Too much advocacy?

by Judith Curry

By advocating social policy positions, scientists may be forfeiting their credibility, instead becoming just ordinary folks with opinions. – Greg Breining

The StarTribune has an interesting Commentary entitled Too much advocacy?  Scientists and Public Policy  (h/t Kip Hanson). Some excerpts:

James Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, recently wrote in the New York Times that if Canada continues to pump oil from its tar sands, “it will be game over for the climate.” This from the same climate scientist who warned three years ago, “We’re toast if we don’t get on a very different path.”

Hyperbolic and emotional as they are, these statements are examples of a scientist speaking not as a scientist, but as an advocate. They address policy, not science. And for these kinds of proclamations, Hansen is embraced by environmentalists and excoriated by climate-change deniers.

But what about all the people in the middle? People who may be willing to accept that the globe is warming, that humans are probably responsible, but still wonder what we might do about it?

Most likely, their bullshit detectors just went on high alert.

JC comment:  Finally, someone who gets it.  The ‘bullshit detector’ issue is much more cogent IMO in explaining skepticism than ‘motivated reasoning.’

But by advocating policy positions — overtly or by stealth — scientists may be forfeiting their privileged positions as scientists and becoming just ordinary guys with opinions, and in the process, undercutting the credibility of their scientific work.

JC message to Jane Lubchenco:  read previous paragraph 10 times.

“Scientists increasingly seem to be joining the political fray by equating particular scientific findings with political and ideological perspectives,” writes Roger Pielke, professor of environmental science at the University of Colorado. “From the perspective of the public or policymakers, scientific debate and political debate on many environmental issues already have become indistinguishable.”

At least Hansen’s flag is flying in the breeze for all to see. Other advocacy masquerading as science is harder to recognize — so difficult that scientists themselves may not see it.

George Wilhere of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife calls it “inadvertent advocacy” and labels it “professional negligence.” Robert T. Lackey of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calls it “stealth policy advocacy.”

JC comment:  ‘professional negligence’,  I haven’t seen that label used in this context.  I agree in principle, but the professional coda for research scientists does not emphasize this point.  I think a big part of the problem is that this is so widespread and the ‘norm’ in some fields, that most scientists aren’t even aware of their stealth advocacy.

Erica Fleishman, researcher at John Muir Institute of the Environment, University of California, Davis, had noticed stealth advocacy in the research papers submitted to Conservation Biology after she was hired as editor a bit more than two years ago. It didn’t occur often — in perhaps one paper in 10. But she began asking authors to strike unsubstantiated opinions and policy statements, or at the very least, identify them as opinions.

“In the scientific papers themselves I encouraged authors to use value-neutral language. Stick to the facts rather than emotion,” Fleishman says. “I really wanted the journal to be seen as an honest broker of science to anyone who cares to use science regardless of their politics.”

This spring, the Society for Conservation Biology gave Fleishman the boot. She was told that some authors and the governing board were, as Fleishman recalls, “unhappy with your insistence that policy preferences and value statements either not be included or be clearly identified as opinion in research papers.”

JC comment:  wow, I hadn’t previously heard about this.  I know next to nothing about the field and culture of conservation biology, but it seems appalling that the Society for Conservation Biology came out explicitly in favor of including policy preferences and value statements in scientific papers.

So what?

First, a lot of people will become not just skeptical, but unreasonably so. People are always looking for ways to avoid challenging information — Al Gore’s movie is called “An Inconvenient Truth,” after all. By being able to suspect the motives of the messenger, listeners can discard the whole unpleasant message.

Second, not only will individual scientists lose credibility, but the whole scientific endeavor will become just another story, a narrative concocted for dramatic effect or self-serving motives. Science will become just another advocacy group — in a lab coat.

Third, a collapse in credibility means that science will play an even less constructive role in public-policy debates. And when “stealth advocacy” enters the debate dressed up as science, it will become a proxy for clearly expressed values so that the values themselves are never discussed. As Wilhere puts it, “Inadvertent policy advocacy undermines the rational political discourse necessary for the evolution of society’s values.”

Finally, while scientists have plenty to contribute to public debate as “honest brokers” of scientific knowledge, they are not particularly good at staking out policy. This is why we elect politicians and hire regulators.

But scientists’ advocacy in politically charged debates does give opponents an opportunity to impeach their credibility and turn the conversation from science, which is hard to argue, to motives and doubt, which are a lot easier.

JC summary:  In the previous post on this topic Activate (?) your science, I addressed problems associated with integrity in science.  This article clearly lays out the problems with advocacy by scientists in public policy debates.

To those who think better ‘communication’ is the key to action in the climate change debate, with scientists as activist/communicators, I hope that they will realize the damage done to their policy agenda (not to mention the science) by this strategy.

492 responses to “Too much advocacy?

  1. Thanks, Judith. As a former final reader of a small research organization, this topic needs more exposure.

    • I agree, Fred. They started down this mistaken path in 1945, as I slowly, painfully slowly, finally found these words to conclude Climategate:

      From Hiroshima in Aug 1945 to Climategate in Nov 2009

      Living in the “sphere of influence” of the Sun’s pulsar core
      Is like living in electron orbits around an atom’s nuclear core
      We are humbly connected to RTG (Reality, Truth, God), or
      We are arrogantly connected to false illusions of control !

      THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS, NOT ONE, ABSOLUTELY NONE
      Establishing the UN in Oct 1945 to control RTG was an error.

      http://omanuel.wordpress.com/

      • I support the UN’s publicly stated purposes.

        I oppose the UN’s hidden agenda to:

        a.) Destroy constitutional limits on government
        b.) Integrity in government research & science
        c.) Generate the tyranny described by Orwell:

        http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/1984/

        I deeply regret that I couldn’t “connect the dots” until official responses to Climategate confirmed that deception was intentional.

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

        http://www.omatumr.com

    • JC said:

      Finally, someone who gets it. The ‘bullshit detector’ issue is much more cogent IMO in explaining skepticism than ‘motivated reasoning.’

      And Fred Harwood said:

      Thanks, Judith. As a former final reader of a small research organization, this topic needs more exposure.

      Yes. And here is some exposure.

      The sensitivity level on my BS detector has been raised as a result of an incident over the past two days on a web site that proclaims to provide objective, impartial information for the Australian electricity industry. I now believe it is a front group for the renewable energy industry and CAGW alarmists. It is common for such sites, to delete comments that do not support what they are advocating. The following explains what happened on “WattClarity” over the past two days:

      1. they posted an article showing that wind energy had produced 50% of South Australia’s electricity last Saturday, and 27.4% of electricity over the past 5 months

      http://www.wattclarity.com.au/2012/09/high-wind-production-in-south-australia/

      2. I asked how much CO2 emissions were avoided by the wind energy and what was the CO2 abatement cost?

      3. I received a reply that did not answer my question. I posted a second comment explaining how the calculations can be done and suggesting they insert the correct numbers since they have access to them and I do not.

      4. I received a second reply which is just obfuscation. I now believe WattClarity is a cover for advocacy for the wind energy cause.

      5. I replied but my comments were deleted. I’ll post my two comments below.

      6. I asked by email if my comments had been intentionally deleted and received this reply:

      All three comments have been marked as spam.

      You need to find somewhere else to post your points of view.

      Is that the sort of objectivity we can expect from a web site that says its goal is to provide objective information to the electricity industry?

      Please read my first two comments and the responses from WattClarity’s Paul Ardle here:

      http://www.wattclarity.com.au/2012/09/high-wind-production-in-south-australia/

      I’ll post the deleted comments in a separate comment.

      • Continuing on from preceding comment, my first two comments and the responses from WattClarity’s Paul Ardle here:
        http://www.wattclarity.com.au/2012/09/high-wind-production-in-south-australia/ I’d suggest read these before reading the rest of this comment.

        My two comments that were deleted were as follows:

        My comment #3:

        Paul,

        Thank you for your response to my second comment

        I understand this is not an area WattClarity wants to get into.

        However, in that case, I’d suggest you should not have posted your seriously misleading response to my first comment. Posting only an upper bound figure, without a lower bound and central estimate, is seriously misleading.

        I also suggest that your points 1) and 2) in your response are misleading.

        My case 1, which is the one I gave example calculations for, does not require you to “determine the scenario that would otherwise have unfolded

        However, it does require that Australia have accurate emissions measurements at 5 to 15 minute intervals, which is something we do not have. This is an important point in itself. I’d suggest you should make it. It is an important point because renewable energy proponents are advocating, and governments are committing to, billions of dollars in investments in wind capacity without having the evidence to show it achieves the claimed benefits.

        Higher electricity costs are being passed on to consumers and businesses, yet we do not know that the reasons for it are justified.

        I’d urge you to at least say that we have no idea how much CO2 emissions are avoided by wind generation – the CO2 emissions avoided could be anywhere between your upper bound estimate and less than zero.

        My comment #4:

        Paul,

        You say:

        For instance, the “joewheatley” post on the Irish system (you point to above) contains some conclusions that fit into this category. Whether this is because of Reason 1 or Reason 3 is not of interest to us.

        That is an unsubstantiated assertion. Would you care to spell out exactly what “joewheatley” conclusions you are referring to. By the way, I put a lot of time into analysing the EirGrid data; I did that before Joe Wheatley and totally independently.

        PS you asked about time-based emissions data, which is available from the AEMO for the Australian NEM – though I suspect it has been generated with the use of the same gross simplifying assumptions that are (to my knowledge) also the case for time-varying unit efficiency calculations right across the world.

        No. That statement is incorrect. Unfortunately these statements you are making show you know little about the subject, but are making highly misleading statements.

        I suggest you should retract your statements. They are filled with errors. It makes me expect that much of the material on the site would also be unreliable and misleading.

        My BS detector’s sensitivity level has been raised again. I don’t believe much of the BS we are being fed.

  2. RE this sentence:

    “First, a lot of people will become not just skeptical, but unreasonably so”

    I have to constantly remind myself not to develop the opinion that modeling and statistical massaging of data is worthless. In following the climate debate that is a viewpoint easy to adopt.

    • I applaud your effort to police yourself. That is exactly what is missing from the climate debate.

      • I agree, modeling and statistical massaging of data was not completely worthless. It deserves much credit for destroying the

        a.) Integrity of government science and
        b.) Constitutional limits on government

    • I have to constantly remind myself not to develop the opinion that all skepticism about the role of motivated reasoning in the climate debate,tribalism, overconfidence in the face of highly uncertain data, etc, is worthless.

      In following the climate debate – and more specifically input such as this post from Judith – that is a viewpoint easy to adopt.

      It is unfortunate that such highly motivated dreck is being put out by a scientist who I believe, has valid concerns about tribalism and acknowledging/quantifying uncertainty. It gives real honest-to-god skepticism a bad name.

    • At 12:41 PM on 10 September, timg56 had written:

      I have to constantly remind myself not to develop the opinion that modeling and statistical massaging of data is worthless. In following the climate debate that is a viewpoint easy to adopt.

      It’s more appropriate to maintain what in medicine we call “a high clinical index of suspicion” whenever encountering assertions which are prima facie outré.

      Dr. Curry speaks of “The ‘bullshit detector’ issue,” and is right to do so. Particularly among those of us with formal training in scientific method – and experience of research – there is an undeniable propensity to react with a “Gaw-DAMN, but that’s screwy!” response when encountering contentions which are extraordinarily at variance with one’s fund of knowledge.

      It’s reason more than sufficient for the recipient to start actively examining the premises upon which such assertions have been predicated, and to do so with scrupulously skeptical regard.

      In the case of the mathematical (and expensively computerized) climate models upon which las warmistas have based their catastrophe caterwaulings, resistance is given rise by the reluctance of the “consensus” members to address fundamental aspects of the methods whereby they’ve derived the data used to test their conjectures.

      Any investigator who isn’t willing to talk your ear off about how he’s bulletproofed his observational methodology – and what would demonstrate fatal flaws in anybody else’s approach to the same information – is automatically suspect.

      One thing you most assuredly do learn when you’ve done enough research is how, where, and when you can screw up. Those lessons make a hellacious impression on the honest well-experienced scientist.

      With that in mind, the behavior of the AGW alarmists in climatology throughout the past three decades and more has just plain reeked of deviation from the standards of ethical conduct in the sciences.

      If the “data is worthless” – whether it’s obtained without adequate rigor or deliberately cherry-picked – then “modeling and statistical massaging” is pernicious, and simply not to be received as anything but incompetence compounded with duplicity.

      There is no “climate debate” because there is no ground upon which the AGW alarmists can stand.

      • Rich, thanks for this exposition on bs detection, better than I could say it.

      • “One thing you most assuredly do learn when you’ve done enough research is how, where, and when you can screw up. Those lessons make a hellacious impression on the honest well-experienced scientist. ”

        Why are there so many “scientists” that haven’t reached this point? To recognize errors, we actually have to be thinking about the results.

      • Lord knows how many times I’ve screwed up. Fortunately I’ve managed to stay slightly better at fixing or overcoming problems than at creating them.

        I’ve also become a strong believer in it being better to be lucky than good. I imagine many of the mainstream climate science folks feel particularly unlucky in not being able to get people to believe what they are saying. At question is if they are in fact good.

      • Tucci78
        A similar case for BS detection can be made for the overfitting some 100 parameters in climate models to a narrow portion of historical temperature data to declare a mean trend of 0.2C/decade while ignoring natural periodic oscillations such as the solar and Pacific Decadal Oscillations (PDO)!
        That is compounded by finding that anthropogenic contributions cause most of the warming with 90% confidence, when clouds caused 97% of the uncertainty!
        Consequently the IPCC now uses the equivocation “climate change” to propose universal taxation under their control -while their 0.2C/decade is so much hotter than reality that it is outside of 95% of the actual warming trends for the last 32 years (red corrected).
        For reality checks, see Lucia Liljegren, John Christy, Nicola Scafetta, and Don Easterbrook.
        The current “climate consensus” appears to be an argument from ignorance by ignoring the huge uncertainties involved and our very poor understanding of clouds.

      • At 10:48 PM on 10 September, David L. Hagen had observed:

        The current “climate consensus” appears to be an argument from ignorance by ignoring the huge uncertainties involved and our very poor understanding of clouds.

        When ignorance suits one’s political purposes, willful ignorance is what one peddles.

        Comes of having government in these United States run mostly by lawyers rather than honest human beings.

        Law School Adage: “If the law is on your side, argue the law. If the facts are on your side, argue the facts. If neither is on your side, pound the table.”

    • David L. Hagen

      Advocacy or predictive skill?
      My BS detectors particularly go off when climate and scientists do not cooperate with alarmist predictions. See:
      German Academy Of Sciences And Engineering Calls Off Climate Catastrophe – Coping Will Not Be A Problem

      The above conclusion was reached by the German Academy of Sciences and Engineering (Acatech) in a study commissioned by the German Federal government. According to Acatech President Reinhard Hüttl:
      “No climate conditions are going to occur here that already do not exist on the globe elsewhere and that we cannot cope with.”

      Worse for the climate alarmists, the report goes on to say that warming will even bring benefits along with it, such as longer growing seasons and reduced wintertime heating costs.

      HADCRUT3 Global – Last 15 years

      it is down -0.017C / decade.

      Lucia’s red corrected trend 0.139 C/decade [0.089, 0.194]. i.e., the IPCC’s 0.2C/decade is > 2 sigma hotter (> 95%) than the 32 year trend from 1980.

      Will Roy Spencer’s 4th order polynomial fit have greater predictive capacity than IPCC’s 0.2 C/decade? Will Nicola Scafetta’s 2000 model have better skill?

      Science is advanced through debate and challenging models to see which stand up to all tests. Recently, climate scientists have been cancelling or avoiding debates where their projections might be exposed to disconfirming data. Ulli Kulke writes:

      One after another the hardliners, those who worship the reports of the IPCC, always refuse to show up when critical climate scientists are invited to podium discussions or other events, also on television. They avoid the public discussion. They are suffering from acute debate phobia.

      That sounds to me like too much advocacy and leaving science behind.
      h/t Climate depot

  3. Some obvious mistakes: “maybe forfeiting” should be “automatically forfeit”. Also the last bit is in the present tense, but it has already happened all, wrt climate change.

    As for the bullshit detector, whoever hasn’t got it should be back playing with the other little kids.

  4. Credibility and science, like life and death, you can’t have one without the other.

  5. This public service announcement warning that involvement in climate policy may be damaging to your credibility is brought to you by Dr. Judith Curry.

    Savor the irony.

    • And one more, with hat’s off to Robert:

      They (and their loyal supports) are the arrogant ba#stards in the room.

    • Involvement in the public policy process is not the same as advocacy. Read The Honest Broker

      • Only advoacy that Judith doesn’t agree with is advocacy.

        There are no true Scottswomen.

      • No doubt, this would be Judith’s brand of advocacy that is not advocacy.

        “I view my job a little like a legislator, supported by the taxpayer, to protect the interests of the taxpayer and to minimize the role of government.”

        Roy Spencer is not a true Scotsman.

        Except when he is a true Scotsman.

      • More advocates who don’t advocate except when they’re advocating – but then, of course, it isn’t advocating

        Climate Coup: Global Warming’s Invasion of Our Government and Our Lives: Featuring Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, MIT; Bob Ryan, Fellow and past president of the American Meteorological Society and meteorologist for WJLA / ABC 7 News; moderated by Patrick J. Michaels, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute, and editor of Climate Coup.

        I’m think there might be a pattern in who Judith thinks are advocates and who she doesn’t think are advocates. Can anyone help me to figure out that that pattern might be? :-)

      • Josh,

        When it comes to advocacy and science, one of the distinctions should be in identifying whether the proponents are providing an editorial or opinion piece or if they are submitting a technical or scientific paper or article.

        The above reference is clearly of the first example.

      • timg56,

        Sure, but how is it any different to Hansen’s NYT piece which Judith objects to?

      • andrew,

        Not having read Josh’s reference, I’m hestitant to reply, but I would assume not much different. I was back in Maryland visiting family when Dr Hansen’s opinion piece appeared in the Post. As I’ve said many times, I believe he has the right to express his opinions and think he should, believinging in them as strongly as he does. My issue is that he at least try to distinguish between his personal opinions and the responsibilities of his job. I do not believe spreading the word about the threat of a warming planet is part of his job description.

      • tim,

        That’s reasonable enough – I think it’s fair to say that Hansen does tread a very fine line to put it mildly. Lindzen is certainly trading on his scientific credentials to make an essentialy political argument, but I realise you are not defending him.

      • andrew,

        for the purposes of Dr Curry’s post I’d say it doesn’t matter, as both are scientists, but do you see any distinction between Dr Lindzen being in academia and Dr Hansen being in government when it comes to espressing one’s opinion?

      • tim,

        Hansen is not “in government”, he is a scientist who works for a government agency. If the argument is about what it is proper behaviour for scientists then no, I don’t see any difference. Yes, Hansen may have more influence but that is as much down to his scientific achievements than the specific position he holds.

      • There is certainly no doubt that you are an advocate, Joshua, and no doubt that motivated reasoning is just the latest tool in your kit to go after people like Judith. The result is that everybody’s bs meter goes off the scale when you comment and people scroll past your name in the comments section.

    • Snark is a poor substitute for either argument or reason. Plus, as noted above, you mixed your terms and got it wrong.

  6. How can you tell a scientist is a climate scientist?

    He wears his underwear on the outside (Scott Mandia)

    He’s the one with the handcuffs (James Hansen)

    He’s got that 1,00 yard stare and is covered in mud (from the trenches) (Michael Mann)

    He’s the one on the scooter wearing birkenstocks (Dana Nucwhat’s his name)

    OK, that last one really doesn’t belong, as Dana ain’t a scientist.

    • I would say being 99 per cent certain is more typical of Hansen. He does that more often than he wears handcuffs. As far as I know.

    • Thanks, timg56. You got me to thinking about how to tell if a scientist is an AGW skeptic or denier.

      A scientist may be an AGW skeptic or denier if he …

      Is a really old guy who fears new ideas. In other words, a fuddy duddy.

      Thinks second-hand smoke is … COUGH, WHEEZ … harmless.

      Believes he can find gold with a pointed stick.

      Was approached by a glowing green raccoon that spoke English.

      Gets his bread buttered by right-wing stink tanks, such as CATO and Heartland.

      • and what is an AGW alarmist????

      • Rob, he’s a chicken-little who fears curbing CO2 will destroy Western Civilization.

      • Yet once again you demonstrate that you are not capable of seriously responding. So you see no evidence that some are over hyping AGW?

      • Rob, when I’m able to accurately predict the long-term future, I will let you know what I think is over-hype.

      • Not bad Max.

        Who is the guy who claims he talked to a raccoon?

      • Dr. Kary Mullis is the AGW skeptic who claims a glowing green raccoon talked to him. Dr. Mullis did not say they talked about climate science.

        I forgot to mention AGW skeptic Dr. David Deming, the gynophobe, who believes vaginas are as dangerous as firearms, and thinks if guns should be registered, so should vaginas.

  7. What F. A. Hayek called ‘the fatal conceipt’ comes into play here. It arguably applies to James Hansen: http://www.masterresource.org/2012/02/james-hansen-fatal-conceit/.

    And then there is Al Gore’s meglomania: “[Al] seems wired to always be thinking about what he could potentially do to save the world.”

    – friend of Al Gore. Quoted in Patrick Healy, “The End of the Line,” New York Times, August 25, 2012.

    • Your use of Hayek is instructive. I’ve often likened use of AGW science to the way that people use Keynesian economics. In both cases, whatever validity there was/is in the subject is soon hijacked by those who simply want money and / or power, people who cannot understand the subject even if they wanted to. And quite frankly, there is a distinct overlap in the two groups, perhaps approaching 100%.

  8. Sorry, ‘fatal conceit’.

  9. There is ample evidence that all climate change is natural, that nominally it is caused by the Sun. There is zero evidence that global warming is caused by CO2—just the reverse.

    To turn our backs on objective evidence and turn their backs on the geophysical history of the Earth—and, simply substitute what is popular for what’s right might—is not science it is numerology.

    That a consensus of politicians and government scientists are allowed to determine what is and is not science defines us. It is a symptom: it means society prefers to live in Plato’s prison cave and waste its time and resources making a science out of shadows on the wall instead of just stepping outside where our reality will be illuminated by the undeniable light of day.

    WARNING: TURNING YOUR BACK ON TRUTH MAY BE DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH (i.e., you may find that you have no choices left other than trying to look for relevance in a beggar’s life).

    The Left offers nothing but self-defeating ennui that in the end can only deprive humanity. To the irremissibly nihilistic followers of the Left’s Kulturkampf, the storm and heat of nature’s rage is the message—be prepared: some change is good and some is bad.

    The west is dead. America has 40 years of wandering in this desert. For years the government cajoled any who would listen that they did not save enough. Now, all who save receive no interest on their sacrifice because they find themselves in competition with the government and its printing press. The Left’s dream of liberal utopia has transmogrified into a Gorean age of global dissonance and worthless citizens with pluperfect papier-mâché values.

    • Yes, the government is to blame for me putting some money in its’ stupid short-term Treasury bills. Those things paid me next to nothing. I would have done about as well hiding that cash in my mattress. But I got back at the government by putting a lot of money in it’s long-term Treasury bonds. Now those things made me some real money because they increased in value, something I don’t quite understand, but I’ll keep the profit.

      The way I see it, if I make a good decision, I should get credit for being smart, but if I screw up, it’s the governments fault.

      • Maybe the government is looking our for China.

      • There’s a free market in government securities. If you buy Treasury bills, notes, or bonds, you are participating in the free market. That’s what I do, and I’m glad to do my part in helping the free market function.

        I ‘m very fond of the free market, but unlike some who post here, I don’t worship it or think it’s the answer to every problem.

      • People who work for the government buy everything with someone else’s money. It should be with their consent. Otherwise, it’s liberal fascism. That’s what we have now.

      • Well, next time a cop pulls me over for driving too slow, I’ll let him know he doesn’t have my permission to spend my tax dollars.

        Wagathon, apparently you think a bond is something used to cover a hamburger patty, so discussing the bond market is not a good use of our time.

        Anyway, I love what we have now. I wouldn’t have it any other way, and that includes the climate. I sure don’t want a warmer climate. Those who do should go to hell.

      • When government edict demands that money be free you have things like… GM’s Volt. The Volt osts more to make than it sells for. I am happy for you that you love what we have now. Unfortunately your your enjoyment will be paid for ten times over by the unborn. That’s how interest works. Enjoy.

      • Wag, your idea of getting the unborn to pay our bills is a TERRIFIC idea. It’s the only way the trillions of unborn can do something for us, and if they are unborn why would they mind?

      • Just goes to show you how different this country is from the country that the founders created.

        http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/EW5IdwltaAc?rel=0

      • Max_OK

        “those who want a warmer climate should go to hell”

        Or move from the US midwest and northeast to the “Sun Belt” (as thousands are doing).

        Hay, Max (from OK) – are these “climate refugees”?

        If so, why are they headed in the wrong direction?

        (Just a question.)

        Max

      • California will have $10 /gal. gas before long. It’s already the highest price in the nation.

      • I’m not sure, why people move to the sunbelt, but my guess is they aren’t tough enough to withstand a real man’s climate. However, some are just old folks who have creaky joints that freeze up in winter, and I wouldn’t fault them for wimping out.

      • California natives certainly would have been better off–it used to be a very conservative state and not that long ago.

  10. Exactly. This is why Climate Etc. is…okay the cliche sort of works here…a breath of fresh air.

    I was originally driven to search for a site like this by a rather self-important, blow hard, PhD His doctorate was in another field. However he incorrectly assumed the PhD applied to the complete scope of reality. He and I got into a debate and I noticed that every point he made was based on either inconclusive research (my characterization) or was just flat wrong. In his defense, I have to say that often the research would characterize itself editorially as being conclusive, perhaps lending to his confusion.

    The opinion I shaped through this is that science has succumbed to the same self congratulatory pronunciation of objectivity that media has embraced. (This seems to be true regardless which way the political wind blows…YAC – yet another cliche.)

    The thing I find most troubling about Fleishman’s firing is that it included reprimand for requiring that editorial statements be identified as such. All people will and do have opinions. The mortal sin of scientists is NOT expressing opinion. Rather, it is masquerading opinion as science and refusing to entertain the possibility of error in this regard. This of course was the sin of Oedipus. Note that he didn’t end well.

  11. After forming the UN in 1945, the historical record shows that

    a.) Unbiased new observations on reality were replaced with
    b.) Government-funded tests on deceptive models of reality [1,2]

    [1] Hideki Yukawa, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (1946); Introduction to the Theory of Elementary Particles (1948) http://www.nndb.com/people/759/000099462

    [2] Fred Hoyle, “The chemical composition of the stars,” Monthly Notices Royal Astronomical Society 106, 255-59 (1946); “The synthesis of the elements from hydrogen,” Monthly Notices Royal Astronomical Society 106, 343-83 (1946)

    I could not “connect the dots” before Nov 2009

    Regretfully,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

    http://www.omatumr.com

  12. There have been a couple of polls here in Norway that find that people think the so-called climate crisis is exaggerated. And when the polls are presented, there are “experts” of various shades that try to explain why. The have various explanations, but it never seems to occur to them that it might have something to do with all the exaggerations.

  13. “JC comment: wow, I hadn’t previously heard about this. I know next to nothing about the field and culture of conservation biology, but it seems appalling that the Society for Conservation Biology came out explicitly in favor of including policy preferences and value statements in scientific papers.”
    ________

    The SCB web site explains the organization’s mission regarding policy. It is not a neutral position, so it’s not surprising the organization favors policy preferences in scientific papers.

    http://www.conbio.org/science-policy

  14. I was nodding my head in affirmation as I read Greg Breining’s piece, then my bullshit meter went on high alert as I read this.

    More influential by far has been the terrific sum invested by fossil-fuel industries and their allies in challenging any science that the Earth is warming.

    Wow! He did just what he warned his readers against.

    Have we learned nothing from the mad ramblings of Peter Gleick and Michael Mann?

    • lurker, passing through laughing

      GregS,
      We have learned that AGW extremists are blind to their own folly.
      It is incredibly entertaining.

  15. But by advocating policy positions — overtly or by stealth — scientists may be forfeiting their privileged positions as scientists and becoming just ordinary guys with opinions, and in the process, undercutting the credibility of their scientific work.

    JC message to Jane Lubchenco: read previous paragraph 10 times.

    No they are not ordinary guys with opinion.
    Scientists acting overtly or by stealth, know exactly what is the source, method and the aim to be attained
    they are the propaganda agents .
    When taken to the extreme with a compulsory element of fear factor then falls nothing short of activities practiced by the totalitarian systems.

    In this age of the instant communication some so called ‘scientists’ and their followers and grovelers, are nothing more than
    blog troll-provocateurs
    with sole aim of sabotaging truth.

    • vukcevic wrote: “[…] they are the propaganda agents. When taken to the extreme […] nothing short of activities practiced by the totalitarian systems. […] provocateurs with sole aim of sabotaging truth.”

      Agree. It’s insufferably over-the-top creepy.

      They get handsomely paid by universities – enough to raise a family – complete with pension – to mercilessly, abusively, incessantly, & endlessly harass volunteer explorers like yourself who dare to point out how observational data razes official-party-line MODELS (what they call “mechanisms” to make ABSTRACT models SOUND so physically unquestionable that they are liberated in seeming god-like fashion from the need to conform to observational data).

      I have no problem with a handsomely paid university representative CONCISELY disagreeing with you ONCE – even if they are completely wrong & authoritatively misleading in doing so – but when the campaign is obsessively/compulsively relentless, abusive, and heavily loaded with offensively charged language, we have not only a good reason to find a way to (peacefully) shut that down, but arguably also a duty and a responsibility.

  16. Schrodinger's Cat

    Too many scientists have climbed on to the climate science bandwagon with papers that follow a sort of template:

    “We have found that climate change will adversely affect xxx.
    Our experiments (modelling, actually) show disaster is almost inevitable.
    Further work is needed urgently
    Send lots of money.”

    Although this is not advocacy, it is a related phenomenon. There must be countless papers like this from all sorts of disciplines, all of them ringing the BS alarm and destroying the credibility of scientists generally, which is a great shame.

    • One of my favorites of this sort was the study of birds in the Andes. A follow up study showed that while some changes in vegetation were found due to changes in climate, the various species of birds were not migrating to higher elevations as expected. The “as expected” part meant not in accordance with their models. The conclusion of the study? The birds were threatened with extinction by climate change because they were not adapting fast enough. Mind you not that perhaps the parameters and assumption of their model were possibly wrong. It was the stupid birds fault. Intersstingly enough, they didn’t find much change in the numbers of birds or species, which you think might have told them something.

      Then there is the one about the fish that aren’t swimming fast enough to escape the warming. But that’s another post.

  17. In this age of the instant communication some so called scientists and their followers and grovelers, are nothing more than
    blog troll-provocateurs
    with sole aim of sabotaging truth.

  18. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Jonathan Israel’s historical survey A Revolution of the Mind: Radical Enlightenment and the Intellectual Origins of Modern Democracy thoroughly documents the radical roles that historically are played by mathematicians, scientists, physicians, and engineers.

    Compared to Enlightenment firebrands like Joseph Priestley and Benjamin Franklin, today’s progressives like James Hansen, Jane Goodall, and Ed Wilson look positively moderate, eh?   :!:   :!:   :!:

    Conclusion  Dr. Curry’s essay is nostalgic for an era of science that never has existed and properly, never should exist, eh?   :?:   :?:   :?:

  19. ‘Bullshit detector’ is absolutely right.

    Outside of academe, the hoi polloi and general public place great store on the credibility and general demeanour of those who are trying to sell them something. And most of us learn (sometimes the hard way) to steer clear of crooks and charlatans, shysters and rogues with great ideas and desire to spend our money for us.

    And when we examine the behaviours of many leading climateers it is very difficult not to put them in the ‘avoid’ category. They go out of their way to avoid questions by inventing huge conspiracy theories, make sweeping untestable generalisations, hide data (why should I show you mine if you’re only going to find something wrong with it?), plot amongst themselves to game the quality control system and get perceived opponents fired.

    Their general demeanour screeches the message ‘We are not to be trusted’. Which is ironic since their sole reaction to criticism (and in their minds the clincher) is ‘Trust Us, We Are Climate Scientists’.

    It gets even worse. Our bullshit detectors go into overdrive when we have major players telling us that the two coldest and snowiest winters for many years in UK are indeed caused by global warming. Or when they tell us that the world will end if we don’t sign up fro their latest political scheme. And we don’t sign and the world doesn’t come to an end.

    We are not stupid. We do not fall for the ‘Trust me I’m a Climate Scientist’ schtick when they telling stories that contradict our everyday experience.

    There is a hug disconnect here between the academic world and everybody else. Academics may regret the way the public perceive them and their ‘messages’. But the reality is that the public is not going to change its decision making processes anytime soon. And if the academics continue to act in the way of untrustworthy mountebanks, that perception will remain.

    • Latimer Alder,

      I enjoy reading your posts. Yours are some of the most sensible, balanced, rational and grounded in reality of all the comments. I like it that your comments are based on a great deal of real world experience. That’s valuable and should be welcomed by all.

      • @peter lang

        Thank you for your generous and flattering remarks.

        I spent 30 years in IT – with an emphasis on the large scale practical application of it…and both buying and selling big IT equipment for and to the bigger commercial customers (high street banks and finance companies, large retail chains, mid-size manufacturing companies). The 1980s and 1990s were a period of huge evolution and change in IT and this attracted all sorts of weirdos, cranks and charlatans, all hoping to make a buck out of their ideas.

        But the mark of success in that environment was not to be able to write a good sales proposal nor to provide a good sales demonstration in a highly controlled environment (though both were pretty essential) – it was to make your ideas work consistently well in the pretty harsh world of day-to-day computing. The objective was not just to be able to impress your mates with a well-crafted paper that they would ‘pal-approve’, but (for example) to get the right stock on the right shelves in the right store every day consistently for years and years. And that doesn’t all happen by magic. It takes a lot of hard work and rapidly sorts the good ideas from the bad. You learn the hard way that mistakes are quickly punished.

        But ISTM that the academic world stops at the equivalent of the ‘sales proposal’ stage – or maybe even a bit before. Once the paper has been written, pal-reviewed and published, that is the end of it. There is no further investigation…and attempts by others to do so are actively resisted. The paper exists and therefore that particular piece of science os now ‘settled’.

        Which seems to me to miss out a huge chunk of work…the practical testing of the work against reality over a period of months or years or decades. An aeroplane does not get licensed to carry fare-paying passengers until it has undergone rigorous practical and theoretical tests that build upon the accumulated hard-won wisdom (crash analysis) of the aviation business over about a hundred years. And rightly so.

        I compare and contrast this very practical approach with, for example, climate models, where the modellers seem almost to ooze satisfaction that they deliberately don’t test their models against reality. And I find their approach wanting in the extreme…both intellectually moribund, but also doing a great disservice to the public at large.

        Academic endeavours – and the theoretical academic approach – probably has some part to play in unravelling the mysteries of the climate system. But its sheer inherent lack of practical testing against reality means that it will never by itself be able to find the whole story.

      • Peter and Latimer,

        Look, if you want to fall in love with each other, that fine by me but can you do it in the context of cosnsenting adults in private? I don’t want to read about it on the internet.

      • tempterrain

        Then don’t lurk…

        Max

      • I’m already spoken for…and ‘er indoors wouldn’t be pleased if she found out…..

    • Latimer Alder

      At the risk of offending tempterrain’s sensitive feelings, I agree that you have hit the nail on the head with your “BS detector” post.

      Keep ‘em coming!

      Too few in climate academe have the guts to stand up to this phony “trust us, we know best” consensus mentality.

      Fortunately, there are a few (or we wouldn’t be participating on this blog).

      Max

  20. Notwithstanding the appalling treatment of Fleishman, this is a very welcome and refreshing perspective. I hope someone sends it to Pim Martens, Professor Global Dynamics & Sustainable Development, Maastricht University, who recently wrote [h/t Richard Tol]:

    It is about time for many (more) scientists to become scientivists. Scientivists are people that are engaged in a systematic activity to acquire knowledge (the ‘science part’), to promote, impede, or direct societal change (the ‘activist part’). Scientivism can take a wide range of forms from writing letters to newspapers or politicians, to economic activism, such as boycotts, sit-ins etc. Scientivists are not afraid of interfering with legitimized procedures and official politics when science shows this would be needed.

    On the other hand, scientivists must be aware that their actions may increase the risk of scientific results inappropriately being used into social discourses and in the media.

    Source

    I suspect that Martens would applaud Fleishman’s dismissal. Clearly if he and others of his ilk had their way, we would see the “rise of the scientocracy”. YMMV, but I don’t think that would be a good thing!

  21. The ‘bullshit detector’ issue is much more cogent IMO in explaining skepticism than ‘motivated reasoning.’

    Just ignore all the scientific evidence that makes a solid case for the impact of motivated reasoning. I get it – you don’t like that evidence.

    And never let a lack of evidence stop you from making an argument by assertion, Judith.

    • Sorry, since motives are not observable I really wonder what scientific evidence about them would look like. A motive is a construct. But clearly you think they can be ‘studied': how much does one weigh? how big is it?
      where is it? Motives are imputed to make sense of observable behavior, dont imagine that they are anything more than that.

      If we decide to accept ‘motives’ as entities ( I dont) I would think you could argue that people’s BS detectors have their S/N ratio altered by their “motives’. That is, I am more likely to call BS about those outside my tribe than those inside my tribe. That would be a way of seeing a point of agreement with Judith while preserving your own approach to things.
      But obviously your BS detector WRT to her statements was tripped. Which brings to the fore, your motives.. About which we can only speculate.

      • steven –

        I know that you like to spend a lot of time speculating about my motivations. It seems to be a little bit of a hobby of yours.

        You seem to be confusing assumptions about someone’s motivations with an association between how people interpret science and the phenomenon called motivated reasoning. I suggest that you read up on the concept.

        I respect Judith’s motivations – which I have read her state as (to name a few) to be to improve the quality of analysis of the effects of ACO2 on the climate – and specifically with evaluating whether uncertainty in that regard is sufficiently quantified, and whether tribalism has an influence on how such analysis is conducted. I take her at her word as to her motivations.

        The fact that her analysis shows the impact of motivated reasoning is not speculating about her motives. Everyone is influenced by motivated reasoning, and it functions independently of their motives.

      • Joshua,
        How can someone’s motivated reasoning function independently of their motives? More generally, is all reasoning motivated, or just some? How do you tell? Are there degrees of motivated reasoning? How are they measured? Most importantly, is motivated reasoning bad reasoning?

        You have read the lit so what does it say? Is it too motivated reasoning?

    • “Just ignore all the scientific evidence that makes a solid case for the impact of motivated reasoning”
      Gosh Josh
      Priceless

  22. “undercutting the credibility of their scientific work”

    Fifteen years of failed forecasts does that for me.
    Blaming warming that is not happening on a man-made fraction of a trace gas does that for me.
    Their shoddy work on Climate does undercut the credibility of any good work that they do.

  23. This gets the problem exactly backwards. Scientists do not lose credibility by engaging in advocacy. They lose it by advocating in ways that destroys their credibility.

    Look, take a random scientist, let’s call him Gavin Schmidt. Assume he’s a really intelligent guy, meticulous in his research, and through his research he comes to the conclusion that anthropogenic emissions of CO2 pose a real and substantial hazard to mankind.

    What is he supposed to do? Shut up and let the chips fall where they may? No, as a human being, he has an obligation to warn as many people as he can.

    A scientist loses credibility the same way anyone else does. By being either dishonest or sloppy. And if he is dishonest or sloppy in his advocacy, people will rightly infer there is a very good likelihood he is dishonest or sloppy in his work as well.

    If you hide the decline, pretend the uncertainty doesn’t exist, exaggerate your findings or the certainty of the risk you warn about, you are being dishonest and your credibility will suffer.

    If you use sloppy statistics, invert data, try to create data where there is none based on subjective assumptions, your credibility will suffer.

    And if you hide data and code, and refuse to engage in open and honest debate, you create the impression that you are dishonest, or sloppy, or both, and your credibility will suffer.

    Finally, if you defend the dishonesty and sloppiness of others, you put your credibility at risk of being judged as just as lacking as theirs.

    Imagine a world in which the Hansens and Schmidts engaged in open debate, acknowledged their own uncertainty, and lack of expertise in areas in which they have none, and said, with all the faults in our knowledge to date, we have made the subjective judgment that the risks of CAGW out weight the risks of decarbonization. They wouldn’t lose any credibility, even though they were advocating. But they would also be far less likely to win the public policy debate. Which is of course why they engage in the conduct that hurts their credibility.

    If a scientist wants to engage in advocacy, and they are honest and open, fine. But if the zealousness of their advocacy becomes more important than their integrity, or professionalism, then their failures in the sphere of advocacy will infect their role as a scientist.

    It ain’t the advocacy, it’s the dishonesty.

    • Well summerized point

    • Great point, Gary. Instead of circling the wagons, they should have reached out to their critics and included them in the deliberations. That would have been a boon to their credibility and, as a bonus, to the science.

    • @gary m

      You have just about completely said everything I was in the process of drafting. Only you did it more eloquently.

      I’d only add one point.

      When climateers opine views that prima facie fly in the face of common sense…for example the woman from the Met Office who seriously told us that the coldest and snowiest winters in England for many years were, of course, surefire consequences of rampant global warming.. they’d better be able to come up with a more convincing explanation than the laughable ‘Trust Me, I’m a Climate Scientist’.

      Treating the public as if we are morons damages the climate brand as much as kiddie fondling brings ordure upon the priesthood. The assumption that we are all going to listen because some bearded academic with no real world experience, an activist’s outlook and a PhD from UEA tells us to seriously underestimates the power of Joe Sixpack’s bullshit detector.

      If you truly are not rogues, vagabonds, charlatans, ragamauffins, spivs or shysters, then I appeal to the climatological establishment to stop behaving in ways that are designed to convince Joe and me that you are.

    • GaryM | September 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Reply
      “This gets the problem exactly backwards. Scientists do not lose credibility by engaging in advocacy. They lose it by advocating in ways that destroys their credibility.”
      _____________

      You allude to climate scientists who never had any credibility with the so-called skeptics and deniers to begin with.

      As Bluesman Muddy Waters might say, “you can’t lose something you never had.”

  24. The ‘bull— detector’ issue is much more cogent IMO in explaining skepticism than ‘motivated reasoning.’

    Just ignore all the scientific evidence that makes a solid case for the impact of motivated reasoning. I get it – you don’t like that evidence.

    And never let a lack of evidence stop you from making an argument by assertion, Judith. It just feels better…

    • Joshua,

      People citing their “bullsh-detector” is often a prime example of motivated reasoning. They don’t want to believe it therefore they refuse to. Or else it’s just argument by incredulity, either way it’s not a serious argument.

    • Wow Joshua, this is exactly what I felt when I read JC’s “much more cogent” comment as well. It seems to argue that a persons gut-feeling is more important than all else. Facinating.

      I believe the good examples of bull detected statements (e.g. we are all going to die) in this thread are simply healthy examples where additional reasoning should be applied, and not examples where gut-feelings should be applied as if they were reasoning.

      • The (mostly) engineers and other technical people on this blog detect bs when highly confident statements are made about a very complex system based upon model projections for which there is no out of sample verification. Call it gut feeling if you want, but based on their experience and common sense, bs gets called on this.

      • The other element of bs detection is advocacy, which makes people suspect that the scientist (and hence their science) is biased.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Dr. Judith Curry posts “The (mostly) engineers and other technical people on this blog detect  bs  solid science when highly confident statements are made about a very complex system based upon  model projections  thermodynamical principles

        Dr. Curry, I have amended your (scientifically correct) assertion to its thermodynamically dual (and also scientifically correct) assertion.

        After all, didn’t James Hansen begin his scientific career specializing in the thermodynamics of atmospheric radiative transport?   :)   :)   :)

        There is little serious debate, any more, that AGW is real and accelerating. At what rate is it accelerating? Toward what end-state is it accelerating? These are the sole substantive scientific questions being debated.

        Today’s rancorous (yet largely non-scientific) debate hinges very largely on a difficult (yet largely non-scientific) question: to what extent are today’s citizens prudently, economically, and morally obligated to consider global-scale climate-change externalities in time-frames 200–500+ years in the future?   :?:   :?:   :?:

        Here it is very natural that Climate Etc folks differ.   :!:   :!:   :!:

        We can at least do so politely, eh?   :)   :grin:   :lol:

      • Fan, you state “thermodynamical principles”

        Temperature has an absolute meaning in thermodynamics; temperature is a real quality of matter.
        (Tmax+Tmin)/2 has no absolute meaning in thermodynamics; ‘average’ temperature, in the form of (Tmax+Tmin)/2, is not a description of a quality of matter.

        One cannot substitute (Tmax+Tmin)/2, derived from an oscillating steady state system, as T in classically described equilibrium thermodynamics.

        Moreover, we can prove that (Tmax+Tmin)/2, is not a thermodynamic quality, it has an intrinsic kinetic component.
        We could experimentally show that a rotating sphere, heated on one face, and radiating in all directions would indeed have both a Tmax and a Tmin. However, the steady state Tmin and Tmax values recorded in such a system would depend on the rotational speed of the sphere.

        Thus, any model that used the equilibrium approximation of the Earths steady state, based on using (Tmax+Tmin)/2 as true equilibrium temperature, can only be viewed as poor estimates and are not physical descriptions of the actual system.

      • Doc, You might find these interesting.

        Whole different perspective looking at Tmax and Tmin that way.

      • curryja
        As a research/design engineer, I second your observation . It likely only takes a BS in Physics, Chemistry or Math to develop a scientific/technical BS detector that goes off with reasonable probability over such “highly confident statements” made about “a very complex system based upon model projections for which there is no out of sample verification”!
        Ignoring evidence of being >95% wrong while claiming 90% likelihood is classic BS icing on the cooked up climate cake.
        It will take alot of independent “red team” verification and correction to overcome the excessive overconfident BS that has been presented as “climate consensus”.

      • When the solution of your problem, any problem (in this case CAGW), requires that the world convert to a top down command form of government, with a Marxist/socialist structure and essentially unlimited power, you do not have a problem; you have an excuse.

        And you will note that ALL ‘solutions’ to CAGW require government regulation of all energy production and consumption, with the power to make their regulations ‘stick’.

      • As a research/design engineer, I second your observation . It likely only takes a BS in Physics, Chemistry or Math to develop a scientific/technical BS detector that goes off with reasonable probability over such “highly confident statements” made about “a very complex system based upon model projections for which there is no out of sample verification”!

        What does your bs detector (as a research/design engineer) tell you when someone says that Intelligent Design is a scientific theory based on scientific evidence?

        What does it tell you when someone says that cancer, heart disease, children dying of starvation, ethnic cleansing, sex slaves, child molestation, the Crusades, etc., are the product of an intelligent designer?

      • Joshua, Some of the points are easier to follow with a touch better understanding of “complexity” in the climate sense.

        “Meteorologists and climatologists have largely ignored self-organized criticality (SOC), a leading candidate for a unified theory of complexity. Theories of complexity, such as SOC, have been underrepresented in the atmospheric sciences because of their “soft science” character. Atmospheric sciences have historically developed from centuries of advancement in the hard sciences, such as physics, mathematics and chemistry, etc. It would have been unlikely to see a quick transition from the classical reductionist and reproducible science approach towards an abstract, holistic and probabilistic complex science (Dessai and Walters,
        2000).”

        http://amselvam.webs.com/earlsel/socpp.PDF

        Since Dr. Curry has mentioned Self Organized Criticality on a number of occasions, Selvam is a pretty good reference if you want to pick up on some of that “soft science” stuff.

      • “The other element of bs detection is advocacy, which makes people suspect that the scientist (and hence their science) is biased.” – JC

        Judith is big on advocacy – much of what Judith writes (outside her area of expertise) smells of BS to me.

      • Dr. Curry you hit the nail on the head–almost. Something here runs deeper than just bs. I think that for some (at least one) of the vintage scientists, the present state of affairs indicates no less than a longer-term systemic breakdown in the conduct, teaching, and training of science.

        I’ve had a typical career in science: child of Sputnik, couple of chemistry degrees, a chem eng. degree, post-doc in physics, some time in academics, decades in environmental consulting, time at government labs/sites, industrial statistics at a steel mill, tobacco litigation, superfund sites, DOE world, NRC world, EPA world, USACE world. And thru all of that I have never seen any crap that approaches what I’ve seen in a few months of looking at the climate debate milieu. To some of us–likely with different views in a legitimate climate debate–our temple has been and continues to be defiled and, figuratively, bodies dragged thru the streets. It is time to get into the way-back machine with Peabody, and go fix things.

        Not a warmer, denier, skeptic, ad nauseum…just one hell of a disgusted old school scientist. Harumpf!

        Other than that I’m OK. I feel better.

      • David L. Hagen

        Joshua
        You raise “The Problem of Evil”. For starters, see Ravi Zacharias on.
        However you face the greater “problem of good”! Given the stochastic processes based on the four laws of nature, how do you account for your appeal to right and wrong, good and evil?

        “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”

        C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), Mere Christianity p38
        Beliefs in right/wrong, good/evil, stewardship/wastage underly this issue of scientific advocacy. Darwinism’s “might makes right” provides no basis for green advocacy. Nor does “climate change”, since climate is always changing. The heart of the issue is one’s worldview or religious presuppositions. e.g., see articles by the Cornwall Alliance.

        PS Re ID. From stochastic processes based on the four laws, how to you explain the Origin Of Life with self reproducing cells? From what we know in physics, mathematics, chemistry and biochemical cell reproduction, given stochastic processes based on the four laws, I see no prospects for the Origin of Life or macro evolution within the constraints of the known universe. If you seriously wish to dig into the issues, see publications by Michael Behe, Douglas D. Axe, Ann K. Gauger, and the Evolutionary Informatics Lab. by Dembski & Marks II etc.
        Whether ID is scientific or not depends on your presuppositions: Is science based on any and all objective empirical evidence? OR can it only examine hypotheses based on materialism?

      • Pete,

        Us all gonna die is not a bullsh*t statement. If fact it is about as true of a statement as one can make.

        It’s in attributing the cause of death that the BS may start to flow in.

    • Joshua – apparently you haven’t been paying attention. The idea that skeptics who are laymen are guided by their BS detector, rather that an understanding of the science, has been kicked around before. All the chicken-little claims set off their BS detector. This isn’t hard to understand and is no reason to smear our hostess.

  25. Finally, someone who gets it. The ‘bulls— detector’ issue is much more cogent IMO in explaining skepticism than ‘motivated reasoning.’

    Here’s what is really fascinating about that comment.

    When Judith posted about the Kahan study that discusses the role of motivated reasoning, she spoke about the relatively insignificant results in that study that “skeptics” in their sample scored slightly higher on measures of scientific literacy and numeracy.

    She ignored the more significant findings – that the more information people get on this topic the more likely they are to confirm their biases associated with cultural, political, or ideological identifications. She completely ignored the more significant findings while apparently thinking that the less significant findings were valid.

    And now – without any solid analysis to base criticism of the influence of motivated reasoning in the debate, and without any clear coherent argument of methodological or other flaws in the study’s findings, Judith says that she finds an argument by assertion – with no accompanying scientific analysis based on any kind of controlled data – is more “cogent?”

    This, in order to press her argument that others are corrupting scientific processes?

    Can you say confirmationbias-a-polooza?

    • Joshua, do you think we should close the FDA and allow drug companies and drug designers to sell what they damned well like?
      Instead of spending a billion dollars on jumping through hoops, scientists like me would be able to make up a batch of new drugs and sell them right to the costumer.

      Why should one are of science be tightly regulated, including having data inspections and a prior statistical claims, and others not be?

      If the claims of the CAGW scientists are true, then it will kill more people than all the side-effects of every drug ever sold; yet no one shows their data or when they do their analysis is shredded.

      Not one more damned temperature reconstruction should be published until all data is archived and the FULL methodology is recorded BEFORE the reconstruction is begun.

      • Doc

        One point to consider is that government regulations are intended to help those who that government is supposed to represent. In the case of the FDA in the US, the regulations are supposed to prevent hard to American by introducing potentially harmful drugs (I won’t get into what Natropathic doctors do since they make stuff up all the time).

        In the case of potential climate change, the rules are different. We do not seem to look at the potential harms to the US (which seem to be VERY few) We have to consider what harms may happen to people who will live in countries where their governments fail to take steps to protect their citizens.

      • Doc –

        Those are all good questions – and they deserve well-reasoned answers. Answers to those questions are certainly (at least some of) what this debate should be about.

        What doesn’t serve well for answering those questions is the kind of binary thinking I find so prevalent in this debate. For example, the sort of binary thinking that Judith applies in her concerns about advocacy. The sort of binary thinking that Judith applies in her arguments on “skepticism,” or “consensus” or “appeal to authority,” or tribalism, or who fails the bull— detector test, etc.

        Within some reasonable (perhaps debatable) boundaries, you will never read me argue against full (more) openness with data. Just because I find some of the attacks by “skeptics” to be motivated by many factors other than a simple and pure interest in scientific “truth,” does not imply that I don’t agree with some “skeptics” when they call for a more open process, more acknowledgement of uncertainty, etc. Acknowledgement of uncertainty is key to valid science. You can only force such a frame onto my arguments if you are limited by a binary mentality.

        And that is why I object when Judith writes posts where Mr. Uncertain T. Monster has just walked out of the room.

      • “do you think we should close the FDA and allow drug companies and drug designers to sell what they damned well like?
        Instead of spending a billion dollars on jumping through hoops, scientists like me would be able to make up a batch of new drugs and sell them right to the costumer.”

        Your analogy is backwards. The CAGW scientists are effectively warning that the CO2 drug is dangerous. They aren’t the ones trying to sell it.

        A climate FDA would be on the side of the CAGW scientists. It would demand that the action of emitting 1 trillion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere be safety tested, and would ban that action until the science had enough certainty to do so.

        A climate FDA situation is precisely what fossil fuel interests have worked so hard to avoid.

      • “Your analogy is backwards….
        A climate FDA would be on the side of the CAGW scientists. ”

        OK.

        You win.

        I give up.

        Obviously CAGW scientists are better than the rest of us and there is no point in my contributing.

    • Josh,

      All your well crafted wordsmithing does not make the fact people can often detect bullcrap go away.

      It does not take a climate scientist to detect the following:

      50 million climate refugees – bullcrap

      10 meter rise in sea level – bullcrap

      spread of tropical diseases – bullcrap

      mass extinction of species (starting with all those cuddly polar bears) – bullcrap

      It’s critical to decarbonize our society – bullcrap (because by ours they mean only the US and Europe)

      • Your comment just triggered my BS meter. Ie your comment smells like strong strawman BS.

      • lolwot,

        Care to identify which of the above claims have not been put forth by the believers of CAGW? Can’t be a strawman without the straw.

      • Confucius say:

        Man who make strawman should use fresh straw

        Goes for you, too, lolwot.

      • lolwot,

        why is it the only sound I’m hearing right now is the chirping of crickets?

        Max OK at least tried to argue one of them – if not very successfully.

        As my mom used to say, I think you are smelling your upper lip.

      • timg56 said on September 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm

        “It does not take a climate scientist to detect the following:

        50 million climate refugees – bullcrap”
        ______

        Not so fast there timg56. When you say something is “bullcrap” without giving a reason, I suspect your statement may lack foundation. Fifty million refugees may seem like a huge number, but it is in fact relatively small.

        Shucks, 50 million people isn’t even 1% of the world’s total population:

        50,000,000 / 7,037,000,000 = .007 or 7/10 of 1%

        The source of this estimate says 50 million “environmental refugees” between 2011 and 2020, so that works out to less than 1/10 of 1% of the worlds total population per year, and an even smaller proportion if you consider the total will be larger by 2020.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/22/environmental-refugees-50_n_826488.html

      • Max_OK

        You have fallen into a logic trap.

        You argue that a specified number of people only represents X% of the total world population, and that the claim is, therefore, valid that this small %-age has done this or that (in your example “become AGW climate refugees”).

        This is like if you were to charge that I robbed you of $10,000 and then argue, as evidence for your charge, that this only represents 0.000000013% of global GDP of around US$79 trillion, so your charge, therefore, has merit.

        Get serious.

        Max_not from OK

      • Max,

        You provide a nice test sample for a BS detector. Introducing a factoid that has no bearing on the point beiong discussed as a means of countering it is BS. What percentage of the world’s population 50 million equates to has zero meaning in the context of the question I posed. A UN organizxation stated back in 2000 that there would be at least 50 million climate change refugees by the year 2010. To determine whether this claim is valid or BS one needs to confirm whether or not 50 million refugees (or any number for that matter) existed in 2010. They did not. Not even remotely close. Nothing about the claim had a percentage of world population component to it. You introducing it is nothing more than a trick to divert attention.

        Perhaps you should stick with blowing on the fruits and vegetables at your local grocery if this is the best you can do as a response.

      • timg56 said “To determine whether this claim is valid or BS one needs to confirm whether or not 50 million refugees (or any number for that matter) existed in 2010. They did not.”

        Well, if “they did not” you must have counted the number. So what was the number and how did you get it? My bullshit meter is waiting.

        I thought the 50 million estimate was a cumulative number for 2011-2020, which would mean about 5.5 million people relocating each year as a result of environmental or climate related causes. I don’t think that’s a large enough number to be patently absurd. But you think it is, so tell me why. My bullshit meter is waiting.

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        Notice that Max_OK cannot provide evidence to support his premise of 50,000,000 refugees, but that lack of data is now a demand for those doubting to prove what the number is.
        Not all Okies are stupid, but Max is not all Okies.

      • Whether Max from OK is stupid may be questionable.

        But he definitely has a problem with basic logic, as his remark defending the “50 million climate refugees” statement demonstrated.

        He also has no evidence to support this silly claim.

        Currently there are millions fleeing despotic regimes or wars/insurrections in Africa.

        Yes. They are headed north to Europe, where “Shengan” (EU) agreements have opened all borders between member states.

        So it’s very simple.

        Pick a country that has good social programs for the needy and where you hopefully can speak a few words of the language and apply for political asylum. The worst thing that can happen to you is that you are first housed in a dormitory with other asylum seekers and fed (more calories per day than you got back home) and after several months of this your application is turned down, so you are given some travel money and asked to leave. So you try it again in another country. (It’s like passing “GO” in Monopoly.)

        The best thing that can happen is that your application is accepted and you get asylum status, which means that the host government pays you a monthly income (several times what you could possibly scrape together back home).

        Are these “climate refugees”?

        No.

        We do have a type of “climate refugee” in Europe, though – retirees from northern European countries that are moving south to Spain, southern France or Italy.

        In the USA you also have “climate refugees”: people moving from the mid-west and northeast to the warmer “Sun Belt”.

        Are these folks part of the.”50 million” number?

        Max_OK has no answer.

        Max (not from OK)

      • Max,

        Try this:

        http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/feared-migration-hasn-t-happened-un-embarrassed-by-forecast-on-climate-refugees-a-757713.html

        As I already stated, the figure was a prediction for 2010. Now it is entirely possible that the UN body that issued the original prediction has now revised it to say 2011 – 2020. That what often happens when people embarrass themselves like that.

        And I don’t have to “tell you ” the number. Follow the link or google UN 50 million climate refugees and you can see all of the major news stories from last year describing the huge fail of this prediction. In otherwords Max, it was a BS prediction, which got repeated or referred to ad nausiem by proponents of CAGW. Try to argue otherwise is a true case of denial.

      • timg56, because your link is to a secondary source, I can’t confirm the statement. I don’t know for sure what was said, who said it, and whether he was a climate scientist. For all I know, journalists have distorted what was said.

        I would also like your explanations on why you think global warming can’t possibly cause the following:

        10 meter rise in sea level – bullcrap

        spread of tropical diseases – bullcrap

        mass extinction of species (starting with all those cuddly polar bears)

      • The following statement is from a 2008 UNEP release , and the link is to the full release:

        According to a report published by the United Nations University, there are now about 19.2 million people officially recognized as “persons of concern”-that is, people likely to be displaced because of environmental disasters. This figure is predicted to grow to about 50 million by the end of the year 2010.

        http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=538&ArticleID=5842&l=en

        The way I read this statement it is saying that by 2010 there will be 50 million people likely to be displaced because of environmental disaster (i.e. people at risk or “people of concern). Of course that’s a relatively small number of people who are at risk, less than 1% of the world’s total population.

        I don’t know how anyone could interpret the statement to mean all the “people of concern” could be displaced in a single year, the year 2010, unless they were trying to misrepresent the statement to make it seem like BS

      • Max,

        Why are you being purposefully thick headed? Claiming you can’t confirm the accuracy of my statement because I linked to a secondary source is a weasily means to avoid admitting the point is valid. If fact it’s plain chickensh*t of you. There is absolutely no question as to whether the UN made this claim. As I said – google it.

        As for your question – it really isn’t up to me to disprove the point of s because I am not the one making them. The burden is on the party making the claim to prove they valid. And so far there is no evidence for drastic increases in sea level. There are no island nations at risk of disappearing. There are no low lying coastal regions being flooded.

        The spread of tropical diseases and pests has been repeated shot down by the experts in those fields. For example the claim about malaria spreading was shown to have been completely ignorant on the vectors by which the disease spreads. And of course they all assume that mankind is incapable of taking any action to prevent these things from occuring, even if there was a remote possibility they could.

        As for the extinct species – how about naming one. Has anybody anywhere identitfied a species that has recently gone extinct? Just one is all it takes to show you are not talking out your butt. What you can find, I’m sure, are plenty of studies that predict extinction of species or at least claim their existence will be threatened by climate change. But read them. As I’ve pointed out elsewhere here, they mostly consist of model based predictions. First, climate models to predict temps and then more models to predict the responses either from the species or their habitat. That’s not proof. Proof is finding numbers shrinking. You know, like they tried claiming for polar bears. Of course the numbers didn’t quite work out for them on that one. Same with the penguins.

      • Max,

        show me where I said anything about 50 million in a single year. Never said it. If you assumed that, its your fault. You making a false assumption and then claiming I made a misleading statement is another pig that won’t fly.

        The point is very simple and straight forward. The claim was made that there would some 50 million displaced persons , due to climate change, by 2010. And as was clearly reported by major media around the world last year (2011), the claim proved to be bogus. In fact research has shown that the number of people in the regions the UN identied is increasing. People are moving into these so-called threatened areas.

        You can try pasting wings on your pigs and putting makeup on them, but they are still silly little pigs not even coming close to being a counter argument.

    • David L. Hagen

      Joshua
      The concern that the anthropogenic global warming “might” cause climate refugees is a very iffy proposition sometime in the very distant future. The real problem of green advocacy is causing hunger and starvation NOW.

      Global Food Crisis: Policy Lapses or Market Failure?
      Ojha Ruby Advances in Management Vol. 5 (7) July (2012) July 2012
      PG Dept. of Economics, SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai INDIA

      “As per “Price Volatility in Food and Agricultural Markets: Policy
      Responses” (2 June 2011) estimates, numbers of hungry people in the world rose from 820 million in 2007 to more than a billion in 2009. . . .
      American cars now burn enough corn to cover all the import needs of the 82 nations classed by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as “low-income food-deficit countries”. There could scarcely be a better way to starve the poor. . . .
      U.S. vehicles burn enough corn to cover the entire import needs of the poorest 82 countries.
      Ethanol and biodiesel are very heavily subsidized which means that crops like corn (maize) are being diverted out of the food chain. This increases the prices of agro fuel crops directly and indirectly boosts the price of other grains by encouraging growers to switch to agro-fuel.”

  26. “Second, not only will individual scientists lose credibility, but the whole scientific endeavor will become just another story, a narrative concocted for dramatic effect or self-serving motives. Science will become just another advocacy group — in a lab coat.”

    Exactly. The lack of professionalism of the ‘climate scientists’ carries over into all fields. The manipulation of the public will not only rebound on you, it will hurt us as well.

    I just hope the incoming administration goes RICO on you all and conducts an independent investigation using Statisticians, Engineers and scientists from other fields.

  27. ‘JC comment: Finally, someone who gets it. The ‘bullshit detector’ issue is much more cogent IMO in explaining skepticism than ‘motivated reasoning.”

    Cogent to be sure , but judging from the physical intuition of many who style themselve so, are you sure you have the sign right ?

  28. “By advocating social policy positions, scientists may be forfeiting their credibility, instead becoming just ordinary folks with opinions. – Greg Breining”

    _______

    But by not advocating, scientists may look unconcerned, irresponsible, even amoral.

    The advocating scientist sez “Here’s the problem, and here’s the solution.”

    The non-advocating scientist sez “Here’s the problem. Don’t look at me.”

    • Max –

      You fail to understand.

      Advocacy is immoral when you don’t agree with the advocates. It is only moral thing to do when you agree with the advocates.

      Just keep watching Judith and you’ll catch on as to how to apply that kind of logic.

      • John Carpenter

        Max and Joshua, nowhere am I reading that Judith says advocacy or lack of it is immoral… now you (Joushua) are making things up to suit your argument. What does that say about your motivated reasoning? You’re inferring a new characteristic to someone where no such characteristic was there to begin with. What I see her agreeing with is the idea that scientists who advocate certain policies risk losing their credibility. That is something I have pointed out several times in the past. You have no honest science without credibility…. a scientist who engages in political/policy advocacy damages his/her scientific credibility. Same goes with preferential data treatment to create a result congruent with your beliefs. Same goes with manipulating the rules to benefit those who share similar conclusions while suppressing opposing ones. Morality or immorality of any scientists decision to engage in these types activities is merely an opinion of the observer.

      • David L. Hagen

        John Carpenter
        The morality is over the policies advocated and their consequences.
        Taking food and using it for fuel, I find directly harms the poor through higher prices, greater hunger, and increasing starvation.
        Taking trillions of dollars in financial resources and burying them directly withdraws those resources from economic development that is desperately needed across the 2/3rds world as well as the 1st world.

        Jesus honored those who used resources wisely – but called wicked those who buried them. Matthew 25:13-30

      • John –

        now you (Joushua) are making things up to suit your argument.

        To clarify, I wasn’t attributing the morality argument to Judith.

        I haven’t seen her distinguish between climate combatants on the basis of morality (although, certainly, many combatants do just that). I was speaking about the logical implications of her selective approach (say, in determining who is an activist and who isn’t) when applied to the topic or morality.

      • John Carpenter

        Yes Joshua, I see your point, I was a little too trigger happy there. Other than that, I stand by what I said. I think you agree.

      • John –

        Other than that, I stand by what I said. I think you agree.

        Yes, I do agree. And despite my clarification, your point was well-taken. I should have been more careful. As you pointed out, I am not unaffected by motivated reasoning – and my lack of clarity would be a good example. With more control for my biases, I would have been more careful

  29. So the idea is that Hansen should deliberately (deceptively?) tone down what he thinks so that he avoids setting off people’s bullshit meters and in the process sounds more credible?

    Surely that’s advising him how to advocate better, not less.

    • Here’s a good advice for Hansen:

      “We’ve learned from experience that the truth will come out. Other experimenters will repeat your experiment and find out whether you were wrong or right. Nature’s phenomena will agree or they’ll disagree with your theory. And, although you may gain some temporary fame and excitement, you will not gain a good reputation as a scientist if you haven’t tried to be very careful in this kind of work. And it’s this type of integrity, this kind of care not to fool yourself, that is missing to a large extent in much of the research in cargo cult science.”

      • No fair quoting Richard Feynman when confronting the “climate consensus” quacks.

        But, boy, don’t I just wish he’d loved long enough to weigh in on this hideous fraud.

  30. Being an advocate is a very honorable professional. Being a scientist is also a very honorable profession. What is morally wrong is for someone to PRETEND to be a scientist, while actually being an advocate.

  31. Robert I Ellison

    On a radio panel discussion heard yesterday a majority of coral scientists identified global warming as the main threat to coral reefs. The rest identified more immediate threats such as nutrient and sediment runoff.

    Even if true – it is a complicated picture. The world is not warming and is not likely to for another decade or three. Even if true in the longer term – the relevant question is what to do about it. Responses are policy and not science. To conflate science and with a specific policy is irresponsible.

    There is clearly a need for a wider appreciation of the links berween science, history, economics and policy in driving realistic and acheivable multi-dimensional responses to a range of global issues. The fixation on one issue above all others is counter productive.

    • And there was me thinking it was pH change that was the scare story of the moment. . Or was that last year’s climateer’s ’cause d’annee’? From a pre-eminent position about a year ago, it seems to have faded into insignificance.

      It is so difficult to keep up with climate crisis fashion trends nowadays….

      • Latimer Alder hasn’t heard about it for a year, therefore ocean acidification can’t exist. Interesting logic.

      • @lolwot

        Please read the thread before commenting. You just make yourself look like an idiot by doing so.

        A year ago climateers were gungho for pH change going to be the cause of the end of the coral reefs. Now they have changed their minds to ‘global warming’. Shall we have a wee sweepstake on next year’s reason?

        I”l guess one of :

        a. Biodiversity
        b. Black carbon
        c. Denier Cnnspiracy with LHO, Satan and Big Oil
        d. The self-destruction of Lew Lewandowsky

      • “A year ago climateers were gungho for pH change going to be the cause of the end of the coral reefs.”

        Your historical revisionism just set off my BS meter.

      • You just make yourself look like an idiot with your denial

        http://www.mongabay.com/profiles/coral-reefs-and-climate-change.html

      • OA can affect the formation of coral. Warming oceans can cause coral bleaching. Two separate problems.

      • @lolwot

        But while you’re there, can you point me to the overwhelming empirical evidence that ocean pH is in fact changing at all?

        It seems to be scant at best – only 100 observations restricted to Hawaii. You would not take the evidence of 100 observations of a cold June in England to denote a general global cooling. Neither should we generalise from 100 Hawaiian observations of pH.

      • They don’t need to directly measure pH, which is why there are so few measurements of that over time. They can calculate the pH accurately from measurements of other quantities, which are easier to measure.

        Fundamentally it’s basic chemistry that the absorption of CO2 by the ocean will lower pH, just as it is that rising CO2 in the atmosphere will have a warming effect.

      • @lolwot

        I’m ‘denying’ nothing. It was the coral scientists identified in Rob Ellison;s post who cited global warming, not pH change as the major threat when questioned recently. Take it up with them. Don’t shoot the messenger.

        And do, please, read the thread before you comment.

      • @lolwot

        On your same logic, they don’t need to measure temperature around the world because they know that CO2 is increasing, therefore temperatures must be going up; Maintaining the climate databases and the like is just a waste of time and effort. Which is a ridiculous proposition. Your argument turns science on hits head and back to Aristotlean ideas of theory overriding experiment.

        As to your knowledge of chemistry, it is true that if you dissolve CO2 in pure water you will get a weakly acidic solution of carbonic acid.

        But the ocean’s aren’t composed of pure water at all. They are composed of a complex solution of a large variety of ionic substances, especially carbonates from dissolver sedimentary rocks. These make the overall pH of about 8 = weakly alkaline. And the undissolved rocks also act as a buffer (look it up if your chemistry doesn’t extend that far). In such complex circumstances the only way to show that the pH is actually changing is to go and measure it. It is not sufficient to use the analogy of a pure water solution, which is clearly not the actual case. Nor is there any understood mathematical formula to link CO2 in the atmosphere.

        To prove that ocean pH is actually changing in response to atmospheric CO2, you must first have a substantial time series database of actual pH measurements around the world. AFAICT this does not exist

      • “It was the coral scientists identified in Rob Ellison;s post who cited global warming, not pH change”

        How do you know they didn’t cite pH change? Why do you think it’s called “the other CO2 problem?”

        You seem to think only one problem can exist at once and hence if someone talks about one they must have switched stories.

      • @lolwot

        pH meters have been commercially available for many years. eBay has a huge variety for less than 100 bucks each. It is not difficult to measure pH.

      • Apparently not,

        http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/indicators/oceans/acidity.html

        but if it aint global you will just deny it’s happening right?

      • @lolwot

        500 observations total? From only three sites. Is that all? And they show a pH change of 0.03 units in response to a 12% increase of CO2.

        If there is any living organism that can tell the difference between an alkaline pH of 8.12 and an alkaline pH 8.09 over twenty years I’d be very surprised.

      • Lolwot

        Please take another look at the link you posted regarding PH levels. http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/indicators/oceans/acidity.html

        Doesn’t it show that the PH of the oceans varied by a greater amount in a single year than the 20 year trend has shown? Doesn’t this demonstrate to any reasonable person that a long term decline in the PH level that might be due to additional CO2 is of a very small concern since it already varies by so much daily/monthly/etc? How can any other conclusion be reached if you look at the data fairly?

      • What about a 0.2 drop in pH over 100 years?

      • Lolwot

        If in the area in question it varied by .2 PH annually, then what would make you think it is a problem?

      • My “annual cycle” includes a 90 degree sauna. That doesn’t mean if local temperatures permanently increased 70 degrees I would survive.

      • Lolwot

        You are at risk of sounding as silly as Robert or Max from OK.

        If the PH at some local area of the ocean varies by more than .2 PH every year, to any reasonable person it would mean that if it went up by .2 PH on average over 100 years that the life in that area should certainly not be negatively impacted. To claim otherwise is silly/insane.

      • @lolwot

        Curiouser and curiouser…

        I followed the link you gave to the three stations in search of the original data. It pointed me to IPCC AR4 where some graphs of pH with time are shown. I picked the first (ESTOC, Canary Islands) which pointed me again to a paper ‘Gonzalez-Davila et al 2003′.

        I read the paper. pH data was collected between October 1995 and April 1999 (3.5 years). And it showed a consistent cycle of seasonal change (pH low in spring, higher in autumn), but no annual trend over the period. One cannot conclude from this data that any ‘ocean acidification’ was taking place.

        But the IPCC interpretation of this work is very different.

        http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/figure-5-9.html

        It shows data having been collected up until 2003 at least. And the values it displays are consistently more alkaline than those reported in the cited paper.

        Either the IPCC have got the citation wrong – surely not another mistake by such an august body?? – or they are making things up.

        And once again the published data does not show any actual oceanic pH changes.

      • Latimer Alder,

        Either the IPCC have got the citation wrong – surely not another mistake by such an august body?? – or they are making things up.

        Surely not?

      • Rob,

        If the PH at some local area of the ocean varies by more than .2 PH every year, to any reasonable person it would mean that if it went up by .2 PH on average over 100 years that the life in that area should certainly not be negatively impacted. To claim otherwise is silly/insane.

        That’s the same argument as saying temperatures in any location can vary by 30C during the year so an annual temperature change of 5C can’t be dangerous.
        Don’t you think the people who study oceanography know that pH levels vary during the year? If they do know it yet conclude that further decreases of ocean pH will be dangerous then maybe what seems logical to the “reasonable” (but uninformed person) is wrong.

      • @lolwot

        ‘but if it aint global you will just deny it’s happening right?’

        Hmmm

        Contemporary evidence for the MWP was far more widespread than just three places. And yet many climateers were quite happy to dismiss it as ‘purely a local phenomenon’ and hence irrelevant to the global picture..in favour of the ‘teleconnected’ tree rings from just a few sites.

        I’m denying nothing. Just pointing out that the actual data for oceanic pH change is scant at best. To show that ‘global warming’ was indeed occurring took analysis of somewhere between 10 million and 100 million data points. we seem to have a grand total of only about 500 related to pH change. I take more measurements (365*2) from my back garden max/min thermometer in just one year than this.

        Seems to me that the case for global warming is therefore inherently between 20,000 and 200,000 times better founded than any case for pH change.

      • @andrew adams

        You say:

        ‘Don’t you think the people who study oceanography know that pH levels vary during the year? If they do know it yet conclude that further decreases of ocean pH will be dangerous then maybe what seems logical to the “reasonable” (but uninformed person) is wrong’

        I cannot distinguish your remark at all from the plaintive

        ‘Trust Them, They’re Climate Scientists’.

        Sorry Andrew, they threw away that trust long ago with all their stupid shenanigans.

        See http://judithcurry.com/2012/09/10/too-much-advocacy/#comment-238024

        I now give them exactly the same trust I give any other dodgy bunch with a product to sell me…the Jehovah’s Witnesses, double glazing salesmen, used car traders, the phone guys doing ‘market research’ and so on.

        And when we come to examine the basic data on which the ‘ocean acidification’ scare is based, it is ‘scant’ at best. Maybe I (and the IPCC FAR) have missed something and there is indeed a hidden store of trustworthy, reliable, measured, geographically dispersed data that shows
        that ocean pH is indeed decreasing.

        But after quite a bit of looking I ain’t found it yet. And I seem to remember that in a previous exchange you were kind enough to help me in my quest for it. We were both unable to locate the mysterious place ‘X’ that marks the spot where it has been secreted. Perhaps some other kind soul will tell us where it is.

      • Latimer Alder,

        I now give them exactly the same trust I give any other dodgy bunch with a product to sell me…the Jehovah’s Witnesses, double glazing salesmen, used car traders, the phone guys doing ‘market research’ and so on.

        You left out of your list: solar panel and wind farmer salesmen.

      • Given that changes to global co2 level CAN be measured in one locatiion, its a bit silly to think ph measurements cannot.

      • Latimer,

        Firstly, people who publish papers on OA and its impacts are not climate scientists so even if your silly blanket mistrust of climate scientists was justified it wouldn’t be relevant here.

        Secondly, it’s not about putting blind faith in scientists, it’s about not reaching conclusions about the validity of scientific research based on logical fallacies and argument from incredulity. The fact is that if something which appears to contradict scientific findings is obvious enough to occur to a layman then it will almost certainly have occurred to scientists actually researching the subject in question, and they have presumably concluded that it is consistent with their findings. That’s not to say people should just accept the scientists’ word for it without question – I’m all for people trying to understand for themselves, but they should certainly be wary of placing too much confidence in their own assumptions.

      • @andrew adams

        Seems to me that a mistrust of those publishing on the mistitled ‘Ocean Acidification’ is even more justified than my well-founded contempt for ‘climate scientists.

        In the latter’s defence, they at least tried to collect a decent amount of basic data before constructing their castles in the air. The ‘acidifiers’ don’t seem even to have bothered with this preliminary foundation step before leaping to doomsday conclusions. Unless, of course, we are able to uncover the secret source of hidden pH data

        And I fear that your repetition of your faith that ‘they are scientists – of course they must have though of that’ is beginning to sound a little like you are whistling to keep your spirits up.

        And your hopeful optimism reminds me of that tragic day when the SS Herald of Free Enterprise car ferry capsized off Zeebrugge and nearly 200 passengers and crew were killed.

        When the initial reports that the ship had set to sea with the bow doors open came through I remember thinking ‘but no crew of any seamanship at all would have made such a basic and huge mistake. They’d have lights or alarms to make sure that the doors were secure. It must be something else’.

        But alas, it was true, The doors were open. There were no lights or alarms. And the ship foundered with great unnecessary loss of life. Think on’t, lad.

      • @lolwot

        You say

        ‘Given that changes to global co2 level CAN be measured in one locatiion, its a bit silly to think ph measurements cannot’

        Please examine this map carefully.

        http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://www.seafriends.org.nz/oceano/oceanph.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.seafriends.org.nz/oceano/seawater.htm&h=301&w=600&sz=30&tbnid=sF_T01EcUgJhkM:&tbnh=61&tbnw=122&zoom=1&usg=__7eqGTkhhD91kk9_fbcpq3xF-0gk=&docid=bhmOlonoxxKvdM&sa=X&ei=Fz1PUJ7ZJoGr0QWbnIHIAw&ved=0CDQQ9QEwAg&dur=2185

        You will see that pH varies quite considerably between different parts of the oceans. Unlike atmospheric air which is mixed up fairly quickly by the winds and so there is not a huge difference in CO2 composition wherever you are in the world, the same is not true of the water. To demonstrate that the phenomenon is truly global you need to show that it is happening in the vast majority of places, not just in one.

        And the fact that, despite being in contact with air at the same CO2 concentration, the waters of the world can vary so much in pH might give you pause for thought. How can this be if atmospheric CO2 concentration is the determining factor for pH? And how can ocean life exist quite happily off the coast of Argentina at pH 8.2 (alkaline) and also in the Indian Ocean at pH approaching 7.9 (weakly alkaline)?

      • I’ve already pointed you to observations that show a clear anticorrelation over time between ph and co2 levels. It fits the expected chemistry. This is empirical evidence. What do you have? Ignorance and denial.

        Denial requires evidence mate. You have none.

      • Andrew/lolwot

        You wish to compare the idea of ocean acidification with global temperature change and write that temperature can change by 30 degrees in a day so how can an average temperature change of 2 degrees be a big deal?

        The answer seems to be that the temperature change in and of itself is not a big deal. People worry about the secondary impacts of the potential temperature change to other factors that impact human life, such as how much it rains in a specific location. In the case of ocean PH change there are not these secondary impacts to fear, there is only the PH change which is of no consequence to the local life in the ocean.

      • @lolwot

        You say

        I’ve already pointed you to observations that show a clear anticorrelation over time between ph and co2 levels. It fits the expected chemistry. This is empirical evidence’

        You have provided a total of three sets of observations.

        At least one (ESTOC) is doubtful at best, since the cited paper does not contain the observations that the IPCC says it does. (I have documentary proof of the original paper in my hand as I type. You will find the graphs of the data collected on p2-6. Note the interesting observation that as the CO2 concentration hits its annual peak around about October each year (graph f), so does the pH (graph c) rise to its annual maximum. And remember that higher values equal more alkaline. This is the exact opposite of what might be expected if CO2 were to act to decrease the pH)

        Which leaves just two short sets of observations. One from Hawaii, which started in 1989 and one from Bermuda (began 1983). I’m quite happy to accept – for the moment – that they are an honest attempt to record what they say they do, but that shows only that the pH decreased at a rate of about 0.01pH units per decade in those places.

        It might be that every other place on earth experienced exactly the seam (except for ESTOC which didn’t). It might be that every other place on earth experienced twice the rate or half the rate or none at all. Based purely on two very localised, very short datasets you really cannot claim to have any proof that there is a global phenomenon at all.

        Show 1000 datasets form really dispersed locations all around the world, and that they are all experiencing similar changes and I’d be happy to accept it. That was the sort of level of proof that was needed to show ‘global warming’. Not just a few observations from only two places.

      • Latimer,

        You continue to misrepresent the point I am making. I’m not telling people they have to trust scientists – if they are really disinclined to do so they can read the relevant papers or textbooks or otherwise educate themselves, at least enough to answer the particular question they have raised. What I’m saying is that people should be suitably skeptical about their own ideas. The fact remains that if a simple observation seems to contradict a well established scientific theory then the problem is more likely to be with your understanding of the theory than the theory itself. By all means raise the point and ask for an explanation, but making bold claims that the theory must be wrong is at best argument from incredulity and at worst plain arrogance.

      • Rob,

        the real point of the analogy with temperature changes is that it is an argument from incredulity – I picked that one because it sounds similar to your OA argument but I could have equally chosen “CO2 is a trace gas”or “climate changed in the past without humans being responsible”.

        In the case of OA you say
        there is only the PH change which is of no consequence to the local life in the ocean.
        But there is actually a lot of scientific literature out there saying that pH changes most certainly do have consequences for ocean life.

      • @andrew adams

        You say

        ‘making bold claims that the theory must be wrong is at best argument from incredulity and at worst plain arrogance’

        Fair comment. And nowhere in the discussion above (or elsewhere) have I made any such bold claims that the theory is wrong. I understand the theory. But as a one-time chemist myself I also like to see the practical observations that confirm it. Theories are great…but only when the observations confirm them.

        I have been very careful only to point out that there is very limited observational support for the general theory that the oceanic pH is overall changing in response to increasing CO2 levels.

        And, as I have also pointed out several times, it may be that there is much better information hidden away somewhere that I have not been able to locate.

        But if it is the case that the available data is indeed limited to the few datasets shown in the IPCC FAR , then I think it is a very valid criticism to say that the huge edifice of scare stories predicated on ‘Ocean Acidification’ is built upon very shaky evidential foundations.

        We’re not quite in Hockey Stick/Yamal territory where the rings from just one tree (YAD061) were given quite undue prominence in the whole controversy, but we’re a long way from a global robust evidence-based conclusion that the ocean pH is actually changing in line with the theory and that therefore all sorts of dire consequences can be confidently expected.

        Maybe one day the necessary work will get done and the theory will be confirmed. Or maybe it’ll be the other way. Whatever the outcome the seeming fact that it is hasn’t been done yet seems to me to be a major failing.

      • lolwot

        Given that changes to global co2 level CAN be measured in one locatiion, its a bit silly to think ph measurements cannot.

        Let’s do a quick sanity check on that.

        CO2 is supposed to be a “well mixed greenhouse gas”, and the atmosphere is supposed to have the same annually averaged CO2 concentration anywhere in the world (some might question this assertion, but it is the basis for IPCC’s use of Mauna Loa measurements to define “global” atmospheric CO2 concentrations).

        No one in his right mind would claim the same for the global ocean’s pH.

        It would be more than “a bit silly” to think that a pH measurement of the Pacific Ocean at Honolulu would necessarily be the same as one for the Baltic Sea at Rostock or the Mediterranean at Alger.

        Max

      • lolwot,

        One place I know that is experiencing a change in pH is the coast of the PNW. Not much of a shift, but enough to impact oyster farmers. To the point that some are doing starting their oysters in Hawaii so they grow to the point where the pH no longer has an impact.

        Must be one of those impacts from climate change, right? Research shows that one of the causes of the change is a change in upwell currents in the ocean off the coast. The other cause is assumed to be due to increased CO2 in the atmosphere. I say assumed, because they really don’t know. You can’t track if a CO2 molecule came from the ocean floor or the atmosphere. (At least I don’t think you can.) Which cause do you think gets all the attention? (Hint, it ain’t ocean currents.)

        Here is the interesting thing (at least to me). If it is the increasing concentration of atmospheric CO2 that is the primary driver of this pH change, why isn’t occuring in Hawaii? Shouldn’t the oyster beds in Hawaii be seeing the same effects? When I asked this question I was told that the difference was due to Hawaii not having the same upwelling currents. How is that for a mind blowing response? The difference is the currents, yet apparently little thought is given to the idea that perhaps it is a change in those currents that is primarily responsible for the change in pH along the NW coast. This is the sort of science you get when you believe in something being a problem that HAS TO be addressed.

      • But timg56, why is the deeper ocean ph lower than the surface? Did you know that the circumpolar current in the southern hemisphere produces the most perfect surface mixing at the ocean/atmosphere interface? That mixing reduces the surface water temperature causing the downwelling of colder more dense sea water driving the global thermohaline currents. That near perfect mixing also increases the rate of CO2 uptake in the oceans. Because of the circumpolar current, the concentration of CO2 as carbonic acid is greater in the deeper ocean layers than at the surface. When the more acidic, CO2 rich waters upwell it changes the rate of CO2 uptake at the surface reducing the ocean CO2 sink capacity in the northern hemisphere and the tropics. The well mixed gas is not only not well mixed in the atmosphere it is also not well mixed in the oceans.

        Kinda explains why CO2 generally lags temperature.

        Oh, have I ever showed this to the gang?

        The beating heart of climate.

      • @lolwot

        Do you have any empirical evidence for a pH drop of 0.2 in 100 years? Or is this another purely theoretical construct?

      • It’s based on chemistry and fits with instrumental and paleo measurements. Co2 level is rising faster than known in earthen long history. Despite all the above you err on the side of reckless denial.

      • @lolwot

        I asked you

        ‘Do you have any empirical evidence for a pH drop of 0.2 in 100 years?’

        You replied

        ‘It’s based on chemistry and fits with instrumental and paleo measurements.’

        I will take that to be a roundabout way of saying

        ‘No Latimer, I do not have any empirical measurements. It is a purely speculative theoretical construct unconfirmed by any observations at all’

      • Then you’d be lying because I just cited observations.

      • @lolwot

        ‘Then you’d be lying because I just cited observations’

        Well, what you actually said was

        ‘Fits with instrumental and photo measurements’

        ‘Fits with’ can be one of those lovely catch all phrases that means absolutely nothing. Like ‘xxx is ‘consistent with yyyy’. So I assumed that it was in this case. But I may have done you an injustice.

        Easy to find out. Cite your sources, and we will all be able to judge whether the assertion of a change of 0.2 pH points in a century has any basis in fact.

        The floor is yours

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        LA,
        There is no evidence for the chane at all in the world that involves sampking and testing.
        the OA delusion, like all delusions, is a construct of the deluded.

    • The issue of coral reefs is one that many scientists concerned about global warming should be ashamed of. If they truly were concerned about health of reefs, they would not be harping about climate change, as there are several threats which are not only of much more immediate concern, but have actual science and documentation backing them up.

      • Stealth Denial: giving advice dressed up to look like it’s “friendly” advice for the benefit of scientists’ credibilities when really it’s a bid to shut them up mentioning facts the denier is uncomfortable with.

        If only those scientists would shut up the issue might go way! <<– that's the plan.

      • lolwot,

        Can you name the threats to healthy reefs?

        According to WWF, there are 7.

        http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/blue_planet/coasts/coral_reefs/coral_threats/

        Want to guess where climate change places?

        When you hear someone saying that if we don’t do something about climate change coral reefs will disappear, you can assume they either know squat about reefs or have some agenda having nothing to do with them.

        Only an idiot spends limited resources trying to fix the least significant problem when a host of problems exist. Asking for money from people to address climate change in the name of protecting coral reefs is akin to stealing.

        I’m not asking for anyone to shutup. I’m simply calling out the charlatens.

      • So global warming is on their list of threats to coral reefs and you cite that but still deny it?

        “”The major causes of coral decline are well-known and include overfishing, pollution, disease and bleaching caused by rising temperatures resulting from the burning of fossil fuels,” Lundin said. “Looking forward, there is an urgent need to immediately and drastically reduce all human impacts if coral reefs and the vitally important fisheries that depend on them are to survive in the decades to come.””

        http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/caribbean-coral-reefs-verge-collapsing-study-says-191555430.html

        “When you hear someone saying that if we don’t do something about climate change coral reefs will disappear, you can assume they either know squat about reefs or have some agenda having nothing to do with them.”

        I have heard there have been extinctions of reefs in Earth’s past and it took millions of years for them to re-establish. My bet is it was climate changes that did it. You seem to think that’s impossible.

      • lolwot,

        While I do not doubt your sincerity, there are times I do doubt your comprehension.

        I have not said there is zero threat to reefs from a changing climate. My opinion is that people don’t know that there is one or how serious it might be because they do not have sufficient information and understanding. The one threat put forth so far – ocean acidification – is not currently a well supported one. What we have is mostly speculation.

        What is not speculation are several of the items on the WWF list I linked to. We know those things are harmful. And knowing that I am saying that it makes far more sense and is far more responsible to concentrate on those than it is to cry wolf about the threat of climate change.

        You sound as if we should be worried about the wolf that may (or may not) be in the woods outside the village, while the Huns are outside the walls sending arrows at us.

  32. If Hansen was to engineer his words to avoid tripping people’s wrongly calibrated BS meters does that mean Hansen is advocating less or advocating more effectively, Machiavelli style?

    • I think it would be almost impossible for Hansen not to trigger the BS meters of 90% of the population. He has too much Chicken Little baggage already.

      He would do the best service to his cause by retiring silently. With enemies like Hansen, we sceptics hardly need other friends.

  33. @judith

    A couple of my posts seem to have gone astray in the last few hours. Please could you check your spam basket. Thanks.

  34. Berényi Péter

    Right on target. We, who have grown up in the Soviet-occupied zone of Europe, and were forced to have courses on scientific socialism even at university level, have developed a particularly sensitive BS detector. According to it any kind of political advocacy masquerading as science, especially current mainstream “climate science” – smells. A previous generation must have had the same experience with scientific racism.

    • Don’t forget the theory of evolution. Clearly paleontology is nothing but an advocacy science for atheist communism!

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        lolwot,
        Great attempt to cloud the issue.
        Why is it you losers always seek to derail and hijack?

      • The only feasible reason some of these people troll sites like this constantly is that they are getting paid to do it. Why would anyone hang out here just to harangue people they think are stupid? Either they are getting paid in some misguided Peter Gleick-like effort to combat non-existent oil money or they are mentally disturbed. That’s my theory.

      • @bill

        Surely nobody would pay good money to ‘joshua’ or ‘lolwot’ or ‘robert’ for more than a few days. They would soon notice that they are getting absolutely no bangs for their buck and that the trolling may be doing their cause actual harm.

        I prefer your second suggestion.

        As to poor old Webbie. I think we just have to assume that he is some sort of very strange eccentric with Oil Compulsive Disorder. He must be a great trial to hos parents Wilma and Wilbur..

      • Lots of trolls on this site with very little knowledge on uncertainty quantification.
        Why they comment here, I have no idea.

      • Berényi Péter

        Heh, what are you trying to imply? Explicate, please, for it is overtly muddy as it is.

      • Just pointing out what some other people’s sensitive BS meters detect

        http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Evolution%20Hoax/devilution.htm

      • Berényi Péter

        So. You, dear lolwot, are effectively saying that evolution is not a HOAX, therefore scientific socialism can’t possibly be a HOAX either. Exterminating a hundred million human being is acceptable as long as it is supported by firm science. That Tienanmen Square is nothing more than a successful experiment in social engineering and it is perfectly legitimate to build tight economic relations with the bright experimental scientists who designed it.

        Furthermore, as scientific socialism stands as a shining pillar of all sciences, scientific climatism is not a HOAX either. Therefore crippling all economies except those not to be crippled is a necessary scientific development and if healing Gaia requires the death of billions to decrease global population to a scientifically justified level, so be it.

        Is that what you are trying to tell us?

      • no idea Hunter. How’s that whole leaving the blog thing coming along? You seem to be posting here more often than before you said you were leaving.

      • lurker passing through, laughing

        It is difficult to not watch the train wreck you fanatics are riding.

      • Its interesting to watch how lurker can’t bring himself to admit he’s hunter (or deny it).

      • Nice sockpuppet move there Hunter . Make good on your threat to leave, then pop up with a different ID. Makes it look like there is a higher skeptic consensus.

        BTW, we know its.you Hunter, because no one brown-noses the blog host quite like you.

        Real scientists are observant and know when to make highly certain assertions, thank you very much.

      • LOLTWAT and WEBBEDTOES and JOSHUA all rag on LURKER about being the former anonymous coward named HUNTER.

        I find this comical. Every one of those handles is the same person for all I know. And you could all be John Sidles! How’s that? Yeah, that’s the ticket. You’re all John Sidles!

      • Actually Sidles has reincarnated himself at least once from “a physicist” to “a fan of more discourse” so I’m not making the association to even more handles without solid precedent. Just to be clear. In climate science math I can then automatically amplify his shape shifting by a factor of three from there. The forcing that produced two additional identies of John Sidles in five decades could then be presumed to be an average of six and as many as nine identities. Then there’s the additional identities “in the pipeline”. God only knows how many that might be. Science has its limits ya know.

      • WEBFOOT re; Hunter/Lurker hostess flattering

        Maybe Hunter and Lurker are both Curry. Wow.

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        Poster named after a satellite,
        If I choose a different handle, so be it.
        I realized that the main entertainment value is watching you maroons dance around in support of your revealed pile of bs.
        I left for awhile and now come back.
        Sockpuppet?
        You confuse ‘sockpuppet’ with what you and your special friend do in the tub, hub.

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        David,
        Catch you breath, dude. You were almost on the verge of a clever thought.
        Keep working at it. You might get there.

      • Has hunter ever contributed any in-depth scientific analysis? I think not.
        Since this site is run by a credentialled academic and scientist, I always hold out hope that the discussion will change.

      • @lolwot

        Care to expound on exactly what you think evolution has got to do with climatology? I often see it raised as an attempted diversionary tactic by alarmists. But it is such a spectacularly daft response as to be totally counter-productive.

        Alamrist 1: Help…them pesky sceptics are winning the argument….we’re out of ammo and they’ll overwhelm us soon.
        Alarmist 2: Only one thing for it…fire our secret weapon …the Evolution argument
        Alarmist 1: Will it work?
        Alarmist 2: Nope. But they’ll be laughing at us so much that they’ll slow down a bit.
        Alarmist 1: Argument away, boss
        Alarmist 2: Nice one, lollie
        Alarmist 1: Its not worked…they’re still coming after us…just wetting themselves with giggles along the way
        Alarmist 2 : Bugger…another failed tactic. We surrender!

      • I think it is to do with inbred belief systems not being able to accept new external facts from science.

      • @jimd

        Seems to be a purely NA thing. Evolution is not a matter of controversy in Europe. I don’t remember ever hearing about, reading about or meeting anybody who doesn’t – to some extent – believe that Darwin’s theory is substantially correct.

        Which is why we look on in baffled bemusement when lollie or his chums raise it as a winning tactic in discussing climate. Might as well slap the World Series (US) baseball results on the table and scream

        ‘There – you evil European deniers…the White Sox won. So there!’

        Equally baffled amazement expected. Failure to communicate.

      • The comparison with the UK would be how long it took to be accepted because this resistance occurred there too.

      • Latimer tries Eastwooding.

      • I am basically asking you to distinguish yourselves from evolution deniers. Your arguments that climate is some BS political socialist science is as vacuous of evidence as the same argument when creationists make it. Put it this way: why should I believe you and not them? Yall just sound like the same conspiracy theorists.

      • Latimer is no Eastwood. Mentioning the White Sox instead of the Cubbies?
        What a poseur, just like his scientific poseurdom.

      • lolwot
        I am basically asking you to distinguish yourselves from evolution deniers.

        Quite simply really. Evolution denialism is about evolution, this blog is about climate. Or do you too have same fake data showing the two are linked?

        Your arguments that climate is some BS political socialist science is as vacuous of evidence

        It’s blindly obvious : the state funds climate alarmism (‘science’), and also stands to massively gain from having CAGW believed. Aka, vested interest. None so blind as those who would not see.

        Yall just sound like the same conspiracy theorists.

        Ah, that tired old strawman yet again. Why does anyone (eg the state) need need a conspiracy to be pursuing its own interests? It’s perfectly natural and expected – indeed you’d need some sort of conspiracy for this to NOT happen. So if you really think there ISN’T a totalitarian/statist/socialist bias in state climate scientist, the YOU are the (only) one here who is a conspiracy theorist.

      • Define “evolution”.

        If you mean descent with modification from one or a few common ancestors over the course of hundreds of millions or billions of years then I believe the evidence for that is overwhelming.

        If you mean that a random dance of atoms explains it all then I become skeptical. If the law of entropy holds true then the universe was in its most ordered state 14 billion years ago and can have done nothing but become less ordered since then. That means that the information encoded in each cell of our bodies, in our brains, and in the library of congress was all here 14 billion years ago. Where did it come from? I find the notion that it just happened by luck to be preposterous except in an infinite universe or in an infinite series of universes. But to the best of our knowledge the universe is not infinite and its beginning lies in a singularity some 14 billion years ago. The standard model (physics) breaks down in a singularity. So we really don’t know why any of this happened and that includes how we got here. And of course if you subscribe to an infinite universe then a single God-like entity that created the earth and the life it holds is also required to have happened in that infinite realm of possibility so we’re still basically stuck with not knowing even then.

    • Berenyi Peter
      Thanks for seconding so clearly the experience and thesis of Václav Klaus summarized in
      What is Endangered: Climate or Freedom?

      The real problem is not climate or global warming, but the Global Warming Doctrine and its consequences. . . .this new incarnation of environmentalism can be summarized in the following way:

      1. It starts with the claim that there is an undisputed and undisputable, empirically confirmed, statistically significant, global, not local, warming;

      2. It continues with the argument that the time series of global temperature exhibit a growing trend which dominates their cyclical and random components. This trend is supposed to be non-linear, perhaps exponential;

      3. This trend is declared to be dangerous for the people (in the eyes of “soft” environmentalists) or for the planet (by “deep” environmentalists);

      4. This temperature growth is postulated as a solely or chiefly man-made phenomenon attributable to growing emissions of CO2 from industrial activity and the use of fossil fuels;

      5. The sensitivity of global temperature to even small variations in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is supposed to be very high;

      6. The GWD exponents promise us a solution: the ongoing temperature increase can be reversed by radical reduction in CO2 emissions[3];

      7. They also know how to bring about their solution: they want to organize emissions reduction by means of the institutions of “global governance”. They forget to tell us that this is not possible without undermining democracy, the independence of individual countries, human freedom, economic prosperity and a chance to eliminate poverty in the world;

      8. They rely on the undefined and undefinable “precautionary principle”. Cost-benefit analysis is not relevant to them.

      This simple scheme can be, undoubtedly, improved, extended, supplemented or corrected in many ways, but I believe its basic structure is fair and correct.

      I do not believe in any one of these eight articles of faith and I am not alone. There are many natural scientists and also social scientists, especially economists, who do not believe in them either. The problem is that most genuine scientists do science and are not willing to discuss this doctrine in the public space.

      For details, see Vaclav Klaus, Blue Planet in Green Shackles: What Is Endangered: Climate or Freedom? 2008. Now published in 11 languages.

  35. Max_OK | September 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Reply
    “The non-advocating scientist sez “Here’s the problem. Don’t look at me.””
    —————————————————-
    Sorry, but the non-advocating scientist cannot explicitly state that there is a problem or even might be a problem – that would be alarmism. The lay readers of the science can come to their own conclusions, thank you.

    And above all, scientists are not allowed to express any public opinion on the potential ramifications of their work. Opinions are expressly reserved for blog commentators.

    • John Carpenter

      “And above all, scientists are not allowed to express any public opinion on the potential ramifications of their work. Opinions are expressly reserved for blog commentators.”

      This isn’t true either. Scientist can and in some cases should express a public opinion about their work and its ramifications…. albeit with the potential risk of losing credibility. The risk of losing credibility is proportional to the level of alarmism the scientist opines. The more outlandish the alarmism, the more likely the messanger will lose credibility with the audience. For example, a message of ‘continued buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere may lead to increased global temperatures where some potentially damaging climate shifts may occur’ is much different than ‘we must stop emitting CO2 NOW or else we will irreparably damage our planetary ecosystem forever’. The former opinion is more conservative yet expresses an opinion that there is a risk of not doing anything, it is informative to the audience. The latter advocates a radicle shift in the way humans behave suggesting we really have no choice… it is not informative, it’s dictatorial. The more balanced the opinion (the more ‘uncertainty’ has been considered), the less likely the messanger will lose credibility because it appears more thoughtful. Thoughtful opinions, even if you do not agree with them, induce an audiance to consider the argument more carefully. I see no reason why a scientist shouldn’t express thoughtful opinions about the ramifications of their work even if they could influence policy making decisions.

      • John, when it comes to informing the public, I wouldn’t want a scientists who believes ‘we must stop emitting CO2 NOW or else we will irreparably damage our planetary ecosystem forever’ watering down his message to ‘continued buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere may lead to increased global temperatures where some potentially damaging climate shifts may occur’ ?

        That would be similar to a doctor telling an obese patient “continued weight gain has the potential for damaging your health” instead of “you need stop gaining weight NOW or you are going to kill yourself.”

      • John Carpenter

        My examples are not similar to your analogy at all. Using your analogy, the doctor can with 100% certainty observe that the patient is obese and measure against a clinical definition whether the patient meets the criteria of ‘obese’. I don’t think we are 100% certain current or future CO2 concentrations will lead us to thermageddon. Your analogy would be better if the doctor was not permitted to see the patient or know the patients weight or to converse with the patient. All the doctor would maybe know is the patient eats more than the average person. Using only that information, would the doctor make the same diagnosis?

      • John, I don’t think the doctor can be 100% certain that the obese patient needs to stop gaining weight NOW or he will kill himself. But you have a point. More is know about obese than about AGW.

        Maybe a better analogy would be something more “iffy” and controversial, such as the vaccine for HPV. I believe the consensus among doctors is girls should be vaccinated for HPV because it is the cause of cervical cancer.

        An advocating doctor might tell parents their daughter should be vaccinated for HPV because she could get it, and it could cause cervical cancer. The non-advocating doctor might tell parents “many girls get HPV from sexual activity, a virus the immune system can get rid of but usually doesn’t, and HPV can cause cervical cancer but usually doesn’t, and a vaccine is available that prevents most but not all kinds of HPV, but being vaccinated could lessen reluctance to be sexually active.

        I don’t know about you, John, but I think the advocating doctor is acting more responsibly than the non-advocating doctor.

      • John Carpenter

        “I don’t know about you, John, but I think the advocating doctor is acting more responsibly than the non-advocating doctor.”

        Max, You may be right there in the case of a doctor, but I’m not arguing over the ‘responsibility’ of the doctor (or climate scientist, as it were) of advocating. I am arguing that a scientist who uses more alarmist language compared to one who uses more reasoned and thoughtful language is more likely to lose credibility with the audiance. I think a scientist has a responsibility to advocate his/her consclusions if they think they are important to a policy related issue. I don’t think a scientist should advocate strongly to the degree they are engaging in civil disobedience or writing policy opinions in the WSJ or NYT when the uncertainty of the subject matter is still very high. This type of advocacy is bad for the whole science because it is based less on fact and more on emotion. The messenger is going to lose credibility with the audiance and in turn weaken the credibility of the scientific field. Interestingly, the message may be, more or less, on target… but the way it is presented makes a big difference on how well it will be considered.

      • John, I think it depends on the audience. If it’s the well-educated, and I hope policy makers are, I agree with you. The general public, however, may see guarded statements as wishy-washy.

      • Addressing John Carpenter, at 10:52 on 11 September, Max_OK had written:

        …I think it depends on the audience. If it’s the well-educated, and I hope policy makers are, I agree with you. The general public, however, may see guarded statements as wishy-washy.

        If you’re not acutely and agonizingly aware of the fact, be advised that the “policy makers” upon whom you’re proposing that we rely are government thugs who got their powers to impose “policy” upon the private citizenry at gunpoint by way of either bureaucratic careerism or winning popularity contests.

        In matters pertaining to objective reality, such critters do not set being “well-educated” in matters of science and technology as high in their lists of priorities.

        Or haven’t you noticed that most of these “policy makers” are friggin’ lawyers?

      • Tucci78 said in his post on Sep 11, 2012 at 11:29 pm |

        “If you’re not acutely and agonizingly aware of the fact, be advised that the “policy makers” upon whom you’re proposing that we rely are government thugs …”
        _________

        Being a government thug sounds like a cool job. I’ll bet they drive nice cars and hang out with some hot honeys.

        Would I have to pass some kind of government exam?

      • At 11:29 PM on 11 September, Max_OK writes:

        Being a government thug sounds like a cool job. I’ll bet they drive nice cars and hang out with some hot honeys.

        Would I have to pass some kind of government exam?

        Yep. In addition to the usual Civil Service examinations, you’ll have to catch a free-range U.S. citizen, drag him or her back to the testing center, and forcibly sodomize the specimen under the critical scrutiny of the screening officers.

        I understand you get extra credit if you accomplish the screwing without the use of lubricants.

      • The problem, of course, is that we have no idea that we are in fact killing ourselves with CO2, and the science establishment is knowingly exaggerating and lying that we are.

  36. Glad you feel secure enough, Judy, to say this. Advocacy today is not simply a matter of individual choice but is institutionalized and has taken on aspects of thought control. The leadership of the European Union and the administration of the United States both follow the dictates of the global warming movement, both to the detriment of their populations. Entire “scholarly” magazines like Nature Climate Change are devoted to propaganda for AGW. I know, because I read it. Scientific journals like Nature, Science, and PNAS plus others that are supposed to publish pure science publish only science purified of any doubts about anthropogenic global warming. This I know from personal experience. Add to this scientific organizations like the Royal Society and the National Academies that have been taken over from the inside by advocates of AGW. This is not a conspiracy theory but a fact whether you like it or not. Their job is to give us a truly accurate view of what science has to say but instead they have become another mouthpiece of the global warming movement. The only historical parallel to this wrong-headedness I can think of is the phlogiston era, before thermodynamics, when they all thought that this magical fluid explained, what else, then heat. Other scientific societies followed suit and a truly massive propaganda machine is now in place. I really have trouble understanding how supposedly intelligent, scientifically educated people can so easily succumb to groupthink. Not only that, but how is it possible to lock them in so that they do not read or even look at opposing views that are available despite attempts to censor and block their publication. It is entirely possible to demonstrate that AGW does not exist as I did three years ago in “What Warming?” But no one paid attention to what a denier has to say. I also happen to belong to the AMS and when AMS came out with an official statement on climate change on August 27th that was totally void of science I sent a comment to the president of AMS, one Uccinelli, and asked him to send it out to membership. He just informed me curtly that they do not send out comments to membership. I then posted it on Judy’s blog and you can get it at this web address:

    http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/27/ams-statement-on-climate-change/#comment-234684

    Their statement was never sent out to membership for comments and mine was most likely the only comment they received. That shows you how they have sewed up the control of one scientific society. Judging by lists on warmist web sites, many of them are their vassals.

  37. outside the glassbead game

    I’d be interested on your views of Unlearning Liberty: Campus Cesorship and the End of American Debate byGreg Lukianoff when it comes out in October. Thanks for an interesting blog.

  38. “JC message to Jane Lubchenco: read previous paragraph 10 times.”

    !!! :) Nicely said, JC. I’ll forward your remarks to Sens Patti Murray and Maria Cantwell. I wrote each of them a note with a similar message last year following some of JL’s previous comments regarding AGW.

    “But she began asking authors to strike unsubstantiated opinions and policy statements, or at the very least, identify them as opinions.”

    Nice work Erica.

    We’re slowly but steadily making progress toward a better environment for science and policy regarding climate change, as well as on a host of other issues where activism has crept into science.

  39. “advocating social policy positions”

    is what politicians do. You can’t be a scientist and a politican at the same time. As soon as you start the one behavior, the other ceases.

    The interesting project would be to tease the political signal out of what climate science produces (drawings). Does the blade of the hockey stick correlate to an unprecedented increase in the activity of propagandists? How much of the behavior of climate scientists is politics? 75% 100%? How much is science? 0%?

    Andrew

  40. The ‘bullshit detector’ issue is much more cogent IMO in explaining skepticism than ‘motivated reasoning.’

    Really? Not only is this comment insulting and condescending, it suggest that some intelligent people who may understand the scientific method very well are not able reason that the BS being delivered might not actually conform to observations available.

  41. George Wilhere of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife calls it “inadvertent advocacy” and labels it “professional negligence.”

    “Inadvertent?” What in God’s name makes Wilhere think any of this is inadvertent? Money, power, prestige, jetting around the globe to exotic locations for conferences, academic tenure and lifelong job security… all these things give any psychologist worth his salt plenty of motivations for the induction of confirmation bias, groupthink and scientific corruption.

    But you’re getting close, Mr. Wilhere. Just read a tad bit more about Michael Mann and John Cook rigging the Amazon reviews for Mann’s book and that might help you over the wall.

  42. Considerate thinker

    Facinating to see the machinations of those that don’t like the message. Attack the messenger, divert to anything else but the message, invent authority, excuses?. It goes on, and on. Now, who exactly are those that are denying……..?

  43. Everybody understands that a referee should not be biased towards one team. Everybody understands that a judge should not act as an advocate for one party. And they are right. It’s probably in Roberts Rules of Order.

    When it comes to science, everybody’s ideal is that the scientists are objective and unbiased. They are wrong of course, but ideally they should be. It’s science which is supposed to get things right, not the scientists. It’s to everybody’s best interests that the public continues to see science in a good light. A few scientists setting off the public’s BS detectors on a big scale will be bad news for all scientists. So, no stealth advocacy. Scientists can still have opinions in public and advocate, but they must always make clear that they advocate for themselves and do not claim to speak for science by saying things like “the science is settled” when it is not.

    • The science needs to be objective and unbiased, the scientists can be anything they like. When they step into advocacy or politics, they are supposed to be smart enough to know they will be treated as advocates or lobbyists. Different roles, different rules.

      • I agree with the Captain.

      • Capt, scientific research is a very human process and scientists are not unemotional androids. Scientists are people and are intrinsically biased. The bias is not the problem, indeed, the bias can be good as you can get obsessed with something that finally pays off. The actual problem is being biased and not recognizing you are biased and not designing your experimental studies and data mining/analysis to get around your bias.

        I have 50 mice, five groups of 10, who had injections of brain cancer three weeks ago.
        There are four treatment groups and one control; the mice are assessed every 1-2 days.
        The person doing the drug injections and monitoring has no idea what drug combinations are in A,B,C,D and E.
        A,B,C,D and E are the same color and volume.

        The identities of A,B,C,D and E are described in my Lab book and are counter signed by an independent witness.
        The mice assessments are entered in a different lab book, signed and photographed, every 1-2 days.

        If the trial is successful, and we actual have a cancer treatment for humans, then one day the two lab books may be presented in court and both are legal documents.
        I have a dog in this fight. I potentially could end up rich and Nobeled; so I know I am VERY BIASED.
        You get that captain? I have a vested interest for 10 mice to survive and all the rest to die. However, not only will I be virtuous, I will damn well be seen to be virtuous. Not because I am particularly honorable, but because this is the way you do it, and this is the way you demand everyone else does it.

      • David Springer

        Given the time it takes to for drugs to go from mice to men and thence to be famously successful like penicillin unless you’re a young man you’ll probably get your recognition post-humously and of course Nobel prizes are not awarded to dead scientists. Given you’re workikng with brain cancer there’s a limited number of compounds due to only very small molecules being able to cross the blood-brain barrier. The most promising I’ve seen in recent years for glioblastoma is compound which cannot be patented – dichloroacetate or DCA, which is a common byproduct of industrial chemistry and is found in small quantities in chlorinated drinking water. Its efficacy in melting all kinds of tumors away in mice was discovered around 2007 and I wrote a lot about it in the two years following. It’s yet another scientific scandal. Because it can’t be patented there’s no money to be made so the usual slow pace of drug development is glacial in this case as no one is willing to pony up the $100 million needed to go through the trials. Adding insult to injury is it’s already an orphan drug used to treat congenital lactic acidosis so there’s a fair amount of history in dosing and side effects. Compared to most chemotherapeutics DCA has as many and as severe side effects as distilled water.

        You can read all I wrote about it here:

        http://www.uncommondescent.com/category/dca/

        I bring it up at the mention of glioblastoma because in the single very small clinical trial I know of the half dozen participants had inoperable stage 4 glioblastoma. All but one IIRC vastly exceeded their statistical remaining life expectancy.

      • Doc,

        If you are in need of mice, my wife would be very appreciative if you came and got hers. Better hurry though. At the rate she’s currently killing them in the garage, there may not be any left.

        Of course even after she’s gotten them all I’m still going to constantly get nagged about having the garage door open, as she is convionced that’s how they got in. No amount of explaination willconvince her otherwise.

      • Dichloroacetate and Bromo-pyruvate (or Fluro) are classical inhibitors of glycolysis and have a bigger effect on cancer cells than on other types, thanks to the Warburg effect.
        They are not exactly hidden, nor are they ignored. They just don’t work very well in actual patients.

      • David Springer

        DCA kicked brain cancer ass in the one small trial that managed to get financed. Maybe you should have some knowledge of something before having an opinion on it? Just a suggestion.

    • Diag
      Re: Impartiality
      The requirement and standard for impartiality was in the Mosaic code 3,500 years ago: Leviticus 19:15 NIV

      “‘Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.

      That standard was required by all States for equal footing in the Union when the Founders appealed “to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions,” USC The Declaration of Independence – 1776

      Yes impartiality was expected in Robert’s Rules of Order Revised 1915

      A presiding officer who is calm, cool, and courteous while every one else is excited, and who is familiar with the duties of the chair and is impartial, can nearly always keep the assembly under
      control.

      However, after reviewing the Baconian ideal of impartiality, Woodward & Goldstein draw

      a sharp distinction between advocacy which is permitted or encouraged in science and deception that is not open to public assessment, which is judged very harshly in science. Fabrication or covert and unwarranted manipulation of data is an example of the kind of deceptive practice that cannot be tolerated because it undermines the mutual trust essential to the system of science we have described.

      Conduct, Misconduct and the Structure of Science.
      From the evidence of Climategate, climate alarmists pushing their advocacy have corrupted peer review, hidden data, used biased statistical methods, and acted as gatekeepers to prevent challenges to their advocacy to be published. Grant gatekeeping amplified by fear driven political feedback has created a strong self perpetuating funding bias.

      The courts have unfortunately chosen to exclude themselves from ruling on scientific fraud in corrupting public data. e.g.:
      NZ beaks give climate skeptics the bird Warming records weren’t cooked Richard Chirgwin 9th September 2012 23:46 GMT

      “A group of climate skeptics that includes Australian Dr Bob Carter has failed in its bid to have New Zealand’s High Court hear its complaint against that country’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).”

      This strongly indicates that we need to push back towards Baconian impartiality in science. We at least need major funding for independent “red teams” to “kick the tires” to find out what is valid and what is fraud. See: John Christy’s proposed solution before the US Senate Environment & Public Works (Aug. 1, 2012)

      Since the IPCC activity is funded by US taxpayers, then I propose that five to ten percent of the funds be allocated to a group of well-credentialed scientists to produce an assessment that expresses legitimate, alternative hypotheses that have been (in their view) marginalized, misrepresented or ignored in previous IPCC reports (and thus EPA and National Climate Assessments). Such activities are often called “Red Team” reports and are widely used in government and industry. Decisions regarding funding for “Red Teams” should not be placed in the hands of the current “establishment” but in panels populated by credentialed scientists who have experience in examining these issues.”

      Summarized by Déjà Vu at Senate Climate Hearing

  44. Dr. Curry:

    “JC comment: wow, I hadn’t previously heard about this. I know next to nothing about the field and culture of conservation biology, but it seems appalling that the Society for Conservation Biology came out explicitly in favor of including policy preferences and value statements in scientific papers.”

    If you think advocacy is rife in CliSci — you should follow the environmental sciences….where it is not only the norm, but seemingly a requirement for any paper to be published. Truly appalling.

    • Conservation biology & environmental science are policy & advocacy oriented BY DESIGN. (Take a look at some of the program descriptions.) This is NOT news.

      I spent the better part of a decade in & around the field. Almost all students who go into conservation biology do it BECAUSE they want to advocate. This not and never has been a secret. (Quite the contrary.)

      Keep in mind that there are NUMEROUS OTHER branches of biology.

      • Paul — certainly couldn’t be a secret as they are bulging pimples on the face of the biological sciences.

        They are both–conservation biology and environmental science–studies that should produce new knowledge that will allow us to perform the important tasks that will bring about valuable, doable conservation and knowledge about the natural world around us and its ever-changing inter-relationships.

        I will quote the original piece and Dr. Curry’s comment:

        “But by advocating policy positions — overtly or by stealth — scientists may be forfeiting their privileged positions as scientists and becoming just ordinary guys with opinions, and in the process, undercutting the credibility of their scientific work.

        JC message to Jane Lubchenco: read previous paragraph 10 times.”

        Same applies here.

      • Apples & oranges. (Conservation biology differs fundamentally.) Careful elaboration would take orders of magnitude more time than I can afford. If we end up in miscommunication on this, that’s an acceptably-efficient outcome. All the best.

  45. David L. Hagen

    Impact of advocacy on fuels and unemployment
    One example of advocacy is Obama/EPA’s advocacy of biofuels and seeking to forbid all future coal plants while claiming to support “all of the above.” The hard nosed impact of this advocacy is to very strongly increase the cost of fuel to taxpayers. e.g. see Algal fuel vs coal based methanol.
    Economic Comparison of Open Pond Raceways to Photo Bio Reactors for Profitable Production of Algae for Transportation Fuels in the Southwest, James W. Richardson et al. 2011

    Total Cost of Production for Lipids before conversion to diesel$11.45/gallon; Open Ponds $30.92/gallon PBRs. . .
    To achieve 95% chance economic success:
    $13.50/gallon Open Pond
    –$46.50/gallon PBR

    Life cycle energy and greenhouse gas analysis for algae-derived biodiesel T. Schirvani et al. 2011

    algae biodiesel production is 2.5 times as energy intensive as conventional diesel and nearly equivalent to the high fuel-cycle energy use of oil shale diesel.

    Comparative cost analysis of algal oil production for biofuels, A. Sun et al., Energy Vol. 36 (8) Aug. 2011 p 5169-5179

    Algal oil production costs ranging from $10.87/gallon to $13.32/gallon.

    Contrast:
    China’s growing methanol economy and its implications for energy and the environment, Chi-Jen Yang & Robert B. Jackson Energy Policy 41 (2012) 878–884

    In the past five years, China has quickly built an industry of coal-based methanol and dimethyl ether (DME) that is competitive in price with petroleum-based fuels. Methanol fuels offer many advantages, including a high octane rating and cleaner-burning properties than gasoline. . . .
    Roughly 1.4 t of methanol can replace one ton of gasoline (Li, 2008). Because methanol is usually priced at one third to one quarter the price of gasoline (Table 1), blending methanol in gasoline in China is currently profitable . . .
    Even if the cap is successful, at full capacity the coal-based methanol industry would be still able to substitute more than half of China’s gasoline supply by 2015. . . .
    China is currently implementing south-to-north water diversion projects with three designated routes. . . .
    In light of recent developments in China, US policy researchers may re-examine the US experience and consider how China’s growing methanol economy could affect coal and other raw material prices and whether methanol fuels might make a comeback in the United States.

    The consequence: strongly reduced discretionary spending, higher unemployment, lower GDP and tax revenues, higher debt on our children, and lower support for seniors.

    From a professional engineering perspective, I find this advocacy of much higher cost “green” fuels to be unethical. From a stewardship perspective I find it immoral.
    Vote for your future and for your children’s!

    • David Springer

      David,

      Successful biofuel production hinges on a synthetic organism designed for the task. There are no natural organisms which meet the requirement. This was a bone of contention between JVCI and Exxon where Exxon first wanted an exhausitive search made for the best that could be accomplished with natural organisms. Venter said that was a waste of time that no natural algae were good enough and only an engineered algae would meet the needs. There are literally millions of strains of natural algae to search through because they are bacteria and mutate like bacteria. Venter acknowledges the possibility of finding an extant strain that is good enough but deems it unlikely.

      Any ROIC study done on current biodiesel production using cyano-bacteria is like going back to 1990 and studying the cost to produce a 35″ inch flat screen LCD television vs. the glass cathode ray tube . In 1990 the cost of the LCD was far greater. Today they give away 35″ inch LCD TVs for attending a sales pitch for time share condominiums and 35″ cathode ray tubes are dinosaurs.

      As always, thanks for playing.

    • David Springer

      Coal supply is limited too. China’s reserve runs out in 35 years. Peak coal is estimated to happen around 2025. What happens then?

      • That at least gives two decades more buffer time after the nominal Peak Oil of 2006, to develop and mobilize sustainable fuel supplies. (Bitumen aka “oil sands” provides some additional buffer.)

  46. Too much advocacy?

    The elite telling people how they must live their life.

  47. What is entirely missing from this post and comments is the fact that Fleishman’s ouster has been highly controversial within the Society of Conservation Biology itself. A dozen board members have resigned in protest, included the scientist who originally founded the journal in 1987, which today has an impact factor of 4.9. More on this here.

    From time to time some academic department or society finds itself badly split on some issue or other, like Stanford’s Anthropology Department for example which ended up as two departments, sort of like separatism in Quebec or Scotland, just on a smaller scale.

    In this case the rationale for firing Fleishman seems to have boiled down to friction between her and some of the other governors during recent months, with the complaints about being asked to indicate opinions as such being perhaps the straw that broke the camel’s back, or perhaps just a convenient excuse. If the latter it’s a pathetic excuse: scientists should not be abusing their status to browbeat their audience with opinions masquerading as science, and Fleishman as editor is absolutely within her rights to counsel authors not to do so.

    You can see her speaking here. Great speaker. And you can see her in this photo of the board of governors, with her name still in the caption but removed from the list of governors below.

    • Even I know of David Ehrenfeld; I read “The Arrogance of Humanism” as an undergraduate.
      Looks like the traditionalists are being driven out by the new-wavers.

  48. When a well known scientist says global warming is “nothing to worry about”, is that advocacy or a scientific opinion? If he is wrong, this could arguably be a more harmful statement than alarmism in the same way as a statement that there will be no tornado precedes one.

    • “When a well known scientist says global warming is “nothing to worry about”, is that advocacy or a scientific opinion?”

      Depends. If that the the conclusion to a piece of work it is a scientific opinion, if it is the view of a scientists based upon their own understand of a field it is advocacy.
      So you can see an oncologist for a specific type of cancer, at a specific stage and the expert will say resection, vinblastine and gamma knife, which is a scientific opinion.
      If the oncologist states that better outcomes will become apparent in the future with microsurgery, combination drug therapy and better gamma beams its advocacy.

      • I don’t think there is anything wrong with advocacy from the people who understand the problem best. “Nothing to worry about” is advocacy for doing nothing, having weighed up his own view of the probabilities. “Nothing” is a strong word to use, implying certainty. Do skeptics accept advocacy based on certainty when it comes to the climate system, or only in one direction? I am not seeing consistency here.

      • Jim D

        Our hostess here, for example, is not “advocating certainty”.

        She is doing just the opposite: she is cautioning that the science is still too “uncertain” to draw conclusions on the degree of human GHG attribution to observed and projected warming.

        Many other climate researchers appear to share this concern, even though it goes against the IPCC “mainstream consensus” position of “certainty”.

        Max

      • @manacker: Many other climate researchers appear to share this concern, even though it goes against the IPCC “mainstream consensus” position of “certainty”.

        Ironically Max seems utterly certain that CO2 does not pose any serious threat to society.

        @Jim D: I am not seeing consistency here.

        Me neither.

  49. During the 30 years since I completed my Ph.D., I have observed (only anecdotal, so typical caveats apply) that I was trained and many in those days were trained that science should be as objective as we could make it. The data should drive the discussion, not the other way around. This is more or less modeled after Bacon’s view of science, which I have thought is too simplistic. However, now that I see where the Kuhnian vision leads us, I have come to think that Bacon was right. Kuhn’s description may be more realistic, but it leaves almost no standards for science; no aspiration for objectivity. I expect the current climate science controversy will hurt all of science. If warming doesn’t resume in a big way in a few years, even diehard warmists will have to admit there is something wrong with the models. If that happens, the public will remember for a long time how the “experts” got it so wrong and they will assume all science is done that way. I think Judith has it exactly right. Being honest about the uncertainty and admitting that there are many things about which we cannot reach conclusions would go a long way toward preventing the damage.

    • I think the public already remembers how the experts got it wrong: The Population Bomb and The End of Oil are the big ones, but every day the paper seems to bring more confusing and changing news about whether coffee is good for you or not; about what causes obesity or asthma or crones or ulcers; about what caused the K-T or P-Tr extinctions; about whether the universe is expanding or not. On NPR’s website this weekend, Adam Frank is flogging the idea that our solar system configuration is probably unique or rare – a bit of a stretch considering our 1000-odd list of barely discernable exoplanets in a universe with billions of stars.

      Most of these studies are provisional at best; in the case of the nature of the universe or geologic history, most are highly speculative – not much more than ideas. And yet scientists often push them on the basis of what we know, claiming the conclusions are robust because they are “consistent” with the data. One of my favorite euphemisms for favoring a highly speculative interpretation over others that are clearly more sound is to claim that the data “permit” a particular interpretation – in other words, the data don’t endorse, much less suggest, the favored interpretation, but it can squeak by on technical grounds. They completely ignore how much we don’t know.

      The bottom line is that scientists in all disciplines are commonly overconfident about provisional conclusions, to the point that they comongly don’t even recognize them as such, and it’s already an issue in the public eye.

      • David L. Hagen

        jim
        Re: “experts got it wrong: . . .The End of Oil”
        Strawman. The issue is not the END of oil but the PEAK of oil production – i.e., a geological constraint on the rate of production of light oil – based on well founded historical evidence.
        Why has the price of oil increased 1000% since 1998? ($10 to $100/bbl).
        From an abundance of oil?
        Global crude oil production plateaued in about 2005 at about 75 million bbl/day. The International Energy Agency projects no growth in crude oil.
        We appear to have hit a “plateau” around 2004/5 in crude oil production.
        NOT “total liquids” nor “total hydrocarbon”, but of light crude oil.
        Companies are now pushing to convert bitumen, coal and natural to syn crude and to gasoline, diesel or methanol. Why?
        Because of an abundance of light crude oil production?

        Jeffrey Brown shows Available Net (Oil) Exports have already declined 13% since 2005. Why?

        Providing 1%/year growth while replacing current 6-7% depletion will require ~63 million bbl/day new supply by 2030 – about 6-7 new Saudi Arabia’s. Where will that come from?

      • David,

        You misunderstood my comment as a reference to modern “peak oil” theory. It wasn’t. I was referring to the predictions in the late 1970s that there were only a few decades of oil (and gas) remaining – not a gradual decline to 2050 or so. Clearly, those predictions failed.

        “Why has the price of oil increased 1000% since 1998? ($10 to $100/bbl).”

        Actually, the by average annual nominal price, from the low of $10.87 in 1998 to $94.04 in 2008, oil rose by 765%, not 1000%.

        Why did the price of oil increase 837% from 1971 to 1981? ($3.39 to $31.77). Geological supply constraints?

        Why did it fall by 47% from 1981 to 1991? Because Volker tamed inflation?

        Who’s the white elephant in the room? (Hint: international organization including major oil producing nations). 

        Does the fact that the US dollar – the currency in which oil prices are denominated – fell by 40% -60% against almost every major currency account for any of that rise in oil prices?

        Don’t think of pink elephants!

        “We appear to have hit a “plateau” around 2004/5 in crude oil production. NOT “total liquids” nor “total hydrocarbon”, but of light crude oil.”

        So, you’re saying that Tar Sands oil and other “petroleum liquids” don’t work in cars trucks and planes? I’m not sure that’s right.

        You’re redefining oil as “light crude.”

      • Thanks for your clarification jim. Appreciate links. Engineers/geologists have long known of trillions of barrels of bitumen/”oil sands”, and kerogen/”oil shale”. However, those are not readily available crude “light” oil – and require very high capital and energy to recover and convert to syncrude and then to gasoline/diesel.

    • David Springer

      Stephen Pruett | September 10, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Reply

      “If that happens, the public will remember for a long time how the “experts” got it so wrong and they will assume all science is done that way.”

      Are you saying all science IS NOT done that way? I think the assumption is already there and it’s correct. There’s a tribal mentality. The vast majority of scientists have not performed any due diligence in assessing the data and hypothetical underpinnings of climate change yet that same vast majority agrees (blindly) with the dogmatic assertions of a few of their peers. This, in my opinion, makes them complicit in the hoax so yes, all science is done that way. A few bad apples can spoil the whole barrel but in this case the barrel was already spoiled. I trace the spoilage back to the scientific war against religion and promotion of the mud-to-man evolutionary narrative, which is the very definition of a just-so story. That war between narratives has been ongoing on far longer than the global warming battle and scientists were bit as complicit in blind acceptance of the narrative without any due diligence given to the opposing narrative. Once you fall into a habit like that it’s hard to break out of it.

  50. in discussing scientists forfeiting their credability i’d say a link in th previous thread by Herman A Pope, Sept @ 5.06pm, ter Burt Rutan is relevant here.
    Burt Rutan, the aero space legend, hey this isn’t an appeal ter authority but about a relevnt critique of climate science, says,
    ‘Although I have no climate credentials I do have considerable expertise in processing and presenting data…
    I avoided focussing on media reports and instead, went directly to available raw data…t process their various theories about planet warming…

    What really drew me into the subject was when I couldn’t obtain raw data … I was shocked to find that there were actually climate scientists who wouldn’t share the raw data, but would only share their conclusions … in summary graphs that were used…’

    Well, isnt science about replication of yer tests and isn’t sharing data basic ter what yer do if yer doing science?

    Hmm,so aren’t these so named climate scientists jest acting as shamen, up their on the hill in the cave, telling us… down here:
    ‘Trust us, we will tell you what the data means.No! other jumped up scientists and Steve Mc, yer can’t have the data, we don’t give out the data, only WE are fit ter read the message in the data.’

    • @Beth Cooper

      +Lots

      If they walk like charlatans, talk like charlatans and act like charlatans……..

    • I’ll send an s.o.s. to the world
      I’ll send an s.o.s. to the world
      I’ll send an s.o.s. to the world

      I hope that someone gets my
      I hope that someone gets my
      I hope that someone gets my

      Message in the data

      Woke up this mornin
      Can’t believe what I saw
      A hundred million Warmers
      On Climate Etc.

      Seems they’re not alone at being obtuse
      Hundred billion Warmer Trolls
      Dispensing their abuse

      I’ll send an s.o.s. to the world…

    • Read rutan’s website. His climate science is full of holes and basic errors. What then can he possibly bring to the subject?

      • David Springer

        LOLTWAT

        At least Rutan isn’t afraid to associate his name with his opinion. You are somewhat less important in the grand scheme of things than a pimple on Rutan’s ass.

      • Who cares? His science is full of holes end of story. You really think his use of his real name can salvage anything from that?

        Rutan is probably nothing but a good example of how flawed climate skepticism is. I see an utter lack of due diligance on his part to get the science right, and I don’t see and socalled climate skeptics correcting him. Just deniers using him to argue from bogus authority.

      • David Springer

        Bottom line Rutan made no mistakes.

      • ak, yep, illegible and confusing.

        http://www.globalcarbonproject.org/carbonbudget/10/hl-compact.htm

        The Rutan thing is kinda like this: Fossil fuel emission in 2010 were 9 gT, the total of natural emission was ~ 120gT. Natural sinking of Carbon removed all the 120gt natural plus 5gt of the 9gT fossil fuel emissions, ~4% of the of the additional CO2 in the atmosphere was due to fossil fuels.

        The rest of the percentages are just comparisons of increases in the atmosphere wrt different data sets and proxies. The Antarctic Ice Cores are the longest CO2 reconstruction series, which has some issues with what period of time is required to seal the CO2 in the ice layer. That is of interest because the upper ocean CO2 concentration is about 1/17th of the deeper ocean concentration and the longer term AMO cycle, driven by the deep ocean thermohaline circulation could cause relatively short term, 50 to 80 year, increases in atmospheric CO2 concentrations. That occasional higher CO2 level is evident in the leaf stoma and Greenland Ice cores, but not for any length of time. In any case, WHOI has a trip to the North Atlantic to take a look at the “unprecedented” high salinity levels that have appeared since the 1995 climate regime change which may be related to the AMO/thermal equilibrium between the oceans.

        I believe that Rutan was just showing the apparent conflicts in the data and that possibly the science has a few unsettling issues.

      • David L. Hagen

        AK
        Re Slide 12. This appears to be from Man’s Contribution to Global Warming at Heritage.org. They cite the Global Warming Primer published by the National Center for Policy Analysis.

      • @David L. Hagen

        Thanks. I’m shutting down for the day but I’ll look into it.

        AK

      • Please point out your Top 5 holes and errors’ in Burt Rutan’s climate science.

        Then we will be able to make an assessment of whether your criticism is valid or not. Just saying

        ‘Trust Me, I’m A Completely Anonymous Warmist Pos(t)e(u)r and I say there are Holes and Errors in well-known Burt Rutan’s site’

        does not of itself pass the credibility test.You need to be a lot more specific to gain any brownie points on that one.

      • Here’s his “science”. It’s typical denier fare like he’s just copy pasted it from other sources without thinking it through.

        http://burtrutan.com/burtrutan/downloads/EngrCritiqueCAGW-v4o3.pdf

        Plenty of strawman, fraudulent graphs and glaring contradictions.

      • lolwot

        I notice that you do not point out even a single point where you believe the denier label is appropriate to describe Burt’s position. Where do you feel he is being a denier vs. being skeptical?

      • @lolwot

        Hmmm

        You’ve got form ‘holes and errors’ to ‘plenty of strawman (sic), fraudulent graphs and glaring contradictions’ without aiding our understanding of your criticisms in the slightest.

        It would help if you were able to be a little more specific.

        Begin with the ‘glaring contradictions’. First you should show that there are indeed contradictions. Then show that they are ‘glaring’.

      • This is a test of all of you as well. Are you really unable to spot the glaring problems in his presentation?

        Slide 12 wrongly claims only 3.4% of CO2 is caused by human activity. It’s actually closer to 25%.

        Slide 13 wrongly claims water vapor is 95% of the greenhouse effect. Actually it’s closer to 50% (http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/schmidt_05/), 75% if you include clouds.

        Slide 13 makes the false claim that “Man’s emissions of CO2 contribute only 0.117% of the total greenhouse gas warming effect.”. This error is the combination of both the above errors.

        Slide 15, 16 and 17 show some charts he clearly doesn’t like because he calls them “scare charts”, but they are factual, unlike the charts he used in Slide 12 and 13 which he had no apparent problem with.

        Slide 15 dismisses the ice core data by claiming “accurate CO2 direct measurements are only available for the last 50 years”

        Slide 18, 19, 20 he cites discredited Ernest Beck nonsense.

        Slide 21, he cites stomata CO2 proxy, which is recognized as a poorer more unreliable proxy than ice core CO2 data. Funny thing is the graph disagrees with the Ernest Beck stuff, but such inconsistency doesn’t seem to bother him.

        Slide 23, another appeal to the small number fallacy. Does the IPCC argue CO2 is a big % of gases in the atmosphere? No. It’s a strawman to pretend it is.

        Slide 27 presents graphs of US and arctic temperature as if they were global.

        On Slide 28 he claims “1915 to 1945 with 2.7% rise in CO2″. But wait that’s the **official** CO2 increase, I thought he disagreed with it? Go back to slide 19 his Ernst Beck graph shows a **36% increase in CO2**. Which is it then? Does he believe there was a 2.7% rise in CO2 from 1915 to 1945, or a 36% rise? Funnily enough it’s *useful* for his argument in slide 28 to have CO2 only increasing 2.7% from 1915 to 1945. And by coincidence that’s exactly what he believes on slide 28.

        Slide 29. Suddenly he finds the CO2 ice core records are accurate after-all after dismissing them on slide 15 through 20 as inaccurate.

        Slide 30 makes the false “CO2 is saturated” argument as well as pushing yet another incorrect graph about CO2.

        And that’s where I’ll stop. One more observation though: Throughout all of the above his sources are all denier propaganda sites, like c3headlines and heritage.org. It seems his primary source is not the raw data and science which he claimed he went to, but various denialist rags. Despite his claims of being some super engineer analyzer he’s utterly failed to avoid being fooled. The contradictions he makes suggest he’s just settling for whatever sounds like it fits with what he wants to believe.

      • @lolwot

        See…when you try really hard and put in a bit of effort you can come up with a sensible post that has a chance of persuading people that you are worth listening to.

      • no it’s a waste of time. That took 1 hour to write my other comments barely take a minute.

      • Slide 12 wrongly claims only 3.4% of CO2 is caused by human activity. It’s actually closer to 25%.

        Can somebody with better eyes than mine give me a link to the “source” in the chart on slide 12? My bullsh*t detector certainly goes on high when I see the source of a debatable figure so blurry I cant make it out. (And it’s an image, so I can’t copy/paste.) OTOH, lolwot, I’d like to see a source for your 25% claim. I suspect you’re comparing apples and oranges here, annual emissions vs. supposed cumulative contributions. Can’t be sure without seeing both sources, and I can’t see either.

      • @lolwot: no it’s a waste of time. That took 1 hour to write my other comments barely take a minute.

        And boy does that extra effort show. Even LA appreciated the difference. To say that those 60 minutes were a waste of your time is to say that 60 of your 1 minute posts (a small fraction of your total) were more important. I’m on LA’s side here.

        @AK: annual emissions vs. supposed cumulative contributions

        A crucial distinction (renamed “deposits” and “balances” for the purpose of an analogy) that I’ve been discussing with willb here. Cumulative contributions are a lot less noisy than annual emissions.

      • Vaughan Pratt, there is still some uncertainty in the CO2 land use Christmas Club Account. ~20e^6 km^2 of agricultural land are “seriously” degraded per the conservation farming folks. That is a loss in the neighborhood of 1.6 gigatons per year of CO2 sink lost.

      • @Vaughan Pratt:

        Thank you for the link. My point was actually more about the confusion produced by advocates on both sides who don’t understand, or at least don’t communicate a good understanding, of the numbers they’re throwing around.

        Proper advocacy would include good definitions of such numbers, along with easy reference to peer-reviewed sources. Neither side of this debate here (right here in this thread) seems to be doing much of that. I’m highly skeptical of both sides of the “debate” as practiced here, although your link seems to point to something a little better.

        Still, proper references, or even better links, to peer-reviewed research would be better. These discussions have many more readers than writers, and any writer who expects all his readers to separately dig up references is wasting their time. The same goes for documents like the PDF linked above, with its illegible “sources”.

      • David L. Hagen

        lolwot
        Thanks for putting in the effort and showing that you can read and understand data and charts fairly well. I second Vaughan Pratt’s comments. Great improvement.
        Thanks for focusing on Burt Rutan’s detailed presentation. Great example of BS detection. It is really good to see a hard nosed pragmatic engineering perspective where consequences matter – as in life/death. Very astute observation on the range of adaptation achieved and the range of temperatures we commonly adapt to – compared to “the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming”.

        On slide 30, I encourage you to study Rutan’s comments and graph.

        The CO2 already in the atmosphere absorbs most of the light it can. The CO2 only “soaks up” its favorite wavelengths of light and it’s close to its saturation point. It can’t do much more, because there are not many left-over photons at the right wavelengths.

        Please show where/how Rutan “makes the false “CO2 is saturated” argument”. It appears to me that Rutan is making a straightforward popular explanation of the Beer-Lambert absorption law. Try running the beer lambert absorption impact for yourself.
        Then look at
        THE STABLE STATIONARY VALUE OF THE EARTH’S GLOBAL AVERAGE ATMOSPHERIC PLANCK-WEIGHTED GREENHOUSE-GAS OPTICAL THICKNESS Energy & Environment Vol 21 No.4 2010 p 243
        See especially Fig. 10 and Fig. 11 The variation in the global optical absorptance is almost entirely due to water vapor, with very little change due to CO2. Miskolczi’s thorough quantitative evaluation support Rutan’s graph and comment. Note that he uses “stationary” and “stable” which mean that the global optical depth is not changing much. Consequently, climate impacts are likely to be due to variations in albedo or clouds, rather than CO2 and H2O absorption.

      • @David L. Hagen:

        Please show where/how Rutan “makes the false “CO2 is saturated” argument”.

        Since I used to be convinced of this argument, until Michael Tobis was kind enough to explain it to me, perhaps I can explain it in non-technical terms (a technical explanation requires a full understanding of the partial differential equations that describe atmospheric absorption/emission). CO2 is saturated, such that almost all of the IR emitted by the surface of the wavelengths involved is absorbed by the atmosphere. However, the emission from the atmosphere at the top (TOA) comes on average from a higher point the more CO2 is present. At normal lapse rates, this tends to be cooler, or at least that’s the argument made for the effect of GHG’s. (AFAIK it’s correct but I’m not an expert.)

        CO2 is much more important than water vapor, because it acts all the way up the the tropopause, while the saturated vapor pressure of water at higher altitudes (temps < -30C) is extremely low. Clouds are another matter, of course, since they both radiate and emit as black bodies in IR wavelengths, but they represent second-order effects of changes to GHG's such as CO2.

      • David Hagan, first of all he talks about light which is wrong because this effect is in the far IR, but I think that was just a slip. The saturation thing often comes up, but is proved wrong by radiative transfer codes. The center of the CO2 band is saturated but the width expands with more CO2 so the extra effect comes from that. A lot of the misconception is that only one line at 15 microns does all the work, when actually there are multiple lines corresponding to this vibration mode in combination with a comb of rotation modes nearby, and the outer ones are far from saturated.

      • @AK: However, the emission from the atmosphere at the top (TOA) comes on average from a higher point the more CO2 is present. At normal lapse rates, this tends to be cooler, or at least that’s the argument made for the effect of GHG’s. (AFAIK it’s correct but I’m not an expert.)

        Quite right, this is one of the two reasons why the saturation argument (originally due to Angstrom over a century ago) doesn’t work. The other reason is that CO2 (by which I mean the dominant species, there are minority species too small to matter with very different lines) has many thousands of lines whose relevant strengths cover more than 20 octaves. Several hundred lines are now completely blocked from the viewpoint of a photon leaving the surface for space, but many thousands more are waiting to close off as CO2 increases. Even if CO2 were to become 100% of the atmosphere, most of its absorption lines would still be open.

        I mentioned both these reasons in a comment about photospheres a week or so ago.

      • @Vaughan Pratt:

        Your comment is cogent. In searching out more precise data, I came across a good intuitive level discussion at RealClimate. It’s from 2007, and would have been very helpful to me if somebody had pointed me to it then. AFAIK it has its details all correct, though I haven’t actually read all the linked articles.

      • AK and JimD
        I think you have missed the technical detail of Miskolczi’s calculations over all species over the full range of wavelengths over all elevations, over all directions, and using black body “Planck” weighting. See Miskolczi P244
        Miskolczi uses a full line by line (LBL) quantitative analysis over 3490 spectral lines for 11 major absorbing molecular species. Numerical integration uses a 5th order Gaussian quadrature method. Line shape, width and absorption tails for each absorption “line” are included in those calculations.
        Absorption is calculated over 9 directions for 150 atmospheric layers (shells) to provide a full Planck-weighted hemispheric transmittance.
        Yes the lapse rate changes, but I believe that effect is inherent in the Miskolczi’s calculations. Miskolczi uses “stable” and “stationary”. Since his calculations include line shape they do not assume or show absorption that is absolutely “saturated”.

        Re: “CO2 is much more important than water vapor, because it acts all the way up the the tropopause, while the saturated vapor pressure of water at higher altitudes ”
        AK and JimD
        I think you have missed the technical detail of Miskolczi’s calculations over all species over the full range of wavelengths over all elevations, over all directions, and using black body “Planck” weighting. See Miskolczi P244
        Miskolczi uses a full line by line (LBL) quantitative analysis over 3490 spectral lines for 11 major absorbing molecular species. Numerical integration uses a 5th order Gaussian quadrature method. Line shape, width and absorption tails for each absorption “line” are included in those calculations.
        Absorption is calculated over 9 directions for 150 atmospheric layers (shells) to provide a full Planck-weighted hemispheric transmittance.
        Yes the lapse rate changes, but I believe that effect is inherent in the Miskolczi’s calculations. Miskolczi uses “stable” and “stationary”. Since his calculations include line shape they do not assume or show absorption that is absolutely “saturated”.

        Re: “CO2 is much more important than water vapor, because it acts all the way up the the tropopause, while the saturated vapor pressure of water at higher altitudes ”
        Miskolczi calculates all species over the full range of radiosonde data, including into the stratosphere. I.e. from 1013 hPa to 0.05 hPa. He shows that the change in CO2 absorption is very small compared to that of water vapor and the variations in water vapor.

        Assumptions on clouds and the uncertainties in the data used are possible issues. You have the burden of first understanding Miskolczi’s calculations and then showing where they are quantitatively in error.

        Miskolczi calculates all species over the full range of radiosonde data including into the stratosphere. He shows that the change in CO2 absorption is very small compared to that of water vapor and the variations in water vapor.

        Assumptions on clouds and the uncertainties in the data used are possible issues. You have the burden of first understanding Miskolczi’s calculations and then showing where they are quantitatively in error.

      • @ lolwot:

        Slide 12 wrongly claims only 3.4% of CO2 is caused by human activity. It’s actually closer to 25%.

        Having been given a link to the source of that number, I quote from it:

        Humans contribute approximately 3.4 percent of annual CO2 emissions. However, small increases in annual CO2 emissions, whether from humans or any other source, can lead to a large CO2 accumulation over time because CO2 molecules can remain in the atmosphere for more than a century. [my bold]

        Your number is almost certainly intended to represent a supposed cumulative total, although you have yet to provide a source for it. A more cogent discussion might be which number is appropriate for the use it’s being put to.

      • @David L. Hagen:

        I don’t think so. Your claim that Rutan’s discussion is based on Miskolczi(2010) doesn’t make sense to me and would require some proof. Rutan’s discussion is a simple restatement of the deprecated saturation argument:

        The CO2 already in the atmosphere absorbs most of the light it can. The CO2 only “soaks up” its favorite wavelengths of light and it’s close to its saturation point. It can’t do much more, because there are not many left-over photons at the right wavelengths.

        Miskolczi(2010) is another matter, but the thesis he starts out to “falsify” is a straw man:

        A key parameter in the study of the planetary greenhouse effect is the absorbed amount, AA, of the surface upward infrared radiation, SU. Greenhouse gas molecules absorb and emit the infrared radiation of the atmosphere. It has been proposed ([ref’s]) that increase of atmospheric CO2 concentration causes persistent increase of the greenhouse effect, because proposed increase in absorption of surface upward radiation outweighs possible increase in emission of atmospheric radiation to space, with particular reference to water vapour feedback, which they say is positive. [my bold]

        This certainly doesn’t match my understanding of how the greenhouse effect is supposed to work.

      • David L. Hagen

        @AK
        Re “my understanding of how the greenhouse effect is supposed to work.”
        Then please state and document your understanding.
        Miskolczi was just stating in words a technical definition of the greenhouse effect that includes both CO2 and H2O absorption.
        I cited Miskolczi as providing the only detailed quantitative evaluation of the Planck weighted hemispherical global optical absorption using the only available radiosonde data stretching back 61 years. (Rutan gave a common simple explanation.)
        Note Fig 2 where Miskolczi shows that the US Standard Atmosphere (1976) severely underestimates the actual water vapor in the atmosphere.
        PS I think Miskolczi uses the radiosonde profile. For a thermodynamic model of the atmosphere see Robert H. Essenhigh’s SS model which incorporates major gas absorption.

      • @David L. Hagen:

        I actually summarized it above, as well as providing a link to a better discussion at RealClimate. Absorption is only part of the story, the more important part is radiation, and where (how high) it comes from. Note that I’m not saying that the greenhouse effect necessarily leads to global warming. (The whole idea of a global average temperature is a myth.) For that matter, depending on the absorption/radiation profile of the upper stratosphere, increasing GHG’s could lead to increased TOA radiation. I’m taking the experts’ word for it that those calculations have been done, as I’m sure people like professor Curry have reviewed the calculations.

      • @DLH: I cited Miskolczi as providing the only detailed quantitative evaluation of the Planck weighted hemispherical global optical absorption using the only available radiosonde data stretching back 61 years. (Rutan gave a common simple explanation.)
        Note Fig 2 where Miskolczi shows that the US Standard Atmosphere (1976) severely underestimates the actual water vapor in the atmosphere.

        Miskolczi paid a brief visit to Climate Etc. on December 7, 2010 at 10:40 am. He gave the results of his lengthy computation of Earth’s atmosphere, involving integration over 2000 layers, to wit:

        Poor Pratt, seems you do not know much about the virial concept. For the global average TIGR2 atmosphere the
        P and K totals (sum of about 2000 layers) P=75.4*10^7 and K=37.6*10^7 J/m2, the ratio is close to two ( 2.00) You may compute it yourself if you are able to, but you may ask Viktor Toth about the outcome of our extended discussions about the topics (after I his paper).

        My response to Miskolczi can be found seven comments further down. The gist of my reply was to confirm his computation of P on the nose using a back-of-the-envelope calculation that replaced integration over 2000 layers with a mere two multiplications, namely P = mgh = 10130*9.81*7600 = 755.3 megajoules. This is within 0.2% of what Miskolczi got the hard way.

        So far so good. What about K?

        Miskolczi has long claimed that the average kinetic energy of the Earth’s atmosphere is half the average potential energy, consistent with his claim of K=376 MJ/m2. Viktor Toth wrote a paper titled “The virial theorem and planetary atmospheres” that calculated the average KE of a planetary atmosphere like Earth’s to be 2.5 times its average potential energy. (I had found the same ratio myself independently, but later Google led me to Toth’s paper and I realized he’d beaten me to that result by six months.)

        An equally simple back-of-the-envelope calculation, based on the mean velocity of an air molecule at a nominal value of 250 K for the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere, showed that KE is more like 1885 MJ/m2. which is 2.5 times the PE, consistent with Toth’s calculation for planetary atmospheres.

        Miskolczi was familiar with Toth’s paper and didn’t accept Toth’s reasoning, sticking to his ratio of 2 for PE/KE instead of Toth’s 0.4.

        But the virial theorem does say 2 for the ratio. How could Toth have arrived at 0.4?

        Well, first of all 1885 MJ/m2 has to be right based on simply calculating the actual KE of the molecules of the Earth’s atmosphere. If it really were 376 MJ/m2 as Miskolczi claims, the atmosphere would be a solid block of frozen nitrogen and oxygen!

        So is the virial theorem wrong then?

        No, merely misapplied by Miskolczi. As I pointed out at the end of my response,

        The virial theorem’s ratio of 2 is exact for any collision-free gravitationally bound system of point particles. When collisions are frequent, as in the atmosphere where typical mean free path at sea level is 70 microns, or when the particles are large, as with a satellite orbiting Earth, the ratio changes significantly.

        One then needs to calculate the KE and PE by other means, which is what Toth did, and I did later independently, with both of us arriving at the 0.4 figure in place of Miskolczi’s 2.0.

        Miskolczi hasn’t been seen here since as far as I’m aware. And for all I know he may still believe he applied the virial theorem correctly. Which of 0.4 or 2.0 do you accept, David? And what figure does Rutan use for the kinetic energy of the Earth’s atmosphere?

        A slightly smaller error than a factor of 5 crashed the Mars Climate Explorer probe as described here. A Lockheed sensor reported a reading in pound-seconds which JPL interpreted as newton-seconds. 1 pound force = 4.448 newtons.

        One hopes Miskolczi is not programming any mission-critical software.

      • @VP: based on the mean velocity of an air molecule at a nominal value of 250 K for the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere,

        That’s one way, but looking back at my reply to Miskolczi I realize I did it a simpler way, namely via the specific heat of air at constant pressure. Either way gives essentially the same result.

      • @VP: And what figure does Rutan use for the kinetic energy of the Earth’s atmosphere?

        Oops, ignore that. As DLH points out Rutan doesn’t depend on Miskolczi.

  51. The problem with talking about bullshit detectors is forgetting that other people have them too, and they’re burying the needle when they point them your way.

    Everyone’s bullshit stinks. If you think yours doesn’t, if you’ve forgotten that much about basic biology, then you’ll only end up losing credibility and looking absurd.

    Like Climate Etc. mostly has and does, in the paradox that as it gains visibility and becomes more worth reading that its flaws and weaknesses also become more caricatured.

    If scientists are advocates, that’s a good thing.

    You think Halley wasn’t an advocate? Newton? Einstein? Curie? Salk? Pasteur? They practically define activism.

    The best Scientists are the most credible; the ones paradoxically who have attracted contrarians, who have become targets of those who wouldn’t find any source of information that runs against their own biases credible, while becoming esteemed and recognizable for the courage to stand up for their convictions are the ones worth recognizing in Policy and in the media, for good or for ill.

    Or haven’t you noticed that only a small percentage of scientists who support the IPCC stand up as activists, while the majority of the very small minority who oppose the IPCC position are activists?

    • Bart R

      Or haven’t you noticed that only a small percentage of scientists who support the IPCC stand up as activists, while the majority of the very small minority who oppose the IPCC position are activists?

      Specific data, please.

      Max

      • Further to your claim.

        At the start of the Reformation, there was only a small “minority” of the clergy, who “stood up as activists” against the excesses of the Church.

        At the same time a large percentage of the “majority” was silent, while a smaller percentage actively defended the “dogma” against the dissenters.

        That;s the way it works, Bart.

        Max

      • manacker | September 11, 2012 at 7:12 am |

        Specific data, please.

        Because I believe you have no clue about how the Reformation started and proceeded, or the state of the world before it, or details of Church life or Church excesses, or the ratios of excesses in the Church compared to the rate of current excesses, or excesses outside the Church, or excesses in comparable religious organizations.

        So I doubt you have any credibility in explaining how it works.

      • -Christy (Baptist missionary)
        -Curry(activist enough to heroically host a salon-style blog and appear before political bodies multiple times, national topical radio interviews in multiple countries — including one rabidly pro-coal industry program hosted by an executive of a libertarian thinktank — and participate in Muller’s BEST project when it seemed it might activate the Science her direction; multiple clique-citations and friend citations in her papers, relevant or no; see the surprising correlation between others on this list and her most frequently cited sources, for someone opposed to activism in science).
        -Gray (campaigner against the forces of ‘World Government’)
        -Lindzen (activist against political pressure on scientists — an admirable ism if ever there were one)
        -Mau (politics injected into his science)
        -Seitz (corporate advocate, coal industry player, used his position with the NAS to claim coal emissions harmless while failing to mention his financial ties)
        -Spencer (missionary)

        Throw away the non-scientist, no-longer scientifically productive, and scientifically incompetent activists like Gore, Suziki, and anyone British or with an Arts degree (respectively). Compare to the Hansen, Mann & Trenberths, and remember the ratio is activists/side, and the sides split ~3%:97%.

        I come up with a very rough, admittedly cherry-picked (due the exigencies of having to document something so wooly as ‘Activism’) ratio of 7/3%:3/97%, or 2.333:0.031 – an astounding factor of over 75.

        What is it about the tendency to inject activism into Science that so powerfully correlates with being (question beggingly) wrong about Science? Small wonder scientists’ credibility suffer when they’re activists.

        But then, it shouldn’t matter to scientists whether the source is credible, so long as the evidence and inference are correct.

        Sadly, the reinforcement for the opposite view, for the need to be credible, is attributable to the folly of the current publishing regime, where papers are allowed to be published without input from editors or enough influence from truly objective peer reviewers on source citation.

        Were transparency earlier in the publishing process the norm, then the credibility of the source would matter less, and the facts more.

      • Bart,

        got to admit I loved this line:

        Throw away the non-scientist, no-longer scientifically productive, and scientifically incompetent activists like Gore, Suziki, and anyone British or with an Arts degree

    • You think Halley wasn’t an advocate? Newton? Einstein? Curie? Salk? Pasteur? They practically define activism.

      Yes they all hid data, sabotaged peer-review, destroyed evidence of their various science frauds, to put political correctness firmly before scientific correctness.

      • Tomcat | September 11, 2012 at 7:15 am |

        Yes, they were all accused of such things, and to some extent for each there was some truth to the charges, though later inquiries cleared the acts of affecting their Scientific outcomes.

        And your point?

      • Obviously, he has made his point and your answer just adds emphasis to it.

      • Newton??

        From memory, he was a great disputant, especially about who had priority over the ideas he published. Leibnitz and Hooke incurred his wrath.

        But he wasn’t a great public advocate at all. For example he developed his theory of gravity for about 20 years before publishing it.

        You should cross Newton from your list.

      • Newton, who as a young man pierced his own eyeballs with needles to prove his hypotheses about the nature of light?

        Newton, who hired Alexander Pope, the foremost epigrammist of his age, to attack his political, academic or social enemies in writing?

        Newton, who rose to power and influence in the government of his day by purposeful pursuit of position, and made use of it to become wealthy and to affect the rule of his country to please his own values?

        Newton, who had a clique of acolytes who did his bidding quite openly and aggressively?

        Newton remains at the top of the list.

      • Philip Lee | September 11, 2012 at 1:18 pm |

        Obviously, Tomcat has repeated my point and my answer just asks why he bothered?

    • Or haven’t you noticed that only a small percentage of scientists who support the IPCC stand up as activists

      The source of the activism is the funding agencies, where the selection of people and ideas takes place. The orthodoxy also needs those who quietly get on with just toeing the line, giving the false impression the science is settled.

      • BatedBreath | September 11, 2012 at 7:24 am |

        Funding agencies?

        Through its research programs, the US government funnelled over the past 30 years some 97 times more money to coal, ethanol, gas and oil interests for ‘science’ than to all alternative energy plus conservation research combined. By orders of magnitude more funding has gone to meteorology and hurricane researchers than climatologists, and it’s well-known meteorology and hurricane research is dominated by acknowledged climate skeptic activists.

        What the frig are you talking about?!

      • Bart, your point is worse than wrong; it is irrelevant. The program managers funding climate research (the USGCRP) are devoted CAGW proponents, so we get billions of dollars worth of scary climate stories every year. Moreover, last I knew DOE’s EERE program was more than twice the size of its fossil program, and the latter is devoted to CO2 sequestration, another CAGW baby.

      • @bart r

        97 times more?

        That seems to be a very precise number. I’d be interested to see how you derive it.

      • @bart r

        Your document looks only at the government expenditures in 2007, with (for some categories) a comparison with 1999. And it focusses primarily on subsidies to electricity production.

        Your claim was specifically about ‘science’ and ‘over the past 30 years’. Prima facie, your link does little (or nothing) to support your case.
        Have you perhaps posted the wrong link?

        And btw I asked about the 97:1 ratio. A ratio is dimensionless so it is immaterial which currency you calculate the numerator and denominator in. There is no need to convert to Sterling for my benefit..I am quite happy to do sums in dollars or euros or cowrie shells as well as pounds, shillings and pence. Similarly with imperial measures and metric.

      • David Wojick | September 11, 2012 at 2:29 pm |

        It appears you’re using faulty premises. CAGW and fossil fuel are not mutually exclusive. Many fossil industry actors are happy to take taxpayer money on the pretext of CO2E sequestration research.

        Indeed, who else would need to sequester CO2E than people producing it?

        You may want to take a refresher course on Logic.

        Latimer Alder | September 11, 2012 at 2:38 pm |

        It would be too tiring, and irrelevant to a US audience, to go through all the work of converting US dollars to Euros, or Sterling, or whatever you use over there as currency.

        I’ll merely refer you to the reports summarized in http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/servicerpt/subsidy2/pdf/execsum.pdf and related US government budget documents, and invite you to do the math yourself.

        Interestingly, Lamar Alexander himself — much like David Wojick — doesn’t appear able to do math terribly well, as he arrives at different results in the most cherry-pickingly bias-confirming way.

        If you arrive at a different ratio than 97:1, let me know. It may be due to some mid-Atlantic oscillation. I understand those can explain everything.

      • Latimer Alder | September 11, 2012 at 11:32 pm |

        Yeah. I’m giving you just the starting point, not the whole chain of data, as I’d expect whatever I supplied to be reviewed by a sharp-eyed skeptic with a fine-toothed comb in any event; which should only really require the same starting point as I had myself.

        The EIA documents cover up to 2011 in later releases, and go into more detail than the summary I linked to, and while it’s mainly about electricity generation can be used as a template for approaches to the rest of the story; it’s merely a matter of reading the summary with comprehension and using a little ingenuity to go after more information pointed to by obvious logic. You wouldn’t want me to bias your audit by providing all the same data I originally used or hide some data by featuring other more prominently, would you?

        As to converting to Euros for you, I’ve fallen into the habit of trying to guess what irrelevant quibble might be raised by correspondents at CE in advance, and offering an explanation of why I wasn’t providing the irrelevant bits of information they speciously demanded. It appears I guessed wrong about the currency conversion thing. Good thing I guessed right on the hiding the data thing.

    • Bart R
      Dr Martin Luther with his Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences Commonly Known as The 95 Theses
      Luther stood up against the corruption he saw of selling indulgences to get to heaven.

      Hence those who preach indulgences are in error when they say that a man is absolved and saved from every penalty by the pope’s indulgences.

      That launched the .Protestant Reformation that transformed Europe with its impacts and benefits spreading around the world
      So today, Al Gore et al. seek to sell “green” indulgences to quiet emotions stirred up by their proclaiming that fuel use and industrialization is destroying “mother earth”.
      Vaclav Klaus clearly exposes this Global Warming Doctrine.
      This environmental religion drives the climate advocacy.

      • David L. Hagen | September 11, 2012 at 11:58 am |

        That’s all very well and good, and an intriguing use of analogy.

        Did you care to address the actual questions?

        How the Reformation started and proceeded, (Martin Luther was only one very minor actor in a much larger series of events);
        the state of the world before it,
        details of Church life
        or Church excesses,
        or the ratios of excesses in the Church compared to the rate of current excesses,
        or excesses outside the Church,
        or excesses in comparable religious organizations.

        Because simple recitation of dogma doesn’t reveal actual understanding. It just reveals dogmatism.

  52. This is Sting…no need ter apologise, Bad Andrew )

  53. The basis of close to 100% of motivated reasoning and disguised advocacy on climate, is that close to 100% of the funding of climatology is from an organization – the state (in each country) – that stands to massively benefit from CAGW being believed. So of course the climate Establishment is going to show an alarmist bias.

    Whether CAGW is actually true or not is a minor detail in their eyes; the failure to discipline the Climategate crooks is testament to that. What really matters to them is that taxation can be ramped up on the back of it, and we can move ‘up’ to the next level of a totalitarian society. This also explains why most leftwingers say they believe CAGW – it’s the politics, stupid.

  54. James Hansen and modelling.

    Much fuss was made of Hansen’s early model, but it was never going to succeed as a predictor of climate, because its spatial resolution was far too coarse and it lacked detail. The Hadley model probably suffered from the same problems and broke down when a dynamic ocean was included. Neither had a computer powerful enough to give the needed resolution. However both should be given marks for trying. But this is partly an IPCC management problem. Why have all these supposedly independent models when one good one could do the job? Concentrate your resources!

  55. Sure there will be some examples of advocacy on the skeptic side too. But advocacy in climate science was instigated and massively pushed by the alarmist side, many years ago. Skeptics eventually noticed this. And for pointing it out, they are now themselves accused of advocacy.

    So what exactly were they supposed to do? Say nothing and let dishonest alarmist advocacy continue to be seen as objective science? It’s heads alarmism wins, tails skepticism and science loses.

  56. Interesting article on sensationalism in another field of science. The system needs to stop rewarding this kind of thing.

    http://arstechnica.com/staff/2012/09/most-of-what-you-read-was-wrong-how-press-releases-rewrote-scientific-history/

  57. Judith,

    You’ve just written ” To those who think better ‘communication’ is the key to action in the climate change debate, with scientists as activist/communicators, I hope that they will realize the damage done to their policy agenda (not to mention the science) by this strategy.”

    are you the same Judith Curry who previously wrote?

    “Therefore scientists need to do everything possible to make sure that they effectively communicate uncertainty, risk, probability and complexity, and provide a context that includes alternative and competing scientific viewpoints.”

    http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/climate/towards_rebuilding_trust.html

    So you are saying that your “communication” , some would say exaggeration, of uncertainty is very acceptable, (what happened to risk and probability?) , but communication that the Arctic is melting and it’s due to an excess of anthropogenically generated CO2, is not at all acceptable?

    Do as I say not as I do?

    • The underplaying of uncertainty is not communication, it is propaganda.
      Likewise the claim that Arctic is melting due to CO2.

      Temp may be delighted with those lies by the powers that be, others are not.

    • “skepticism about climate change is no longer focused on whether it the earth is getting warmer (it is) or whether humans are contributing to it (we are). The current debate is about whether warming matters, and whether we can afford to do anything about it.”

      Judith Curry – but I’m not sure which one :-)

      • tempterrain

        “skepticism about climate change is no longer focused on whether it the earth is getting warmer (it is) or whether humans are contributing to it (we are). The current debate is about whether warming matters, and whether we can afford to do anything about it.”

        This quotation, allegedly from our hostess here, seems to make sense.

        – It acknowledges the existence of AGW (as she has testified before US Congress).

        – It questions whether the amount of warming occurring and expected from AGW “matters”, i.e. is important (as she has also testified).

        – It questions whether we are able to or can afford to do anything about it (as she has also testified).

        All makes sense to me.

        Have you got a problem with it?

        If so, what?

        Try to be specific, TT.

        Max

      • “All makes sense to me.Have you got a problem with it? If so, what?”

        An “it” is Judith saying that we can’t ” afford to do anything about it [AGW]”? Well is she saying that? I suspect that is what she thinks, but if I do have a problem, it is that she never quite manages to say what she thinks. Instead she just harps on endlessly about “uncertainty”.

      • tempterrain

        It appears to me that you, as a devoted believer in IPCC’s “consensus dogma” of CAGW, are irritated that our host “harps on endlessly about ‘uncertainty’” relating to this dogma.

        Hearing a climate scientists say that “the science is NOT settled” seems to irritate or even frustrate you.

        My suggestion: Get used to it. If this is too difficult, simply stop reading any papers on “uncertainty” relating to the CAGW premise.

        Max

      • @tempterrain

        You have telepathic powers to know what Judith ‘really thinks’, and are frustrated about the way she writes something different?

        Wow!

        I’m no clinician, but I’ve heard very similar sentiments expressed by stalkers and other obsessives over the years. ‘I know she says she hates my guts, but I know that deep down she loves me, and so I must carry out some dreadful act……

        Careful TT. Both you and Joshua seem to be treading a very fine line…….

    • tempterrain

      I’ll let JC respond to your specific challenge (if she deems this important enough), but I’ll just point out the flaws in your logic.

      JC has been fairly consistent in her expressions of “uncertainty” regarding the amount of past warming attributable to AGW, and hence the amount of warming expected from AGW in the future. She has also emphasized that scientists should communicate that this uncertainty exists, rather than trying to sweep it under the rug or create a false sense of certainty.

      This has absolutely nothing to do with communicating as an activist.

      And it also has nothing to do with communicating a non-demonstrated attribution of the current melting of Arctic sea ice with “an excess of anthropogenically generated CO2″.

      You’re getting things all bollixed up here, TT.

      Try to think logically and rationally, rather than emotionally.

      Max

      • Max,

        This [Judith’s criticisms of the IPCC, the consensus, harping on about uncertainties, appearing on the Republican Climate team etc] has absolutely nothing to do with communicating as an activist.

        Well if you say so, Max ! But I’m just wondering why anyone would want to set up their own climate website unless they were intent on doing just that.

      • tempterrain

        You’ll have to ask our hostess “why she wanted to set up a climate website”.

        The website states:

        Climate Etc. provides a forum for climate researchers, academics and technical experts from other fields, citizen scientists, and the interested public to engage in a discussion on topics related to climate science and the science-policy interface.

        My personal experience has been that, unlike many climate websites, which actively promote one or another position in the ongoing scientific and policy debate surrounding AGW, Climate Etc. does not do this, rather simply emphasizing that “the science is NOT settled”.

        Nor does it censor out opposing views from either side, as many of these sites do in order to defend a specific viewpoint held by the site manager.

        Our hostess provides a range of interesting and timely topics related to the GW debate, sometimes adding her own comments, as a climate scientist.

        I do not agree with everything our hostess writes, as I’m sure you also do not.

        But that is not the point – we are not trying to line up a forced “consensus” position here, are we?

        (Let’s leave that up to IPCC who, incidentally, appear to be failing in this attempt as the “consensus” crumbles around them.)

        Max

    • There is a big difference in context of those two statements: Communicating science to inform, versus communicating science to motivate political action.

      • , or versus communicating science, or a particular individual interpretation of it, to motivate political inaction ?

      • At 7:35 AM on 11 September, tempterrain</b writes:

        …versus communicating science, or a particular individual interpretation of it, to motivate political inaction?

        …in response to which it’s proper to quote P.J. O’Rourke:

        “Distracting a politician from governing is like distracting a bear from eating your baby.”

      • Judith,

        So when you talk about properly communicating uncertainty your motive is purely to further public understanding of science as an end in itself, or is it also because better public understanding will lead to more informed and rational policy making?

      • I am merely describing the job of a scientist. Some scientists choose to work at the science-policy interface, which is a more complicated situation. For example, better public understanding does not necessarily lead to more rational policy making.

      • Judith,

        I’m not sure I quite get your answer – given that you have written a lot about decision making under uncertainty, and about the uncertainties in climate science do you see yourself as working at the science-policy interface?

        Still, I agree that one does not necessarily lead to the other, but given that in a democracy political action depends to an extent on public support (or at least acceptance) I would hope that on issues where the stakes are high having a well informed public is better than not. I certainly see nothing wrong with scientists in being thus motivated to communicate to the wider public, or indeed that they consider climate change to be a serious enough threat for political action to be necessary. And I think it important to judge the information given to the public firstly on its quality and accuracy rather than the motivation of those providing it.

        To the extent that this would make scientists “advocates” that does not mean they are pushing particular policies, which I agree would often be outside their area of expertise. Hansen of course has made his support for particular policies very clear but he is an exception. Does anyone know Kevin Trenberth’s view on carbon taxes or what Gavin Schmidt thinks about nuclear power? In fact arguments about policy (and the pros and cons of nuclear in particular) are considered OT at RC.

      • I see myself as exploring meta issues at the science-policy interface (e.g. uncertainty assessment, consensus, decision making under deep uncertainty, integrity of science). I have arguably actively engaged in the climate policy process through my congressional testimonies on climate science. I am inadvertently engaging in the policy process through this blog, by promoting public dialogue and steering that dialogue through topic selection. And according to the ‘true believers’, talking about uncertainty in the context of climate change is a political statement.

        For Kevin Trenberth’s opinions, see this

        https://ams.confex.com/ams/91Annual/webprogram/Paper180230.html

      • And according to the ‘true believers’, talking about uncertainty in the context of climate change is a political statement.

        Virtually every time a climate scientist talks about probabilities involved in climate change, they are discussing uncertainty. Unless you are speaking in terms of 100% certainty, you are inherently talking about levels of uncertainty (and perhaps even – if you talk about 100% uncertainty you are inherently talking about 0% uncertainty).

        You disagree with them as to estimating the levels of uncertainty. That does not make you unique in discussing uncertainty. And it doesn’t make your contributions uniquely un-political.

        The distinctions you draw are subjective, bias-confirming, reflect an unscientific approach, and ironically overstate certainty.

      • DrC,

        “And according to the ‘true believers’, talking about uncertainty in the context of climate change is a political statement.”

        Any notable references? Not particularly a challenge here, it’s just that this is a a rather strong statement–polarizing–to make without reference, and maintain an appearance of objectivity.

      • I have been called a “true believer” by people on this site who have absolutely no idea what I do or don’t believe.

        Yet another example of Judith’s selective approach to the debate: She regularly decries the use of the term “denier,” but feels quite comfortable, apparently, in using the term “true believer.”

      • Actually, I don’t decry the use of denier per se. I decry the use of ‘denier’ to characterize rational skeptics. True believers and deniers, in their literal meaning, are flip sides of the same coin.

      • @joshua

        Did I miss them, or does ‘True Believer’ have any Holocaust connotations?

        Because if not I hardly think that you have posed a symmetrical question.

      • Did I miss them, or does ‘True Believer’ have any Holocaust connotations?

        I would say that for the majority of people who use the term, “denier” is not use to connote holocaust deniers (although for some % it probably does).

        People use “true believer” in many denigrating kinds of ways. It has been used to categorize me as someone who is indifferent to the “deaths of tens of millions” so I can pursue my capitalism-killing goals..

        The term “climate denier” serves no benefit that I can see, but the way that the term has been used for political expediency by “skeptics” in their politically correct “concern” about holocaust implications is completely undermined when they turn around and use broad-stroke denigrating terms as Judith has just done.

        And coming from you – who regularly uses such denigrating terms, your PC “concern” doesn’t pass my “bull— detector.”

      • John Carpenter

        Joshua, what Latimer said. ‘True believer’ and ‘denier’ are not equal on the derogatory scale.

      • Joshua, what Latimer said. ‘True believer’ and ‘denier’ are not equal on the derogatory scale.

        From your perspective, sure.

        I don’t take seriously any denigrating comment someone makes towards me in the blogosphere: People take themselves way to seriously here. But in the real world, if someone called me a “true believer” in the sense that it is used against me here at Climate Etc, I would take offense. It is very demeaning. It implies that I ignore fact-based evidence out of some kind of blind, religious faith. The meaning is very similar to denier – in particular when it is used along with claims that I, or other people who share some of my beliefs, are indifferent to the “deaths of tens of millions.’

        What make the terms different is that “skeptics” have exploited holocaust denial for political expediency in the climate wars, so they can claim victimhood at the hands of big, bad, “realists.”

        The use of denigrating terms is for all sorts of non-climate “skeptics” is ubiquitous in the ‘skept-o-sphere.” I have yet to read any “skeptic” express “concern” about Ben Santer – who lost relatives in the holocaust – being accused of “scientific cleansing.” Any number of comments here on this site, on any given day impugn the morality of progressives, libruls, environmentalists, climate scientists, etc. and I can’t ever remember a single “skeptic” expressing “concern” about such denigrating language.

        In fact, such comments are quite likely to receive similarly derisive follow-on chuckles of approval. If that language from “skeptics” would receive any sizable amount of rebuke, I would think the hand-wringing about the use of the term climate “denier” to have more plausibility.

      • Actually, I don’t decry the use of denier per se. I decry the use of ‘denier’ to characterize rational skeptics. True believers and deniers, in their literal meaning, are flip sides of the same coin.

        I agree that the terms are similarly used by both sides to marginalize the less extreme combatants in the debate.

        I would say that you exploit “concern” over the use of the term “denier” to appeal to the “skeptical” tribe – but I will agree that certainly, their are extremists at either end who might fairly be called “denier” or “true-believer.”

        But given that both terms are over-used by extremists, perhaps you should consider the ramifications of using either term. Certainly, you would not easily slip the term “denier” into a sentence to categorize some number of combatant without qualification. Why, then, would you contribute to the use of extremist rhetoric by so causally using the term “true-believer.”

      • Joshua

        You wrote ” “skeptics” have exploited holocaust denial for political expediency in the climate wars”

        Imo, you incorrectly generalize. It is a individual or small group of individuals who have exploited holocaust denial for political expediency and it is not generally done by climate skeptics. It would seem appropriate to critize the individual and not everyone skeptical of what needs to be done regarding climate change

      • Rob –

        You wrote ” “skeptics” have exploited holocaust denial for political expediency in the climate wars”

        Imo, you incorrectly generalize. It is a individual or small group of individuals who have exploited holocaust denial for political expediency and it is not generally done by climate skeptics. It would seem appropriate to critize the individual and not everyone skeptical of what needs to be done regarding climate change

        Fair points,all.

        I should not make such general statements. I will say that I have seen a lot of discussion about the use of the term “denier,” from “skeptics,” that looks to me like politically correct rhetoric that exploits the holocaust. IMO, the majority of times the term “denier” is used,it is not meant to compare people to Nazis burning people in ovens. Claiming that it is, necessarily meant to have such a connotation is exploitative and amounts to false claims of victimization.

        Most certainly, that characterization is not true of all “skeptics.”

        The term “denier” is an unfortunate rhetorical tool that matches “true believers” and much other, IMO unfortunate, rhetoric used in the climate wars.

      • Personally, I never saw the link between the term denier as it is used in climate science and how it is used regarding nazi death camps. Then again, I have been called a denier at other sites, and usually wonder what it is that I am denying- except that their proposed responses do not seem to make sense

      • “True believers and deniers, in their literal meaning, are flip sides of the same coin.”

        I can give plenty of examples of deniers in previous, and current, scientific controversies. The scientific consensus has been for one view, but many found that, for one reason or another, hard to accept. The deniers have always turned out to be wrong.

        Can those who are keen on the term give examples of “true believers” who have been similarly wrong?

        If I’ve any “true belief” it is that science is the best guide for decision making. Not just on climate but most other issues too. The conspiracy theorists would claim that scientists and politicians are all in it together to justify yet higher taxes. If I’ve any “true belief” on that claim it is that the politicians are experts on raising new taxes and certainly don’t need help from scientists.

        My “true belief” is that carbon taxes are regressive and aren’t the first choice of anyone with left of centre opinions. A wealth tax would be much better socially but wouldn’t tackle the problem of CO2 emissions.

        “True belief” implies that the believer wants to believe. I don’t. If the IPCC and the scientific community eventually decide differently on the climate issue, I’ll have absolutely no problem with that.

      • Judith,

        For example, better public understanding does not necessarily lead to more rational policy making.

        I wish you wouldn’t include the words “not necessarily” in every sentence where you actually get near to saying something definite.

        This sentence seems completely at odds with any sort of belief in the principle of democracy. The public can’t be expected to understand climate science. They rely on people like yourself to explain it to them in a way they can understand.They might even rely on you to answer scientific question on pdf’s, or at least say that you can’t :-)
        Those of us who do believe in democracy would argue that better public understanding does “necessarily” lead to better policy.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        curryja asserts  “There is a big difference in context of those two statements: Communicating science to inform, versus communicating science to motivate political action.”

        With respect, the union of those two statements is both logically natural, morally defensible, and well-sanctioned by historical tradition:

        A traditional role of scientists  “Communicating science to motivate informed political action.”

        The redoubtable C. Everett Koop comes to mind, eh?   :)   :)   :)

      • read pekka’s post,

        http://judithcurry.com/2012/09/10/too-much-advocacy/#comment-238350

        then reread the weatherman is not a moron.

        And then reread the rest of the CE posts on communication, ethics, scientific method. Then you might start to develop some sort of reasoned perspective on this issue.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Dr. Curry, with sincere respect, and recognizing that reasonable opinions may vary, strategic decision-making in accord with the USMC rule-of-thumb Be 70% sure — Then Take Action cannot be called “unreasoned.”

        For the common-sense reason, that accepting risk *IS* reasonable.

        Indeed, it is necessary, eh?   :)   :)   :)

      • The sneaky deception that we are now 70% sure is at the heart of the alarmist project. Probably closer to 7%.

      • Dr Curry,

        Expecting anything from fan other than smiley faces and non-relevant links is likely to end in disappointment.

        I’m curious if he uses emoticons in place of numbers or letters when handing out grades.

  58. Advocacy (or activism) for political agendas of all sorts are a vital part of our society today.

    Whether this is in the form of lobbyists, PR firms, PACs, etc. doesn;t really matter that much.

    We all recognize advocacy when we see it, just as we recognize TV commercials for a product, service or political candidate.

    The problem arises when individuals hiding behind the cloak of scientific academe no longer act as unbiased, objective scientists but misuse their position as scientists to advocate a political agenda in the name of “science” instead.

    This is dishonest (and many of us recognize it).

    Some others do not see it (or do not WANT to see it), as can be evidenced from some of the comments here.

    Max

    • If scientists have reached the conclusions they have on human CO2 emissions and climate change, and as are well documented in the IPCC reports, how would they be better documented?

      How would it be possible for them to present their exact same scientific findings without accusations of activism?

      That would be just about impossible. The only way to for them do that would be to change the scientific message to its exact opposite.

      • How would it be possible for them to present their exact same scientific findings without accusations of activism?

        How to do it? (Retain objectivity and an open mind; concede uncertainty, where it exists.)

        How NOT to do it? (See Climategate and subsequent revelations of IPCC exaggerations and fabrications)

      • In other words scientists have to say human induced climate change is not a problem. Anything less just won’t do. Scientists are often accused of “having an agenda” simply by virtue of publishing a relevant paper.
        And “that agenda” depends on the paper’s content of course. Its really nothing to do with climategate , or the IPCC , or Phil Jones, or James Hansen personally or politically. Its what they write scientifically that you think needs changing

      • It has everything to do with the IPCC and the Climategate crookery. What is needed is for honesty to be restored, and for Mann et al to stop presenting smuggling in their hidden agendas under cover of being science.

      • tempterrain

        In other words…

        Nope, TT.

        Read my post again.

        Maybe two or three times, if the message is too complex.

        Max

      • Max,

        There are plenty of your other posts which you, yourself, might want to read again. Like the ones which claimed:

        “Forget all the junk science by so-called experts that are all in on the multi-billion dollar ‘climate research scam’.”

        You have made it very clear that what these “so-called experts” need to do is change their scientific message.

        To you: “junk science” is “so-called experts” claiming we have a climate problem. True science would be what you’d term ‘genuine experts’ claiming we haven’t.

      • tempterrain

        You have an uncanny knack for drifting off track every time.

        The topic here was “how should climate scientists present their scientific findings?” (a question you asked).

        I simply responded “objectively and with an open mind” rather than how certain “scientists” were revealed to have done it by Climategate or IPCC was exposed to have done it in Himalayagate, Africacropgate, etc.

        [As the old saying goes, “Honesty is the best policy.”]

        And, yes, those “so-called experts” who were exposed were indeed cranking out “junk science” (i.e exaggerations and outright fabrications), as was pointed out in the exposés.

        Max

      • Max,

        So if climate scientists reported “objectively and with an open mind, conceded uncertainty, where it exists” etc and with no “exaggerations and fabrications ” they’d be agreeing with you that AGW wasn’t a problem?

        And as they don’t agree they can’t be “objective and with an open…….” can they?

        I think I see what you mean now.

      • tempterrain

        Here is what someone who has seen the IPCC assessment process says:

        “IPCC is not any more an assessment of published science (which is its proclaimed goal) but production of results.”

        http://bit.ly/ultFkQ

      • Girma,

        Well if you don’t trust the UN’s IPCC, take a look at the all-American National Academy of Sciences website:

        http://dels.nas.edu/Report/America-Climate-Choices-2011/12781

        “In the judgment of this report’s authoring committee, the environmental, economic, and humanitarian risks posed by climate change indicate a pressing need for substantial action to limit the magnitude of climate change and to prepare for adapting to its impacts.”

      • So the state-funded lackeys at the NAS agree with the state-funded lackeys at the IPCC. What a surprise.

  59. Just as the atomic nucleus has a “sphere of influence” that extends out beyond the last electron, ~100,000 times the nuclear radius.

    Likewise the Sun’s “sphere of influence” extends out beyond the last planet to the edge of the solar system, ~10^5 times the solar radius.

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

    Earth is like a 2s electron in a giant atom of oxygen.
    As Niels Bohr recognized electron orbits in 1915
    Sun, like the atom’s nuclear core, is in total control.

    This Reality, Truth, God (RTG) can be realized by
    Humble experimentation, meditation, observation

    This Reality, Truth, God (RTG) is invisible to
    Selfish arrogance and false illusions of control.

    Fear and the instinct of survival blocked humility
    As Hiroshima & Nagasaki vanished in Aug 1945
    Frightened leaders created the UN in Oct 1945

    Forever blocking their understanding that our elements, our lives, our climate, our whole recorded history, every scripture, every poem, every note of music, every thought were produced inside the Sun’s “sphere of influence” !</b

  60. David Springer

    This is all pretty much repetition of what goes on in many sub-disciplines in biology. Totally irrelevant most of the time, some mention of “evolution”, most often in the conclusion, is made. Those of us critically examining the literature called it “the secret handshake”. An objective observer would conclude that the publishing industry required the handshake – a gratuitous mention of how the paper supported in some way the mud-to-man evolutionary narrative. The mention had to be made because the linkage was otherwise either missing entirely or could be reasonably interpreted differently. This is stealth advocacy.

    • “the secret handshake”

      David Springer,

      I call it The Genuflection.

      Andrew

    • William Gray was reputed to demand some statement to the effect of ‘so of course there is no Global Warming’ or variants on it in papers on hurricanes he reviewed.

      Does anyone know if this reported Genuflection story was true?

      • Bart R

        Referring to an alleged incident involving hurricane expert, William Gray, you ask:

        Does anyone know if this reported Genuflection story was true?

        No.

        But there is another Genuflection story of another hurricane expert, Chris Landsea (who actually preferred to resign, rather than “Genuflect” to the “consensus”, against his scientific conviction).

        http://www.climatechangefacts.info/ClimateChangeDocuments/LandseaResignationLetterFromIPCC.htm

        Max

      • manacker | September 11, 2012 at 3:35 pm |

        No?

        You can prove a negative?

        You mean that you’re a published hurricane expert and you’ve never been addressed on this issue by Dr. Gray?

        You mean _this_ Dr. Chris Landsea (noted Gray acolyte, who appears to be genuflecting to Gray all over your example): http://www.salon.com/2006/09/19/noaa/

        Seems to me you’re proving the rumor valid.

        When you get tired of being wrong, you can stop posting.

  61. Great thread Judith. Shortly after reading it I came across a blog piece by John Christy last month lncluding this paragraph:

    Permit me to digress into an opinionated comment. In 2006, President George W. Bush was wrong when he said we were addicted to oil. The real truth is, oil, and other carbon-based fuels, are merely the affordable means by which we can satisfy our true addictions – long life, good health, prosperity, technological progress, adequate food supplies, internet services, freedom of movement, protection from environmental threats, and so on. As I’ve said numerous times after living in Africa, – without energy, life is brutal and short.

    Note how well the ‘opinionated comment’ by the UAH scientist is signalled. Even then, there’s no attempt to prescribe policy, just to challenge the reader to think harder about a phrase often used but seldom analysed. Top marks on all counts.

    • Richard Drake

      Agree that John Christy’s statement is balanced and well reasoned.

      The statement “without energy, life is short and brutal” actually came from an earlier testimony before a congressional committee.

      In a 2007 testimony, Christy told the congress members that a major reason we, in the industrially developed world, enjoy the quality of life and life expectancy we do today (compared to a much more difficult life and much shorter life expectancy as recently as 1900), is because of the availability of low cost energy based on fossil fuels. It is only natural that developing nations around the world want this same access to a better and longer life.

      He also gave the background for his “brutal and short” statement:

      http://www.fakeclimate.com/arquivos/Internacional/JohnChristy/ChristyJR_EC_subEAQ_written.pdf

      It disturbs me when I hear that energy and its byproducts such as CO2 are being demonized when in fact they represent the greatest achievement of our society. Where there is no energy, life is brutal and short. When you think about that extra CO2 in the air, think also about an 8-fold increase in the experience of human life.

      While preparing this testimony, I was reminded of my missionary experience in Africa. As you know, African women collect firewood each day and carry it home for heating and cooking. This source of energy, inefficient and toxic as it is, kills about 1.6 million women and children every year. When an African woman, carrying 50 pounds of firewood on her back, risks her life by jumping out in front of my van in an attempt to force me to give her a lift, I understand the value of energy. You see, what I had in my school van, in terms of the amount of gasoline I could hold in my cupped hands, could move her and her 50 pounds of firewood 2 or 3 miles down the road to her home. I now know what an astounding benefit and blessing energy is … and to what extent she and her people would go to acquire it. Energy demand will grow because it makes life less brutal and less short.

      Max

    • Richard Drake,

      Excellent comment. I keep forgetting that many people do not accept what John Christy says in that comment. So I’ll post a few links for those readers for whom the statement is not self evident.

      http://www.gapminder.org/ (select Health and Wealth of Nations, change the X-axis to ‘Energy > Total > Energy use per person’ and select log scale. Then move the scroll bar back to 2005 (to see data from all countries). You can also select other UNDP stats to plot on the Y axis and compare these against per capita energy use.

      First 15:30 minutes of this video:

      Or look at the first 28 slides from that presentation here:

      http://www.slideshare.net/robert.hargraves/aim-high-1388496

      Figure 2:

      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/11/16/constructal-gdp/

      As Christy says, and the links above show:

      without energy, life is brutal and short.

  62. I don’t think most people would call Consumer Reports an advocacy group yet they produce information that may cause a consumer to select one product over another. An advertisement for a product would emphasise only the good characteristics of that product and most people would consider that advocacy. Just because what you say may influence a decision making process does not make you an advocate from my perspective.

    • steven

      As long as the “consumer report” honestly and openly concedes any “uncertainties” regarding the test results or conclusions reached, fine.

      If it ignores, understates or simply sweeps these under the rug in order to convey a message, not so good.

      Max

      • Max, yes, my interpretation of advocacy vs influence is not the amount of influence it may have on others, it is the amount of bias in what you state to exert that influence.

  63. “these statements… address policy, not science.”
    “by advocating policy positions… scientists may be forfeiting their privileged positions as scientists and becoming just ordinary guys with opinions, and in the process, undercutting the credibility of their scientific work”

    Another perspective is that such participation in public deliberations and policy deliberations is a good thing. Why? Because yes, obviously, the relation between the social world and the desks of scientists is embedded in values and in a real and more honest world:
    1) No one pretends that scientific activity (or any social activity) is neutral or value-free, and
    2) Science involves power relationships (as does all social activity), so it is more honest to recognize this and go ahead and make yourself part of public deliberation and accountability, rather than pretending it is not so and inadvertently or covertly abusing your privilege and power.

    I wonder if the more serious risk of loss of credibility is actually tied to promotion of naïve and unself-conscious versions of this social reality. And I think that, in general, post-positivist critique is probably enriched and further challenged by scientists such as Hansen, making the statements he is making, as part of his participation in public deliberation.

    • Martha, I fully agree with this statement of yours:

      “I wonder if the more serious risk of loss of credibility is actually tied to promotion of naïve and unself-conscious versions of this social reality.”

  64. Advocacy is by definition motivated reasoning. If MR explains skepticism, which is a form of advocacy, then it also explains CAGW advocacy. In fact it explains the entire debate, but that makes it worthless. What counts is the debate, not the obvious fact that everyone in the debate is motivated to be there, and to think what they think.

    But if the claim of MR is that people who care enough to think hard about an issue, and take a position, cannot be rational, just because they care and take a position, then that is just nuts. As science MR is incoherent.

    • Put another way, if MR is a form of bad reasoning then there must be some way of diagnosing it, other than that someone takes a strong position on an issue. Unless it is claimed that strong positions are always irrational, which is an irrational claim. But if MR is not bad reasoning then who cares?

  65. An excellent news

    The market on CO2 has collapsed:

    All of this has combined to bring about a collapse in the price of UN credits, from highs topping $20 (£12.50) before the financial crisis to less than $3 each today. At such rates, many potential projects are not commercially viable. Financiers and project developers have abandoned the market in droves.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/sep/10/global-carbon-trading-system?newsfeed=true

    I would love to see it go into cents!

  66. No strong policy conclusions follow logically from proven facts. To accept those conclusions as correct requires accepting that uncertain knowledge may suffice for them. Indeed most of all policy decisions are done based on uncertain knowledge, climate policy is not different at that basic level.

    Where the climate policy differs is in that the justification is not intuitively clear at all, no one has repeated practical experience on the ultimate consequences of climate policy decisions, and repeated experience the only source of good intuition. Reading Kahneman is one sure way of learning, how incapable people are in making intuitively correct decisions on issues unfamiliar to them.

    When we are incapable in making good or oven reasonable choices based on intuition alone, we need analysis to perform better. For valid analysis on uncertain issues the exact nature of the uncertainties must be discussed openly. The approach where a scientist (say Hansen) makes the whole analysis in his head and tells what is the right policy conclusion is not valid, and trying to push that fails.

    The scientists must not pretend that they understand the whole chain from science to policy better than others, they are experts on some issues but not on the full chain to policy conclusions. When they act implying more than they can support by valid arguments, they are likely to lose credibility even in their own filled of specialty. After all, who can any more judge what they say as an objective and competent scientist and what they say as a citizen with no superior understanding on the issue.

    I understand that many are impatient and try to get decisions made as soon as possible, while they think (perhaps unconsciously) that others will not understand the importance if the are open on the uncertainties and gaps in the reasoning, and that they choose to simplify and to push conclusions. Even if they are fully correct in their views this approach will not work – and why should we think that they are fully right on the whole chain.

    • Agreed. The fact that we are uncertain regarding what will happen AND we are uncertain what would result from taking mitigation actions makes taking actions difficult to justify unless they are clearly “no regrets” types of actions

    • Pekka, very well said

      • What a fascinating response, Judith.

        Here, the following “well-said”:

        Reading Kahneman is one sure way of learning, how incapable people are in making intuitively correct decisions on issues unfamiliar to them.

        But in the lead post, you specifically dismissed Kaheneman’s type of analysis, to specifically opine that intuitive decision-making is “cogent”:

        Finally, someone who gets it. The ‘bull— detector’ issue is much more cogent IMO in explaining skepticism than ‘motivated reasoning.

        One of these days, Judith, you’re going to apply your analytical approach to not only those you disagree with, but also those you agree with and, I would hope, yourself.

      • Joshua,

        To help you out a bit… your unswervingly repetitive criticism of “skeptics” is Warmer Tribalism, if you haven’t realized.

        Philosophically, you are the epitome of everything you decry about “skeptics”. Jus lettin you know, again.

        Andrew

      • BA –

        To help you out a bit… your unswervingly repetitive criticism of “skeptics” is Warmer Tribalism, if you haven’t realized.

        Factors like motivated reasoning and Kahneman’s work (as Pekka referenced) apply to both sides of the debate. Of that, there is no doubt – and I will always acknowledge that. To do otherwise would fail a basic skeptical test.

        But Judith’s reference to those kinds of influences is selective – as seen by her contradicting statements on this post – as I highlighted.

      • Your reading skills are very poor, apparently.

      • When the issues are complex all sides try to simplify them. When they are familiar enough that may work, but when they are genuinely new that doesn’t work.

        On familiar issues it’s very common that people have a much better feeling on the final conclusions than they have on the rational arguments that might be used to justify them. That’s because the experience may link the present case to the earlier similar cases and the final outcome from those cases is often known better that steps of logical argumentation.

        The problem with the kind of analysis that I would like to have is that doing it is very demanding. Detailed science cannot help far. To reach most results within a few years the most promising approach might be to form a few groups of “wise men” (including women) who are known to have a broad view of relevant issues and a capability of both argue and accept arguments of others. They should work independently to create well argued proposals. Having more than one group is important as I don’t believe that any single group could do a credible enough analysis, but a synthesis of work by a few groups might fare better.

        The approach of IPCC produces useful material for such overall analysis but much of that must be taken very critically (in particular WG2 and WG3).

      • There are pluses and minuses to “thinking fast” and “thinking slow.” And both are subject to biases associated with motivated reasoning.

        As Wikepedia says:

        [Kahneman’s book] delineates cognitive biases associated with each type of thinking.

        So the problems arise when:

        (1) people fall in love with either thinking fast or thinking slow to the point where they over-evaluate the costs or benefits of either one.

        (2) (perhaps even worse?) people selectively over-evaluate the costs and/or benefits of thinking fast and/or thinking slow- contingent on whether or not doing so will confirm their biases.

        I have seen problems with Judith’s approach in both regards more generally, but also very starkly in this single thread.

      • When I referred to intuitive reasoning I had in mind both fast thinking and very much of slow thinkig. The deep analysis requires super super slow thinking by more than one person. Kahneman writes much also on the inadequacy of typical slow thinking.

  67. Here is the most important part of that essay:

    Finally, while scientists have plenty to contribute to public debate as “honest brokers” of scientific knowledge, they are not particularly good at staking out policy.

    They are not only not good at staking out policy, but are, in fact, terrible at it.

  68. When yer come ter the fork in the road,
    policy makers ter the right, scientists ter the left,
    stealth policy advocates and scientivists take the winding path ter
    Lewandowskys Leap.

  69. I advocate a revenue-neutral carbon tax. British Columbia sure hasn’t regretted it’s carbon tax.

    The following is an excerpt from an article titled The Most Sensible Tax of All, appearing in the July 4, 2012 NYTimes:

    “Thanks to this tax swap, British Columbia has lowered its corporate income tax rate to 10 percent from 12 percent, a rate that is among the lowest in the Group of 8 wealthy nations. Personal income taxes for people earning less than $119,000 per year are now the lowest in Canada, and there are targeted rebates for low-income and rural households.”

    The U.S. needs a revenue-neutral carbon tax.

    • It is idotic to favor a carbon tax without knowing it will accomplish anything except raise revenue for the government inefficently.

      • If you think lowering the corporate tax rate is idiotic, what kind of Republican are you?

      • I am not a republican.

        How does the corporate tax rate have an impact on climate change? Max- you seem to write thing that do not make much sense sometimes and you do not seem to alter your position with new information

      • Rob, we seem to be having an unrelated conversation. I brought up the subject of a revenue-neutral carbon tax. You responded with a comment about a carbon tax raising government revenue. A revenue-neutral tax isn’t supposed to raise revenue for the government. That’s why it’s called revenue neutral. Now, what point were you trying to make?

    • David Springer

      Revenue neutral always entails more inefficiency because in essence they are, at best, a redistribution scheme where you take from one hand and give to the other. There’s always energy lost in the transfer process.

  70. Too much advocacy? Yes.

  71. blueice2hotsea

    Society for Conservation Biology

    Conservation biology is a mission-oriented discipline that focuses on how to protect and restore biodiversity, or the diversity of life on Earth.

    The discipline of conservation biology thus includes–in addition to biological sciences–economics, anthropology, psychology, and history.

    Hmm… A “mission-oriented discipline”, is not the same thing as a science-oriented discipline. Maybe that explains Fleishman’s problem with the SCB’s governing board.

    Scientists are generally free to promote clarity whenever possible. However, activist-scientists are only free to promote clarity whenever it is irrelevant; otherwise it is either mandatory or forbidden, depending upon whatever is necessary. Science is merely the vehicle, not the destination.

    When Fleishman suggested that policy comments in scientific papers be identified as opinion (while not making it a condition of publication), she was nevertheless in trouble – it conflicted with the mission. The gig ended because she remained insistent that the advice was sound.

    Note that the founder of the publication (Conservation Biology), resigned from the editorial board in protest of her treatment, which he called “shameful”.

    • Heh, someone should clue them in that the most reliable way to increase biodiversity is to warm the earth.
      ===================

      • to warm too fast will cut biodiversity

      • John Carpenter

        and what is ‘too warm too fast’?

      • Warming too fast is warming so fast that species cannot adapt to the changes and go extinct. And that’s how you lose biodiversity.

      • David Springer

        Yes but the survivors are improved.

        “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” ~ Fredrich Nietzsche

      • John Carpenter

        and how fast is that? You gave me a non answer because you (and I) don’t know what ‘too fast’ is for any species let alone all of them. This is the type of alarmist statement that has a hint of truth to it, but no real substance….. the kind of statement that makes me lose credibility in your message.

      • “and how fast is that? You gave me a non answer because you (and I) don’t know what ‘too fast’ is for any species let alone all of them. This is the type of alarmist statement that has a hint of truth to it, but no real substance….. the kind of statement that makes me lose credibility in your message.”

        Really what you are saying is you have no idea how life will react to something like this:

        When has global temperature on Earth ever moved that fast upwards? If you don’t know then that sounds pretty alarming. Perhaps you should stop referring to “alarmism” in a derogatory manner when it really is indeed alarming.

        Otherwise you might be guilty of “Reassurism” like Kim is. I notice you didn’t have a problem with her statement, only mine.

      • Warmer climate increases the number of female offspring for many species.

      • lolwot,

        you mean the fish that aren’t swimming fast enough to reach cooler waters or the birds which are not migrating to higher elevations?

        It’s all science by modelling. They model a warmer environment, then they model how they expect the species to react and when the real world doesn’t match up with their models, they determine the species won’t survive. They don’t mention whetehr or not they are doing ok. If they don’t agree with the model predictions they are toast.

        Now that is first class science. Stupid birds, stupid fish.

      • blueice2hotsea

        kim –

        Heh, that might work. Unless biodiversity is also a vehicle and not a destination.

        bi2hs

      • David Springer

        Not necessarily. Biomass would be larger but not necessarily more diverse. Probably less so. The warm earth tends to have less temperature change from equator to pole. Diversity comes from many different niches and no niche so stable that a few lucky species come to dominate it to the exclusion of everything else. Forest fires create diversity. It’s hard to imagine a more rapid change than a forest fire. Who’d of thunk?

      • blueice2hotsea

        David Springer

        No. You are wrong. kim is right. (I am making a little joke).

        Anyway, I think kim was also making a little joke. No one really knows for sure. But even though a very strong case can be made that kim is actually correct, that increased warming will increase biodiversity, there is overweening dogmatic certainty that human caused warming is bad for biodiversity. sniff… sniff…. Can’t you smell it?

        bi2hs

      • Yes, like we really need a lot more house flies, skeeters, ticks, termites, tetse flies, bed bugs, fleas, venomous snakes and spiders, mold, mildew, rot, pond scum, flesh-eating bacteria, and god only knows what kinds of nasty tropical diseases.

      • What we actually have is a lot more Chicken Littles …

      • Max,

        You should try getting your science information from places other than the Horror channel or the SciFy channel.

        Otherwise you will short out everyone’s BS detector from over use.

  72. The “Complete” Green Matrix
    Diane Alden

    To legitimize this unproven science, the Society of Conservation Biology was created by the IUCN (World Conservation Union) in 1985 and was initially funded by various foundations. The true goal of conservation biology was made clear when the journal Conservation Biology began publication in 1987. Michael Soulé, founder and then president of the Society of Conservation Biology, outlined the radical purpose of conservation biology.

    Soulé stated, when the Society was founded, “We assume implicitly that environmental wounds inflicted by ignorant humans and destructive technologies can be treated by wiser humans and by wholesome technologies.”

    I wonder if Soulé is pals with Agent Smith from the Matrix?

    In modern conservation theory, the notion of man as a cancer on the land is a recurring theme. So the new “science” helps explain away the harsh implementation of environmental regulations that may indeed destroy individuals and communities.
    snip

    What Is Weird Science?

    What is conservation biology? The “Primer for Conservation Biology” says: “Conservation biology arose because none of the traditional applied disciplines are comprehensive enough by themselves to address critical threats to biological diversity.”

    In his most recent tome, “Conservation Biology and the Decades Ahead,” Soule relates what he considers the goals of conservation biology: “Conservation biologists typically consider preservation of species to be an ETHICAL responsibility.”

    The kicker here is this statement, which in fact has become U.S. land management policy: “Conservation science is employed in the service of an ETHICAL goal, the maintenance of the earth’s biodiversity.”

    Furthermore, “Conservation practitioners may seek to restore populations of an endangered species or to reintroduce a species into parts of its range from which had been exterminated.”

    What should bother us is that he also says that biologists “may try to re-establish a complex ecological community in an area from which it has been eliminated.”

    This is the father of conservation biology telling conservation practitioners to be proactive in the name of the cause.

    As Soule writes, “it will require the dedication of thousands of bioregional activists. … [R]oad building in major sections of National Forest and BLM lands will have to cease, and many existing logging roads closed, grazing, logging, mining, recreation and some types of farming will have to go.”

    http://www.tysknews.com/Depts/Environment/complete_matrix.htm

  73. Robert I Ellison

    There are several problem with even a revenue neutral carbon. Unless there are feasible alternatives at the miniscule additional costs generally imposed – it makes little difference to use and emmissions. But perhaps the biggest problem is that it leads to policy paralysis with glacial progress and entrenched opposition. Demonise the opposition as you might it remains both economically literate and socially responsible to put economic growth globally as the central issue of the 21st century.

    To go back to coral reefs and carbon dioxide. There are lists of pressures on reefs globally that commonly include both acidification and warming. The issues as science perceive them is one thing. I would put both low on the list of threats. There may be, for instance, undersaturation in aragonite in the southern ocean – far from warm, shallow areas where carbonate compensation is a factor – towards the end of the century. There are, however, responses that address many of the priority reef issues at the same time and that have as well social benefits including food security, reductions in landslide, flood and drought risk, conservation of topsoil and ecosystems and increases in smallholder income. These are the things to inspire a world in a way that a tax cannot.

    In environmental science we are taught to work in teams. Environmental problems are multi-dimensional and commonly exceed the capacity of any single person to solve. Synergistic creativity is drawn on to frame solutions to specific problems in a wider social, economic and environmental context. The solutions must meet pragmatic triple bottom line needs of people to have any chance of success in the real world.

    • Robert

      I’ll make it simpler.
      1. If a person is considering a consumption tax they need to understand the elasticity of the product on which the tax is being considered before implementing the tax. It may not reduce consumption by much at all.
      2. If a person is considering a consumption tax with a rebate program to lessen the impact on poorer consumers, they need to understand both the new elasticity on the commodity (it will become less elastic with a rebate) in question AND the additional costs to administer the revised tax including the rebate. The rebate can make the tax expensive to administer.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Ah…there are several problems with even a revenue neutral carbon…tax. Sometimes I write in word and sometimes directly in the comments box. I should do more of the former and less of the latter.

      I will put you in the category of entrenched opponent. Elasticity and efficiency are certainly issues. Complexity, scams, impacts on economic growth, price increases for basic inputs into production – are others. I think there are especially issues where there would be marginal effects in developing economies. Marginal effects have very real human costs where people are close to the edge. It seems quite certain that they will not go done the path of a carbon tax and for good reason.

      The less simple problem is to think more broadly about effective responses that have multiple objectives.

  74. GaryM comments (September 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm) elegantly describe the pitfalls of being both a scientist and an advocate. He wrote:

    “Scientists do not lose credibility by engaging in advocacy. They lose it by advocating in ways that destroys their credibility.

    Look, take a random scientist, let’s call him Gavin Schmidt. Assume he’s a really intelligent guy, meticulous in his research, and through his research he comes to the conclusion that anthropogenic emissions of CO2 pose a real and substantial hazard to mankind.

    What is he supposed to do? Shut up and let the chips fall where they may? No, as a human being, he has an obligation to warn as many people as he can.

    A scientist loses credibility the same way anyone else does. By being either dishonest or sloppy. And if he is dishonest or sloppy in his advocacy, people will rightly infer there is a very good likelihood he is dishonest or sloppy in his work as well.”

    On the other hand, Steven Schneider’s infamous quote told scientists that they could be ethical by telling the “whole truth” etc. when talking to and writing for specialists in our fields AND be effective policy advocates by telling the public “scary stories” etc. After all, no politician, lobbyist, or advocacy group feels any ethical need to tell the “whole truth …” and avoid “scary stories”. In legal affairs, attorneys have an ethical obligation to twist some evidence to fit the best interests of their clients and discredit/obfuscate/ignore other evidence. No policymaker or reporter expects any single politician, lobbyist, policy advocate, or attorney to provide him with a balanced view of a controversy. When complete candor actually occurs, it usually represents a tactic; not an ethical obligation. For this reason, our legislators and judges provide equal opportunity for all sides to be heard. Ethical reporters are expected to interview and present both sides of every controversy.

    Can scientists really get away with behaving like politicians, attorneys, lobbyists and policy advocates? I don’t think so. Here’s why.

    1) Few policymakers or reporters have the capability of understanding scientific disagreements, say between Gavin Schmidt and Dick Lindzen. If no one fairly summarizes where these scientists agree and disagree, then policymakers and the public have no chance of making an informed decision.

    2) Political advocacy has a tendency to corrupt our scientific obligation to “tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but”, including “all the doubts, caveats, ifs, ands, and buts”. It’s tough enough to meet these ethical standards with ordinary scientific rivalries and controversies and with funding and careers at stake. It’s practically impossible to meet Schneider’s ethical standards for scientists when you believe that advocacy can save the planet.

    Is there a solution to Schneider’s “double ethical bind”? One possibility would be for scientific societies to set standards that help their members draw a sharp line between science and advocacy.

    1) When talking to policymakers, the press, or the public, scientists should be required to explain whether they are speaking as scientists – who can be trusted to present the whole truth with all of the doubts and caveats – or as advocates – who traditionally provide their personal opinions based on their experience. If highly visible scientists like Gavin Schmidt and Dick Lindzen were forced to frequently consider whether they wanted to speak or write next as a scientist or an advocate, there would be less chance of being corrupted or misleading the public. A scientists announced role could remain the same for one article/talk or change from one paragraph/question to another. The credibility of science would be enhanced by this practice.

    2) “Scary stories” must always be presented with a scientifically accurate context and estimate of the likelihood that they will actually occur. Doubts, over-simplifications and controversies must always be acknowledged, but scientists, like other citizens aren’t under an ethical obligation to discuss them in any detail when speaking as an advocate.

    • One person cannot act both as a scientist searching for as objective truth as humanly possible and as an activist who plays with the alternative rules where exaggeration and scary stories are accepted. He might make himself believe that he can but no one whose views differ even modestly with his can accept that. It’s unavoidable that he will not be considered an objective scientist any more.

      He and his followers may not notice that if they reject all clear signs as acts of malicious opponents rather than as what the signs really tell.

      • .. and what’s perhaps worst, the statemenets made for the public start to restrict what the person is willing to say as a scientist. He becomes unwilling to contradict himself also in scientific publications and starts to insist that other scientists should follow the same line. There’s a real risk that the science starts to follow the public message.

        I don’t want to say that the scientists would start to lie or write outrigth falsehoods but it’s easy to find evasive wording on conclusions that could be interpreted as contradicting the public message. Many papers do also contain additional statements not really related to the actual scientific content of the paper.

        All that is bad for the science and ultimately for the credibility of scientists.

      • “One person cannot act both as a scientist searching for as objective truth as humanly possible and as an activist who plays with the alternative rules where exaggeration and scary stories are accepted. ”

        Were Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard activists with the letter to FDR? Life is gray.

  75. Can we really trust chief scientific officers?

    There was a time when, if you read a scientific scare story, you tended to put it down to the over-active imagination of a redtop journalist. No longer: nowadays it is outwardly sober government scientists who spin the biggest scares. They know they can get away with it because laymen have an irrational respect for words uttered by scientists.

    That much was proved by the 1963 Milgram experiment in which the Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram persuaded volunteers to administer a – simulated – potentially fatal electric shock to another human being when instructed to do so by a man in a white lab coat.

    It will be a good 50 years before anyone can make a definitive judgment on the biggest scientific scare of our times: climate change. But I can’t read the latest prediction for man-made flood and tempest without thinking of all those millions who have failed to die from swine flu and the other grim fates predicted by government scientists.

    http://www.agenziafarmaco.gov.it/aifaminesi/201001/articolo_20100111_115257211.htm

  76. The global warming catastrophist’s conclusions about the future, “is woefully short of either theoretical or observational support. In part, of course, this is because the AGW hypothesis provides almost nothing in the way of a statement or a prediction which can be falsified. This difficulty in falsification of the hypothesis, while perhaps attractive to the proponents of the hypothesis, inevitably implies a corresponding difficulty in verification or support of the hypothesis,” as Dr. Eschenbach observed. And, Eschenbach would remind them too that continuing on this way means they must continue to ignore all of the “arguably cogent and certainly feasible scientific objections [that] have been raised against … [AGW theory] from the nature and sign of the forcings considered and unconsidered, to the existence of natural thermostatic mechanisms.”

  77. Judith,

    I’m just trying to keep up with various changing arguments:

    So “educating the public” is a good thing, but “better communication” is a bad thing? Addressing the “policy challenges associated with climate change” was a good thing a couple of years ago, but now that is seen to compromise “scientific integrity” ?

    September 2010

    “My engagement in the blogosphere over the past several years have convinced me that the blogosphere has untapped potential for educating the public and for enabling large-scale collective intelligence to address the scientific and policy challenges associated with climate change .”

    September 2012

    To those who think better ‘communication’ is the key to action in the climate change debate, with scientists as activist/communicators, I hope that they will realize the damage done to their policy agenda (not to mention the science) by this strategy.

    • The abandonment of the scientific method by the global warming alarmists creates an entirely new problem for them now. They have become so disconnected with reality, and so disconnected from guiding principles — from the goals of individual liberty and free enterprise to Judeo/Christian ethics of honesty and personal responsibility — and, so paralyzed by self-defeating nihilism, that they are desperate to find a theology that will provide future meaning. And, to that end, they have dreamed up the illusion that their feeding off of the productive like government-funded gadflies provides a worthwhile service to society.

    • tempterrain

      If you are too obtuse to see that the two JC quotes you cherry-picked are not in conflict with one another, then you are truly beyond help.

      If you are just being an obnoxious troll in order to bait our hostess here, then your attempts appear to be unsuccessful – they only make you look silly.

      Max

      • …or you could try to explain the apparent conflict. Perhaps you can’t?

      • I see no conflict. “… untapped potential to educate the public and for enabling large-scale collective intelligence to address the scientific and policy challenges associated with climate change>”

        Temp, neglected to bold the”potential” and “scientific” parts. If “bolding” was his attempt to point out some conflict, perhaps he has internal conflicts he should address.

      • Are you accusing tempterrain of having a open mind? If you are hinting that you have seen him around the growing climate heretics club that simply is not true: if it were true…even if he generally supported the IPCC consensus wouldn’t he dare to question aspects of it? Skeptics are perfectly willing to admit, for instance, that it has warmed since the LIA whereas Mann’s ‘hockey stick’ shows that AGW zealots cannot even admit the existence of the MWP.

      • What conflict, Michael?

        (Try to be specific, if you can.)

        Max

      • Guys,

        I would have thought you all knew how pointless it is debating a donkey …….. unless you are holding a two x four.

      • Max,

        Everyone selects quotes and I’m not sure its possible to do them any other way than in the way people select cherries. Its not like picking data points though. If you check I was just asking the question about possible conflicts.

        But you are right. I do suspect that Judith has lots of conflicts going on in her mind. She’s torn between what she knows on climate science which once caused her to advise that the worst policy option on climate was to do nothing. Now she is saying, if I understand her correctly but that’s not always that easy, that is the best option is to do nothing. Or, maybe its that the politicians can do what they like on climate but just don’t ask us climate scientists to get involved.

        Judith at one time advised that climate scientists should come down from their ivory towers. It now sounds like she’s had enough of that and is suggesting they should all go back up them again.

      • I always know someone has ‘lost it’ when someone calls me an “obnoxious troll”.

        Climate Etc was set up, supposedly, to provide an forum for all sides of the discussion. I’m sure I can find a JC quote to that effect. There aren’t many of us left supporting the view that the IPCC and mainstream science have, whatever their imperfections may be, have basically got it right.

        We’re all doing a pretty good job preventing CE from being just another WUWT. Judith should be grateful to us.

  78. “But scientists’ advocacy in politically charged debates does give opponents an opportunity to impeach their credibility”

    Absolutely. Does anyone think that the hockey team would stand up under cross-examination at trial? Their credibility would be shredded into so many little pieces it would be blow away in a puff of wind.

    However, impeachment of their credibility would be based on far more than advocacy and reprehensible ethics. The steadfast rejection of quality measures would be the biggest hammer.

    • Stan,

      So you are saying that if, say, scientists were reasonably certain that the use of mobile phones, and the presence of RF radiation from wireless devices etc, was harmful to health (although in actual fact there isn’t much evidence of that), they should be aware that there are powerful vested interest groups who would certainly would not welcome such a finding.
      They should also be aware that any “debate” could turn out to be quite political?
      Therefore, they should stay in their ivory towers, just confine themselves to esoteric discussion on the matter privately, and basically say nothing to the general public in terms they would understand?

  79. A Scientivist Profile:

    Values: The Three C’s, certitude, collectivism, control.
    Tendencies: Apocalyptic thinking, passionate intensity, cronyism,
    stealth advocacy.
    Skills: Persuasive rhetoric, stealth advocacy.

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  81. The author of the piece, Greg Breining was a boyhood next-door neighbor of mine. He was a long-time managing editor of Minnesota Conservation Volunteer, a periodical put out by the dept of natural resources. Interesting thesis, as he has written about outdoors issues and personalities for years.

    • Web are you a Minnesota native. I am also fairly well acquainted with Greg Breining from the Volunteer. Are you still living in much too cold gods country? It was interesting to see his piece exposited here

  82. My BS detector hit the stops and bent the needle at the time when declarations were first made that the science was finished, that scepticism was unacceptable and sceptics equated to holocaust deniers. That was the moment when I suddenly woke up and said “Hello – these guys don’t sound like scientists any more – what is going on?”. That was the moment I decided I coudl no longer trust the experts in this area and needed to look into this stuff myself.

  83. David Springer

    captdallas2 0.8 +0.2 or -0.4 | September 11, 2012 at 9:34 pm |

    “Fossil fuel emission in 2010 were 9 gT, the total of natural emission was ~ 120gT. Natural sinking of Carbon removed all the 120gt natural plus 5gt of the 9gT fossil fuel emissions, ~4% of the of the additional CO2 in the atmosphere was due to fossil fuels.”

    Why can’t we say “Carbon sinks removed 116gt of natural emissions plus 9gt anthropogenic emission, leaving a surplus of 4gt natural emissions in the atmosphere.”

    Do carbon sinks somehow discriminate between natural and anthropogenic carbon prefentially sinking the former first before sinking the latter?

    Of course not. That’s just silly. If we lowered total carbon emission by 4gt we do not know that there would be no atmospheric increase. In fact if we go back in time to when anthropogenic emission was 4gt lower per annum atmospheric accumulation was still happening!

    THINK McFly!

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  85. I like the helpful information you provide
    in your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here regularly. I am quite certain I will learn a lot of new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

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  87. @David Springer- That was one of the most ridiculous statements of thought I’ve read/heard all month. If 120 gigatons of carbon are naturally in the atmosphere, and 9 gigatons are added by humans, than the baseline of the natural state is one-hundred and twenty gigatons and all effects of carbon removal work from there. It serves no purpose, no purpose whatsoever, to confuse the issue, which is exactly what you did (perhaps a symptom of your own confusion). Understand, scientists are not [concerned] with natural climate change, because all living systems are, to varying capacities, adapted to the natural rate of change. What does matter is the portion of the rate of environmental change that is ANTHROPOGENICALLY ACCELERATED. Obviously, David, this determines that any carbon entering the atmosphere through human activity is the concern, not the already present natural carbon flux.

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