scientific evidence is sufficiently strong and argue for controls, or we can say it isn’t and argue that we should do nothing. I’m for the first as are others on this blog. Judith and yourself, and many others too, are for the second. We may be advocating different policies but it’s all advocating nonetheless.

    Largely the split is along ideological lines rather than scientific ones. The US libertarian right, in particular, are all fiercely anti-communist and they view government regulation as a step towards socialism and communism. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, they’ve looked for another great threat to free market capitalism and found it in environmentalism and the green movement. They fear that an over-reaction to environmental problems will lead to heavy-handed government intervention in the marketplace and intrusion into people’s lives.

    However, the strategy of denying the reality, creating doubt, exaggerating the uncertainty of environmental problems (such as global warming, acid rain, and ozone destruction) does not make them go away. The longer the delay the worse these problems get, and the more likely it is that governments will need to take the draconian measures that conservatives and libertarians most fear.

    The cost of making the change to low carbon energy generation is still affordable. The longer it is left the less this argument will hold. We’ll have to make the change away from conventional oil soon anyway so lets do it in a planned way rather than with a last minute panic. There are many benefits all round to be achieved from moving away from fossil fuels. Lets make the most of them sooner rather than later.

    • We don’t understand cloud feedbacks. We don’t understand air-sea interactions. We don’t understand aerosol indirect effects. The list is long.

      http://www.ecowho.com/foia.php?file=1079108576.txt&search=mwp

      This shows it is a lie to say we understand the climate.

    • Temp, you start out describing the debate fairly well, but then you suddenly jump into it, in your last two paras. This switch is a common source of confusion in the debate. In logic it is called the distinction between the meta level, describing the argument, and the object level, making the argument. You should do one or the other.

      If the problems you mention are not real, as many here believe, then denying their reality does make them go away. It is that simple.

    • TT says

      The question is what to do about rising GHG concentrations.

      You’d think TT can’t read. He’s been told dozens of times. Or is his mind locked shut to anything he doesn’t want to hear – i.e., doesn’t support his ideological beliefs?

      We can either say the scientific evidence is sufficiently strong and argue for controls, or we can say it isn’t and argue that we should do nothing.

      Why does he continually ignore, or is it reject, the economically rational option? – i.e. remove the impediments that are preventing nuclear from being a cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels?

      • I don’t. If I could wave a magic wand to remove them I’d do it. It ‘ll take more than that though.

      • Peter Lang,

        “I haven’t a clue what TT said. I don’t bother reading his comments any more.”

        I can imagine you with your fingers in your ears when you’re having a quarrel with you wife saying “I’m not listening, I’m not listening”!

        Come on Pete, get stuck into me if you disagree. I can take it. :-)

      • Peter Lang,

        If you’re interested to make the case for nuclear power, you might like to take a look at how an intelligent person goes about it.

        http://e360.yale.edu/feature/shunning_new_nuclear_power_plants_will_lead_to_warmer_world/2510/

      • TT,

        You don’t take any notice of what you are told. You just ignore it, forget it, or misrepresent what you don’t like.

        Once more. I am not advocating nuclear power. I am advocating economically rational solutions. If you and those who share your beliefs don’tr want to accept and adopt rational solutions, you’ll just keep on bashing your head against a brick wall, because your silly ideas will not be acceptable. i realise that is beyond your comprehensions, so I’ve given up answering your nonsense. My reason for trying to educate you on nuclear is that it is a potentially economically rational solution that could be acceptable. But you and your loony mates got us to this position so you and your loony mates will have to undo it. It’s up to you. There is no point in berating me and the rational people.

      • There is no point in berating me and the rational people.

        The tacit assumption here is that the rational people are those who either reject the +4 C projection or reject that as a globally significant economic hazard.

        Those accepting both take the opposite view.

        As many have pointed out over the past decade, the agnostics in between should be more than just a little curious as to which way this will actually turn out.

      • Peter Lang,

        Are you familiar with the theory of the “tragedy of the commons”? This is a dilemma arising from the situation in which multiple individuals, acting independently and rationally consulting their own self-interest, will ultimately deplete a shared limited resource, even when it is clear that it is not in anyone’s long-term interest for this to happen.

        So, in short, what may appear to be rational at first sight isn’t quite that way at all.

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

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        No. Since you know that is not the the only two options, you are being intentionally deceptive (again!).

        There are other options. How about you lay them out an acknowledge them, since others have done it repeatedly and you can’t bring yourself to acknowledge them.

      • Vaughan Pratt said:

        The tacit assumption here is that the rational people are those who either reject the +4 C projection or reject that as a globally significant economic hazard.

        No. Since you know that is not the the only two options, you are being intentionally deceptive (again!).

        There are other options. How about you lay them out an acknowledge them
        Here are some hints. See how you go. See if you can show you understand what you’ve been told.

        Rational people understand:

        • Economically irrational polices are bad for human well being

        • Most of the policies advocated by the CAGW alarmists are economically irrational and, therefore, harmful to human well being

        • The policies advocated (in fact insisted on by the ‘Progressives’, Greenies, Left, CAGW Alarmists) are economically irrational and harmful.

        • In short, their proposed ‘cure’ is far worse than the ‘disease’

        • Climate risk is not the highest risk facing humanity and should be analysed properly in perspective with all risks.

        • Obsessing about one risk without proper perspective for ideological reasons, as is done continually by the CAGW Alarmists, is unhelpful.

        • The policies proposed by the CAGW alarmists have grave downside risks for human wellbeing.

        • Climate change risks are small compared with other higher risks, risks with greater negative impacts.

        • There is an enormous amount of hypocrisy in the policies proposed by the CAGW Alarmists, Progressives, Greenies. For example Europeans and peoples from rich countries want Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia etc to save their forests. However, the rich people have not proposed removing their cities and replacing revegetating the whole of Europe with the oak forests that used to grow there before they were removed for firewood and burnt.

        • There are rational policy options but these are strongly opposed by the CAGW Alarmists, ‘Progressives’, Greenies, Eco-Warriors, Left.

      • Peter Lang,

        If you don’t mind my pointing this out , you seem to be quite irrational yourself. Yet, for some reason you’ve come to the firm conclusion that you, and those who agree with you, are the only rational people on this blog. There doesn’t seem any scope for dissention in your world view.

        There are some obvious flaws in your line of though. I would venture to suggest you don’t understand atmospheric science anywhere near well enough to be able to say this with any certainty whatever, yet you seem to be firmly of the opinion that mainstream science has it all wrong on climate change, and you hold the view that “climate change risks are small”.

        Its pretty obvious, at least to rational people, you have a pathological hatred of all things left, green and progressive. You might just want to ask yourself if it really makes sense to throw out the scientific evidence just because these groups, who you despise, seem to largely agree with it.

        Logically you are saying. I hate the political left. The left largely accept the scientific evidence and scientific consensus on climate change. Therefore the scientific consensus must be all wrong.

        Its just not a rational line of thought, is it? Can you see what I mean?

      • @Peter Lang: No. Since you know that is not the the only two options, you are being intentionally deceptive (again!).

        Rats, and just as I was patting myself on the back for having successfully walked on eggshells. :(

        Not to appear quarrelsome, Peter, but I actually listed three options, not two. Furthermore the third option, agnostics, was intentionally broad so that no one would feel left out. Agnostics come in a very wide range.

      • Incidentally I could find nothing to complain about in tempterrain’s reply to you, which seemed to me calm and reasonable. I can only cross my fingers that it does not ignite yet another tirade from you against all who disagree with you. Statistically the odds are very poor. A number of us seem to be walking on eggshells in any attempt at communicating rationally with you.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        I haven’t a clue what TT said. I don’t bother reading his comments any more.

        Regarding your comment about egg shells. I’ve come to realise that vitriol is what the CAGW Alarmists, ‘Progressives’. Greenies, Left used all the time as a debating tactic. I used to let it pass. Now I frequently respond. However, I have nowhere near as many repugnant expressions and adjectives as the ‘Progressives’ have.

        I’d suggest your advice should be directed at those of your own kind. When you and they clean up their act, it might be time to ask me to not respond in kind.

  89. tempterrain,

    “The US libertarian right, in particular, are all fiercely anti-communist and they view government regulation as a step towards socialism and communism. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, they’ve looked for another great threat to free market capitalism and found it in environmentalism and the green movement.”

    A conspiracy theory about conspiracy theorists. Without the slightest hint of irony.

    The only part of this comment that is more nonsensical is this: “The cost of making the change to low carbon energy generation is still affordable.”

    There is no alternative to fossil fuels now, let alone one that is “affordable.” And what is affordable to the Thomas Friedman’s, Al Gores, and hordes of assorted government employees, government sponsored scientists, crony capitalists and other progressives feeding at the public trough, is not affordable for the billions on this planet who would like to rise out of abject poverty some day.

    “We’ll have to make the change away from conventional oil soon anyway so lets do it in a planned way rather than with a last minute panic.” But I thought CAGW had nothing to do with the desire of the progressive CAGWers to centrally plan the energy economy? Didn’t you just claim in the same comment that that is a nutty right wing conspiracy theory?

    Finally, if by “soon,” you meant in a couple hundred years, then maybe you have a point. But you didn’t, so you don’t.

    • GaryM

      There is no alternative to fossil fuels now, let alone one that is “affordable.” And what is affordable to the Thomas Friedman’s, Al Gores, and hordes of assorted government employees, government sponsored scientists, crony capitalists and other progressives feeding at the public trough, is not affordable for the billions on this planet who would like to rise out of abject poverty some day.

      Thank you.

      Look at the misery of life without fossil fuels => http://bit.ly/H71fnT

    • Well, nuclear is arguably an alternative to fossil fuels for electricity generation.

      The point that tempterrain and his pals keep missing is that what they are doing is like trying to deal with an impending shortage of candlewax, or whale oil. Not in a rational, economically based way, which is what happens (and happened) in those examples, but in a centrally planned and totalitarian way. No matter how many times history has proved that approach to be a failure at best, and a catastrophe at worst, they cling to the belief that if only the right people (that would be people like them) were in charge, the next imaginary disaster would be avoided.

      I feel sorry for them. It must be awful to live in a constant state of anxiety about the future, coupled with a futile compulsion to control it.

      The Brits have a term for it – ‘muddling through’. The truth is, that’s how human history works. It’s messy, there are dead ends and detours, but one thing is for sure – the giant blueprint is simply a recurring fantasy which appeals to those who are possessed of grandiose fantasies and know nothing of history.

      • Some people think that rules are the solution to every problem.

      • Well said.

      • Well said, hundreds of millions dying in vast famines across the world would be one way we might muddle through. Sounds great!

      • lolwot,

        Well said, hundreds of millions dying in vast famines across the world would be one way we might muddle through. Sounds great!

        There is a good example of the shrill extremes the catastrophists are prepared to go to to scare people. There is no =t a shred of evidence to support such propositions. It’s just a typical CAGW advocacy statement from the loony-Left, greenie extremists, ‘Progressives’.

      • You might want to bury your head in the sand like an ostrich and imagine Johanna’s “muddling through” plan will consist of sweets and roses with only mild inconvenience at worst.

        But sorry i have to point out the harsh reality that actually “muddling through” includes the likes of vast famines wiping out vast populations.

        If you are going to advocate such a policy of doing nothing and “Muddling through” you should make people aware of what that could entail and not pretend it can’t happen.

        It’s entirely possible that increased energy demands and falling oil, gas and coal reserves will lead to spiraling energy costs which result is vast famines. In hindsight we can then say “look the market fixed the situation by killing off 600 million people, hence there was enough food left for everyone else”. And this fits Johanna’s description of “muddling through”.

      • lolwot and Peter Lang

        Let’s don’t get too worked up about “famines” caused by “global warming” and higher atmospheric CO2 levels.

        Apparently lolwot believes that one follows the other in lockstep.

        This may have come from a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UNFAO ) cited on an earlier thread here, which warns us (bold face by me):

        http://www.fao.org/climatechange/climatesmart/en/

        http://judithcurry.com/2011/12/04/climate-smart-agriculture/#more-6074

        Agriculture in developing countries must undergo a significant transformation in order to meet the related challenges of achieving food security and responding to climate change. Projections based on population growth and food consumption patterns indicate that agricultural production will need to increase by at least 70 percent to meet demands by 2050. Most estimates also indicate that climate change is likely to reduce agricultural productivity, production stability and incomes in some areas that already have high levels of food insecurity.

        Let’s do a quick reality check on this statement.

        [I posted the remarks below at that time, but will repeat here.]

        Apparently FAO is relying on “estimates” that “climate change” (i.e. anthropogenic global warming) “is likely to reduce agricultural productivity”.

        One such estimate was made by Lobell et al. (2011):

        http://www.sciencemag.org/content/333/6042/616.abstract

        Efforts to anticipate how climate change will affect future food availability can benefit from understanding the impacts of changes to date. We found that in the cropping regions and growing seasons of most countries, with the important exception of the United States, temperature trends from 1980 to 2008 exceeded one standard deviation of historic year-to-year variability. Models that link yields of the four largest commodity crops to weather indicate that global maize and wheat production declined by 3.8 and 5.5%, respectively, relative to a counterfactual without climate trends. For soybeans and rice, winners and losers largely balanced out. Climate trends were large enough in some countries to offset a significant portion of the increases in average yields that arose from technology, carbon dioxide fertilization, and other factors.

        IOW, the models suggested that the recent warming has been associated with a reduction in global crop yields.

        The actual record shows that the models cited by Lobell do not reflect the real world.

        Global grain production trends are shown here:

        http://bigpictureagriculture.blogspot.com/2011/04/how-does-need-to-double-world-crop.html

        Before moving forward, let us look at what has happened to grain production over the last 40 years. In 1970, the production of corn, milled rice, and wheat was 788 million tonnes. By 2010, the production of those three grains was 1.912 billion tonnes, an increase of 142 percent.

        Looking at the grains individually, corn production increased from 268 million tonnes to 814 million tonnes, an increase of over 200 percent. The production of milled rice increased from 213 million tonnes in 1970 to 452 million tonnes in 2010—an increase of over 110 percent. Wheat production, the largest of the three grains in 1970, was 307 million tonnes. By 2010, wheat production had increased by over 110 percent to 648 million tonnes.

        For all three grains, the 40-year increase was over 140 percent.

        In addition, soybean production was 42 million tonnes in 1970. By 2010, world production of soybeans had increased to 258 million tonnes—that’s a whopping 513 percent increase.

        Citing data from the same Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), a separate report on global rice production tells us:

        http://irri.org/knowledge/publications/rice-today/rice-facts/seven-billion-and-counting-what-does-this-mean-for-global-rice-food-security?print=1&tmpl=component

        During this period, global paddy rice production more than doubled from 312 million tons in 1970-71 to 677 million tons in 2010-11.

        This is an increase of 117 percent, similar to that shown in the other report.

        IOW the yields of major crops increased by 2.4 times since 1970.

        Over the same period atmospheric CO2 increased from 324 to 390 ppmv (plus 20%) and “globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature (HadCRUT3) increased between 0.4 and 0.5°C.

        (Note that human population increased 1.9 times over the same period – from 3.7 to 7.0 billion – and starvation rates have decreased markedly.)

        I find that it is regrettable that organizations like UNFAO apparently feel that they need to resort to fear mongering in order to get the funding they need for the programs they are proposing, when this is not supported by the actual facts on the ground, which even they report!

        Lolwot apparently fell for it, because he failed to check the facts out there.

        Max

      • Max,

        Thank for that comment. I’ll add to it:

        Economist who have work in Africa have point out that low food productivity is largely a consequence of poor governance and poor infrastructure (roads, railways, irrigation systems, food storage and distribution systems). Fix these and food productivity will increase by orders of magnitude.

        How do you fix governance and infrastructure?

        You allow countries to develop as fast as possible!

        Therefore, one thing you certainly should not do is to impose economically damaging policies like a carbon tax!

      • lolwot,

        Here is a catastrophic scenario for you to consider. It could cause the deaths of over 50% of all the people living in cities in the developed world. It could happen. And the economically irrational policies the loony Left / ‘Progressives’ / Greenies are just the sort of policies that could increase the probability of occurrence.

        Banking system collapse leading to:
        • No money available
        • No ATMs
        • Can’t withdraw money
        • Cant buy food
        • Shops closed
        • Shut down of electricity system
        • No water (no pumps because no electricity) (80% dead within days)
        • Looting
        • Breakdown of law an order
        • No public transport
        • Can’t buy fuel
        • Can’t get out of the cities

        Think this is a dream. It is the risk with the highest impact in the World Economic Forum ‘Global Risks 2012’. Most of the loony Left don’t even think there could be any risks outside of their one obsession.

        http://www.weforum.org/reports/global-risks-2012-seventh-edition

      • How amusing that you would berate me for “shrill extremes the catastrophists are prepared to go to to scare people.” and then you post that.

        By the way do you meet your own standards?
        You claimed earlier “There is no =t a shred of evidence to support such propositions.”

        What evidence do you have to support your banking collapse catastrophe? I will of course be demanding empirical evidence that proves it. (this could be fun).

      • You as complete dill lolwot. Did you read the first sentence and understand that this was to show you you don’t make any attempt to see your obsession catastrophic climate change in any sort of global perspective with other risks.

        And you clearly didn’t look at the link and have never looked at it.

        Shows you are just a complete nutter (but don’t feel too bad – many of those who share your ideological beliefs are as loony and some are worse).

      • You can’t rewrite what you already wrote. You said “It could happen.”. Thus you were advocating your greenies-cause-banking-collapse catastrophe as a real threat.

        You previously complained about the “shrill extremes the catastrophists are prepared to go to to scare people.”. Pot. Kettle.

        You also complained earlier that “There is no =t a shred of evidence to support such propositions.”. But what evidence is there to support the banking catastrophe you cite? A lack of evidence didn’t stop you claiming “it could happen”, but dare anyone point out that other catastrophes that clash with your ideology “could happen”, it sets you off doesn’t it?

      • Peter Lang,

        I can accept that a breakdown in the financial system, or a major power disruption, or a major outbreak of a new strain of flu may occur quicker, and cause more deaths in the next few years, than serious damage to climate resulting from GHG emissions. Of course, responsible governments the world over should be planning for all of these eventualities. No-one is saying they shouldn’t.

        Its is quite irrational, though, to concentrate on the short term to the exclusion of the longer term. Its is quite irrational to argue that as global warming is only 0.15 degC per decade , and so one decade isn’t noticeably different from the previous one, that it should therefore be allowed to continue indefinitely.

      • You deal yourself out of any rational discussion when you say things like that. For good, as far as I am concerned.

      • In case of confusion, my comment is directed at the egregious lolwat, not peter.

      • sorry for pointing out the glaring flaw in your argument. If I promise to silently let you waffle bullsht in future will you forgive me?

      • On the contrary J, droughts are central to the CAGW scare, hence they are central to the debate. One must respond to this stuff.

      • One must respond to this stuff.

        Quite right. This stuff is important.

      • Ironically the conclusion of that analysis of xkcd’s cartoon, triumphantly concluding

        And that’s why “Someone is wrong on the internet” is funnier than “Someone on the internet is wrong.”

        is itself an example of someone being “wrong on the internet” that I now feel compelled to rebut (itself a refutation of free will).

        The grammatical form “wrong on the internet” is as self-contained an expression as “bad in bed.”

        This should have been obvious from the cartoon itself.

        What has the world come to when scientists are reduced to explaining jokes to English majors? (At least I don’t feel compelled to add a smiley.)

      • > What has the world come to when scientists are reduced to explaining jokes to English majors?

        Active Science (r).

      • Leftist economics is wrong, stupid. :)

      • I just found out that someone is a dog.
        =============================

  90. JC


    I am advocating for protecting the integrity of science. Policy makers can do what they want with energy and carbon policy. But if they think the science is certain and that the science ‘demands’ certain policy actions, then they are fooling themselves.

    Thank you JC.

    That is what I am doing too.

    Protecting the integrity of science is also a great cause. My cause.

    IPCC’s high climate sensitivity or accelerated warming was obtained by smoothing the oscillations in global mean temperature before the 1970s and calling the warming phase of this oscillation since then man-made.

    http://bit.ly/OaemsT

    Let us all save the integrity of science.

    IPCC projected for a warming of 0.2 deg C per decade for the next two decades. In a climate that has an oscillation component, a constant warming rate for two decades is impossible. At the moment, we are at the cooling phase that ends by about 2030.

    Let us all save the integrity of science.

    The secular global warming rate at the moment is about 0.09 deg C per decade, not 0.2 deg C per decade. This larger warming rate includes a cyclic warming rate of 0.2 –0.09 = 0.11 deg C per decade, and this oscillating warming rate must be removed when describing the climate.

    Let us all save the integrity of science.

    Climategate Email:

    We don’t understand cloud feedbacks. We don’t understand air-sea interactions. We don’t understand aerosol indirect effects. The list is long.

    http://www.ecowho.com/foia.php?file=1079108576.txt&search=mwp

    Let us all save the integrity of science.

  91. “Activate your science” really just means “replace science with activism”. IOW, throw scientific integrity overboard, and recognize that political correctness is a higher good that always trumps objective correctness.

  92. Climategate Email:

    If skeptics don’t worry about doubling, they ought to be pressed to tell us why they are unconcerned about tripling or quadrupling or worse.

    Bureaucrats have not planned for the following shift in technology:

    Gramophone=>Cassette Tapes => CD Players => iPod

    Similarly, a shift from fossil flues will occur also. The scare mongering is unnecessary.

    • The difference is that gramophones, cassette tapes, CD players and iPods are not finite resources that harm the climate.

      There are two clocks ticking there and there’s no guarantee that the market will find solutions *in time*.

      In fact while the the first fact is factored into the market, climate skeptics are adamant that the market should not even be made aware of the second, which begs the question as to how the market would ever be capable of avoiding it.

      • Falling fossil reserves seems a new gambit for you lolwot, or have I just missed it before? Is this the next Green move? It is hard to argue that the threat is both growing emissions and looming shortages, is it not? The latter should cure the former.

      • David, LOLwot had his head handed to him in a very powerful way by Peter Lang in the discussion above. It looks to me like a first attempt to regroup.
        Again, the real reason IMO for the vitriol in this debate isn’t strictly a disagreement on the science but rather a seemingly blatant attempt by a nebulas elite class to re work the world’s economies.

        Jim

  93. Donna LaFramboise understates the problem. It isn’t just that scientists are just as capable as anyone else of unconsciously biasing their work. Judging by Climategate and the lack of widespread criticism of Jones et al from the profession, it is clear that climate scientists are at least as capable as anyone else of consciously biasing their work. Indeed they seem significantly less honest than the public in general.

    And modern climate science has not “become entwined” with politics. It is politically funded, has obvious political implications, and thus was from the outset a creation of politics. It therefore first and foremost serves the interests of politics and those seeking an increased politicization of society.

    • Hal:
      In the interim the ClimateGate scandal broke into the news, and the machinations of the principal alarmists were revealed to the world. It was a fraud on a scale I have never seen, and I lack the words to describe its enormity. Effect on the APS position: none. None at all. This is not science; other forces are at work.

  94. tempterrain, guess you and I can argue semantics, what is an advocacy, and impugn motives, political and self interest, but really, I’d say the issue is legit scientific method. And Lubchenko’s appeal to the scientists:
    ‘Scientists, YOU and I!-with our knowledge of the threats, consequences and likelihood success of options for solutions, have a particulatr responsibility ….’ ter team up ….ter help craft…ter find practical solutions…

    Nope – non – niet – no way! YOU have a particular reponsibility ter be faithful ter the scientific method, socratic humility. Recognise uncertainty, be true to critical investigation, conjecture, test, verify, refute…’ appraise the present state of the critical debate and imperical evidence.’ That’s yer priviledge and responsibility as a scientist.. Oh well,what do I know, lol?
    Have ter go , tempt… I’m in the middle of a spot of house painting … whitewashing ?

  95. and cryosphere today breaks the 2.5 million sqkm mark. I haven’t been paying attention properly. I had it in my head that 2012 had barely passed the 2007 record but now I look again and notice 2007 is beat by about 0.5 million sqkm. 2007 itself beat 2006 by 1 million sqkm and that was considered remarkable, so a 0.5 million sqkm win is no small fry.

    Prior to 2007 the 4 million sqkm mark was barely touched. So that’s almost a 40% reduction in area in 6 years.

    The small scale of the ice left is beginning to look real conspicuous compared to the vast size of the arctic ocean.

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens when the ice is gone and 24hour sunlight is not wasted melting ice but is entirely spent on heating the ocean.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Arctic ice all gone? Gosh, for the earth’s one-percenters that’s *TERRIFIC* news!!!

      The largest privately owned residential yacht on earth

      If successful in its west-to-east transit of the [Northwest] passage, a 196.5-metre ship called The World, which bills itself as “the largest privately owned residential yacht on earth,” will become the largest passenger vessel to complete a journey that was once perilous and nearly impossible.

      In addition to its 165 private residences, the ship facilities also include a spa, four restaurants, where you can chose between French cuisine, seafood, Mediterranean dishes and Asian specialties, as well as six cocktail lounges and bars, a tennis court and a driving range.

      The World is the first ship of its size burning marine diesel rather than heavy bunker fuel, making for a much more environmentally-friendly ship.

      Oh, the irony.   :eek:   :oops:   :eek:   :oops:   :eek:

  96. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Johanna posts  “I feel sorry for [climate scientists]. It must be awful to live in a constant state of anxiety about the future.”

    Johanna, the essence of good mathematics, science, engineering, and even medicine is to be deeply thrilled and challenged by uncertainty … per Feynman’s comments on uncertainty that are quoted above.

    Perhaps that is why scientists are comfortable adjusting the odds associated to their worldview, whereas denialists cannot bring themselves even to think rationally about odds … the thought “climate-change science might be right” is too distressing for denialists to contemplate even hypothetically.

    Isn’t that correct, Johanna? What in your worldview is the probability that (for example) the AMS statement is correct?

  97. Robert I Ellison

    There is a tragedy unfolding in the Australian backyard. The Australian Terrestrial Biodiversity Assessment found that riparian zones are declining over 73% of Australia. There has been a massive decline in the ranges of indigenous mammals over more than 100 years. In the past 200 years, 22 Australian mammals have become extinct – a third of the world’s recent extinctions. Further decline in ranges is still occurring and is likely to result in more extinctions. Mammals are declining in 174 of 384 subregions in Australia and rapidly declining in 20. The threats to vascular plants are increasing over much of the Australia. Threatened birds are declining across 45% of the country with extinctions in arid parts of Western Australia. Reptiles are declining across 30% of the country. Threatened amphibians are in decline in southeastern Australia and are rapidly declining in the South East Queensland, Brigalow Belt South and Wet Tropics bioregions.

    Our rivers are still carrying huge excesses of sand and mud. The mud washes out onto coastlines destroying seagrass and corals. The sand chokes up pools and riffles and fills billabongs putting intense pressure on inland, aquatic ecologies. In 1992, the Mary River in south east Queensland flooded carrying millions of tonnes of mud into Hervey Bay. A thousand square kilometres of seagrass died off decimating dugongs, turtles and fisheries. The seagrass has grown back but the problems of the Mary River have not been fixed. The banks have not been stabilised and the seagrass could be lost again at any time. A huge excess of sand working its way down the river is driving to extinction the Mary River cod and the Mary River turtle. The situation in the Mary River is mirrored in catchments right across the country. Nationally, 50% of our seagrasses have been lost and it has been this way for at least twenty years.

    It is well known what the problems are. The causes of the declines in biodiversity are
    land clearing, land salinisation, land degradation, habitat fragmentation, overgrazing,
    exotic weeds, feral animals, rivers that have been pushed past their points of equilibrium and changed fire regimes. We spend billions achieving next to nothing in reducing greenhouse gases while the country goes to hell in a hand basket. A very sad tale of incompetence, waste and a lost generation of opportunities pursuing chimerical nonsense. Indeed – we waste billions on nonsense and miss our Millennium Development Goal commitments by as much again. It is a national disgrace caused by fear and ignorance.

    The rational responses to emissions are obvious – too obvious to want to rehearse them again but they would certainly leave room to conserve our environments and meet the commitment we made with our eyes open.

    • Is this a satire?

    • Chief, this has the makings of a lead post, any interest?

    • Robert,

      All these problems predate any concerns about GHG.

      There’s no point blaming CO2 reduction efforts on issues that have been emerging over the last 100 yrs.

    • So this constellation of events is unprecendented? Or is that known? Not arguing you are wrong about the impact of man on the Australian continent, but this question should always be asked.

    • Good thing that they have a carbon tax now. Maybe this can be used for adaptation.

      • Jim D

        But it won’t be.

        Taxes are always used by politicians to plug holes, pay off existing debts or finance pet projects.

        Max

      • Not if they are the closet environmentalists everyone accuses them of being.

      • Jim D

        …or finance pet projects…

        Not if they are the closet environmentalists everyone accuses them of being

        How ’bout Solyndra (as a pet project)?

        Max

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Robert I Ellison, whatever has happened to your announced article of 1910 titled A complex systems metatheory for abrupt climate change is a paradign [sic] shift in climate science“?   :?:   :?:   :?:

      Robert I Ellison, when we read your own praise of your own theory, we are struck by your notably high opinion of your own ideas:

      “[My metatheory] is somewhat like Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity – it is counterintuitive and demands nothing less than a complete overturning of the way we think. Rather, it reveals fundamental properties of climate that completely invalidate conventional thinking. It is somewhat more important than relativity theory …”

      Robert I Ellison, it is unusual for scientists to praise their own “metatheories” as “more important than relativity”, eh?   :lol:   :lol:   :lol:

      Robert I Ellison, has your “metatheory” been disconfirmed experimentally by the accelerating secular decrease in Arctic ice-mass loss? Has your your “metatheory” been disconfirmed theoretically by energy balance analysis? Does your “metatheory” encourage risk-discount rates that are economically irrational, and socially immoral?   :?:   :?:   :?:

      Should recent events — heat, drought, ice-loss — rationally decrease our confidence in your “metatheory” of climate-change science, Robert I Ellison?   :?:   :?:   :?:

      That is why updated exposition of your climate-change “metatheory” is needed, Robert I Ellison! Because ideas evolve, eh? And are subject to critical review, eh? And that review process is *GOOD*, eh Robert I Ellison?   :grin:   :grin:   :grin:

      • Robert I Ellison

        ‘Thinking is centred around slow changes to our climate and how they will affect humans and the habitability of our planet. Yet this thinking is flawed: It ignores the well-established fact that Earth’s climate has changed rapidly in the past and could change rapidly in the future. The issue centres around the paradox that global warming could instigate a new Little Ice Age in the northern hemisphere.’ WHOI

        Your thinking is flawed according to Woods Hole. You as well misquote me. Claim that nonlinearity in climate was my theory doesn’t sound like me at all. It has in fact been quite widely canvassed for a decade or 2. It is a ‘threshold concept’ – a doorway which once passes through to new vistas and new understanding. I can only suggest you try it one day.

        There are 3 great ideas recognised in 20th century physics – relativity, quantum mechanics and chaos theory. Much as I have spent a lifetime in natural philosophy contemplating the first 2 in wonder – chaos theory overturns ideas of simple causality in climate and is the new climate paradigm.

        ‘The new paradigm of an abruptly changing climatic system has been well established by research over the last decade, but this new thinking is little known and scarcely appreciated in the wider community of natural and social scientists and policy-makers.’ (NAS Committee on Abrupt Climate Change, NAP, 2002)

        I am very much of the opinion that Jim Hansen and fellow travellers have the wrong end of the paradigm. Here is a short article that might help. Please note that the title was the editors and not mine. I am a little more modest than that.

      • Quadrant – yikes!

      • A new SkyDragon in the making?

      • Robert I Ellison

        A sky dragon who quotes the NAS, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, The Royal Society amongst many other reputable sources.

        Give your hat a break Michael.

    • Robert I Ellison,

      You seem to be arguing that there are other environmental problems, besides climate change, and so resources directed towards the latter have necessarily been at the expense of the former.

      Have you any factual evidence to support this assertion? I doubt it.

      You could just as well argue that because too much money has been spent on climate change, the war in Afghanistan is going badly, or Australia lost to NZ again in the rugby, or that Australia didn’t get the number of gold medals in the Olympics it was hoping for!

      • Robert I Ellison

        I am arguing that there is a limited space in the public arena and that this has been dominated by climate change for 20 years. The lack of progress in more fundamental areas of conservation have not been addressed by reason of neglect more than anything else. You have to remember that politicians are idiots and can hold only one idea in their heads.

        There are solutions to some or all of the problems, scientifically based sustainable grazing and agriculture, replanting and stabilizing riparian zones, restoring fragmented habitat, applying appropriate fire regimes and controlling feral species. It first of all needs political will and a financial commitment. It is that that is missing most of all. The Australian Conservation Foundation and the Farmers Federation estimated that $6 billion a year for twenty years is required to restore Australian landscapes – about half of that from private sources.

        And if we are talking about ‘activating science’ – a necessary prerequisite is to get environmental science operating on local and regional scales. Environmental science is a new type of science. It is team based incorporating a range of skills – ecology, archaeology, sociology, engineering, economics, accountants, lawyers and others. It focuses on specific issues and problems and has all the skills and knowledge needed to assess and, above all, fix problems. There are already thousands of talented and dedicated public servants working in isolation on environmental issues. Put them in balanced teams and get them working in local and regional areas. They need to see, smell, touch and taste environmental problems. They need to get out of the cities and work with local organizations and individuals. They need to live with and be part of local and rural communities.

        I was arguing about waste and incompetence. Very little has been achieved in energy because base load plants maintain constant inputs of all day every day.

        So a complex message – much in the way that rational responses to emissions have multiple objectives.

      • Mr. Robert I. Ellison, you say,”You have to remember that politicians are idiots and can hold only one idea in their heads.” Their ‘one idea’ is to get their hands on our money. With this fact in mind, how smart do they look to you now?

      • Robert Ellison

        You have to remember that politicians are idiots and can hold only one idea in their heads.

        I suggest that misplaces the problem. I suggest the politicians are not idiots. They get fed enormous amounts of information, most of it in a totally unsuitable form for policy analysis. What they realise is that the population can be led only very slowly. They realise that the issue is managing the expectations of an enormous diverse range of beliefs held by the electorate and wants of the electors. They have to manage all this. They need to focus on a very small number of very simple messages. It is not their job to be the school teachers.

        We can see how closed minded even educated people are by following the comments on this web site. Try and envisage what the politicians have to deal with.

    • Australia is spending billions to stop the global warming that is stopping anyway and not tending to problems that they should be dealing with. That is sad. We are trying to do the same thing. That is sad.

  98. Nordhaus (2012) says (Slide # 21):

    http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/documents/Prague_June2012_v4_color.pdf

    – Estimating impacts has been the most difficult part of all
    climate science: house-to-house combat for analysts.

    – Economic studies do not suggest catastrophic economic
    damages in near term (< 50 years).

    Given this clear and obvious statement with which no rational person could disagree, and given that policies have a very short life*, and given the serious consequences of economically irrational policies for human well being, I could not, in all integrity, not support any economically irrational policy.

    * Policies have a very short life – as Faustino pointed out in a comment today, and as Pekka Pirila points out on his web site and has stated several times in comments on Climate Etc., and has been made clear as Australia made a major and fundamental change to its carbon tax within just two months of it starting up.

  99. Environmentalism is a solution looking for problems. The solution is constraint.

  100. > Beware of becoming and [sic.] advocate, and understand the risk that this poses to your personal reputation and to the science itself.

    Honest brokers might disagree:

    > If you catch me claiming that I am focused only on the science, call me on it and I’ll buy you a beer ;-)

    That quote from a blog post that spunk that Lubchenco line more than two years ago:

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.ca/2010/03/stealth-issue-advocacy.html

    • What a fascinating link, willard. At least Roger owns up to his own advocacy. With his criticism of scientists who say that they are only focused on the integrity of the science, I wonder what his take might be on Judith’s claims of how she is the true pure scientist? And I wonder what Judith was thinking of in her previous stage of not beong focused om the integrity of the science

      • Joshua,

        The only charitable interpretation that I can come up is that Judy understands the risk her bloggin’ poses to her personal reputation and to the science itself.

        We should interpret her post as an acknowledgment.

        This interpretation is better than to assume that Judy is falling into a double standard, don’t you think?

        INTEGRITY(tm) – not only about data.

      • Oh, and I forgot to ask: do you have an example of Judith’s claims being a true pure scientist?

      • no he doesnt.

      • steven –

        What I take issue with is Judith’s subjectivity in making determinations about who is focused on the integrity of science, and who is an advocate.

        From where I sit – she applies criteria very subjectively; she advocates these days and has a history of advocacy.

        Others, also, say that they are interested in the integrity of science.
        They are also interested in looking intently at natural variation, at looking at uncertainty from various perspectives. Many of those who she deems as advocates, and as scientists who don’t examine the evidence, many would also would advocate against civil disobedience, many would advocate against breaking in to Heartland to steal their documents. What difference does it make, in some meaningful way if some might advocate signing petitions whereas she doesn’t? Does it make some meaningful distinction as to whether or not one mixes advocacy with science? Say one scientists signs a petition and doesn’t testify for Congress while another doesn’t sign a petition and does testify before Congress. Is the first dangerously mixing advocacy and science while the second isn’t?

        In point of fact, I absolutely do not see the relationship between advocacy and science in some binary fashion – and it is precisely Judith’s selective binary construction that I am criticizing.

        And steven, while I am flattered with your interest in me – as you so often seem to be – as opposed to actually addressing my criticisms of Judith, I think it says more about you than it does about Judith.

      • I have been fairly called, three times, for hyperbole. My point is that Judith has said that she is focused on the science as opposed., in a very unqualified manner, to numerous. other. scientists that. (presumably) has never even met – largely on the basis of her disagreement about how the evidence should be interpreted. She works backward for the fact of their statement of view on the evidence to deduce that they don’t even evaluate the evidence but merely parrot the consensus. Further, she uses a sel-elevating rationale to distinguish her “focus on inntegrity” from advocacy . No doubt many of those she says are advocates believe that they are no less focused on the integrity of the science than she identifies for herself. Was Judith less focused on integrity when she wrote editofrials or testified to Congress ?

      • I think it’s fair to say that there is a spectrum of “advocacy” while you seem to want to see it in a binary way, namely everyone is an advocate and no one can be pure.
        Clearly Judith advocates certain things. She advocates looking more intently at natural variation. She advocates looking at uncertainty from various perspectives. She advocates keeping your politics private.
        She advocates against signing petitions. I imagine she would advocate against civil disobedience. I imagine she would advocate against breaking into heartland to steal their documents. I suppose she would advocate against taking actions that undermine the ideal of objectivity, knowing of course, that few if any can be agenda free.
        Interestingly you had to use a hyperbole to characterize her position. That says more about you than her.

      • John Carpenter

        Not to butt in here Joshua, but where has Judy claimed “how she is the true pure scientist”? I have seen her claim she chooses to focus on the science and policy and their interface. I have seen her say she chooses not to reveal her personal political affiliations. I’m not sure I have seen her say she is a ‘true pure scientist’. again, this is somewhat related to our previous conversation upthread… the idea we both agreed on that everyone brings a personal bias to their processing of information.

      • > I have seen her say she chooses not to reveal her personal political affiliations.

        On the other hand, elementary network analysis gives us:

        > I like Ridley’s point about the excluded middle ground, “lukewarmers” in the case of climate change. I also like his points about the unintended consequences of policies intended to “fix” the problem. Overall, I think this is a very interesting and provocative article.

        http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/27/apocalypse-not/

        There is also old threads at CA, for less elementary network analysis.

        Who you say you are might be less revealing than who you quote approvingly.

        INTEGRITY ™ – It’s about trust

      • Good call, John. See comment above. more mistakes than usual since I’m using my phone but I think you can get the gist.

      • weird how you want to let yourself off the hook, but don’t practice the same generosity with others that you expect for yourself.

      • and steven –

        Perhaps you misunderstood my comment? I wasn’t blaming my use of hyperbole on my posting phone. I offering no excuse or letting myself “off the hook.” We should all avoid hyperbole,IMO. In general, it only detracts from quality debate.

        But even if I were trying to make an excuse for my hyperbole – I don’t know why you’d think it would be weird. It’s fairly common to do that, and quite understandable as to why. It’s all part of motivated reasoning – something that affects us all although some wish to deny it.

        In fact, I’ve seen you avoid accountability for hyperbole on more than one occasion, and didn’t think it was any more or less weird than what you usually do.

        Once again, however, I thank you for your interest in what I do and don’t do.

      • Joshua,

        There are ways to prevent hyperboles: provide quotes first, or just provide quotes.

        Could you provide a quote of what you have in mind?

        Many thanks!

  101. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Robert Ellison, if among climate scientists everyone is wrong (as you have startlingly asserted), then how is it that predictions of accelerating Arctic sea-ice melt have been so remarkably correct, and the observed acceleration in melt-rate so markedly secular?

    Climate scientists now appreciate that we live upon a planet whose dynamics is predicable upon time-scales of days-to-weeks, turbulent upon a time-scale of years to decades, and predictable again — in accord with principles of energy balance and entropy flow — on generational time-scales.

    And this physics is fortunate for our children and grandchildren! Because generationally valid scientific understanding enables us to make generationally rational economic and moral choices! Eh, Robert Ellison?   :grin:   :grin:   :grin:

    We thereby rationally appreciate — based entirely upon well-understood climate physics — the reasons why the short-term worldview of Vaclav Klaus, Ayn Rand, and Chris Monckton is scientifically, economically, and morally wrong.   :cry:   :oops:   :cry:   :oops:   :cry:

    And conversely we appreciate — based upon a growing body of evidence evidence — that the long-term worldview of Garrett Hardin, James Hansen, and Wendell Berry (and the Pope too! :grin: ) has turned out to be scientifically and economically correct.   :!:   :!:   :!:

    Please rationally adjust your understanding to accord with longer-term economic and moral reasoning and well-validated science, Robert Ellison … and Judith Curry too! Thank you both!   :grin:   :grin:   :grin:

    • Fan

      Where has Robert specfically asserted that all climate scientists are wrong? He is surely saying that everyone is wrong-in other words we don’t know enough to be able to say what has happened to the climate in the past let alone the future.

      This is surely the take home message from his piece;

      “The bottom line of all this is that the current generation of climate forecasting models cannot be relied on as accurate representations of future climate. It will be quite some time before the new models are good enough to model ‘sensitive dependence’ in climate. I doubt their chances at all; weather models are accurate, because of chaos theory in operation, over about 7 days at best. ”

      Perhaps you disagrre with his assertion and believe that current models are state of the art? Is that what you believe Fan, that we can’t improve on our present level of knowledge?
      tonyb

  102. Trollin’ Trollin’ Tollin’

    Keep movin’, movin’, movin’,
    Though they’re disapprovin’,
    Keep them doggies movin’ AGW!
    Don’t try to understand ‘em,
    Just rope and throw and grab ‘em,
    Soon we’ll be living high and wide.
    Boy my heart’s calculatin’
    My true love will be waitin’, be waiting at the end of my ride.

    Move ‘em on, head ‘em up,
    Head ‘em up, move ‘em out,
    Move ‘em on, head ‘em out AGW!
    Set ‘em out, ride ‘em in
    Ride ‘em in, let ‘em out,
    Cut ‘em out, ride ‘em in AGW!

    Andrew.

    • Bad Andrew

      Excellent.

      Let me add two verses.

      Trollin’, trollin’, trollin’
      Fanny’s constant trollin’
      Keeps that BS rollin’
      Climate Fear!

      Fanny’s chain needs jerkin’
      So I’ll start a’workin’
      On a post to set him on his ear
      And to undermine his Climate Fear.

      Max

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        LOL  we see that Beth Cooper is not Climate Etc’s sole poet:

        manacker rhymes  “Fanny’s chain needs jerkin’
        So I’ll start a’workin’
        On a post to set him on his ear”

        Manacker, your post surely will be fun for everyone … including me!   :lol:

        Climate Etc readers can verify for themselves that my posts scrupulously respect both the moral and political views of America’s Founders and Framers together with the Enlightenment norms of mathematics, science, engineering, and economics.

        That is why, in seeking to “set these ideas on their ear” you have undertaken a pretty considerable contract, eh Manacker?   :grin:   :grin:   :grin:

        Not to mention the overarching principle “Nature cannot be fooled” … it is always prudent — in the long run — for us all to vote *HER* straight ticket!   :!:   :lol:   :?:   :lol:   :!:

      • Fan

        I followed one of your links and discovered it was about the ozone layer, which reminded me that I dont believe you answered me when I asked how we knew whether or not there had ALWAYS been an ozone hole prior to instrumental records that started in the 1950’s.

        A question that defeated the Max Planck institute AND Cambridge University when I asked them, but I am confident you are made of sterner stuff.
        tonyb

    • Ooh, poetry corner, let me have a go (to the tune of ‘its raining, its pouring’)

      It’s meltin’, its warmin’,
      The skeptics are ignorin’,
      They make up lies,
      And close their eyes,
      And couldn’t see the truth that was dawnin’

  103. Not bad Andrew, and Max, a witty coupla verses! Say, I jest can’t resist adding another stanza )

    Tollin’ tollin’ tollin’
    Keep the carbon taxes rollin’,
    Hefty grants fer modellin’ ‘science’ far and wide,
    Yer’ll pay heaps in subsidisin’
    Crucial energies’ dpwn sizin’,
    Could it be
    Yer bein’ taken fer a ride?

  104. There once was a prof from Nantuket,
    His degree in a sciency subject.

    It is warming he cried!
    Wind power’s our ally!
    As long as its not installed in Nantuket.

  105. I hope all those CAGWers in the EPA have got their resumes updated.

    As I’ve noted several times recently on this blog, the opinion polls that show the gap between Obama and Romney inexorably closing are (intentionally?) exaggerating Obama’s number and down playing Romney’s by first sampling registered rather than likely voters, and more importantly, by over sampling Democrats in their surveys by 8 – 210 percent higher than Republicans.

    Rasmussen has some new research out on how people identify themselves prior to this election.

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/09/01/gop-voters-at-all-time-high

    First, in 2008, when Obama won by the largest margin of any Democrat in decades (Clinton never won a majority), he got about 53.7 percent of the vote, when voters had identified themselves as 41.6% Democrats and 33.8% Republican.

    In 2010, when the Republicans took over the House, the same poll showed the GOP leading by 1.3%. That 1.3% resulted in a rout of the Democrats.

    Now Rasmussen shows voters self identifying as Republican 37.6% to Democrats 33.3%. A 4.3% edge to Republicans, more than triple their advantage in 2010.

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/archive/mood_of_america_archive/partisan_trends/summary_of_party_affiliation

    These kinds of numbe