The ‘hard won’ consensus

by Judith Curry

The extent to which a consensus is “hard won” can be understood to depend on the personal qualities of the participating experts.” Brent Ranalli

Bishop Hill points  to an interesting new paper:

Climate science, character, and the ‘hard won’ consensus

Brent Ranalli

Abstract.  What makes a consensus among scientists credible and convincing? This paper introduces the notion of a “hard-won” consensus and uses examples from recent debates over climate change science to show that this heuristic standard for evaluating the quality of a consensus is widely shared. The extent to  which a consensus is “hard won” can be understood to depend on the personal qualities of the participating experts; the article demonstrates the continuing utility of the norms of modern science introduced by Robert K. Merton by showing that individuals on both sides of the climate science debate rely intuitively on Mertonian ideas—interpreted in terms of character—to frame their arguments.

Citation:  Ranalli, B. Climate Science, Character, and the “Hard-Won” Consensus, Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal Vol. 22, No. 2, 183–210.  (behind paywall)

BishopHill’s post provides several excerpts from the paper. I provide some further excerpts of arguments that I found to be of particular interest.

We may define a hard-won consensus as one that emerges only after vigorous debate and a thorough examination of the range of alternative explanations. It is one in which centrifugal tendencies are strong, and the experts are drawn into agreement only reluctantly and after careful consideration. Again, the fact that a consensus is hard won is not a guarantee that it is correct. But it provides some assurance that the scientific community has done its due diligence.

JC comment:  ‘Due diligence’ (?) (!)   Does anyone recall this terminology being used in the academic literature on the climate debate or consensus prior to Steve McIntyre’s arguments?

The failure of the IPCC to seriously explore natural  variability (particularly natural internal variability on multi-decadal and longer time scales) as an alternative explanation would seem to fail the test of ‘a thorough examination of the range of alternative explanations’, where ‘experts are drawn into agreement only reluctantly after careful consideration.’   The hockey-stick line of thinking, whereby the blade was flat, is front and center in this failure.  This does not imply that the IPCC is incorrect, but rather that their consensus was not ‘hard won’ by Ranalli’s criteria.

The next question is: how does one recognize that a consensus is hard won and not merely an artifact of groupthink, or interest, or bias? One strategy is to evaluate the quality of the dialogue among experts, to look for evidence that vigorous debate took place and that multiple hypotheses were entertained before consensus was achieved. This could be done by a layperson, but only at cost and with difficulty. It would require the layperson to monitor the emerging technical literature and/or wade through extensive archives. And there are no clear criteria for deciding whether a debate has been robust enough, whether the hypotheses debated have been imaginative enough.

Another strategy is to evaluate not the quality of the dialogue but the quality of the participants. We are adept at evaluating people (or so we think—at the very least we are accustomed to it—more on this below), and it does not take long to form an opinion of a person’s character, which makes this a feasible shorthand strategy, more feasible than monitoring and evaluating the technical discussions. It makes the problem of evaluating expert consensus tractable: judge the experts, and you have a way to draw heuristic conclusions about the confidence that should be placed in their pronouncements.

Philosophers may cringe at the lack of rigor in such a chain of reasoning, and one may point in particular to our unreliability in judging character. I do not contest the lack of rigor, but I think we should entertain this line of reasoning for two reasons. First, it is well documented that scientists evaluate each other based on personal qualities, and history of science scholarship shows that since the earliest days of the modern era scientists have been at pains to develop personae—for the benefit of both the public and their fellow practitioners—to demonstrate that they possess traits considered important or necessary for participation or excellence in the profession. Second, lack of formal rigor notwithstanding, I wish to show that this is how people actually think about issues of controversy and consensus. These are terms in which debates about the reliability of consensus is played out, debates that include both scientists and laypersons, both defenders and critics of a given scientific orthodoxy.

JC comment:  I agree that both scientists and public have been using this particular heuristic.  That this heuristic was being used was made evident by the public reaction (and the reaction of some scientists) to Climategate.  It has been argued that there was nothing in the emails that changes the actual science; however the impact was on the erosion of the legitimacy of the consensus owing to what was revealed about the participants in the consensus building.

What are the criteria for evaluating persons? Here we invoke two of the Mertonian norms. First, we expect scientists to be radically individualistic and skeptical. This trait motivates them to turn a critical eye on each others’ work and collectively to leave no stone unturned when thinking about hypotheses, counterarguments, and perspectives on a problem.

In other words, among the norms that govern our expectations for the behavior and character of scientists, the norms of skepticism and disinterestedness can help to counteract groupthink, interest, and bias and facilitate the emergence of consensus that—because it is born of a rigorous and frank examination of problems, peers, and self—may be considered “hard won.”

JC comment:  while the IPCC group undeniably works hard in preparing the assessment reports, I don’t think that their consensus qualifies as ‘hard won’ by these criteria?

A survey of the climate science debate

Most of the arguments made can be located on one of several planes introduced above: they involve the role and privileges of expertise, sources of error in expert judgments, and the character of scientific experts. The “rhetorical space” in which the debate takes place [includes the following elements:]

1. Arguments about the role and privileges of expertise

  • Defense: Invocation of climate scientists’ expert authority
  • Opposition:  Invocation of the authority of experts in neighboring disciplines; deconstruction of the authority of experts

2. Arguments about sources of error in expert judgment (bias, interest, groupthink)

  • Defense:  Explanations for the failure of the recalcitrant minority of scientists to embrace the consensus view
  • Opposition:  Explanations of the consensus as an artifact

3. Arguments about the character of experts

  • Defense:  Defense of the character of mainstream scientists; attacks on the character of the recalcitrant minority of scientists
  • Opposition:  Attacks on the character of mainstream scientists; defense of the character of the recalcitrant minority of scientists

JC comment:  This is the neatest summary/analysis that I’ve seen on the rhetoric of the climate debate.  The parallels between the the two sides are striking.

The article then goes on to give specific examples, some of which are more on target than others.  I excerpt below the ones that I found to be insightful:

Among the amateur skeptical community there is a hearty appetite to master the science of climate change, at least in the spirit of a whodunit. Hence the incessant demands that have been made by amateur skeptics for the data underpinning published studies and even for computer code and intermediate calculations. Those who would attribute this slavish intent to exactly reproduce the work of the professionals to lack of imagination or analytical ability  miss the point. The amateur critics are not primarily interested in replicating results via independent analysis, as a scientific peer would be. Rather, they wish to audit the results, to look for flaws, evidence of wrongdoing or incompetence.

The presumption behind an audit is that expertise holds no mystique: experts may apply seasoned judgment, but every instance of such judgment can be isolated and interrogated and should be evaluated by canons of common sense accessible to anyone.

JC comment:  Ranalli ‘gets it’, this is the first such analysis that I’ve seen in the social science literature on the climate change debate.  Usually the discussion is about ‘motivated reasoning’ of the ‘deniers.’

In addition to deconstructing expertise, another tactic taken by amateur skeptics is to appeal to the authority of experts in a neighboring discipline: most importantly, statistics. With a background in mathematics, amateur skeptic Steven McIntyre, a retired minerals consultant, has made some substantive criticisms of the statistical work of Michael Mann and other paleoclimatologists. The climate experts are vulnerable in this area since the community of professional paleoclimatologists has tended to rely on its own statistical training rather than collaborating with professional statisticians.

This suggests a more general point, which is that climate science is so complex and multidisciplinary that no one individual can possibly possess the expertise to stand in an epistemically privileged position over the whole domain. Atmospheric chemists have to take on trust, much as educated laypersons do, that the solar physicists know what they are talking about and that a consensus of oceanographers is a meaningful, hard-won consensus. For skeptical author Andrew Montford, who observes that geochemists and glacier scientists who are fully convinced of the overall argument for anthropogenic global warming nevertheless downplay the adequacy of data in their own disciplines, such considerations only magnify a skeptic’s doubts. Solomon (2010, p. 46) similarly argues that scientists who have reservations about the evidence in their own area of expertise may have fewer reservations about the big picture. Recognizing this phenomenon as a general feature of expert communities, Collins  explains it with the quip that “distance lends enchantment.” Collins and Evans elaborate: “Core-scientists are continually exposed, in case of dispute, to the counter-arguments of their fellows and, as a result, are slow to reach complete certainty about any conclusion. In general, it is those in the next ring out . . . —the nonspecialists in the scientific community—who, in the short term, reach the greatest certainty about matters scientific”.

JC comment:  The previous paragraph eloquently makes a very important point that I have tried to make numerous times.  This is Michael Kelly’s ‘invisible hand’ at work.  The WG II group are staunch defenders of the consensus, and for the most part they are distant from expertise on detection and attribution..

The following paragraph is interesting to me anyways, again I find Ranalli’s analysis to be quite insightful.

Climatologist Judith Curry has offered a set of observations on the subject of character and groupthink that needs to stand alone in this survey for two reasons. First, it is a critique of the mainstream climate community that comes from a mainstream scientist rather than a skeptic. Second, although it is primarily directed at mainstream community, it applies equally well to the skeptical community. I refer to Curry’s observations on the subject of “tribalism” in science (2009). Curry argues that under pressure from ideologically motivated attacks, scientists tend to “circle the wagons” and “point the guns outward,” making themselves less likely to give criticism from the outside a fair hearing and less likely to tolerate dissent among themselves. Curry herself enjoyed the protection and solidarity of a “tribe” for approximately a year while she and her colleagues were subjected to a smear campaign on account of research on climate and hurricanes, and she came to recognize its disadvantages and dysfunctions as well as its advantages and occasional necessity. She suggests that the scientists caught up in the Climategate affair were subject to “tribal” thinking over an extended period and that this affected their judgment and their ability to be objective in certain matters. Arguably, segments of the skeptical community that are actively striving for objectivity and truth (Steve McIntyre and some of his readers, Curry implies) are equally susceptible to a tribalism that interferes with achieving those goals.

Summary and concluding remarks

In this paper we have also gotten some insight into the dynamics of a major contemporary controversy over science and expertise. As there is so little effective dialogue between the factions in the climate science wars, their accounts of reality have diverged to the extent that they sometimes seem to be inhabiting different universes. There is value, I think, in compressing those universes together and seeing how they might be made to conform. One outcome is an appreciation of the extent of common ground they share: in particular, common standards for judging the behavior and character of scientists. Thus it would be profoundly wrong for science communicators and climate change policy advocates to assume that the bulk of climate skeptics are “antiscience.” Even though they may at times hold expertise in contempt, many skeptics have a strong commitment to the norms of science. At times this commitment seems even more puritanical than that of the scientific establishment itself: as seen, for example, in skeptics’ demands for more inclusive participation (universalism) and more open sharing of data and methods (communalism).

JC comment:  Again these are unusual (and welcome) insights from a social scientist covering the climate debate.  And I would agree with this characterization of many of the climate change skeptics.  This does not mean the skeptics are necessarily ‘right’ in their scientific conclusions, but characterizing them as ‘anti-science’ is absolutely inappropriate.

JC summary:  Ranalli has provided an even handed and insightful analysis of the climate debate.   I don’t agree with all of his statements and points; I have chosen to highlight the points that I find insightful. In any event, I would say that CAGW proponents interested in countering the strategies of skeptics would do well to understand the underlying dynamics of the debate rhetoric.

And if ‘character’ really does matter,  attempts to score points through advocacy and rhetoric in the interest of propaganda will not have the desired effect: rather, these will just contribute to the character deficit associated with the consensus in the wake of Climategate.

913 responses to “The ‘hard won’ consensus

  1. thisisnotgoodtogo

    What is the consensus on when it is weather and when it is climate ?

    • David L. Hagen

      Excellent discussion.
      I would say that the IPCC’s “consensus” is NOT hard won for lack of addressing the full range of natural changes, ignoring issues raised by skeptics and failing to incorporate rigorous methods to ensure significance and avoid bias.
      The lack of statistical and logical expertise in orthodox climate science and refusal to incorporate professional statistics expertise is amazing.
      e.g., Phil Jones admits: “I’m not adept enough (totally inept) with excel to do this now as no-one who knows how to is here.”
      In addition to Steve McIntyre, contrast statistician Lucia at the Blackboard who provides statistical evaluations of the temperature trends. Statistician W. M. Briggs addresses climate statistical issues in numerous posts.
      Christopher Monckton explores logical issues inMüller lite: Why Every Scientist Needs a Classical Training
      The Hockey Stick fiasco was primarily a failure of statistical methods using known bad data, and of cherry picking dat (ignoring a large body of significant data.)
      While medical and pharmaceutical industries apply rigorous double blind practices, climate scientists’ unfamiliarity with scientific forecasting principles is astounding. This alone likely results in major bias and invalid modeling.

      On weather vs climate, 30 years is often quoted, but that reveals an ignorance (or ignoring) of natural variations as it ignors the natural 21 year Hale cycles and the ~60 year PDO cycle. Chosing 50% of a natual PDO cycle results in strong warming or cooling trends depending on the start date. WJR Alexander shows correlation between runoff and the 21 year Hale cycle. Better to take multiples of 60 years etc.
      Contrast physicists with expertise in statistics and signal analysis. e.g., compare the models by Nicola Scafetta of Duke U. with the IPCC’s.
      Furthermore, ignoring a major portion of “inconvenient” published science results in strong bias. e.g. see some of the missing science in the NIPCC reports.
      Here’s to hoping many read Ranalli’s paper and take the issues to heart.

    • History shows that consensus is a technique used to cover reality:

      This Climategate summary highlights important historical events:

      1. The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Aug 1945

      2. The hurried establishment of the United Nations in Oct 1945

      3. Published misrepresentation of cores of atoms and stars in 1946

      4. George Orwell’s 1948 forecast of government tyranny by “1984”

      5. USSR’s launch of Sputnik threatened world domination in Oct 1957

      6. Eisenhower’s funds hugh US industrial/military complex in 1958-1960

      7. Political pundits surprised by Kennedy’s election as President in Nov 1960

      8. Eisenhower warns of the “scientific-technological elite” on 17 Jan 1961

      9. USSR’s cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in orbit around the Earth on 12 Apr 1961

      0. Apollo program, Cuban Missile crisis, Kennedy assassinated on 23 Nov 1963

      Only Jacqueline Kennedy grasped this earth-shattering tragedy on the road to Climategate

  2. ‘The presumption behind an audit is that expertise holds no mystique: experts may apply seasoned judgment, but every instance of such judgment can be isolated and interrogated and should be evaluated by canons of common sense accessible to anyone’

    Any auditor worth his salt should start from the presumption that the auditee is a lying thieving disingenuous crook. Where this presumption is not followed you get circumstances like Enron where the auditor was lulled into a false sense of security and failed to make proper checks. Not only did Enron go spectacularly bust, but the auditing company did too. The auditor must not be a chum of the auditee.

    In the commercial world we are used to regular – and unpleasant – audits. Academics who complain about their work being subject to the same scrutiny get little sympathy from me.

  3. Sorry, this whole paper and it’s approach are a load of scientific nonsense. The only time that there is ever a true SCIENTIFIC consensus, is when the empirical data is overwhelming; and by empirical data, I mean hard, measured, independently replicated data. Without such overwhelming empirical data, any claimed consensus is merely the idea that a group of experts share the same opinion . And to claim that this is a scientific consensus is nonsense. Nullius in verba.

    Let me go back to what I have been claiming about such little empirical data as we have. I will make three statements, all of which mean essentially the same thing, and they all relate to empirical data we have obtained in the 20th and 21st centuries.

    1. There is no proof that any observed rise in global temperatures was caused by additional CO2 in the atmosphere.

    2. There has been no change in the temperature trend against time since good records became available about 160 years ago, and no trend since any records we have dating back much further.

    3. There is no discernable CO2 signature in any temperature/time graph, in the presence of natural noise.

    It follows from 3, by definition, that the value for total climate sensitivity is indistinguishable from zero, since we cannot detect any CO2 signal against the background of natural noise.

    • “1. There is no proof that any observed rise in global temperatures was caused by additional CO2 in the atmosphere.”

      There is overwhelming evidence however. Demands for “proof” rather than evidence are a little trick creationists use too (“there is no proof of evolution”).

      “2. There has been no change in the temperature trend against time since good records became available about 160 years ago”

      Which shows you wrongly assume AGW means that all warming is caused by one factor.

      “3. There is no discernable CO2 signature in any temperature/time graph, in the presence of natural noise.”

      This is circular reasoning. You presume all the temperature changes are natural (“natural noise”) and so conclude:

      “It follows from 3, by definition, that the value for total climate sensitivity is indistinguishable from zero, since we cannot detect any CO2 signal against the background of natural noise.”

      Certainly not, that’s ridiculous logic.

      Next.

      • David L. Hagen

        lolwot
        See Ranalli’s comments on character and science.
        Try sometime to explain which is the cause and which the effect between CO2 and temperature or how much of which during what time period and why. See evidence that
        CO2 lags temperature in recent times. Furthermore why is CO2 6 months out of sinc between the North and South poles? The orthodox dogma presumes CO2 causes warming without testing if temperature increases from clouds cause CO2 increases etc.
        We cannot have true “consensus” founded on clear models until these issues are fully explored and quantified. Back to needing a well funded “red team” to “kick the tires”.

      • CO2 is rising due to human emissions. Rising CO2 has a warming effect. Quite simple and settled science.

        Also for contrary claims that warming causes the CO2 rise, does that mean there was no medieval warm period?

      • David L. Hagen

        lolwot
        Similarly:
        “Declining clouds increase warming.
        Rising temperature increases natural CO2.
        Quite simple and settled science”
        We need to qantify and distinguish between them.

      • David, you may think you have chosen a silly example, but incredibly there are people who think these drive everything.

      • David L. Hagen

        Jim D
        That was not a “silly” example.Both CO2 warming from anthropogenic CO2 and warming from natural CO2 from natural warming are real and significant. So are respective increases and decreases in cloud changes. The challenge we have is to quantify both and figure out “which is the chicken and which the egg” – which the cause and which the effect – or how much of which in our very complex non-linear spatially distributed coupled climatic system with multiple independent poorly predictable external drivers.

      • k scott denison

        lolwot: “There is overwhelming evidence however. Demands for “proof” rather than evidence are a little trick creationists use too (“there is no proof of evolution”).”

        Please list the evidence noting that models and their output do not constitute evidence.

      • John Carpenter

        Certainly model output does not constitute evidence of AGW. However, models do give us an idea of what types of trends we might see in the future. There is no question that increased CO2 will mean a warmer world, how much warmer is the real question. Will it be enough to merit action? We don’t really know. We know CO2 has increased and we know our our world is warmer… due to CO2? Due to natural variability? A little of both? Here is where we find more interesting discussion. Instead, lolwot uses poor rhetoric to make his point by comparing climate skeptics with creationists… apples and oranges… it’s a strawman and does nothing more than incite the opposition. It is not a discussion about the science, rather it’s meant to brand the opposition with a scientific insult. The ball is not moving down the field. On the other hand, Jim does not want to consider CO2 as a GHG that can increase global temps, he believes in only hard empirical evidence as if it should be clear, direct and easy to find. IMO, not very likely in studying the climate. He is not interested in the accepted physics… because it’s not accepted to Jim. This point of view will find every alternative as the reason why CO2 plays no role in our current climate. Thus, an argument between the two of them will go nowhere as neither want to find common ground. As Judith says… this is nothing more than a p***ing match. Don’t waste your time, I already wasted enough on this observation.

      • David Springer

        John Carpenter | September 3, 2012 at 10:39 pm |

        “There is no question that increased CO2 will mean a warmer world, how much warmer is the real question.”

        Actually there is a question. If CO2 increases but the oceanic conveyor belt starts running faster it will get colder. The average temperature of the global ocean is 4C. Only a thin layer on top, about 10% of its volume, gets any warmer than 3C. If that upper layer for any reason starts mixing faster the interglacial period, which is itself only 10% of the glacial/interglacial cycle time, will end.

        But I was more thinking along the lines of Ferenc M. Miskolczi’s Saturated Greenhouse Effect which basically states that increased CO2 causes water vapor to rain out with the result being no net change in greenhouse effect. There is arguable support for this in humidity recordings fro radiosonde balloon soundings in the twentieth century. The quality of the data, like most of the that surrounding this debate, is questionable. In any case water controls our climate not CO2. The tail doesn’t wag the dog.

      • Springer, It shouldn’t be too hard for you to do a first-order calculation verifying Miskolczi’s theory. We all eagerly await for your results.

      • John Carpenter,

        “There is no question that increased CO2 will mean a warmer world, how much warmer is the real question.”

        In fact, none of the CO2 physical properties could be explained to cause any warming of the atmosphere.

      • John Carpenter, you write “On the other hand, Jim does not want to consider CO2 as a GHG that can increase global temps, he believes in only hard empirical evidence as if it should be clear, direct and easy to find. IMO, not very likely in studying the climate.”

        Let me try an illustrate just how illogical this statement is. Let us imagine we are in the year 2100, looking back over the empirical data we have collected over the 21st century with respect to global tempertures. Let us consider two possible scenarios.

        Scenario A. Global temperatures have continued to rise at a rate of around 0.06 C per decade for the whole of the century. Clearly we would conclude that CAGW has not occurred.

        Scenario B. Global temperatures have risen as predicted by the proponents of CAGW. Clearly we would conclude that CAGW has occurred.

        But for Scenario B to have occurred, there must have been long periods of time in the 21st century when the rate of rise of temperature was shown, by the emipirical data, to have risen at a rate considerbaly in excess of 0.06 C per decade. In those time periods, there must have been a very clear CO2 signal that global temperatures were rising at an excessive rate. So, for CAGW to have occurred, there must have been a time when the empirical data proved that a CO2 signal existed. If no CO2 signal ever exists, then CAGW will never occur.

        So, if you are correct, that the empirical data for a clear CO2 signal is never going to happen, then you must, in logic, believe that CAGW is never going to occur. My empirical data requirement for a clear CO2 signal, is a sine qua non, for CAGW to have occurred.

        You also write “ He is not interested in the accepted physics… because it’s not accepted to Jim`.

        This I resent. I have no idea what you mean by “accepted physics“. If you mean the consensus that our hostess keeps on claiming is occurring, then you are correct; I do not accept this physics. I do not accept the value of 1.2C for the no-feedback climate sensitivity for a doubling of CO2, because it has never been and can never be, measured. I demand empirical data to prove that any hypothesis is correct. If that is what you mean by saying that I do not agree with the accepted physics, then I plead Guilty as charged.

      • Do you mean that if temperature increases by 0.3C in a 10 year period that will be a CO2 signal?

      • lolwot,you write “Do you mean that if temperature increases by 0.3C in a 10 year period that will be a CO2 signal?“

        Dont put words into my mouth. I mean that it is not possible for there to have been proven CAGW, unless there has been an empirically observed CO2 signal. That is all.

      • John Carpenter

        Jim,

        1. CAGW was not a part of your original argument, however you classify or define CAGW, your moving the goal posts a little.
        2. We may only now be at a point where an anthro CO2 signal can be detected over the natural variability noise. This is obviously where there is a lot of debate at this time. It is not a clear signal at this time, but may be emerging.
        3. The signal, if detectable, may not mean CAGW will occur but would help varify model prediction accuracy.
        4. If an anthro CO2 signal begins to emerge, it should become clearer to see as CO2 concentrations continue to increase over time.
        5. You are guilty as charged wrt to what I meant by ‘accepted physics’.

      • John Carpenter, you write “5. You are guilty as charged wrt to what I meant by ‘accepted physics’.”

        You have not defined what you mean by “accepted physics”. Who accepted it? I base my scien ce on the physics I was taught at Cavendish Labs.

      • John Carpenter

        Jim, your own definition is sufficient enough for what I would call ‘accepted’…. 1.2 C for a 2x CO2, no feedback. Yep.

      • John, you write “Jim, your own definition is sufficient enough for what I would call ‘accepted’…. 1.2 C for a 2x CO2, no feedback. Yep.”

        Thank you very much indeed for this. If that is your idea of “accepted physics”, then I am very proud indeed to be counted amongst those who do not agree the “accepted physics”. I will wear your condemnation of my position as a badge of honor.

      • Note, John, that if a clear signal is just barely emerging then AnthroCO2 has not a very strong effect. Note, too, that I may have put words in your mouth.
        ==========================

      • kim, you write “Note, John, that if a clear signal is just barely emerging then AnthroCO2 has not a very strong effect”

        And it also brings up the 64 trillion dollar question. How long do we have to wait for a CO2 signal to appear, and when no such signal is apparent, do we conclude that no CO2 signal is EVER going to appear?

      • lolwot: His first point is true, his second one dead wrong, his third one probably true but hard to get observations to prove it. Lets look at the first point. We know that carbon dioxide, since the Mauna Loa measurements began, has been rising essentially linearly. This is simply not true of global temperature. Global temperature shows sudden starts and stops while carbon dioxide shows a steady, smooth increase. These starts and stops cannot possibly be caused by any greenhouse effect because that would violate the radiation laws of physics. There were two such sudden starts of warming – one in 1910 and another one in the Arctic at the turn of the twentieth century. This immediately disqualifies these two warmings from being produced by carbon dioxide greenhouse effect. There was a very sudden stop to warming in 1940 followed by the World War II freeze. There is no greenhouse theory that can be used to explain that. And then we know of three standstills of warming while carbon dioxide just kept on rising steadily. The first one happened in the fifties, sixties and seventies, second one in the eighties and nineties, and the last one so far has taken up the entire twenty-first century. That’s sixty years of no-warming, more than half a century. And I am not going to allow the argument that greenhouse warming is allowed to take a vacation for decades to explain this behavior. With that, the case against greenhouse warming is so overwhelming that his second and third points are simply not needed. There is actually no period within the last 100 years that can be called a greenhouse warming period. And if you are wondering how this is possible, all you need to do is to acquaint yourself with Ferenc Miskolczi’s studies of the absorption of infrared radiation by the atmosphere. To make a long story short, he proves that the enhanced greenhouse effect simply does not exist, essentially because water vapor feedback is negative, not positive as IPCC keeps telling you.

      • This immediately disqualifies these two warmings from being produced by carbon dioxide greenhouse effect

        On the contrary, all it shows is that CO2 is not the only factor influencing surface temperature. The orange curve in this graph models the multidecadal component of the HADCRUT dataset for global land-sea temperature to within a millikelvin. The red curve is the well-known logarithmic dependency of temperature on CO2 while the green curve is the sum of the so-called ocean oscillations such as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation.

        Whereas the green curve has been around for centuries and will likely continue that way, the red curve is on an unusually steep rise lately, perfectly correlated with how CO2 has been rising, which so far shows no sign of easing up.

        That these two curves can account for multidecadal climate to such extraordinary accuracy shows that the only other multidecadal contributors to global climate must be so well correlated with one or the other of these as to be statistically inseparable from them. As an example, H2O may be so well correlated with CO2 as to make it impossible to judge which is dominating. However whether the temperature is driven to +4 C over today’s by CO2 or by H2O is only relevant if it were to turn out that CO2 played no role in driving up the H2O. In that case we would have been wrong to worry about CO2. (And therefore we should not worry about CO2. Wait, where did I get that from?)

      • Spartacusisfree

        My Dear lolwot, there’s absolutely no evidence proving any CO2-AGW. There are ample data showing that by ~200 ppmV in dry air, the emissivity of CO2 levels off due to self absorption: http://notrickszone.com/2012/08/07/epic-warmist-fail-modtran-doubling-co2-will-do-nothing-to-increase-long-wave-radiation-from-sky/

        These dry air data exactly replicate the experimental data of Hottell in the late 1940s used to design furnaces, replicated 30 years later by Leckner.. This explains the reduction of CO2 band IR at TOA.

        But what’s really interesting is the effect of humidity: by ~10% RH at ambient the emissivity change, therefore the absorptivity change of CO2 with change of concentration is zero. In other words, CO2-AGW is only possible for the most arid of deserts. This mixing effect has been completely ignored by the IPCC.

        However, the coup de grace for the GHG blanket is that IPCC modelling assumes ‘back radiation’ makes up what is supposed to be the same IR from the Earth’s surface as an isolated black body in a vacuum. ‘Back radiation’ does not exist: it’s a failure to understand it’s the artefact of of shielding radiation from the other direction which would normally annihilate all or some of IR a pyrometer receives.

        The logic forces only one conclusion, GHGs in self-absorption reduce the emissivity of the Earth’s surface in those bands and the GHE is caused by increased impedance for energy flow. the only atmospheric IR warming is from non-absorbing residual side-bands of water vapour. The GHE is fixed by the first ~1000 ppmv water vapour. Time for the ‘consensus’ to be put into the barrel marked ‘junk science’.

      • Spartacusisfree

        PS What I am developing is the real explanation of Miskolczi’s observations and the physics underlying his theory.

    • Jim Cripwell,

      It might be a good idea to show us all just how you’ve ever completed any work that others have described as scientifically sensible before you start to pronounce on “load of scientific nonsense” by others.

      Your pronouncement in your denizens entry is certainly un-scientific nonsense:

      “When I first heard about CAGW, maybe 12 years ago, I knew it was wrong.”

      That’s just not possible.

      • TT you write ““When I first heard about CAGW, maybe 12 years ago, I knew it was wrong.”
        That’s just not possible.“

        Why? I did post graduate work at Cambridge under the auspices of the great Prof. Sir Gordon (Brims Black McIvor) Sutherland on infra-red spectrsocopy. So I studied the infra-red absorption spectra of the atmopshere im some detail.

      • and…… ????

        CO2 has been known to be a greenhouse gas since long before you would have done any spectroscopy. So, how is it possible that you knew straightaway, presumably before doing any detailed calculations or investigation, that adding more wouldn’t increase temperatures in the way the IPCC say it will?

      • TT you write “So, how is it possible that you knew straightaway, presumably before doing any detailed calculations or investigation, that adding more wouldn’t increase temperatures in the way the IPCC say it will?”

        I suppose the answer is scientific intuition and instinct. A few times in my career, I think three, I have had the same sort of thing happen to me. People claim that there is undoubted science to show that something is true. My past knoweledge, intuition, instinct, call it what you will, told me that the science which was claimed to be correct, was wrong. On all such occasions, I was right. So, I have learned to trust my instinct. It has not let me down ever.

        In the case of CAGW, you are correct that as I have studied the subject in much more detail, I have learned far more as to why my instinct was right in the first place.

      • You’d have known, at the time, that CO2 was GH gas which causes atmospheric warming. You’d have known, at the time, that CO2 levels were increasing due to anthropogenic emissions. You’d have known, at the time, that scientists the world over were saying that more GH gases meant more warming.

        So, what possible scientific instinct could have told you they were wrong? For them to be wrong would require some complex negative feedback mechanism such as Lindzen has been suggesting. The evidence that he’s right just isn’t there, but in any case, to decide on that would have required years of study on your part. Its not something that can be decided on “instinct”.

        What you may have had was an political instinct. But as been said many times, you can’t dismiss scientific reality on the basis that it may cause you some philosophical difficulties.

      • TT you write “So, what possible scientific instinct could have told you they were wrong? ”

        I have no idea, I just knew. There was a lady who loved music, but when she was a teenager, she became stone deaf. She succeeded in getting entry to the Royal School of Music before she told them she as deaf. She completed the course of studies with no problem, and turned out to be magnificent on any percussion instrument. She plays with orchestras. She was interviewed and asked how she knows when to “come in” and start playing. Her response was WWTE “I have no idea how I know. I just know”. And that is my response. I have no idea how I knew. I just knew. And as I have said, this is about the 4th time that this has happened to me, and so far my instinct has been right every time. And it was not wrong this time around as well.

      • Many thanks for all the comments, and suggestions. Apparently no-one wants to make a wager on the surface area of arctic sea ice in March and September 2008. Probably because, like me, they are certain that the 2007 extreme ice minimum in the arctic was a one of a kind anomaly, which, like the hurricane season in the North Atlantic in 2005, is unlikley to ever be repeated. It was not a “tipping point”. …

      • OK, JCH. I’m curious. Where did the ice prediction come from?

      • Scientific ntuition and instinct.

      • Spartacusisfree

        tempterrain clearly knows no IR physics.

      • And it was not wrong this time around as well.

        I thought your argument was that your intuition told you, and that this was reliable in this case because your intuition was right in the past. Isn’t it circular to use that reasoning as proof that your intuition is right in this case?

    • No CO2 physical properties could contribute to any warming especially at trace content in the atmoaphere.

      • not in the atmoaphere no

      • “The existence of the greenhouse effect was argued for by Joseph Fourier in 1824. The argument and the evidence was further strengthened by Claude Pouillet in 1827 and 1838, and reasoned from experimental observations by John Tyndall in 1859, and more fully quantified by Svante Arrhenius in 1896.”

        ” the planet’s effective temperature (the temperature of a blackbody that would emit the same amount of radiation) is about −18 °C, about 33°C below the actual surface temperature of about 14 °C.”

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

      • Well yes. In the atmosphere too. CO2 and other GH gases absorb IR radiation from the Earth’s surface that would otherwise be transmitted directly into space. This causes the atmosphere to warm. Where else could the energy go?

      • Most IR radiation spectrums of energy go directly to space unintercepted. CO2 absorbs a bit of the IR radiation energy and almost instantaneously re-emit the absorbed energy (go check specific energy of CO2) unlike H2O which can store the IR energy (as latent heat) absorbed at a longer period.

      • SamNC,

        Most of the radiation is not all of it. Instantaneously re-emitted? Nothing is quite that fast but even so the emission is just as likely to be downward as upwards.

        Both the surface and troposphere warm. The temperatures being some 33 deg C higher than if no GH effect existed.

        This is just basic physics and has been known since the middle of the 19th century.

      • tempterrain,

        ” Nothing is quite that fast but even so the emission is just as likely to be downward as upwards”

        No net downward IR radiation fantasies, just upward and go to space. IR absorption by CO2 is trivial comparing with the whole spectrum of IR radiation from the Earth to out of space.

        “Both the surface and troposphere warm.”

        Yes but the surface warm up 1st and then by conduction and convection warms up the troposphere.

        “The temperatures being some 33 deg C higher than if no GH effect existed.”

        ??

        “This is just basic physics and has been known since the middle of the 19th century.”

        ?

      • SamNC,

        Sorry for the dual posting but this ended up in the wrong place firat time.

        “The existence of the greenhouse effect was argued for by Joseph Fourier in 1824. The argument and the evidence was further strengthened by Claude Pouillet in 1827 and 1838, and reasoned from experimental observations by John Tyndall in 1859, and more fully quantified by Svante Arrhenius in 1896.”

        ” the planet’s effective temperature (the temperature of a blackbody that would emit the same amount of radiation) is about −18 °C, about 33°C below the actual surface temperature of about 14 °C.”

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

      • Spartacusisfree

        Give me strength: the 33 K includes ~24 K lapse rate warming. The idea that you can directly thermalise absorbed IR is bunkum because there is no direct mechanism for this [quantum exclusion prohibits transfer to any symmetrical molecule and you have to do the transfer in one go].

        What really happens is that the very limited IR from the Earth is pseudo-scattered to be indirectly thermalised at clouds, to space or back the the surface. Read up ‘Gibbs’ Paradox’ to understand what underlies this physics: I doubt you have ever heard of Gibbs though but real scientists have: no molecule has a memory in statistical thermodynamics.

        I suspect there can be no GHG-AGW for any self-absorbing molecules because they switch off IR emission at the surface.

        The IPCC science is based on 6 mistakes in the physics and a perpetual motion machine to create imaginary positive feedback. In reality, the World is cooling: you’ve been duped by shysters.

  4. Joachim Seifert

    This type of literature is one of the most unpleasant stuff to read: Read it please from the script to a second person and ask him what it is all about….and the answer will be pure confusion…
    Point 1: There is a Ranalli struggle of “amateur sceptics” vs. “climate professionals/scientists/experts”.??… this is already too much….
    Point 2: The struggle ended in a “consensus”, which was “won” already by the good guy scientists??……
    Point 3: Ranalli’s good guys fought hard, endurant, against the evil sceptics amateurs, the mean snipers, with their vitriolic sour grape comments, of course, completely unscientific….no doubt…. .therefore
    the great victory was “hard” won but is just……
    Lets congratulate Mr. Ranalli for his unreadable fairytales….
    JS….

    • Point 1: There is a Ranalli struggle of “amateur sceptics” vs. “climate professionals/scientists/experts”.??… this is already too much….

      Agreed. Is he really saying there are no sceptical scientists?

      • Alas, even Dr. Curry seems to make the same mistake, saying “that climate scientists interested in countering the strategies of skeptics would do well to understand the underlying dynamics of the debate rhetoric.”

        The debate is not between climate scientists and skeptics. It is between CAGW proponents and skeptics. Each side includes both scientists and nonscientists. Moreover, the rhetoric is less important than the scientific debate itself, which seems not to have been considered.

      • correct, the word ‘proponents’ is more appropriate, will change my text

      • Judith had it right first time. If she’s now changed her mind, it’s yet another step along her way to join the ranks of scientific deniers on AGW.

        Furthermore, any self respecting climate scientist would not ignore the use of the term CAGW, without asking what ‘catastrophic’ actually meant. If it means the Venus effect then we can all agree that it probably won’t happen. That’s the consensus opinion too.

  5. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Ranalli’s points mainly common-sensical and/or vacuous, with one glaring omission. Ranalli never answers the question “When does scientific debate cease?”

    Fortunately every scientist knows the simple answer:

    Numerical Recipes: the Art of Scientific Computing

    “That is the curse of statistics, that it can never prove things, only disprove them! At best, you can substantiate a hypothesis by ruling out, statistically, a whole long list of competing hypotheses, every one that has ever been proposed.”

    “After a while your adversaries and competitors will give up trying to think of alternative hypotheses, or else they will grow old and die, and then your hypothesis will become accepted“.

    “Sounds crazy, we know, but that’s how science works!”

    To participate in this traditional scientific evaluation process — to quality as credible “adversaries and competitors” — climate-change skeptics like Anthony Watts must finish what they start and then publish what they finish.

    Otherwise skeptical claims are nugatory, eh? Because they are simply claims … not science?   :shock:   :shock:   :shock:

    The great Michael Faraday long ago disclosed three simple-yet-effective secrets of “hard won” scientific success: “Work, finish, publish.”

    So it’s simple, eh? For scientists and skeptics alike?   :grin:   :grin:   :grin:

    • Put it to music…

      your welcome.

    • Leonard Weinstein

      The thing you do not seem to understand is that the terms “finish” and “publish” do not mean the same now as in Michael Faraday’s time. Any widely read blog is generally more accessible than most formal published papers. Formal peer review is only another filter, and while generally more detailed and initially examined than blog comments, the formal published papers and formally published responses also have much longer and more restricted comment cycles. A combination of formal peer reviewed papers along with pre released papers outside pay walls and blog discussions, are likely the source of much future technical information with better chance for catching mistakes.

  6. “What makes a consensus among scientists credible and convincing?”

    Hmm it’s Tuesday.

    On Monday skeptics would shout “There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.” (Crichton)

    Maybe things will be different on a Tuesday. Lets wait and see.

    • Seriously.

      First Judith tells us that the very notion of consensus is flawed: Invalidated ( the product of groupthing, appeal to authority, and parroting) by historical examples to prove the case.

      Now Judith tells us what criteria might make a consensus of value. Really? I thawed the notion is flawed? How does one validate something that is inherently flawed?

      One would think a serious discussion would work in the other direction – first you lay out the criteria to assess the validity of a consensus viewpoint and then apply those criteria to a specific example.

      Working in the reverse seems to me like littler other than confirmation bias.

      It might be interesting to apply these criteria to a series of flawed and ultimately accepted consensus views in science, to see if the evaluative criteria hold up empirically. Seems to me that you’d run into a whole slew of problems in this theory as outlined – for example the criteria of being “vigorously debated” or “character” of the scientists are inherently subjective. Where does one draw the lines in these definition?”

      This discussion would be useful as a way to further understand the validity of consensus processes in science. But to use these criteria to prove an already established conclusion, as Judith wants to do here, seems like little other than confirmation bias. To use the criteria to prove that a particular consensus viewpoint is invalid after you’ve argued the very notion of consensus science is inherently invalid?

      Hmmm. Seems rather odd to me, but no doubt, many “denizens” will be fully on board (with the possible exception of David W? To his credit, he often objects to the use of arbitrary criteria).

      • “…seems to me like littler other than confirmation bias.”

        There’s no shortage of it around here.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      I’m always amazed how often positions I hold are called contradictory because an “opponent” chooses to read simple sentences in unjustifiable ways. What I find even more amazing is it is almost never pointed out, much less acknowledged.

      For example, lolwot paints two statements as contradictory:

      What makes a consensus among scientists credible and convincing?

      There is no such thing as consensus science.

      Can anyone seriously tell me they read phrases like “consensus science” and “consensus amongst scientists” to mean the same thing? If I say there is no such thing as “consensus science,” does anyone read that as me saying, “Scientists cannot have a consensus about anything”?

      And if they do read it that way, what does that say about them? Does it indicate some sort of bias that makes them automatically read any words that are kind of close to contradictory as showing poor reasoning skills on the author’s part?

      I don’t get it. How hard is it to realize “consensus science” means “science done by consensus”? How hard is it to realize a consensus amongst scientists could provide useful insight without indicating the science was done by consensus?

      Finally, how low an opinion do you have to hold of someone to jump to such a stupid conclusion about their ability to reason?

      • “Can anyone seriously tell me they read phrases like “consensus science” and “consensus amongst scientists” to mean the same thing?”

        That’s a pretty priceless question to ask.

        Think about why skeptics starting attacking consensus in the first place. It was in response to warmists citing the “consensus amongst scientists” as a convincing argument.

        How did the skeptics proceed? By implying the warmists were advocating “consensus science”, ie that the warmists were advocating science to be done by consensus.

        So to answer your question, climate skeptics are the ones who think the two are the same. Or at least that’s what they’ve been claiming over the years in order to undermine the use of consensus among scientists as an argument for credibility of the science.

        Therefore the question “What makes a consensus among scientists credible and convincing?” contradicts skeptics claims on the matter. For if consensus among scientists can be convincing then skeptics have been spinning us a load for years.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Well lolwot, you’ve answered my questions. Thanks for that, I guess. It’s nice to have ridiculousness displayed so clearly. Now if only you could realize how ridiculous your interpretation of things is:

        Think about why skeptics starting attacking consensus in the first place. It was in response to warmists citing the “consensus amongst scientists” as a convincing argument.

        How did the skeptics proceed? By implying the warmists were advocating “consensus science”, ie that the warmists were advocating science to be done by consensus.

        Skeptics said the “consensus amongst scientists” was not convincing because it was created via “consensus science,” something which isn’t actually science. In other words, it was an unconvincing consensus. You claim this argument means they say all consensus is unconvincing. In other words, you’re still conflating the exact same things, but now you’re claiming others did it first.

        Have some skeptics made the same conflation you did? Perhaps. Have skeptics in general? No. Has our host? No! Most people understand a consensus can be formed for good or bad reasons. They also understand that the reasons a consensus forms are what matter, not the the existence of a consensus.

        This isn’t a complicated matter, but I imagine you’ll continue to mangle it. And again, I bet you’ll “get away with it.”

      • “Skeptics said the “consensus amongst scientists” was not convincing because it was created via “consensus science,” something which isn’t actually science.”

        No that’s not right at all. Look closer at what Crichton said (and has been quoted as saying ever since):
        “Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.”

        This was a direct attack on the idea that a consensus among scientists can be convincing and it completely undermines the foundation of the question:

        “What makes a consensus among scientists credible and convincing?”

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        No that’s not right at all. Look closer at what Crichton said (and has been quoted as saying ever since):

        It’s odd you say to “look closer” at something when you take the most simplistic interpretation possible. If anyone looked closer at that statement like you suggest, they would likely see a different interpretation. Let’s look at what he said:

        Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.

        Did he say, “The consensus of scientists is rubbish”? No. Did he say, “The consensus of scientists is useless”? No. He said, “Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists…” You only hear something if it is said. This means he is claiming if somebody tells you the consensus of scientists agree on something, you’re being had.

        Is that true? No. But was it meant to be taken literally? Obviously not. He doesn’t think you need to reach for your wallet to prevent a pickpocket either. The point he is making is if somebody’s argument relies on an argument ad populum, you’re being had. And that’s true. If somebody trying to convince you of a position relies on an appeal to popularity, you shouldn’t trust them.

        See, this is what happens when you “look closer” at things. You find they often don’t mean something stupid. But even if that weren’t true in this case, what of it? What if Michael Crichton did say something silly? What if he even believed something silly? Do you realize how stupid an argument it would be to paint all skeptics as hypocritical fools because one person, perhaps even a popular person, says stupid things?

        If I smeared you by pointing out Al Gore is a dishonest, hypocritical moron, I would rightly be laughed at. If I smeared AGW scientists for the same reason, you would protest. And yet, here you are smearing Judith Curry because of the words and supposed position of one fiction writer.

        Do you want to keep digging?

      • “The point he is making is if somebody’s argument relies on an argument ad populum, you’re being had. And that’s true. If somebody trying to convince you of a position relies on an appeal to popularity, you shouldn’t trust them.”

        A consensus among scientists can provide useful insight. It can be convincing. If someone points out the existence of such a consensus then they are being helpful. They are informing people about the existence of an insightful and convincing consensus.

        But Crichton would claim they are being dishonest and you should assume you are “being had”.

        There’s the contradiction.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        lolwot, you made points. I responded to those points. You ignored my responses and reiterated your position. And you did this despite quoting me. If you think quoting someone then not addressing what they say is reasonable, it’s no wonder you have such difficulty interpreting simple statements from people you disagree with.

        Since you aren’t bothering to respond to what I say, I won’t respond to your latest remarks either. Instead, I’ll provide some context I find helpful. Immediately before the quote you gave, Crichton said:

        I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled.

        And immediately after:

        Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus.

        Crichton holds claims of consensus in contempt because they are irrelevant to science and they’re generally used by people who shouldn’t be trusted. That’s true. And it doesn’t preclude there being a “convincing consensus.” For a consensus to be convincing, it must have elements that make it convincing. To tell someone about a convincing consensus, you’d have to tell them about those elements.

        Of course, in telling someone about them, you’d likely mention that they lead to a consensus. I don’t think Crichton would be bothered by that. I don’t think Crichton was being completely literal when he said, “Whenever you hear the consensus.” I also don’t think he was being completely literal when he said people should reach for their wallets. But hey, I just choose to “look closer” at his remarks.

        Though really, why one comment in one speech from one person is relevant to what a large group of people believes is beyond me. And as for how one concludes Judith Curry is a hypocrite based upon that comment… I’m at a loss.

  7. Rather, they wish to audit the results, to look for flaws, evidence of wrongdoing or incompetence.

    This is exactly what rational people do do when as a society you are being vicimized by government employees who meed in Copenhagen and Cancun to divvy up the world behind closed doors. You don’t for example, expect proof of wrong-doing and whodunit to actually fall into your lap as happened with the foi2009.pdf disclosures. Continued support for the ‘hockey stick’ is nothing more now that a show of hands about who is for communism versus individual liberty.

  8. Another strategy is to evaluate not the quality of the dialogue but the quality of the participants. We are adept at evaluating people (or so we think—at the very least we are accustomed to it—more on this below), and it does not take long to form an opinion of a person’s character, which makes this a feasible shorthand strategy, more feasible than monitoring and evaluating the technical discussions.

    We are going to judge an uncertain science by judging the character of the scientists? We are going to assess how bias might influence analysis in the face of uncertainty by introducing an infinitely more uncertain criterion – character – which is even more subject to a wide range of biases? And we’re going to judge character with a nearly fully incomplete body of evidence? We’re going to judge a scientists character without ever having met the individual?

    Sorry. This is ridiculous. If we can’t judge someone’s science directly because of the impracticality of being able to understand all the science in detail, we can still judge the logic and structure of a scientist’s reasoning with some level of efficiency. The assessment won’t be as robust or valid as it would be if we add a full assessment of the technical information – but it can enable us to weigh some probabilities. Someone whose basic reasoning and logic generally assessed is clearly flawed is more likely to have errors in their technical analysis.

    The flaw here is a confusion of judging someone’s logic or reasoning and assuming that to be a judgement of their character. Even worse, is the tendency to work in reverse, to reverse engineer from an assumption about someone’s character (based on a paucity of information) to then infer some quality to their reasoning. This is what characterizes the climate debate, and this is why it is getting nowhere fast.

    That this heuristic was being used was made evident by the public reaction (and the reaction of some scientists) to Climategate.

    Once again, Judith tells us how “the public” reacted to Climategate. Validated evidence? She hasn’t any. We should just take her word for it? The evidence that we do have is that only a tiny majority of the public thinks that Climategate was significant, and that among those, their reaction would be easily predictable by preexisting political, social, or cultural orientations.

    It has been argued that there was nothing in the emails that changes the actual science; however the impact was on the erosion of the legitimacy of the consensus owing to what was revealed about the participants in the consensus building.

    Ah. The ol’ “It has been argued….” I love that one.

    And the legitimacy of the consensus has been eroded? In whom? In Judith? Indubitably. Among hardcore libertarians who already doubted the product and the process of the IPCC? Sure, why not. In a significant % of the public? Despite asking Judith to do so numerous times, she has yet to provide evidence for her assertion.

    Paging Uncertain T. Monster.

    Paging Mr. Monster.

    • Good post, Joshua.

      • Thank you Faustino –

        I did leave you a message in a previous thread about the work of McKibben. I got no response, and assumed that not unlike a fairly sizable % of denizens, you feel my comments aren’t worthy of response. Judging by this comment, I wonder if I’m wrong. Maybe you judge my comments individually, or maybe you just missed my question? In case the later is true:

        http://judithcurry.com/2012/09/01/rhetoric-and-rafts/#comment-235052

      • Joshua, I hadn’t seen any responses to that casual comment, I’ve met McKibbin and have read enough of his work, columns and comments to hold him in high regard, but I’ve missed the M-W Blueprint. I’ll try to follow it up.

        As for my response here, I give credit where credit’s due.

    • Mark B (number 2)

      “The evidence that we do have is that only a tiny majority of the public thinks that Climategate was significant”

      I am not quite sure what you mean by “a tiny majority”.
      Perhaps you meant “a small percentage”.

      Anyway, do you have a link to that, Joshua?

      • Mark B (number 2) –

        Heh!

        Yes, I meant small %.

        Here are the best data I’ve seen – from 2010:

        Extrapolated to the entire U.S. adult population, 25 percent of Americans were aware of and followed the news stories about Climategate. About 12 to 13 percent of all Americans said that the stories had led them to become more certain that global warming is not happening and to have less trust in scientists. Roughly 17 percent of all Americans said that the scientists involved in the scandal had either falsified their results or conspired to suppress contrary research. Likewise, 16 percent of all Americans believed the emails undermined the conclusion that global warming is happening. These findings all suggest that Climategate had a significant impact on overall public opinion, despite the fact that a large majority of Americans had not heard of it, at least as of early January 2010. The email story also appears to have influenced public opinions of
        both climate science and scientists.

        http://environment.yale.edu/climate/files/Climategate_Opinion_and_Loss_of_Trust_1.pdf

        But to look at it a bit deeper – 12%-13%, not something to sneeze at. But consider this – polls also show that the folks comprising that 12%-13% were very likely to be rather hardline “conservatives” or libertarian types, who I would suggest had little to no confidence in the conclusions of climate scientists to begin with. Certainly, polls will show that something not far from 12%-13% of the public did not believe the conclusions of “consensus” climate scientists prior to Climategate. I think that the results of this poll are skewed by a bias – the determination of the scandal significantly changing views as opposed to confirming existing opinions is certainly not validated in any way in the study. Wouldn’t someone already inclined to disbelieve in the theory of AGW be more likely to overstated the degree of impact of Climategate? Would it constitute a significant “erosion” if someone’s preconceptions that climate scientists were not to be trusted were confirmed? Keep in mind, also, that some 5% in that survey said that the emails strengthened their views in the other direction. Do we have to subtract the build up confidence of that 5% from the 12%-13% to measure the degree or erosion?

        From the same study:

        These results also provide evidence of the important roles that cultural worldviews, political ideology, and motivated reasoning play in mediating public interpretations of and responses to global warming. Prior research has found that the underlying cultural worldviews of egalitarianism and individualism are strongly correlated with climate change risk perceptions and policy preferences. Egalitarians are predisposed to perceive climate change as a serious risk and to support a variety of policies to address it. Individualists, however, are predisposed to perceive climate change as a nonexistent or low risk and to generally oppose climate specific policies, especially those that involve government action (12). These cultural orientations have also been found to predict public responses to a variety of other risks, including nuclear power, nanotechnology, vaccinations, and genetically modified organisms

        Now consider that polls show that significant %’s of those who would likely to say that their opinion about climate scientists was changed by Climategate very probably have a very poor understanding of what climate scientists actually say about global warming:

        So they have determined that Climategate undermined their confidence when they didn’t have confidence in what the scientists had to say in the first place and even though they don’t know what climate scientists say. Hmmmm. Interesting, don’t you think?

        And let’s look at this analysis (which I have somewhat less trust in), that reaches a different conclusion:

        —>Krosnick’s analysis estimates that the percentage of Americans who believe in global warming has only dropped 5% since 2008 and that ClimateGate has had no meaningful impact on trust in climate scientists which stands at 70% (essentially the same as the 68% level in 2008).

        —->According to Krosnick’s analysis, the 5% shift has occurred among the 30% of the public already distrustful of scientists. Moreover, for this segment, ClimateGate is not the major factor shifting opinion about global warming but rather the most likely cause is the belief among this segment that recent temperatures are cooler and the weather overall is more stable. Here’s how Krosnick explains the shift, discussing trends in several poll questions that track these beliefs:

        ttp://scienceblogs.com/framing-science/2010/03/13/stanford-researcher-climategat/

        All of those data were from 2010 – during the height of the publicity about the controversy. Surely, we could guess that the impact of Climategate has declined since then? Although polls on opinion of scientists show a not insignificant amount of distrust – it seems that those opinions have been fairly consistent over time and scientists remain a relatively strongly-trusted source of information on climate change. And what % of the public trusts “skeptics?”

        While polls show a drop since 2010 in %’s who think that climate change is a problem – teasing out Climategate as a factor in that drop is problematic. Consider the impact of weather, of the economy, of the influence of presidential candidates and media.

        Anyway – despite my laughable “tiny majority,” and despite the caveats I outlined, I think it unavoidable that I overstated the case.

        Now that I look back at that data because of your prompting, Judith’s statement of “erosion of legitimacy” does seem fair. I was overreacting in part due to her previous characterization of a “crisis in confidence” – but that doesn’t legitimate my criticism of what she says here.

  9. “amateur skeptic Steven McIntyre”?
    This is unfair, McIntyre is one of the more qualified skeptics with a Math degree and worked for years with Geologists. Actual Geologists come to the same conclusions regarding the Hockey Stick.

    • Yes, this is doubly wrong. McIntyre does not say that global warming is not occurring, nor that it has no anthropogenic element. What he does is to test the quality of data, computation and analysis, in which he has found many deep flaws. He is a very professional sceptic who began investigating claims of AGW in order to understand the potential impacts on the mining industry to which he had long been a consultant.

      • agreed, except that last part i thought he got into it simply out of interest.

      • Probably both, I recall him referring to the professional side, probably some years ago.

      • “… the potential impacts on the mining industry to which he had long been a consultant.”

        That’s what I thought just out of common sense. Oil extraction from the Canadian tar sands is very close to a mining operation, and I figured that was his agenda. Release all that CO2 from the extracted oil(some say close to a trillion barrels), with a very low EROEI that consumes copious amounts of natural gas (to separate the oil from the bitumen via heating) and the problem is stark. Those companies will make lots of money, and they would rather not have anything get in their way..

        Otherwise, I suppose it is just coincidence. Whatever.

      • Wikipedia says

        ‘In 2002, McIntyre became interested in climate science after a leaflet from the Canadian government warning of the dangers of global warming was delivered to his residence. McIntyre states that he noticed discrepancies in climate science papers that reminded him of the false prospectus that had duped investors involved in the Bre-X gold mining scandal’

      • Small nuclear reactors would be perfect as a heat source to harvest tar sands. No additional energy conversion necessary – just use the heat.

      • The Bre-X case was a failed prediction at striking a motherlode. The prospectors used a geostatistics technique called kriging (known in other disciplines by other names), which curiously enough was used by Richard Muller in the BEST analysis to fill in missing geospatiial temperature data.

        So he claims that he got interested in climate science based on what he calls a “false prospectus”. Was this a false prospectus or the equivalent of a failed weather prediction? The prospectors were accused of salting core samples.

        Does he understand correctness in a statistical sense versus being correct in a one-off situation? Or did he think that climate scientists were doing the equivalent of salting core samples? It will be interesting if McIntyre will ever do a complete analysis of the BEST data, since that is a significant application of kriging. Will McIntyre discover that Muller “salted” his samples?

    • Eric Gisin,

      “amateur skeptic Steven McIntyre”?
      A lot of academics and climate scientists (modelers?) live on GW funding. They have to make such a consensus.

      • They don’t. A climate scientist working on climate modeling could still do their job even if they didn’t accept humans are warming the Earth. The model might show it but they don’t have to be convinced by it in order to do the work.

  10. A consensus that does not exist cannot be hard won.

  11. “The amateur critics are not primarily interested in replicating results via independent analysis, as a scientific peer would be. Rather, they wish to audit the results, to look for flaws, evidence of wrongdoing or incompetence.”
    ________

    Yes, because they want recognition, and the need for recognition may cause them to exaggerate the significance their findings. If they don’t do the exaggerating, someone else will.

    • Maz_OK – out of ideas, eh?

    • Thanks for highlighting this:

      Rather, they wish to audit the results, to look for flaws, evidence of wrongdoing or incompetence.”

      There is a big linkage of very different types of goals here.

      It is one thing to audit something to look for flaws.

      It is something else entirely to look for evidence of “wrongdoing” or “incompetence.”

      This, again, is the problem of the climate debate in a nutshell. The confusion of those two incredibly different goals. And this is why the work of some “skeptics” is not skeptical – because the work of those “skeptics” fails to differentiate those types of goals as a fundamental definition of terms.

      The first goal is science in an abstracted or idealized form. It, like the second goal, is “motivated.” Perhaps the motivation is to prove one’s chops – to be smarter than smart people. Maybe the motivation is more pure – to pursue the “integrity of the science’ or to pursue “the truth” (although I think that the pure form of motivation there is extremely rare).

      Not sure, exactly, how to differentiate the second goal in terms of motivation – but it ain’t an idealized or abstracted form of science in any way, shape, or form.

      It is stunning to me that those two very different goals would be identified, without being distinguished as different in kind, in this kind of paper.

      • @joshua

        Your post is almost incoherent.

        Which of the three classes of failure would you not wish an auditor to find?

        Are flaws OK to report on but incompetence or wrongdoing to be tolerated? Or is it OK to be incompetent, but not so to be wrong or fraudulent?

        I am keen to know exactly how you draw your conclusions…and why?

      • Latimer –

        Your post is almost incoherent.

        Which of the three classes of failure would you not wish an auditor to find?

        Indeed. That you would ask me that question is proof that you didn’t understand my post.

        If through past experience I found that you ever had any real intent of understanding my point of view, I would respond on point to your question.

        I am open, however, to have that perspective changed by evidence. Starting your post by saying that my post was “almost incoherent” won’t get the job done. Even if your description is true, I see no reason to respond to someone who approaches a discussion in such a manner.

        Was that incoherent also?

      • @joshua

        I understood your second post all right. But you have decided not to clarify your first. That is your prerogative. And we will all draw our own conclusions.

        En passant, I find it quite astonishing that somebody who is so regularly nitpickingly critical of others here – especially our hostess – should have the gall to take offence at being described as ‘incoherent’.

        In UK we have an expression

        ‘What goes around, comes around’

        I commend it to your attention.

      • David Springer

        Not almost incoherent. Totally so.

      • Joshua,

        You might do better if you actually ask the person who coined the phrase “Free the code” why he wanted the code. You actually might look at what was DONE with the code and what the people who lead the effort were after. Nobody who did it expected to find any errors. That’s not why I asked for it and not why I still ask for code and data today.

        True, I have found errors in Ross McKittricks data, but he supplied that without being asked.

        One reason is a principle. the other is purely practical.

      • Josh,

        I believe your distinguishing auditing for “flaws” verses for “wrongdoing or incompetence” is a bit artificial. You have a point if the original justification for an audit is the latter, at least if there is no existing evidence for either to start with.

        However in the course of conducting an audit based on “flaws” or quaility of methods and e data can understandably develop into a into expanding into an audit for incompetence and even fraud. That happens when the information uncovered by the audit points in that direction. There does not have to be an agenda to start with. As any good detective, reporter or failure analyst knows, you go where the evidence takes you.

        The fact that there are people who regularly comment on blogs about climate change who call for investigation of fraud does not mean all or even a significant percentage of people here do so also. You focusing on a segment of the population to make your point is similar to me looking at someone like Michael or Reverend Jed as proof that every advocate or supporter of AGW is a jackass.

      • tim –

        I believe your distinguishing auditing for “flaws” verses for “wrongdoing or incompetence” is a bit artificial.

        This is a good point. I was thinking about this a bit after I wrote that comment.

        It is a bit artificial – and it would be inaccurate to assume that there isn’t any crossover.

        The question about whether auditing is motivated by an assumption of fraud or incompetence, or simply a due diligence investigation for flaws is a very relevant one in the debate.

        I don’t doubt that as some “skeptics” over-attribute fraud or incompetence, or even legitimate or minor flaws as wrongdoing or a more generalizable incompetence, so do some “realists” inaccurately dismiss an investigation for flaws as accusations of incompetence or wrongdoing.

        You focusing on a segment of the population to make your point is similar to me looking at someone like Michael or Reverend Jed as proof that every advocate or supporter of AGW is a jackass.

        I focus on a certain segment of the debate to offer for rational skeptics an opportunity to acknowledge, directly and explicitly, the presence and importance of motivated reasoning that exists on their side in the debate. I do that because just as I think it is important for realists to acknowledge motivated reasoning on their side, so it is important for skeptics to distinguish the role of motivated reasoning in climate skepticism. I understand why that may appear to be a broad stroke assumption that all skeptics are “skeptics.” I don’t take offense when people assume that is my point. When people are respectful enough to engage in good faith exchange, as you have done in the past and have done here, I am more than happy to clarify.

      • Josh,

        RE your reply – I would note that there is an extremely diverse number of reasons the people commenting here have for being sceptical. For some it is the physics, the statisical analysis used, the tweaking of models or the heavy reliance on them. For others there is a distinct political philosophy at work. Some are here because they doubt many of the claimed impacts and/or question the prposed “solutions” based on economics or engineering reasons. I think it a mistake to lump everyone into a single category. I for one have come across many commenters who I either agree with on many points but think are totally off the reservation on others, some who I find little to agree with, but on occasion agree completely with what they say, and some who I’m not sure if I agree with or not (often the ones who always talk about the physics) but at least respect the fact they have gotten to where they are. (I have 3 degrees and consider myself a lightweight compared to many of the people who come here.)

  12. The consensus among scientists is that AGW is on balance a bad thing . Doubters should try finding a scientific society of standing that disputes the consensus.

    • Consensus is here a one word political slogan. First we would have to find a government that disputes the consensus. I know of none. The societies are merely being politically correct, unlike their members.

      • Consensus is here a one word political slogan.

        To some extent, I agree; however, as I had noted in a comment on this same issue at BH … just to add to the consensus conflation/confusion, it seems to me that – to borrow from Mike Hulme – there is considerable evidence which would suggest that the

        “idea of climate change [or consensus -hro] is so very plastic. It can be deployed across many of our human projects and can serve many of our psychological, spiritual and ethical needs”

        For example (all emphases are mine):

        The U.K. Met Office 2009 Newsletter (demonstrating the efficacy of declaration by number of petition signatories):

        The widespread consensus among UK scientists on climate change has been clearly demonstrated after more than 1,700 scientists from more than 100 institutes signed up to a statement on the issue. The signatories agree climate change is happening, is primarily due to human activities, and the science that proves this is extensive, robust and reliable.

        IPCC-nik Richard Klein:

        [I]t is this line-by-line approval process that results in the actual consensus that the IPCC is famous for, and which is sometimes misunderstood. The consensus is not a consensus among all authors about every issue assessed in the report; it is a consensus among governments about the summary for policymakers.

        NGO Greenpeace:

        There is, in fact, a broad and overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is occurring, is caused in large part by human activities (such as burning fossil fuels), and if left unchecked will likely have disastrous consequences.

        NGO Union of Concerned Scientists:

        Scientific societies and scientists have released statements and studies showing the growing consensus on climate change science. [...] there is now an overwhelming scientific consensus that global warming is indeed happening and humans are contributing to it.

        Self-proclaimed climate “historian”, Oreskes:

        The scientific consensus is clearly expressed in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). [...] In its most recent assessment, IPCC states unequivocally that the consensus of scientific opinion is that Earth’s climate is being affected by human activities. [...]

        IPCC is not alone in its conclusions. In recent years, all major scientific bodies in the United States whose members’ expertise bears directly on the matter have issued similar statements.

        Or Hulme’s:

        “Claims such as ’2,500 of the world’s leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate’ are disingenuous.

        “That particular consensus judgement, as are many others in the IPCC reports, is reached by only a few dozen experts in the specific field of detection and attribution studies; other IPCC authors are experts in other fields.”

        So whose definition of “consensus” are we to believe, anyway, eh?!

        Perhaps we need to … uh … “redefine” UNFCCC (the IPCC’s “main client”, if Pachauri can be believed) so that it means United Nations’ Framing of Climate Confusion and Conflation!

    • @Max_OK: The consensus among scientists is that AGW is on balance a bad thing

      That might be the consensus, but one could also argue that AGW is a good thing because it will cause mass extinctions in our lifetime (or at least our grandchildrens’) that evolutionary biologists can then study at first hand for the first time, and that might eliminate some species that humans particularly dislike such as mosquitoes and lawn-eating gophers.

      And even more obviously it will make the temperate zones a tropical paradise. The last time paradise was considered a bad thing was when God decided it was corrupting Adam and Eve and kicked them out.

    • David L. Hagen

      Re “consensus among scientists is that AGW is on balance a bad thing”.
      Many benefits have been minimized to emphasize how “bad” AGW is. e.g., There are numerous reviews and links at CO2Science.org, showing major improvements in agricultural productivity with higher CO2. With growing populations, those in developing countries especially can use all the CO2 they can get to help feed themselves and their children. The NIPCC also summarizes papers on health showing greater benefits for warming over cooling. People in cooler climates are migrating to warmer climates. e.g. to Florida, Texas and California etc. etc.

      • The climate-skeptic theory that more CO2 leads to healthier plants is akin to the theory that giving people more bread will fix the economy. Plant does not live by CO2 alone.

      • David L. Hagen

        Vaughan Pratt
        While “plants do not live by CO2 alone”, it sure helps. Since science thrives on evidence, see Plants Need CO2

        Adding more CO2 to the air also benefits plants in other ways:
        They generally do not open their leaf stomatal pores as wide as they do at lower CO2 concentrations, and they tend to produce fewer such pores per unit area of leaf surface. Both of these changes tend to reduce plant transpiration or water loss; and the amount of growth they experience per unit of water lost (water-use efficiency) therefore rises, greatly increasing their ability to withstand drought.

        Note particularly the photographic evidence of dramatically higher plant growth with increasing CO2.

        The horrors of increasing drought from higher CO2 predicted by the CSIRO turned out to be backwards. See Tests of Regional Climate Model Validity in the Drought Exceptional Circumstances Report David R.B. Stockwell August 5, 2008
        PS I endorse your allusion.

      • @DLH Since science thrives on evidence, see http://plantsneedco2.org/default.aspx/MenuItemID/103/MenuGroup/ClimateChangeMythsDebunked/CO2IsGreenAndGood.htm

        David, I’d be very interested to see your response to this “Best Answer Chosen by Voters at Yahoo!Answers. After reading co2science’s utterly fascinating material I can completely see why the voters preferred that answer.

        The argument presented at the co2science website, when applied to humans, would show that the more weight the human put on, the healthier he or she became.

        You have to be joking, Mr. Feynman.

        As you say, “science thrives on evidence.” For what a professional scientist would consider science you could do worse than attend one of the annual Fall Meetings of the American Geophysical Union. Here’s the full abstract #B43B-1175 for a poster presented at the 2007 meeting.

        Field plots within a California grassland at Jasper Ridge, USA, have been exposed for 9 years to enhanced levels of CO2, nitrogen, heat, and precipitation, singly and in all possible combinations. We here report an updated analysis of major trends in NPP [Net Primary Production] response, based on an analysis of data collected through 2006. First, as reported in earlier syntheses of NPP response at the JRGCE, NPP responded most strongly and consistently to enhanced N [nitrogen] deposition. However, the magnitude of this response peaked in 2003 and had been markedly less pronounced since then. Second, all statistically significant effects emerged as interactions with year, highlighting the dependence of ecosystem responses to global change factors on temporal variation in uncontrolled drivers. Third, the influence of enhanced CO2 on NPP varied regularly across years, and correlated strongly with annual precipitation (R2=0.89, p<0.05). Contrary to expectations, enriched CO2 concentrations diminished NPP in dry years and enhanced NPP in wet years. Two observations point to the seasonal pattern of precipitation (vs. total amount) as mediating the ecosystem response to interactions among global change factors. First, although the effect of CO2 varied regularly with annual precipitation, the interaction of the CO2 and precipitation treatments did not produce a parallel result. The enhanced precipitation treatment in the JRGCE adds 50% to each rain event and adds two rain events to the end of the growing season but does not shift the pattern of rainfall during the growing season. Second, enhanced CO2 appears to diminish the positive effect of N deposition on NPP, contrary to a traditional model of co-limitation by C and N, but only in years with minimal precipitation during March.

        In other words, they didn’t just look at CO2, they looked at nitrogen, moisture, and temperature as well, in all possible combinations. Omit any of these and the plant will die. Overdose on one and it may or may not get sick.

        Plants adjust themselves to what’s regularly put on their table at mealtimes, so to speak, and you fiddle with that at their risk. An obese plant is not necessarily a healthy plant.

      • “Plant does not live by CO2 alone.”

        Lots of people live on CO2 and lots academia/climate modelers live on CO2 alone.

  13. Seems that Dr. Curry is fascinated by “social sciences” or rather by big and empty words.
    The debate of climate science is a problem of science (or flaws in the ‘consensus’ science).
    I don’t think there is any meaningful insight that can be found in empty words of social science. It’s a waste of time, it’s the way of people who can’t do science to create an impression of relevance.

    Science needs to be done the old fashioned way: gather data, do calculations, develop theories, prove or disprove them by more data. No role for “social sciences” in this process.
    Personalities, consensus, communication – don’t pertain to science. Just the facts.

    • Personalities, consensus, communication – don’t pertain to science. Just the facts.

      This is true. For science performed by robots. For science performed by humans these issues are pertinent. They must be acknowledged and dealt with, openly. In that way at least we can approach controlling for their influence.

      Simple denial of their relevance won’t get the job done (particularly when that denial is what predominates in the climate wars – entirely selective in determinations that they are of great importance on the “other side” but not on “my side”).

      Similarly, an analysis that fails to look at those issues in a scientific manner won’t get the job done.

      • Just want to say, again, that I find Judith’s interest in the interplay between the “social sciences” and the “hard sciences” – as they duke it out in the climate debate junior high school cafeteria lunchroom free-for-all foodfight – to be noteworthy and worthy in other ways. Although I find much to be critical about in her conclusions, and indeed in her process of analysis, I applaud her interest in addressing these issues. I see little progress occurring unless a willingness to engage on these questions becomes more of a shared goal among climate war combatants.

  14. Arrg.. insert rant about paywall…

  15. There is a consensus, at least among papers I have seen on PDO, AMO, etc., on natural internal variability being about 0.2 degrees on a decadal time scale. This is enough to confuse short-term predictions and the trendology pastime, but doesn’t measure up to several degrees of warming on the century scale. If anyone thinks this internal variability in decadal average temperatures is higher, I haven’t seen it. There is a good reason for this to be self limiting, and it is the Planck response that damps anything that is not in balance, e.g. see how quickly El Nino warming disappears.

    • JimD, “There is a good reason for this to be self limiting, and it is the Planck response that damps anything that is not in balance, e.g. see how quickly El Nino warming disappears.”

      That statement is limited. If the Oceans of the Earth were in balance, then the atmosphere would uniformly dampen changes, but the oceans don’t have to be balanced in the same time frame as the atmosphere. In fact, it is the different dampening time constants of the oceans and atmosphere that are responsible for the natural internal variability.

      That plot is the RSS NH, SH and HADSST2 with the BEST volcanic forcing. Just looking at that you can see that the dampening of the northern hemisphere lower troposphere is not equal to the dampening of the southern hemisphere lower troposphere, which is not equal to the dampening of the oceans.

      There is some temperature or heat capacity where the dampening of all three will be closer to the same, then your concept will be less limited and you may actually be able to estimate a sensitivity to CO2 doubling that makes sense. Until then, you have to consider the internal imbalance that is causing the differences in sensitivity to forcing. :)

      • If your point is that oceans respond to forcing, not the other way around, you make my point for me. Thanks.

      • JimD, of course they respond to forcing, but they respond differently to different forcings. The southern hemisphere is and will continue to be less sensitive to CO2 forcing and more sensitive to solar forcing than the northern hemisphere. Based on radiant forcing, the prolonged solar minimum should cause a change of only 0.1C, The prolonged solar minimum will cause more, probably around 0.25 to 0.3 C of cooling if it lasts longer than 4 years. Not because it has a large enough impact on ocean temperatures, but because the northern hemisphere is much more sensitive to forcing than the southern hemisphere due to the difference in heat capacity.

        There will be little change in the southern hemisphere because the southern oceans are the main heat sink, but because the change will be carried north by currents, the northern hemisphere will have a larger change.. You are applying linear concepts to a non-linear system.

        The same with Web and Hansen estimating ocean heat uptake. They assume a uniform heat sink instead of an asymmetrical heat reservoir and will over estimate impact.

      • All very well and expected, we see the NH warming faster because of the land mass, but my point was about unforced natural variations which don’t measure up to forced ones on decadal time scales.

    • @Jim D: If anyone thinks this internal variability in decadal average temperatures is higher, I haven’t seen it.

      The longest cycle with any obvious impact on HADCRUT4 is an 80-year cycle, with another at 2/3 that period and 2/3 the amplitude close behind. Once those cycles, along with all cycles of period 22 years or less such as the solar cycles, have been accounted for, all that remains is a smooth curve beautifully tracking the Keeling CO2 curve (and its extrapolation backwards to 286-288 ppmv).

      People call climate complex, but that’s only the case for subdecadal phenomena. It only looks complex until you pick it apart, just like a message encrypted with a one-time pad.

      • peterdavies252

        VP as a matter of interest what would the length of time that Keeling CO2 changes impacts on temperature (after allowing for the cycles that we are aware of)? It wouldn’t be between 800 to 1500 years that the ice core studies suggest?

        Given that the two data series tracks so well over the past 160 years or so, could we reasonably consider that this period is not outside of the error bounds of the total trajectory of climate over the last few million years or so?

      • Peter, modern global warming is utterly unlike anything found in the ice cores. The warming in the latter teased some CO2 out of the water, but nothing huge: all it managed to do was bring the CO2 level from 180 ppmv to 290-300 at the top before subsiding again. Moreover the rise took around 5000 years.

        Starting a couple of centuries ago, we’ve been adding an exponentially growing volume of CO2 to the atmosphere. The amount doubles every three decades. With that rate of doubling there is most definitely not going to be an 800-year lag.

        A rule of thumb I came up with recently is that the observed delay is half the anthropogenic CO2 doubling time. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence, but my least-squares estimate of doubling time for ACO2 is 28.6 for HADCRUT3 and 28.2 for HADCRUT4. For both the lag is 14.5 years, a tad more than half. I need to pursue this further to see whether the rule has any theoretical justification.

        The rule would probably not apply to paleoclimate because the ice cores show the rise from 180 to 300 to be fairly linear, in contrast to the modern exponential rise on top of 286-288 ppmv.

        The observed delay however has two components, namely the time taken for the ocean’s surface layer to respond to radiative forcing, and the time taken for the increased temperature of the ocean to increase the water vapor in order to have a positive feedback. Every feedback loop has some finite delay. How to separate observed delay into these components is unclear to me. Theoretical modeling may be the best we have for now to do that separation.

      • k scott denison

        VP says:

        “Starting a couple of centuries ago, we’ve been adding an exponentially growing volume of CO2 to the atmosphere. The amount doubles every three decades. With that rate of doubling there is most definitely not going to be an 800-year lag.”

        So let’s work backwards based on your claim:

        2012: 395 ppm
        1982: 197.5 ppm
        1952: 98.75 ppm
        1922: 49.375 ppm

        Sure you got that right Vaughan?

        And if you have this basic fact wrong why should I listen to anything else you have to say?

      • So let’s work backwards based on your claim: 2012: 395 ppm 1982: 197.5 ppm 1952: 98.75 ppm 1922: 49.375 ppm

        Scott, you may have misunderstood the second half (bold for emphasis) of the following paragraph on your first pass.

        The rule would probably not apply to paleoclimate because the ice cores show the rise from 180 to 300 to be fairly linear, in contrast to the modern exponential rise on top of 286-288 ppmv.

        Subtract 287 from all those values and you’ll see it works out just fine, even going back 4000 years, which is where the most recent ice core reading showed 285 ppmv, close enough for government work.

        2012: 108 + 287 = 395
        1982: 54 + 287 = 341
        1952: 27 + 287 = 314
        1922: 13.5 + 287 = 300.5

        The reason the numbers aren’t going down quite fast enough is that the actual doubling period is a tad less than 30 years, somewhere in the range 28-29 years. In particular 300 will be closer to 1925 than 1922.

        And if you have this basic fact wrong why should I listen to anything else you have to say?

        You must be from the midwest, where they ask questions first but shoot before the answer. ;)

      • peterdavies252

        VP, thanks for this. Your theory of 14-15 year lags is an interesting hypothesis and well worth testing if it can be tested.

        This link indicates that the incidence of burning of vegetation has occurred often enough in the distant past and humans were obviously not involved.

        http://www.lpi.usra.edu/science/kring/epo_web/impact_cratering/enviropages/wildfires.html

        In your opinion would the CO2 from these wildfires be any worse than the CO2 from the burning of coal and other fossil fuels? In any case, the incidence of CO2 residue from extensive burning doesn’t appear as unprecedented as you seem to believe.

      • @pd252: In your opinion would the CO2 from these wildfires be any worse than the CO2 from the burning of coal and other fossil fuels?

        No, because any wildfire that released that much warming CO2 would also release enough smoke and destroy enough habitat to dwarf any impact of the former.

        Smoke has three possible impacts. An obvious one is to impair breathing. But it can also both heat and cool. Smoke at a low altitude (1-2 km say, around where rain clouds hover) will tend to warm because the atmosphere is relatively warm there compared to the cold of higher up and outer space. But smoke at a high altitude will cool because it blocks incoming insolation but is too cold (at that high altitude) to pass that insolation on in the form of thermal radiation.

        Any dramatic impact on temperature in either direction could cause a mass extinction. CO2 from even massive wildfires caused by say an asteroid strike will have relatively little impact in the time it takes for the smoke to impact the habitat.

        The other factor is the amount of carbon in the biosphere that an asteroid impact could release via wildfires. This is far less than what the mining and drilling techniques of the past century have been able to extract from the top couple of kilometers of the planet.

        The peak oil/coal argument is that we’ve largely exhausted those supplies, oil for now and coal soon. What the peak oil/coal hypothesis neglects is the increasing value of energy to consumers with decreasing supply. That effect postpones the peak.

        How far? I have no idea, but if fossil fuels were our only energy option then I would say for centuries! By 2200 energy would be insanely expensive but people would still be prepared to pay for it. In that way we could put vastly more CO2 into the atmosphere than anyone today considers feasible based on modern mining and drilling techniques. By 2200 those techniques could be sophisticated to a degree we cannot possibly imagine today. People will be killing for energy (there are books out lately on that theme).

        Unless there were alternatives.

        Going by California’s recent experience, I’d say solar thermal and wind were relatively flat with wind dominating solar thermal.

        Solar photovoltaic (PV) however is, for technical reasons related to silicon technology, on a Moore’s-law type curve whose effect is to make PV look like it was trailing everyone badly at first, only at the last minute to put on a blinding burst of speed and accelerate past everyone.

        In California we’re experiencing this just this year (pace Dave Rutledge). It now looks likely that within even just a decade PV will have made coal and oil look like losing options. Most certainly within two.

        Bottom line: PV makes peak oil/coal irrelevant. I’m actually rather optimistic that everyone can stop arguing about CO2 and go back to worrying about Obama’s birth certificate and whether Darwinism explains the origin of life (which Darwin himself emphatically denied!).

      • The DMV’ll probably shut him down the next time he applies.
        ===================

      • I can see him pulling out his little IPad; ‘See, here it is, on my website’.
        =========================

      • peterdavies252

        Thanks VP. Your take on CO2 seems to me to be quite rational and if it is the case that alternative (hopefully renewable) energy sources eventually replace fossil fuels as the prime source of energy, then this combined with slower economic growth rates (this is GOOD!), augers well for our descendants in 2200.

      • Thanks, Peter, I’m always glad to have someone see a glint of rationality in something I said. That other Peter (Lang) seems to have a very hard time doing so.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        That’s because you don’t say anything rational. All you comments demonstrate you are an ideologue, a zealot and totally irrational. All your thinking and comments are confined to advocate for your ideology.

      • A computer program could have generated that. I’m not saying it did, just that it would be very easy.

  16. The comments about skeptic motivation ignore some simple truths: AGW scaremongering is associated almost exclusively with far-left, authoritarian, tax-and-regulate-everything-to-death politics. AGW has nothing whatever to do with science, and everything to do with an odious political agenda.

    I’m a skeptic, and I’m motivated by not wanting to see a bunch of corrupt politicians masquerading as scientists wreck the world economy (and incidentally condemn billions of people to everlasting poverty, and cause tens of millions of avoidable deaths). And yes, I’d rather keep my share of the tax dollars now being squandered on supporting AGW scaremongering and politicking in the name of “science,” for myself. Taking that money from me to give to these frauds effectively makes me their slave, the more so insofar as I can’t directly challenge them or make them stop taking the money. In a small, partial way, perhaps, but slavery nonetheless.

    Let us not forget that hard-left ideology (which I have here called “criminal-reactionary-left in previous posts) has been at the root of at least 250 million murders committed by the likes of Mao, Stalin and Hitler. (And yes, Nazism originated as a leftist, not a rightist, ideology – the Nazis took the “socialist” in their party’s name very seriously, and remember that the original founder of the Nazi party, one Anton Drexler, started things off by equating the Jews with the Marxist bourgeois class enemy,)

    I like Latimer Adler’s comment about audits – I myself was an auditor for 10 years, in a major CPA firm and then as the head of internal auditing in two companies. And I would say that if the AGW scaremongers don’t want their work to be scrutinized, they necessarily have to be hiding things they don’t want the public to know about – their lack of personal integrity, fraud, political campaigning on the taxpayer nickel. Something I learned as an auditor was that it is only the people who have done wrong that don’t want you looking into what they’re doing. In all my years as an auditor I never once encountered anyone who was on the up and up that objected to me examining their work.

    Finally, I see little point in philosophizing about what makes either the AGW tyrannists or skeptics tick. It’s a waste of time (and tax money, too, probably) and only diverts attention and effort from the task at hand, which is to put a stop to the AGW scam. The skeptics are right, plain and simple, and we know full well, with certainty, of the disinformation and fraud propagated by the AGW enemies of liberty. ‘Nuff said!

  17. I’d like to make a comment with respect to Due Diligence

    Due diligence is a concept from the engineering world (and also legal I believe) and requires a level of investigation and rigour simply not seen in the academic world of climate science – and to be fair, many other scientific disciplines. My Father, who is a retired engineer is used to having to actually put science into practise and the level of rigour on an issue potentially costing society billions if not trillions, was so poor as to start him on the road to skepticism. Steve McIntyre also comes from the commercial world where such levels of rigour are commonplace.

    Here is my father’s letter to Julia Gillard which was picked up by Jo Nova:

    http://joannenova.com.au/2011/07/spending-billions-why-not-do-a-due-diligence-study/

    He makes the point that science is mostly self-correcting. If you muck up your calculations for how a rocket should work and it blows up, never mind, you’ll get it right next time. Since you don’t have that luxury with climate science (and the supposed impending armageddon) you should really check your science carefully – engineering level of thoroughness – not academia levels, which is really just the coarse filter of peer review.

    My father argues, and from everything I have gleaned from my time following this issue is that he is absolutely right – there has never been proper due diligence studies done – ever – on this issue. The IPCC is merely an assessment of academic literature – not the kind of thorough investigation that would be mandatory in the commercial world where other peoples money is at risk.

    I strongly recommend reading the letter in the link above. It’s reasonable and gives an engineers point of view of what is meant by “due diligence”.

    • Agnostic,

      That is a brilliant letter. I’ve quoted it and linked to it often, including in my submission to the Australian Joint Parliamentary Inquiry on “Australia’s Clean Energy Future Legislation“.

      By the way, that Parliamentary Inquiry was chaired by the Labor Party and Deputy Chair was the Green Party. The Parliament called for submissions from the public (as they are required to do). Over 4500 submissions were received. All but 70 were arbitrrarily classified as “correspondence” rather than “submissions” and were rejected. That was done on the basis of whether they wanted to make the submissions public or not. Some of the 70 accepted submissions were submitted after the closing time. 4,500 rejected because they didn’t say what Labor and the Greens wanted to hear. That’s how Australia is governed.

      Here is my submission (in two parts) (referring to your father’s excellent letter to Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the front). Please tell your father:
      Submission:

      http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/07/06/carbon-tax-australia-2011/#comment-136435

      Addendum to Submission:

      http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/07/06/carbon-tax-australia-2011/#comment-136436

      • Not to mention that the majority of the ‘pro-government’ submissions accepted were form letters and petitions from organisations outside Australia garnered through the militant GetUp! faction and financed by Soros et al. Strangely that they weren’t classified as just “correspondence.”

      • Pete Lang,

        I’ve just made a comment elsewhere on how its just not the done thing to reference yourself all the time.

        And here you are doing it yet again!

        There is a theory some blokes try to make up for an undersized certain part of their anatomy by buying big cars and exaggerating their own importance to others.

        Is that your problem, Pete?

      • tempterrain

        Ad homs will get you nowhere, TT.

        They really just make you look silly.

        Try to concentrate on the subject matter, instead.

        Max

      • Max,

        “ad-homs” ? No I’m just trying to be helpful to our friend , Pete.

        He’s obviously got a problem. I’m not the only one to notice just how grumpy he can be recently. I think Vaughan Pratt used the phrase he’d tried to “walk on eggshells” but, even so, that still brought out another tirade (Vaughan’s word not mine) from Pete.

        He’s not speaking to me at the moment, but maybe you’d like to suggest to him that he lightens up a bit.

      • @tt: There is a theory some blokes try to make up for an undersized certain part of their anatomy by buying big cars and exaggerating their own importance to others. Is that your problem, Pete?

        @tt: “ad-homs” ? No I’m just trying to be helpful to our friend , Pete

        Tt, try to see things from the other side. What to you might have seemed a “helpful comment” could easily come across as an ad hom to others.

        This works both ways. Those who believe that they are the rational ones naturally feel that this entitles them to a level of criticism that irrational people should not be allowed to use.

      • Vaughan,

        Yes point taken. You’re probably right. I usually find something to like about most people, even Max who I’ve had a long run in with over the past few years.

        But I can’t quite manage it with Peter Lang I’m afraid.

      • temp,

        how about commenting on Agnostic’s point – lack of rigor in testing in climate science.

        As a former sub sailor I am extremely grateful that Electric Boat never had to utilize the skills of people like Dr Mann, Dr hansen and others in the field of climate science.

      • What sort of testing would you have in mind? It doesn’t make sense to test everything to destruction to get the data.
        Agnostic’s comment about an “engineers point of view” is fair enough, but engineers are naturally cautious and conservative thinkers.
        If there’s no evidence, or no data, to suggest that doubling atmospheric CO2 concentrations is likely to be a safe course of action, then the “engineers point of view” would be against allowing it to happen.

      • temp,

        RE what sort of testing.

        That’s not exactly my area of expertise, but I’d start with some of Steven Moshers suggestions – open access to code and data. I’ve also seen some excellent suggestions from people here who have written code on how to test it an models, to verify the model against known data. From what I can determine, it does not appear as if much validation testing has been done.

        I fully understand how engineers tend to be conservative. In my job I count on it. But when you say there is “no evidence to believe a doubling of CO2 is a safe course of action”, you ignore the flip side of that coin, as there is no evidence to believe it is an unsafe course. The engineers I know would, if tasked with the problem of dealing with a warming climate – would first try to determine what the problem would look like. That’s the starting point for selecting their solution parameters. I doubt highly they would choose a decarbonization solution.

        For what it is worth, most of the people I know who have engineering or other technical background tend to hold significant doubts about the urgency or level of threat posed by climate change.

      • timg56,

        You may be right that many engineers take a denialist view on climate change. If so, they are also taking a denialist view on their own engineering principles.

        Faced with a question of what loading a unique type of bridge, like say the Rialto bridge in Venice might hold, which was built in medieval times and so is of an unknown strength, any engineer would certainly not just say that there is “no evidence to believe it is an unsafe course” for it to be doubled from whatever had previously thought to be a safe limit.

        Its a common, but fallacious, theme on this blog that there can be some fundamental difference in the approach to the AGW problem by adapting either engineering or scientific principles. There isn’t. You still get the same answer.

      • tempterrian and timg56 – you are both missing the point somewhat. Due Diligence in engineering terms is basically a super detailed audit. It is an examination of all the data, measurements, statistics, calculations and maths underlying the scientific conclusions. It’s never been done – or actually it has partially – the famous example of the hockey-stick.

        If you are proposing that a problem exists on the scale of anthropogenic climate change, with attendent public investments in tackling it, then it is only reasonable that the work leading to those conclusions is thoroughly checked. Bear in mind that a great deal of science rests on the conclusions of science that went before it. If the supporting science has conclusions based on erroneous data or assumptions that have not been properly tested, then it weakens or invalidates the subsequent work.

        Climate Science is not self-correcting. Normally when something goes wrong based on conclusions drawn from bad data or maths error, a bridge falls down, a plane drops out of the sky, or a rocket blows up. It gets found eventually. Academia doesn’t work in that way, but for climate science, it has to because its not acceptable to demand that the world economy and society restructure itself without the science being thoroughly checked.

      • Agnostic,

        Normally when someone makes an accusation of “missing the point” they really mean they’d like to redefine the point.
        The point is that engineers don’t ever concede the point that the onus is on to them prove that any particular course of action is likely to be unsafe. Whole fleets of airliners are grounded if engineers just suspect there may be a problem.
        No-one is grounding the entire world economy just yet, and if action is taken early enough there should be no need for it. However, this sitaution may well change if delay after delay is incurred.

      • Regarding due diligence, when you’re reviewing a 1000 page proposal to do something and someone comes along with a simpler way of doing it that can be explained clearly in 10 pages, I’d be inclined to junk the 1000-page proposal even if five years later due diligence showed it to be better than the 10 page proposal.

        Why? Because five years represents an opportunity cost. If you can get started on a project with a certain degree of confidence right away while your competitor can’t start for another five years because due diligence is holding him up, you’re well ahead of the game. Even if your approach is inferior, the fact that it works at all is what matters.

        There is a certain common-sense wisdom underlying “if it doesn’t crash, ship it.” Unless you know for sure that the cost of a bug exceeds the cost of delay, you’re better off with the bug than the delay.

        Bugs in satellites and Pentiums can exceed the cost of delay, but those are the exception rather than the rule.

      • Peter,

        I’ve sent those links to my father. They are indeed very interesting although I haven’t read everything, what I did strikes me as extremely reasonable and well thought through. I’m sure my father would be flattered that you thought it worthy of including in your submission.

        Thankyou very much for posting.

    • Agnostic,

      When I was in business, I always took chances. Calculated risks, but without the math. Even if I had had data for hypothesis testing, I would not have insisted on 95% confidence interval before making a decision. If I had needed that degree of probability, I wouldn’t have made many decisions, and would have failed in business.

      • David Springer

        Not if your business was building heart-lung machines, passenger aircraft, hand grenades, or any number of others where people die when your product fails. In that case 95% confidence is a deal breaker. It’s Russian Roulette with a 20 shot revolver.

      • Oh yes I would ! When it came to policy decisions, I would do it a lot. If, for example, the chance of making a good profit on a new machine was 19 of 20, I would go for it.

        You think like an engineer. I think like a money maker.

      • That’s what separates entrepreneurs from consultants … the attitude to risk management.

      • Agnostic, David , Max , Streetcred,

        People don’t understand the concept of risk very well IMO. And some of the comments here support that view.

        Its not just enough to have 95% confidence in any particular decision. Sooner or later the 5% will turn up so you also need to ask what are the consequences of that happening. If they are severe, say a bankruptcy in a business sense, then even 99% may not be enough. Of course there is quite a lot of luck in business and the difference between success and failure can be just about luck and success may mean people taking big risks and getting away with it.

        On the other hand if the consequences are mild, then its OK to take even money bets, if you know that the real odds are just slightly in your favour.

        So what’s the situation with the climate? Everything points to taking as much mitigative action as possible on GH gases. The chances of the science being wrong are low. The consequences of ignoring the scientific advice are severe. “Russian roullette with a 20 shot revolver” would be good if there were only one bullet in the barrel. This time there are 18 bullets.

      • temp,

        To continue with the Russian Roulette analogy – I would argue that Climate Roulette is being played according to the following rule
        1) There are at least four players (US Europe, China & India)

        2) Each has a revolver (6 shots).

        3) At each turn every player randomly points their gun at another player and pulls the trigger.

        The problem I am seeing is that there are some people on my team who want to insist our revolver has no bullets. They even point to the European team and say “Look, those guys are removing bullets from their gun. We should as well.” Meanwhile the guys across the table are not only making sure all six chambers are loaded, they are planning to switch to high capacity automatics.

        Want to take bets on the outcome?

      • Max, if someone told you there is “gold in them thar hills” and asked you for $750 million to build a mine and the infrastructure, I am pretty sure you would want to spend a little of that money checking to see if there really was gold and in sufficient quantities to justify the investment.

        In fact, mining companies have to do that sort of due diligence by law, and fair enough too. The ‘calculated risk’ you speak of is the outlay of money checking to be sure. If it turns out there wasn’t enough, you have saved your investors a lot of money.

        If you are building a new component for an oil refinery, you are going to have to get a disinterested DDT to agree that your project is not going to create harmful or onerous waste that could impact the local environment or community, and the level of checks and balances are really stringent. You will have to turn over your work to the DDT and every little detail will be carefully checked.

        Where other peoples lives are impacted by decisions you make based on analyses you have done, it is only fair that your work be checked thoroughly by a 3rd party, entirely disinterested in the result. This cannot be said to have happened in the case of climate change and the policy fall out from conclusions made by academics could be enormously expensive.

        Skeptical “auditors” such as Steve McIntyre are motivated by prudence and a desire to check that the conclusions drawn from the evidence are justified. Since many other conclusions are based on assuming previous conclusions are correct, it’s important to check to see if they ALL stack up. In the case of climate science that is going to be a big, big job.

      • “Skeptical “auditors” such as Steve McIntyre are motivated by prudence …….. In the case of climate science that is going to be a big, big job.

        If its acceptable to be skeptical about the science then presumably its acceptable to be skeptical on motivations, too. Big, big job also means long, long job , right?

        So, a theory on our part that the real motivation of the skeptic/deniers is to delay mitigative action for as long as possible would appear to fit all the known facts.

      • Max_OK

        Hey, man – that’s what I did in business, too!

        And I learned fairly quickly to take with a grain of salt projections by sales managers or R+D scientists.

        I was especially leery of snake oil salesmen.

        It works both ways.

        Max_CH

    • Agnostic –

      Your father’s letter says that the due diligence process w/r/t AGW should be conducted by the equivalent of independent contractors –

      the DDT should comprise physicists, economists, engineers, mathematicians (especially statisticians), geologists, biologists and climate scientists.

      That seems reasonable to me – as additional information to have to contrast against an analysis conducted by climate scientists. More information is good. But the problem as I see it is that there are no independent contractors here. Have you met anyone who is in a position to conduct this kind of review who you think can rightly be considered as independent? How would this work? Do you think that there is anyone who is familiar enough with the debate who doesn’t have an opinion? Do you think that there is anyone who doesn’t have a vested interest in the outcome, meaning beliefs about the economic or political context?

      That isn’t to say that I think that such an effort would be a waste of time – but that I think that it wouldn’t serve anyone well to simplify the issue of “independence” in this kind of debate. How would these folks be selected to control for biases? Would any outcome be likely to be accepted as being objective? I doubt it. My guess is that the outcome of any process like this would be viewed through a partisan lens. Indeed, it should be – as this kind of analysis would inherently rest on assumptions about priors.

      Your father does say this:

      It’s doubtful if the DDT will ever be able to achieve certainty on any matter but they should be able to come much closer to the truth than has the IPCC.

      So he does recognize that certainty is an unrealistic goal. But I have to say that I think that he fails to acknowledge some inherent problems with the process of due diligence applied in this context. This concept of due diligence, I believe, is useful, but applied with an unrealistic confidence in the application of due diligence, in other words a failure to recognize the inherent subjectivity that will accompanying the application in this context, it will also just essentially manifest as confirmation bias.

      • Joshua,

        You should realize that the debate is far less polarized in different parts of the world [b]especially[/b] along political boundaries. You should also realize that those who are beating themselves up over climate change from both sides of the debate are in a small minority of the general population. I do not think it would be unrealistic to be able to assemble a highly capable and technically astute DDT of fairly neutral engineers and scientists who would have no further vested interest in the outcome of the analysis beyond the DDS.

        It might be wise to avoid sourcing the team from countries where the debate has raged the greatest – notably Australia and the US and to some extent New Zealand. But even there I suspect it would be possible for a dispassionate analysis to be made, if the frame of reference was merely the veracity of the science and the evidence and data supporting it.

        It should also be pointed out, that it would not look for new science, simply audit – thoroughly – the existing science. This is in contrast with the IPCC, which is an assessment by a handful of climate scientists on climate science literature, rather than a check on whether the science underlying the literature is correct.

        There are ways to control for biases if you were sufficiently concerned. One way might be to have bogus data prepared with the DDT having to analyze different sets not knowing which were the real data. Another might be to duplicate the team a number of times and control to make sure they are coming to the same conclusions.

        Yes it would be expensive. But it would be the merest fraction of what has already been spent toward mitigation of something that is at very best of dubious significance and in a way as to have no effect on it.

        At the very least, a project the size of restructuring the world energy economy, should have extensive due diligence done on it. Projects of vastly less importance have had to go through far more rigorous tests. This is the very minimum I would expect, and without it the justification for the kind of action taken to combat global warming, is really hard to see.

      • Agnostic –

        You make some good points. Still, I think that you underestimate the extent to which this debate is inherently political, and inherently prone to the kinds of motivate reasoning we see in all debates, but particularly in those that overlap onto political, social, and cultural identifications.

        It would be interesting to see the type of due diligence effort you’ve described. However, I see some evidence of bias even in the call for this kind of initiative. In other words, while I don’t diminish the actual concept of due diligence, I believe that I often see in these pages a kind of romanticized notion of due diligence that over-values its proven benefits and under-values the proven susceptibility to all kinds of biases. This is often due to a kind of tribalism related to private sector vs. public sector and business acumen vs. academic expertise antagonism.

      • Agnostic,

        Excellent comment. Thank you again.

        I’ve been thinking, how would the terms of reference for the due diligence team be defined. What is it we want due diligence to be done on. Then I saw your last paragraph:

        At the very least, a project the size of restructuring the world energy economy, should have extensive due diligence done on it. Projects of vastly less importance have had to go through far more rigorous tests. This is the very minimum I would expect, and without it the justification for the kind of action taken to combat global warming, is really hard to see.

        That may be what the due diligence has to investigate. Is there a sound case to “restructure the world energy economy“?

        Is that what we want due diligence done on?

        Do we want due diligence on the science that support CAGW? I think not. I’d suggest we want due diligence on the decisions about investment in proposed mitigation policies. To the extent that requires checking the science that is relevant to the investment decision, that is the only science that would have to be thoroughly investigated.

        Should due diligence be done at the level of the world, or at the level of countries?

        I suggest the answer is both. Countries should not (and will not over the long term) invest unless there is a clear economic case to do so. So it has to be done at the country level.

        But it also has to be done at the global level. Because, unless there is a global agreement to implement policies, globally, to cut GHG emissions, then the only policies that will be implemented are those that make economic sense for each country.

        Let’s consider how due diligence should be approached from a world perspective. I’d argue the focus should be on the most important inputs to the cost-benefit analyses. Using Nordhaus “A Question of Balance” as a guide, the most important inputs to the cost-benefit analysis are the ‘Damage function’ (cost per degree of warming), ‘Climate sensitivity’ and ‘Rate of decarbonisation’ (Table 7-2, http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf )

        The ‘Rate of decarbonisation’ parameter is not one of the parameters with highest uncertainty in Table 7-2. I’ve included it as one of my suggested parameters for attention because I believe Nordhaus, being an economist, does not really understand what the engineers can achieve if they are given the task. I’d urge those who have not seen this documentary, and are interested in what engineers can achieve quickly when given a clear task, to watch it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDqCb_83Xcg

        I’ll write a separate comment on how I think individual countries might approach due diligence for their own investment in mitigation policies.

        I am no expert on any of this so I am hoping this may prompt others who know much more than I do to weigh in.

    • David L. Hagen

      Agnostic
      Thanks for posting your father Colin’s letter.
      I strongly endorse Colin’s position on the need for thorough a exhaustive independent engineering quality Due Diligence of climate science (not “pal” review). It needs to include both thorough quantification of ALL natural as well as anthropogenic influences with as thorough verification and validation of data and codes as practical and apply all the pertinent principles of scientific forecasting.

    • @Agnostic: Here is my father’s letter to Julia Gillard which was picked up by Jo Nova:

      Is this the famous letter that gets sent to heads of state whenever they misbehave? Queen Elizabeth received it recently (see bottom of page). This letter is variously signed by “Colin”, “John”, “Cristianou,” etc.

      I get spam all the time where the only difference is who signs it.

      I’ve been refereeing papers by engineers for four decades now and I can assure you that this letter was not written by an engineer. As Peter Lang points out, “That is a brilliant letter.” Indeed. It has all the hallmarks of a top-notch English major hired to write speeches and letters like this.

      Yet more spam from the climate skeptic quarter. Since “Colin” has no surname and “Agnostic” doesn’t even have a first name, I think we can safely consign this to the circular file.

  18. Agnostic, kudos to your Dad. Over the years, I’ve made the same point in The Australian about the need to first determine the facts in such a way (though with less detail and eloquency) before proceeding with emissions-reduction programs, and that existing programs should be put on hold until that work is done.

    As for rocket science, my daughter who studied Engineering – Space and Mechanical and was involved in a few launches tells me it’s simple.

    • I am familiar with ‘due diligence’ in the financial sense, having worked on the DD for the prospectus for two of the floats of Telstra shares. For overseas readers, Telstra was the government owned monopoly telecommunications provider, which was progressively privatised. At the time, it was the largest share float in Australian history.

      It was a massive undertaking, which involved not only digging out and explaining all the financial, legal, and management information about the company, but also performing and articulating a risk analysis which went down to the micro levels of the company’s activities. This meant identifying and quantifying every conceivable financial, political and legal risk on the horizon. Dozens of people worked on it for months.

      I think that Steve McIntyre’s professional experience was along similar lines, although with an emphasis on mining companies.

      Let me assure you that ‘peer review’ is not even in the same universe when it comes to rigorous evaluation.

      • Johanna,

        Now I know that you are a person from the real world (I’d guessed that already).

        Very Interesting. Yes, that much have been one of the most complex floats ever (for Australia), given the political risks on top of everything else. Clearly, you have some invaluable experience. You really do know what due diligence means. Care to educate us?

        I hope you might write some comments to educate us and also perhaps make a few suggestions along the way about what countries like Australia should do before legislating carbon prices, mandating renewable energy targets and other so called ‘climate policies’.

      • Thanks for the kind words, Peter, but I doubt that anyone wants to read a detailed explanation of DD processes for Australian share floats in this forum!

        Where it is relevant is firstly in explaining where people like Steve McIntyre have a tremendous contribution to make. It infuriates me to read snide comments along the lines that he is just some retired mining guy with no background in climate science. Apart from the fact that he could blow most of them away as a mathematician and statistician, his experience in evaluating large commercial ventures with significant technical components and lots of uncertainty, with real money at stake, is extremely valuable.

        The second point is that as I mentioned about the Telstra DD, assessing risk and uncertainty in a complex environment is a critical component of this kind of work. Our hostess has written extensively on this aspect. And, you had better be telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth all the way through the document. Frankly, if a commercial prospectus was prepared the way the IPCC reports were, the promoters could go to jail (in this country, anyway).

      • Thanks for these comments Johanna – this is what I think my dad means wrt the kind of due diligence he is used to. He was a engineering project manager at a refinery in Kwinana WA so I think he shares the same perspective.

        I’d echo Peter’s sentiment and would go further; I think it would make an interesting guest post for Climate Etc to read a detailed overview about how to perform due diligence in climate science from an engineering perspective. What would someone like you expect to do? Who would you get involved in order to avoid conflicts of interest if there were any? What would be the comparison between an engineering level assessment and academician?

      • Hi Johanna,

        Thank you for your reply. I agree with your comments about Steve McIntyre.

        However, I’d like to clarify the purpose of my suggestion about explaining what due diligence really means and how it is conducted (at a summary level of course) for CE readers using your real world experience.

        Thanks for the kind words, Peter, but I doubt that anyone wants to read a detailed explanation of DD processes for Australian share floats in this forum!

        What I was hoping you might do is to take us through, in comments, what is involved in due diligence, and making it relevant to how Australia (for example) might approach for a trillion dollar, 50 year investment, if it was a large private sector investment.

        Nullius in Verba posted quite a few excellent comments on this thread on this matter:

        http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2012/06/05/conservatives-who-think-seriously-about-the-planet/#comment-111418

        Hoping … :)

      • making it relevant to how Australia (for example) might approach for a trillion dollar, 50 year investment

        If Australia is making a 50 year investment it’s nuts. Anything could happen in 20 years time, let alone 50.

        China uses 5 year plans. That seems about right for a country with 1.3 billion people. For 22.6 million people a one-month plan sounds about right.

        I don’t know when I last saw so many positive comments responding to a post as this one elicited. The subtext was “My n-year plan? Screw that.”

        I’ll say it again. If Australia has a 50-year plan they’re nuts.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        I agree. But tell the government of Australia, Obama, UK, EU and the rest of the countries that are being influenced by irrational ideologues who share your ideological beliefs.

        Where on Earth have you been for the past 20 years. Are you not aware that the whole justification for for mitigation policies is cost-benefit analyses that accumulate imagined (i.e. projected) AGW damage costs for 500 years or so?

        Without that there is not justification what so ever for carbon pricing and renewable energy schemes – and all the other irrational policies we implement in the name of climate mitigation.

      • Where on Earth have you been for the past 20 years.

        Fair question. In the (unlikely) event you meant it literally, the first half I was running around the globe giving invited lectures on parallel computing in a score of countries in parallel with doing research in speech recognition. The other half I’d retired from all that in favour of seeing if I could build a company building pocket-scale x86 computers (which turned out to be in competition with OQO). OQO closed their doors about 18 months before us; we were kept going a bit longer by having a DEVGRU (US Naval Special Warfare Development Group) contract to build small computers for use by Navy SEALs. But we never reached the scale needed to keep going, a common fate of the little battler.

        In parallel with the x86 stuff, as an emeritus professor I was also a member of the team that won the DARPA Grand Challenge autonomous vehicle race in 2005, as the other faculty member on the team besides project lead Sebastian Thrun, working on control theory for steering etc. We had a big team, you can just barely see me second from the right in the front row at our 2005 website. Sebastian’s the one between the Touareg’s headlights. Photo taken at Barstow in the Mojave Desert 60 miles south of Death Valley where the abortive 2004 DARPA race had started.

        Incidentally you and I have something in common there. You and Warwick Smith, as respectively driver and navigator, won the 1973 Australian Rally Championship in one of the four Holden Toranas that totally dominated the series that year. And you placed both the year before and after. (And a decade or so earlier you were at Cranbrook slightly after when I was at Knox, two of the six Associated Schools in Sydney.)

        In the last few years I’ve turned my attention to Euclidean geometry, category theory, rapid transit, and global warming. And now that Sebastian has moved on to other exciting projects I’m the only faculty member in our autonomous driving group. CE is addictive so I have to get off it for a bit soon (as I keep saying, so much for free will) in order to have any time for these other projects.

      • who share your ideological beliefs

        As it turns out, my only ideological belief is to avoid ideological beliefs at all costs. They are the enemy of good science.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        OK. You’ve got me. After that bit of excellent research (I haven’t a clue how you dug all that up), I guess I’d better shut up.

        I wonder if your were that Knox guy who sub-soiled me over the sideline 3 m before I scored a try (possibly the only try in my whole life – a ‘projected try with 100% probability of success in IPCC language, until uncertainty (you?) arrived). I was probably in about the U13F team at the time.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        That’s an interesting history and interesting work and business experience. Now I know you are not just a pretty face.

        working on control theory for steering etc

        I met the CEO/President of Twil Tech Inc. at a lunch recently. His explanation of the steering control on this was fascinating and how it had been developed from military knowledge. He explained how a pilot of a remote controlled helicopter can ‘teach’ the copters computer how to hover, then fly acrobatics and then do acrobatics that a human cannot do (like spiral on three axes at one). This is applied to the Twill tech ‘car’ thingy http://twilltech.com/. Unfortunately, the GFC killed the funding.

        I wonder if you are aware of it or have any interest in that sort of steering control?

        By the way, in case this seems OT, the connection is it is an electric vehicle that can go anywhere, fit on narrow roads, fit in highly congested cities – it is the solution to the transport (and energy and emissions) problems for the developed world (so claimed by the proponent).

      • I wonder if your were that Knox guy who sub-soiled me over the sideline 3 m before I scored a try

        No, swimming was my forte (as was my mum’s, she was captain of Melbourne University’s swim team and once dived off the Princes Bridge into the Yarra nearly landing on a passing ship). You can still find my name on a big cup in the Knox library as the breaststroke champion for 1961. And at one extracurricular event I managed to beat the state butterfly champion by a meter who fancied himself as also being good at breaststroke. At Sydney Uni (you went to ANU, good choice) I switched to waterskiing which I’d been doing since I was 13 in Coraki NSW, and was team captain in 1966. My exam marks really sucked though, I was in way too many extracurricular activities to have time to study. Amazing I ever got accepted to postgraduate studies in a US university.

      • He explained how a pilot of a remote controlled helicopter can ‘teach’ the copters computer how to hover, then fly acrobatics and then do acrobatics that a human cannot do (like spiral on three axes at one).

        When did he start doing this? Reason I ask is that one of the pioneers in literally teaching helicopters to fly upside down is our own Andrew Ng, who recently took a leave from Stanford along with Daphne Koller to form the startup Coursera to do MOOCs, Massive Open Online Courses. Meanwhile Sebastian Thrun did the same thing for his own startup, Udacity, taking with him two of our valuable autonomous-driving team members, Mike Sokolsky and David Stavens. So 50% of our robotics/vision faculty have suddenly gone into startups, creating a bit of a vacuum which is why I’m on the Ph.D. admissions committee this year even though I’m officially emeritus and don’t have to do this stuff if I don’t want to. “Recalled to active duty” is my current status.

        By the way, in case this seems OT, the connection is it is an electric vehicle that can go anywhere, fit on narrow roads, fit in highly congested cities – it is the solution to the transport (and energy and emissions) problems for the developed world (so claimed by the proponent).

        Except for the electric bit (my preference is for petrol-powered cars, incredible though that may sound, on the ground that petrol has much better energy density than batteries), he seems to be working on similar problems to me. If you were intending to convey a tone of skepticism in your “the solution,” I would not quarrel with that one little bit. Rapid transit that works for everyone is a bloody difficult problem.

      • Vaughan,

        What I know about this I learnt in one hour talking with Chris Tacklind, CEO/President of Twill Tech Inc. http://twilltech.com/

        The ‘car’ has two wheels oriented from back like a bile. But you steer it like a car. You don’t have to balance because the steer control does all that for you. When you stop in traffic, the front wheel turns at right angles and the steer control balances it. It does 0 – 100 km/h in 4 s and has a range of about 600 km (from memory). If you want a petrol one, you can have one. If you want it to cook toast, I’m sure you can have that too. (Think of all the emissions the world could avoid from burning dung).

      • The ‘car’ has two wheels oriented from back like a bile. But you steer it like a car.

        What does that mean? A bike steers by keeping the center of gravity over the line joining where the wheels touch the ground, after taking centrifugal force into account when cornering. Does it mean using a steering wheel to get that effect or is something else going on here?

        In any event wouldn’t that require some drastic changes to existing car factories? I was hoping not to have to fiddle with them. And the design of today’s cars has converged to what people like. If you replace the design with something radically different, how do you know the new design won’t gradually revert all the way back to the old one in order to get any market share?

        A two-wheel car might appeal to bikers, unless the appeal of a bike is the open air. Three-wheel cars are getting popular lately.

        Sorry if I sound a tad negative here. It’s a difficult market to play around in.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        Seriously, why don’t you read the information on the link?

        What does that mean? A bike steers by keeping the center of gravity over the line joining where the wheels touch the ground, after taking centrifugal force into account when cornering. Does it mean using a steering wheel to get that effect or is something else going on here?

        In any event wouldn’t that require some drastic changes to existing car factories? I was hoping not to have to fiddle with them. And the design of today’s cars has converged to what people like. If you replace the design with something radically different, how do you know the new design won’t gradually revert all the way back to the old one in order to get any market share?

        Your questions reveal you think along lines of central control. It seems you think some central governing body, (like the UN or IPCC) will decide what factories should be built and how they will be modified, etc. That’s what the market decides, unless we are under a central authority – like some commenters obviously think is how it should be.

        The two-wheel ‘car’ has a steering wheel and is controlled like a car. The computer looks after the rest. The ‘car’ sits up when stationary to save parking space and to get into and out of it and to travel slowly, but lays back to go fast to reduce air resistance.

        I am sure the proponents are not advocating the governments of India, China and African countries ban cars and tell everyone they must drive the Twill ‘car’ instead from now on. The Twill’s USP is a small, cheap energy efficient, low emissions vehicle that can go anywhere (even on mountain bike tracks) and requires much less road space. The idea is to give people cheap mobility especially in congested roads and cities and remote areas as well (electric or petrol). Sure, they will progress to cars as countries get richer and as the infrastructure improves to cope with 10 billion people in 10 billion cars (or would it be more if everyone has as many cars as the average US citizen).

        Read the link. What I know of the Twill is what I got from a discussion over lunch. That’s it. I know no more. I’d urge you to read the link and contact them if you want to know more.

      • Scott Basinger

        Vaughan Pratt: “As it turns out, my only ideological belief is to avoid ideological beliefs at all costs. They are the enemy of good science.”

        You’re my new hero.

      • Seriously, why don’t you read the information on the link?

        The only information on their website is a 4-page white paper from 2008, plus some links to old articles about Tacklind and his ideas from the 2008-2010 time frame. Not exactly a hive of activity.

        Anyway I get the idea. It’s an electric motorcycle with steer-by-wire in place of handlebars, along with the usual things on the three-wheel versions of the same idea like weather and crash protection. Variable wheelbase goes back to the 2006 Z-Car. But what Segway-type balancing adds to a motorcycle is a mystery given that normal fork design accomplishes the same thing mechanically with less fuss.

        It seems you think some central governing body, (like the UN or IPCC) will decide what factories should be built and how they will be modified, etc. That’s what the market decides

        Sorry, I wasn’t clear. I certainly didn’t mean requiring people to choose this. By “drastic changes to existing car factories” I meant that the more innovative the technology the less existing manufacturing experience and infrastructure is available to build on, so you’re facing proportionately larger start-up costs and a smaller experienced work-force to hire from. And if after you go into production the market tells you that they prefer the older technology, then the more you adapt to satisfy them the less good your IP is doing as a barrier to entry and you’re back competing with those who’ve been fine-tuning their products to satisfy their customers for years.

      • @Peter Lang: I guess I’d better shut up.

        Sorry, I hadn’t intended what I wrote to have that effect. Please carry on.

      • David Springer

        Vaughan, bikes steer in different ways. At low speeds they steer like cars meaning you point the front wheel in the direction you want to turn. At high speeds you turn by leaning in the direction of the turn and you cause it to lean by turning the front wheel in the opposite direction to the turn.

        The link to the two-wheel vehicle that steers like a car didn’t have enough information to know what they were talking about but you could conceivably come up with a design where you always turn a steering wheel in the direction you want to turn and the linkage determines how to translate that motion to the tire.

      • David Springer

        Okay I found the white papers. It’s a really cool idea made possible by cheap computers and servo motors to make the bike balance itself at slow speeds or stops and fiddle with the orientation of the rider’s seat to remove as much of the feeling of leaning as possible and make it more thoughtless by giving the rider prompts in the seat of his pants. The levered rear wheel to make entry/exit in an almost upright position is really clever as it makes entry/exit even easier than a conventional automobile! Mikey likes it!

      • Agnostic,

        I second you suggestions:

        I think it would make an interesting guest post for Climate Etc to read a detailed overview about how to perform due diligence in climate science from an engineering perspective. What would someone like you expect to do? Who would you get involved in order to avoid conflicts of interest if there were any? What would be the comparison between an engineering level assessment and academician?

      • Peter, no reputable person would sign off on DD covering the next 50 years, let alone the next 500, in a financial sense anyway (perhaps engineers are in a slightly different position).

        In a way, that’s the essence of the problem. We are being asked to take a massive gamble on the unknowable.

        Economists – reputable ones, anyway – are well aware that even short term forecasts are far from reliable, otherwise they would all be rich. But, the shorter the timeline, the more chance you have of being right. Five years is about as far as most of them would go, 10 years is moving into large uncertainty, and 50 years – well, we are then in the realms of speculation. If you think of what the world was like in 1962 compared to now, no-one could have correctly predicted what things are like today.

        And that is the whole point, IMO. We know that if we (in Australia) persist with current policies, energy prices are going to keep soaring. We know that this will make people poorer and discourage industry and investment. We can have a pretty good go at quantifying these things, and some people, of whom you are one, have had a go at doing it. We also know that benefits, even accepting the controversial aspects of AGW science, are so small as to be barely measurable. So in a way, we have already got the bones of DD in place in Australia. The question is, would you buy shares in this outfit? On the polls, most Australians (about 65% of them) say no. Most Americans say no. Europeans are getting restive. China and India are voting with their coal fired power stations.

        Perhaps CAGW is the Facebook float of the political world. After being over-hyped and over-sold to the market, the share price is dropping fast, and a lot of people have already lost a lot of money. That’s what happens when you do (or read) the DD after the event.

        Incidentally, the share prospectus for Facebook was much more realistic than the hype generated by the media and the bankers would indicate. The SEC also have pretty strong views about what you can put in a prospectus. But share buyers didn’t bother to read it, or chose to believe something else instead. Like voters, the inexorable grinding of the market is bringing them back to reality, sometimes painfully.

      • Hi Johanna,

        Excellent description of the reality. I agree with all that.

  19. The title ‘The Hard-won Consensus’ presumes that there IS a consensus about climate change: what controls it, its impacts, positive and negative, what, if anything, should be done about it, who, if amelioration is necessary, should manage humanity’s response, and the limits to their power, if any, but as far as I know the article never gets around to the details of exactly what it was that was ‘hard-won’.

    Could someone please provide a short, succinct statement summarizing the agreed upon consensus and a short list of the primary parties to the consensus?

    • Short succinct statement: On balance, AGW will be bad for people.

      Short list: NAS, NSF.

      • Where can I read the pros and cons that went into making the ‘balance’?

      • AR4

      • You could also read Mark Lynas’s “six degrees” – it’s not an “official” statement of the consensus, it’s only one guy’s attempt to look at the evidence but it is a pretty good summary and contains a lot of references to the underlying scientific literature.

      • Pete,

        I’m not sure if you’ve ever written a scientific paper, but you might like to know that while its OK to reference your own work occasionally, it shouldn’t be exclusively so.

        You’d make your point more convincingly about the cost of carbon pricing, if you actually referenced someone else, rather than yourself on jennifer mahohasy all the time.

        Just trying to be helpful, Pete. We wouldn’t want CE readers to think that you had a overblown sense of your own importance , now would we?

      • @tt: Just trying to be helpful, Pete.

        tt, you made a really terrific point only to trample on it by being snarky. That might influence new people but it won’t make you any new friends.

      • Well, that may be an accurate summary of the consensus but it was certainly not ‘hard-won’. That consensus has been rock solid, brooking no challenge, since Climate Science, ‘AGW’, and ‘Earth in the Balance’ came on the scene 20 years ago and was reiterated in 2006, with extreme prejudice, by ‘An Inconvenient Truth’.

        I just assumed that the piece was about a recently arrived upon consensus among groups that weren’t in on the ground floor and that had previously held conflicting views on the subject.

      • Max_OK

        I’d agree that “AGW will be bad for people”, if you are referring to all the political doomsday hullabaloo tied to AGW today.

        It’s already costing people (who can’t afford it) lots of money, and I’d agree that it should be curtailed drastically.

        Max

      • Max,

        That’s the part I keep looking for supporting evidence.

        As yet no one has stepped up to the plate.

        You have done a nice job of decribing what I’m sceptical of.

      • Hello Dr. Curry,

        Excellent paper, which included this among a lot of other quotable quotes:

        “In the linear model, the key question is whether existing scientific knowledge is certain enough to compel action; Oreskes (2004) argues that we should not expect logically indisputable proof, but rather a robust consensus of experts. ”

        And therein lies the problem. If a scientist does not accept as axiomatic that CO2 drives the climate, that anthropogenic generation of CO2 is causing the climate to heat rapidly, at an increasing rate, that the increasingly warm climate will have effects that are overwhelmingly negative and pose an existential threat to the biosphere, and that the damage can only be prevented or ameliorated by giving government control over all energy production and consumption, then that scientist is, prima facie, NOT an expert.

      • Judith, to me, “consensus” means general agreement or the judgement of most. It means that to me because I accept Webster’s definition:

        “a : general agreement : unanimity
        b : the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned “

      • @Judith Curry (quoting Abba Eban): “Consensus means that everyone agrees to say collectively what no one believes individually,”

        Judith, you started your July 13 post with this quote but then said nothing about why you did. Was it because it is how you view consensus, or for some other reason?

        Your post was unusually long, and at 1044 responses was unusually provocative.

        Having had to deal with consensus issues in the past, to me the Eban quote looks like the ultimate in cynicism rather than anything constructive about consensus.

      • I wouldn’t want to be a member of any consensus that would have me.
        =========================

      • Much better: I wouldn’t want to be a member of any consensus I could believe in.
        ========

    • One of my pet peeves about this blog (or petty peeves depending on your disposition), is the fact that any post about what conservatives think, or what Christians think, or what skeptics think, is inevitably written by a progressive/”moderate” writer/scientist/social scientist. And their own prejudices inevitably skew their attempt to describe what those bizarre “others” think.

      If you want to know what someone of a particular persuasion thinks, ask someone of that persuasion. To find out what the “consensus” scientists believe to be the consensus, there is no better site than Real Climate.

      According to RC:

      “The main points that most would agree on as ‘the consensus’ are:

      1. The earth is getting warmer (0.6 +/- 0.2 oC in the past century; 0.1 0.17 oC/decade over the last 30 years (see update)) [ch 2]

      2. People are causing this [ch 12] (see update)

      3. If GHG emissions continue, the warming will continue and indeed accelerate [ch 9]

      4. (This will be a problem and we ought to do something about it)”

      http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/just-what-is-this-consensus-anyway/

      Now, in any discussion with a “consensus” believer, you inevitably find that the “something” they think we ought to do about it is decarbonize the economy, but that is not part of their “official” view because of its radical implications. They usually use the euphemism mitigation.

      • For those keeping score, point 2 is the A, point 1 is the GW, and points 3 and 4 are the C, in CAGW.

      • Well said. Perhaps you should suggest RC put that clear explanation in a banner at the top of their web site. I’d suggest a colourful, moving, flickering banner on the top over every page.

      • Decarbonize the economy? Hell, we are decarbonizing the economy. Fossil fuel reserves are not infinite. Why deplete them so fast?

      • “Decarbonize the economy? Hell, we are decarbonizing the economy. Fossil fuel reserves are not infinite. Why deplete them so fast?”

        Why not?
        I know this might seem like crazy question.
        But fossil fuel isn’t the same as say fish stocks- extinction
        of coal deposits or oil deposit is not the same issue as
        a species of animal.
        And we aren’t talking about wasting fossil fuels in sense
        of burning them for some kind weird entrainment purpose.
        Rather the issue using them.
        And once they are used we need to find some other kind of cheap energy.
        One reason it seems to me, the worry of using up a cheap energy
        source, is they can not conceive of other types of cheap energy sources.

        Another words it seems reasonable to me for Chinese to use up all their minable coal deposits. Which I believe it’s going to do within 20 to 40
        years [if not sooner]. Which btw the French already have done.
        [One can argue why the French stopped mining coal, the bottom line
        is it wasn't economical.]
        One could argue that mining coal in China is also at the moment not economical. But there is no doubt that even if economical at moment, at will at some point in coming decades will stop being economical [become glaringly obvious].
        Now, the end of Chinese coal mining, could result from running out of coal, it’s also possible that cheaper way of getting energy may become available- [Ie, fracking].
        In the US there is vast amounts of coal, but it’s use is declining because
        there is increasing supply of natural gas.
        Coal is as cheap as dirt in US, but has fundamental cost problem in terms of transporting it- it has a logistical problem. And for this reason other source of energy can cheaper than as cheap as dirt coal.
        Natural gas and nuclear energy do not have this scale of a logistical problem as coal.

        So rather keep “game reserves” of fuel fossils for future generation which may regard using fossil fuel as similar to using firewood for a source of national energy. The focus should finding and exploiting new sources of cheap energy. Which the US is not doing.
        One [and only one] source of future cheap energy is methane hydrate deposits in the oceans.
        An known large source of cheap energy is nuclear fuel.
        And plus we have unknown sources of energy. Fusion is something close to unknown- we can’t get powerplant reactor type energy from fusion, though decades of government controlled research has attempted this. Of course fusion bombs work- and such things space travel using fusion energy may be doable.
        A kind of wild idea I have is that in the space environment [not stuck of Earth] fusion may become workable in terms of “powerplant reactor type” energy source. But in space environment in general there is a vast possibility of new types of cheap energy sources.
        And feel that when you all talking about energy in centuries in future, and you are excluding everywhere other on the planetary surface of Earth- you are literally ignoring practically everything.
        But in general terms getting energy from space from solar energy, is something which has in the general public arena. It’s been studied by NASA, it been reviewed by other national government. And generally regarded plausible in the future, but not so practical at the moment.

        Other than technological aspects of the future, there also possibility in the social or cultural realm. The way people self-organize could significant “cost savings”. The computer age or information age will change our future quite radically. Or said differently, we have waste of resources due our scarcity of information- and scarcity due mostly to inadequate management/governance/participation/transparency/news/advertisement/dialogue/crowdsourcing/etc. Or we are only at the beginning. Or said differently the biggest global problem is government corruption.

      • gbaikie,

        Sometimes I question why we should do anything for future generations. After all, what have they ever done for us?

        I been thinking hard about how future generations could do something for us, and I have come up with an idea. We can borrow money they will have to pay back. I know we have already, but we could borrow a lot more.

        In case anyone believes I am not considerate of future generations, think about who will get my house and money (less my gift to Green Peace) after go to that place in the sky. That’s right, future generations will get my gold.

      • “gbaikie,

        Sometimes I question why we should do anything for future generations. After all, what have they ever done for us? ”

        They give us joy?

        “I been thinking hard about how future generations could do something for us, and I have come up with an idea. We can borrow money they will have to pay back. I know we have already, but we could borrow a lot more.”

        It seems the politicians are way ahead of you.

        “In case anyone believes I am not considerate of future generations, think about who will get my house and money (less my gift to Green Peace) after go to that place in the sky. That’s right, future generations will get my gold.”

        Well, gold isn’t the best gift. Gold might allow more opportunity, so that’s generally good. But I think better gift is freedom in wide and wonderful world and the heavens above it.

      • gbaikie,

        I was just funning you, but I am serious about conserving natural resources, particularly the fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, and coal).

        You may have heard about elderly people outliving their money. Man could outlive his fossil fuels.

      • Max_OK

        Sometimes I question why we should do anything for future generations. After all, what have they ever done for us?

        I been thinking hard about how future generations could do something for us, and I have come up with an idea. We can borrow money they will have to pay back. I know we have already, but we could borrow a lot more.

        LOL!

      • “I was just funning you, but I am serious about conserving natural resources, particularly the fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, and coal).”

        Yes, I know.
        And I am serious we should not conserve fossil fuels for future generations.

        Some people really hate the fact that we using fossil fuel- why prolong their misery? [yeah, I am funning.
        There is no pleasing some people.
        And if one were to take this idea saving natural resources for future generations, as if one is serious, then how many generations should we save fossil fuel for- following such rationale, is something wrong with saving for the 10th generation, how about 20th, 50th, where are you going to draw the line? It's a hopeless idea regarding national energy policy]

        “You may have heard about elderly people outliving their money. Man could outlive his fossil fuels.”

        I see no value to this analogy. Are struggling with fact that you going to grow old?
        Nations can live for centuries if not thousands of years.

        Man will have changing needs and different technology in the future- Man does not have to have Model T car forever.
        Man has outlived the use for the horse- I don’t to own or rent a horse to get to next town. Nor do I need a candle to read a book at night.
        Things change.

        It’s not chance that socialistic countries look like there are trapped in 1970’s time warp. Socialism inhibits freedom, and therefore everyone gets stuck in some kind rut.
        So I do understand how socialists could worry that they going to running out food and end up in food line fighting scraps of government made bread.
        But poor countries do not live in countries which lack resources, they live countries that fail to use resources.

      • “I was just funning you, but I am serious about conserving natural resources, particularly the fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, and coal).”

        But oil, natural gas, and coal are evil incarnate. Using them to make human life livable and deliver billions of human beings from poverty is destroying the planet. Shouldn’t we load it all onto rockets and send it out into space?

        Oh no, what was I thinking, then we’d destroy the universe.

      • @GaryM: Oh no, what was I thinking, then we’d destroy the universe

        Not that way, you wouldn’t. What you need is a bigger firecracker such as Artificial Philosophy.

      • Well, gbaikie and GaryM, as an owner mineral rights, I would like to see consumers use natural gas more efficiently, so my supply won’t be used up so fast, and more will be left for my descendants. A revenue neutral carbon tax would encourage efficient use of that precious fuel.

      • “Well, gbaikie and GaryM, as an owner mineral rights, I would like to see consumers use natural gas more efficiently, so my supply won’t be used up so fast, and more will be left for my descendants. A revenue neutral carbon tax would encourage efficient use of that precious fuel.”

        If you increase the price of anything one tends to lower demand.
        And adds incentive to increase supply

        But say an energy unit is price at 50, and tax adds 10
        so price 60. The tax increased price does increase
        incentive to add new production
        New production will not have 60, but 60 -10
        So with lower effective price of 50, it might not be enough
        profit margin to begin new production which adds to supply.
        Taxing it, reduces supply- new production.

        The price of energy mostly affect user in which a high proportion
        of some product being made is related to cost of energy, and people with low income where energy cost [or food] is a significant part of their income.
        Generally speaking a higher energy prices mostly affects people with low income. Whereas those with higher incomes, energy costs are not a significant part of their expenses- generally the higher income may use more energy, but cost of energy doesn’t determine their choices-though they buy gas heater because it’s a better value than compared to a electrical heater, but aren’t going use less of whatever energy they want to use- just they may not be deterred from buying a car with high price tag- a price of new car can be far more than than total cost of gasoline it uses.
        It seems unlikely higher prices in energy have a significant effect on efficient use of energy- but it does affect consumption of energy and reduces economic growth- causes more people to be unemployed- and recessions do significantly reduce energy use.

      • In Australia, polls show that many people believe that Malcolm Turnbull should lead the Liberal (main opposition) party. But almost all of these are left-leaning people who would never vote Liberal. Those who do don’t want Turnbull.

      • I was raised in a liberal (small ‘l’, what Americans might call something like right-wing Democrat) family, for whom Menzies was something of a demigod. Naturally I assumed that when I reached voting age I’d vote for the Liberal candidate in my district. But the Labour candidate looked so much more competent than the Liberal one that to my surprise I found myself voting Labour.

        By the same reasoning, were I an Australian resident today and Turnbull were still in the game I’d very likely vote for whatever party he’d decided to lead. The contrast with Romney is striking.

  20. ” AGW scaremongering is associated almost exclusively with far-left, authoritarian, tax-and-regulate-everything-to-death politics. AGW has nothing whatever to do with science, and everything to do with an odious political agenda.”
    _______

    I love posts that start out like this.

    Thanks, Chad.

  21. For skeptical author Andrew Montford, who observes that geochemists and glacier scientists who are fully convinced of the overall argument for anthropogenic global warming nevertheless downplay the adequacy of data in their own disciplines, such considerations only magnify a skeptic’s doubts. Solomon (2010, p. 46) similarly argues that scientists who have reservations about the evidence in their own area of expertise may have fewer reservations about the big picture.

    Ross McKittrick made the best personal observation about this issue I’ve seen after he and McIntryre’s trip to the Erice conference last year. Link here:

    Second, although we panelists represented a range of differing positions on the AGW issue (we were: John Christy, me, Mark Berliner and Richard Smith) there wasn’t a whiff of orthodoxy in the air. Mark and Richard presented some pretty hard-hitting comments about GCM failures and weaknesses in empirical work in the climate field, but both nonetheless upheld the “something must be done” view. It was a classic case of experts who find that within the areas where they have detailed knowledge of the AGW issue they find the evidence wobbly and problematic, but assume it’s solid everywhere else.

    • I very much doubt they assume the evidence is solid everywhere else. More likely they know the evidence is solid in particular important places.

      eg:

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

      It’s likely Mark and Richard conclude “something must be done” because of simple stuff such as that which is solid, and they just don’t find the unknowns are enough to counteract that. Yes they know there are flaws with GCMs, but perhaps McKittrick isn’t appreciating the uncertainty monster works in two directions and so uncertainty alone isn’t enough to eliminate concerns based on knowns.

      • Ohh please…the ‘quality data’ for Ocean Heat Content only goes back less then a decade. Without the OHC you can’t calculate sensitivity. Without sensitivity you are at square one, I.E. A doubling of CO2 will cause 1.2C of warming all other things remaining equal which was ‘settled science’ 100 years ago.

        All other things don’t remain equal.

      • “All other things don’t remain equal”

        Exactly, so the warming could be even more or less. But we start at 1.2C, not 0. (actually a bit higher: water vapor and ice albedo feedbacks are known with good certainty to be positive)

      • Water vapor feedbacks are not known with certainty, since the feedbacks from water vapor can change signs in the form of clouds and even form great big heat conveyors called cumulonimbus clouds.

        Does a frozen arctic ocean keep the heat in the ocean from escaping to space in the arctic winter or does it keep the ocean from heating in the arctic summer?

      • lolwot,

        In your 3rd link to the forcings, do you see the size of the error bars on the two very large aerosol forcings? That leads to very large error bars on the overall forcing.

        Also, the evidence for ocean pH dropping is weak and since the pH changes a lot during the day near a coral reef, obviously organisms can handle it. I think the ability of organisms to evolve and respond to changes in their environment is vastly underestimated. In my own lab I don’t believe pH values are different unless they are more than 0.1 pH units apart. So I have a hard time believing studies with proxies that try to get the pH a million years ago to that same accuracy.

      • “In your 3rd link to the forcings, do you see the size of the error bars on the two very large aerosol forcings? That leads to very large error bars on the overall forcing.”

        The uncertainty range covers significant positive ground, so it’s unlikely people should be reassured by the uncertainty range.

      • Iconic graphs all:
        1) drop the erroneous spliced projections(splicing different data types together is a no-no) and the graph ends in 2008 at a value well within the error range. The graph is curiously truncated in the past to eliminate the periods when CO2 was 3-10x current levels. Before people, I know, but a splendiferous proliferation of life.
        2)the graph shows a balance between the energy in and the energy out. No sign of warming there. Supposedly the GHG slow the passage of heat to the top of the atmosphere, but mid-trophospheric warming isn’t happening.
        3)IPCC graph. The guts is in the error bars. Given the uncertainty, the warming and cooling effects are in balance. The known unknowns aren’t even considered- cosmic rays, widespread but small imbalances in the cloud cover, diurnal effects, etc.

        The IPCC AR4 was not convincing when it was written. It was even less so now that the serious deficiencies in IPCC procedures are more widely known.

      • Your comment reaks of the kind of climate denial people deny exist. Thanks for that.

      • actually one of your points does have some merit, at least on the face of it: “splicing different data types together is a no-no”

        I thought the graph I posted had different colors for the mauna loa and ice core segments, but apparently not.

        A graph that separates them is here:

        So the alignment is pretty good, hence my lack of concern for splicing this kind of data to show the full history of CO2.

  22. ” Even though they may at times hold expertise in contempt, many skeptics have a strong commitment to the norms of science.”

    I can’t speak for all skeptics, but I have never held expertise in contempt. I have had contempt for a large number of self described experts, but never for expertise.

    That would be like saying that someone who held the 1906 White Sox in contempt, had contempt for athletic talent.

    Or more to the point, it is not the supposed expertise of Peter Gleick, Michal Mann, Phil Jones, et al., that I hold in contempt, but their lack of character.

    • Mann had a demonstrated lack of expertise in statistics, but that didn’t stop him.

    • Or more to the point, it is not the supposed expertise of Peter Gleick, Michal Mann, Phil Jones, et al., that I hold in contempt, but their lack of character.

      I personally wouldn’t like to make a judgement about their character either way, but then I’ve often read about characters in the past who have been great scientists but not the most pleasant of characters. I guess it’s the same in science as in any other profession.

      So why not just leave character out of it altogether and, as you are not disputing it, judge them on their particular expertise?

    • ….but being good skeptics, we only ever attend to the evidence.

  23. book: “Sceptical Essays” by Bertrand Russell, 1928

    I am prepared to admit the ordinary beliefs of common sense, in practice if not in theory. I am prepared to admit any well-established result of science, not as certainly true, but as sufficiently probable to afford a basis for rational action. [...]
    There are matters about which those who have investigated them are agreed; the dates of eclipses may serve as an illustration. There are other matters about which experts are not agreed. Even when the experts all agree, they may well be mistaken. Einstein’s view as to the magnitude of the deflection of light by gravitation would have been rejected by all experts twenty years ago, yet it proved to be right. Nevertheless the opinion of experts, when it is unanimous, must be accepted by non-experts as more likely to be right than the opposite opinion. The scepticism that I advocate amounts only to this: (1) that when the experts are agreed, the opposite opinion cannot be held to be certain; (2) that when they are not agreed, no opinion can be regarded as certain by a non-expert; and (3) that when they all hold that no sufficient grounds for a positive opinion exist, the ordinary man would do well to suspend his judgment.
    [...]
    When there are rational grounds for an opinion, people are content to set them forth and wait for them to operate. In such cases, people do not hold their opinions with passion; they hold them calmly, and set forth their reasons quietly. The opinions that are held with passion are always those for which no good ground exists; indeed the passion is the measure of the holder’s lack of rational conviction.

    • Thanks for reminding us of Russell’s quote, its one of my favorites

      • Yep, it’s good.

        But the ‘skeptics’ seem to routinely mis-understand this bit;
        “2) that when they are not agreed, no opinion can be regarded as certain by a non-expert…”

        and take it to mena we can’t know anything.

    • “(1) that when the experts are agreed, the opposite opinion cannot be held to be certain.” Many here do not follow this advice. When the experts say the sensitivity range is 2-4.5 C, they say they are certain it is not. These would therefore not be skeptics, but denialists or contrarians. I would distinguish a denialist from a contrarian in that the latter actually has a contrary theory.

      • JimD said:

        “I would distinguish a denialist from a contrarian in that the latter actually has a contrary theory.”

        (Except for Edim, who is a knee-jerk contrarian)

        Russell was an early reality-based skeptic. Look at his battles with Henri Bergeron, a fake skeptic, who based most of his scientific arguments on emotional appeals.

        “Bergson convinced many thinkers that immediate experience and intuition are more significant than rationalism and science for understanding reality.”

        Russel went so far as to write a short book titled “The philosophy of Bergson”

        So Bergeron is really no different than most of the climate clowns who post crackpot theories. They share the same traits of substituting actual science and math with emotional and creative appeals to rhetorical arguments.

        Mercy me, Bertrand Russell wrote an entire book on a single crackpot. Didn’t he know that it was not smart to feed the trolls? :) :) :)

      • WebHubTelescope,

        That’s Bergson.

        Henri might not have the correct intuition regarding relativity theory, but still is an interesting thinker. Besides, he was a hell of a writer. The last pages of Les Deux Sources de la morale et de la religion is perhaps a contender for the most beautifully written ending of all times.

        You should not mock someone you have never read.

      • As I recall, the reason that I came across this dude was that he was questioning relativity theory. I wasn’t going to waste my time studying a failed attempt at disproving relativity.

      • WebHubTelescope,

        Kurt Gödel was not a fond of Einstein’s theory neither:

        http://discovermagazine.com/2002/mar/featgodel

        Please don’t tell that one to Tallbloke.

      • Jim D, I don’t think subsetting the expert pool until they all agreed was exactly what Russell had in mind here.

  24. Steve McIntyre

    I, for one, do not hold “expertise in contempt”. Quite the contrary, I respect expertise. What I take issue with is lack of expertise.

    • Indeed, Steve, for example, the lack of statistical and mathematical expertise in the climate community has been pointed out repeatedly. But the real problems lie elsewhere, especially in the rush to judgement 20 years ago, creating a premature paradigm.

  25. David Springer

    I’ve used due diligence in a number of contexts but I believe its root is mostly in corporate acquisitions. In the 1990s when everyone became their own investment advisers it became a common term about investing in a company i.e. did you do your due diligence – meaning did you go over the quarterly and annual reports with a fine tooth comb as opposed to bandwagon investing where you just try get in and out ahead of the crowd. I’ve also used bandwagon in a lot of contexts since then too. Science isn’t supposed to be like playing the stock market but, come to think of it, that’s what its like. Listen to the narratives and place your bets.

  26. Ranalli also writes about the communist version of the game of monopoly that his wife played in Hungary:

    They do not build houses — nor hotels, either. The aim of the game, in proper socialist fashion, is not to amass an empire of property and wealth.

    It is to successfully buy, pay for and fully furnish an apartment…

    The most telling rule is printed at the end of the instructions: “Players may not sell property and furniture to each other.

    “If a player wins a piece of furniture from the Wheel of Fortune cards that he/she does not need, he/she shall receive the cash value instead from the Bank.”

    In other words, you can not sell your extra sewing machine to finance a radio, nor unload your vacuum cleaner to pay the traffic fine. This provides the lesson in socialist planned economics…

    http://www.theglobalist.com/StoryId.aspx?StoryId=3442

    • …and, finally (of course) we must face the wheel of liberal Utopianism after learning how bad everything is here in America:

      Is there a board game out there that simulates a cooperative economy, one that produces only winners?

  27. David Springer

    I refuse to join any tribe who would have me for a member.

    • You might try the Croucho club in London! A real club espousing that particular motto.

    • Dave,

      I know this statement to be false, as you were formerly a member of the “Strogest Tribe”.

      Also occassionaly referred to ans the US Marine Corps.

  28. There is an enormous difference between;
    ‘consistent with’ and ‘indicative of’. I sometime fell we are being told we are witnessing the latter rather than the former.
    Moreover, the author misses the usage of language. It is common for Climate Scientists(TM) to use words that have defined meanings in physics or statistics, in a none normal way. This is especially true when dealing with equilibrium system, thus they use equilibrium in its normal sense when dealing with local thermal equilibria and then misuse it to describe the thermal ‘equilbrum’ of the Earth’ steady state temperature.

  29. I don’t think this stuff is healthy for me.

    I find the [parts of the] paper [available] both irritating and thought-provoking and in that sense a good posting.

    Here a few thoughts:

    To my mind to material is not original in the sense that a review is not original. (I don’t know if the the intent is review or scaffolding of something new, i.e., sort of a white paper.) A lot of ‘science’ these days is repackaging. Not reinventing the wheel is efficient, but you have got to give credit where credit is due, e.g., heuristics in human reasoning.

    Mertonian??? pffft!

    Serious Question(s): What purpose does this work serve? [the wording of this question is not intended to imply rejection.] Really, does it help clarify the air? If so what does ‘clarify the air’ mean and imply? Because parts are well written and informative descriptions, are they germane? if so to what and why? [20%]

    The first question set lead to Another Serious Question: Just what is the ‘climate debate’? Who are the debater (sides) and what are their positions? [No partial credit given] [80%]

    Some useful concise analyses/descriptions are presented. But the topic and content [about how science is carried out] do seem somehow irrelevant to or are in some sense orthogonal to or even separate from the science essentials.

    To me the paywall barrier is ironic…why analyze, codify or whatever a seemingly intransigence-laden debate already in the public, and publish the paper behind a paywall–unavailable to many participants/observers of that debate? Probably because somebody got money to do it. I can just see a grant proposal back in time somewhere justifying the use of public or foundation funds on research on this topic as a means of moving [SOME INSTITUTION/GOVERNMENT] toward [SOME DECISION/ACTION]. That’s fine, that’s part of the GAME. But a lot of people are pretty wrapped around the axle (for us) to be playing games—something ethical lurking here…another day if at all.

    Aha! At last! ‘Naive’ is the word that has been bouncing around in my subconscience. [Still a good posting.]

    ‘Mertonian’??? [reprise]

    crtl-D

    • I get what you’re saying. These types of articles are like abstract art, in that your interpretation of the words is everything. You get out of it what you bring to it. There is no absolute truth being conveyed here. At least with science, you get logical constructs from basically accepted truths that lead to a conclusion. Here, not so much. Mertonian, indeed.

    • OMG! :-o

      I just looked up Robert Merton. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_K._Merton . His picture bears a striking resemblance to Chris Mathews of MSNBC. That being so, I am reluctant to believe anything Merton has written for fear they may have too many common genes.

      • I caught a little of Mathews coverage of the Republican convention. Man has Chris gone off the rails. I used to believe the guy was at least reasonable, even if I didn’t always agree with him. Now he looks like he’s just a couple of steps from a home and a drool bucket.

        Sort of reminds me of Pat Buchanan, except Mathews has drifted in the opposite direction. (And much further as well.)

      • Matthews is a nut job. They need to put him in a straight jacket just before the election. If Obama loses, Chris is very likely to hurt himself and others.

    • The South Sea King was Act-on-Your-Hunch.
      The North Sea King was Act-in-a-Flash.
      The King of the place between them was
      No-Form.

      Now South Sea King
      And North Sea King
      Used to go together often
      To the Land of No-Form:
      He treated them well.

      So they consulted with one another.
      They thought up a good turn,
      A pleasant surprise, for No-Form
      In token of appreciation.

      “Men,” they said, “have seven openings
      And so they can see, hear, eat, breathe,
      And so on. But No-Form has no openings.
      Let ́s make him a few holes.”
      So after that
      They put holes in No-Form,
      One a day, for seven days.
      And when they finished the seventh opening,
      Their friend lay dead.

      Lao Tan said: “To organize is to destroy.”
      —–

      Two Kings and No-form,”The Way of Chuang Tzu”
      Thomas Merton*, Shambhala 1965, p.70

      * Oh sweeet coincidence, another Merton!!!

      Plodding on:

      Science is.

  30. ‘Hard won’ Consensus

    One has to wonder about how hard won was the consensus between the scientists of the IPCC. After all, they were mainly meteorologists asked to pronounce on processes from many disciplines on which they had little expertise. For example, how many had expertise in cybernetics essential to understanding feed-back theory, or analogue computing so useful for signal tracing in systems with big variations in their time constants, or radar where we hope to identify tiny signals in noise. These are examples of multi-disciplinary ‘systems’ theory more likely to be found in engineering schools than science faculties.

    So the chances of getting their theories right the first time were slim, yet that is what we are stuck with once the politicians and economists got their hands on it.

    My advice: go back to the first half of the 20th century and analyse that again, together with the molecular physics of CO2, then look at the influence of transport delay in the oceans, particularly between 1970 and 2000.

    • @Alexander Biggs: These are examples of multi-disciplinary ‘systems’ theory more likely to be found in engineering schools than science faculties.

      Good point, Alexander. This is why our Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is in our engineering school rather than our humanities and sciences school.

      My advice: go back to the first half of the 20th century

      My advice: go forwards like Stanford has done.

      then look at the influence of transport delay in the oceans, particularly between 1970 and 2000.

      That’s a very perceptive remark. Have you been looking at that influence yourself? It’s quite an interesting topic.

      • Yes, I have. Glad to see that your Environment school is back with the engineers – its natural home.

        See my paper: ‘An Alternative Theory of Climate Change’ on my web site underlined above.

      • Ah, I overlooked that, thanks for pointing it out, Alexander. Impressive number of Australian contributors here.

        I thought your reasoning was pretty good except in a couple of places. Here are two sentences that I took exception to.

        That the temperature could actually fall for 30 years during a period of unparalleled increase in carbon dioxide from fossil fuels defies logic

        This assumes that the heating effect of radiative forcing is instantaneous. If it were say 15 years, e.g. due to the time for the effect to be felt in warming the ocean, then for warming from 1940 to 1970 we would need to look at CO2 from 1925 to 1955. This can be estimated at 300 ppmv in 1925 and 306 ppmv in 1955, by extrapolating the Keeling curve backwards assuming a preindustrial level of around 286-288 ppmv and a doubling time of the anthropogenic contribution of around 28-29 years. log2(306/300) = 0.029, so if the climate sensitivity were 3 C/doubling then the increase felt between 1940 and 1970 should be 3*0.029 or about 0.09 C. Making it 2 C or 4 C per doubling only changes the following slightly.

        Now if the net effect of the so-called ocean oscillations from 1940 to 1970 were to go from 0.16 C to −0.06 C, that would be a substantial decrease of 0.22 C. This would be offset by the 0.09 C increase for the same period, and the net change would then be a decrease of 0.13 C.

        These numbers were obtained from a straightforward physical model of global warming plus ocean oscillations that over the 20th century fits the multidecadal portion of HADCRUT3 or 4 (everything slower than the 11- and 22-year solar cycles) to within a millikelvin.

        Logic is not defied when one does the maths.

        Obviously the line cannot absorb more than 100% of the energy passing through it

        Angstrom raised exactly that objection more than a century ago to Arrhenius’s logarithmic dependence of surface temperature on CO2. Many have repeated the objection since. However it contains two fallacies, (i) that there are just a few lines and (ii) that the heating effect is caused by blocking of radiation leaving the surface.

        Regarding (i), the HITRAN tables show the dominant species of CO2, namely C-12 O-16, to have around 25,000 lines relevant to the Wien peak of insolation. Currently only a few hundred of these are essentially 100% shut down (if we take the point of view that CO2 acts to block surface radiation). Each doubling of CO2 adds another 50-100 lines to that roster, namely the next weakest batch of lines. Even if you raise the level of CO2 to 100% of the atmosphere there are still thousands of unblocked lines.

        Regarding (ii), only about 6% of the impact of increasing CO2 is due to preventing surface radiation from escaping to space. A much bigger effect results from raising what can be considered the photosphere of each of the thousands of absorption lines of the principal greenhouse gases.

        Radiation at such a line is constantly bouncing around within the atmosphere, being emitted and absorbed again microseconds later. Only those photons at that wavelength that fail to be absorbed and leave the Earth for good serve to cool the planet. The photosphere for that wavelength is the altitude at which the probability of so escaping is on the order of 1/2 (or 1/e depending on which definition one prefers). Much lower and the photon is almost certain to be trapped, much higher and it is almost certain to escape. The net effect is that radiation at that wavelength observed from above the atmosphere seems to be coming from about that altitude.

        It should be intuitively clear that stronger lines have higher (wider diameter) photospheres.

        Increasing the level of any greenhouse gas raises all the photospheres at the wavelengths it absorbs, regardless of strength. But since temperature falls off at roughly 10 C/km (the Adiabatic Lapse Rate or ALR, at least in the case of dry air), raising any photosphere means that it will be cooler and hence less effective as a radiator. The photospheres of strong lines, already high, will become higher still, but those of weak lines also rise, albeit starting from a lower altitude.

      • This can be estimated at 300 ppmv in 1925 and 306 ppmv in 1955

        Ouch, I can’t read my own spreadsheets. That 306 number for 1955 should have been 314, as can clearly be seen from the Keeling curve which starts 3 years later, in 1958. 3*log2(314/300) = 0.2, while the corresponding ocean-oscillation figure for 1970 should have been −0.07. So the ocean went down 0.23, making the net effect a decrease of 0.03 C, not 0.13 C.

        This is a lot smaller than the 0.1 C you pointed out. My curiosity aroused, I checked my spreadsheet again and realized that the decline is mainly due to the Sun (yes! it’s the Sun), whose Hale and TSI cycles are not considered “multidecadal” for the purpose of my model because they oscillate too fast.

        The combined thermal and magnetic impact (the yellow curve here) of solar cycle 17 peaked in 1940, and was 0.1 C weaker in 1970. (This figure separates the magnetic or Hale (orange) and thermal or TSI (yellow) components of the solar cycle.)

    • Hi there
      Natural temperature oscillations are result of the sun-Earth geomagnetic interaction. These amount to + or – 0.3 to 0.4 degrees K

      http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/GSC1.htm

      while the other 286 or so K is purely due to the solar electromagnetic radiation.

  31. About professional vs. “amateur” players and consensus: There is an anecdote about Einstein (true story as far as I know). 300 scientists signed a letter claiming his theories were wrong. A reporter asked him about it. Einstein replied: ” 300? why 300? One would be enough (if he pointed to a mistake).”
    We can embellish that by adding: and it doesn’t matter whether that one is a scientist or an amateur.

    • The title of that book, translated into English, was “100 scientists against Einstein.” It was written for a German audience in 1931, who between then and 1939 became progressively more antisemitic.

      The modern counterpart would be “100 climate scientists against Santer, Hansen, and Mann.”

      • No. The modern counterpart is 20,000 scientists of the IPCC against the deniers.

      • No, that doesn’t work because the “deniers” don’t have an actual scientific theory or set of theories , they just think the mainstream scientific position is wrong, for differing and often contradictory reasons.

      • andrew adams

        You apparently have not followed the ongoing scientific debate in any great detail, based on your remark.

        Rational skeptics of the IPCC CAGW “consensus” position may be skeptical of differing aspects, therefore no united skeptical “consensus” position is required.

        They may all be rationally skeptical of the CAGW consensus premise that AGW, caused principally by CO2 emissions, has been the primary cause of late 20th century warming and, thus, that this represents a serious potential threat to humanity and our environment..

        However, one skeptic may question the “consensus” handling of clouds, another may be more concerned about the “consensus” view on the importance of natural forcing factors (i.e. solar), while yet another may be more skeptical of “consensus” projections of future sea level.

        Then there are those who are rationally skeptical that “consensus” proposals on mitigation will have any perceptible impact on future climate.

        So there are many ways to be skeptical of the “consensus”.

        Max

      • “No, that doesn’t work because the “deniers” don’t have an actual scientific theory or set of theories , they just think the mainstream scientific position is wrong, for differing and often contradictory reasons.”

        Yes.
        But where is the Einstein? The space-time bent by gravity.

        Is it, Vaughan Pratt:
        “The modern counterpart would be “100 climate scientists against Santer, Hansen, and Mann.”

        Isn’t, Santer there are human fingerprints. Hansen is earth is Venus, and Mann involves his use trees which indicate that there wasn’t MWP or LIA, but instead it was essential flat, until the industrial age. And, so the theory of the recent zoom up.

        It seems to me universally accepted by all believers is the idea one considers that Earth a blackbody. And that is 33 C cooler than earth, and greenhouse gases are adding this 33 C.
        But I don’t my climate science history very well. Who is came up, Earth should be considered a blackbody.
        And the part about deadly runaway effect- or I suppose one call it the Venus model.
        Because the Earth should regarded as blackbody and Earth will become Venus seems the basis of this “science”. Now one also call the recent zoom up as also major tenet- but Mann was merely confirmed this idea [which included employing a scientifically approved trick].
        Theory of CO2 causing warming was suggested by Svante Arrhenius.
        But as wiki says:
        “Arrhenius developed a theory to explain the ice ages, and in 1896 he was the first scientist to attempt to calculate how changes in the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could alter the surface temperature through the greenhouse effect.”
        And that was wrong- CO2 does not cause glacial or interglacial periods.
        And he was under the false assumption that warming which humans case by CO2 emission would be boon to humans rather than a doom.

      • Max,

        Your remarks seem to me to be consistent with my comment that the skeptics “don’t have an actual scientific theory or set of theories, they just think the mainstream scientific position is wrong, for differing and often contradictory reasons.” I didn’t say that skeptics are required to have a single theory, merely that without such a thing Jacob’s Einstein analogy doesn’t hold.

      • gbaikie,

        I am guessing (but am happy to be corrected) that Vaughan Pratt chose Santer, Mann and Hansen to be representative of the mainstream scientific view in general. If so then in order to falsify it someone could for example demonstrate that the greenhouse effect does not exist, or the earth is not warming, or that climate sensitivity is substantially lower than the “consensus” estimate. The hockey stick is not really central to the case for AGW and Hansen’s concerns about “runaway” warming are not AFAIK shared by many scientists so falsifying them would not be sufficient.

      • andrew adams

        Tostoy’s “Anna Karenina principle” states:

        Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

        In the same fashion, all those who are “happy” with (i.e. accept as correct) the “CAGW consensus premise” are alike. Yet every rational skeptic who is “unhappy” with (i.e. rejects) this premise is “unhappy” with it in his/her own way.

        Now we come to the comparison of Einstein with a group of climatologists, i.e. Hansen, Mann and Santer.

        First of all, this is silly to compare one of the world’s greatest physicists of all time with three climatologists turned advocates (or, in one case, political activist).

        These three all support the “consensus” position on CAGW, namely that AGW, caused principally by human CO2 emissions, has been the primary cause of late 20th century warming and that it represents a serious potential threat to humanity and to our environment unless human GHG emissions (primarily CO2) are curtailed drastically.

        As pointed out (and you seem to agree) rational skeptics of this premise need not agree on which part of the premise or the supporting “science” they do not agree with – simply that they do not accept the premise in its entirety because of a basic lack of some fatal flaw in the supporting evidence or logic..

        Makes sense to me.

        But as far as comparing Einstein to Hansen et al., I’d say to you and Jacob, “fuggidaboudit”.

        Max

      • andrew adams

        typo:

        “because of a basic lack of some fatal flaw in” should read

        “because of a basic lack of orsome fatal flaw in”

      • “I am guessing (but am happy to be corrected) that Vaughan Pratt chose Santer, Mann and Hansen to be representative of the mainstream scientific view in general.”
        Thought he saying they were like Einstein. One guess he meant abused by other scientists and/or that did something important in regards to science. Neither or both seem to me to depict reality

        “If so then in order to falsify it someone could for example demonstrate that the greenhouse effect does not exist, or the earth is not warming, or that climate sensitivity is substantially lower than the “consensus” estimate.”
        Hmm. let’s try them one at time:
        “greenhouse effect does not exist.”
        Hmm. Well if there was actually a planet which functioned exactly like a blackbody, any kind greenhouse effect should not increase the temperature of the surface of the blackbody.
        b] we not measuring the surface of earth we measuring the air temperature of Earth. And any atmosphere on a blackbody planet should lower the surface temperature of the blackbody.
        c] Earth does not remotely resemble a blackbody- which should not need to proven, as it’s obvious.

        “or the earth is not warming”
        We in an interglacial period- which means the earth has been warming for 10,000 years [or so]- warmer relative to glacial period temperatures.
        But in terms of hundreds of millions of year- we in an Ice Age lasting some 10 millions years or so. And in terms the last 10,000 years, we appear over this period time to be very slightly cooling.
        More recently, we were in period in which global glaciers were advancing, that advance halted around 1850, and since that time glacier have been retreating. Also since around this time, global air temperatures seem to have rising. Currently we in highest temperature of probably 400 years of more and for last 15 year we remained at these higher temperatures.
        This such warmer temperatures should result in the oceans gaining heat- but oceans takes long time warm- terms of decade or less time not really measurable. With the new buoys we should be able to clearly see this in next 10 years

        “or that climate sensitivity is substantially lower than the “consensus” estimate.”
        I think that is pretty much established. And that someone is looking for “missing heat”, sort of indicates this. As was admitted in climategate emails- to paraphrase, something like …they are going to kill us.

        “The hockey stick is not really central to the case for AGW and Hansen’s concerns about “runaway” warming are not AFAIK shared by many scientists so falsifying them would not be sufficient.”

        I think UHI is AGW and UHI has effect which does even require thermometer to detect- it’s quite noticeable. Also it seems that land changes [such as farming] have some significant affect. And it seems CO2 could affect global temperature, and which may have stronger regional effect. I also think CO2 might have some effect on cloud formation.
        And if half the recent warming was caused by CO2, it seems plausible .

        But if the task was to warm earth, I don’t think CO2 would prevent us from entering cooling period- changing other things such as deserts, blackening snow, doing something to increase absorption of heat in the oceans, would seem to me to be more effective.
        And in general I believe it’s more important to fully understand what causes cooling, rather than warming.

      • gbaikie; am guessing (but am happy to be corrected) that Vaughan Pratt chose Santer, Mann and Hansen to be representative of the mainstream scientific view in general.

        Happy to correct you. They’re not so much the three ghost busters as the three goat bustees. Goat buster Fred Seitz made Santer the scapegoat for the sins of the first IPCC report, Mann’s hockey stick turned out to be conductive making it an effective lightning rod, and Hansen’s activism makes him the obvious target for everyone who argues that climate science should keep its collective nose out of things they don’t understand like economics and politics. Gore is not on this list because he’s not a climate scientist.

      • @manacker: You apparently have not followed the ongoing scientific debate in any great detail, based on your remark.

        Apparently neither have you, based on your insistence that CO2 is following a simple exponential curve with a CAGR of 0.5%. That model has neither theoretical nor empirical support of any kind, yet you pay exactly zero attention to those who point this out to you.

      • “because the “deniers” don’t have an actual scientific theory or set of theories , they just think the mainstream scientific position is wrong, for differing and often contradictory reasons.”

        Worse, they all hold orthogonal views, and only one can be right. That’s why it looks like a circus and the skeptics are all http://tinyurl.com/ClimateClowns.

        And those without a theory essentially use the skeptical platform as a way to bash progressives or maintain an anti-science position.

        Besides Curry, I can only think of one reasonable skeptic that comments here regularly. That has a margin of error of +/- 1.

      • @manacker: AGW, caused principally by human CO2 emissions, has been the primary cause of late 20th century warming and that it represents a serious potential threat to humanity and to our environment unless human GHG emissions (primarily CO2) are curtailed drastically.

        Wow, Max gets it. I never thought I’d live to see the day.

      • Vaughan,

        Out of fairness I should point out that it was me, not gbaikie, who misunderstood your point (although I think others did as well). Thanks for the clarification though.

      • Oops, right you are, Andrew. Sorry, gbaikie.

        I should probably clarify my points more often whenever there’s a chance I wasn’t clear the first time. I tend to imagine I’m clear more often than I really am.

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        Web Hub Telescope: Worse, they all hold orthogonal views, and only one can be right.

        On the evidence that we have to date, and the mismatches of theories/models to data, it is possible that no one is right. Certainly, no one has a public record of clearly accurate predictions.

      • And the one reasonable skeptic that I alluded to chimes in.

        That’s what it’s all about — looking at the science dispassionately and finding out where it takes us. Not creating some whacked out theories and force-fitting those into a nutty agenda.

      • WHT

        That’s what it’s all about — looking at the science dispassionately and finding out where it takes us. Not creating some whacked out theories and force-fitting those into a nutty agenda.

        Amen, WHT!

        You have got it right.

        (Now just convince IPCC…)

        Max

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        Web Hub Telescope: chimes

        The chimes of freedom flashing.

        I’m so vain, I thought that your previous post was about me.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        You must be jesting, when you compare Einstein with Hansen et al.

        And also when you compare rational skepticism of the “C” in IPCC’s CAGW “consensus” position with anti-Semitic attacks on Einstein by the Nazi German propagandists.

        Come back down to Planet Earth, Vaughan. You’re starting to sound a bit goofy.

        Max

      • Heh, is it because he ‘can’t distinguish’ or because he ‘doesn’t distinguish’? Neither is confidence inspiring.
        ===============

      • The anecdote about Einstein was intended to clarify that true (or correct) science isn’t promoted by consensus, consensus is irrelevant. The lack of consensus about Einstein’s theories, or the consensus of his adversaries wasn’t relevant.
        Likewise, one amateur skeptic is sufficient to show flaws in consensus theory (or any other). Consensus is alien to hard science.

      • one amateur skeptic is sufficient to show flaws in consensus theory (or any other).

        Evidently I had greatly underestimated the enormous power of every amateur skeptic. If I were to substitute ideology for science I could begin taking the word of an amateur skeptic on faith.

        But which one? There are so many, each with a different theory. I would have to toss a coin many times, or several dice.

      • manacker: You’re starting to sound a bit goofy.

        Max, this is progress, of sorts. Now you’ll have a better idea of how I’m feeling when I tell you that you sound goofy to me.

        We could found a mutual abnegation society on that basis.
        “We … belong to a … mu-tu-al
        ab-neg-ashun so-ci-et-y. My baby and me. Oh we…”

        Goofy enough?

      • Vaughan

        You have written some silly stuff, but the comparison of Hansen and Einstein acceptance is pretty baseless.

      • David Springer

        Vaughan Pratt | September 4, 2012 at 3:20 am | Reply

        The title of that book, translated into English, was “100 scientists against Einstein.” It was written for a German audience in 1931, who between then and 1939 became progressively more antisemitic.

        The modern counterpart would be “100 climate scientists against Santer, Hansen, and Mann.”

        No. It would be 100 Climate Scientists against Lindzen, Spencer, and Curry. This ratio very nearly matches the oft-heard claim of the 97% of scientists agree on global warming too so it’s particularly apt. Those you named are in the bullying majority not the bullied minority.

      • Good point, David.

        It is clear who the “bullying majority” and the “bullied minority” are in the case of “climate science today” – I’m sure Vaughan Pratt can make this distinction.

        Max

      • As Peter Lang will surely point out shortly, he doesn’t bully me, I bully him. There seems to be a general perception among the climate skeptics here that they’re the ones being bullied, for example Santer bullying Seitz when some of us see it as the other way round.

        The equation with Einstein was not intended as a comparison of their technical abilities but in their role as scapegoats for one thing or another. In Einstein’s case it seems to have been partly that Einstein’s claims were hard to accept and partly an antisemitism thing. In the climate science case it seems to be only the former.

        If we were having this sort of discussion with Einstein’s enemies it would go very differently from the corresponding discussion with his friends.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        The “overwhelming consensus majority” (“2,500 scientists”, according to Pachauri, I believe) is being bullied by a small “skeptical minority on the fringe”?

        Get serious, Vaughan. That’s silly.

        Max

      • That’s not silly at all.

        On the Intertubes, the contrarians play home.

        Besides, other players than scientists play goatbusters:

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/12555250618

        Auditors would prefer to forget about Seitz anyway:

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/745686638

      • manacker: The “overwhelming consensus majority” (“2,500 scientists”, according to Pachauri, I believe) is being bullied by a small “skeptical minority on the fringe”? Get serious, Vaughan. That’s silly.

        Silly or not, I didn’t say it, so your complaint is with whoever did, if anyone, not with me. Yet another of your many strawman arguments.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        Einstein is a genious of science and Hansen is a jester of climate modeling. You don’t make sense at all!

      • Sam, thanks for your words of wisdom. I looked up one word I didn’t recognize and Google returned the following from the urban dictionary.

        1. It is often the case that idiots describe themselves as ‘genious’ but are ironically ignorant to the fact that the word is spelt ‘genius’ – much to the amusement of us intelligent people

        Not content to leave it at that, the dictionary continues,

        2. What one person calls another while trying to subvert the other’s intelligence, often in a public forum.

        The attacker may account for the superfluous “o” by claiming to be of French heritage, but no one will believe him and will enjoy the irony of misspelling “genius” while trying to undermine another’s intelligence.

        A petty member of the forum will point out the mistake and may create a new definition for “genious” at Urban Dictionary.

        Ouch.

        But in case that still didn’t hurt, the Urban Dictionary has yet one more definition.

        3. When stupid people are trying to prove they’re smarter than you, but have no idea how to spell the word Genius.
        As in I outsmarted you Genious

        Obviously those at the Urban Dictionary really have it in for some people. I hope you stay well clear of those people, Sam.

      • I kneel to your genuous.
        ================

      • Vaughan Pratt,
        Smart in spotting mispelling, jestering in climate modeling.

      • SamNC, Not only did you misspell misspelling but you also have to be one of the most aggressively stupid fake skeptics that comments here. That is quite an achievement.

  32. The problem with social “scientists” is that they don’t get it. They watch the debate and write about it, but don’t know what it is about, because they don’t grasp numbers, they don’t understand statistics, or models, or measurements, or accuracy, or error bars, or engineering, or energy production.

    They see two groups fighting but they don’t really understand what it is all about. So, I think that all commentary by social scientists or psychologists is just empty words.

    • Quantitative versus qualitative.

    • As a social scientist, actually a cognitive scientist, who studies the debate I have to disagree. We bring to bear a body of analytical concepts that are not found in the physical sciences. Mind you if you can do interesting physics on the debate I have no objection. The signal to noise ratio perhaps?

      The real problem is that most of the social scientists analyzing the debate assume CAGW is true, so they see skepticism as a social malfunction. Thus they are trying to explain something that does not exist. No wonder they get it wrong.

      • “assume CAGW is true”
        Why do they assume this ? Because, as I said, they aren’t able (mostly) to grasp what the debate is about.

      • Maybe sociologists and psychologists have some interesting observations about the sociological and psychological aspects of the debate.
        But, these are side issues.
        The main issue is: what do we know about the climate, and what not.

      • No, I think they assume it for the same reasons that many physical scientists assume it. What those reasons are is a social science question, one that few are asking. On the other hand I think there is a large social science literature on environmentalism, as a social movement, which might be worth looking at.

      • I agree that studying the debate will not resolve it. But some of the arguments made in the debate are social in nature, and sadly lacking in analysis. Funding of the various sides and factions for example.

      • The claim of consensus is a social scientific claim, which I think is false. But I have yet to see a poll or study that properly framed the issues, so we have no data. For example, “we do not know” is a major position, that is seldom offered.

    • jacobress

      You are right about social scientists not understanding the underlying climate science behind the ongoing debate on CAGW.

      But I think Ranalli has covered the “socioscientific” aspects much better than most of these guys, who conclude it’s only a matter of better “framing” or “communication” (or “educating the ignorant masses so they understand”).

      But, as I commented to JC separately, I think he skirted around one key issue: that of agenda driven “science” as the key contributing factor to the corruption of the IPCC “consensus process”.

      Max

      • Agenda driven science might be a “socialscience” issue. It is not a science issue. Science doesn’t care about agendas, only about the facts.
        Science doesn’t care about consensus either. Just the facts.

        If data is lacking or inconclusive, then no scientific knowledge is possible. It is here that people try to present social constructs such as agendas, biases or consensus as if they were science.

        Science is robotic. It has three positions: true, false, unknown.

        “The claim of consensus is a social scientific claim”. True. But it is a claim outside of science proper; it does not matter.

      • Science should be robotic but climate science cannot be since it requires a complex variety of assumptions to match the complexity of the problem.

        The 33C assumption has a rough margin of error of +/- 2 degrees. The normal range of ocean temperatures for the past 60,000 years is +/- 2.5 degrees. The range of instrumentation error measuring outgoing longwave radiation is +/- ~10Wm-2 which is roughly equal to +/- 2 degrees. The range of uncertainty in the CO2 doubling impact is roughly +/-1.5 degrees. Any attempt to attribute warming or cooling of less than +/-1.5 degrees is subject to combinations of assumptions that require “belief” more than science.

        So determining why a scientist has any degree of certainty about future climate would be more related to Social Sciences or Psychiatric fields than hard science.

      • Jacob, you are presenting a theoretical view of science that was popular 50 years ago. It ignores the fact that science is a human enterprise. People often take strong positions on inconclusive evidence. Take the 100+ year debate over whether light is a wave or a particle. It might also be argued that evidence is almost always inconclusive. This is especially true in the non-experimental sciences, including climate science.

        Moreover, science does care about consensus. Progress is only possible when hypotheses are accepted as facts by the community. That is a social judgement.

      • “People often take strong positions on inconclusive evidence”
        Of course.They are wrong, then. That isn’t a rare case, in science or outside of it.
        Other people (scientists or amateurs) need to point out the fallacies (inconclusive evidence).
        Progress occurs not when hypotheses are accepted by the majority, but when the hypotheses are proven.
        Maybe this is an idealized and naive view of science. I think it is the only one possible. A lot of things masquerade as science these days – this does not mean that they are science.
        Claiming that one knows the unknown isn’t science, it’s pseudo-science.

      • As a student of human reasoning, I think there are good, even compelling, reasons for taking strong positions on inconclusive evidence. In life evidence is often inconclusive, yet action is necessary. Otherwise one is paralyzed. Nor is there ever proof in science, only in math.

        Nor do I agree that there is a lot of pseudoscience in science. Science is what science does, as my school says. We need to understand how science works, which we do not, rather than fault it for failing to meet our made up standards. Human reasoning is far more complex than these simple models suggest.

        In fact this is the greatest failing of the social sciences, that in order to appear important many authors invoke their own made up standards of right reasoning. They act like doctors diagnosing a disease, instead of scientists trying to understand how the world works. So-called confirmation bias research is a good example of this fallacy.

      • So-called confirmation bias research is a good example of this fallacy.

        Unintentional irony rears its head once again!

  33. Judith, this post is about the 2012 Arctic Sea ice extent record, about which you have given an email interview with Yale :

    http://e360.yale.edu/feature/tipping_point_arctic_heads_to_ice_free_summers/2567/

    Forgive me for placing off-topic, but I did not see a dedicated Arctic Sea ice thread on your recent posts. If there is a better thread for me to post this, please let me know.

    If you may, could you please elaborate on some of your statements made in this interview ?

    1) You state that “the next 5 to 10 years could see a shift in Arctic sea ice behavior, though exactly in which direction is difficult to predict”.

    Which specific scientific research are you referring to here that supports this statement ?
    And what does that research say about the odds that in the next 5 to 10 years we could see a shift upward in Arctic sea ice behavior ?

    If you are actually as convinced that it is “difficult to predict” which direction Arctic sea ice will would “shift” as you pretend to be in your interview with Yale, then I would be happy to bet with you. Since variability is large in the Arctic, but 5-10 year trend is clearly down and accellerating, I would suggest a similar bet arrangement as I agreed on with William Connolley last year :

    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2011/06/26/betting-on-sea-ice-10000/

    Will you put your money where your public statements are ? Or are your statements merely opinions that makes you popular with self-proclaimed skeptics but in fact have little scientific merit ?

    2) “I don’t see [the] summer of 2012 portending some sort of near-term `spiral of death’ in the sea ice behavior,”

    Of course, what is a “spiral of death” for one person’s opinion could be a “shaken, but not stirred” opinion for someone else. However, since this year is likely to not just break, but completely shatter the 2007 record, and this time with rather “average” weather conditions, one may ask the question how else Arctic sea ice should behave before you would determine that it is in a “spiral of death”.

    3) Regarding your statement “I don’t think this apparent record sea ice minimum is of particular significance in our understanding of climate variability and change of Arctic sea ice.”, could you please clarify how what will be approximately a 1 million km^2 drop (a drop of at least 2 sigma’s in the already de-trended variability from the past 30 years) in minimum sea ice extent is not of “significance” in our understanding of climate variability ?
    Especially since weather no ice export was abnormal this melting season, and we had a harsher winter than any during the past 30 years.

    If this 2012 record melt event does not add any “significance” in your understanding of climate variability, then what would ?

    • “Will you put your money where your public statements are ? Or are your statements merely opinions that makes you popular with self-proclaimed skeptics but in fact have little scientific merit ?”

      Are you as certain as the sun will rise to tomorrow, as you are that arctic polar sea must every year in the future decline further than this year sea ice coverage?
      Cause I could give great odds the sun will rise.

      After 2007, polar sea ice area increased. It seems likely that 2012 could be similar to 2007- it will fluctuate, perhaps it’s on decadial downward trend-
      but if true, that does not mean there can’t be more ice coverage next year or next 5 years

      But seem mostly like predicting the weather- as in, next year we have more hurricanes.
      Intrade has betting in polar ice:

      http://www.intrade.com/v4/markets/?eventClassId=20

    • Perhaps you missed Dr. Curry’s comment that 2C or 4C of warming would not be “apocolyptic.” That appears to be her standard of comparison now. If it’s not the apocolypse, who cares, really?

      • Robert, gbaikie,

        Nobody claims that “arctic polar sea must every year in the future decline further than this year “.
        You made that up all by yourself.

        Nobody said that a 2C to 4C of warming be “apocalyptic”.
        And if Dr. Curry made the statement that it would not be “apocalyptic”, then she set up a strawman and burned it down.

        Why the strawman arguments, guys ?
        Why can’t you guys simply stick to the facts and the scientific evidence ?

        For starters, I asked Judith Curry which scientific research supports her public statement that the direction of a shift in Arctic sea ice “is difficult to predict”, and what that research says about the odds that in the next 5 to 10 years we could see a shift upward in Arctic sea ice behavior ?

        Do you think she would answer these questions ? Or engage in a bet with me ?

        Of course she would not. Because even the most conservative models make it blatantly clear which “direction” Actic sea ice is going in the next 5 to 10 years. And the most aggressive models (the ones that have been most accurately tracking reality) show that there will be very little ice left over in the Arctic summers 5 to 10 years from now.

        That is why I asked Dr. Curry to back up her public statements with scientific evidence.

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        I will be curious to see Judith’s post about the 2012 sea ice season here in a few weeks as promised by her. I will reserve my comments until that time.

      • “Robert, gbaikie,

        Nobody claims that “arctic polar sea must every year in the future decline further than this year “.
        You made that up all by yourself.”

        Well, I had some help. Some were predicting in 2007 that in five year the arctic would ice free.
        And generally there is some gnashing about what will happen if Arctic is ice free.
        Whereas getting ice free arctic sometime in late August or September doesn’t seem to likely to me anytime soon. And then could get to idea of the significant of such event. That somehow going the end of the world as we know- plus kill all the poor polar bears and other fantastic things.
        So that the context- one needs to get less and less so that this great moment will happen [which don't think is important- though some do].

        “Nobody said that a 2C to 4C of warming be “apocalyptic”.
        And if Dr. Curry made the statement that it would not be “apocalyptic”, then she set up a strawman and burned it down.”

        Well in terms the arctic, it seems one could get 4 C of global warming and not have much increase in the regional average temps in arctic [this region's temperature might decrease]. Though also possible that 4 C global increase in average temperature could mean a 20 C increase in polar regions average temperature [which if continue long enough] could very well have “apocalyptic” stuff happening- probably not as exciting as flooding New York City, but exciting stuff nevertheless. Of course the smugness of CAGWer would probably be the biggest effect, so many swelling and exploding heads.
        Or said differently, though much focus is regarding the arctic, it’s a small region of the world and therefore doesn’t add or subtract much for the average global temperatures.

        “For starters, I asked Judith Curry which scientific research supports her public statement that the direction of a shift in Arctic sea ice “is difficult to predict”, and what that research says about the odds that in the next 5 to 10 years we could see a shift upward in Arctic sea ice behavior ?

        Do you think she would answer these questions ? Or engage in a bet with me ?”

        Well you do know that this is related to rather large summer storm in the arctic, rather much in terms warming trends. It’s possible we could get more of these large summer storms in future, but I don’t think there is enough evidence to make such an assertion.

  34. Hard won consensus? Like, via charismatic leadership, skilled strategists, demagoguery, those whom Socrates refered to as making the weaker argument seem stronger? Maybe better ter trust and go with the experts and people of good track record? Say, experts have been wrong before and people of good record are but human and can err.. Isn’t this Hume’s problem, the future will be like the past. Uh oh …remember the turkey’s fate, the same farmer that feeds you all the year wrings yer neck on Thanksgiving Day.

    Earned consensus, nope? Show us the evidence, show us yer data. yer worlings, we’ll try ter understand.

  35. ;Workings’ see, we make mistakes!

    • peterdavies252

      Don’t worry about the typos Beth. Your points are still relevant and your pomes are still readable. :)

  36. Thx Peter it’s because I suffer from Cracked Brain Syndrome Robert
    himself told me so. (

  37. “JC comment: Again these are unusual (and welcome) insights from a social scientist covering the climate debate. ”

    Note that the author, Ranalli, does not give an affiliation. He seems to be an independent researcher, and so outside the academia-groupthink-circle of the likes of Kahan, Oreskes, Dunlap, Corner, Lewandowsky etc.
    For the same reason, the latter crowd will ignore him completely.

  38. It’s useful to watch ideological charged assaults on other scientific fields just to get an appreciation of what makes science deniers tick and how they operate. I came across the following recent article attacking the consensus on biological evolution. Somehow an interviewer with a clear agenda managed to pose loaded questions to an unaware scientist which could then be used for propaganda:

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/06/at_nasa_another060761.html

    The whole thing is a clear drive to smear a scientific field by using (in the negative sense) this particular scientist. The author desperately tries to twist every word of the scientist into some kind of “admission” as well as painting the scientist in the worst possible light. It’s a sort of blog form of spanish inquisition and reminds me very much of the mode of operation climate skeptics use when analyzing the text in scientist’s emails.

    • See also physics denial: http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2012/09/03/lancelot-law-whytes-unitary-field-theory/

      Moon landing denial: http://bit.ly/OKJ9Lf

      Vaccine denial: http://skepticalteacher.wordpress.com/2009/03/31/jenny-mccarthy-when-ignorance-kills/

      . . . and so forth and so on. It’s fascinating (and horrifying) how the great information-sharing technology of the internet has been put to use amplifying ignorance, conspiracy theories, and slander. Human nature at work, I suppose . . .

      • Robert

        This is a serious question. Do you really bleieve the sceptics that post on ths site to be the direct equivalent of the completely deranged and delusional moon landing deniers that were the originators of that nonsensical religious site you linked to here?

        http://bit.ly/OKJ9Lf

        tonyb

      • @climatereason: completely deranged and delusional moon landing deniers

        I typed each of
        “climate change hoax”
        “moon landing hoax”
        to Google. The first returned 224,000 hits, the second 314,000 hits.

        While I’m not entirely sure what to infer from this, my first guess would be that climate change skepticism is a more specialized activity than moon landing skepticism, requiring a stronger technical background.

        The moon landing was in 1969, right about when the climate started on its serious climb upwards. Perhaps the difference is that climate change was not front page news in 1969, giving the MLS’s longer to get their theories in shape than the CCS’s. So my second guess would be that MLS has a longer history.

      • Vaughan

        The moon landing was an “either or situation” while the climate debate is one of varing degrees of potential warming, and then a discussion of potential harms that may result from any warming.

        You see the situations as similar, but imo they seem unrelated excet that those who believe that those who believe that more CO2 will lead to high amounts of warming that will than lead to terrible problems like to draw the comparison.

      • “Moon landing deniers” compared to “CAGW postulation deniers”?

        Huh?

        I’ve heard silly stuff before, but that seems to set a new record.

        Max

      • “UFO deniers” gets 7,170,000 hits while
        “Space alien deniers” gets 18,000,000

        What does that prove?

        Nothing.

      • Ah, Max has the right idea: try a different search term.

        I googled each of
        “climate change denier”
        “moon landing denier”
        and this time got respectively 1,810,000 and 45,700 hits.

        Again I can think of several theories, for example perhaps the MLS’s have had longer to convince the public of the political incorrectness of “denier,” but no one theory leaps out at me.

        The fact that
        “climate change skeptic”
        returns only 649,000 hits suggests that a majority of those referring to CCS’s either take the political correctness aspect with a grain of salt or are (as some skeptics claim) intentionally being mean.

        Richard Lindzen by contrast insists that he’s a denier. This seems to me a far more effective way of fending off those doing it to be mean than whining about it. Mean people get their kicks from hearing their victims whine.

      • @manacker: “UFO deniers” gets 7,170,000 hits while “Space alien deniers” gets 18,000,000 What does that prove?

        That you don’t know how to google for terms. I got respectively 1,470 and 4. You have to put them in quotes if you want them to be recognized as a phrase.

        Though why anyone would insist that no flying object has ever gone unidentified escapes me. It happens all the time. ;)

      • Vaughan Pratt

        Thanks for last statistic

        I think you are about to verify tony b’s point about the relatively small group of “completely deranged and delusional moon landing deniers” as compared to a rather substantial percentage of the scientific/engineering population who could be called “CAGW deniers” (or “CAGW skeptics”).

        Of course, the number of Google “hits” really doesn’t prove anything. The “moon landing” discussion is not a hot public topic today whereas the ongoing scientific and political debate surrounding the CAGW premise has become one.

        Max

      • Where have you been, Max? Climate skeptics are compared to 6000 year creationists all the time.

      • Climate skeptics are compared to 6000 year creationists all the time.

        Well, certainly, but obviously they’re completely deranged and delusional. Wouldn’t you agree, Max?

      • AGW skepticism is common sense. Moon landing skepticism is more on the order of believing Western schoolteachers will save humanity from modernity–e.g., looking for Heavens’ Gate on the far side of the Comet Hale-Bopp and getting there by putting on some black Nikes and pulling a plastic bag over your face.

      • Tony

        Serious answer: some are, some aren’t. Read the comments.

        It may seem harsh to lump in climate deniers with other science deniers, but that’s only because science denial looks so painfully stupid from the outside. Looking at other people’s denial throws the reality of anti-science conspiracy theories into sharp relief.

        The broader phenomenon of science denial is highly relevant to the argument from lack of consensus — that if all “skeptics” do not agree with the science, that that implies that the science or the communication of that science is somehow defective. History shows that’s not so.

        Motivated reasoning exists on a spectrum. Some people are as crazy as bedbugs, some are not.

      • “The moon landing was an “either or situation” ……………”

        Oh I don’t know. There could be a Judith Curry of the moon landing world arguing that we are in a position of deep uncertainty. The number of manned landings could vary from 0 to 12 ( to the 66% confidence levels) rather than the official number of 6. Even negative numbers can’t be ruled out?

      • David Springer

        Hilarious. While Robert equates CAGW skeptics and Young Earth Creationists I equate Robert with these people:

        https://www.google.com/images?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4LENN_enUS461US461&q=the+end+is+near

        My equivalence has more legs than his aside from being hilarious.

      • Since I once lived, years later, on the same block where Lee Harvey Oswald lived when he shot JFK, and since my Aunt in Irving was a close friend and neighbor of Ruth Paine (my Aunt actually met Marina Oswald at the Paine house), and since my neighbor since 1983 was a young doctor at Parkland Hospital when JFK was brought in, I gradually was drawn into the assassination controversy as an ardent defender of the Warren Report (IPCC?).

        I see a great many similarities between the camps.

        (curious about what was going on in the ER, a group of doctors, including my neighbor, decided to walk down the stairs one by one as though they were doing something official so they could walk by the room where JFK was being treated. On his turn he went down the stairs and observed just one person sitting alone on a steel chair – the First Lady. Nobody else was in the hallway)

      • David Springer

        Hilarious!

        Here’s another one to add to your list of ” completely deranged and delusional” global warming doomsayers.

        Max

      • Vaughan Pratt

        To answer your direct question:

        Yes,

        Anyone who categorically links “CAGW skeptics” with “6000-year creationists” is obviously “completely deranged and delusional”.

        I agree fully.

        Max

      • Max, anyone who would think that is obviously completely deranged and delusional. They’ll be coming to take you away any day now.

      • Max,

        “Creationist Mom” might disagree with with your “completely deranged and delusional” assessment, but I suspect you’re right, for once, in her case.

        If you’re both “taken away”, and end up in the same institution, she’ll have lots of time to explain why it’s quite consistent to be both a creationist and AGW denier.

      • Tempterrain

        To your video clip on Evangelical Christian, who do not believe in the CAGW premise:

        Huffington Post, a publication that can certainly not be said to be a “right wing rag” tells us:

        37% of Democrats believe global warming is the result primarily of human action, while only 14% of Republicans believe this

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/16/climate-change-poll-american-global-warming_n_966214.html

        OK. Let’s say that “Independents” are split and that there are 50% Democrats and 50% Republicans in the rest.

        That means that 25.5% of the US population “believe global warming is the result primarily of human action”, or, conversely, that 74.5% of the US population do NOT believe global warming is the result primarily of human action, IOW do not support the CAGW premise.

        Now let’s talk about the video clip. It states that <em”75% of home-schooled children are Evangelical Christians” and implies that these believe in “Creationism”, but do not believe in the “CAGW premise”.

        An estimated 2.9% of school children in the USA are “home-schooled”, so we are talking about around 2.1% of children, that are home-schooled Evangelical Christians, versus 74.5% of the US population who does not believe global warming is the result primarily of human action.

        Get serious, tempterrain – your video clip proves only that a very small minority of those Americans who do not ”believe global warming is the result primarily of human action” are also Evangelical Christians who believe in Creationism.

        So what?

        Max

      • Max,

        But what about Creationists who don’t go in for home schooling? Home schooling, per se, is not the issue here and I’m sure you know that.

        Another Huffington Post survey shows that 46% of Americans do believe in Young Earth (<10, 000 years) Creationism. 32 percent believe in a theistic controlled evolution, but only 15 percent believe in evolution without any divine intervention.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/05/americans-believe-in-creationism_n_1571127.html

        In other words, 78% of Americans think that God is responsible for our existence. It would be interesting to ask them if they think he is still looking after us or if they think he has moved on to another planetary system elsewhere in the Galaxy and is too busy there to be bothered by us any more. I suspect they don't think that.

        So, is it really surprising that the number of Americans who think we can ignore the science on global warming is as high as it is? If it does turn out that we do have a climate problem, do they think it will much cheaper for us all to get down on our knees and pray than actually do anything about it?

    • lurker, passing through laughing

      what is hilarious is how the warmist trolls are taking lewandowsky’s transparently false ‘survey’ and pretending it has something to do with skeptics.
      It is like watching stoner undergrad losers think dungeon and dragons is real.
      Thanks for the yucks,

  39. Judith Curry

    Brent Ranalli’s paper on scientific consensus, as well as your review and that of Andrew Montford on Bishop Hill, are very interesting.

    Your comment on the lack of “due diligence” in the IPCC consensus process hits the nail on the head (the hockey stick being a prime example). IOW the consensus to give this unchecked and later discredited study “centerfold” attention in IPCC’s TAR was not a “hard won consensus”.

    But I believe there is actually much more to the story, which Ranalli skirts around.

    The IPCC “consensus process” itself is corrupted IMO.

    Conflicting data and opinions are discarded or ignored, while supporting studies are embraced. I am personally convinced that this is not only a result of natural “groupthink”, but rather of “agenda driven science”. IOW science is being (mis)used to further a political agenda. I have concluded that one needs to be pretty naïve to deny that this is occurring. This is far more disturbing to me than any possible distortions resulting from “groupthink”.

    The issues of advocacy, character and tribalism (on both sides of the debate) are covered, but I miss a discussion of one of the key elements, which goes beyond the “uncertainty” argument: the lack of empirical scientific evidence to support the premise of the “C” in “CAGW”.

    Maybe this is outside the scope of a social scientist, such as Ranalli, but, along with “uncertainty” and “agenda driven science”, it is a key argument of those who are rationally skeptical of the IPCC consensus position and CAGW premise.

    Max

  40. Perhaps someone could help me understand an issue related to potential climate change and the deep oceans. This is probably pretty obvious to someone who has studied the topic. It appears that the deep oceans maintain a temperature of approximately 4 C and that over 90% of the total volume of the oceans are at that temperature.

    How are the deep oceans different than a cooled circuit board? I have read people like Vaughan Pratt comparing the deep oceans to a heat sink on a circuit board, but it would seem more appropriate to make the comparison to a circuit board with a permanently cooled heat sink. How much heating would be required at the oceans surface layers to raise the temperature of the deep oceans by 1C? Is that really possible without an external body impacting the planet?

    • Rob, that is an excellent topic. The deep oceans would differ from a CPU heat sink because the deep oceans have a variable sink area. Most of the heat lost via the surface to the atmosphere. When the surface warms, more heat will be lost to the atmosphere due to radiant and latent energy flux than will be transferred below the surface. The energy that is absorbed below the surface can diffuse slowly deeper since it is countered by convection or travel with currents to areas where the conditions allow more loss to the atmosphere or diffusion to the surrounding water. Diffusion is an extremely slow process, so the currents and mixing by winds and currents dominates the transfer of heat.

      In the southern hemisphere, the mixing and currents ( circumpolar current and wicked ass winds at and below latitude 40S) allow more efficient heat transfer and in the northern hemisphere, the land masses tend to reduce mixing. So in order to maintain a relatively stable 4C, the heat loss at the poles, primarily the southern, would have to be nearly equal to the heat uptake below 1000 meters or so.

      Some might think that is a pretty good place to start an energy balance :)

      In fact, the southern ocean heat sink is so efficient, that the variance of surface temperature in the southern hemisphere is a fraction of the variance in the northern hemisphere. That might be an indication of climate sensitivity, since all that weather noise would be related to sensitivity.

      http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/09/standard-deviation-as-estimate-of.html

      Of course, the believers deny that there is any reduction in variance.

      • Capt

        Thanks for your reply, but we are not quite communicating yet.

        The deep oceans are not loosing heat to the surface since they are by definition more than 800 meters below the surface. The deep oceans are cooling the rest of the oceans. The ocean at these depths and pressure stay at approximately 4C. Is it impossible for the temperature to be higher than that unless there is a substantial loss in the volume of the oceans? How is this different than a heat sink that gets outside cooling?

      • The deep oceans would only lose heat to a colder sink. Since the deep ocean temperature is relatively stable, they are close to being in thermal equilibrium or in steady state depending on your perspective.

        The difference between the deep oceans being a huge heat sink like on a CPU is how the heat would be transferred to the sink, that was the diffusion, mixing etc. discussion. A CPU heat sink would not be made of a liquid that could warm causing convection, especially in the wrong direction. So any diffusion into or below the 4C layer would be extremely slow. So it is more likely the 4C layer should be considered more of a reservoir than a heat sink since it depends on heat flows at the poles and less net heat uptake at the surface to maintain the the temperature. The actual heat sinks would be the poles.

        The sink temperature at the poles range from slightly below 4C to ~-2C degrees. The -2C is is limited by the freezing point of salt water which would be the ideal sink temperature if you wanted to calculated maximum steady state energy flow from the 4C layer. Fresher salt ice increases that sink temperature to 0C which would be the upper sink temperature.

        Now if you consider the 4C layer as a reservoir, if it increases in temperature the rate of diffusion from above would decrease as the temperature differential decreased and the rate of sea ice melt would increase. If the 4C layer temperature dropped, the rate of diffusion from above would increase and the rate of sea ice melt would decrease. Pretty much like what is currently happening. So unlike a heat sink, the 4C reservoir can modulate the flow of heat instead of just transferring heat.

        Pretty neat design.

        Why 4C is a lot more interesting problem.

      • A rough rule is that the average density of the oceans is approximately inversely proportional to the average enthalpy. If there is heat hiding, we’d see it in sea level, and it doesn’t matter at what depth. Conversely, if the oceans were giving heat up, we’d see that in sea level, also. The slow rise in sea level suggests that either:

        1) land ice is slowly melting, or
        2) sea enthalpy is slowly increasing, or
        3) some combination.

        The point being that if large amounts of heat were disappearing into the oceans, the seas would be rising a lot faster than they are. You can’t have that one both ways. The sea level rise isn’t remarkably different from the historical record, so it can’t be true that lots of heat is disappearing into the oceans, and we’re melting a lot of land ice. One can be true. Both can’t.

      • @cd: A CPU heat sink would not be made of a liquid that could warm causing convection, especially in the wrong direction. So any diffusion into or below the 4C layer would be extremely slow.

        CD has it exactly right (the advantage of having an HVAC expert on board). Given the failure of mixing hot above with cold below, the appropriate analogy would be a heat sink whose fins (the deep ocean) are attached to the main block of aluminium or copper (the surface layer) with an asbestos gasket as a thermal insulator. There would still be a delay as the main block warmed up, but the insulated fins would never get a sufficient flow to warm significantly, whether or not there was a fan.

      • David Springer

        captdallas2 0.8 +0.2 or -0.4 | September 4, 2012 at 4:18 pm |

        ” The actual heat sinks would be the poles.”

        Not the south pole at all. Less than you might think at the north. -7W/m2 across most of it. Most the action, incoming and outgoing, happens in tropical & sub-tropical latutudes.

      • David Springer

        linkage: kallberg 2005 net ocean surface heat flux

        http://oceanworld.tamu.edu/resources/ocng_textbook/chapter05/Images/Fig5-10B.htm

        most of it enters near the equator and exits (latent) in the ITCZ where it rains like a mofo

        captdallas2 0.8 +0.2 or -0.4 | September 4, 2012 at 4:18 pm |

        ” The actual heat sinks would be the poles.”

        Not the south pole at all. Less than you might think at the north. -7W/m2 across most of it. Most the action, incoming and outgoing, happens in tropical & sub-tropical latutudes.

      • David, said less than I think? In the 44-64 south region there is a higher average surface wind velocity, the strongest cold water current and the driest marine atmosphere. There is also the least accurate data for any length of time. Each year a area of sea ice the size of the content of Australia melts and freezes. Even with ~1413 TOA solar insolation versus ~1321Wm-2 in the northern hemisphere the 44-64S surface temperatures that we do have indicate a remarkably stable temperature and a gradual increase in the annual sea ice extent. It would be easy to miss 6 or 7 Wm-2 down there.

        In the Arctic, there was 20Wm-2 missed due to mixed phase clouds. With the increase in Arctic sea ice melt and thaw, the heat loss has increased, so I don’t think the 4C layer has any problems maintaining things.

        But as I said, the surface heat loss in the mid-latitudes and tropics is heat not getting to the 4C layer, heat still has to flow from warm to cold, without jumping over inconvenient layers like Web and Vaughan seem to believe.

      • But as I said, the surface heat loss in the mid-latitudes and tropics is heat not getting to the 4C layer, heat still has to flow from warm to cold, without jumping over inconvenient layers like Web and Vaughan seem to believe.

        Losing you, cd. How is what I “seem to believe” in any way different what you believe?

      • David Springer

        Vaughan,

        Stratification of the ocean blocks convection. Conduction still chugs away slow and happy. Over spans measured in decades conduction is too slow to make much difference but does that hold true over spans of millenia? In other words is the length of a glacial/interglacial (let’s call it 100,000 years for the sake of argument) cycle long enough for conduction to equalize top and bottom ocean temperature?

        I’m still searching in vain for a warmist to tell me how the bulk of the ocean (90% of its volume) is a more or less constant 3 degrees centigrade. Don’t make the mistake of saying it’s due to the highest density of water being 3C because that only holds true for fresh water. Seawater reaches greatest density at minus 2C which is also its freezing point. The ocean depths could therefore be substantially colder than 3C but the mystery in my mind is how it got as cold as it is without that being the average of the surface temperature taken over an entire glacial/interglacial cycle. Brass monkeys beware!

      • Springer, The earth without a greenhouse gas layer would be at 255K which is well below 0C the last time I checked. As many people realize, average cave temperatures can be a few degrees above freezing with little seasonal variance. What this all means is that the subsurface earth (both underground and the bottom of the oceans) has yet to reach a steady state since it was at a much colder average temperature, both because of a lower atmospheric GHG concentration and a lower solar output.

        Have you ever worked out a spatio-temporal diffusion equation in your life?

      • I’m still searching in vain for a warmist to tell me how the bulk of the ocean (90% of its volume) is a more or less constant 3 degrees centigrade.

        I’m a scientist, not a warmist. Moreover I don’t know the answer, though I would expect it would be a natural consequence of the considerable heat passing from the magma to the ocean floor, both by slow conduction through the crust and fast leakage through fracture systems creating hot springs on the ocean floor.

        Since the heat source is from below (as with a coffee percolator) and reasonably steady, one would expect the region from the floor to the thermocline to be isothermal. If you disagree I’d be interested in your explanation.

      • @DS: is the length of a glacial/interglacial (let’s call it 100,000 years for the sake of argument) cycle long enough for conduction to equalize top and bottom ocean temperature?

        Long enough for equilibrium, but because heat is coming through the ocean floor my (completely uneducated) guess is that you’d get a negative thermocline wherever the ocean freezes over. At what depth would be fun to calculate, your friendly neighborhood hydrologist would be the go-to guy there, but over 100,000 years it could well be just a few hundred meters below the bottom of the surface ice.

      • @DS: Not the south pole at all. Less than you might think at the north. -7W/m2 across most of it. Most the action, incoming and outgoing, happens in tropical & sub-tropical latutudes.

        David, that plot is for heat flux between the surface and the atmosphere. There is a separate heat flux via the atmosphere from the temperate zone to the antarctic zone, namely from the Ferrell or mid-latitude cell to the Polar cell., which you can read about here.

        The Hadley or tropical cell and the Polar cell behave as you would guess from the two facts that hot air rises, and lower latitudes are hotter than higher. The Ferrell cell does the opposite because it’s like a wheel caught between two wheels rotating the same direction and therefore has to rotate in the opposite direction.

        The upshot is that all three of these rotations carry heat from the tropics to the poles. This heat transport mechanism is entirely independent of heat flowing between the surface and the atmosphere, which is what you were citing.

      • David Springer

        Vaughan, dallas was talking about heat loss from surface of ocean not heat transport through the atmosphere from tropic to poles. My reference to net surface heat flux of negative 7W/m2 at the northern pole was apt. Try to read more closely before commenting. In any case even atmospheric transport to the poles is minimal. The gross action in heat flux happens in the tropics and subtropics. A significant portion happens in temperate latitudes. Very little happens in the polar zones. Don’t be misled by large anomalies in the Arctic. It doesn’t take much energy at low temperatures to cause large fluctuations due to T4 relationship of energy to temperature. Write that down.

        As to why the deep ocean is 3C, which you could not answer, I can tell you why. You like math so here’s some math fo’ yo’ ass.

        The average temperature of the global ocean is very close to 4C. 3.9C is the most cited figure. If we go our handy dandy black body calculator and plug in 4C

        http://www.spectralcalc.com/blackbody_calculator/blackbody.php

        we find that radiant emittance is 335W/m2.

        Still with me? Good.

        Top of atmosphere solar constant is 1366W/m2. Projected onto a sphere that becomes 1366/4 or 341W/m2.

        Still with me? The average temperature of the ocean is pretty much exactly that of a spherical black body illuminated by a 1366W/m2 source.

        Can you say “saturated greenhouse effect” ? Probably not but you should probably learn how before wasting any more time on AGW witch hunts.

      • Vaughan, “Losing you, cd. How is what I “seem to believe” in any way different what you believe?”

        Because you still are thinking sink instead of reservoir. The energy in the deep ocean is the result of millions of years of solar warming in the tropics and more southerly mid latitudes with surface heat loss nearer the poles. Similar to the atmospheric heat transfer from the equator to the high latitudes except that the deep oceans would have a more southerly “thermal” equator. You can reduce the rate of heat loss in the higher latitudes or reduce the rate of heat uptake in the tropics, but you can’t consider the 4C deep oceans a heat sink because there is a steady state heat flow.

        The temperature and density gradients of the oceans drive the heat exchange resulting in ~10C layer at ~1000 meters and ~4 C layer at ~3000 meters both having their sources at the surface. There are no fins extending down to the deep oceans on the transfer of energy near the poles, the real heat sinks. So your 14.5 year lag is more likely a recovery from Pinatubo, earlier volcano or a natural cycle. For the deep oceans to be warming due to anthropogenic reasons, the Antarctic would be warming, since it is the main source of the 4C reservoir. The less dense 10C layer is a better indicator of anthro change, but that would need to be averaged over several decades to see any impact.

        What is neat, is that warming due to anthro would cause a warmer even less dense layer that would be even further separated from the deep 4C layer. That would reduce the rate of 4C uptake and increase the rate of surface loss. Calling the deep oceans a sink belittles the elegance of the design.

      • Up and down and up;
        Miracle mercurial.
        Thermostat design.
        ============

      • @cd: The energy in the deep ocean is the result of millions of years of solar warming in the tropics and more southerly mid latitudes with surface heat loss nearer the poles.

        Millions of years? cd, I would be fascinated to see the maths.

        So your 14.5 year lag is more likely a recovery from Pinatubo, earlier volcano or a natural cycle.

        Since my lag is based on the full 161 years, whereas the thermal impact of Pinatubo lasted only two years, I would be very surprised if that were true.

    • “How much heating would be required at the oceans surface layers to raise the temperature of the deep oceans by 1C? Is that really possible without an external body impacting the planet?”

      1. A lot.
      2. Of course.

      Bear in mind that the deep ocean warming up and the deep ocean cooling (relatively speaking) the shallow water are two ways of saying the same thing.

      So to the exact extent to which the deep ocean resists warming, it is a lousy heat sink, and vice versa.

      • Robert, the deep oceans are a lousy heat sink? Since I happen to agree you must have a typo :)

      • The ocean as a whole is an excellent heat sink in comparison to the earth, which is a much less effective heat sink, and the atmosphere is worse still.

        The telling point is that the skipper will not state an effective diffusion coefficient for the ocean’s heat sink — because if he does, he can use that to estimate a transient heat uptake. But he doesn’t want to do that, because that would be at odds with his objective to increase FUD.

      • Webster, “The telling point is that the skipper will not state an effective diffusion coefficient for the ocean’s heat sink — because if he does, he can use that to estimate a transient heat uptake. But he doesn’t want to do that, because that would be at odds with his objective to increase FUD.”

        You won’t get an estimate from me until I have a better estimate of what should be used as an initial condition. Most of the problem is in setting up the problem. The dampened response of the SST appears to be due to a equalization between the hemisphere oceans. The northern hemisphere has been slowly recovering from a number of events since 1600 AD.

        There is a simple illustration of the differences in sensitivity to forcing. Since the sensitivity is reducing, the AQUA era should be a good starting point. So I may be able to give you something before too long, but it will for the 4C layer only. The imbalance though is nearly zero, so it won’t be too exciting.

        You still haven’t admitted that the reduction in variance is likely real and due to the reduction in ocean heat uptake BTW.

      • Robert I Ellison

        The warming of the ocean proceeds as a result of SW from the sun. Heat is lost in the infrared. The so-called effective diffusion is simply an average rate of warming. Which you can use to calculate warming. It is a pointless and circular exercise that reveals nothing about the processes in play. It is based on the patently false model of heat moving from the atmosphere to the ocean. As it is profoundly unphysical it can say nothing about the physics of the problem.

      • Skippy Roo said:

        “The so-called effective diffusion is simply an average rate of warming.”

        Afraid not. It is a coefficient that arises from the formulation of the master continuity equation.

      • Robert I Ellison

        Try to speak English instead of hiding behind nonsense. ‘In physics and chemistry and related fields, master equations are used to describe the time-evolution of a system that can be modelled as being in exactly one of countable number of states at any given time, and where switching between states is treated probabilistically. ‘

      • Bush Skippy, You are hopelessly inept. The diffusion coefficient does not describe a rate of warming, but the solution to the equation in which it is used will.
        I just find it interesting that someone who is such a fan and defender of chaos theory hasn’t the slightest clue on how to solve standard problems in physics.

      • Robert I Ellison

        But webby – no one least of all me mentioned a diffusion coefficient. What was in discussion was the conceptual framework. The idea that the oceans warm beause of diffusion of heat from the atmosphere as some rate of ‘effective diffusion’ on the basis of something you pretentioously and misleadingly call a ‘master equation’. If the concept is fundamentally wrong – as it is – then the equation is irrelevant. You know perfectly well that the idea is physically incorrect and to continue to defend it I can only assume is to merely defend an image you have of yourself as a ‘legend in your own lunchtime’ – as we say in oz. This is something other than a rational discussion which is pretty much par for the course for you.

      • Robert I Ellison

        ‘The ocean as a whole is an excellent heat sink in comparison to the earth, which is a much less effective heat sink, and the atmosphere is worse still.

        The telling point is that the skipper will not state an effective diffusion coefficient for the ocean’s heat sink — because if he does, he can use that to estimate a transient heat uptake. But he doesn’t want to do that, because that would be at odds with his objective to increase FUD.’

        Oh here it is – you did mention coefficient in your simplistic and irrelevant comment. Diffusion is of course a process of heat transfer by convection across the boundary of 2 systems. Your effective diffusion is a process involving energy from the sun, IR down from the atmosphere, IR up from the oceans, evaporation and convection both in the atmosphere and oceans. So if you know what the change of heat content in the oceans is – you an calculate the transient rate of heat change. Trivial. You can even fit a curve to it assuming ‘effective diffusion’ from the atmosphere to the oceans. Again trivial.

        He doesn’t want to do that because it is a trivial and irrelevant exercise.

      • The Hydro Skippy can’t handle basic physics. The master equation is at the root of all slab calculations that propagate heat from regions of high density (near the surface) to regions of low density (below the surface). The surface region is warm as it receives the majority of its heat from solar radiation transmitted through the atmosphere. Many different factors go into the effective diffusion coefficient, including the vertical eddy diffusion.

        Of course this is all standard stuff, explained nicely by Hansen in a paper from over 30 years ago.

      • Web, without a better grasp of the cause and common frequencies of the natural ocean/atmosphere oscillations, some master diffusion coefficient is more misleading than helpful. Pretty much like estimating climate sensitivity without considering the full range of natural variability and where you are relative to that range. There is roughly a two degree range of average SST. Glacial, interglacial don’t matter, the range of the average surface temperature of the oceans stays in a tight range. What changes is the area of open water. You can check any number of tropical reconstructions, the range of temperature is about 1.5 degrees.

        Does that fit into your master equation?

      • Robert I Ellison

        Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted. Albert Einstein
        What is by normal people referred to as the heat equation? The warm surface layer is created by solar warming. The vertical mixing processes involve eddy formation from both surface currents and subsurface currents moving over the uneven topographical features on the ocean floor. Convection is important as warmer water subsequently rises buoyantly to the surface layer.

        If you are not clear on what you are seeking to do then it is all very pointless. The point of the Einstein quote is that all of the processes in play here are very poorly defined and we need generally to keep in mind the limitations of the gross simplifications involved in applying something appropriate to simple systems – such as a CPU heat sink – to larger and much more complex systems such as the oceans. The ‘slab ocean’ model is a ‘black box’ model that glosses over important aspects of the physics of the system. In the important area of conceptualisation of the system it helps very little at all. Heat movement in the oceans is dominated by turbulent mixing, convection, downwelling and upwelling. Combining those into an ‘effective diffusion’ tells us nothing at all that we didn’t already know. In terms of modelling – it may allow the processes to be represented in a grossly simplified and perhaps misleading way.

        But you are not interested in understanding climate but only in self aggrandisement – in being in your own estimation a legend in your own lunchtime as I said.

      • @WHT: Afraid not. It is a coefficient that arises from the formulation of the master continuity equation.

        Webbie, had you typed “master continuity equation” to Google (in quotes), you would have found only one single mention of it, in an article by A.E. Hill titled “Quantitative Hydrology of Noah’s Flood.”

        The prelude to the math includes this paragraph: “The ark was specified according to the physical dimensions described in Gen. 6:15, and it was presumed to have been endowed with other sound engineering practices to minimize drag and maximize stability. Shipbuilding expertise existed in the time of Noah. Furthermore, God gave Noah specific instructions on how to construct the ark suitable to meet his purposes (Gen. 6:14–16). Noah could have used sails (as was typical for boats of that time), but since Genesis does not mention sails, no use of sails is assumed.”

        On the second last page we read “Constraints and input conditions expressed in equations [1] through [7] are incorporated into the master continuity equation [8].”

        Hoping that the bibliographic citation [8] would clarify everything, I checked it out.

        [8] C.A. Hill, “The Noahian Flood,” 171, table 1.

        The what? Oh, this is explained in reference [1]:

        [1] C. A. Hill, “The Noahian Flood: Universal or Local?” Perspectives on
        Science and Christian Faith 54, no. 3 (2002): 170–83.

        Consulting [1], it turns out (a) that the author is the wife of A.E. Hill, and (b) that she prefers the spelling “Noachian,” (One hopes no domestic tension resulted.) In [1] she writes “it
        must be assumed that Noah went out and gathered the animals himself.” (Surely some of them would have needed to be hunted rather than gathered. How does one gather a lion?)

        A scientist is known by the company he keeps. Were I an ideologue I’d be kinder.

      • Vaughan Pratt, So you think Webster was just Fickian around :)

      • The master equations, of which the following all qualify:
        Fokker-Planck,
        Kolmogorov forward,
        Navier-Stokes,
        Boltzmann transport,
        heat equation,
        detailed balance,
        convection–diffusion equation,
        transport equation,
        Darcy’s law,
        and then you have the continuity equation for semiconductors verified originally by the Haynes-Shockley experiment.

        These are all known by different names depending on the scientific discipline, but universally conserve continuity of particles by including at a minimum a diffusive term and usually a drift term. When the drift term is removed, you end up with the canonical form known as the heat equation (see also Fick’s law) for pure diffusive transport.

        The impressive pattern that you find is that these all work on vastly different scales. At the scale of semiconductors, the continuity equation works effectively and an industry is built on characterizing diffusivity and/or mobility. At the next higher scales, similar equations are used to figure out heat sinking and mixing via compartmental models. At still a larger scale, one can analyze ground water diffusion and gravity drainage. At even larger scales, we start looking at global effects. Why the laws of statistical physics in establishing detailed balance of incoming and outgoing flows have to stop at this point, just because some pinhead by the name of Chief Hydrologist says so, is beyond me. In general, heat will move around from regions of high concentrations to regions of low concentrations and since this is all a transient phenomenon, it is nice to have some simplifying approaches to estimating the asymptotic trends — while all the focus on chaos and turbulence is misdirection.

        Besides, it’s not like I am saying anything new here. James Hansen clearly had an effective diffusion coefficient in mind when he wrote that paper back in 1981. When is someone going to go after that paper and disprove his growth curves?

        And Vaughan, if you want to google this phrase (in quotes), “master Fokker-Planck Kolmogorov Navier-Stokes Boltzmann detailed balance convection–diffusion transport continuity equation”, I doubt you will get any hits either. I suppose I will get docked for not mentioning the Wiener process, Markov chains, and the Ito calculus for generality’s sake.

      • Webster, Back in 1981, Hansen was using data available in 1981 and assumptions common in 1981. To use you Master Equation, you have to assume that the temperature and mixing of the oceans is “normal” and that you estimate sensitivity is correct. As I have said before, your master diffusion coefficient is a useful model because as all models are, it is wrong, but consistent if it is a good model. The 1995 regime change and the 1998 climate shift were not in the 1981 playbook. The southern oceans have the most stable temperature variance so they would be the most likely reference to use to determine any change in the rate of diffusion, if it is measurable. Likely, it is not in the semi chaotic oscillations. If you don’t have a reasonable estimate of the cause and timing of the natural oscillations your work is mathturbation,

        Right now, a good estimate of the range of natural variability in the habitable regions of the Earth, the areas with water vapor, is +/- 1.5C degrees. Right now, the oceans appear to be at the +1.5 point of the bi-stable system limits. Sensitivity to positive forcing decreases at the upper limit. If you want to estimate “climate” sensitivity, start in 1995 and be ready for a bit of non-linearity.

      • The Captains Clueless both figure into the Climate Clown list.

        http://tinyurl.com/ClimateClowns

        The dispersion of stupidity can’t be stopped because out of 4 billion people on the planet, there will be at least a few who have the uncontrollable urge (see Devo) to make their ridiculous views known.

        I am resigned to the POV that there is not much of a difference between the crackpots here and those who go on the Coast-to-Coast radio show and rail about small nanobots getting into their bloodstream and making them sick after a chem-trail appeared overhead. I am not making that up, having overheard that claim made the other night. Of course, the host nodded his head in approval, as otherwise he would start to lose his listenership.

        Sheesh, what the heck is wrong with you people? Are you all skeptics at the intellectual level of a Coast-to-Coast zombie?

      • Then call me a Captain Clown :)

        That will be my Clown Logo.

      • Robert I Ellison

        Wrong spot.

        Why the laws of statistical physics in establishing detailed balance of incoming and outgoing flows have to stop at this point, just because some pinhead by the name of Chief Hydrologist says so, is beyond me. In general, heat will move around from regions of high concentrations to regions of low concentrations and since this is all a transient phenomenon, it is nice to have some simplifying approaches to estimating the asymptotic trends — while all the focus on chaos and turbulence is misdirection.’

        It is all just alphabet soup Webby. As I started off saying – try to talk English and stick with terms as they are generally understood. Random use of terminology and throwing in names holus bolus is not impressive at all. Neither is calling me a pinhead.

        What we want to know is the heat content of the oceans – and the only way to know that is to physically measure it. Someone should deploy 3000 floats in the oceans. Oh – wait – they already have. Just think – if they had talked to webby they could have avioided all that. Your idea is such a typical crackpot notion that seems to exist only to demonstrate how smart you are. The latter is of course not true by any measure.

      • Chief Dingo-Boy, Place something that is warming next to something that is cooler and the heat will move from the warming object to the cooler object. That is basically the second law. You will now claim the statement as too trivial and pedantic, but I have to do that to neutralize the abject stupidity and FUD that you swill-tards propagate.

        Oooh, it’s the chaotic oscillations! … please, just shoot me.

      • Robert I Ellison

        The 2nd law of thermodynamics seems generally reasonable on a macro scale. The sun warms the oceans, the oceans heat the atmosphere by net IR up, convection and evaporation.

        Chaos happens too as an intrinsic property of complex and dynamic systems. It just has little to do with oscillations and more to do with – equivalently – bifurcations, tipping points, catastrophes in the sense of Rene Thom or phase transitions. Climate shifts occur on a planetary scale – characterised as a shift to a different state on the complex topology of the system phase space. In English – it is an abrupt change in the temperature trajectory, rainfall patterns, biological populations, ice mass, etc.

        In the oceans conduction and radiation are minor processes. The 2nd law is a minor consideration. Instead heat is moved about – to and from the warm surface layer – for the most part by convection and turbulence. You are using the wrong physics.

        Again – I am not sure what point you think you are making except to be rude and abusive.

      • cd: So you think Webster was just Fickian around.

        No, you are, Cap’n, but it’s the right thing to be doing. The slow rate of diffusion (governed by Fick’s law, unrelated to Fock space) from the surface layer to the deep ocean is like the asbestos gasket in my heat sink analogy.

        Modern PC’s are dominated by graphics, which have way more cores than the CPU. So at the risk of being overly graphic, picture the motherboard on top with the CPU and its heatsink below. If the heat that’s flowing from the CPU (the atmosphere) into the copper block immediately below (the sea surface layer) can’t flow through the gasket to the fins cooled by the fan (the deep ocean) then there’s going to be a major temperature delta between the copper block and the fins (the thermocline).

        What keeps the deep ocean cold is the glaciations that happen every 100,000 years. This is much too short a period for the heat in the surface layer to make its way down into the deep ocean, which besides the ice cores is Earth’s only other memory of the last glaciation.

        Scientists can really get off on this stuff.

      • Another electronics analogy regarding Fick’s Law:
        The SiO2 layer grown on silicon substrates increases relaively rapidly at first but slows way down once it develops some thickness. One can wait months if you naively assumed that initial rate was representative of later growth.

        That is one of the most studied processess in history.

      • If it is just moving around with no preference, that is a model of diffusion.
        Skipparoo, you do not understand the math much.

      • Robert I Ellison

        OMG

        ‘Cold water has a higher density than warm water. Deep water gets colder at depth because cold, salty ocean water sinks to the bottom of the ocean basins. Less dense, warmer water rises to the surface. This process of rising and sinking water creates a complex pattern of ocean circulation called the ‘global conveyor belt.’

        In contrast, the Earth gets hotter and hotter at depth primarily because the energy of radioactive decay is leaking outwards from the core of the planet. While this geothermal energy is transferred to ocean water along the sea floor, the effect is so small that it’s immeasurable by direct means.

        Why? The actual amount of heat generated per square meter of Earth is quite small, especially compared to the amount of heat necessary to warm the ocean. Geothermal energy emanating from the Earth averages only about one tenth of a watt per square meter. At that rate of heat flow (without taking ocean currents into account), it would take well over a year just to heat the bottom meter of the ocean by one degree Centigrade.

        However, the ocean is not standing still. Complex deep ocean currents driven by density variations in temperature and salinity are constantly replacing the bottom layer of ocean water with colder water.’

        http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/coldocean.html

        You both need a course in remedial oceanography if you think that the ocean stands still like a nicely behaved CPU heat sink – or that it is wamed by the atmosphere. It is not ‘directionless’ but driven by currents and density differences – and the correct terms are turbulent mixing and convection. Fast processes as water moves in eddies and rises and falls bouyantly. You should not encourage the idiot savant – emphsis on idiot – Vaughan.

      • Hydro boy imagines this in his head.

      • Vaughan Pratt, “What keeps the deep ocean cold is the glaciations that happen every 100,000 years. This is much too short a period for the heat in the surface layer to make its way down into the deep ocean, which besides the ice cores is Earth’s only other memory of the last glaciation.”

        Antarctic’s memory is every 100,000 years. That likely required a summer/winter reversal so it is hard to tell how relevant that memory may be.

        The tropics have a different memory. That is why I prefer a moisture model and the bulk of the thermal mass instead of trying to figure out what happened when in uninhabitable zones. According to Tierney, 60,000 years ago we had similar tropical temperatures. 40,000 years ago there was plant life that was buried under the ice in Siberia that is outgassing today.

        Data can lie, if you let it. You never know who may have made a wrong assumption.

      • Robert I Ellison

        Of course webby – I have joined with NOAA to spead FUD about thermohaline circulation.

      • Antarctic’s memory is every 100,000 years. That likely required a summer/winter reversal so it is hard to tell how relevant that memory may be.

        What is a “summer/winter reversal?” I had one last year when I visited Australia, but somehow I don’t think that’s what you’re talking about. Magnetic flip perhaps? How would that affect the seasons?

        And even if the seasons did flip somehow, how would a 6-month phase shift make any difference to deep ocean temperature?

      • 1. Specifically, if we had a forcing of 8.5W/m^2 with all the energy ending up in the abysmal ocean (the part at or below 4C) the time for it to heat by 1C would be about 8.6 years by my reckoning.

        A large amount of energy, but not large compared to the energy trapped by GHGs.

      • With the internal oscillations it is hard to nail down a number or time from. 8.6 years is reasonable, but there is a 3 to 5 years ENSO cycle, of of the ENSOs but the settling time of the temperatures following an event. Vaughan noticed that there is an approximate 14.5 year lag likely due to a settling or complimentary phase with internal variability and of course there is the ~30 year natural pseudo cycle. Picking out what is a “true” settling time constant is a bit of a bear. So the small amount of warming down to 2000 meters could have started 30 or more years ago.

        That gives other paths to, cooling like the poles, plenty of time to get into the action. That is why I think the 4C layer makes a poor heat sink.

      • David Springer

        Yes but best estimates of imbalance at TOA is 0.5-1.5W/m2 more coming in than going out. That’s modeled not measured and the polarity of it can’t even be guaranteed. Even so that would take a century, unabated, to raise global ocean temperature by 1C through its entire volume which would make the average temperature 5C instead of 4C. A global ocean temperature of 5C is still far too cold for comfort and we would still rely on stratification to bring us the milder interglacial temperature regime which allowed modern civilization an opportunity to flourish. It may be a short lived flourishing in geologic timescales and more likely to die by natural cooling than by anthropogenic warming.

      • David Springer

        Robert | September 4, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Reply

        “How much heating would be required at the oceans surface layers to raise the temperature of the deep oceans by 1C? Is that really possible without an external body impacting the planet?”

        I think the more salient question is how much cooling of the surface layers was required to make the abysmal temperature a mere 3C?

        In other words, why is the average temperature of the global ocean 4C when the average temperature of the surface is currently 17C? Must the average temperature of the ocean not be a reflection of the average temperature of its surface over sufficiently long period of time that even conduction could equalize top and bottom temperature?

        Usually when I ask this question the only answers I get are that water reaches its lowest density point at 3C and that’s why the abysmal ocean temperature is 3C. But that’s wrong. SEAwater reaches it highest density point at minus 2C which also happens to be its freezing point. Salt changes the temperature/density profile! After having shot down that argument about why the ocean depths are so cold I’m left with the sound of crickets chirping by the warmists. Chirp little cricket!

      • Little Davy, you’re just too dumb to argue with. If you can find and correct the three glaring factual mistakes in what you wrote, I might consider giving you some free education.

        Until then, feel free to embarrass yourself further. :)

      • Robert I Ellison

        ‘Why the laws of statistical physics in establishing detailed balance of incoming and outgoing flows have to stop at this point, just because some pinhead by the name of Chief Hydrologist says so, is beyond me. In general, heat will move around from regions of high concentrations to regions of low concentrations and since this is all a transient phenomenon, it is nice to have some simplifying approaches to estimating the asymptotic trends — while all the focus on chaos and turbulence is misdirection.’

        It is all just alphabet soup Webby. As I started off saying – try to talk English and stick with terms as they are generally understood. Random use of terminology and throwing in names holus bolus is not impressive at all. Neither is calling me a pinhead.

        What we want to know is the heat content of the oceans – and the only way to know that is to physically measure it. Someone should deploy 3000 floats in the oceans. Oh – wait – they already have. Just think – if they had talked to webby they could have avioided all that. Your idea is such a typical crackpot notion that seems to exist only to demonstrate how smart you are. The latter is of course not true by any measure.

      • Robert I Ellison

        OMG

        ‘Cold water has a higher density than warm water. Deep water gets colder at depth because cold, salty ocean water sinks to the bottom of the ocean basins. Less dense, warmer water rises to the surface. This process of rising and sinking water creates a complex pattern of ocean circulation called the ‘global conveyor belt.’

        In contrast, the Earth gets hotter and hotter at depth primarily because the energy of radioactive decay is leaking outwards from the core of the planet. While this geothermal energy is transferred to ocean water along the sea floor, the effect is so small that it’s immeasurable by direct means.

        Why? The actual amount of heat generated per square meter of Earth is quite small, especially compared to the amount of heat necessary to warm the ocean. Geothermal energy emanating from the Earth averages only about one tenth of a watt per square meter. At that rate of heat flow (without taking ocean currents into account), it would take well over a year just to heat the bottom meter of the ocean by one degree Centigrade.

        However, the ocean is not standing still. Complex deep ocean currents driven by density variations in temperature and salinity are constantly replacing the bottom layer of ocean water with colder water.’ http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/coldocean.html

        You both need a course in remedial oceanography if you think that the ocean stands still lik a nicely behaved CPU heat sink – or that it is wamed by the atmosphere.

  41. On the plus side, I guess we can say It’s as rigorous as most stuff in sociology, ie. not at all.

    On the negative, its’ contentions are sufficiently devoid of evidentary support to allow anyone to read whatever they want into it.

  42. One of the main problems with climate science is that it’s hard to be scientific about it:

    Prediction: This step involves determining the logical consequences of the hypothesis. One or more predictions are then selected for further testing.

    Test: This is an investigation of whether the real world behaves as predicted by the hypothesis. Scientists (and other people) test hypotheses by conducting experiments.

    (wikipedia)

    In general, the right thing to do is to hold other variables constant, and select for the one variable, and see what happens. Not possible, and the models seem so far off as to have failed. At the least, the models should have error bars. But they do not, and the natural variability seems to be much higher than the models have assumed.

    Have the predictions failed? Isn’t it hard to say since the prediction do not have error bars?

    If the signal is so weak that natural variability swamps it, then how can it be tested?

    • One of the main problems with climate science is that it’s hard to be scientific about it:

      One of the main problems with quantum mechanics is that it’s hard to be scientific about it. You have to study for years.

      The proverbial Man In The Street is not expected to find it easy to be scientific about it, nor to even understand what it would take to be scientific. The MITS simply guesses that it must be very hard since that’s how it seems to the public at large.

      • David Springer

        Which bits of climate science do you think isn’t adequately addressed by classical physics and why?

        It seems a little odd that you’d mention QM in the context of a system so complex at the scale of classical that it becomes hopelessly intractible. If it’s intractible there it’s orders of magnitude less amenable to QM description.

      • Wrong by a mile. Many what were deemed “hopelessly intractible” systems have been solved by the brilliantly conceived analytical approach known as statistical mechanics. Similar to QM, and as Vaughan says, you have to study it for years.

        As an example, Planck’s Law is a mix of quantum mechanics (to specify the wavelength/energy equivalence) and statistical mechanics (to populate the Bose-Einstein state space). One needs both, and the seemingly intractibly complex black-body spectrum is solved.

      • Which bits of climate science do you think isn’t adequately addressed by classical physics and why?

        Excellent question, David. My answer would be the mechanisms that haven’t yet been implicated as contributors to HADCRUT3/4.

        As to why, that’s easy: no one’s ever even mentioned those mechanisms, let alone made any connection with global temperature. One they’re identified, standard methods of physics can be brought to bear.

        It seems a little odd that you’d mention QM in the context of a system so complex at the scale of classical that it becomes hopelessly intractible.

        By that argument cosmology and particle physics should have nothing to do with each other. Which isn’t true at all.

      • David Springer

        Vaughan,

        I wouldn’t characterize cosmology as hopelessly intractible although ad hoc insertions of unlikely physics (ex. inflation) and unexplained phenomena (ex. dark energy) don’t inspire full confidence in the Standard Model. And of course reconciliation of general relativity with QM hasn’t really moved forward in 70 years.

        That said, you dodged my question. Climate science is nothing like cosmology. Relativity doesn’t enter into the picture. All the interactions of interest are ensembles which are well explained by classicial physics. So I must ask again, what specific bits of climate science do you believe is not adequately explained by classical physics? Reiterating, I believe classical physics is all that’s required and we simply have a classical system where we don’t know the instant state of the system well enough to make reliable projections on its evolution backwards or forwards in time and even if we did have enough instant information it’s too complex to do more than toy models of its evolution even with modern supercomputers. There’s no simple theory of climate waiting to be discovered that will explain everything. Climate is not cosmology. It’s just a wicked mess (in our hostess’ words) and our best projections come from climatology (which is actuarial) not climate science (which is theoretical).

      • David Springer

        WebHubTelescope | September 4, 2012 at 10:52 pm |

        STFU. The adults are talking. If I want your opinion I’ll squeeze it out of your pointy little head.

      • “David Springer | September 5, 2012 at 5:46 am |
        STFU. The adults are talking. If I want your opinion I’ll squeeze it out of your pointy little head.”

        This coming from someone who is a rabid defender of Intelligent Design. Wow, how’s that for scary kids?

      • Mark B (number 2)

        Mr Telescope said;
        “hopelessly intractible” systems have been solved by the brilliantly conceived analytical approach known as statistical mechanics. Similar to QM, and as Vaughan says, you have to study it for years.”

        I don’t know what statistical mechanics is, but from the sound of it, I should read up on it!

      • “You have to study it for years.” Having spent years balancing thermal capacities, I can relate to that. Perhaps that is why my approach seems so foreign to the ones that don’t have that experience.

        http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/09/it-is-not-rocket-science.html

        If it were rocket science, I really wouldn’t have much to say. But being it is non-linear thermodynamics…

        So Web, were exactly did you determine your effective diffusion?

      • @DS: All the interactions of interest are ensembles which are well explained by classicial physics. So I must ask again, what specific bits of climate science do you believe is not adequately explained by classical physics?

        You seem to have it backwards. Climate science is not there to be explained. Climate science seeks to explain climate phenomena. Here are several such phenomena that climate science cannot explain without quantum mechanics.

        1. The ocean oscillations. (Climate science cannot explain these at all, even with quantum mechanics.)

        2. The absorption line spectra of greenhouse gases. (This depends on the discrete energy levels of the relevant molecular bonds.)

        3. The shape of the spectrum of thermal radiation emitted by the surfaces of the Earth and other astronomical bodies as governed by Planck’s law. (This depends on statistical mechanics, in which energy levels are quantized.)

        4. Ball lightning. (Like 1 except that the odds are greater that an explanation if found might need quantum mechanics.)

        5. Auroras. (These are the visible light resulting from emission of photons by ionized nitrogen atoms regaining an electron, and oxygen and nitrogen atoms returning from an excited state to ground state.)

  43. Academia has become the greatest threat to America’s future at home and globally. The Left’s takeover of public education and academia’s adoption of the philosophy of Mao, Castro, Chavez – along with a liberal media that glorified the struggle of Hồ Chí Minh resistance against Americanism (that even China came to rue) — has shown a spotlight on the deficiencies is representative democracy.

    Even Mao saw the danger to society of what Western academia and liberal Utopianism have become. Globalist, Charles Freeman (From Mao to now: a revaluation) says, “Mao cautioned against — domineering self-righteousness and overconfidence born of success, translated into hegemonism.” It is in that light that we recognize the danger of “The Cultural Hegemony of Climate Superstition” (e.g., see, http://evilincandescentbulb.wordpress.com)

    • Awesome!

    • The propensity for skeptic denizens to write long strange rants about “leftists” and history is only second to the propensity of evolution skeptics to come out with outbursts of biblical verse.

      In that both are seemingly off-topic, yet both are very revealing of a motivation and bias driving the rejection of science. While the ideology of evolution skeptics is obvious, the ideology of climate skeptics is given little notice. Which is a shame because if you don’t understand where most climate skeptics are coming from you’ll end up making mistakes.

      eg the mistake of imagining that they will accept the evidence for AGW if only it were stronger and scientists spoke more frankly and were more transparent.

      Was there not a recent paper by Stephan Lewandowsky that found endorsement of extreme free-market economics was a strong predictor of the rejection of climate science?

      I would suggest that only touches the surface. The actual ideology at work among climate skeptics (*not ALL climate skeptics before someone pulls that one out) is not merely some free market economic ideology but more of a full packet tea party nature. This is why these rants about leftists destroying the world keep coming out the woodwork.

      Evolution and climate skeptics nevertheless see fit to hide their real motivations for dismissing the science and adopt a scientific veneer, because at the end of the day even the creationists and tea party followers recognize science is more credible than politics or religion.

      • And yet…the Leftist-lib secular-socialists hate Ayn Rand. And yet, it’s lifetime Lefties like California’s Gov. Brown and Democratic Party Chair John Burton who compare those who stand up for America to Joseph Goebbels.

      • Nice demonstration of what lolwot was saying.

        And yes, it is important to remember that many (possibly even most) ‘skeptics’ have no interest in science, just their political/economic ideologies which they percieve to be threatened by science.

      • I hope your belief is from being a Democrat and not something worse. “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” Joseph Goebbels

      • Joachim Seifert

        Wagathon: Is this the real wording of the “Goebbels Axiom”?
        You put it in quotes …from where? As it stands it does not
        make sense….The state must …therefore… shield the people
        from the lie? Sure you don’t mean the consequences of the
        TRUTH? Check again….

      • Nice double down.

      • …for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and that is why state-sponsored global warming fearmongering is so pernicious to individual liberty and the principles of Americanism.

      • Why anyone would be a fan of Ayn Rand is beyond me. Why she was a fan of William Edward Hickman, who kidnapped and murdered a child, is beyond me.

      • Why any atheist would not be is amazing as Rand is an atheist and any man that is not a fan is just admitting Rand has the bigger nut.

      • Leftists hate it when people bring up their real history. They dislike that almost as much as when you make fun of them.

      • lolwot,

        Here’s some history, made current, just for you.

        Leave it to the party that fought a war to defend slavery, that instituted Jim Crow, that sicced dogs on civil rights workers, and stood in the school house doors to fight segregation, to post a campaign video claiming we all “belong” to government.

        Talk about getting things exactly backwards.

  44. Wags has even more of value to contribute to these discussions than even Gary. He is definitely my favorite “denizen.”

    • See above. There is nothing self-absorbed, self-righteous, self-centered progressives hate more than when someone pokes fun at their pomposity.

  45. Faustino Sept 3 10,31pm observes that in Australia, home of the big new carbon tax, left leaning people want Malcolm Turnbill, not Tony Abbott, to lead the opposition party. Hmm, conversely, I’d say that the opposition Liberal Party, ( old usage ‘liberal’ not as in ‘progressive’ liberal,) would want Julia Gillard to continue as Labor Party leader, ironic lol.

    • BC, wouldn’t the same reasoning (without irony) imply that the government would be thrilled to have Tony Abbott continue as the opposition leader?

  46. Max on comparisons, minnows and whales come ter mind.

  47. David Springer

    Rob Dekker | September 4, 2012 at 3:24 am | Reply

    “If you are actually as convinced that it is “difficult to predict” which direction Arctic sea ice will would “shift” as you pretend to be in your interview with Yale, then I would be happy to bet with you. Since variability is large in the Arctic, but 5-10 year trend is clearly down and accellerating, I would suggest a similar bet arrangement as I agreed on with William Connolley last year :

    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2011/06/26/betting-on-sea-ice-10000/

    If someone wants to bet on something that’s hard to predict they usually buy state lottery tickets or go to Vegas. Or the ponies if they got ‘em. Or if they want to bet on global warming they can go to InTrade. Or I suppose narcissists might like to make a public spectacle of it by betting each other and advertising it.

    How would you categorize yourself and W. Connelly?

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      David Springer, the investors at Intrade have thoroughly embraced a “hockey-stick” belief in Arctic sea ice extent for Sep 2012 to be less than 4.3 million square kilometres  … the present market-odds are 98.9%!   :shock:   :sad:   :cry:   :!:

      The latest scientific evidence, as summarized on this week’s SkSc survey Record Arctic Sea Ice Melt to Levels Unseen in Millennia affirms that the Intrade investors are rational, eh?   :)   :grin:   :lol:

      David Springer, how much has this information shifted your personal odds-estimate regarding the proposition “James Hansens’ climate-change worldview is scientifically correct?”   :?:   :?:   :?:

      • My 2.89 Kilometer square estimate appears to be a touch low, but that is based on Northern hemisphere ocean heat capacity not CO2 forcing, that dirty little natural variability thingy :)

      • What really outs the global warming alarmists as deceivers and not simply unconscious incompetents is the absolute loss of the ‘official’ raw data upon which the AGW True Believers’ faked snapshot of the world rests. The original data has gone missing.

        The missing data, the foi2009.pdf (CRUgate and ‘Harry Read Me’ files) disclosures are examples of the methods the Left approves to overcome scientific conclusions that otherwise would be reached using the scientific method. Instead schoolteachers eschew the scientific method.

        Instead, academia is wasting taxpayer money looking into non-scientific methods about how to bend the public to their will. And with that what are we treated to? California’s Gov. Brown and DNC Party Chair John Burton compares Mitt and Paul to Joseph Goebbels as lifetime Leftist Gov. Brown stumps the state for government money to finance his mythical bullet train to nowhere.

      • @ A fan of *More* Whining

        http://tinyurl.com/dxuooty

      • David Springer

        I hope they’re right about Arctic sea ice disappearing. The vast frozen north has abundant natural resources the human race can use to raise living standards for everyone! Even you, John Sidles, will have an improved living standard on a warmer globe!

        Fortunately Hansen is demonstrably wrong in predictions of ill-effects of global warming. Sea level is rising at the same rate it has since the end of the Little Ice Age. The streets of New York are still well above water in defiance of Hansen’s prediction they would be underwater.

        I’d like to say I admire your devotion to James Hansen but it’s really just sad. How much more failure can your HERO WORSHIP endure, John Sidles?

    • David Springer,
      Even the most conservative models make it blatantly clear which “direction” Actic sea ice is going in the next 5 to 10 years. And the most aggressive models (the ones that have been most accurately tracking reality) show that there will be very little ice left over in the Arctic summers 5 to 10 years from now.

      That is why I asked Dr. Curry to back up her public statements with scientific evidence.

    • Springer said,

      I suppose narcissists might like to make a public spectacle of it.

      Sounds like you are describing “ClimateGate”.
      What’s your point ?

      • David Springer

        If you didn’t get my point it’s not worth belaboring it to you. I’m sure many others got it.

  48. JC I have a very important message from me as a layman trying to get the “science” to make sense, by making “consensus” make sence.

    First of all when it came to the pure definition of on what´the “consensus” was built and was included I soon found out thát there exist no such definition other a proclaimed general one by the IPCC.
    So to me its now after a couple of years research finnally clear that there really is a “consensus” but what it includes is only the minimal acceptance that CO2 is a greehouse gas and that it warms the atmospfere. But thats the outher limit on the “consensus” and as soon you get outside this basic understanding you leave allmost every sceptic and even many mainstream climatescientists behind.
    So stop talking about a consensus that doesnt exist and use it only within the tight boundaries it truly reflects. When everybody is allowed to carry around thier one home made version of what the “consensus” exists of, nothing will ever make sense to anyone communicating two completely different opinion of its meaning.
    Be destingt on WHAT there is a consensus and realize thats its so small that its irrelevant to the climate debate. It only makes the debate to be more confusing than to clearity.

    • There really was a ‘consensus’ and that is a sad fact. Since then the truth has been ‘hard won.’ Does anyone really believe anymore that humans can remake reality with GCMs? If it was ever believed in such a thing haven’t we seen that nature continues to confounding such attempts to deceive the public?

      The Left had their go. They attempted to ‘hide the decline’ but that was exposed more than a decade ago – just as the data manipulation was exposed (foi2009.pdf – CRUgate disclosures).

      Admitting that there had been no significant global warming since 1995 was as close as Phil Jones allowed himself to get to the truth and honesty that science requires. Worse, Jones has done everything possible since then to walk-back the truth. Why no consequences?

      Academia is protecting its own from the consequences for the fraud and corruption that CRUgate represents: the public be damned. MBH98,99,08 (the ‘hockey stick’ graph) was an attempt to hide the decline known as the Little Ice Age. The ‘hockey stick” also hides the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) – a period we had since learned was warmer than current temperatures. Even Mann now admits there really was a MWP and yet he is rewarded with lifetime tenure for years of lying to the public.

      • If you are asking if it will ever be possible to develop a models that will accurately forecast future conditions, then I would think that yes it will be.

        If you are asking whether policies should be implemented based upon the output of inaccurate models, than I would say no.

        Step 1- develop a model that accurately tells policy makers relevant, accurate information.

      • Why assume models can be developed that can predict future climate? It’s never been done before.

        And what if models accurately predicted the end of the last Little Ice Age 30 years in advance—what would that have meant to humanity? Could such prescience really have been used by anyone in any meaningful way?

        The people need to start thinking in terms of having no money because they won’t. A government that has grown too big to fail is stealing and then wasting the public’s earnings.

        Economic models have shown with absolute certainty since the 70s that the social security system was nothing but a Ponzi scheme to secure the votes of the ignorant. To what good purpose have such models ever been put? Climate model-making would simply become another expensive and ruinous government program. The work ethic has been downsized to the something-for-nothing free lunch ethic that only less government can ever hope to solve.

      • If there were models that could reliably forecast future conditions 30 years into the future then infrastructure could more easily be built to meet a populations needs. If you knew that water would be plentiful for the next few years you would react differently than if you knew the next several year were likely to have lower than normal rainfall.

      • Rob, better forecasts would be wonderful and fully warrant investments of time and money in making them better.

        But you don’t need a perfect thirty-year projection of lung cancer deaths to know it’s time to quit smoking.

      • @ rob starkey, A good paper on lake tahoe droughts from 800 to 1250 AD show extreme dry periods that lasted 100s of years. Tall tree trunks 60 meters deep in lake beds. Durations and Severity of medieval droughts in Lake Tahoe Basin, JA Keppe et al in Quaternary Science Reviews 30 (2011)3269-3279 of Nov 2011. We don’t understand what already happened and are just learning the natural variations much less predicting the future with untestable models.

      • Robert–but it would be inaccurate to think the comparison between climate science and harms vs. smoking and cancer is valid.

        Please describe a harm from a warmer world that you know will happen and where.

      • Scott

        No we do not have very good historical records, but they are not necessary for a model to make reliable forecasts. 40 years ago how good were our hurricane forecasts? Are they better today? Perhaps when modelers work on better regional models and not global models they will be more sucessful

      • About half of the US population is incapable of even learning something the hard way. We know secular-socialist liberal Utopianism is doomed to failure. There’s your model: to avoid. And yet, we have a society that suffers from Hot World Syndrome (HWS).

        HWS is a phenomenon where the global warming apocalyptic content of mass media imbues viewers with the notion that the world is a hotter and more intimidating place to live than it actually is, and prompts a desire for more protection than is warranted by any actual threat. Hot World Syndrome is one of the main conclusions of the anti-humanism movement of the United Nations. Additionally, murderous examples of failed socialism — as witnessed by large segments of Leftist-lib society from the safety and comfort of Western civilization — has created a global psychosis, causing people to turn on the morals, principals and ethics that otherwise would sustain their spirits and prevent them from succumbing to moral decline and mental helplessness. Individuals who do not rely on the mainstream media and who understand the floccinaucinihilipilification of the cabinets and cabinets full of worthless global warming research, have a far more accurate view of the real world than those who do not, are able to more accurately assess their vulnerability to present and future weather conditions, and all the myriad vagaries of life over which they have no control. The global warming realists do not fear the hand of man and tend to be nicer people with a life and have a wider and healthier variety of beliefs, attitudes, behaviors and lifestyles. Towing a boat to the river with the family in the back of a SUV is not evil, no matter what the liberal fascists may wish to believe today.

    • Slabadang

      You make an excellent point by asking the rhetorical question: “what consensus?”

      Yeah. There is probably a fairly strong “consensus” among climatologists (for what it’s worth) that

      - CO2 is a GHG

      – that humans emit CO2 (primarily by burning fossil fuels)

      – that GHGs slow down outgoing LW energy thereby heating the planet

      – that atmospheric CO2 levels have increased since measurements started

      – that “globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature anomaly” measurements (for what they are worth) have shown warming (in roughly 30-year fits and spurts) since they started

      But that is not what IPCC is claiming.

      IPCC spokesman Pachauri is claiming that “consensus” exists (among “2,500 scientists”, I believe) that:

      AGW, caused principally by human CO2 emissions, has been the primary cause of observed global warming since 1950 and that this represents a serious potential threat to humanity and our environment unless actions are taken to curtail CO2 emissions drastically.

      And that is a totally different premise for which there is no empirical scientific evidence.

      And therein lies the rub…

      Max

      PS You won’t get any of the supporters of this latter “consensus” premise here to provide the empirical scientific evidence to support it – they will constantly switch back to the first premise, instead.

  49. I’m a working mechanical engineer in industry for 30+ years. What first threw up red flags to me was the most basic thing – could I trust the surface temp data to be precise to a tenth of a degree C. Short answer – absolutely not. Then there was all the guessing via proxies about ancient temps. Like I’m supposed to buy that? No way. Add to that the flawed statistical data analysis. I was quickly becoming a “denier”.

    But what really cemented my skeptic opinion was all the absurb notions promoted by the warmists of how to combat AGW. Where the heck are all the engineers?? Wind, solar, electric cars, conservation and etc. – None of it demonstrates any kind of serious engineering analysis. You just can’t get to where the warmists want to go with any of this, unless you just want to end modern society as we all know and love it. Pathetic. So the conclusion I reached was that if the engineering behind the AGW solutions was so disgustingly poor, then the science “proving” AGW was probably just as bad if not worse.

    • Mike

      Excellent.

    • Engineers, accountants, all the IPCC could come up with were economists. When you’re a hammer, all your problems look like nails. When you’re an academic, all your problems look like papers.

      Of course, they don’t see the obvious problem. It’s in another dimension.

    • “What first threw up red flags to me was the most basic thing – could I trust the surface temp data to be precise to a tenth of a degree C”

      Why did you feel you had to trust them to a tenth of a degree? I certainly don’t.

      “Where the heck are all the engineers?? Wind, solar, electric cars, conservation and etc.”

      The idea all along has been to transition gradually away from fossil fuels. I fear you’ve been misinformed.

    • Mark B (number 2)

      @Mike
      “But what really cemented my skeptic opinion was all the absurb notions promoted by the warmists of how to combat AGW. Where the heck are all the engineers?? Wind, solar, electric cars, conservation and etc. – None of it demonstrates any kind of serious engineering analysis.”

      Typical denier….(I shake my head) you pick a few soft targets like wind, solar cars etc., whilst omitting the concept which took a genius to think of:

      The giant machine at the South Pole, which will suck the carbon out of the atmosphere, and turn it into snow! In fact, by my calculations, 1000 square kilometres of fast melting snow, which will have to be buried before it melts in huge landfills, which will have to be refrigerated at 52 degrees colder than the very coldest temperature ever recorded on earth.
      As an engineer, you will probably realize that the back of the fridge gets really warm, so this heat could be used to provide warmth and hot water for the people working at the South Pole.
      In fact the guy who thought all this up (an academic genius) was supposed to be coming on this forum to answer questions on his invention, but I think that he must have changed his mind when he saw the amount of ridicule that he was going to have to face!

      • Mark B (number 2)

        PS
        I think that the concept of the giant machine at the South Pole could have been inspired by the Vacuum Cleaner Monster in the film, Yellow Submarine, which ended up sucking in the entire world and then itself.

  50. No consensus is likely in the foreseeable future–no consensus on AGW, and even no consensus on what constitutes a consensus.

    • Consensus among scientists exists.

      Consensus among deniers is not necessary. Every branch of science has its associated kooks and conspiracy theorists.

      • Now in the right place… Rubbish.

      • There is no consensus on the rate of warming associated with more CO2

        There is no consensus on the rate of future sea level rise

        There is no consensus on what harms will happen where as a result of it getting warmer.

        What exactly is there a consensus on Robert?

      • Robert

        You write

        Consensus among scientists exists.

        “Consensus” about WHAT? (See above post by Slabadang.)

        Max

      • Robert, what you say is true that there is such a thing as consensus among scientists, but there is a difference between mature knowledge that has gained acceptance over time by withstanding challenges (a long and painful process) and declarations of consensus that you find coming from professional societies. The time when an idea reaches a point of maturity that its acceptance deserves to be called consensual can be hard to pinpoint: it is gradual acceptance rather than a discrete event. So how do you know if and when consensus has been achieved? As a judge once said about pornography, “I’ll know it when I see it.” That may seem vague and unsatisfying but you can take some comfort from the ability of the marketplace of ideas to eventually get the pricing right, imperfect as it may be, and from a large, useful body of well-accepted scientific knowledge in many areas that has emerged without official declarations of consensus by professional societies..

  51. The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

    Excellent article and insightful comments, but now where do we go? The consensus has been ‘hard won” but not in the way it should have been (i.e. rigorous debate, open data, etc.) but rather, it’s been won through pushing the wagons into a circle in knee deep mud, some of which is used to sling in all sorts of directions.
    So the wagons are circled on both sides, with the character of each side called into question because of the fact that they are circling the wagons and that mud is flying every-which-way. Pulled between the wagons (tied by visible and invisible strings) are the policymakers, none of which are qualified to really make a judgment about the science itself, and so must rely on the credibility of the scientists. But as now many of the scientist’s are now so covered with mud (from their own hand and others) that policymakers get confused and aren’t sure who to believe.
    This is all quite an unfortunate situation, in that there is at least some potential that some rather important policy decisions need to be made related to human impacts on climate and the related biosphere and oceans, and with the wagons circled and each side continued to both roll in the mire by their own actions and throw it at the opposition, we seem to be at an impasse—at least in the United States.

    Given all this, we better be quite lucky and hope that this year’s record low Arctic Sea ice (off the charts low by some metrics and certainly far lower than any climate model could have forecast) isn’t yet one more warning that things are rapidly going to become “worse than we thought”. In other words—how to we un-circle the wagons, stop slinging the mud, wipe off our collective faces, and get back to the real science that policymakers can trust?

    • R.Gates directed at Robert immediately above. Sorry about that.

    • R Gates

      Cowboy metaphors? Your’e showing your age (not that I remember the cowboy series of the 60’s of course)

      Its a good metaphor though. Who moves next in order to either break decisively into the circle or alternatively an action from within that will allow the gallant defenders to move on to their promised land?

      I will raise your lower arctic ice levels against our plummeting temperatures for a decade in the UK-the ringleader of climate change for twenty years- when the leader of the gallant defenders-the Met office- had been promising us hotter drier summers and warmer wetter winters and according to some, that snow was a thing of the past . .

      Perhaps you can answer your own question and write an article for submission to Judith?
      tonyb .

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        Tony,
        You know of course that lower Arctic sea ice and cooler temperatures in England are very likely related and I’ve provided you ample links to research on this before.

        But not to get stuck on all that again. I didn’t choose the “circle the wagons” metaphor, as it was provided in Judith’s post above, though I think we all have seen this cliché on TV enough one way or another.
        The first step to change any behavior is to fully recognize that behavior. But in the midst of warfare, it is hard to get either side to stop firing long enough so that emotions can cool and reason can prevail. I am not optimistic this can happen in this case.

        Two scenarios that could play out:
        1) Anthropogenic climate change really isn’t a big deal—certainly nothing to worry about—and one side eventually will pack up and quietly go away and policymakers and political pundits can find something else to argue about.
        2) Anthropogenic climate change really is a big deal, it’s going to get worse than most people think, and one side will eventually pack up and quietly go away and policymakers globally will have to take some sort of significant action and political pundits will find something else to argue about.

      • R Gates

        Yes, but I then provided evidence to indicate that the link between the two was highly debatable and its more likely the jet stream- which seems largely independent of arctic ice perambulations- to be key to our climate here.
        PS The weather here in the UK has turned glorious just as the ice reaches its low point. However the jet stream is now stuck in a favourable position.
        Obvious conclusion is that we personally need a big research grant so we can suss it out.
        tonyb

      • tony b

        Think we’ve discussed this before, but (from around 1970 to up until around 2001) there was a very good correlation between the recorded
        “globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature anomaly” (i.e. HadCRUT3) and the sales of “Big Mac” hamburgers.

        The exact workings of the mechanism linking these is still being researched (at the McDonald’s Hamburger University near Chicago) but the robustness of the correlation is hard to ignore.

        Since 2001 the correlation is less robust. It is postulated that other anthropogenic factors may be at play here, temporarily masking the “Big Mac” effect.

        More work is needed, of course.

        Max

      • Max

        I’m personally convinced about the BIg Mac connection but being a vegetarian I dont want to research it :)
        tonyb

    • R. Gates

      Western wagon circling all aside, I think it very fortunate for the USA (and possibly for the rest of the World, as well) that the wagons are
      stuck in the mud” on CAGW in the USA and there is an “impasse”, or in “Western talk” a “Mexican standoff”.

      This keeps people (i.e. politicians/policymakers) from hastily doing stupid things at taxpayer expense without first knowing what the unintended consequences of their actions will be, whether these actions will help to solve the purported “problem” or whether there even is a “problem” at all.

      Let’s do “step 1″ of the “decision process” first before we jump to
      “step 5″, or (to put it in “Western talk”), “let’s not get the buggy ahead of the horse”

      Max

    • If both sides circle the wagons, and hide behind them (which is the point of circling them in the first place), then there isn’t any fight. Not a very good metaphor for the climate wars.

      If you want to use it anyway, I would suggest that the skeptics are cowboys who have circled their wagons around the energy economy (and personal freedom since they’re basically the same thing) to protect it from the circling CAGW Indians advocates. The “Indians” have tried arrows (Copenhagen), tomahawks (EPA regs) and even hurled buffalo dung (the hockey stick), but the brave cowboys are still fighting the good fight. (No offense to our indigenous brethren, it’s not my choice of metaphor.)

      Come November 6, either the cavalry will show up and herd the injuns back to their reservations (the academy and NGOs), or we will have an economic Little Big Horn as they shoot the horses that pull our wagons and insist that we all buy Priuses, even though they won’t be invented for another hundred years.

  52. Great commentrs by Wagathon, Mike and others here.

    It really is laughable, or would be if it weren’t such an example of the filthiest sort of politics, that Brown and Burton should compare the Republicans with Goebbels when in fact Goebbels is THEIR OWN, Brown’s and Burton’s, ideological bedfellow, not the Republicans’. Let’s not forget that as a Nazi, Goebbels was a good socialist and a good leftist. Brown and Burton are the Goebbels lookalikes here, not the Republicans. With their lies, their determination to put taxpayer monies to destructive uses, and their fundamental hatred of liberty, Brown and Burton are the Goebbels types here, not the Republicans.

    The mendacity, effrontery and venality of the criminal reactionary left knows no bounds.

    • Chad, Is the thrust of your argument that the ‘bad guys’ of world history are the ones who wanted to destroy individual liberty, like Goebbels, and therefore they must have all been on the left?

      So what about the USA in pre-slavery abolition days? I’d say slavery involved quite a loss of liberty, wouldn’t you Was that socialist too?

    • You need 100 mg/day of a good beta blocker to deal with all those freedom haters out there – especially the ones pushing AGW.

  53. Robert I Ellison

    I was asked on another thread to characterise the position of Anastasios Tsonis on warming in the 20th century – but there was mention of decadal variation by Judith so I will bring the reply here. It is simple to respond because in one of Tsonis’ papers there is a graph – http://s1114.photobucket.com/albums/k538/Chief_Hydrologist/?action=view&current=MONOTONIC.gif – It purports to disentangle the ‘internal signal’ of decadal variability from AGW. There have been many attempts to do the same. Here are 2 more – http://s1114.photobucket.com/albums/k538/Chief_Hydrologist/?action=view&current=ensosubtractedfromtemperaturetrend.gif

    Bottom line is that the max. AGW is about 0.1 degrees C/decade – but the internal signal both added to and subtracted from warming in the 20th century.

    ‘Using a new measure of coupling strength, this update shows that these climate modes have recently synchronized, with synchronization peaking in the year 2001/02. This synchronization has been followed by an increase in coupling. This suggests that the climate system may well have shifted again, with a consequent break in the global mean temperature trend from the post 1976/77 warming to a new period (indeterminate length) of roughly constant global mean temperature.’ Swanson et al 2009

    There are several factors that confound expectations into the future. One is that the natural variations will not repeat the pattern of the 20th century. The entire earth system is interconnected but ENSO is a central component. Here is an 11,000 year proxy – http://s1114.photobucket.com/albums/k538/Chief_Hydrologist/?action=view&current=ENSO11000.gif – And here is a new 1000 year proxy from the Antarctic – http://s1114.photobucket.com/albums/k538/Chief_Hydrologist/?action=view&current=Vance2012-AntarticaLawDomeicecoresaltcontent.jpg – The former shows extreme variance over a long time and the latter shows La Niña dominance since the end of the Medieval optimum and El Niño dominant in the last 150 years. There are implications in this for floods, droughts and surface temperature into the future.

    Changes in cloud cover are clearly involved and seem associated with sea surface temperature – colder ocean surfaces – especially in the central and northern Pacific – lead to increased marine stratocumulus cloud and vice versa. This changes the energy inputs into the climate system dramatically on annual to decadal scales that we know of.

    The evidence from ERBS, ISCCP-FD and CERES suggest that cloud cover changes dominate warming in the satellite era. ‘In summary, although there is independent evidence for decadal changes in TOA radiative fluxes over the last two decades, the evidence is equivocal. Changes in the planetary and tropical TOA radiative fluxes are consistent with independent global ocean heat-storage data, and are expected to be dominated by changes in cloud radiative forcing. To the extent that they are real, they may simply reflect natural low-frequency variability of the climate system. ‘ IPCC AR4 s3.4.4.1

    I have no expectations about how climate will change over this century. It seems likely that the current cool mode will persist and intensify for a decade or three more. Beyond that there be dragon-kings in the sense of Sornette 2009 – http://arxiv.org/abs/0907.4290/

    If the recent pattern persisted over the rest of the century – 2 degrees C warming seems unlikely. But that hardly seems the biggest source of climate risk – which is more likely to be nonlinear responses of the climate system to relatively small changes in control variables.

    • Serendipity – I was just preparing links to various graphs. I have just one you don’t show, which is from their 2009 paper on the ~2001 shift

      Imo, the natural part of the 20th Century would have come to rest in 2000 at about the same temperatures seen ~1930s.

      • Robert I Ellison

        IMO – the ‘oscillations’ are non-stationary and non-Gaussian as shown by the ENSO proxies. There were as well two periods of natural warming in 20th century record.

      • Robert I Ellison

        I just realised what you were saying. You assume that the last cooling period should be equal and opposite to the last warming if there were no AGW. Why should this be so? And how would you tell from such limited information?

      • I wouldn’t say equal, but given time I do think natural variation relaxes back to a secular cooling trend.

      • Robert I Ellison

        There is an essential difference because I am not talking about trends and simple causality but multiple negative and positive feedbacks in dynamical complexity resulting in abrupt shifts in climate state space – ‘called equivalently a phase transition, a bifurcation, a catastrophe (in the sense of Rene Thom), or a tipping point.’ I drop these terms in to suggest that this is a different ballgame – a different way of thinking about the fundamental modes of climate change.

        Oh – btw – I can certainly boil water. I can make croissants and boston buns, ‘roo in red wine sauce, beef and snowpeas in black bean sauce and much else.

        This contrasts with the typical cult of AGW space cadet. ‘A person who leads people to believe they are from a different planet or dreaming of ancestry in other areas of the universe. The person does not respond when directly spoken to, performs odd food rituals and displays complete disregard for commonsense. A space cadet is not necessarily refering to a person of low intelligence or a heavy drug user, but rather a person who typically focuses on all aspects of life except the one currently at hand.

        This is sometimes portrayed by testing the properties of wooden door hinges and the current coefficient of drag, by accelerating the door into the closed position at a high rate while leaving anyroom. This will often awaken, startle or confuse normal inhabitants of the planet earth, but will appear oblivious to the cadet. When ascending or descending a staircase, a spacecadet will tend to forget that the gravitational constant of earth differs from that of their home planet and will give the impression or a much larger moving mass. The area of the voice box “pharynx” also appears to differ from that of a normal specimen, causing words to be miss pronounced such as sold-her, instead solder.

        The exact origins of a space cadet are unknown but rumor has it that their home planet was destroyed due to pollution caused by poor house keeping. Following this disaster they proceeded to disperse themselves throughout the universe and litter the gene pool. Space cadets are known for their poor skills in common sense areas such as coordination, food preparation, basic cleaning and processing simultaneous coherent thoughts.’ Urban Dictionary

        The question is – can you boil water?

    • Explaining all global warming and cooling, nominally, it’s the sun, stupid–We cannot ignore the only indepedent variable.

    • What has Tsonis had to say about climate since 2009 ?

      • Robert I Ellison

        Dear Space Cadet Max,

        If you wish to make a point it is usually helpful to frame it in a logical construct. This typically involving generating a premise, arguing a point and reaching a conclusion. let me know if you need any help.

        Cheers

        Wyatt, Marcia Glaze , Sergey Kravtsov, and Anastasios A. Tsonis, 2011: Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and Northern Hemisphere’s climate variability Climate Dynamics: DOI: 10.1007/s00382-011-1071-8.

        ‘Proxy and instrumental records reflect a quasi-cyclic 50-to-80-year climate signal across the Northern Hemisphere, with particular presence in the North Atlantic. Modeling studies rationalize this variability in terms of intrinsic dynamics of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation influencing distribution of sea-surface-temperature anomalies in the Atlantic Ocean; hence the name Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). By analyzing a lagged covariance structure of a network of climate indices, this study details the AMO-signal propagation throughout the Northern Hemisphere via a sequence of atmospheric and lagged oceanic teleconnections, which the authors term the “stadium wave”. Initial changes in the North Atlantic temperature anomaly associated with AMO culminate in an oppositely signed hemispheric signal about 30 years later. Furthermore, shorter-term, interannual-to-interdecadal climate variability alters character according to polarity of the stadium-wave-induced prevailing hemispheric climate regime. Ongoing research suggests mutual interaction between shorter-term variability and the stadium wave, with indication of ensuing modifications of multidecadal variability within the Atlantic sector. Results presented here support the hypothesis that AMO plays a significant role in hemispheric and, by inference, global climate variability, with implications for climate-change attribution and prediction.’

      • Robert, thank you for answering my question. I don’t why you needed to preface your answer with a rude comment.

  54. Vaughan Pratt

    You have given me a lot to think about, so this is only a partial answer, but thank you for your unusually thoughtful (for these columns) reply.
    “This assumes that the heating effect of radiative forcing is instantaneous” Both air and water are poor conductors of heat, so both are heated by convection. But convection proceeds very fast in the atmosphere compared with the ocean. So for signal tracing purposes in my theoretical model it makes no difference when I assume a true transport delay of about one month is instantaneous. After all, temperature lags about 1 month behind the solstices. In any case I wanted to use the data accepted by the international community (including IPCC) to narrow any points of difference to the physics of the process. Like a true engineer I hope I know how and when to approximate.
    The equally rapid fall in temperature after 1940 was, for me, very impressive and had to be explained by any credible theory, although this seems to have escaped the IPCC. Part of my theory was that only absorption close to the maximum of earth’s blackbody radiation (14.5 micron) could have such a profound effect. The sudden reduction in the atmosphere’s absorption of radiation allowed the oceans to control earth’s temperature for the next 30 years.

    You also mention re-radiation by CO2. Now if we assume high Q sharp resonance by the CO2 molecule, as seems likely, those molecules will be executing simple harmonic motion, so will only be able to retransmit the same, i.e. monotonic, which will quickly be reabsorbed… More like a laser than a black-body radiator.

    • You also mention re-radiation by CO2. Now if we assume high Q sharp resonance by the CO2 molecule, as seems likely, those molecules will be executing simple harmonic motion, so will only be able to retransmit the same, i.e. monotonic, which will quickly be reabsorbed… More like a laser than a black-body radiator.

      Yes, more or less. That was what I was getting at with my reabsorption within microseconds. But at a sufficiently high altitude photons emitted upwards have a better than 50-50 chance of escaping Earth, and that’s what defines the photosphere for that wavelength.

      The drop from 1940 to 1960 and that from 1940 to 1970 are both large. The former is due to the big drop in the ocean oscillation, the latter to the big drop in solar heating.

      • “The drop from 1940 to 1960 and that from 1940 to 1970 are both large. The former is due to the big drop in the ocean oscillation, the latter to the big drop in solar heating.”

        My picture of ocean circulation agrees with the experts re. haline circulation. Somewhere in the N. Atlantic, due to increased evaporation in the warmer surface water from the tropics, increased concentration of salt causes this water to sink to the depths. This raises the profile of water density and temperature, first in the S. Atlantic/Southern ocean and later in the Pacific. So one would expect a gradually increasing rate of temperature rise which is what happened. This picture is a bit different from yours but both cast doubt on the IPCC analysis and the latter’s ability to predict the future.

  55. No, VP it would not. The government sees Malcom Turnbill as an ally re policy and fear Abbott’s promise, popular with voters, to end the carbon tax As a result otf the tax, and broken promises by the PM, the opposition are well ahead in the polls.

    • As a result otf the tax, and broken promises by the PM, the opposition are well ahead in the polls.

      So no chance of the swing voters changing their minds in the next 14 months, eh?

      Wotif 100-year storms increase in intensity during those 14 months? Are Australians too blind to notice, you reckon?

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        So no chance of the swing voters changing their minds in the next 14 months, eh?

        I don’t think even Australian voters could be that silly. They’ve had enough of this government. There is no end of really bad policies. Every day there are new revelations about incompetence and irresponsible governments, even vindictiveness against the people of Australia. The Australian government is so sure it’s carbon pricing policy is good for Australia they are trying to make it as difficult as possible and as expensive as possible for the next government to repeal the legislation. That is vindictive to the Australian tax payer.

        Today’s “The Australian” has revealed that the compensation for the Carbon tax, which has already been paid to Australia’s brown coal fired power stations (the highest intensity CO2 emitters) exceeds the costs of two of the other great policy fiascos of this government: the Building Education Revolution (extensively rorted because of totally incompetent administration) and the “Pink Bats” home insulation fiasco. “ Carbon compo for brown coal a bigger waste than BER and pink battshttp://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/carbon-compo-for-brown-coal-a-bigger-waste-than-ber-and-pink-batts/story-e6frgd0x-1226465058691

        The waste from these handouts to brown coal generators eclipses the waste of the pink batts scheme and the school halls program.

      • Today’s “The Australian”

        Is that like the Wall Street Journal here? :)

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        Didn’t you try to tell someone else you have no ideological biases?

      • Didn’t you try to tell someone else you have no ideological biases?

        Are you claiming there is no objective way of measuring bias, Peter? That to measure it one must first be biased oneself? How is that supposed to work reliably?

      • In any event your link was to an opinion piece. Our local rag the San Jose Mercury News carries opinion pieces spanning the entire political spectrum. I can prove any point I want by picking the opinion piece that best supports it, all from the one newspaper. Often completely opposite opinions are given equal space side by side on the same page.

      • Although I’m not an ideologue myself I sometimes play one on blogs, while trying to avoid playing favorites. I’ll let you guess which kind I’m playing in the following.

        @Peter Lang (referring to the possibility of Gillard’s Labor government in Australia remaining in power at the next election): I don’t think even Australian voters could be that silly.

        Puts me in mind of the Daily Mirror’s in-your-face headline:
        “DOH! 4 MORE YEARS OF DUBYA. How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?”

        That’s 59,054,087 voters that, eight years later, this year’s Republican National Convention also seems to have judged DUMB. No one at the RNC had even one good word to say about Dubya. Nor at the DNC for that matter.

        History is rarely kind to conservatives. Everyone agrees conservatives did the wrong thing by Galileo. But:

        1. Which scientists did conservatives ever do the right thing by?

        2. When was the last time the US economy thrived under a conservative president?

        3. Taking global climate as an indicator of economic health, with increasing economy raising the temperature according to the 162-year global land-sea HADCRUT surface temperature record, when was the last time a conservative president raised the global temperature during his tenure in office?

        (Answer to 3: Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. My wife doesn’t like Reagan, which creates a modicum of domestic stress, but we can deal with it. With global warming since 1970, how could even one conservative president fail to raise the global temperature, let alone all, since Reagan? They seem to have this gift for putting a damper on anything that would raise the temperature!)

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        You are definitely an ideologue. Your many, many comments show it clearly.

        You either don’t recognise your own biases (something you accused someone else of a day or so ago) or you are not being truthful.

        You are an ideologue on politics, CAGW, renewable energy, and anti-nuclear energy. You are also opposed to economically rational policies preferring that the Left should dictate what policies should be imposed on society (at the Left’s direction of course).

        I think you are a complete goose and have given up discussing anything serious with you.

        So, I’d ask you to give up directing your p**ing comments to me.

      • “That’s 59,054,087 voters that, eight years later, this year’s Republican National Convention also seems to have judged DUMB. No one at the RNC had even one good word to say about Dubya. Nor at the DNC for that matter.

        History is rarely kind to conservatives. Everyone agrees conservatives did the wrong thing by Galileo. But:

        1. Which scientists did conservatives ever do the right thing by?”

        If want talk about the US, then instead saying conservatives say Republican.
        It’s only relatively recently that dems have been taken over by Progressives.
        Lieberman was/is dem conservative- Al Gore tapped Sen. Joseph Lieberman as his vice presidential running mate.
        Gore some could called a conservative at one time. It’s only last decade or so that conservative have been chased out of the Democrat Party.

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

        Confusing what called conservatives in Europe with America, misses rather obvious fact that US founded on “liberal principles” or what would be called then radical principles.
        And the Great Experiment continues.

        “2. When was the last time the US economy thrived under a conservative president?”

        Any of them did better than Obama.
        What your metric? Credit rating?
        Unemployment. GDP.
        The last time Unemployment was over 8%, was 1982:
        Unemployment: 1982 :9.7

        http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0104719.html

        Graph of US GDP:

        http://visualizingeconomics.com/2011/03/08/long-term-real-growth-in-us-gdp-per-capita-1871-2009/#.UEmpJSLv1lJ

      • > My wife doesn’t like Reagan which creates a modicum of domestic stress, but we can deal with it.

        I sure hope you can’t blame her for having flair with men, Vaughan.

      • @gbaikie: What your metric?

        Well, since jobs seem to be uppermost on everybody’s mind these days, are you ok with the Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) PAYEMS table for total nonfarm US jobs? To see the fine detail at the start of 2009, set the Observation Date Range to start from 2008-01-01, or just click here.

        Note the increasing decline throughout 2008. By year end it had reached a rate of decline of about 10 million jobs a year

        Six months into 2009 that rate had halved, and another 6 months later it had turned the corner and began a slow but steady three-year climb that is still continuing today (though with considerable month-to-month fluctuations).

      • “@gbaikie: What your metric?

        Well, since jobs seem to be uppermost on everybody’s mind these days, are you ok with the Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) PAYEMS table for total nonfarm US jobs? To see the fine detail at the start of 2009, set the Observation Date Range to start from 2008-01-01, or just click here. ”

        How is this making your point and what is significant of starting at 2008-01-01?
        Your first graph work fine:

        http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?id=PAYEMS

        If want more resolution how about start on when Carter got in office: 1977-01-01.
        Or Reagan: 1981-01-01
        Then get these these “conservative” leaders: Reagan, Bush I, beginning 1989, then followed Clinton [January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001] and Bush II, followed by Obama.

        But in any case I don’t how number people added to employment each month helps Obama, one expects increase in number after recession and he isn’t getting enough- currently 140,000 added would mean treading water, less than that indicating adding more to unemployment rate- some months have exceeded this amount [reducing unemployment rate]- and is useful in giving indication of when one can say when the recession ends.
        But total unemployment is better number.

        So, number added to employment each month gives what happening in a more current way, and last Jan was pretty good [as far the hope of recovering, but lately [last few months] it’s been bad, indicating another recession may be coming [a double dip or we haven't even actually recovered- and since Fed talking about more quantitative easing- they think another recession is a threat].

      • @gbaikie: How is this making your point

        Sorry, I should have explained that this was in response to your “Any of them did better than Obama.”

        gbaikie: and what is significant of starting at 2008-01-01?

        Because 2008-2010 is the only sufficiently short period in time in which we can meaningfully compare the performance of two consecutive administrations, one year each. Any further apart and the economic circumstances aren’t sufficiently well correlated to draw any conclusion.

        Within a month of the change in administration, instead of nose-diving even steeper the economy pulled out and began reversing the dive. Coincidence? What else changed between October 2008 and March 2009 than the administration?

        gbaikie: one expects increase in number after recession

        The US is out of the recession? News to me, I’m thrilled to hear it. :) (See this article.)

        gbaikie: but lately [last few months] it’s been bad

        This is true. At the beginning of the year jobs were rising at a spectacularly promising rate of 3 million jobs per year. The average from March 1 to August 1 however was a much less impressive rate of 1.03 million per year, or 86,000 jobs a month.

        We heard just today that August 1 to September 1 added 96,000 more jobs, a rate of 1.15 million per year. Romney is claiming this is a decline in jobs added, but he seems to be comparing it only to unrealistic expectations rather than actual recent growth, which could as well describe his own unrealistic expectations of 3 million jobs a year in his first term.. Certainly he’s not comparing it to the previous Republican president, who in the last three months of his administration was losing an average of 700,000 jobs a month! Mind-boggling.

        gbaikie: indicating another recession may be coming [a double dip or we haven’t even actually recovered- and since Fed talking about more quantitative easing- they think another recession is a threat

        Could well be. I’d go for the “we haven’t even actually recovered.” We’ll see.

        There is however one segment of the population that doesn’t see any recession. From the above article:

        The 2011 edition of the annual U.S. dollar billionaires ranking compiled by Forbes Magazine broke new records, both in terms of the number of billionaires (1210) and their total wealth (US $4.5 trillion.) The Sunday Times Rich List for 2012 showed that the UK’s wealthiest were richer than they had ever been, with a combined fortune of £414 billion.

        Apropos of that elite crowd, here’s a cute anecdote. At last week’s faculty lunch the question arose whether a billionnaire was someone worth a billion dollars or earning a billion a year. I said the former and added that many of those worth more than ten billion dollars would be making a billion a year. The chairman of the Electrical Engineering department asked skeptically, “How many people are worth that much?” I started to look it up but he had to go to a meeting before I found the answer. Next time I saw him I said “88” and his jaw dropped.

      • @Peter Lang: I … have given up discussing anything serious with you.

        Thank you, Peter, much appreciated. Neither of us were getting anywhere. I’m happy to reciprocate.

  56. Dr. Curry states: “The failure of the IPCC to seriously explore natural variability (particularly natural internal variability on multi-decadal and longer time scales) as an alternative explanation would seem to fail the test of ‘a thorough examination of the range of alternative explanations’ ”
    ————————————————
    The argument against natural variability.
    A forced response is the response of the climate system to a net energy imbalance at top of atmosphere. Natural variability, on the other hand, involves intra-climate-system transfers of thermal energy in the absence of any TOA energy imbalance.
    The current 40+ year warming trend shows a simultaneous and robust warming of all components of the climate system: ocean (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/837/02000mohca.jpg/ ), atmosphere (http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/plot/uah/trend ), and land ice ( http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/703/greenlandgraceicemelt20.jpg/ ).
    All three cannot undergo simultaneous warming in the absence of a TOA energy imbalance. If the atmosphere warms due to natural variability, the ocean must be cooling. If thermal energy is consumed in the melting of land ice, the atmosphere or ocean must be cooling. Natural variability occurs due to intra-system transfers – one component (e.g., atmosphere) gains and another component loses (e.g., ocean).
    Sorry, natural variability can not even begin to explain the current warming trend. The global warming we now see is due to a TOA energy imbalance that is directly caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases and that is warming the atmosphere, and the oceans, and is melting land ice..

    • Owen said, “All three cannot undergo simultaneous warming in the absence of a TOA energy imbalance.”

      There is a small problem with that. The OHC data starting in 1955 doesn’t include the 1940 peak or the still unusual SST drop in the mid 1940s. With the newer satellite data, the northern hemisphere sensitivity to forcing it 2 to 3 times that of the southern hemisphere due to thermal mass. The recovery time for heat loss in the northern oceans would be slower than the southern oceans due to the lower TSI in the NH. Due to poor coverage of the southern hemisphere prior to 1955, we really don’t have the data to tell what the initial SH condition were to estimate where and what imbalances, internal or external existed. A touch of a problem.

      Using what southern hemisphere data and the few southern hemisphere reconstructions, there appears to be a different picture.

      http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/09/using-southern-oceans-baseline.html

      This compares the NH, SH and Global SST to the BEST volcanic forcing.

      When scaled to the approximate equivalent energy based on the AQUA average SST at the skin layer,

      That looks like a dampened approach to a stable heat capacity. That happens to agree with a recent paper by Schwartz and recent estimates that the ocean imbalance has decreased, the stabilization of stratospheric cooling in 1995 and a variety of other more current information from Tsonis, Douglas the list keeps growing.

      Since the accuracy of the TOA imbalance is on the order of +/- 1.5 Wm-2 and currently the models are diverging from observations, How would you know that any of the three are accurate enough to make that statement?

      • Capt says: ” Due to poor coverage of the southern hemisphere prior to 1955, we really don’t have the data to tell what the initial SH condition were to estimate where and what imbalances, internal or external existed. A touch of a problem.:
        —————————-
        Nonetheless the new ARGO data, accurate and global in its coverage does show continued heating of the worlds oceans down to 2000 m. The GRACE misson, along with mass balance studies, shows accelerating melting of land ice in Greenland and Antartica, and both satellite and surface measurements of the atmosphere show a 40 year period of warming. Intra-system transfers of energy cannot explain this simultaneous warming of all climate system components. A strong external forcing is clearly evident.

      • Yes, the ARGO does show some heating down to 2000meters with neutral to cooling in the upper 300 meters. It make perfectly good sense in a large slow energy transfer system that there would be over shoots and settling toward some approximate equilibrium. It is not so much the warming but where and the changing rates of warming.

        As Robert I Ellison mentions the ENSO region has started a predominately la nina cycle. Once you back out what appears to be natural variability, the CO2 sensitivity is closer to the 1 to 1.5 C range, pretty much like more current estimates only the “in the pipeline” is reduced. That should be a Snoopy dancing for joy time kinda revelation.

      • Robert I Ellison

        Here is von Schuckman on ocean heat content in the ARGO period.

        A little warming to 2000m – dS/dt positive

        Here is the SORCE TSI.

        A little cooling to 2008. At the surface the changes in TSI are insignificant in the Schwabe cycle.

        Here is the CERES record for trend lines in the period.

        All the warming was in the SW. The assumption that ‘internal variation’ has no efect on TOA flux is simply wrong.

        Here one of clouds and SW.

        I think they need a bigger scale on the cloud cover anomaly – 1% change is about 3.4 W/m2. The influence on energy in the system is cumualtive.

      • Robert I Ellison

        …with trend lines…

    • Robert I Ellison

      Yeah – I keep saying that the bottom line is TOA radiant flux. My first order differential global energy equation prefectly captures the energy dynamic.

      dS/dt = Energy in – Energy out

      Where dS/dt is approximately the rate of change in energy in the system – there are a couple of minor terms that might be included. The change in energy in the system is the proximate cause of warming or cooling.

      So let’s assume that dS/dt was positive in the last 40 years – it seems a fairly safe assumption. It means that energy in was greater than energy out and we can look for the changes in TOA radiant flux anomalies and analyse for the causes of warming.

      You might like to have a look at this posted at Andy Briggs nice little science enthusiast site – sciencefile.org

      http://www.sciencefile.org/system/component/k2/item/2668-a-new-global-climate-change-equation

      I was perhaps a bit immodest in claiming it as my own as it is a very simple idea – but hell – I did make it up myself. What pleases me more is that I predicted a 2 year La Nina.

    • “All three cannot undergo simultaneous warming in the absence of a TOA energy imbalance.”

      I’m not sure natural internal variability can’t change weather patterns and thus the albedo. This would change the energy balance at the TOA. If you have a reason to believe this is not possible please share.

      I wouldn’t get too married to GRACE results until they have figured out how to avoid errors from isostatic rebound models.

      • I’m sure natural variability can change weather patterns and thus the albedo, as well as effective emissivity.

    • lurker, passing through laughing

      Owen,
      The skipping past the failed predictions regarding the troposphere hotspot sort of sinks your battleship.
      Thanks for palying,

    • “Sorry, natural variability can not even begin to explain the current warming trend. ”
      Are you sure about that, Owen? Have you tried simulating stationary time series with even moderate low-frequency components to observe how likely it is to find epochs of varying lengths of time where temperatures trend upward (and downward)?

  57. mgw above x 2, = +1

  58. k scott denison

    Random thought for our warmist friends:

    Do,you believe in gravity because:

    A) There are several computer models that have been developed from physics principles that all shadow gravity to exist, albeit in varying degrees;

    -OR-

    B) because there are thousands of years of direct observation, of both terrestrial and extra-terrestrial bodies, that confirm the theory of gravity?

    If you can answer this honestly, then it should be easy to understand the skeptics viewpoint.

    • Understanding deniers is all too easy.

      Now if one could only help deniers understand the science.

    • John Carpenter

      Sure, I believe in gravity because I am stuck to the earth. Observation made. However I understand more aspects of gravity because I can model it with simple Newtonian physics. I can make predictions using simple models. I can get exact solutions to macroscopic object motion problems through simple equations and using the concept like a force due to gravity (models). You conflate believing correctly about something with simple observation. Example: Incan’s could predict when the sun would be at a solstice position compared to an equinox position by observation. They made these observations of periodicity over time to help them know when to plant and when to harvest. However, they believed (incorrectly by todays understanding) the sun was a god. They did not correctly understand why the sun moved as it did, they did not understand the planet they were on moved around the sun. They had no inkling of a model to describe their observations. In fact, they had no written language to even pass this information on to others. Because they had no no way to predictivley explain where the sun would be on the horizon using math and physics, they explained their observation with what amounts to an incorrect belief, but one that sufficiently explained thier observations and needs at that time. The worshipping of the sun god was important for the incas to ensure the sun god continued to do what it had always done. They incorrectly believed that if they did not worship the sun god, the sun would not continue to do what it always did.

      Is that what you had in mind with your random thought?

    • Do you believe in gravity because: A) There are several computer models that have been developed from physics principles that all shadow gravity to exist, albeit in varying degrees; -OR- B) because there are thousands of years of direct observation, of both terrestrial and extra-terrestrial bodies, that confirm the theory of gravity? If you can answer this honestly, then it should be easy to understand the skeptics viewpoint.

      I do understand the viewpoint of those skeptics who imagine that the “theory of gravity” has been around for thousands of years. Before Newton the movements of the planets were explicated geometrically, early on with epicycles and later in terms of elliptical orbits. No one saw any connection between the force that pulls apples to the ground and the wanderings of the planets until a mere 325 years ago when Newton published his law of universal gravity as the mechanism responsible for that geometry.

      The climate skeptics’ grasp of the mechanisms responsible for global warming is equally hazy. Climate skepticism is the projection of that haze on climate scientists, who from the skeptics’ perspective have no better understanding of those mechanisms than do the skeptics.

      We see this over and over on this blog as skeptics put forward all manner of fascinating and creative theories of their own that have confirmed their personal beliefs, yet which are supported neither by theory, by observation, nor by anyone who has the respect of more than half the world’s climate scientists.

      This is not to say that climate science itself is entirely free of haze. The story of the blind men and the elephant seems very apropos. A thousand peer-reviewed papers develop a detailed theory of the trunk. Many more concern the skin, in tremendous detail. Likewise the tail, and so on. This immensely detailed theory inspires climate scientists to say that, even if the whole theory is not settled, clearly the basic science is settled.

      I don’t see this. What is missing is a clear picture of the elephant itself, which would reveal that the trunk is considerably more massive than the tail, and the legs more massive yet. And no one has thought to stand on a chair and discover the ears.

      Stated more bluntly, we don’t understand the proportions of the many phenomena that influence climate. Must we pay attention to them all, or just to the top twenty, or top five, or even top two, in order to project to 2100 with as much reliability as is reasonable to expect under the circumstances? And will that projection require a thousand petaflop supercomputers running ten million lines of code, or could it be carried out in 5 seconds by an iPhone app selling for $0.99?

      Speaking as a computer scientist who for 40 years has seen these sorts of questions asked about algorithmic problems in other areas, so far I have seen not the slightest bit of evidence that would support any of these alternatives.

      • Robert I Ellison

        ‘In a scientific problem as potentially complicated as climate, there is another modeling practice that is increasingly important: AOS models are open-ended in their scope for including and dynamically coupling different physical, chemical, biological, and even societal processes.

        The rationales for coupling are to investigate potentially significant feedbacks (e.g., radiative properties for different airborne crystalline ice structures, changes in air and water inertia due to suspended dust and sediments, and water and other material exchanges with plants and biome evolution) and to achieve ever fuller depictions of Earth’s fluid envelope. Besides adding to the overall complexity of AOS models, coupling increases the number of processes with a nonfundamental representation (i.e., similar to a parameterization), because, for the most part, the governing equations are not well determined for the model components other than fluid dynamics. When adding a new coupling link, there is no a priori guarantee of seeing only modest consequences in the AOS solution behavior.’ http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709.full

        I would probably opt for a thousand times more computing and even then expect ‘irreducible imprecision’.

        ‘Sensitive dependence and structural instability are humbling twin properties for chaotic dynamical systems, indicating limits about which kinds of questions are theoretically answerable. They echo other famous limitations on scientist’s expectations, namely the undecidability of some propositions within axiomatic mathematical systems (Gödel’s theorem) and the uncomputability of some algorithms due to excessive size of the calculation.’ op.cit

        Simple hey – and I’m just a lad from Ibrox Park Boys School. Our sport was street fighting.

      • Ok, chief, but where’s you argument that there’s no simple algorithm for predicting 2100 temperature?

        Simple hey – and I’m just a lad from Ibrox Park Boys School. Our sport was street fighting.

        In the mid-1960s I lived in flats on both sides of that school, a couple of miles west (Great North Rd) and east (Glebe Point Rd). Not close enough for a street fight though. :( Fleas were a bigger problem.

      • Here is simple algorithm for predicting 2100 temperature?

        http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CET-NV.htm

        Reply to Dr. Pratt’s other comment has gone to the moderation (web links >3)

        http://judithcurry.com/2012/09/03/the-hard-won-consensus/#comment-236171

      • Vulved,

        Here is simple algorithm for predicting 2100 temperature?

        http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CET-NV.htm

        Yep. That seems to cover all possibilities.

        Is that where climate science has got to?

      • Hi Peter
        The CET is the longest and most accurate record we have.
        Its spectral components are combined with the existing upward 350 year long trend
        North Atlantic Precursor is a geological record, and you may be surprised it has almost identical spectral components as the CET
        As additional information the SSN is plotted too, to show there is no immediate and direct correlation to it.
        I do not see why you should get so dejected, it is only an extrapolation which may or may not come off, it maybe because you do not like the result, to be ‘onest nether do I, since it suggests that Margate ain’t going to be Marbella.
        Peter, I’ve only shown what the data contains, but IPCC projection

        would suit me more. I would prefer two degrees C up than one degree down, last 2-3 winters were ‘orrible, but then we can’t win them all.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        I will again defer to James McWilliams. I trust that you accept his expertise.

        ‘Atmospheric and oceanic forcings are strongest at global equilibrium scales of 107 m and seasons to millennia. Fluid mixing and dissipation occur at microscales of 10−3 m and 10−3 s, and cloud particulate transformations happen at 10−6 m or smaller. Observed intrinsic variability is spectrally broad band across all intermediate scales. A full representation for all dynamical degrees of freedom in different quantities and scales is uncomputable even with optimistically foreseeable computer technology. No fundamentally reliable reduction of the size of the AOS dynamical system (i.e., a statistical mechanics analogous to the transition between molecular kinetics and fluid dynamics) is yet envisioned. ‘

        Didn’t know it was a serious question.

      • Robert I Ellison

        On my old laptop – didn’t mean to do that. Frankly – there are too many people with no sense of humour.

      • vukcevic,

        Sorry for spelling your name wrong in my previous comment.

        My previous comment was a response to looking, briefly, at the link you gave. You said:

        Here is simple algorithm for predicting 2100 temperature

        But all I could see was a mass of coloured lines. I couldn’t see how to predict temps in 2100 from what I saw in a quick look. You need to explain how to use the charts not just say “Here is simple algorithm for predicting 2100 temperature” with no explanation.

      • @Peter Lang (to Milovoje Vukcevic): Is that where climate science has got to?

        Head down, Milovoje, incoming friendly fire. Don’t end up like Pat Tillman.

      • It’s a bit like weaving between lanes on Dumbarton bridge.

  59. Tempterrain –

    Slavery was a product of racism, which is a collectivist concept. Just like Marx, it denies the worth and the rights of the individual. So, in that dimension slavery could be said to be a leftist institution.

    A further perspective might be this: the rightwing traditionally is defined as old money, expectations that the hoi polloi shall bow and scrape, authoritarian impulses, making rules for other people that don’t apply to oneself, clinging to inhumane ideas. That accurately describes a great many so-called, self-proclaimed “liberals” – starting, par excellence, with one Al Gore.

    And yes, taking anyone’s income to use for one’s own frivolous (not to say grossly destructive) purposes is slavery. Thast is what was done to the slaves, and that is what the criminal reactionary left proposes and strives to do. You take my money – my tax dollars – and you make me your slave.

    Socialism, in all three of its major manifestations in Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany and Maoist China and their spinoffs, is slavery plain and simple. The CRL proposes to use coercion to take what the taxpayers earn and apppropriate it for themselves exactly the same way slaves were deprived of the fruits of their labor. Leftists are as good enslavers as any.

    • So to briefly summarize the above, if you are a deluded right-winger who attributes all good things to the right, and all bad things to the left, you can then pretend that all the bad things in history came from the left.

      Snore. Why don’t you man up and take responsibility for your ideology’s history (and present . . . and future) of racism and misogyny?

      Facts are facts . . .

      • John Carpenter

        It really needs to be looked through the lens of power instead of political affiliation. Whether your right or left, it really makes no difference when both are seeking power…. Power over others to do what they want…. You fill in the ‘want’.

      • …mysogyny is failing to recognize the scientific cred of Kristen Byrnes (Ponder the Maunder) for no reason other than to protect Al Gore from the truth and honesty of a teenage girl.

      • Robert, Chad may have stumbled onto a new way for conservatives to explain why most Afro-Americans vote for Democrats.

        Chad said “Slavery was a product of racism, which is a collectivist concept. Just like Marx, it denies the worth and the rights of the individual. So, in that dimension slavery could be said to be a leftist institution.”

        If, as Chad claims, slavery was a leftist institution, perhaps he and other right-wingers could believe Afro-Americans vote Democrat because they have a romanticized notion of slavery, and yearn for life on the plantation.

      • Max –

        It’s an interesting theory – but I’m afraid that you have it wrong.

        You see, I have had it explained to me many, many times by “conservatives” (and we both know that “conservatives” have a much better understanding of reality than libruls) that American blacks vote for Democrats in such high numbers because they just can’t see that they’re being “duped” by Democrats to vote against their own best interests. The massive scam is so obvious to my “conservative” friends, but they seem to have some difficulty getting African Americans to understand what is going on.

        You would think that a brilliant and charitable strategy of telling black voters that they are unaware of an obvious scam would cause AA voters start flocking the polling booths to vote Republican, but for some unexplainable reason that just hasn’t happened yet.

        Imagine how many black votes Republican candidates would get if African Americans would only wise up and listen to what Republicans tell them is in their best interests.

      • Robert I Ellison

        Dear Space Cadet Max,

        Better – but the objective is to include a logical argument in between the premise and the conclusion.

        You may find that the Republican north was anti-slavery – although the depth of feeling on this has been questioned – and the Democrat south was in favour. The Whig Party was the third party in American politics – the name deriving from the freedom fighters of the American Revolution and in turn from the British Whigs who had a strong Scottish Enlightenment influence. They were generally identified as opponents of tyranny. This name was proposed last century by F.A. Hayek to designate those heirs of the scientific enlightenment whose beliefs and values are liberal in the European sense and not in any sense either conservative or libertarian.

        From the unique way that America was forged in enlightenment ideals – the term liberal has come to mean something other than someone who has an ideal of individual freedom. ‘Keynesian economic theory has played a central role in the economic philosophy of American liberals. The argument has been that national prosperity requires government management of the macroeconomy, to keep unemployment low, inflation in check, and growth high.

        John F. Kennedy defined a liberal as follows:

        ‘…someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a ‘Liberal’, then I’m proud to say I’m a ‘Liberal’.’

        Times change but Whigs retain the passion for the enlightenment values of freedom, free markets, the rule of law and democracy. We share many of the concerns of John Kennedy – and I am certainly against slavery. We would perhaps be less Keynesian and more focussed on balanced budgets and management of interest rates.

        There does however appear to be a very illiberal strand of politics emerging that demands the suspension of democracy, the jailing of citizens whose only crime is free speech, centralised control on economic activity and economic ‘degrowth’. It is less liberal than eco/socialist. These views seem so pervasive that it has become a battle for the future of humanity. We have been down this path before.

        ‘Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.’ CS Lewis

        There – we have a premise, an argument and a conclusion. I am far from expecting an elegant dissertation from you – that would require a miracle – but I do expect a workmanlike job.

        Yours cordially

      • Joshua said: “Imagine how many black votes Republican candidates would get if African Americans would only wise up and listen to what Republicans tell them is in their best interests.”

        Joshua, Republicans need a clearer message.

        How about ” HEY STUPID, VOTE GOP ! ”

        On second thought, that might imply voting for Republicans is stupid.

        I need to give this more thought.

      • Doesn’t most of the US black population vote Democrat for largely economic reasons? Racism would still be present in both main parties in the USA but I can’t see that being a significant factor in voting patterns, except possibly still in parts of the South, where the old Democratic party still hasn’t quite disappeared.

        The black population in the USA is less economically affluent, so tend, on average but with many exceptions, to vote Democrat for exactly the same reasons as the less affluent sections of the population in countries like Australia, the UK, France , Germany etc tend, with again many exceptions, vote for their Labor Parties, or Social Democrats, or Socialist Parties etc.

      • “Snore. Why don’t you man up and take responsibility for your ideology’s history (and present . . . and future) of racism and misogyny?”

        Let’s begin with racism the definition:
        “a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.”

        I know of no difference inherent in races.
        Races per it’s definition, are described by various physical differences. That people have different physical characteristic is not what I mean, but for example people with red hair aren’t different than people with brown hair [other than obvious difference in hair color].
        A silly example being people with red hair aren’t more likely get angry.

        If one compares humans to dogs- dog breeds do have inherent differences- something like Irish Setter, will point at “prey”. Various Shepard dogs will attempt to herd [people or animals]. So other than obvious different appearance there differences between different breeds of dog.
        That is what mean by there is no difference between “human races”.
        Humans do have many cultural differences, they speak the same language differently; or distinct dialects or different languages; and etc. And a language by itself will shape culture.
        In addition people with similar “things about them” will bond and develop and share values. These “things about them” may include physical appearance, same political views, same region of country, and etc. Loosely, different ethnic groups.

        So someone believing in racism would be believe there are different characteristics belonging or are inherent or have tendency belonging to racial types.
        That there differences in the genes in addition physical differences [black skin, olive skin, curly hair, short, tall, green eyes, shape skull, etc, etc].
        There are difference in genes other than just morphology, but what defines racism is the belief that these differences belong or accumulate to a certain racial type.

        The difference between a dog and human is mainly a human isn’t born with preset ability, that humans need to learn more than a dog does to function as human. We spend years being children. We learn to walk and learn to talk- before ready to be an adult, the dog is dead from old age.
        Or an adult human mostly comprised of what could called software rather having a hardwired behavior.
        Of course human do have some wired in behavior, I think the difference between male and female is a wired difference. And of course there is variation in the degree of this differences, but there enough difference that it somewhat predictable.

        And it’s quality of being *somewhat predictable* is largely what racism is all about. Such as Asian are good in school.
        Whereas Asian may on average to do well in school, I would say this has to do Asian culture, rather than “smarter Asian genes”.

        And that cultural influence is such a strong and dominating factor, that it can even lessen any difference between sexes. [There is anthropology studies which provide evidence of this].
        So, this makes me a feminist :) – except I don’t believe women have been brainwashed into female role models- or women need deprogramming- or men need deprogramming. So it’s obviously I am an anti-feminist or simply displaying brutish misogyny :)

        In summary, it’s not so much the racism is evil, rather I see it is a stupid belief- which has had evil consequences.
        Though it’s not as if it’s uncommon for stupid beliefs to have evil consequences.

        And I agree [with lefties] that there too much racism.
        Obama is only black because of his genes [though the First Lady is black]. It seems more than slogan when it was said Bill Clinton was the first Black President. Because if one wishes divide people into race, it is the culture of people associated with race, which most notable difference. That one has Black Caucus that will not permit someone who has white skin to join- one has belief in racism.

        And it should noted that culture is not fixed, that it changes very rapidly as compared for practical purposes an unchanging biological evolution. Or an American White, Black, Hispanic, or whatever, is much different than compared to same race hundred or thousand years ago. So biological there little or no change to humans in last few thousands of years- culturally we are different species. And will probably become aliens in our not too distant future.

        Regarding the aliens in our future. First, there slight possibility we could make First Contact within few centuries.
        But we don’t need to meet aliens to become alien- it just example what could involve a very rapid change. Possibly a very scary unpredictable change – some think.
        On slower pace one way we are changing our world by becoming aware of this universe. Like changing our perception of the world when discovered earth was sphere and when discovered the universe didn’t revolve around us.
        So for example we have discovered:
        “An extrasolar planet, or exoplanet, is a planet outside the Solar System. A total of 834 such planets (in 658 planetary systems, including 123 multiple planetary systems) have been identified as of September 3, 2012.”

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

        In couple decades it will 10 times or more this amount, and at some point we get more details about some of these planets.

    • So where is freedom at its highest in today’s world? I wouldn’t say in America, although it’s not bad. I’d suggest people in countries like Australia, France, Germany, NZ, the UK have it about the best there is. That’s not to say these countries don’t have their problems, they obviously do, but people are freer there than they’ve ever been anywhere ever.

      • Robert I Ellison said: “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.”
        __________

        Parents should keep that in mind, and resist the tyrannical urge to oppress their children by being good to them.

        I used to oppress panhandlers occasionally, but I got bored being a tyrant. Maybe 25 cents doesn’t buy much oppression.

      • Robert I Ellison

        Well it wasn’t me – it was C.S. Lewis and I think he had the gulags or similar in mind rather than Christian charity. You are really not very good at this are you?

      • Ellison, why quote CS Lewis like you agree with him, and then say “Well it wasn’t me – it was C.S. Lewis,” as if you had been accused of farting.

      • I think CS Lewis was referring to real tyrannies, rather in the informal sense one may call parent or anyone as acting like a tyrant.
        So only involving an institution or government.
        But CS Lewis wouldn’t talking about the gulag, unless I am missing some satire, as there certainly no pretext of kindness in these penal colonies.
        Instead perhaps since he was Irish he is referring British or Roman Catholic poverty programs. Which perhaps like welfare programs in US had many harmful aspects to them. In US one aspect was welfare women would get no or less support if married or penalizes a person if any effort made to start work or do part time work.

      • Robert I Ellison

        Well I do agree with C.S. Lewis but I still didn’t say it – and his objection was both to communism and fascism. Certainly not – as a committed Christian – to charity. So why trivialise the deaths of hundreds of millions of people?

        I am sorry if the question on Tsonis was serious. I assumed it was an attempt at a smarmy gothcha.

      • Robert, thank you.

      • Yes, traditionally people with low-incomes voted for Democrats, the wealthy voted for Republicans, and the middle class split between the two parties. But people may not vote according to their pocket books as much as they did years ago. Social issues have become a factor.

  60. A short but interesting article over the weekend concerning political tribalism which is quite relevant to this thread:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-03

    /how-voters-can-escape-from-information-cocoons.html#disqus_thread
    It discusses experimental evidence for the opinions of political tribe members becoming more extreme after talking only with other members of the same tribe. Climate change was one of three subjects utilized for the study.

  61. Hmm look through the lens of power, …no difference. John C? Seems ter mwer there’s a mite of difference between centralised authority top down decisions and parliamentary democracy protecting individual rights by rule of law.

    • John Carpenter

      Agreed, never the less and independent of political affiliation, it is power that motivates elections for instance. A democratic government, like in the USA, is built on the division of power to ensure no one entity or person has all the power. Checks and balances are in place to keep the power divided between branches of government and within the grasp of the people. As you know, power concentrated to a few or one usually does not work so well for the people no matter what your political persuasion.

      • Democracy is tyranny by the majority, or as most often the case, tyranny by a minority manipulating the majority.

        The US system is not a democracy – it was set up to not be a democracy, but based on Common Law set up to protect the rights of the individual against tyrannies including democracies. Calling it a democracy is a meme pushed by those who have been busy destroying the US constitution.

        Potted background history: http://www.britsattheirbest.com/freedom/f_british_constitution.htm

        Current state of play:

        http://www.examiner.com/article/patriot-act-unconstitutional

        http://www.democratsagainstunagenda21.com/index.html

        The planned future:

        http://www.democratsagainstunagenda21.com/index.html

        The “consensus” of AGW was manipulated from the beginning, the IPCC was set up to create the consensus, and Santer brought it to rewrite the actual consensus of the scientists (no such critter shown) because its brief was to manufacture AGW.

        There is no Greenhouse Effect, a fictional fisics was created to order and introduced into the education system to the Agenda 21 aim. That’s why the ‘majority of climate scientists’ don’t even notice that there is no Water Cycle in the AGW energy budget, that the Carbon Cycle has no rain, that the actual thermal energy of the Sun has been excised from direct input, and believe, believe, that shortwave in can heat land and ocean.

      • John Carpenter

        Myrrh, you are correct that the USA is not a PURE democracy, which of course could devolve into mob rule. Rather it is a Republic built on democratic principles. See ‘democracy vs republic’.

  62. Scott Denision –

    Beautifully said.

  63. Robert –
    Do you really want to accuse me of being rightwing when I have thus characterized the rightwing? Obviously you have no historical perspective, or you would recognize the parallels between Gore&CAGW&Co. and the abuses of the old rightwing in the past – and if you pay attention, you would recognize that I am criticizing BOTH of them by likening them.

    As a nation we went to a lot of trouble to end the previous rightwing, as thus defined, domination of the world. I for one don’t want to see it come back, but that’s what Gore&CAGW&Co. and the CRL want to have happen

    Today’s left perhaps even shouldn’t be called “left,” since it partakes so heavily of the old rightwing ideas and methods. The hope of today’s left – the CRL – for an unfree world is so like the attitude of monarchs and blooded nobilities in past eras. At any rate, today’s leftists certainly aren’t liberal or progressive in the true sense of those words – what they are is REACTIONARY.

    You say ideology?
    * Left = tyranny, denial of the individual, and the end, however ugly and evil,
    justifies the means (try 250,000,000+ dead, for openers).
    * Me = life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
    I rather like my ideology better, and think it is rather more noble than AGW control freakery, and it sure is a hell of a lot more humane than yours.

    Robert, why don’t you transport yourself back to the Middle Ages where you will find plenty of company for your thinking?

    • Chad,

      Look, I don’t particularly care whether you’re politically of the left, the centre or the right, but there are provisos. Firstly, you need to be able to argue your case intelligently and rationally. Secondly you shouldn’t let political considerations affect your scientific judgement. Thirdly, everyone regardless of their political viewpoint should accept the democratic process.

      Climate change & nuclear power seem to give the right and the left, respectively, most problems on the second point. I’m not sure I fully understand why but it is quite an observable phenomenon.

      On the third point, we haven’t seen it outside of the USA yet – I suspect it is only a matter of time, but there is an increasing tendency on the part of many in the new right to reject the idea of democracy. There are many arguments on the net equating the principle of democracy with ‘mob-rule’. If Obama wins in Nov I expect these voices will be even louder. That’s quite worrying. IMO.

  64. I never noticed your blogroll, Judith. Very interesting, indeed.
    ….Lady in Red

  65. I must say that I do adore both Anthony Watts (WUWT) and Steve McIntyre (Climate Audit.org)

    I cannot parse it all, but I have a great respect.. …smile…
    …Lady in Red

  66. Robert I Ellison

    Hey Beth,

    This has fallen into the predictable ruts. Perhaps we should look through the lens of tango.

    I am intrigued by tango poetry. ‘The tango… was just a fusion of disparate and convergent elements: the jerky, semi-athletic contortions of the Candombé, the steps of the milonga and mazurka, the adapted rhythm and melody of the habanera. Europe, America and Africa all met in the arrabales of Buenos Aires, and thus the tango was born – by improvisation, by trial and error, and by spontaneous popular creativity.’

    ‘Malena sings the tango like no other
    and she puts her heart in every verse.
    Her voice perfumes with suburban weeds,
    Malena has the pain of the bandoneón.
    Perhaps in her distant youth her lark’s voice
    took on that dark back-alley tone,
    or perhaps it was that romance that she only names
    when she saddens herself with alcohol.
    Malena sings the tango with a shadowy voice,
    Malena has the pain of bandoneón.’

    The video seems a perfect representaton of tango. Much of the poetry is too risqué for this crowd. I will send you some. Tonight though I want tango’s perfect embrace – far as Rocky is from the slums of Buenos Aires.

    Robert

  67. I couldn’t hear yer video for some reason, Roberto, lol, but say, the tango, like opera, gives us an insight inter why we humans lapse so quickly from calm and rational dialogue. As well as’ the republican brain’ etc there’s ‘the tango brain’. I rather like the tango but not many people in Melbourne do it well, yer need ter go ter Argentina.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Manderson’s Dance Studio in Rocky is not quite the same. It is out of the 50’s – mirror ball and all. Beautiful dancing and beautiful music in your vid. There is nothing understated in the tango. It takes years. There is a poem that starts – Today I will learn a new tango move – and practice those I already know. I will practice. Iam not much into possessions – but I want a beautiful pair of tango shoes. May have to go to Argentina.

  68. VP and what if they don’t?
    ‘It is tough to make predictions, especially about the future.’
    H/T ter.. you know who.

  69. Tempterrain –

    Just to let you know, my politics in re AGW is driven by the science, or rather the contradiction thereof, in it, not the other way around. I would oppose AGW no matter what end of the political spectrum came up with it, based on some very simple observations and even simpler arithmetic that instantly blow the “theory” to smithereens . But it does so happen that the CRL are pushing it and it clearly serves their descructive purpposes to do so. It is another manifestation of environmental scaremongering designed to frighten people into accepting oppressive regulation and larcenous taxation.

    • , based on some very simple observations and even simpler arithmetic that instantly blow the “theory” to smithereens ???

      Do you really have any scientific reasons, rather than political? I doubt it.

  70. JC
    The failure of the IPCC to seriously explore natural variability (particularly natural internal variability on multi-decadal and longer time scales) as an alternative explanation would seem to fail the test of ‘a thorough examination of the range of alternative explanations’, where ‘experts are drawn into agreement only reluctantly after careful consideration.’ The hockey-stick line of thinking, whereby the blade was flat, is front and center in this failure. This does not imply that the IPCC is incorrect, but rather that their consensus was not ‘hard won’ by Ranalli’s criteria.

    Thank you.

  71. Girma said: “The hockey-stick line of thinking, whereby the blade was flat, is front and center in this failure.”
    _____

    What do you think the shape of a hockey blade should be?

  72. In re African-Americans mostly voting Democrat – that is the result of various events and other causes. In the Eisenhower years the Republicans began to court Southern rightwingers, thinking this would get more votes for them that they could get from African-Americans. This trend was confirmed by Republican opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and then firmly cemented in place by Nixon’s “Southern strategy.”

    Prior to Eisenhower, most African-Americans voted Republican because the Republican party freed the slaves and because the Democrats, particularly in the South, bore the stigma of their support for slavery and their subsequent imposition of segregation – climaxed when supposedly liberal Woodrow Wilson ordered that all black employees be fired from the U.S. Postal Service.

    Unwisely the Republicans forsook what had been one of their core constituencies, and the anger and resentment of African-Americans over that is entirely understandable. Stupidly the Republicans did this just as it was becoming possible for many more African-Americans to vote.

    I happen to think that it is only a matter of time before African-Americans generally come to realize that Democrat Party policies, with their adverse effects on the economy and the resultant loss of opportunitites for advancement for disadvantaged people, are not in their interest. We have already seen this realization on the part of some very important black leaders, such as Condoleezza Rice, John McWhorter and Herman Cain (what a shame that the white “liberals” trashed Cain, which was very simply because as a black man he thought for himself and didn’t follow their party line).

    I expect that sooner or later, black Americans will recognize that white “liberals” are not their friends and are just as racist as the old-fashioned Southern old-boy types. White “liberals” may act out their racism in ways different from those of the good old boys, but what they do is just as firmly grounded in stereotypes and in the expectation that black folks shall do their budding.

    White “liberals” seem to think that all black folks think alike and can only think alike, if at all. They regard (in keeping with their denial of the individual) any one black person as one square inch on a homogeneous blob of protoplasm. If that isn’t stereotyping, I don’t know what is. And then there are the white “liberals” constantly telling black folks not just what to think, but what to do, which clearly conveys their underlying belief (which I’m sure they wouldn’t admit to) that African-Americans aren’t capable of thinking at all. And if that isn’t down-and-out racism, I don’t know what is. Where do white “liberals” get off thinking they can think better than black folks can?

    True conservativism (and I don’t mean the Ann Coulters or Glenn Becks of this world, whom I frankly suspect of harboring collectivist attitudes very similar to what you see on the left – really differing only, and only partly, in the categories of people whose individuality they disregard, and who are therefore not conservative at all) respects the individual and places individual rights and opportunities first.

    This means that every individual regardless of race or ethnicity is to be judged and appreciated on the basis of their own intelligence, character and abilities. These are qualities not defined by race, but by their actions white “liberals” plainly don’t believe this is so in their heart of hearts. True respect for individuals as individuals precludes race prejudice. Disrespect for the individual engenders prejudice, and again is collectivist thinking, regardless of the political labels applied to themselves by those who engage in it

    In addition to this, I have a good deal of personal experience with self-described “liberals” who, when scratched deep enough, showed racist attitudes as deep-seated and ugly as you would find anywhere. But again this is consistent with the collectivist thinking that is behind all race and ethnic prejudices.

    Incidentally, I put the word “liberal” in quotes here, because the people I refer to here by the term are anything but liberal, in the genuine sense of that word.

    • Chad’s message is Blacks aren’t smart enough to vote Republican, a message unlikely to win Black votes, but one racists may find appealing.

      • David Springer

        “Mitt Romney Is Capturing Zero Percent Of The Black Vote, According To New Poll”

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/21/mitt-romney-black-vote_n_1820329.html

        Imagine how shrill the cries of racism if Obama had 0% of the white vote.

        Who was it you thought where the racists?

      • Your message is Blacks are racists, but almost one-half of Whites aren’t. The GOP might consider trying your message to win Black votes.

      • Prior to Obama, the vast majority of black Americans who ever voted for a presidential candidate voted for white candidates. Prior to Obama, the vast majority of white Americans who ever voted for a presidential candidate voted for a white candidate.

        My father voted for Dick Gregory when he ran. What % of white voters do you suppose voted for Dick Gregory? Less than 1%?

        Here’s a brainstorm for you, David. Few black voters vote for Republicans because, like white voters, they vote for what they believe is in their best interests.

      • David Springer

        Why bother trying? Democrats historically get 90% of black vote and with a half black Democrat candidate in 2008 that went up to 95%. Nothing Romney can do would win much of the black vote. They’re voting skin color and nothing else.

        The 0% thing can be leveraged by a super-pac. I certainly would if I were runing a super-pac. Just advertise the fact that 0% of black voters are voting for the white guy and that’ll piss off a buttload of white voters who’ll vote for Romney out of spite whether they like him or not. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander I say.

      • David Springer

        Joshua, without fail if you tell me something that is correct, I already knew it.

      • Why bother trying? Democrats historically get 90% of black vote and with a half black Democrat candidate in 2008 that went up to 95%. Nothing Romney can do would win much of the black vote. They’re voting skin color and nothing else.

        Beautiful. So there is no possibility that the % went up because at least some portion of that 5% felt that Obama better represented their interests as opposed to previous Democratic candidates? Really? And if they felt that a black candidate was more likely to represent their interests, would that be racist, or an acknowledgement that a black candidate might better understand issues they face? Is it not a primary plank of the Republican campaign to argue that Romney better understands the issues that the average American faces?

        So, in other words, that 5% who normally might have voted for a Republican candidate voted against their best interests because they are racist. Beautiful. If only they could have talked to you ahead of time so that you might have explained to them what was really in their best interests!

      • Just advertise the fact that 0% of black voters are voting for the white guy and that’ll piss off a buttload of white voters who’ll vote for Romney out of spite whether they like him or not.

        What a unique strategy. I mean who would have thought of trying to get votes from whites by pissing them off over racial issues? Man. Get Romney’s campaign on the phone. They need to know what a genius political strategist they could use for their campaign. Maybe in addition to advising them on this issue, Dave, they could get you out on the road to tell black voters what would be in their best interests?

      • David Springer

        I said through a super-pac Joshua. Pay attention. Romney’s campaign would be forced to condemn it just like the Demo super-pac advertised that Romney caused a woman to die of cancer at Bain Capital and that he’s a felon and the Obama campaign had to condemn that. No collusion allowed between campaigns and super-pacs. What planet are you on?

      • David Springer

        Joshua | September 5, 2012 at 3:29 pm |

        “And if they felt that a black candidate was more likely to represent their interests, would that be racist, or an acknowledgement that a black candidate might better understand issues they face?”

        If I voted for Romney because I believe a white man would better represent my interests as a white man would you consider that racist of me?

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

      • If I voted for Romney because I believe a white man would better represent my interests as a white man would you consider that racist of me?

        No. It would be racist if you assumed that someone of a different race was inferior on the basis of their skin color.

        This is simple logic.

        The religious right in this country overwhelmingly votes on the basis of religious identity. That doesn’t mean that they would vote for someone of their own religion if that candidate held views that were contrary to their own. It also doesn’t mean that they judge someone else as inferior simply on the basis of them having different religious beliefs.

        Most black voters will not vote for Obama simply on the basis of his race. They will vote for him because they believe that doing so will be in their best interests. Just like virtually all other voters. What does it mean that you would single out black voters for voting on the same criterion as all voters – what they believe will be in their best interests.

        It is fascinating to me that you are unable to even comprehend such simple logic even though I have explained it now, numerous times.

        Really. Fascinating.

      • If I voted for Romney because I believe a white man would better represent my interests as a white man would you consider that racist of me?

        It is also fascinating that you would pose a hypothetical that implies voting for a candidate completely independent of the candidate’s position on issues.

        Why would you assume that black voters would vote for candidates completely independent of the candidate’s views on issues.

        Why would you think that your little hypothetical – presumably to create a parallel situation to Obama’s candidacy – bears any relationship whatsoever to Obama’s candidacy vis a vis black voters? Why would you assume that black voters – as a group – vote for a candidate without regard for that candidates position on issues.

        Climate etc. is a fascinating window into how some folks reason. I thank you, David, for this opportunity to further understand your process of reasoning.

      • Max

        The fact that over 93% of people who identify themselves as “Black” voted for Obama is a strong indication of racism on their part. That is a simple fact.

      • Rob – black voters, like white voters, vote for what they think is in their best interests. The vast majority of black voters believe that Democratic candidates running for president are more likely to represent their interest than Republican candidates. How many black voters voted for Dick Gregory when he ran against white candidates? If race was their only selection criterion, it should have been 95%, right?

        That you would selectively call one group voting in their best interests racist for doing so – as a “simple fact” – is stunning to me. Really.

      • Joshua

        It is just statistics. If a company had the same bias in favoring the hiring of white people it would rightly be considered a discriminatory practice and racist. It may be understandable but it is a race based bias. Do you think that somehow randomly this group has made the decision without considering race?

      • Rob –

        It may be understandable but it is a race based bias. Do you think that somehow randomly this group has made the decision without considering race?

        There are all kinds of biases that affect how people vote. All voters vote for what is in their best interests. Christians might lean towards Christian candidates. Gays might lean towards gay candidates. Mormons certainly would lean towards Mormon candidates. They lean in those directions because, understandably, they think that someone who they can identify with might better represent their interests.

        If a black person thinks that all else being equal, a black candidate might better understand their interests, that does not make it racist – as you said it does.

        Further, all else is hardly equal. Black voters have voted for Democratic candidates in large majorities for a variety of reasons. To say that an overwhelming support among blacks for Obama is based in “racism” is beyond ridiculous. I’m honestly surprised that you would make such an unsupportable argument, let alone then try to defend it.

      • Rob –

        It is just statistics.

        It’s just a horrible distortion of statistics.

        It may be understandable but it is a race based bias. Do you think that somehow randomly this group has made the decision without considering race?

        There are all kinds of biases that affect how people vote. All voters vote for what is in their best interests. Christians might lean towards Christian candidates. People might lean towards candidates based on gender or other orientation. People from Romney’s cultural heritage might certainly lean towards Romney because of his cultural heritage.. They lean in those directions because, understandably, they think that someone who they can identify with might better represent their interests.

        If a black person thinks that all else being equal, a black candidate might better understand their interests, that does not make it racist – as you said it does.

        Further, all else is hardly equal. Black voters have voted for Democratic candidates in large majorities for a variety of reasons. To say that an overwhelming support among blacks for Obama is based in “racism” is beyond ridiculous. I’m honestly surprised that you would make such an unsupportable argument, let alone then try to defend it.

        Stop. You are giving skepticism a bad name.

      • Joshua

        Imo, your position is unsupportable. If 95% of LDS members vote for Romney is it evidence of a religious bias? Obviously the answer is yes. It is no different with black people and Obama. Progressives like to pretend that racism doesn’t exist in all camps but it does and that does not make it right.

      • OK, Rob –

        Last attempt, then I’m giving up.

        Imo, your position is unsupportable. If 95% of LDS members vote for Romney is it evidence of a religious bias? Obviously the answer is yes. It is no different with black people and Obama. Progressives like to pretend that racism doesn’t exist in all camps but it does and that does not make it right.

        A preference based on the factor of race, among many criteria does not make someone a “racist.” If Cain were running for president against a white candidate, do you think he would get 95% of the vote? When Cain was running, did black voters register as Republican so that they could support Cain? Did Obama even get overwhelming support from blacks when he first started running for president? The answer to all three questions is no.

        I might prefer to live with someone who has a similar background as me. Does that mean that my motivation is racist or xenophobic?

        A preference based on race does not equal racism – except to the extent that you limit the term to an extent that it excludes a connotation of negative judgment about someone purely on the basis of their skin color.

        Most black people I know are not looking for a society that ignores racial differences, but a society that respects people of different races. There is no logical reason to infer that someone voting for a candidate because an assumption that doing so will be in their best interest therefore also believes that people of their race are superior on the basis of skin color.

        There. I’m done with this. I would expect this kind of vapid argument from someone like Wagathon or Springer – but wow!

      • Joshua
        Let’s use your example.
        If 2% of black people would vote for a “typical” republican candidate but 50% of black people were willing to vote for republican Cain; yes that would be evidence of a bias based on race. That assumes that Cain had “typical” republican positions. When it was Obama vs. Hilary and the overwhelming of black democrats supported Obama, what factor do you believe influenced their decision other than race?

      • Not if most all of them have often voted for white candidates.

      • Joshua

        You write- “A preference based on race does not equal racism”

        I disagree- It is racism. No different than it is wrong for a white guy to say that he “perfers” to hire white people. Racism is a stupid practice whoever does it.

      • Ok, Rob. One more.

        You write- “A preference based on race does not equal racism”

        I disagree- It is racism.

        The scourge of racism in the history of the United States isn’t because whites “preferred” whites. It is because whites considered themselves superior on the basis of their skin color, and systematically deprived civil rights from people of another skin color. In your arguments, you reduce the systematic treatment of a race as inferior to a simple matter of “preference.’ Sorry, but that is absurd. There is a huge, huge, difference.

        Again – consider the difference between:

        1) on the one hand a naive expectation that at least some people would not identify with one candidate more than another for any variety of reasons,

        2) in contrast with the notion of acknowledging certain preferences people might have for any of a variety of certain reasons, while at the same time respecting differences.

      • Joshua
        I am not at all sure that you are correct regarding white people in the 1700’s feeling that they were morally superior to black people. It may have been true, but it is also true that slavery was a historically accepted practice. Heck, I grew up living in Saudi Arabia and we could own Ethiopians in the early 1970’s when I lived there. It was outlawed earlier, but was still prevalent.

        Today, under federal law in the USA it is unlawful to discriminate in hiring and housing (among other things) based on a racial preference. I believe that you are highly naïve to believe that a preference based on race is acceptable, but believing in moral superiority based on race is not. Imo, you are trying to straddle a nonexistent line. If two candidates both had the same political positions and one was black and the other was white, and a statistically significant percentage of those who self identified as black supported the black candidate, how is the “preference” different than race based discrimination? When people have those “preferences” repeatedly over their lifetimes they are unconsciously being racist (imo). Imo, it is stupid.

      • Rob –

        I am not at all sure that you are correct regarding white people in the 1700’s feeling that they were morally superior to black people.

        Stunning.

        If two candidates both had the same political positions and one was black and the other was white, and a statistically significant percentage of those who self identified as black supported the black candidate, how is the “preference” different than race based discrimination?

        Consider the slave-owner who raped his slaves. Would you say he wasn’t racist against if he didn’t necessarily prefer white women to black women? Maybe he actually preferred black women. Would that mean he wasn’t racist? Preference does not determine racism.

        You keep arguing the same point. I have explained that, IMO, there is a difference between “preferences” on any variety of attributes, and bigotry based on those attributes or the systematic denial of rights based on those attributes, or a determination of superiority based on those attributes.

        OK. Now I really am done.

      • David Springer

        I almost fell out of my chair last night when Colbert was interviewing a congresswoman from Brooklyn who thought there was slavery in Brooklyn in 1898. Colbert gave her several chances and hints to recover from that boner and she missed them all. The worst thing is she is a black congresswoman. You’d think a black congresswoman would at least know enough about the history of blacks in the US to know when slavery ended and moreover that slavery was made illegal in New York State (including Brooklyn) in 1827, almost 40 years before Lincoln issued The Emancipation Proclamation ending slavery in all states.

        http://thehill.com/video/house/247607-rep-clarke-on-colbert-says-slavery-persisted-in-brooklyn-until-1898

    • David Springer

      Condi Rice eschewed a teleprompter in her RNC speech and according to many hers was the best of the lot. Only other person to not use a teleprompter was Clint Eastwood whom Bill Maher grudgingly said was awesome doing a successful 12-minutes of solid comedy where every line worked with only an empty chair for a prop. Bill Maher tried to make a joke about George W. Bush being erased from memory at the convention. I guess Maher missed Jeb Bush giving a speech and mentioning his brother George many times and I guess he missed the long RNC pre-recorded video interview of Bush 41 and Bush 43 together. He thought Sarah Palin, Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, and Don Rumsfield should have been speakers. Powell probably refused and the rest aren’t even popular with many Republicans except perhaps Palin but she’d be a dud if it wasn’t for sex appeal.

    • Wow!

      I happen to think that it is only a matter of time before African-Americans generally come to realize that Democrat Party policies, with their adverse effects on the economy and the resultant loss of opportunitites for advancement for disadvantaged people, are not in their interest.

      He actually went there. Hilarious. If only black voters would come to realize what Chad thinks is in their best interests.

      http://judithcurry.com/2012/09/03/the-hard-won-consensus/#comment-236119

      Man. That was hard to predict.

    • Looks like we have a real whopper here:

      If that isn’t stereotyping, I don’t know what is. And then there are the white “liberals” constantly telling black folks not just what to think, but what to do, which clearly conveys their underlying belief (which I’m sure they wouldn’t admit to) that African-Americans aren’t capable of thinking at all.

      Right. If only the 95% of black Americans who vote Democratic in the presidential election would listen to you and understand what you’re telling them is in their best interests, they’d realize that they’re being stereotyped by libruls who don’t think that blacks are capable of thinking at all.

      Really. Stunning.

      Judith – are you reading this contribution from your “extended peer review community?”

    • Chad,
      Interesting. I think most black right-wingers, like Condi Rice and Thomas Sowell, would agree with most of what you say. So would Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck, though I doubt they’d accept your fancifully gratuitous speculations about their “attitudes”.
      JR

    • Chad Wozniak,

      white “liberals” are not their friends and are just as racist as the old-fashioned Southern old-boy types.

      I wouldn’t categorise myself as “liberal”. I tend to vote Labor given the choice we have between them Liberal, here in Australia. But I suppose you do mean me, even though I would consider myself to be more a democratic socialist.

      Yes, we need to be aware that racism can be hidden and to guard against self-deception. However there is a commitment on the part of democratic socialists to the dignity of all individuals and peoples, and to a more libertarian (in the true sense of the word) and egalitarian society. Democratic socialist ideals are those of freedom, equality, and democracy. There is no place for racism or sexism in our world view. Saying that is in no way a challenge to the existing system. In the past few decades those supporting capitalism have adopted pretty much the same stance. They may think they make more money that way! But I’d say we were first.

  73. Robert –
    Your calling me ‘rightwing” is ludicrous since, from your comments here, it appears your beliefs are infinitely more rightwing in the true meaning of that word than mine could ever be. You appear to want to go back to the bad old days of unfreedom, which is what the CRL is seeking, and I don’t. That’s the real rightwing, people who want to return to unfreedom. and it is a rerun, not something new, a step backward and not forward.

  74. tony b

    Since you seem to like US Western analogies and tales:

    The “hard won” consensus (Western style)

    The sun is setting on an old clapboard town in the Wild West.

    In the town saloon the piano player is plunking out his tune and the good time gals are lounging around and talking to the dusty cowpokes who are drinking at the bar.

    Big Jim and a group of his boys are playing poker and drinking whiskey at a table to the side.

    In the background, two of Big Jim’s boys are standing guard. Mickey the Kid is twirling his six-shooters nervously while Bushwhack Benny is polishing his Winchester.

    The saloon doors swing open and in steps a stranger in a while hat.

    Could it be Straightshooter Steve, the lawman who has brought in several of the most notorious outlaws?

    As the stranger steps up to the bar, Big Jim says, “Howdy, stranger – how ‘bout lettin’ me buy you a shot of my local whiskey? Ever’body ‘round here agrees it’s the best there is.” He chuckles good-naturedly, “Ya might say it’s a ‘con-sen-sus,’ right Gaby?”

    Gangling Gaby, who is sitting on the arm of Big Jim’s big leather chair says, “That’s whut it is, Jim.”

    The stranger replies, “No, thanks, I’ll just have a Sarsaparillo”.

    Mickey taunts him: “Whut’s the matter, stranger- ain’t our likker good ‘nuff fer ya?”

    The stranger ignores Mickey and Ben chimes in: “We don’t cotton ta high-falootin’ folks ‘round here, stranger. How ‘bout you drink that whiskey Big Jim offered?”

    Again the stranger declines politely.

    Tension mounts as Mickey faces off the stranger, saying, “Ah reckon you’d better take a sip of that whiskey, stranger, so’s you c’n agree it’s the best an’ join our ‘con-sen-sus’, as Big Jim calls it.”

    The stranger calmly drinks his Sarsaparillo, while steadily looking at Mickey and Ben in the bar mirror.

    Then pandemonium breaks out.

    Mickey goes for his guns, Ben raises his rifle and three shots ring out almost simultaneously. Mickey’s six-shooters and Ben’s rifle fly through the air and drop to the floor. Both men have been shot in the hands and are wailing.

    As the stranger walks out the swinging doors, holstering his silver Colt-44, he says to Big Jim over his shoulder, “Ya cain’t force your ‘con-sen-sus’ on folks, Jim – it don’t work that way.”

  75. David Springer

    WebHubTelescope | September 5, 2012 at 7:59 am |

    “The earth without a greenhouse gas layer would be at 255K”

    You say that with the confidence of experimental verification even though it’s a just-so story. Your hand waving bores me. STFU.

    • David Springer

      Take it easy on Webby. He’s a real intelligent guy. His problem is that he confuses model simulations backed by theory and hypotheses with empirical evidence.

      It can happen to the most intelligent of guys.

      Max

      • Would you kindly get lost Manacker? I can handle the Springer myself.

        Springer is just one of Dembski’s butt-boys. Woo hoo, must be some challenging work this Intelligent Design wankery. He likely has mastered all the fallacious arguments known to man, and expects us to be impressed. Not much.

      • David Springer

        manacker | September 5, 2012 at 8:39 am | Reply

        David Springer

        Take it easy on Webby. He’s a real intelligent guy. His problem is that he confuses model simulations backed by theory and hypotheses with empirical evidence.

        ——————————————————————————–

        I’m afraid that “Intelligent” and “inability to discriminate between hypothetical and empirical” are mutually exclusive. Unless dishonesty is involved…

    • David, that dedication to 33C is pretty unusual. Since it is based on 30% albedo and currently 26% of that albedo is in the atmosphere that produces a surface temperature range of error of a coupla degrees. Trenberth has already had to adjust his surface temperature upwards 0.9C just to fudge the energy balance upwards, remarkably with little impact on any of the other estimates. Now is masterpiece is no longer on Wikipedia and his modeled energy imbalance with the nearly unbelievable precision of +/-0.18Wm-2 is around 0.6Wm-2 less than before. It is almost like some of the scientists wandered into the deep end of the pool and are floundering around looking for a lifeguard to save them.

    • Dave Springer,

      “Experimental Verification?”

      If you look up in the sky tonight you might see a bright shiny object called the Moon. If doesn’t have any greenhouse gases, or even an atmosphere at all. But on average the Moon is the same distance from the Sun as the Earth.

      Even at the equator the average Moon temperature is only 220K. Look it up if you don’t believe me.

  76. A due diligence perspective is part of any critical judgment about peer review, IPCC reports, etc; and an indespensable lens to view skeptic punditry.

    • Martha

      I don’t think many would disagree with your point on due diligence.

      I would add that total transparency of data (Mosher) and independent outside audits (McIntyre) are also quite important.

      The same would obviously hold for data cited by IPCC to further its “CAGW” message as well as for arguments and papers of rational skeptics of this message.

      Max

  77. Robert, the video is working and i enjoyed the poem and the lovely, sinuous dancing. Yer right about the breathing of the bandoneon.
    Did yer know there’s another clip on the video that teaches how to do the high step move? )

  78. Speaking of pundits, Martha, there’s this frpm PA Pundits on the limitations of wind energy.

    • Wind energy is a good example of empirical reality differing from what would appear to be rigorous mathematics. The simulations say that a big enough wind farm should provide a reasonable (>50%) base load. Reality is very different. Real wind farms are, in the words of Bonneville Power Authority, “essentially random”. As Fanny’s fond of saying, you can’t fool nature.

      • P.E. is a loser. I did an analysis of BPA wind and it is a wonderfully rich probability distribution of wind speeds that fits perfectly within the predictions of maximum entropy.

        http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2012/02/wind-speeds-of-world.html

        You fear the science because you do not understand it. Rainfall also has random elements but that does not mean we give up on rainfall for agriculture. P.E. would make some loser farmer, wouldn’t he?

      • Either you’re looking at the wrong data, or you’re lying. Those were BPA’s exact words: “essentially random”.

        Which is is? Are you looking at the wrong data, or are you lying?

      • For example, http://www.docstoc.com/docs/78510299/Wind-_-Load-Are-Essentially-Random-_Exhibit-1—BPA-Transmission-

        The key point being that the minimum is zero. There is no baseline.

        Here’s a link with a histogram, which makes the point better.

        http://pjmedia.com/blog/electric-grid-myths-part-ii-the-effect-of-alternatives/

      • You are a complete liar. If you read my post, I took over 2.5 million data points spread over 2 years and the distribution of wind speeds follows the maximum entropy principle closely.

        That makes the speed very predictable over the long haul. Mankind will use this knowledge and create designs that employ load balancing and energy storage to buffer the fluctuations in individual locations.

        What kind of idiot cretin reads Pajamas Media anyways? They should be reporting on Lyin’ Ryan and his claim that he ran a sub 3 hour marathon, where the records show it was 4+ hours. You wingnuts will stop at nothing to lie your way to power.

      • WEB,

        Feel like explaining why the wind producers in the PNW are sueing BPA (our company excepted)?

        Wind works for us because

        a) we have a state mandate to meet that does not include hydro as “renewable” (who knew?)

        b) it is well subsidized

        c) we have a good base of hydro power so backup fossil fuel plants are not needed as much

        d) we are able to sell our excess wind gen to California to help them meet their mandated percentage, at a very hefty markup.

  79. Beth and Robert,

    What do you think about this singing and poetry>

  80. PL, I had the misfortune ter tune into that earlier and don’t intend ter repeat the mistake. Enjoyed it did ya, Peter? :)

  81. Just noticed my link for Martha didn’t work. Try again … http://papundits.wordpress.com/2009/08/27/the-limitations-of-renewable-power-part-3/

    • Beth

      Don’t know if it’s true, but…(the video reminded me)

      A few years ago, when I was visiting northern Queensland, I was part of a tour that went north of Cairns toward Cookstown on a recently built dirt road in a dusty Range Rover with a small group of tourists. At one point our guide told us of a problem the contractors had encountered with green activists while building the road.

      One of the female activists had chained herself to a large tree that was in the path of the new road and would be bulldozed down.

      So the contractors simply built the road around the tree (and the lady protester).

      Our guide said as far as he knew she’s still there…

      True?

      Max

  82. The boss of Al Gore — the almost Fearmonger-in-Chief — has a lot to explain tonight for the enviro-whackpot democrat war on the poor and middle class by attempting to halt the rise of the seas and for increasing the cost of energy, to fuel a bloated secular, socialist government. The Democrat party is essentially going for broke in the coming election with the unborn as bargaining chips and $10 a gallon gas as the jackpot.

    • Wagathon

      $10 a gallon gas?”

      You think YOU’VE got problems?

      (You do), but:

      Here in Switzerland, we already pay CHF 1.90 per liter (US$7.60 per US gallon).

      But we have a professor at the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich, Toni Gunziger, suggesting that a “fair price” for gasoline would be CHF 12 per liter ($48 per gallon), with the increase occurring progressively over the next 15 years.
      .http://tagesanzeiger.ch/schweiz/standard/12-Franken-pro-Liter-Benzin/story/30361292

      Gunziger says that this would make driving an automobile “a luxury”.

      So you see that there are knuckleheads all over the world – not only in the USA.

      Max

    • This reminds me of arguments over what “GOP” means.

      Some say GOP means Go On Polluting.

      Others think GOP stands for Gas Our Planet.

      Still others think GOP means Greedy Old Phonies.

      I say GOP means Goofy Old Poots.

      • Do you believe that Obama’s energy policy makes sense? I voted for Obama last time and find his energy policy to not be in the US national interest.

      • Empty barrels, tanks a lot.
        ===========

      • The net effect of reducing domestic production is more imports. Environmentally, it’s arguable that this is worse than producing domestically, because you’re importing oil from countries with little to no environmental regulation. So environmentally, it’s neutral to negative. Economically, it’s extremely negative.

      • Rob, Obama’s energy policy is described at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/blueprint_secure_energy_future.pdf

        I think it’s basically a good policy, but I would prefer less emphasis on increasing domestic production. I like using theirs (foreign oil) and keeping ours for the future.

        Rob, can you be more specific about why you think Obama’s energy policy is not in the US national interest.

        I will try to address any response later today.

      • Rob Starkey said: “You should see something wrong with how the current administration loaned money to companies like Solyndra and the process for making those loans was nothing like what the DoD does.”
        ———–
        Well, no, DoD doesn’t loan money. DoD buys.
        ___________________________________________
        Rob Starkey said:” Wage and salary information is meaningless for the oil and gas industry for the issue I outlined.”
        ________

        Rob, you talked about more jobs. You said: “The current administration failed to implement a policy that would expand development of fossil fuel resources both in Alaska and off the nation’s coasts. At a time when jobs are greatly needed, it is a good time to promote a search for these additional resources and the development of those resources.”

        If you are saying none of the employment increase I cited was in “Alaska or off the nation’s coasts,” how do you know?

      • Max
        Max

        It seems you are not trying to have a reasonable exchange.

        Do you really not understand the differences between the processes that the DoD has to go through in spending funds and what was done in targeting specific companies like Solyndra in an industry the current administration favored and loaning them money without adequately doing due diligence to determine if they were financially viable? The administration followed a wrong economic approach and wasted money as a result.
        I pointed out where the current administration’s policy was imo wrong on the development of fossil fuel resources and your response is essentially “well they did create jobs in those areas”. Why do you avoid the basic premise of my point that it makes economic sense to locate and develop those resources today even if the resources are not immediately utilized? The current administration does not favor that development. Far more jobs could and would have been created under the approach I suggested.

      • Max
        I thought I had posted a response earlier, but it didn’t post for some reason. I will try to give you a few quick points of where I believe Obama’s energy policy are not in the US national interest.
        The current administration has not encouraged the development of modern nuclear energy, they have done the opposite. I believe that the federal government should greatly encourage the design and construction of many modern nuclear power plants. By standardizing designs and by greatly streamlining the bureaucratic approval and administration processes, the cost of building these facilities can be reduced by almost 50%. Taking these actions would be good for the economy both in the short term by creating jobs and in the long term by creating clean, reliable energy.
        The current administration inappropriately invested in the promotion of individual companies in an attempt to promote the adoption of energy technologies that it favored. Their strategy was fundamentally flawed in that it ignored the reasons that labor intensive manufacturing is not as cost effective in the US as it is in China. Government should help with basic research, but should not be promoting specific companies.
        The current administration failed to implement a policy that would expand development of fossil fuel resources both in Alaska and off the nation’s coasts. At a time when jobs are greatly needed, it is a good time to promote a search for these additional resources and the development of those resources. The US needs to not rely upon sources of supply that can be curtailed in times of international dispute. Development of the resources does not mean that those resources would be fully utilized today, but they would then be available with a short lead time in the event that they were needed.
        The current administration should have invested in improvement of the national infrastructure (such as the capability to transmit electricity more efficiently) to a much larger degree than it did and should have spent far fewer funds on projects that immediately employed people. The multiplier effects of jobs that create or improve infrastructure are the highest in the economy, and in effect pay for themselves over the long term. It is one of the areas where deficit spending actually makes sense.

      • Rob,

        1. I wouldn’t mind the Obama Administration encouraging the development of modern nuclear power, but I would prefer to not live near a nuclear power plant.

        2. I see nothing wrong with government investing in and promoting individual companies. DOD has been doing it for a long time with good results overall.

        3. Wage and salary employment in the oil and gas extraction industry was 195,000 in July 2012, about 30,000 greater than when Obama took office in January 2009, and higher than any level during the previous eight years when Bush was president.

        http://data.bls.gov/pdq/SurveyOutputServlet

        4. I agree with you, available oil and gas doesn’t have to be used. China buys oil and stores it.

        5. I agree with you on infrastructure spending. I wish more stimulus spending had been on infrastructure.

      • Max
        Max

        You should see something wrong with how the current administration loaned money to companies like Solyndra and the process for making those loans was nothing like what the DoD does. The government should occasionally invest in the development of technology, but it should not favor individual companies. Let the company that can bring a useful technology to market best succeed, and others fail.

        Wage and salary information is meaningless for the oil and gas industry for the issue I outlined. If you are fair, you would acknowledge that the current administration has favored preventing development of these resources in areas that environmentalists consider unacceptable for a variety of reasons (offshore, Alaska). I view that as a very poor policy. Those resources will be needed eventually, and it makes sense to develop the capability to use those resources now since the US needs the job creation that would result now.

      • Max_OK

        Over here I’ve heard it stands for

        Get Obama Pensioned

        Max_CH

      • Some seniors here think GOP means Get Old People, since Romney picked Paul “trough grandma under the bus” Ryan as his running mate.

      • Make that Paul “throw grandma under the bus” Ryan.

      • Look at Greece, Spain and California for good examples about how liberal Utopionism and Democrat Stonkernomics is pushing the country off a cliff.

      • Look at IL. It is in more trouble than CA

      • At least they can fix elections there. We may be just a hanin’ chad away from proof of that.

      • My favorite liberal utopia is Denmark. Danes are supposed to be the happiest people in the world, and they also are the least gelotophobic.
        Of course Denmark has a few grumpy right-wing crackpots, but you can say that for a lot of countries.

      • They certainly were dedicated fascilitators of the global warming hoax in Corruptenhagen. Of course, there was a lot at stake. They could care less about the eroding credibility of science considering how cozy they were with all of the Leftist, liberal fascist, enviro-wackpots who were allied and conspiring together in a conspicuous consensus of un-Americanism to bring capitalism down, along with a willing mainstream media and a broken governmental-funded education machine as the eager facilitators of the hoax with millions being spent for endless filing cabinets full of junk science. And, we now have a lot more evidence of the role of thankless, hostile and hypocritical Old Europe, and all of typical anti-America, tyrannical regimes, tin pot dictators, fascists and commie states comprising the UN, all united in a consensus against free enterprise capitalism, business, and the God-given human right to self-determination, individual liberty and personal freedom.

      • I like saying “Utopia.” I like the way it sounds. I also like saying “vanilla” and “banana.”

        I half-way like a free market. Well, when I’m buying, I do. When I’m selling, however, I really don’t like a lot of competition, so I would rather my competitors be restrained (not so free). It would be great to have a monopoly.

        But getting back to “Utopia,” it’s supposed to be a perfect place, so who wouldn’t like a perfect place?

      • Has promoting a one-way trip the backside of the Comet Hale-Bopp now become a part of the Democrat party platform?

      • Max

        The utopia that western europe is built upon is the concept of being able to spend more than is being generated in revenue over the long term. It is a concept that is unsustainable

      • Margaret Thatcher once said, ‘The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.’

  83. There is a piece, today, on WUWT, namely

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/05/is-the-current-global-warming-a-natural-cycle/#comment-1071793

    The last lines from this paper, and the conclusion of the authors is as follows
    “It appears to us that the current global warming signal lies well within natural limits. In this case, it seems to us difficult to argue that the current global warming signal is the result of human activity.”

    As anyone who reads the WUWT paper will realise, this was a document that was rejected for publication; so what else is new. But it is a delight to see someone else coming to precisely the same conclusions that I have come to; namely that the total climate sensitivity of CO2 is indistinguishable from zero.

    • No wonder it didn’t get published, it contains a massive logical error.

      The temperature variation at vostok is much greater than the temperature variation of the global average. Yet they compare changes in temperature at vostok with the rate of global warming over the last century to claim global warming is slower than past changes at vostok.

      Furthermore if they compared greenland ice cores to vostok they’d discover their NWEs don’t line up. They didn’t even bother to test their assumption.

      Even so their conclusion isn’t at all the same as your claim that climate sensitivity of CO2 is indistinguishable from zero, which is physically and historically absurd.

      • correction: “Yet they compare past changes in temperature at vostok with the rate of global warming over the last century to claim global warming today is slower than in the past”

      • lolwot, you write “No wonder it didn’t get published, it contains a massive logical error.”

        I have just been through the comments on this paper on WUWT, and I saw no comment from lolwot. I wonder why not. Maybe it is because you are scared to make that sort of comment on a blog where you might be treated with some hostility. Are you going to post your comment on WUWT? I will keep a look out for it.

      • I have taken some more looks at WUWT, and no comment from lolwot. My physics is not good enough to know whether his comment is valid or not. I suspect it is not valid. Thus, the reason he wont post on WUWT, is that people who really know what they are talking about, like the authors of the paper, will probably be reading all comments. So lolwot knows that if he posts the sort of comment on WUWT as he did on Climnate Etc. he will get very short shrift.

      • “Are you going to post your comment on WUWT?”

        WUWT doesn’t deserve my comment.

      • You are correct, there is a climate sensitivity of CO2 that is not zero. When you heat a carbonated liquid, the vapor pressure of CO2 does go up. When you cool a carbonated liquid, the vapor pressure of CO2 does go down. It does not matter if the carbonated liquid is a soft drink or if the carbonated liquid is the oceans on earth. This is according the the laws of simple physics. The problem with consensus climate science is that they don’t really understand the laws of physics and they got the driver and driven mixed up. We can test the soft drinks to prove the law. Open a hot soft drink and open a cold soft drink and just observe.

      • David Springer

        Can I shake the crap out of the cold can first but be very careful to not shake the warm one? How would that effect the experiment and why or why not?

      • David,
        we are not talking about a lot of money. Get 4 cans and shake one cold one and one hot one and don’t shake one cold one and one hot one.

      • David, shaking will make a difference.

  84. David Springer

    Max_OK | September 5, 2012 at 3:17 pm |

    “I think it’s basically a good policy, but I would prefer less emphasis on increasing domestic production. I like using theirs (foreign oil) and keeping ours for the future.”

    I used to think we should burn everyone else’s oil and squirrel away our own but then I realized that in a free market if there’s a global oil shortage US producers will sell to the highest bidder so it won’t make any difference.

    The immediate problem is that we rely on foreign oil because we haven’t developed enough of our own and those we rely on for oil are generally hostile to the United States and use this dependence as leverage in foreign affairs. It also forces us to get far more involved in foreign affairs where the flow of oil is impacted if the wrong parties rise to power or when wars between two oil producers breaks out and they start targeting each other’s oil fields, pipelines, and depots to deprive the enemy of funds to buy arms. If we didn’t need the oil producing infrastructure in the Middle East do you think we would give a rats ass about peace in that part of the world? Demoncrats vociferously object to getting involved in Middle East wars while at the same time ensure we have no choice by blocking paths to independence from foreign oil. Of course no one ever accused the Dems of being particularly smart.

    • David L. Hagen

      Max_OK and David Springer
      It only costs about $1/bbl to ship oil via supertanker from Saudi Arabia to Houston. The major challenge is that Non-OPEC oil production leveled off about 2004. Global oil production (NOT “liquids”) plateaued about 2005. Consequently international crude oil prices increased 10 fold from ~$10/bbl in 1998 to > $100/bbl in 2008 and 2012. That leaves OPEC to steadily take over market share, and thus cartel power. OPEC is already extracting $1 trillion/year. The Available Net Exports (after China & India’s imports) have declined since 2005. Together these have major consequent impact as seen in the mortgage crisis, 2008 economic crisis and now the Euro crisis.

      See Oil Price History and Analysis

      An update on global net oil exports: Is it midnight on the Titanic? Jeff Brown.

      • David Springer

        That’s pretty much why I was behind Rick Perry who was campaigning on a platform of energy independence. He promised to put 1.5 million Americans back to work almost immediately in domestic energy production. Not only would that put a huge dent in unemployment it would drive down the domestic price of gasoline, diesel, and Jet-A which would then put more money in consumer’s pockets to spend on other stuff like new homes and gardens and Vegas and all the other suffering industries and pretty much make businesses of all kinds more profitable which leads to higher wages and growth in retirement savings and whatnot. I don’t think we disagree here. I am encouraged that Mitt Romney is making the same kind of noises about energy but not as loud and quite frankly I don’t trust him to keep any promises.

      • David L. Hagen

        David Springer
        I agree. The “energy independent” political statement is much easier to achieve than “independence from mideast oil” or “independence from OPEC”. (i.e., the US is exporting coal while importing oil.) Given the limitations of oil-sands production, what we really need is to develop transport fuels towards “fuel independence”.
        Readers can compare:
        Romney’s energy plan
        Obama’s Energy and Environment plan

        Despite “all of the above”, oil production federal lands has decreased under Obama while production on private lands has increased.

    • David, yes, burn foreign oil first.

  85. David Springer

    Joshua | September 5, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    is also fascinating that you would pose a hypothetical that implies voting for a candidate completely independent of the candidate’s position on issues.

    Why would you assume that black voters would vote for candidates completely independent of the candidate’s views on issues.

    ———————————————————————————-

    Maybe because of this:

    • David Springer

      Joshua, let’s cut the crap about Obama looking out for “black interests” like they have some special interests that whites at similar income and education levels have. You made a good point that I already knew and mentioned before reading your response that Democrat have for decades received 90% or more of the black vote and that this went up to 96% when Obama was the candidate. One might wonder what the split would have been if the black guy was the Republican instead but that’s just speculation. Let’s look at how Democrats of all colors break down and see what those “special interests” are that attract 90% of black voters:

      The Maxwell Poll

      http://www.maxwell.syr.edu/uploadedFiles/campbell/data_sources/InequalityinAmericanSocietyReportonMaxwellPollof2007.pdf

      81% of those living in public housing vote Democrat.
      74% of those who receive Medicaid vote Democrat
      67% of those who receive food stamps vote Democrat
      66% of those who receive unemployment benefits vote Democrat
      64% of those who receive disability benefits vote Democrat
      63% of those who receive welfare vote Democrat
      54% of those who hold full time jobs vote Democrat

      Seeing the pattern there? Connect the dots. Democrats are the party of entitlement. If your interest is in free stuff without working for it then Democrats are the ones that look out for your interests.

      Personally I think it’s less insulting to black voters to say they voted for Obama because he’s black rather than because he’s the current representive of the gimme-stuff-for-free-party.

      • Keep posting, David –

        You are doing a much better job of exposing the unseemly element that overlaps with “skepticism” than I ever could.

        I do find it interesting that so far, not one rational skeptic has stood up to denounce your statements. Interesting – given that most folks here are not usually shy about stepping up to criticize thinking that they find objectionable.

      • David Springer

        What I am exposing Joshua is that skeptics are more interested in the truth than they are in being politically correct. I’m not here to blow sunshine up your ass, son. I’m here to make you aware of the facts.

      • What I am exposing Joshua is that skeptics are more interested in the truth than they are in being politically correct.

        Bingo. I think that you make a very clear argument. Your arguments are what serve as “the truth” in the eyes of this one climate “skeptic.” I assume that you will agree that you use the same approach to logical reasoning in how you approach political issues as you use in approaching issues related to climate science.

        I am very well aware that your brand of logic and reasoning is not representative of all, or perhaps even most climate “skeptics,” but you do a nice job of presenting the full dilemma to anyone who is interested in teasing out all of the various elements that play out in the debate.

        You apply very similar reasoning in determining “truth” on political issues as you use, say, when discussing recent trends in temperatures. You have a very similar approach in how you draw lines between cause and effect, in how you control for the influence of different variables. There are, as we have seen, other “skeptics” who apply a similar type of reasoning to reach similar conclusions as you do on this political issue we have been discussing. So far, we have “sketpical” denizens Chad, Rob, and Mannacker aligning with your perspective. Not one “skeptic” has seen fit to disagree with your political logic.

        So as someone who doesn’t have the brains or the technical skills to understand the technical arguments about the science, then I have to look at the kind of reasoning that you use on political issues and then look at your conclusions that you make on climate science using the same approach to reasoning and say, “WTF?” And I am left with the question of whether those who reach similar conclusions as you do on the science use a similar process, more generally, as you use.

        It’s information. It is far from sufficient, but it is certainly fascinating.

      • And I just want to note specifically,

        because it is just so beautiful,

        that I have not characterized “skeptics” generally by this discussion with David – only said that I have to logically question the validity of conclusions that David reaches, and shares with many other “skeptics” because of the reasoning he has displayed in this discussion.

        But David, on the other hand, says the following:

        What I am exposing Joshua is that skeptics are more interested in the truth than they are in being politically correct.

        So it is David who is characterizing “skeptics” as a group, not I.

        When will a “rational skeptic” jump in to tell him that “skeptics” are not monolithic?

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        I make a policy of not responding to Joshua, but good lord, this entire racism discussion is annoying. So in response to:

        I do find it interesting that so far, not one rational skeptic has stood up to denounce your statements. Interesting – given that most folks here are not usually shy about stepping up to criticize thinking that they find objectionable.

        When will a “rational skeptic” jump in to tell him that “skeptics” are not monolithic?

        Whether or not I’m a “rational skeptic,” I can’t say, but I will say this. Would you people please shut up? You people are going on and on about things that have no relevance to the blog post. Nobody cares about your silly point-scoring, moral posturing, mindless jabbing or constant nagging. I’m sure I don’t speak for everyone, but for those of us I do speak for…

        Please Shut Up.

      • I usually have a policy of not responding to Brandon, but I will make an exception in this case.

        Brandon – any time you don’t want to read one of my posts, feel free to skip over them.

        Please Shut Up.

        Classic.

        Brandon, I’m not talking. Anyone that you hear talking is either in the room with you, on the radio or TV, or outside your window. Something like that.

        If you hear me talking – that is in your head. If you want to stop hearing my voice, don’t read my posts.

  86. Max OK –
    You have it absolutely bassackwards – my argument is that African-Americans ARE SMART ENOUGH TO MAKE THEIR OWN CHOICES, AS SMART AS ANYONE ELSE. The fact that Democrat policies are not in their best interest AT PRESENT doesn’t change this. As I point out, African-American support for Democrats is for historical reasons, and for a long time was perfectly reasonable given the attitude of the Republicans as I have here described it.

    But the situation has changed, and the white “liberals” who now rule the Democrat party are cynically exploiting that past history to try to stay in power. To do this they are touting entitlements instead of opportunities. As for the Republicans, yes, they have been singularly, regrettably inept in getting across the message to African-Americans that constructive economic policies will help them more than the stagflationary policies of the Democrats.

    While there is certainly a substantial residue of prejudice that cannot be ignored, the biggest barrier to advancement for African-Americans today is economic policies and regulations which make capital unavailable for job creation and make it unduly difficult for African-Americans to go into business for themselves. Another serious barrier to advancement is the ballooning cost of education at public universities, which disproportionately adversely affects African-Americans.

    Taxes and college tuition are being raised so that unproductive bureaucrats can live higher on the hog, and to provide a living for people who can’t or won’t cut it in the private sector – who basically don’t want to work. This system is perpetuated because these kleptocrats are now numerous enough to decide elections. And this is at the expense of opportunities for African-Americans in particular. It’s the white “liberal” kleptocracy here that is denying opportunities to African-Americans.

    It’s the WHITE “LIBERALS” who don’t think African-Americans can or should think for themselves, and that’s why they trash people like Herman Cain who obviously does think for himself – and thinks intelligently, going against their stereotype of black people. It’s the WHITE “LIBERALS” who are the racists here.

    In conclusion, I should add that I am a member of an African-American family – and I am proud to call my wife’s two very black, very brilliant engineer sons my own despite the absence of a biological relationship. There ain’t no “step” in this family. And I have firsthand personal experience with white “liberal” racism. As a family we have encountered enormous prejudice from white self-proclaimed “liberals,” versus none at all from the people we know who call themselves conservative and are genuinely so. My wife and I both have been fired from jobs by white “liberals” who, try as they might, couldn’t conceal their racially motivated hostility towards my wife and towards our interracial marriage. It so obviously stuck in their craws.

    • It’s the WHITE “LIBERALS” who don’t think African-Americans can or should think for themselves, …The fact that Democrat policies are not in their best interest AT PRESENT doesn’t change this.

      I’m loving this

      So it isn’t that you don’t think that American black voters aren’t smart, but you think that they just don’t realize what’s in their best interests. And you would like to make that determination for them because they can’t make it for themselves.

      Outstanding!

      Where have you been,Chad?

      Climate etc. as some real winners who post here regularly – but I have to say, I don’t think that any can hold a candle to you.

      To bad you didn’t come around sooner.

      I would hope that amongst the “rational skeptics” that post here, at least one would step up to admit that your comments are positively cringe-worthy.

      • Josh,

        As much as you may not want to believe it, Chad’s point has a lot to truth to it. As for your “How many black friends do you have” reply – in a word, lame.

        A friend of mind – we shared a rental house for over 4 years – is a dyed in the wool Democratic voter. Why? Pretty much because he believes that the Democratic Party represents the party which has the interests of black Americans most at heart and that the Republican Party doesn’t care at all about blacks. How much of that is true is open for debate, but the key point is that is what he believes. It is ingrained in his thinking. The only time he really thinks about it is in April of every year when, as a small businessman he sees how much of his income the government takes. Who knows, someday he may decide to take stock and see which party has “his” interests more to heart. For sure the Republican Party has done little to make him change is mind. I don’t believe it is as simple as “re-messaging” their positions. Some of those positions will have to be changed before minority groups view of what the GOP represents changes. And even then there is no guarantee views will change. My dad’s folks and sisters (immigrants all) always voted Democrat based on how they perceived FDR. Didn’t matter in later years what the policies of the Dem’s might be. They voted for them out of loyalty.

      • tim –

        Are you actually no familiar with the meme “Some of my best friends are black” and what it references in discussion of racial issues?

        And help me to understand your point about your friend. Is your argument that your friend, or possibly black Americans, are less thoughtful, or partisan, or loyal in how they choose to vote than Republicans?

        So would your argument be that Chad is right – that black Americans are voting against their own best interests, but don’t have his insight to realize it?

        Because that is what he argued, you know.

        Who are you to determine when someone is or isn’t voting against their best interests? Have you read What’s the Matter with Kansas? Do you agree with the analysis presented there for how conservatives are voting against their own best interests?

        Let’s say that I think that all conservatives are voting against their best interests. Do you think I would be right if I felt that way? If so, using the logic you just articulated, prove me wrong.

      • Josh,

        I know you love to get into your philosophical merry go round exercises, which makes it useless to have a serious discussion on any portion of the race topic.

        I will answer the last question however – sure, it is possible you are correct and all conservative voters are not voting in their best interests. Why people vote for a particular candidatate is due to many reasons. If I recall correctly, a large number vote based on a single issue. If a candidate supports their view on that issue, it may not matter what other issues he favors. I twice voted for a Dem Congressman who held positions quite different from mine on a majority of issues. But two issues he felt strongest about were education and getting government out of the way of small business. Was I voting against my best interests? Seeing as how I was also voting for a Republican candidate for President, arguably so.

        Then there is the little fact of how people generally vote for the incumbant in a race, even though they also hold the opinion that Congress is a major part of the problem we face. They believe Congress is messed up, but that it is everyone other than their guy. What does that say about people’s ability to vote in their “best interest”?

        In other words Josh, you are just playing a coffee house game and don’t really know much about why people vote a certain way.

      • What about other ethnic groups in the USA? How do they vote? I really don’t know which way Native Americans, or Cubans, or Hispanics vote and I wouldn’t presume to tell them on a racial basis. I’d still argue politics with them though if they were up for it.

        Isn’t that the way it should be?

    • As for the Republicans, yes, they have been singularly, regrettably inept in getting across the message to African-Americans that constructive economic policies will help them more than the stagflationary policies of the Democrats.

      Yes – Good point. The eason why black Americans don’t vote for Republicans is because Republicans haven’t been good at getting out the message. Of course, yourself, and white American conservatives more generally, understand the superiority of Republican policies despite the inept messaging – but black Americans don’t have the insight that you and conservatives have to look past the messaging problems.

      If only black Americans would were as smart as you, they could see how they’re being “duped” by Democrats (who think that black Americans aren’t intelligent).

      You are positively fantastic, Chad. A true work of art.

      • Joshua and Chad

        This video may shed some light on how Obama hopes to get the “black vote for Obama”.

        Some say this is a “racist” appeal: how would it have sounded if Mitt Romney had called for a “white vote for Romney”?

        What do you two think of it?

        Max

      • Some say this is a “racist” appeal:

        Indeed, “some” do.

        And “some” would say that that video has nothing, whatsoever, with considering some people superior to others on the basis of skin color, or denying people rights on the basis of skin color, or discriminating against people on the basis of skin color.

        But thanks for weighing in on the issues – as a representative of the “rational skeptic” contingent.

      • David Springer

        The test that I apply, Joshua, is swapping the word black for white and seeing whether it is offensive.

        Here is Obama’s message transposed and said by a white candidate:

        Join Anglo Americans for Romney: https://my.mittromney.com/anampotusvid

        Today, we’re announcing the 2012 launch of Anglo Americans for Romney.

        There’s no better time than Anglo American History Month to consider the tremendous progress we’ve made through the sacrifice of so many—or a better time to commit to meeting the very real challenges we face right now.

        Visit angloamericans.mittromney.com for more information about all the ways you can get involved—from attending HBCU organizing workshops to becoming a Congregation Captain—and say you’re ready to keep making history. Thanks, and see you out there.

        I would find that offensive. But I find Obama’s version just as offensive. This is what it means to be color blind, Joshua. It’s offensive either way. I suppose it doesn’t meet the strict definition of racism so I’ll concede that point to you but it is definitely racial discrimination and racial discrimination offends me regardless of which direction the discrimination flows.

      • Keep posting, David.

        Obama is a racist, who is appealing to the racism of black people, and that is why they vote for him. And you can determine this by substituting ”
        “white” for “black” in what he says.

        Your logic and reasoning is crystal clear.

        Each and every post you write on this topic only further elucidates for me in terms I can clearly understand the type of reasoning you use to base your “skepticism” about climate change.

      • I suppose it doesn’t meet the strict definition of racism so I’ll concede that point to you but it is definitely racial discrimination and racial discrimination offends me regardless of which direction the discrimination flows.

        Yes. “Definitely racial discrimination.” Organizing black voters to vote for him is discriminating against Romney, and discriminating against white voters.

        Beautiful logic.

        And when King Jr. was involved with the NAACP, and speaking about color-blindess when doing so, he was also, no doubt, discriminating on the basis of race.

    • John Carpenter

      Look, I can go off topic with the best of them but this discussion couldn’t possibly get further off topic. I thought this was a blog about climate and climate poicy…not election year politics and racism in america. You guys should go find another room.

      • John Carpenter

        Agree.

        Sorry.

        Max

      • There is crossover, John. It doesn’t explain why anyone in particular has a particular view on climate science, but the crossover between politics and the debate about the science is a part of the debate, on both sides. You can’t just wish it away.

      • John Carpenter

        I’m wishing it away!

      • OK – you can wish it away. Doesn’t mean it will work, though.

        I would guess that not one “realist” at this site would agree even in the slightest with the arguments of David and Chad, and perhaps even Rob w/r/t this question of racism.

        I would guess that a fairly significant % of “skeptics” at this site would agree with them. No idea what %, and I’m quite sure many would disagree – but I would say that a significant % would agree.

        What does that mean? In itself, it is hard to say. Maybe it means that “realists” are socialists with guilt complexes that want to keep blacks down by the bigotry of low expectations.

        But it is an undeniable piece of the context of the debate.

        No skeptic in their right might would argue that it is coincidence.

      • David Springer

        Agree. Sorry. I don’t know who started it but I’ll do my fair share to end it by clamming up.

      • Beautiful.

        Are any of your best friends black?

      • The usual suspects of course are involved.

    • David Springer

      FYI my wife of 32 years is hispanic. She’s the best person I know in every way that matters. How she’s managed to put up with me for so long is one of life’s great mysteries.

  87. NASA may have gotten a bad rap with a lot of people because of individuals like James E. Hansen, but let’s not forget what it was originally set up to do – and what it does real well, as evidenced here:

    Worth watching.

    Max

    • Actually, this is a SUPERB video, very much worth watching

    • David Springer

      Yes but don’t be fooled into thinking NASA scientists made this happen. This is pure 100% unadulterated engineering. The goals are scientific but the execution is engineering, baby. Nine nines. Oh yeah.

    • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

      Agree it’s an awesome video, and an even more fantastic accomplishment.

      In time, I suspect Dr. Hansen will be proven every bit as smart (and correct) as those other smart people as NASA who got this rover to Mars. Things are going to be changing fast–hold on to your seat.

      • David Springer

        “In time, I suspect Dr. Hansen will be proven every bit as smart (and correct) as those other smart people as NASA who got this rover to Mars.”

        ROFLMAO!!!!!

        Good one!

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        This would be a good time to do that David…as things may not be so funny a bit later.

    • Now that’s the NASA I grew up in awe of and which reminds me of how great America is.

      • timg56,

        NASA isn’t just about the space race. And of course Americans should be proud of all aspects of NASA’s work and, I’d suggest that the most important planet, for NASA, is the one we’re all living on right now. They should be proud to have people like James Hansen and also acknowledge the part played by overseas recruits like Gavin Schmidt. Americans didn’t seem to have any problem acknowledging the NASA work of Nazi war criminals like Werner von Braun, so it doesn’t seem quite fair they give Hansen and Schmidt such a hard time.

      • temp,

        My only criticism of Dr Hansen is that he has no business as an activist if he is going to represent a dept of NASA.

        My criticism of Dr Schmidt is the arrogance he displays on occasion at RC.

    • 500,000 lines of code – done right.
      NASA has the expertise to do it.
      Now it needs to apply equal rigor to each and every line of climate models.
      NASA’s current climate activism and failure to rigorously verify and validate climate models is a severe breach of its charter and the public trust.

  88. Joshua –
    Whether I think conservative economics is better for black folks has no bearing on how smart I think they are. There are many reasons why African-Americans still vote Dermocrat, and just because I may think differently from them on issues, I certainly DO NOT think I’m smarter than they are. My wife and sons could run circles around me intellect-wise, and I know they don’t agree with me on some issues, but THAT DOES NOT mean that I am smarter than they are, which is assuredly not the case.

    I would say that in my family we all agree that much has to be done to make African-Americans fully equal members of society. We may not agree as to the particulars of how to get there but we share that common goal. And one of the most important aspect of respecting the individual is the agreement to disagree. No matter how much coercion is applied, no two individuals will ever think exactly alike.

    And that is what the white “liberals,” with their politics of coercion, choose to ignore.

    • Whether I think conservative economics is better for black folks has no bearing on how smart I think they are.

      No. But the fact that you think that you know better than they do who it is in their interests to vote for does have a bearing on how smart you think they are.

      There are many reasons why African-Americans still vote Dermocrat,

      No doubt. But the reasons that you think that cause them to vote for Dems is different than the reasons they identify. You think it’s because Repubs need to do a better job of messaging. They think it’s because the message Repubs present is not what they want.

      I certainly DO NOT think I’m smarter than they are.

      Right. You think that they are fooled by Dems into voting for them, via a scam that you think is obvious, but you don’t think that you’re smarter than they are. OK. Do you use the same kind of logic to evaluate climate science?

      I would say that in my family we all agree that much has to be done to make African-Americans fully equal members of society.

      That’s great. Are any of your best friends black?

      • “Are any of your best friends black?”

        Race-baiting by a partisan Liberal Warmer. Page one of The Playbook.

        Andrew

      • To use a bowling analogy – Josh is rolling gutter balls. Trying to imply guys like Chad and David are racist, you know the guys with African American and Hispanic wives. Damn, I wonder if being married to an Asian woman means I’m one too.

      • tim –

        To use a bowling analogy – Josh is rolling gutter balls. Trying to imply guys like Chad and David are racist,

        Hold it right there. You are absolutely wrong. I have never met them. I have absolutely no idea whether or not they are racist. I don’t make such judgements about people I never met.

        I am saying that their arguments are completely illogical. They are motivated out of partisan loyalty, and that is why they can’t see the illogic of their arguments. I have no reason, none whatsoever, to assume that either of them is racist.

        The “Some of my best friends are black” reference is to the logical fallacy that because someone has some black best friends, therefore they can make arguments like David did, that black voters are racist, or like Chad did, that he knows better than black voters do what is in their best interests.

        I have been clear all along that the issue I take with their arguments rests in the logic and reasoning.

        Don’t put words in my mouth.

      • My last post on this topic (for now). I’ll make Brandon’s night.

        I find it fascinating that “skeptics” seem to have been quite animated recently over that article that that Australian guy wrote about the association of “skeptics” with various rightwing ideologies.

        It seems that there were some methodological problems with the guy’s science. I haven’t really looked into to it – but lets assume the problems are significant.

        Part of the reason that “skeptics” have been upset is that because poor science, in their opinion, was used to associate “skepticism” with rightwing ideology.

        Well, ok. I can understand that. But look at our own little case study.

        Thus far, we have a clear assocation between at least five “skeptics” that I can think of – tim, Chad, David, Rob, and Mannacker – with a rather striking rightwing ideology w/r/t racism. I would guess that not one “realist” on this board would agree with their opinions. And not one “rational skeptic” stepped up to disagree with the Fab Five.

        Now we did have a plaintive cry from Brandon, and John Carpenter? beseeching us to stop the discussion. But not one “skeptic” voiced disagreement. Interesting.

        Isn’t it interesting that at the same time that some “sketpics” are concerned about an invalid association of their cause with rightwing ideology, in our little experiment we saw evidence of rightwing ideology from “skeptics,” no disagreement from “skeptics” even though no doubt some here do disagree, and pleadings for the discussion to be stopped.

        Information, It’s all information.

      • Oh, and let us not forget David’s monolithic description of “skeptics.” As far as I can tell, not one “skeptic” has stepped up to explain to him that “skeptics” are not monolithic. I’ll check back later.

      • You are now tap dancing Josh.

        Care to explain what my “right wing ideology w/r/t racism” is? I’m curious to find out.

      • Joshua, you are just as boring and irrelevant here as you are at CaS.

    • Chad and Joshua,

      Inevitably when talking about African – Americans its easy to become entangled in questions of racism, merely with the use of words like “they” or white or black or whatever. But primarily, voting its not a racial issue but an economic one.

      We get the same arguments in Australia and the UK over questions of class rather than race. Conservative politicians tend to argue that the , largely white, working class have been “duped” or “fooled” into voting for the parties of the left. They argue that its better for the working class to ally themselves with the parties most supportive of capitalism rather than oppose them.

      Some of the working class accept that argument but most probably don’t. That’s their choice to make, just like its the choice of black Americans to make a choice too at election time.

      Looking at it from outside, I would say that the Republicans have lost rather than gained the confidence of black Americans over their attitude towards Obama. It’s fair enough for them to oppose a Democratic president, but previously it always looks to have been done respectfully. The president is the president after all. It doesn’t look that respectful now though.

      • temp,

        I don’t agree with a lot you say here, but this was well said.

        And I guess I never picked up on you being from down under. As much as I’ve been told by people how Australians t love and treat Americans, the same is true here. Doesn’t matter what your politics or opinions are. It only matters that you are an Aussie and that’s good enough.

        With that said, we can get back to arguing.

      • Well yes OK.

        here is a similar discussion: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-19473368

  89. Joshua –
    Your phrase “the bigotry of low expectations” neatly sums up my own observations of white “liberal” attitudes toward and prejudices against black folks.

    And what is most interesting is how the white “liberals” react when some black person defies those low expectations and achieves at a high level. They can’t stand it! It upsets their equilibrium – and makes them afraid that they won’t be able to make black folks do their bidding.

    Unlike the CRL and white “liberals” generally, I do NOT have low expectations for black folks. My own family proves the venality and stupidity of low expectations. White “liberals” ignore the fact that, given the same advantages as whites, black folks are just as smart and do just as well, and this applies even if prejudice keeps their achievements from being properly acknowledged.

    “Low expectations” obviously means white “liberals” do think African-Americans aren’t as smart as other folks. Racism again.

    • Chad Wozniak,

      Excellent comment. But I am less sanguine about the term “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” There is nothing soft about progressives’ bigotry in the U.S.

      It is that bigotry that caused them to require minority fathers to move out of their families home in order for the wife and children to collect welfare benefits.

      It is that bigotry that caused Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to say “Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”

      It is that bigotry that causes Planned Parenthood to pursue its founder, Margaret Sanger’s, dreams of using eugenics to reduce the minority population by locating the vast majority of their abortion clinics in minority neighborhoods.

      It is that bigotry that makes it acceptable to progressives that the schools they run fail to educate children in the inner cities.

      It was a lame term when used by the progressive Republican George H.W. Bush. It has not improved with age.

    • Chad sez “I do NOT have low expectations for black folks.”
      _____

      Except, when it comes to Black Folks voting. You know what’s best for Blacks, but they don’t.

    • @Chad: White “liberals” ignore the fact that, given the same advantages as whites, black folks are just as smart and do just as well

      Quite right. White liberals are uncomfortable with the idea of a black in the White House, to their great discredit. The GOP is more enlightened in that regard, having higher expectations for blacks, wouldn’t you say, Chad?

  90. Joshua –
    You ask if any of my best friends are black? You betcha they are – starting with my very black wife, who is my very best friend in all the world – as far as I’m concerned, she is the best thing that ever walked the face of this planet -and going on to my sons and to any number of others. Most of the people I regularly associate with socially are African-American, and I have only one close friend who is white (and a woman, to boot).

    • Chad sez: “I have only one close friend who is white (and a woman, to boot).”
      _____

      Shall we move on to why the GOP is losing women voters?

    • Chad, Gary M,

      You need to remember your history before criticising political groupings over the race question. Its not too long since the political right would support racist regimes, as with South Africa in the apartheid days, and the left would oppose them. The left would support the civil rights movement, the right would oppose it. So, without claiming that the record of the left has been perfect, I would say that historically we have generally been on the side of the angels.

      The point about some white liberals having low expectations is a valid one, however, and it is representative of a dilemma that we all face. On the one hand we want to see fairness and equality but what if the starting point is a position of unfairness and inequality? How much should the balance be tipped? How much ‘positive discrimination’ should there be?

      When Europeans landed in America and Australia the indigenous people had the land and the Europeans had the Bible. Now largely its the other way around? Is that a fair swap? Its is even worse with the importation of slaves from Africa, whose whole culture was removed from them.

      So having done that, leaving these population groups with next to nothing, is it fair to declare total equality? I guess you are saying yes. That’s one point of view but to accept it uncritically indicates you are oblivious to the overall complexities of the argument.

      • Oh please.

        “Liberals” (ie. Democrats) fought the Civil War to preserve slavery.

        Liberals instituted Jim Crow to try to keep African Americans from voting.

        Liberals sicced dogs on civil rights demonstrators,

        Liberals stood in the school house door.

        Liberals defeated the first civil rights legislation under Eisenhower and filibustered the ’64 act under Johnson.

        Liberals instituted the welfare policy that destroyed the family structure of African American families.

        Liberals suck billions of dollars every year out of failed inner city schools to pay unionized “teachers” who work as campaign drones in return for “tenure” and outrageous pension for incompetent teachers while failing at least half of their students. OH, and to funnel millions of tax dollars to liberal campaign funds, rather than spend it on the children they are supposed to teach.

        Liberals finance, and use government funds where possible, the eugenicist work of Planned Parenthood in the inner city.

        Liberals now demand permanent affirmative action based on their belief of the intellectual inferiority of African Americans (Affirmative action meaning a white crony capitalist pays a minority to front a company to qualify for preferential treatment in the award of government contracts.)

        There are racists among conservatives. There are racists among liberals. There are racists among libertarians. There are racists among bald, one legged, buck toothed Polynesians.

        But the party that has stood behind institutional racism, in all its myraid forms, has always been the Democrat party.

        That’s actual history.

        Is it any surprise that progressives, whose basic political belief is that they are superior to their fellow humans and should therefore centrally plan all aspects of their lives, are the same people who historically have subjugated those they deemed their inferiors? Now instead of owning minorities, they just keep them uneducated and dependent on government.

        But I’ll say this for today’s liberals. They no longer demand African Americans pick their cotton for them, just that they cast their vote for the Democrat candidates every two to four years.

      • GaryM,

        The history of the Democratic and Republican parties in the USA is a peculiar story. One seems to have moved leftwards the other rightwards to such an extent that they seem to have completely swapped sides over the years. This is far from typical in terms of world politics, more probably quite unique, although I know Americans do tend to be often of the belief that the world and America are synonymous.

        To support this contention, I’d just point out that Marx famously wrote a letter of congratulations, on behalf of the International Working Men’s Association, to Abraham Lincoln starting with:
        We congratulate the American people upon your re-election by a large majority. If resistance to the Slave Power was the reserved watchword of your first election, the triumphant war cry of your re-election is Death to Slavery.

        It’s hard to imagine anyone on the left congratulating Mitt Romney , were he to win in November.

  91. WHT @ 5 September 12.47pm:
    Re yr distribution of wind speeds probability. Probability, hmm … but what’s the actuality WHT? You could say that Intermittancy is a constant problem. In the UK, in three consecutive Winters of intense cold there was little or no wind to generate electricity . On 21 December 2010, coal and gas generated 45,000 MW of electricity compared to wind generated electricity of 20 MW. See page 15 of CIVITAS Report.

    http://www.civitas.org.uk/economy/electricitycosts2012.pdf

    • Indeed Beth, periods of peak demand tend to be windless, cold or hot. That is how the extremes are reached. And they can last for several days, or even a week. So we either have to be able to store that much juice or have reliable generating capacity standing by. Eithe is very expensive and must be aded to the cost of the wind system.

      From a systems point of view wind is not an original generating technology, but rather an emissions reduction technology. That is, it can idle a fossil plant from time to time, but the fossil plant still has to be there, ready to run when the wind does not blow. That or some sort of massive storage system, with the wind capacity to keep it full.

  92. Thx Max 05/ 5.27pm:
    The superb Mars landing video, demonstrating the wonderful ingenuity of human created science, is a reminder to apocalyptic oracles, Erlich, Suzuki et ‘Al,’ and some denisens here, that we are pragmatic problem solvers and should face the future without fear and guilt, though not with hubris, to which we are also sometimes somewhat inclined. .

    • Beth, as always you put it more eloquently than I ever could (yew shore c’n talk purty!), but in doing so, you raise a good point.

      It is obvious from the video clip and the past record of over 40 years what NASA does very well – precise engineering/applied science related to outer space exploration.

      It can arguably be said that what NASA does NOT do so well is “climate science”.

      There is too much emphasis on making the case for catastrophic AGW (and, most recently, even for advocating policy solutions to the postulated “climate problem”), whether by computer simulations based on theoretical deliberations, questionable sea level projections or dicey measurements of ocean and atmospheric surface temperatures.

      “Tipping point” and “coal death train” pronouncements by James E. Hansen, a senior NASA official, do not help NASA’s reputation.

      But these shortcomings should in no way detract from what NASA was originally set up to do – and does very well.

      And it should give us all hope that human ingenuity will continue to improve the life expectancy and quality of life of humanity, despite the negativism of the doomsayers.

      Max

    • David Springer

      Technically that was an animation not a video.

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        Actually, technically animation is a subcategory as a type of video, as the term video is a general term referring to an electronic mode for the transfer, storage, or dissemination of images. Thus, the Mars lander video is an animation, distinguishing it from a “live action” video.

    • Technically, that was technology, and not science.

  93. The post appears to Eli to be based on a very false premise. There has been a lot of work on natural variability and the work concluded some time ago that the changes we are seeing cannot be accounted for by natural variability. Folks like Ben Santer have spent their scientific life figuring out how to distinguish forced climate changes from natural variability. As in any such thing there are bitter end dissenters, in this case one could cite the Pielkes and our host. Nothing will every convince then any more than anything could, for example, convince Peter Duesberg that AIDS was caused by a virus.

    Richard Muller was an interesting case in this regard. Predisposed to skepticism about anything he had not personally touched, fed a bunch of hooey by people he believed, and with an extra large sized ego, Muller set out show us all how wrong we were, only to discover that he had the wrong end of the stick. It would be interesting to have more information about the personal dynamics inside Muller and inside the BEST team which led him to accept his recent path.

    Still that leaves the intellectual detrius who try and latch on to dissenting views as an anchor for their strangeness?

    • @funny-bunny: Muller set out show us all how wrong we were

      That’s one theory, Josh. In my conversations with Muller he struck me as simply a (relatively) unbiased observer who was determined to find out the facts for himself. Nowhere did he> say his goal was to prove anyone wrong about anything, he merely wanted to decide that question to his own satisfaction.

      You’re every bit as bad as those climate skeptics who attribute motives to anyone with a different belief system from their own, and who call them irrational.

      Regarding “relatively,” I can’t say Muller is entirely unopinionated, but at least he’s tolerable, and more importantly willing to listen. Which is more than can be said for a lot of people here.

    • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

      “intellectual detrius…””

      Those are very harsh bunny droppings Eli…harsh, but accurate.

    • How bitter are your hops.
      ================

    • Robert I Ellison

      As the good folks at realclimate say – warmin interrupted – much ado about natural variation. Can a bunny be at the same time a dinosaur? The evidence suggests a certain calcifying of the brain pan in the inability to entertain even a smidgeon of doubt, the far flung accusations of crackpottery and the confusion of detritus with the leader of a vampire clan in the old west.

      ‘During the American revolution the clan that had the most influence over the fledgling Americans was the Brujah. The Brujah fuels the revolts, they armed the soldiers, they aided the revolutionaries. No Brujah was more active in the revolution then Detrius.

      Detrius was a Brujah Methuselah with a deep hated for all forms of control. He hated the British, for trying to control America. He hated the commanders in the army, for trying to control the soldiers. He hated just about everybody.’ We can see the appeal to a bunny descending into a hell of his own making. Beware the Kool-Aid Eli.

      Let me quote again from one of my favourite publications. ‘One important development since the TAR is the apparent unexpectedly large changes in tropical mean radiation flux reported by ERBS (Wielicki et al., 2002a,b). It appears to be related in part to changes in the nature of tropical clouds (Wielicki et al., 2002a), based on the smaller changes in the clear-sky component of the radiative fluxes (Wong et al., 2000; Allan and Slingo, 2002), and appears to be statistically distinct from the spatial signals associated with ENSO (Allan and Slingo, 2002; Chen et al., 2002). A recent reanalysis of the ERBS active-cavity broadband data corrects for a 20 km change in satellite altitude between 1985 and 1999 and changes in the SW filter dome (Wong et al., 2006). Based upon the revised (Edition 3_Rev1) ERBS record (Figure 3.23), outgoing LW radiation over the tropics appears to have increased by about 0.7 W m–2 while the reflected SW radiation decreased by roughly 2.1 W m–2 from the 1980s to 1990s (Table 3.5).’ IPCC AR4 s 3.4.4.1

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

      If real? Cooling in the IR and warming in the SW? Hmmmm. Perhaps a review of th