Consensus and controversy

by Judith Curry

This report outlines the main positions and debates surrounding the literally hot topic of man-made global warming.  Inspired by social studies of science and technology, the goal of the report is to document, describe and take stock of this potent scientific and public ‘battlefield’ that plays out arguably some of the more pressing issues of our time. – Emil Royrvik

SINTEF has published a report entitled Consensus and Controversy.  This report seems to me to be unbiased, which is why I am highlighting it on Climate Etc.  And SINTEF seems a somewhat surprising sponsor for a report like this.

From SINTEF’s web page:

SINTEF is the largest independent research organisation in Scandinavia. We create value through knowledge generation, research and innovation, and develop technological solutions that are brought into practical use.

SINTEF is a broadly based, multidisciplinary research concern that possesses international top-level expertise in technology, medicine and the social sciences, and our aim is to become the most renowned contract research institution in Europe.

SINTEF is an independent, non-commercial organisation.

From their page on Environment and Climate:

Although Norway is one of the smallest country in Europe in terms of population, we are among the world’s leading exporters of energy, and SINTEF is one of Europe’s most important research and educational centres in the field of environmentally friendly technology.

Most of the areas of environmental research in which we operate are climate-related, and tackle the problem of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This is the field that we are profiling on these web-pages.

With regards to the author of the report, Emil Royrvik’s list of publications can be found [here].

From the Table of Contents:

1. Introduction                                                                                                                                    1.1 The four myths of climate change                                                                                     1.2 Scope and definitions                                                                                                                 1.3 Notes on the philosophy of science

2. Consensus perspectives in science and the public)                                                        2.1 Consensus repertoires                                                                                                               2.2 Critique of the consensus studies 

3. Hot debates                                                                                                                                    3.1 “The hockey stick”                                                                                                                    3.2 The measure of measuring: A note on temperature constructions                      3.3 “Climategate”

4. Contrarian perspectives in science (and the public)                                                     4.1 Surveys and petitions of dissenting and contrarian positions

5. Conclusions

Excerpts from the conclusions section of the report:

To illustrate the way that scientific, political and ethical concerns are mixed in the debate on Anthropogenic Global Warming this report used the by now famous quote from Gro Harlem Brundtland, that ”doubt has been eliminated”, and that it is ”irresponsible, reckless and deeply immoral to question the seriousness of the situation” as a point of departure.

The goal of the report was to enter this debate and “battlefield” of arguments and take stock of the debate about anthropogenic (man-made) global warming. Based on the present review of this debate there are several conclusions to be drawn. The first and simplest one is that considered as an empirical statement, the assertion that “doubt has been eliminated” on AGW is plainly false. Although as documented the level of agreement in the scientific literature that AGW is occurring is quite extensive, the magnitude of dissent, questioning and contrarian perspectives and positions in both scientific discourse and public opinion on the question of AGW evidently contradicts such a proclamation.

The second conclusion is that the scientific debate may be considered healthy. The levels and types of disagreement crosscuts most camps and categorizations, so that a presentation of two-sided war with a 97-98 % majority consensus and 2-3 % group of sceptics and “deniers” is flawed. At the level of scientific exchange, there is in the climate sciences an ongoing discussion and organized critique that seems to a large extent (with arguably some major exceptions as highlighted in the “climategate” affair) to be working as “normal science” should. The allegation that the science of AGW is settled to such a degree and cohesion that the debate can be closed, contradicts the findings in this report. There are multiple on-going debates and questioning, also in mainstream scientific outlets, even on such fundamental issues as whether the greenhouse warming effect is a reality or a fiction; if it is scientifically meaningful at all to talk about a global temperature; if the significant warming that seems to have happened since the Little Ice Age in the perspective of longer timescales can be considered extraordinary; the significance of other sources, such as the sun, on climate change; if warming means better or worse conditions on earth; and the extent to which man contributes to the changing climate of earth.

The scientific debate has not yet been “black boxed” in the case of AGW, and the case illustrates a general argument made that the more “upstream” into the specific details of the diverse topics scientists dive, the more technical and controversial the issues become. It is not uncommon to seek to close scientific debates prematurely, but although seemingly substantial efforts are being made to do so in the case of AGW, they have not fully succeeded. We might add, in light of the findings in this report the scientific debate should (and most likely will) continue on its own terms, unhampered to the extent possible by ideological constraints.

Thirdly, we see that the normativity in the Brundtland statement has several problems when interpreted as a general statement about the practices, authority and truth claims of science in the context of science. In this context the form of dogmatism expressed by Brundtland, even explicitly asserting that raising further critical questions is immoral, is itself unscientific and contrary to the norms of the scientific institution from which she lends her authority in this case. Such a position then rather seems to represent a form of quasi-religious faith in science .

The general questions about the justification and legitimacy of the authority of types of perspectives and positions have received massive attention in philosophical and epistemological discourse, and they have no easy answers, yet Brundtland’s and other similar statements, carries with it an inherent contradiction that undermines its legitimacy. If, as we have shown earlier, science is defined epistemologically as fallible and as a practice “that embodies norms of doubt and self-criticism, the belief in Science cannot be too dogmatic and too hostile towards criticism raised against it without becoming unscientific”. This problem is undoubtedly something we can observe in the quote from Brundtland, and as shown in the case of “climategate” and other examples used in this report, it also arguably applies to some extent to parts of climate science more in general.

Indeed, the Norwegian Research Ethics Committee for Science and Technology (NENT) processed a complaint about Brundtland’s speech in 2009, and gave an answer including these comments: “Traditional academic norms allow and encourage doubt and critical questions. Doubt may in such contexts be well or ill founded, but not irresponsible and immoral by itself”. NENT concluded that Brundtland’s speech differed from “accepted language use in scientific contexts” , implying that they violated the ethos of science.

As a response to this critique one might argue that Brundtland not at all was representing the voice of science, participated in the context of science, or was trying to be a philosopher of science, but rather communicated as a concerned citizen and public official that sought to spur the public to action based on the precautionary principle and broader beliefs (not only based in scientific beliefs) about the looming dangers of global warming. Based on all the diverse experience of Brundtland, this caveat is not entirely unlikely. Nevertheless, her statement, and the similar voices of the “consensus camp”, to the extent that they solely rely upon, represent or construct more or less dogmatic or relatively “undoubtful” truth claims adopted or adapted from IPCC and other science based institutions, they are simultaneously undermining the authority and legitimacy of their broader concerns by expressing this unscientific faith in Science (with capital S as the one and only Truth).

By insisting on scientific consensus and the “elimination of doubt”, seeking to declare the science of AGW settled once and for all, and imbuing this putative settlement with highly normative and pejorative allegations (to question is “irresponsible, reckless and immoral”), the consensus approach clings to being (solely) “science-based”, but its position is at the same time implicitly in direct opposition to the ethos of “normal science”. It is not supported, justified or endorsed by science in its canonical expression, where science, based on thinkers such as Kant, Popper, Merton and Polanyi is seen to be constituted on continued discussion, open criticism, antidogmatism, (self)critical mindset, methodological doubt, and the organization of scepticism.

In open societies where both scientists and the general public are equipped with critical skills and the tools of inquiry, not least enabled by the information revolution provided through the Internet, the ethos of science as open, questioning, critical and anti-dogmatic should and can be defended also by the public at large. Efforts to make people bow uncritically to the authority of a dogmatic representation of Science, seems largely to produce ridicule, opposition and inaction, and ultimately undermines the legitimacy and role of both science and politics in open democracies.

JC comments:  Although I find some of the choices and characterizations of the contrarian arguments to be unfortunate, I think there is some wisdom in this analysis.  The analysis was not kind to the overly staunch defenders of the consensus.  I find the final bolded paragraph to be very well said.  And I am impressed by the objectivity of this analysis.  I look forward to your comments.

420 responses to “Consensus and controversy

  1. I believe, Judith, you are on some sort of panel of the APS looking at the issue of CAGW. I hope you will bring this paper into the discussions. I hope someone can also bring it to the attention of the Royal Society.

  2. A refreshingly honest and open evaluation. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. A paper in progress, “The Sun’s Origin, Composition, Source of Energy and Current Sphere of Influence” will document that the corruption of science started out of fear of the energy source that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

  4. Well I detected the bias in the report. Subtle little tells. Sources of information used (Monctkon 2007!). The way things are relayed and the words used…

    • Lolwot, do you ever listen to yourself?

      • You think it’s some sort of 6th sense. It isn’t.

        An example of the bias the report is where it quotes criticisms of Anderegg et al at length. Then ends with: “Comprehensive responses by Anderegg et al. to the critiques against their paper, including Bodenstein (2010) and Aarstad (2010), have been published (see bibliography).”

        No quotations or discussion. Yet the paper concludes: “there are several grounds for critique of the basis upon which the idea of a “near unanimous consensus” on AGW has emerged”

        But the report didn’t analyze any of the criticisms to determine if they were valid. So what’s the point? Notice the conclusion didn’t mention that there are grounds for critique of the critiques. It’s written as if the critiques are to be taken on face value.

        Okay well on that basis because I can find creationists critiquing the age of the Earth therefore we can conclude the science on the matter isn’t settled.

        Which is just as absurd as how the paper concludes there is a debate on the existence of the greenhouse effect just because the paper notes some people critique it.

        This is the bias at work. Nowhere are the skeptic claims critiqued. They are taken at face value. There is no analysis. You could almost say that the report essentially argues that because there are skeptics saying there is no consensus, therefore there must be no consensus.

      • I think that lolwot has a point even though I am quite sympathetic to the point of view expressed by the report’s author. He tilted the presentation of the evidence to give the last and best word to the contrarians. I was particularly skeptical of the way he handled the contrarian challenge to the basic physics of AGW. Aside from my own understanding of the issues, it strains credulity that the many physicists who’ve looked at this, both within and without climate science, would have somehow missed such a fundamental error.

        My guess is that he tilted as he did for three reasons: 1) He is trying to ‘lean against the wind” in anticipation of his audience’s attitudes, 2) he is content to say that the consensus is overstated, so all he has to do is show that a lot of seemingly qualified people keep saying skeptical things, and 3) some of the STS types like sticking it to mainstream science, which they think in general receives excessive deference and in specific isn’t that much better than the social science stuff they do.

        So this was a useful framing and compendium of contrarian ideas and something I wouldn’t mind the educated public reading and digesting, but it had little impact on my thinking about the problem.

      • He has to. There’s no one else in the echo chamber.

    • It’s a secret code that you seem to have cracked. Make sure you’ve got your tinfoil hat on, just in case they try to influence you with secret radio waves…

    • What is hard to understand? What do you believe?

      Do you believe in a digital world and models of reality according to academics who have never held real jobs. Do you believe models that can be constructed to say anything you want them to say?

      Or, do you believe in the real world where things happen for reasons we do not always understand but still must dealt with? Do you believe in the Hale-Boppers of academia or those who are not afraid to face reality even if it sometimes gets dirty and picking up the pieces can sometimes be messy?

      If Mao’s Red Shirts ever manage to take over society there will be no second-guessing. They’d march Western academia to the farms to shuck corn in a NY-minute.

      • You need glasses(blogs) to better perceive? Woof, well, enough about that.
        ===================

  5. When I get to the statement “the science is settled” I’m done. It’s political, and it’s rubbish. I don’t read Al Gore, and I don’t read Al Gore haters. One has to lie to oneself to write “the science is settled”, which means this one is written by liar(s). There is no point going further.

    • David Springer

      Eh? The conclusions are pretty far from supporting any settled science.

  6. “A study by Watts et al. (2012) showed that half of the recent warming measured in the US is artificial, caused by measuring problems:”

    WOW. How did such an UNKNOWN, UNPUBLISHED and NON PEER REVIEWED study get written into this supposedly unbiased report?

    Here’s two guesses. The author is either a climate skeptic trying and failing to hide their bias. OR… they are channeling a climate skeptic or organization of skeptics who they’ve got into contact with and who has provided them most of the information for their report.

    Dr Curry, how did you hear about this report? Where did you hear about it’s existence?

    • Simply amazing. Rubbish was a compliment. It’s sewage.

    • Iolwot

      I suspect Judith might have come across the author at tall blokes workshop

      http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2013/04/23/emil-a-royrvik-the-debate-on-man-made-global-warming/

      Reading his list of peepers linked to By Judith the author seems to have an impressive pedigree and no obvious right wing or sceptical bias or indeed a particular interest in climate change.

      I shall read the piece with an open mind and follow the links. If he is unbiased he should be quoting both ‘sides’ of the debate
      Tonyb

      • David Springer

        WattsUpWithThat posted it on the same day as TalkBloke. We need a timestamp.

        first comment on wuwt April 23, 2013 at 9:44 am

        first comment tallbloke April 23, 2013 at 10:16 pm

        10:16pm GMT (tallbloke) is 3:16pm PDST. By the first comment (only way I know to get a time in addition to a date Anthony beat Roger to it by about 6 hours. Almost for sure Curry would see it at WUWT before Talk Shop even if Roger had it first because of so much more traffic at WUWT. Roger’s site focuses more on the shall we say roads less traveled in climate-related physics which I presume Curry would tend to eschew.

      • David said

        “10:16pm GMT (tallbloke) is 3:16pm PDST”

        The reason there were no replies for 6 hours is that all of us in Britain would have been tucked up in Bed and fast asleep….

        You may be right with the timings and source,the main point is that Judith would have come across the article fairly readily and not be sent it from some nefarious back door route that Iolwot was implying.
        tonyb

    • I can see your umbrage. The study was especially harsh on you. You are demonstrating exactly what the findings were.

    • Quentin Cantrell

      Your comment is not internally consistent. You allege that Watts et al (2012) is unknown, and then proceed to criticize it with facts that you apparently know about it–or at least claim to know about it. Very telling.

      • I know about it because I follow the blogs. On the blogs it was a brief flash event in late summer 2012.

        That’s why I am asking is the author of the report a little more interested in the skeptic blogs than we are led to believe. Or have they been in contact with a climate skeptic who has dumped a load of information to them to use in the report?

        There is a pattern in the report of obscure esoteric skeptic memes being channeled. As someone familiar with these memes I find it strange that an outside observer could so easily come across them.

        Also note that the author cited Watts 2012 but it has never been published to peer review. Which suggests the author didn’t check Watts 2012 existed. Or perhaps believed someone who implied it had?

        See it’s strange.

      • Conspiracy theorist! And here I was under the impression that Lewandowsky said only skeptics were conspiracy theorists! You just blew lewandowsky out of the water. But then it was not floating before you contradicted him.

      • Iolwot

        The author would quickly have become aware of wuwt. Right on the front page there is a link to the watts study. The author would have been far less diligent than he appears if he hadn’t read it early on in his research.

        Personally I found the report linked to by Judith to be a little tedious precisely because it is unbiased, moderate and gives both sides of the story. Papers tend to be more interesting when they take a firm position either way, enabling either sceptics or warmists to get enraged.I can’t see the bias you seem to believe is there . It is genuinely pretty well balanced
        Tonyb

      • “The author would quickly have become aware of wuwt. Right on the front page there is a link to the watts study. The author would have been far less diligent than he appears if he hadn’t read it early on in his research.”

        If the author was that diligent they would have surely realized it had not been published. And they would have also come across the criticisms of it. Looks like a similar trap. People look for critiques of something (temperature records) but don’t think of looking for ciitiques of the critiques.

        And why is WUWT still linking to a post that is making claims based on methods that are known to contain errors? Imagine if the IPCC front page was still linking to an article claiming Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2030.

    • Steven Mosher

      ‘“A study by Watts et al. (2012) showed that half of the recent warming measured in the US is artificial, caused by measuring problems:”

      While I agree with a good deal of the report, when I got to that sentence I stopped reading.

      • Peter Lang

        Isn’t it amazing how many people stop reading something when it says something that doesn’t agree with their beliefs. What a clear example of motivated reasoning.

      • David Springer

        I suppose that’s fair considering I stopped taking you seriously when I found out were basically a door-to-door Sound Blaster salesman before you became a self-annointed blog blasting atmospheric physics expert. LOL

      • Steven Mosher

        @ Peter.
        Huh, I didnt stop reading because it didnt agree with my beliefs.
        As I said, I agree with a good deal of the report. I stopped reading
        at page 34 of 82, because of the continued annoying errors. I do get to decide how much time I get to spend reading stuff I largely agree with
        especially when they annoy me by making stupid mistakes

        @ Springer.

        Ha, Davy, you talk that way now, but when you were at Dell you guys
        begged me to build Mp3 players for you and I did.

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

        That was me and Cy Loo.

        And you made a ton of money off the company (Nvidia) that I backed prior to their IPO ( invested 5M pre IPO made 150M)

        Audio? Sound Blaster, hmm, Only did one thing there..
        The only stuff I did there was with John Carmack. You know him. you worshipped him. Sitting there with him in texas one day, listening to him talk about light maps in Quake, I suggested
        that we could do the same thing with 3D audio and pre compute
        the sound map for ambient sounds, then in real time handle any
        reflections and obstructions from interactive sound. He liked the idea.
        So,I came home from that trip sat down with Keith Charley and
        laid out the vision for Eagle. Keith did the rest.

        http://archive.arstechnica.com/etc/games/2000/gars-03132000.html#eax

        Salesman? nope never worked in sales.

      • David Springer

        ‘Fraid not Steven. I was long gone from Dell before their foolish attempt to build a better iPod. There’s a reason Dell hasn’t done anything noteworthy since 2000. There’s a reason the stock price is far lower now that it was at the turn of the century. I resigned in January 2000 is the reason. Having invented the internet, the laptop, and consumer desktops with 3D GPUs in them, my job was done and I left the field for 10 years to get back in touch with the natural world and that well known but oft derided Messican ‘Manuel Labor’.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Having invented the internet, the laptop, and consumer desktops with 3D GPUs ”

        some day I’ll tell you how the GPU got it’s name.

    • lolwot, you write “WOW. How did such an UNKNOWN, UNPUBLISHED and NON PEER REVIEWED study get written into this supposedly unbiased report?”

      This shows a completely unscientific approach to the subject. There seems to be a belief with some warmisrs, that because some paper has been peer reviewed, it acquires a mystical value of being “right”. It does not. A scientific paper is right or wrong depending on the scientific content of the paper itself. There a thousnads of examples in the history of science where peer reviewed documents turned out to be scientific garbage; and non-peer reviewed articles turned out to be absolutely correct.

      I would assume that the authors of the paper we are discussing, have read all the references they have used, and have concluded that the science presented in them is correct. People like lolwot should not crirticise the inclusion of a reference on the basis of it’s peer reviewed pedigree; but only on the scientific content of the paper itself.

      • “I would assume that the authors of the paper we are discussing, have read all the references they have used, and have concluded that the science presented in them is correct”

        Why would you assume?

      • Also Jim the unpublished Watts 2012 paper is known to be wrong. So if the author of the report had, as you assume, “concluded that the science presented in them is correct” they would be incorrect.

        Also the report criticized BEST for publishing without peer review. So do you think the report author took a “completely unscientific approach to the subject”?

      • Because one would think that any researcher worth their salt would be able to tell the difference between good and bad science – regardless of its peer-review status (or lack of)

      • I didn’t say Watts 2012 was bad science. I said it was wrong.

      • Then you should have no problem proving your assertion. Do so.

      • lolwot you write “Why would you assume?”

        Because they are, IMHO, acting like proper scientidsts are expected to act.

      • lolwot, you write “Also Jim the unpublished Watts 2012 paper is known to be wrong.”

        Peer reviewed reference , please.

        You also write “Also the report criticized BEST for publishing without peer review.”

        I have not checked your claim, and I am going from memory. But I think the criticism of the BEST report was not because it had not been peer reviewed, but because the results were given to the media before it was published.

      • “Peer reviewed reference , please.”

        Here you go:

        http://www.skepticalscience.com/watts_new_paper_critique.html

      • Sorry, Sks is NOT a peer reviewed reference. Want to try for a REAL link?

      • People like philjordon should not crirticise the inclusion of a reference on the basis of it’s peer reviewed pedigree; but only on the scientific content of the reference itself!

      • People like lolwot should learn to differentiate between science and religion. If you want to be a member of the religious faithful at SkS, be my guest. But do not pass that off as science.

      • This shows a completely unscientific approach to the subject. There seems to be a belief with some skeptics, that because some text has been peer reviewed, it acquires a mystical value of being “right”. It does not. A blog post is right or wrong depending on the scientific content of the post itself.

      • Any number of places point to the fact that Watts did not correct for Time of Observation Bias. That’s why Pielke Sr. and McIntyre walk nay ran away from it. Any how, more links to this issue here

      • Eli said

        “Any number of places point to the fact that Watts did not correct for Time of Observation Bias. “

        You mean as in not doing it at a consistent time of day, or not correcting for that time?

        I haven’t paid a ton of attention to the research Watts is involved in because I always figured it would never rise above “Brown Institute” TV weatherman quality, but this seems like a pretty obvious correction, even if all you have is a broadcasting school education.

      • The correction puts all the measurements on a common time of observation basis. For example, you expect the temperature to be much warmer at 12 noon than 12 midnight. If a station measures at the same time all the time there is no problem. If it changes the time of observation one (or two time) in the series, that is easy to correct for, but if it jump around that is more significant. Small rural stations tend to jump around a lot at least before automation

      • Eli, with the old LIG TOB was not that much of an issue, they just recorded that actual Max and the actual Min without recording the time of those events. There could a be a date lag or lead by a day with a different reading time, but the Max and Min occurred when the actual Max and Min occurred. So correcting to TOBs is not that difficult since BEST gets about the same results splicing.

        If Watts was using actual Tmax and Tmin his results would just show what times the average Tmax and Tmin happened instead of adjusting the actual to “global” For a US only paper, it really shouldn’t have much impact, in fact, it could be considered a “novel” approach, using the actual data.

    • This is my first visit here, so I first responded in an obscure place. But “me thinks though doth protest too much”. See my comment below.

  7. “An excellent place to start to take stock of the scientific diversity of positions on AGW is the site Popular Technology, that has assembled more than 1100 peer-reviewed scientific papers that voices. various arguments that are in different types of disagreement and tension towards the alleged consensus. According to the site: “The following papers support skeptic arguments against Anthropogenic Climate Change (ACC), Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) or ACC/AGW
    Alarm. The site has, to the best of our knowledge, answered, rebutted and reacted appropriately to all critique it has received concerning the collection.”

    Warning warning warning. Something is wrong here.

    As an aside the phrase “to the best of our knowledge” is curious. I thought the report had a single author. Maybe that the word “our” is an accident or has some explanation?

    • lolwot,

      You know a lot about academic writing then? It is generally considered good practice to avoid first person references (my for example) as this presents things as an opinion, not as science – rhetoric maybe, but it explains why “our knowledge” would occur. Furthermore, writers generally ask other people if they don’t know anything, so even individually-authored papers tend to have a collaborative element anyway.

      If you are quibbling at this level, it kind of shows a severe lack of actual scientific problems – so far you have the use of grey literature and some strange (to you) linguistic constructions as your evidence of something wrong – so on that basis, I presume you are also suspicious of the IPCC reports.

    • Name the criticism that I have not rebutted in extensive detail.

  8. I read this a few weeks ago. While there were parts that I might have wished that the author had run the English version past someone for whom English is a first language – and perhaps for more nuance in some descriptions of the non-consensus arguments – overall, I found it to be a very balanced and refreshing change.

    As I recall, he commented on Marcott et al‘s March madness in Science, i.e. the misleading headline-grabber. And he acknowledged and cited you, Andrew Montford, Mcintyre and McKitrick. Who could ask for anything more?! Well, I could have asked that he include mention of Donna Laframboise’s The Delinquent Teenager …. But c’est la vie

    One of the highlights from my (first and only,so far) reading was on p. 25, where he is quoting Bodenstein’s 2010 critique of the notorious PNAS Anderegg et al pseudo-scholarship (my bold and paragraph breaks inserted for ease of reading):

    “The study by Anderegg et al. (1) employed suspect methodology that treated publication metrics as a surrogate for expertise. Credentialed scientists, having devoted much of their careers to a certain area, with multiple relevant peer-reviewed publications, should be deemed core experts, notwithstanding that others are more or less prolific in print or that their views stand in the minority.

    In the climate change (CC) controversy, a priori, one expects that the much larger and more “politically correct” side would excel in certain publication metrics.

    They continue to cite each other’s work in an upward spiral of self-affirmation. The authors’ treatment of these deficiencies in Materials and Methods was unconvincing in the skewed and politically charged environment of the CC hubbub and where one group is in the vast majority (1). The data hoarding and publication blockade imbroglio was not addressed at all. The authors’ framing of expertise was especially problematic. […]”

    [Bodenstein had concluded:]

    Publication of this article as an objective scientific study does a true disservice to scientific discourse. Prominent scientific journals must focus on scientific merit without sway from extracurricular forces.

    They must remain cautious about lending their imprimatur to works that seem more about agenda and less about science, more about promoting a certain dogma and less about using all of the evidence to better our understanding of the natural world.

    Hear! Hear!

    • “Publication of this article as an objective scientific study does a true disservice to scientific discourse. Prominent scientific journals must focus on scientific merit without sway from extracurricular forces. They must remain cautious about lending their imprimatur to works that seem more about agenda and less about science”

      Yet you think a report that cites the discredited and unpublished Watts 2012 and the easily critiqued list on Popular Technology site is balanced!

      What hypocrisy

      • It’s OK, l’lwot … I understand completely that you would much prefer that the rest of the world not know about WUWT – or indeed any perspective that fails to comply with your view of the world.

        But thank you for reminding me that I should also have mentioned Anthony Watts among those whose names and work I was pleased to see acknowledged and cited.

        As usual, I see that you are doing your level best to divert from any intelligent discussion with your trademark sneer ‘n smear “debating” tactics.

        Gaia forbid that you should actually take the time to read with some measure of comprehension – and show that you actually possess the ability to exercise some critical thinking skills!

        Oh, well … do have a nice, robotic sneer ‘n smear day, l’wot.

      • So you think it’s great that the report cites a non peer reviewed study?

        Even the report disagrees. For example earlier the report complains that results of Muller’s BEST study were circulated as fact before it was peer reviewed: “At the time of the great media attention devoted to the (BEST) study, the results were still not published in a peer-reviewed journal, but nevertheless widely circulated….In this particular case, the argumentation is somewhat hollow all the time both Muller and the media present the results as final.”

        later Report: “A study by Watts et al. (2012) showed that half of the recent warming measured in the US is artificial, caused by measuring problems”

        Yet Watts 2012 was not only shown (and admitted) to be wrong shortly after it was published (on a blog), it wasn’t even published to peer review.

        You call that sneer and smear. Yet I am simply presenting a robust argument about the bias and failings of this report that you either don’t understand or don’t want to address.

      • Note that the argument that BEST was not peer reviewed is another one of the little skeptic memes I find it unlikely an outside observer to stumble across so easily. Another piece of that pattern.

      • Latimer Alder

        Since ‘peer-review’ in climatology seems to mean little more than you asked a ‘right-thinking’ buddy to look at it for five minutes and not to say anything nasty about it, whether or not something has been so reviewed seems to me to be of little significance. Maybe in other areas it still has some value…but not this one.

        I am reminded of the delightful case of a paper last year by Gergis et al. Months in the writing, properly peer-reviewed and all, announced to the press with great fanfare and considerable hubris. A triumph of climatology and the existing publication methods. And one in the eye for those nasty ignorant sceptics too!

        It lasted less than four days in blogosphere review before it was ‘withdrawn for corrections’…and has never seen the light of day again.

        Peer-review = pal-review.

      • “whether or not something has been so reviewed seems to me to be of little significance”

        You are in the minority then. Even among skeptics there is acceptance that peer review is important. A lot of them complained that BEST was not peer reviewed. And a lot of them complained that the IPCC was citing non-peer reviewed sources.

        Peer review matters to most people. Even this report leans on peer reviewed studies.

      • “So you think it’s great that the report cites a non peer reviewed study?”

        They’re just following the IPCC’s example. But unlike the IPCC, they didn’t lie about it.

      • Latimer Alder

        @lolowot

        I may be in a minority on this topic, but its a growing one’

        No doubt there are still many ‘professional scientists’ who cling to the idea that climatology peer/pal review isn’t a currency that their own actions have devalued to nothing.

        But – as Gary M so sagely points out, when even the climatologits own home journal – the IPCC ARx reports – pay no attention to whether something has overcome this near-invisible hurdle, then it’s time to give it a pauper’s burial in some distant corner of a churchyard.

        Its time came and went. And that’s about all that can be said for it.

      • Discredited? Then you would have no problem linking to the discrediting of it. Your opinion is less than worthless.

      • Then surely you can name a valid criticism that has not been refuted in extensive detail. Make sure to check the rebuttals section of the list before embarrassing yourself here.

  9. This report is a very good read for anyone interested in critical thinking, good writing and perspective on the climate arguments. It is analysis with substance.

    IMO this report should be a must read for anyone in participating in a graduate science or law program. A little long for business but the analytics are first class.

    Strangely, some pretty intelligent folks are so polarized by their CAGW belief that they will not read beyond the first page (“the science is settled belief seems to preclude the need for reviewing alternative perspectives”). Fortunately, science and scientists showed a better side last week when scientist’s using observable evidence affirmed aspects of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. What will open minds accomplish next?

    The SINTEF report is a step in the right direction and a good read. Great post Dr. Curry!

    • Time is far better spent on Google scholar; AGW observer, professor websites, etc. There are tons of alternative perspectives there.

      It has nothing to do with my beliefs or the openness of my mind or polarization.

    • Peter Lang

      GaryD,

      Strangely, some pretty intelligent folks are so polarized by their CAGW belief that they will not read beyond the first page (“the science is settled belief seems to preclude the need for reviewing alternative perspectives”).

      Isn’t it interesting how many of the ususal suspects stopped reading when they got to that statement. Mosher is one of them.

      • Peter Lang

        Woops, correction. That was not the statement that M osher got to and stopped. My mistake. I retract.

  10. If climate theory and climate model output does disagree with actual data and it really, really does, then we need to look at the actual data and figure out what it means and ignore the increasing travesty of the more rapidly growing disagreement.

  11. Is there anything here that is new in the very slightest?

  12. The reaction we have seen here so far tells pretty well about the direction of the bias in that report.

    There are certainly some good points, and the statement of Brundtland deserves the critique but that’s not enough to make the report unbiased.

    • Pekka,
      I have been waiting for entry. Kind of surprised by your concern. This report seems a perfect match for you approach to arguing. It was written for critical thinkers like yourself. It was not intended to end the debate and pokes fun at extreme arguments.. Would you not agree that the debate is really coming down to the empirical data? Lets push the other stuff to the side.

      There is room for objective criticism of how this debate has unfolded. It was pure and simple over kill by a group of zealots.The report reflects sides with big opinions some saying it is “settled science”, others saying “it might take 100 years to understand” and some saying “what me worry”. You seem to always have your act together but the substance of the report is about people that use every approach to win despite the obvious questions.
      Fortunately, 6C temperatures increases seem dead. Maybe the latter will permit reasonable people with observable evidence to evolve reasonable mitigation strategies.

      This report is too civilized for we American’s but there is nothing wrong with learning from someone with a good approach (the report). This subject gets vexing and pedantic because people talk about everything but the observables 99.9% of the time. Taking apart the climate argument objectives and dirty tricks should be commended period.

      I seldom totally agree with you but you integrity gets all my respect and attention. Win and attack at all cost is stupid logic. The report was funny and honest.

  13. Chief Hydrologist

    ‘The language of fear and constructions of “catastrophe” regarding global warming has been firmly established during the last two decades, and professor of climate change Mike Hulme argues that this language has been embellished in the post 9/11 era (2009: 66). A report by the Institute of
    Public Policy Research in London commented on a comprehensive study of climate change discourses in the British media from 2006/2007 the following way: “The alarmist repertoire uses an inflated language, with terms such as “catastrophe”, “chaos” and “havoc”, and its tone is often urgent. It employs a quasi-religious register of doom, death, judgement, heaven and hell” (2007: 55). Likewise, the widely popular “tipping point” metaphor signifies the possible coming of sudden apocalypse.’

    I try to avoid the language of millennialist doom – apart from joking about being a climate catastrophist in the sense of René Thom – but tipping point ain’t no metaphor.

  14. Chief Hydrologist

    ‘…in the American vernacular the particular geo-political arenas of war is often labelled a “theatre of war”. Even though the subject matter of this report is both deserving of, and demands to be taken highly seriously, the theatre metaphor is in itself also quite appropriate. The debate on global warming has a theatrical ambience to it on several levels. It abounds with stories of tragedy, untergang and apocalypse, of crisis, saviours and salvation, and in several of these also (unintended) genres of melodrama and comedy is not difficult to detect. It borrows several of its communicative scripts from classical narratives, often including plots of good and evil, of culprits and heroes, and of nature’s ultimate revenge upon the unlimited folly of a humanity of myopic fools and malfeasants.’

    Someday I will have to take Spengler off my bucket list.

    • The best way to remove Spengler is by reading him. The Decline of the West is a fabulous work, sadly lost to the modern age.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        So said Henry Miller – and Miller was my literary education. De Untergang des Abendlandes? Done – I am going out to buy an ereader – it will be first in my new library.

        Regard the flowers at eventide…

  15. Yes anyone who says the debate is settled, in the sense that catastrophe IS 100% going to happen if certain actions are not taken is wrong. Or is even likely to happen.

    Anyone who says the debate is settled on the greenhouse effect or warming, or humans causing warming or cites a consensus on these things however I think is right.

    So the paper overreaches. It’s ridiculous to say there is a debate that the greenhouse exists. Okay sure there is, but only in the same sense there is also a debate that the Earth is only 6000 years old.

    • Leonard Weinstein

      lolwot,
      Even a butterfly flapping it’s wings causes an effect that may be large in a long enough time scale. In that sense, human caused warming is a fact. The point however, is how much and what reasonable time period effect. The absorption of long wave radiation by CO2 is also a fact, but feedbacks may (actually probably, but the issue is not proven yet) make the effects on Earth very small. You have not said anything of value here.

      • The consensus of experts is that the effect of CO2 on global temperature is huge.

        Even 0.8C per doubling is huge. 0.8C is as much as all the warming of the 20th century. At 0.8C per doubling it means humans can cause MORE than all the warming of the 20th century. That’s huge.

        “Very small” as you describe it would have to be something like 0.1C. That’s not remotely plausible given the scientific evidence at hand.

      • The consensus of the scientists during Galileo’s time was that the earth was the center of the Universe.

        So much for consensus.

      • So you admit there is a consensus then?

      • lolwot,

        You claim that 0.8 C is hugh. Care to list some of the negative impacts of that huge increase during the 20th century?

      • Only if you don’t believe in conservation of energy.

      • lolwot

        The consensus of experts is that the effect of CO2 on global temperature is huge

        References?

        Max

    • Yes anyone who says the debate is settled, in the sense that catastrophe IS 100% going to happen if certain actions are not taken is wrong. Or is even likely to happen.

      Anyone who says the debate is settled on the greenhouse effect or warming, or humans causing warming or cites a consensus on these things however I think is right.

      On this we can agree.

  16. Latimer Alder

    ‘Efforts to make people bow uncritically to the authority of a dogmatic representation of Science, seems largely to produce ridicule, opposition and inaction’

    All to the incandescent fury of those who have been making these efforts…….as so beautifully illustrated by various contributors above. :-)

    PS: The bit he forgot to add was ‘and the greatest of these is ridicule.’

  17. Kip Hansen

    Dr. Curry — Very nice coverage of an under-reported, but important and rising, viewpoint amongst those who are watching the “science show” from the outside.

    The Climate Science Wars are one of a half dozen or so major battles being fought with the same tactics by (usually) two sides on a hot topic (usually) broad public issue — in each case in a science that is in its infancy. Others are Salt Wars, Obesity Wars, the Great Barrier Reef Wars, the Vaccination Wars (almost, but not quit over) — readers who range more broadly across the plains of the science world may wish to add more examples.

    A fine example is Watts (2012) — a paper fired as a counter-salvo to the first BEST paper. BEST’s paper was originally refused by a major journal and ended up being snuck into the “literature” by being published in an author-pays junk journal while the Watts paper still awaits correction over an error discovered in pre-release crowd-review. Purists on one side of the battle (SM and others) refuse to read the SINTEF article because it mentions their arch-nemesis Watts in a positive way.

    Reminds me of the “Source of the Nile Wars” between Capt John Speke and Sir Richard Burton.

    Truthfully, my advancing age is enriched by the humor I find in “The Wars” mentioned above.

    • Thank you, Kip, for such a sane and restrained comment. Much better than many above.

    • Kip surely you are part of this humor!

      First you admit the Watts paper is both in error and unpublished but then you defend a report that cites a paper you know is in error and is unpublished!

      And you act ignorant when other people think the report is wrong to do so! No, these other people must just not like Watts you conclude. Can’t have anything to do with the error you admit is in the paper, or the fact it is unpublished!

      Wow that’s some joke!

      • Not to mention you criticize the unpublished/published state of the BEST papers just BEFORE you defend the report that cited an unpublished paper which you thought was positive for the author!

      • As I understand it, the “error” has to do with a Time of Observations correction. It seems Anthony did not include the correction the 1st time around, and Steve McIntyre suggested that he should. If I’m referring to the correct paper. And it may have become mooted by a follow-on paper of Anthony’s, where he showed that the amount of UHI influence depends on the area of the “ubanity” (yes, I neologized) visible to the thermometer. But, my point is with regard to the Surface Stations Project paper, it’s not so much an error as a difference of opinion, and may not seriously affect the results. So you can’t call it discredited.

    • Steven Mosher

      ‘Purists on one side of the battle (SM and others) refuse to read the SINTEF article because it mentions their arch-nemesis Watts in a positive way.”

      Wrong. i said I stopped reading it when I got to that sentence which was on the top of page 34. (of 82) Not because it mentioned Anthony in a positive way, but because it had gotten so many things wrong by that point that the mispresentation about Anthony’s paper was the final straw. no wait the paragraph about essex was actually when I closed the window.

      On Watts 2012

      in July of 2012 I made a public offer to sign a non disclosure to get the new data Anthony had. I expressed my concern then that the data would never be released. Go look at climate audit.

      in December of 2012 Steve Mc, Anthony and I met for dinner ( anthony posted pictures) he explained that his analysis was done and shared the results in a general way. I look forward to its publication and if he needs help in any way he knows i will help in any way I can. I care about the data and only the data.

      Arch-nemesis? hardly. I count Anthony as a friend, I disagree with much of what he says about climate science. I’d write a paper with him today.

      • Kip Hansen

        SM — I will restate “Purists on one side of the battle refused to read the entire SINTEF article because it mentions their arch-nemesis Watts in a positive way. SM [see Sm's comment] refused to read the paper past the mention of the Watts paper.”

        Others: This paper is NOT about the details of The War — but the comments here illustrate their points better than their paper itself.

      • Steven Mosher

        Kip

        “M — I will restate “Purists on one side of the battle refused to read the entire SINTEF article because it mentions their arch-nemesis Watts in a positive way. SM [see Sm's comment] refused to read the paper past the mention of the Watts paper”

        Still wrong.
        1. Anthony is not my arch-nemesis.
        2. I stopped reading because of the sloppy errors . Watts paper
        was the straw that broke the camels back.
        3. I agree with most of what is said about the war.

        I’ll take your apology off the air

  18. Chief Hydrologist

    ‘The first myth is the image of a lost Eden, and it captures the idea of a loss, and a yearning and lament for restoring the conditions preceding this loss. As such it is characteristic of the melancholy sometimes attached to the condition of modern man and his fall from the “natural state” (Larsen 2009). This notion of climate change as a dramatization of a lost Eden can be traced back to the very origins of Environmentalism. In Richard H. Grove’s ”Green Imperialism” (1995), a meticulous and ground-breaking historical outline of the emergence of environmentalism 1700-1860, he highlights the role of Utopian (as well as physiocratic and medical) thinking in the history of environmentalist ideas, and documents the importance of the tropical, oceanic island ”Eden” as a primary vehicle for the emergence of new conservationist notions of nature.’

    ‘In its agenda paper for this year’s meeting, which was released on Saturday, UNESCO acknowledged Australia’s response to its concerns so far. But it also noted the outcomes of recent scientific reports showing a loss of coral cover during the past 27 years, resulting mainly from storm damage, climate change effects and crown-of-thorns starfish. And it raised the alarm that Queensland’s port strategy might not be exactly what UNESCO had had in mind.

    The World Heritage Centre had wanted an explicit statement that no port development would be allowed outside existing major port areas.

    Instead, it has been told by Australia that there are 43 proposed developments being assessed for potential impacts on the Great Barrier Reef.’ http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/reef-politics-turns-thorny/story-e6frg6z6-1226636306795

    Coral loss is a complex issue – mostly from crown of thorns starfish which is thought to associated nutrient from land. http://www.scienceinpublic.com.au/wp-content/uploads/Full-PNAS-paper-for-publication.pdf

    This is lost Eden as a result of port development. As a water quality specialist – with extensive knowledge of these ports and dredging – I would argue that the concern is very misleading. While the reefs themselves have very low turbidity – the coastal areas are dominated by low energy mud and silts. Turbidity there is a function of winds and tides and dredging is very localised and makes no difference at all to off-shore turbidity. It seems anti-ports for the sake of being anti-ports. Of course – it may really be what is exported through the ports.

    • Kip Hansen

      Chief — You must be aware that the data you quote and the papers you cite are salvos in the Great Barrier Reef Wars. The ports issue is one of the battlegrounds. And so it goes….and goes….and goes….

  19. We have already seen so many different articles discussing the trivial point that there are gaps in knowledge. Perhaps it would be more fruitful to start again to discuss, what is known.

    • Steven Mosher

      +1.

    • “the trivial point that there are gaps in knowledge”

      Anyone who thinks gaps in knowledge are trivial is not a scientist. Science exists to fill the gaps in knowledge.

      Andrew

    • Peter Lang

      Pekka Pirila,

      I disagree. We’ve argued incessantly about what is known. Talking more about what is known is a waste of time.

      Instead, what we should be doing is discussing what we need to know to inform policy that we don’t already know. I suggest it is these four main things:

      1, Climate sensitivity
      2. Damage function (damages per degree of warming)
      3. achievable decarbonisation rate of the global economy
      4. probability that the chosen policy will succeed and survive until the job is done

      When it is made this clear, there is only one answer to #4. It is “free markets” (with appropriate, light regulation of course)

      • Peter Lang

        I do not agree with you that it is “a waste of time” to reduce the great uncertainty of “what is known” (if that’s what you meant in your comment to Pekka) before we embark on any discussions of policy decisions on what to do about it.

        We do not even know that there is a warming problem.

        We do not even know that human GHG emissions have anything to do with past observed warming.

        We have no notion what our future climate will be, with or without added human GHG emissions.

        We also have no notion if we could change our planet’s climate, no matter what we did.

        So how in the world can we come up with any “policy recommendations” on climate change?

        On the other hand, we DO know that fossil fuel resources on our planet are limited (if we believe one study, we have already used up 15% of all the recoverable fossil fuels that were ever on our planet, so we only have 85% to go and we are using these up rapidly).

        So, on that basis alone, we can conclude that it makes very good sense to supplement fossil fuel use with other economically competitive options (in this case, there is nuclear power generation, which is competitive and where there is essentially no practical limit to the available fuel resource.)

        This will require overcoming an anti-nuclear mindset bordering on hysteria in some governments and populations, brought on by effective scare tactics of anti-nuclear environmental lobbying groups in the past.

        [Engaging these groups to essentially disavow their earlier stance on the dangers of nuclear power and now embrace it as a solution to an even greater climate change problem is a nice suggestion, but it seems highly unlikely IMO that this will occur.]

        At the same time, it makes sense to look for alternate solutions to that part of the total energy requirement, which cannot be covered by nuclear power (transportation).

        These are viable courses of action based on a real concern (I’m not talking about “peak oil” hysteria, but a sober analysis of remaining fossil fuel resources).

        A pragmatist might not worry about “doing the right thing for the wrong reasons”, but let’s not try to justify these policy solutions based on the uncertain claim that AGW is a potential problem for humanity – until this claim can be validated.

        Max

      • Peter Lang

        Manacker,

        I do not agree with you that it is “a waste of time” to reduce the great uncertainty of “what is known” (if that’s what you meant in your comment to Pekka) before we embark on any discussions of policy decisions on what to do about it.

        You misunderstood. I meant that it is a waste of time to continually argue about what is known and by so doing avoid addressing the important issues we have virtually no knowledge about, such as the damage function and decarbonisation rate. We’ve been researching ECS for over two decades and making little progress in reducing the uncertainty. The uncertainty has hardly changed in over 20 years. There is no indication the uncertainty will be significantly reduced any time soon. Therefore, I suggest we should move a substantial part of the research focus, resources and funding to tackling the other three major unknowns; i.e. #2, #3 and #4 in my answer to Pekka.

      • Peter Lang

        Manacker,

        So how in the world can we come up with any “policy recommendations” on climate change?

        Are you serious?

        Policy recommendations is exactly what Policy advisers do all the time. And politicians implement them. If they don’t have relevant information to steer them in a better direction, they will make policies based on what they consider the best information available (e.g. IPCC) and on where the votes are. The fact we have Kyoto Agreements, EU ETS, Australian and NZ carbon taxes, etc, demonstrates clearly that policy recommendations are being made all the time.

        We need to provide policy relevant information all the time. We cant wait until we have reduced the uncertainty of ECS. The policy advisers and politicians will move on an make policy on what they believe is the best information available at the time.

      • Peter,
        Hard to disagree!! Sounds like a real world approach to problem solving, CEO’s like to say “this is not on the job training” to the VP’s. Someone has to lead.

      • Peter Lang

        While you and I agree on most points, I think we do not agree on “policy recommendations”.

        IPCC issued a report in 2007, the AR4 WG1 “Summary for Policymakers”.

        This report (and its 1000+ backup scientific summary plus the WG2 and WG3 reports) was hailed by the mainstream media as the “gold standard” scientific report on our planet’s climate, what we were doing to it, the substantial risks that this poses and what we should be doing about it.

        But as the hype settled down, it became apparent that this document was full of holes and that the entire basis for CAGW, as outlined in the report, was totally flawed.

        So here we had a “policy recommendation” that (in the words of FDR’s first VP, John Nance Garner) wasn’t “worth a bucket of warm spit.”

        So I’m just saying that before anyone entertains thoughts of giving “policy recommendations” to “policy makers”, they should get the bases for their recommendations straight.

        To advise policymakers to favor the construction of nuclear power plants in order to address the potential problem of dwindling fossil fuel resources makes sense. (One could even add the politically correct sweetener that if there really is a potential CAGW problem, this could also be helpful in alleviating the impact.)

        But to advise policymakers to favor the construction of nuclear power plants in order to address the hypothetical but highly uncertain problem of CAGW does not make sense – until this uncertainty can be cleared up.

        Just my opinion on this, Peter.

        Max

      • Peter Lang

        Manacker,

        At the same time, it makes sense to look for alternate solutions to that part of the total energy requirement, which cannot be covered by nuclear power (transportation).

        I can’t let this comment pass without a response.

        I agree it makes sense to look at all potential alternative solutions. They should be looked at, and funded. on the basis of their probability of being economically viable in the foreseeable future, not on the basis of ideological belief (which is the basis for much of the research funding being directed to solar, wind, wave, geothermal, and the arguments for distributed energy “to stop the immoral, evil corporations that are ruining the planet and people lives”.)

        IMO, there is no way that biofuels (synthetic or whatever) can provide the energy that will be required for transport fuels this century. It is not likely to be a viable solution and, therefore, it is a diversion. It diverts attention from solutions that have much higher probability of success. Kit diverts the attention of the media, the public, the policy advisers and therefore, distorts how funding is distributed to researchers.

        However, electricity can provide the energy to produce transport fuels. There are many possible options and some of them will become economic eventually. We have no idea which. Here is one by John Morgan building on US Navy research proposing making 100,000 gallons per day of jet fuel from sea water on board its nuclear powered aircraft carriers. John Morgan is an industrial chemical engineer who won the Australian Engineer of the year award or something similar some years ago. http://bravenewclimate.com/2013/01/16/zero-emission-synfuel-from-seawater/

        There is simply no alternative energy source that has the capacity to provide our ever growing energy needs.

        The political and public perception problems are a “now” problem (like the red flag that had to be walked along in front of cars to warn horse a car is coming). We will get over them, just like we got past the red flag in front of the car. We’d get over our irrational fear of nuclear faster if those who want to cut GHG emissions could be persuaded to become advocates and stop repeating the tired old anti-nuke rhetoric.

      • Steven Mosher

        you dont need to know the damage function. see Held.

        put another way, your preferred method might require a damage function, but there are other approaches which do not. So, its not logically true that you need a damage function.

      • Peter Lang

        Manacker

        While you and I agree on most points, I think we do not agree on “policy recommendations”.

        I agree. I think the reason is that you misunderstand what I am trying to get across. And the reason for that is I am not explaining is clearly all in one place. I find it difficult to do that in blog comments, or anywhere for that matter. My comments build on what I’ve said previously and probably wrongly I expect readers to have read them, understood them, remembered them, put them all together in a correct way and accepted all that wisdom. :)

        IPCC issued a report in 2007, the AR4 WG1 “Summary for Policymakers”.

        This report (and its 1000+ backup scientific summary plus the WG2 and WG3 reports) was hailed by the mainstream media as the “gold standard” scientific report on our planet’s climate, what we were doing to it, the substantial risks that this poses and what we should be doing about it.

        Yes. And my point is that if you continue to focus most of research effort on trying tom reduce the uncertainty of ECS, we will keep getting reports like this for another 20 years and policy will be dictated by reports like this.

        Therefore get out of the cart. Try another tack.

        I remind you of this:

        If we always do what we always did
        We’ll always get what we always got.

      • Peter Lang

        Mosher,

        you don’t need to know the damage function. see Held.

        put another way, your preferred method might require a damage function, but there are other approaches which do not. So, its not logically true that you need a damage function.

        Please explain more fully what you are getting at for me and other readers.

      • Peter Lang

        Manacker,

        I believe I understand what you are saying. However, you frequently misrepresent what I am saying, so I think you misunderstand what I am saying.

        So I’m just saying that before anyone entertains thoughts of giving “policy recommendations” to “policy makers”, they should get the bases for their recommendations straight.

        That is not how the real world works. Policy advisers have to give policy advice and they have to give it in a way that will not set the politician up to be caught looking stupid. They therefore have to be able to justify their position. Therefore, they will refer to the IPCC if that is accepted as the most credible summary of climate science.

        It is unrealistic to expect “before anyone entertains thoughts of giving “policy recommendations” to “policy makers”, they should get the bases for their recommendations straight.”. The policy advice and political world does not work that way.

        Therefore, I repeat, the policy advisers need the best information available, NOW, not in 20 years time. Focusing on trying to reduce the uncertainty of ECS, largely to the exclusion of the equally important other highly uncertain variables needed for policy analysis, is a poor use of time, resources and funding.

        To advise policymakers to favor the construction of nuclear power plants in order to address the potential problem of dwindling fossil fuel resources makes sense. (One could even add the politically correct sweetener that if there really is a potential CAGW problem, this could also be helpful in alleviating the impact.)

        There are several misunderstandings or misrepresentations in this. I hope I can explain so you will not repeat these again (I feel I have explained several times before)

        1. I am definitely not advocating we should “advise policymakers to favor the construction of nuclear power plants”. I am advocating that policy makers should focus on removing or reducing the legislative, regulatory and licensing impediments that are causing nuclear power plants to be far more expensive than they should be. I am not arguing we can change existing designs. But I am arguing we could greatly reduce the cost of future designs by reducing the impediments, freeing up the market and facilitating competition. There are over 40 designs for small modular nuclear power plants listed here http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Nuclear-Fuel-Cycle/Power-Reactors/Small-Nuclear-Power-Reactors/. They are blocked from progress because NRC does not have the capacity to get them through their licencing process.

        2. I am advocating ‘No regrets’ policies, not economically irrational policies. So I am not advocating building nuclear power plants if the electricity they will produce over their life will be more expensive than from fossil fuels

        3. I don’t see “the potential problem of dwindling fossil fuel resources as a matter we need government intervention to address. The markets will address that without intervention. I think it is better to focus on removing the impediments governments in the western democracies have imposed on energy markets that are distorting the markets and preventing us from having cheaper, more reliable, more secure, cleaner and safer energy.

        But to advise policymakers to favor the construction of nuclear power plants in order to address the hypothetical but highly uncertain problem of CAGW does not make sense – until this uncertainty can be cleared up.

        That is not my point. It is a misunderstanding. [But, given political realities, we do have to present a case that gets through to as large a cross section of the community as possible. ]

        Regarding “ until this uncertainty can be cleared up”, there is no sign it will be cleared up any time soon. So policy will be made. Either try to contrib. ute in a way that can steer policy to be less damaging or just leave it to the scaremongers. My choice is to be involved in the debate about policy and to try to do what I can to influence it for what I believe is a more rational outcome.

        Please be clear. My goal is to try to head off, to the extent possible, the economically damaging policies that are being advocated and implemented in many countries to “address the climate change problem”. There are political realities. I see no point in arguing there is no problem so do nothing until the problem is proven. That approach gets no traction. It just gets dismissed. Scaremongers wins.

        I hope this can clear up some of the misunderstandings that keep raising their head.

      • Peter Lang

        We are going around in circles, largely because “I misunderstood what you misunderstood me to have said” arguments.

        I believe strongly that “the facts” should dictate policy decisions wherever possible.

        We are way too far off from having “the facts” when it comes to AGW to come up with any meaningful policy recommendations (as our hostess here has said).

        So let’s concentrate on getting “the facts” straight before we jump to making policy recommendations.

        You apparently disagree that more effort should be spent on getting “the facts” (on 2xCO2 ECS) straight as we have been going around in circles on this for many years; I disagree, because I see the many recent studies showing a much lower ECS as a breakthrough in getting “the facts” straight, which may break the back of the CAGW monster.

        So much for AGW (or CAGW).

        I agree with you that nuclear power is the only viable large-scale alternate to fossil fuel fired power today and, since it can be economically competitive and there are essentially no practical limits to the availability of nuclear fuel, governments should do all in their power to encourage new nuclear plant construction by easing the regulatory restrictions it now faces.

        And I agree with you that there is a good policy reason for moving away from total dependency on fossil fuels, as these are limited in supply long term and will become increasingly difficult and costly to extract.

        Unlike for CAGW, “the facts” are clear in this case: one can argue about how much fossil fuel is still out there but one cannot argue that the supply is unlimited.

        So let’s leave our discussion at that.

        OK?

        Max

      • The point of the paper seems to be: there is still room for discussion and talk, and cited some specific areas where we should be discussing. But I think you have listed them incorrectly because you approached with blinders on, i.e., what do we need to do to get what our side wants? Maybe we should start at the other end, Is there even a problem? CAGW theory contends the Earth is getting warmer because of the increase in CO2 that mankind has put into it, and the end result will be the end of the world. Let’s deconstruct that:

        1. Is the Earth getting warmer? Anthony’s point is with the state of the temperature collection network, we just can’t tell. It’s a legitimate point, and one that should be discussed further.

        2. If it is, is that a problem? The paper cited various studies that indicate the Earth has been warmer in the past, and the world did not end, so it may not be a problem. It’s a legitimate point and one that should be discussed further.

        3. Ignoring 2, and assuming it is a problem, what shall we do about it? There are numerous papers indicating that CO2 has been higher in the past, and the world did not end. Other studies have pointed out that CO2 isn’t the only “greenhouse gas” (GHG), and we are uncertain of the affects of changing the levels of the other GHG’s. So maybe reducing CO2 isn’t even necessary. It’s a legitimate point and one that should be discussed further.

        4. But even ignoring 2 and 3, and assuming rising CO2 is a problem, how big of a problem will it be and what if anything should we do about it? There has been more than one study that indicates the rise in CO2 may not be due to Mankind’s output of CO2 (shorthand for our energy consumption) at all, but rather a RESPONSE to increases in temperature. In other words, we could require all of civilization to reduce CO2 output to zero, and IT WOULD NOT MAKE A DIFFERENCE! And reducing energy consumption to zero has an economic impact, not to mention the cost of achieving that zero output, so it would be all pain and no gain. It’s a legitimate point and one that should be discussed further.

        5. Again ignoring the previous, even if ALL CO2 increase is due to Human activity, what is the optimum level? Here is where all the papers (cited in the article) about climate sensitivity come in, because none obtain the same answer. There is no consensus on that point, either. It’s a legitimate point and one that should be discussed further.

        I could keep going, but I think I have made my direction obvious. The paper, or article if you will, that Joanne introduced to us, doesn’t really make any claims about the strength of any of the papers it references, and that is not necessary to prove their point. The paper is only making the obvious conclusion that the science is never settled, and we must always continue to debate. Destroying civilization for potentially no gain in the face of a problem that may not exist is not something to be taken lightly, and ANY research indicating that is not the course of action to take SHOULD BE DISCUSSED. Shutting down that discussion as you are attempting to do, lolwot, only emphasizes the point that the whole discussion has become political, or possibly even religious, and seems to have abandoned science entirely.

      • Peter Lang

        Cyrus P Stell

        Thank you for your reply. First off I’d like to correct your interpretation of what I am arguing. You say:

        you approached with blinders on, i.e., what do we need to do to get what our side wants?

        That does not correctly portray my position. You may have missed my comments on the Last open Thread starting here: http://judithcurry.com/2013/05/04/open-thread-weekend-16/#comment-318301 The comment you have responded to follows from those.

        And on this thread in response to Manacker here: http://judithcurry.com/2013/05/06/consensus-and-controversy/#comment-319093 to which Manacker saidL

        Agree with your solution.

        although we are not totally agreement on our position. I consider the risk of significant consequences of continued BAU CO2 emissions to be a bit higher than manacker does.

        My position is that ther is a dispute. It is not going away soon. Politicians have to be seen to be providing solutions. We cannotg wish that away. Saying there is no problem is just dismissed. So we need try to get policies that will reduce the risk and do the least economic damage or, better still, provide economic benefits even if man’s GHG emissions turn out to be no problem at all. That is m y position. It is pragmatic and achievable, IMO. Kit accepts that both sides exist. Nietuier side is going away soon, and if we do not offer pragmatic policy options we vacate the field and leave the doomsayers to have more influence on setting policy.

        Regarding your point:

        #1 – I think your points #1 has been discussed to death and there is slow progress. We shouldn’t expect and rapid reduction in the uncertainty in climate sensitivity (which is what better understanding the Earth’s temperature changes is really all about.

        #2 – I strongly agree with your point #2. We have very little information on what the effect of warming would be. Only 17 studies are useful for economic cost benefit studies. I suspect they are mostly biased towards higher damages. And only one study shows net costs and benefits versus time. Bjorn Lomborg’ testimony to Congress on April 25 2013 refers to it and presents a chart showing the benefits of warming are likely to exceed damage costs until late this century: http://www.lomborg.com/sites/default/files/Congress_testimony_April_2013_3.pdf

        #3 – Yes. I strongly agree with your question and poart of your answer. However, if we can apply policiers that improve human well being (eg provide cleaner, safer, more secure and more reliable energy for all people on the planet) and cut CO2 emissions as well plus, black carbon emissions, toxic emissions and a host of other benefits, then why not push to get such policies implemented. That is what I am doing.

        #4 – The question is well put and is the crux of the policy issue. However your response to your own question is a discussion about attribution. I think the debate is about pragmatic policy given there are large uncertainties and always will be. I agree with your comment about the economic consequences of policies that have very high uncertainty about whether they themselves (your “all pain and no gain” comment). I also agree with your comment about compliance costs of any scheme that requires us to measure GHG emissions and, in fact, wrote about it here: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=13578

        #5 – Excellent point. I agree there is no concensus, but I am persuaded that Richard Tol’s work seems very reasonable and realistic, and if anything probably still overstates the damages for GHG emissions, rather than understates them. But it seems much more realistic than most of the doomsayers projections. Bjorn Lomborg summarises it clearly in Figure 1 here: http://www.lomborg.com/sites/default/files/Congress_testimony_April_2013_3.pdf

        In agree with all you say in your last paragraph.

        The paper is only making the obvious conclusion that the science is never settled, and we must always continue to debate. Destroying civilization for potentially no gain in the face of a problem that may not exist is not something to be taken lightly, and ANY research indicating that is not the course of action to take SHOULD BE DISCUSSED. Shutting down that discussion as you are attempting to do, lolwot, only emphasizes the point that the whole discussion has become political, or possibly even religious, and seems to have abandoned science entirely.

        It wasn’t until I got to here that I realised your whole comments was addressed to lolwot, not me. But, I’ll post my comments anyway.

        I think we agree on a lot. My aim is to urge people who are interested in climate change debate to promote pragmatic policy. Policy that can realistically be expected to be achieved and be successful over there long term. I think the evidence of past attempts at implementing international policy instruments shows they haved to be clearly beneficial to the vast majority of countries, and people or they fail. Attempts at top down direction, legally binding international agreements, government intervention, more regulation to control global GHG emissions will not work. But the alternative of freeing up markets –e.g. removing the regulatory impediments we’ve imposed over many decades to date that are distorting markets to give the wrong result will work – will work. Free markets (with appropriate light regulation) work!

      • Well thought out reply. For that I thank you. I’m not sure I agree with, or don’t grasp, all you said, but I think I got most of it. I must protest at “pragmatic policy”. Nearly 5 years ago I read a columnist talking about the alleged conservatives running around D.C. looking for “…someone to surrender to…” with regard to Climate Change (it was just beginning its transformation from Global Warming to Climate Change). And I took the response to heart, there is no reason to surrender. The best thing this country, heck this world, could do for the good of all people on it, is remove all impediments to cheap energy FOR EVERYBODY! So if we need a “pragmatic policy”, it would be, guv’mint, keep your hands OFF!!! Sorry for the overuse of caps.

      • Peter Lang

        Cyrus P Stell,

        Thank you for your reply. I think we are in almost total agreement. Did you look at the links I posted. The subthread starting here explains what I am advocating: http://judithcurry.com/2013/04/20/10-signs-of-intellectual-honesty/

      • “There has been more than one study that indicates the rise in CO2 may not be due to Mankind’s output of CO2 (shorthand for our energy consumption) at all, but rather a RESPONSE to increases in temperature. “

        Name the studies please. I really doubt those studies have passed serious peer-review.

      • See my previous comment about peer review.

    • rogercaiazza

      The unfortunate problem is that in the world of climate policy the point that there are gaps in knowledge is not recognized. For example, listen to the opening remarks at the New York State Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Operating Plan Advisory Group Meeting held May 2 2013 around 4:10 for the NY Department of Environmental Conservation view at http://www.nyserda.ny.gov/BusinessAreas/Energy-and-the-Environment/Regional-Greenhouse-Gas-Initiative/Useful-Documents.aspx. This meeting was held to discuss the plan to spend the money obtained through the sale of RGGI auctions in New York. I can assure you that if anyone had the temerity to suggest that the link between global warming and more intense hurricanes was uncertain they would have been stoned as heretics.

      The policy folks at that meeting truly believe that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a noble cause because it will reduce the impacts of climate change, it will position New York to be a leader in the low-carbon economy, and that the program will set an example for other states and the federal government. All this will happen while promoting economic prosperity and giving people a better quality of life.

      • Peter Lang

        rogercaiazza

        The policy folks at that meeting truly believe that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a noble cause because it will reduce the impacts of climate change, it will position New York to be a leader in the low-carbon economy, and that the program will set an example for other states and the federal government. All this will happen while promoting economic prosperity and giving people a better quality of life.

        Well said.

    • Pekka

      What is known and what is unknown are simply two sides of the same coin.

      The key “unknown” is whether or not human GHG emissions are a perceptible contributor to global warming (i.e. what is the 2xCO2 ECS?).

      Another way of putting this is: “how can the null hypothesis that all changes in our global climate have been of natural origin be falsified and how can the human impact be quantified empirically?”

      And, until we get a better understanding of this one point, all other points, such as
      - melting of ice caps and Arctic sea ice
      - increase in rate of SL rise
      - attempts to identify and quantify past warmer and colder periods
      - etc.
      are relatively unimportant.

      Wouldn’t you agree?

      Max

      • Peter Lang

        Manacker,

        The key “unknown” is whether or not human GHG emissions are a perceptible contributor to global warming (i.e. what is the 2xCO2 ECS?).

        I suggest that is a misleading statement. It implies you accept that if ECS is high (e.g. 3C or 4C) we are doomed. Do you really accept that on the evidence we have to date? Fort example we have virtually no reliable information on the damage function, or the rate the world can decarbonise the global economy if we want to, or will this century anyway.

      • Peter Lang

        It appears that we are talking the same language.

        I do not accept a high 2xCO2 ECS, nor do I “accept that if ECS is high (e.g. 3C or 4C) we are doomed”

        I simply say that there is no empirical evidence to support such a notion.

        And, until there is, there is no sound reason for making policy recommendations based on this notion.

        Talking about damage functions and rates of decarbonization is getting the cart before the horse, as far as I am concerned.

        Max

      • Peter Lang

        Let’s see if we can break the impasse in our discussion.

        Let’s assume that AGW is real but its impact is highly uncertain (as our hostess has stated).

        Now let’s calculate how much CO2 we can avoid emitting by undertaking a specific action (ex: switching all future USA electrical power generation from coal to nuclear).

        Then let’s estimate the potential impact range on our climate, let’s say using a hypothesized 2xCO2 ECS of 1C to 3C.

        So let’s say we arrive at an estimated resulting net reduction in global warming by 2100 of somewhere between 0.05 to 0.15 degrees C.

        And let’s say we can demonstrate that there is no capital or cost penalty over the entire time period of going nuclear versus coal.

        We can then propose this action as a “no regrets” approach.

        I agree, as long as we are very specific in stating all the caveats.

        OK?

        Max

      • Peter Lang

        Manacker,

        You are still misunderstanding the point I am making. It is frustrating. Did you read the other sub thread where I addressed all the points you’ve made here?

        Let’s see if we can break the impasse in our discussion.

        Let’s assume that AGW is real but its impact is highly uncertain

        You’ve missed the political reality all together. You don’t seem to recognise that your approach is to vacate the field and leave it to the scaremongers. Then we get Kyoto, EU ETS, Australian carbon tax and ETS, etc.

        And let’s say we can demonstrate that there is no capital or cost penalty over the entire time period of going nuclear versus coal.

        We can then propose this action as a “no regrets” approach.

        I agree, as long as we are very specific in stating all the caveats.

        Clearly you have not read my replies to your comment on the other, concurrent subthread. Could you please respond after reading my responses to your comments up to now.

      • Interesting to see two control freaks talking past one another.

      • Peter Lang

        Manacker,

        Let’s see if we can break the impasse in our discussion.

        I think our differences are a bit more substantial than stated. I think we differ on what we believe is the level of risk of significant damage from BAU GHG emissions. I think we differ on how long and fat we perceive is the tail of the probability distribution of possible damages.

        I understand your position is something like this:

        1. the risk of significantly bad consequences from man’s global GHG emissions is negligible.

        2. The evidence for significant damaging consequences of man’s GHG emissions is weak.

        3. We should not implement policies to cut GHG emissions if they could do economic damage until we are near certain of the problem and have high probability the chosen policies will be beneficial.

        My position is:

        #1 – I do not agree. I do believe there is a significant risk of damage due to continuing with BAU GHG emissions for this century. However, I believe it is a far lower risk than the virtual certainty that the types of policies proposed so far will cause significant economic damage, which means significant damage to human wellbeing. I am persuaded the policies advocated to date will do significant economic damages and make not an iota of difference to the climate.

        I also believe this risk of serious damage from GHG emissions is lower than many other risks that face us and is getting far more attention and funding than it should.

        #2 – I am not convinced either way on this. I am open.

        #3 – I do not agree that we must be near certain of the problem before we act. I do agree we should not implement polices that could be damaging unless we have high certainty they will be beneficial.

        In summary, I think we could define our differences as being our perception of the thickness and length of the tail of the probability distribution of consequences of BAU GHG emissions.

        I am proposing that we can reduce the risk at no cost and with net benefit. I am not proposing more regulations or controls, and certainly not global agreements and controls. Instead, I am proposing removal of regulations (especially in USA, Canada, UK, EU, Japan, little Aus and littler NZ) that are distorting energy markets – for example, they are making nuclear power much more expensive than it should and could be.

      • Peter Lang

        Agree with your solution.

        Max

      • Peter Lang

        Manacker,

        Phew! Thanks for that. Very glad to get that sorted.

    • Trivial things like “global temperature” or even more exciting “indexing” defined as some average over temperatures. Yes trivial, meaningless artifacts…

    • It is known that CO2 has certain radiative properties in the laboratory. It is not known how those same properties, and others of CO2 and carbon are fully manifested in nature. We know that, Pekka.
      =====================

    • Pekka Pirilä said:

      “We have already seen so many different articles discussing the trivial point that there are gaps in knowledge. Perhaps it would be more fruitful to start again to discuss, what is known.”
      ___________

      I agree with you, but our hostess Judith Curry’s shtick is uncertainty. A “gap in knowledge” could refer to something we are know a lot about without being certain, something we know little or nothing about, or anything in between. Uncertainty is everywhere.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Did I lose a serious comment? Uncertainty is code for the utter cluelessness of space cadets. It is the vain hope that the first step to deprogramming is questioning assumptions.

        Not going to work – the first step is admitting you have a problem.

      • Max_OK

        “Uncertainty” is not the “shtick”.

        The “shtick” is false certainty to sell an agenda (where none really exists).

        Max_CH

      • Max_ CH, Webster says “shtick” is one’s special trait, interest, or activity.

        Uncertainty is Judith Curry’s special interest, so uncertainty is her shtick.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Pekka PiriläWe have already seen so many different articles discussing the trivial point that there are gaps in knowledge. Perhaps it would be more fruitful to start again to discuss, what is known.

      What will actually happen to all the energy transport processes in the climate system if CO2 concentration doubles is mostly unknown. What’s known are a few approximations that are applicable at equilibrium — whatever that may have to do with actual climate. I would suggest that it is far more important to continue to list and elucidate what is not known accurately.

      • Matthew,

        As I have explained in more detail in another message in this thread my main criticism concerns generic discussion of uncertainties, not listing uncertainties in specific quantities.

        We have always the problem of whether a cup is half full or half empty, but we may learn more about the level in the cup than figuring out from generic philosophical principles that the cup just cannot be full.

  20. Mike Jonas

    SINTEF suffer from the misconception that that many scientists can’t be wrong. Instead of being unbiased, it reads like they are reading all the information and trying to report it in an unbiased way, but can’t quite manage it because of that thought hammering away in the background – “97% of scientists can’t be wrong”.

    Maybe the second thing they should have done was to read the Doran and Zimmerman paper that the 97% myth came from. D&Z sent out an almsot meaningless question, to 10,000 scientists,and turned 75 of the replies into “97.4% of scientists”.

    There never was a consensus.

    So – if that was the second thing they should have done, what was the first? They should first have understood that the main argument is not about whether CO2 has a “greenhouse effect”. The main argument is about the extent to which the IPCC has exaggerated it.

  21. Perhaps it’s worth noticing that this report was written for the oil company Det Norske

    http://www.sintef.no/home/Publications/Publication/?pubid=SINTEF+A24071

    • Noted. But what does that say about SINTEF’s independent scientists?

      • I worked 20 years in a very similar research organization in Finland (VTT). Unfortunately the integrity of the scientist varies in such an organization. Some allow the client influence extensively the outcome, while some others insist that they write only reports that give a balanced view on the subject matter. The organization is totally dependent on the income from client project as the independent funding covers only a small fraction of he budget.

      • Pekka, the integrity of the individual scientists varies in any organization–to the extent that the latter is large enough to admit variability.* Many of us carry scars as a result of that little bit of reality. Nonetheless that (reality) alone is not sufficient to dismiss the report. ‘All politics are local’ and everywhere is a location–that variability is not a discriminating characteristic among organizations.

        That said, I admit that up to this point I am uncomfortable with those parts of the report that I [quickly] read. But going back and reading the third paragraph of the introduction (and the first paragraph of the abstract), I think that the client got just what was requested–a white paper compilation of the major arguments. I think that this is a request one occasionally gets from all types of clients. Still, while I’ve not pinned it, there is something mildly disquieting in the parts that I have read–lack depth? Perhaps. Oh well, I can change to my Poo brain [open to interpretation] and be happy.

        Cheers

        * The center of the variability also varies from organization to organization.

    • Almost certainly, it is not noteworthy:

      http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=7763

      “The Genetic Fallacy: He Works For An Oil Company!” by Wm. Briggs

      • But why would an oil company fund a climate study?

      • lolwot

        In case you missed it, the oil companies are also lined up at the trough of taxpayer money for climate change initiatives.

        There’s money to be made in this multi-billion dollar business, lolwot, and all the players are there to get a piece of the action.

        Max

      • “But why would an oil company fund a climate study?” – lolwot

        “an explicit goal of this report has been to give the dissenting or
        “contrarian” perspectives a serious treatment.” p.2

    • Pekka

      Naw. That’s not really “worth noting”.

      But thanks for the info, anyway.

      Max

    • Pekka

      Whether you realize it or not, you just painted the most damning criticism of all the objectivity of the research going into the IPCC reports.

      Max

    • Skeptics are often heard saying “follow the money”.

      That should be “follow the money, but if it leads to an oil company stay quiet”

  22. Chief Hydrologist

    ‘Figure 12 shows 2000 years of El Nino behaviour simulated by a state-of-the-art climate model forced with present day solar irradiance and greenhouse gas concentrations. The richness of the El Nino behaviour, decade by decade and century by century, testifies to the fundamentally chaotic nature of the system that we are attempting to predict. It challenges the way in which we evaluate models and emphasizes the importance of continuing to focus on observing and understanding processes and phenomena in the climate system. It is also a classic demonstration of the need for ensemble prediction systems on all time scales in order to sample the range of possible outcomes that even the real world could produce. Nothing is certain.’ http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751.full

    It would be best to acknowledge profound uncertainty.

  23. Congratulations on the new paper, Judith. Now to go forth and find a free copy :).

    • I’m printing my free copy right now, if you are referring to the reviewed paper rather than to one of Judith’s.

      • I suppose I could link this instead although I haven’t had a chance to read it yet.

        http://berkeleyearth.org/pdf/berkeley-earth-decadal-variations.pdf

      • steven nice find. It is amazing how well North Atlantic SST correlates with “global” surface temperatures. Hopefully, there will be a post on this soon.

      • Dallas, I believe she commented in an earlier post that she was planning on it.

      • The relationship between land, sea, and global temperatures is essentially a model of proportional heating which considers the fractional areas and heat capacities.

        http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2013/05/proportional-landsea-global-warming.html

        This says that we should be watching the land areas as the bellweather of the AGW signal since the SST will be proportionately less.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘In conclusion, our analysis suggests that strong interannual and decadal variations observed in the average land surface temperature records represent a true climate phenomenon, not only during the years when fluctuations on the timescale of 2-15 years had been previously identified with El Nino events. The variations are strongly correlated with the similar decadal fluctuations observed in the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation index, and less so with the El Nino Southern Oscillation index. This
        correlation could indicate that the AMO plays an important intermediary role in the influence of the Pacific ENSO on world climate; alternatively, it might indicate that variability in the thermohaline flow plays a bigger role than had previously been recognized.’

        http://berkeleyearth.org/pdf/berkeley-earth-decadal-variations.pdf

        This suggests that we may safely ignore the simplistic babblings of the dweeb.

      • Land and sea temperatures compose to a global temperature that is essentially a model of proportional heating:

        http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2013/05/proportional-landsea-global-warming.html

        This considers the fractional areas of land vs ocean and the ocean’s heat capacity.

        The gist is that we should be watching the land areas as the bellweather of the AGW signal. The SST will be about 2/3 of this value.

      • Webster, “The relationship between land, sea, and global temperatures is essentially a model of proportional heating which considers the fractional areas and heat capacities.”
        Yes it does, but then you jump to land area instead of hemispheric heat capacities.

        The two hemispheres are separate heating circuits with differing flows and loads. With the dry atmosphere “fixed” deep convection and mixed phase clouds are the relief valves. You don’t get a uniform change in lapse rate or ERL altitude, instead you get regional pop off, SSW events, deep convection and ozone holes.

        It is a much more elegant system than you give it credit.

      • Webster, Look at this again,

        http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2013/05/adjusting-co2-tracer-signal.html

        NH land and ocean, SH land and ocean versus CO2 forcing in C degrees.

        Now look at the approximate absolute surface temperatures.

        http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-elusive-global-surface-temperature.html

        The hemispheric temperature difference is the natural oscillation.

        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2009PA001809/abstract

        ” The establishment of the modern meridional and zonal SST distributions leads to roughly 3.2°C and 0.6°C decreases in global mean temperature, respectively. Changes in the two gradients also have large regional consequences, including aridification of Africa (both gradients) and strengthening of the Indian monsoon (zonal gradient). Ultimately, this study suggests that the growth of Northern Hemisphere ice sheets is a result of the global cooling of Earth’s climate since 4 Myr rather than its initial cause. Thus, reproducing the correct changes in the SST distribution is critical for a model to simulate the transition from the warm early Pliocene to a colder Pleistocene climate.”

        It is also critical for modeling today’s climate.

      • You are suggesting that the average lapse rate changes with increases in concentration of GHG’s.

        That can’t happen because the potential temperature for an ideal gas undergoing a polytropic process change is fixed by the number of degrees of freedom of the average molecule, N. This is Poisson’s equation in the polytropic case.

        \Theta = T(P_0/P)^{4/(3N+6)}

        This works for the standard atmosphere of any of the planets with a GHG atmosphere, including the Earth, Mars, Venus, and Titan (a moon with some methane in its atmosphere) . The big planets further away from the sun have no GHG’s and actually lose more energy than they gain from the sun and thus have a conventional adiabatic atmosphere.

      • webster, look at your own formula, T stands for Temperature.

        NH average T is higher than SH average T. The delta T between NH and SH changes, That has to change your “average” lapse rate, But wait! its fixed! So something else has to change.

        Now if you want to find out what the longer term “average” T is, you need to model the ocean heat transport.

      • You don’t understand the word average.
        This formulation works perfectly for Venus, which has a much higher CO2 concentration than the Earth. It also works for Mars, which has a much lower atmospheric pressure than the Earth. It works perfectly for the standard atmosphere of the Earth. (The standard is an average atmosphere used to design aircraft for typical conditions and used by aviators for average flying conditions.)

        If you interpolate between any of these extremes, the lapse rate varies only by the atmospheric composition, which will change only by the average degrees of freedom of the gas.

        The great Manabe has shown this in very early diagrams (circa 1964)

        Notice how the slope of the curve does not change with additions of a GHG?

        You essentially need to rethink your strategy for how water will generate a negative feedback if the lapse rate is fixed.

      • Webster, one of the very first things you ridiculed me on was a simple model of an ideal gray that showed that the lapse rate is fixed. One of the very first things that Pekka questioned was my use of a moist air envelope. That moist air envelope is the effective black body for the “fixed”: ideal gray body. The two have different surface areas because the ocean only cover ~70% of the surface of the Earth. Does Venus has a substance that only covers ~70% of its surface? Does Mars?

        So guess what buckwheat, with asymmetric surface areas you have to change your math. And you know what? A simple static model does a damn fine job of simplifying that process.

        I might be you that needs to consider asymmetry.

      • Work out the mean value first, then you can perturb that to your heart’s desire. Do you have any clue about how to do physics?

      • Webster, Since the data quality is always questionable, you would also need to verify that your mean is meaningful. Then you would find a range of error around that mean. That range of error is partially determined by the standard deviation/variance or the data.

        Since your BEST data or any other NH land/ global land has the highest variance, that make your uncertainty larger. You can smooth and fit your butt off, but that uncertain is there to stay. Only by selecting the noisiest data can you fit, 3C per doubling. You can fit 1.6 C to nearly every data set there is.

        Then when you extend to the paleo data, you have a nearly constant +/- 1.25 C of variance. Only by artificially smoothing can you reduce that variance. Since the “mean” T for the reference period is not known and considering the variance of the data sets that increased when the abysmal quality Antarctic data was added, the warming measured so far is not significant relative to the data uncertainty.

        1.6 C fits the mean as best as it can be determined, 3C does not.

        With 1.6C as a base estimate, every other forcing/feed back doubles in significance. You are now forced to look at 2nd order effects.

        The travesty isn’t that the data quality isn’t accurate enough for the task, it is that people think they can massage the data into proving their preconceived notions.

        You are chasing phantoms in noisy data. The hilarious part is that since there is no clear CO2 finger print in any but the noisiest data, people are missing the noise they added. Check the variance of BEST SH land from 1950 to 2010. Then check GISS loti SH for the same period. Is the data quality going backwards?

      • It looks like it is +3 degrees C for CO2 doubling.
        It looks like 50% heat is entering the ocean depths.

        That’s the view from here, thanks to my “clever sums”, as Latimer Alder phrased it.

      • Webster said, “It looks like it is +3 degrees C for CO2 doubling.
        It looks like 50% heat is entering the ocean depths.”

        Right (snicker). That northern hemisphere land is 1/5th the area of the globe. The temperature of that land area correlates strongly with the North Atlantic SST and OHC. Guess which leads?

        Starting to look bad for the Webster, unless you have a new version of the Trenberth energy leap frog in mind.

        .

      • Cappy Dick will score own goals as long as he has an internet connection.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      ‘Correlation does not imply causation. The association between Atlantic sea surface temperature fluctuations and land temperature may simply indicate that both sets of temperatures are responding to the same source of natural variability. However, it is also interesting to consider whether oceanic changes in the AMO may be driving short-term fluctuations in land surface temperature. Such fluctuations might originate as instabilities in the AMO region itself, or they might occur as a non-linear response to changes elsewhere (such as within the ENSO region).’ op. cit.

      Repeating your simplistic nonsense doesn’t make it less dumb – dweeb.

      • Unlike you Chief, I actually make some progress in putting the pieces together and trying to simplify the physics. Does that not provoke extreme embarrassment on your part? Enough embarrassment to lash out the way you do?

      • Webster, here ya go.

        http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2013/05/ocean-land-temperature-differential.html

        Look at the different responses between the NH and SH using real absolute numbers. Amazing how rock stable that SH differential is.

        Of course “fitting” CO2 to surface temperature is just part of the fun. Since T can change on millennial time scales, you have to pick your starting point. It is amazing how baseline dependent your “robust” results are :)

        Sometimes the money is setting up the problem not crunching the numbers.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘ Does that not provoke extreme embarrassment on your part? Enough embarrassment to lash out the way you do?’

        dweeb – on that measure you must be continually in a state of chagrin.

  24. In this context the form of dogmatism expressed by Brundtland, even explicitly asserting that raising further critical questions is immoral, is itself unscientific and contrary to the norms of the scientific institution from which she lends her authority in this case. Such a position then rather seems to represent a form of quasi-religious faith in science .

    Gro Harlem Brundtland is a Norwegian Social democratic politician… (wiki)

    –e.g., Government, Leftist and more political than science and an America-hating Euro-communist. It’s no problem when these people wear their bias on their sleeves. It’s the ideologically-motivated Western academics essentially on the government payroll that have abandoned science and yet pretend that they are ideologically and politically motivated.

  25. Beth Cooper

    Article from Serf Under-ground Journal first edition.
    A Cow-girl’s Musings on the Open Society and its Enemies.

  26. Beth Cooper

    Once upon a time, a young and skittish cow-girl, who yet wished ter understand
    something of the world she lived in, and something of the human condition of which
    dramatists and poets write, came upon a book in two volumes, written by Karl Raimund Popper, a philosopher investigating the problem of powerful dogmas and ‘what can we know.’ The book, * ‘The Open Society and Its Enemies,’ was written at the outset of the Second World War at the time of the German invasion of Austria, say, yer’ll know about it if yer’ve seen the Musicale, ‘The Sound of Music.’

    A bit of context here. Karl Popper’s critical investigation of the knowledge-problem
    led him ter the issue of free enquiry and ter its perceived critical roots in Athens at the time of Pericles and Socrates. Popper sees this period of the historical clash between Athens and Sparta as a breakthrough from tribal closed societies with their institutionalised magical taboos, ter the democratic society of 6th century BC Athens, with its intellectual questioning, that he calls the “open society.’

    Popper’s own quest for answers also brought him ter recognise, as Socrates did, back at the Agora in Athens, that our knowledge is uncertain, and this led him ter propose
    a critical methodology that presupposes constant activity on our part, a process of schema and correction, of making guesses and modifying them in the light of experience and the obstacles they meet. Our theories, based on uncertain knowledge, are provisional, ter be replaced by other theories that seem ter meet the previous obstacle test, but are likely in their turn ter be replaced … perhaps a kind of tentative evolution towards knowledge. Hmmm … kinda makes yer think of Athenian Greek tragedy, King Oedipus’ journey towards self- knowledge from hubris, ‘hubris,’ the Greek word fer ‘don’t tell me, I’m the expert here.’

    Experts or great men in the drama of history are Popper’s focus in ‘The Open Society and its Enemies.’ And what’s the take home message? Why it’s this: If the open society of civilisation, of modern democracies, won at great cost, is ter survive, – we must – break the habit – of uncritical deference – ter great men. For it is in this cult of the great leader, propounded by Plato in The Republic that influenced later thinkers, that Popper traces the evolution of modern totalitarian thinking.

    Plato’s focus on strong leadership relates ter the idea of change developed by another Greek philosopher, Heraclitus. This idea was unfamiliar ter tribal societies in which everyone had a fixed, ‘natural’ place within the social order and where social customs were regarded as immutable regularities. In Heraclitus’ time, however, as Athen’s population expanded leading to colonization and commerce, new social contacts and the development of a new sea-faring class began to weaken the old tribal certainties.

    The generation in Athens that marks a turning point in the history of Western civilisation. Popper calls the’Great Generation.This flowering of Athen’s political experiment in democracy and clash with tribal Sparta, included dramatists, Sophocles

    * Popper KR ‘The Open Society and Its Enemies.’ Routledge & Kegan Paul.1977
    and Euripides, the political leader, Pericles, philosophers, Democritus, who formulated the doctrine that human institutions, language, customs, laws, are man made, and Socrates, who taught that we are responsible fer our individual actions and argurd that in the spirit of scientific criticism, we should have faith in human reason but avoid dogmatism. ‘I only ‘know’ that I know nothing.’

    Plato rejected this faith in the open society. Born into a period of political instability, the period of the Peloponnesian Wars and aftermath of civil war and epidemics, Plato sought ter arrest all change, the cause of misery and a sense of drift. In his theory of forms, of essences that do not change, Plato was able ter extract something
    unchanging from Heraclitus process of flux and historical corruption, an immutable law of eternal ideas. But then, hey… did not these ideas or essences have their origin in reality? As primogeniture models, these ‘forms’ must have existed originally in space and time. From this Plato was able ter argue in The Republic fer a return to this tribal primogeniture, the golden-age state where no change was possible. To return ter this Utopia, however, against the tide of history, would require the guidance and
    super- human effort of a great leader…Say, who do yer think that could be?

    To argue his case in The Republic, Plato needed ter substitute, fer the concepts of freedom, justice and human happiness apposite ter the open society, concepts of freedom, justice and human happiness that were their opposite, concepts tailored ter closed society constraints on individual action, all, of course, fer the ‘greater good’ of society.

    The exclusive political program that Plato advocated was a long way from the system described by Pericles’ in his famous Funeral Oration,* delivered half a century before Plato wrote The Republic:

    ‘Our political system does not compete with institutions which are elsewhere in force. … Our administration favours the many instead of the few: that is why it is called a democracy. The laws afford equal justice to all alike in their private disputes, but we do not ignore the claims of excellence. When a citizen distinguishes himself, then he will be called to serve the state, not as a matter of privilege, but as a reward for merit …The freedom we extend to others extends also to ordinary life …But this freedom does not make us lawless We are taught to respect the magistrates and the laws, and never to forget that we must protect the injured.’

    And there’s no free rein ter the shaman great leader here for Pericles adds, ‘although only a few may originate a policy, we are all able to judge it’. How different from Plato’s Utopia in which ‘the wise shall lead and rule, and the ignorant shall follow.’ *

    So where do Plato’s wise leaders come from? They come from a hereditary ruling class based on Plato’s Myth of the Metals in Man, his ‘necessary’ lie … but it’s alright because its a ‘noble’ lie for ‘noble’ ends. Plato’s Utopian society is a rigid caste system, of men separated into ‘gold’ silver’ and ‘bronze’ categories in which only the gold may rule. It was Plato’s stated wish that the rulers themselves would come ter believe in his propoganda lie of fitness ter rule. So much for individual freedom.

    * Plato Laws, 690b

    Potential leaders in Plato’s caste system were ter be made ‘fit’ ter lead by means of an education system based on the Spartan model and tailored exclusively fer class rule. In order ter temper fierceness with a little gentleness, say, yer can’t have the leaders acting like wolves, a little music was included in the curriculum, but let’s don’t overdo it, no literary education, poetry strictly excluded.

    Bolstering this program of back-ter-the-golden-age were Plato’s argued definitions of justice and happiness. Surprise, surprise … using sophistry and verbal fireworks from his mouthpiece, Socrates, not the real Socrates who was an advocate of individual responsibility, Plato argues that justice is synonymous with the interest of the ‘best’ state, and the happiness of its populace. And what is this best state and happiness? Why it’s the hierarchical state and it’s allowing no one to take what is yours’ by right. And what is ‘yours’ by right? Why it’s yer place within the hierarchy and, well, yer must be happy because yer doing what comes ‘naturally like ruling or working hard in the fields.

    So there it is, the culmination of the grand edifice of Plato’s argument, a hereditary Utopia of rigid class division and class rule, first of many Utopias down the ages, none of which turned out well. … And herewith endeth the first musing.

    • Beth

      Brilliant cow-girl essay on the utopian society with its better-knowing and benevolent ruling class (waiting for a despotic shaman great leader to arrive) versus the ignorant masses: the serfs).

      As we’ve seen throughout history, long after the ancient Greece, which you describe, “Utopia” never had a happy ending (for the serfs).

      This serf concludes that there is no reason to believe that this will be any different in the future.

      Max

      • Beth Cooper

        Serf ter serf
        Thx Max and as yer say in yer pithy overview of this thread,
        plus ca change ..
        Bts.

    • Steven Mosher

      sadly Popper did not study science scientifically. Had he, he would have found out that science didnt work the way he thought it did. His theory about theories, was wrong, in fact the way he went about constructing his theory about theories violated what he said about theories and knowledge.

      Some people theorize that knowledge does not evolve and get closer to the truth.

      • Beth Cooper

        To a mere cowgirl, the critical debate between Popper
        and Kuhn seems ter be a focus re progress of knowledge
        in the natural sciences. Kuhn in Lakatos 1970 says that
        he agrees with Popper that humans are deductive learners
        but disagrees with Popper that science advances through
        falsfication of theories and their replacement by more
        explanatory theories. He divides science into Revolutionary
        and Normal Science in which if testing fails it is likely the
        practitioner rather than the dominant theory that comes
        into question.

        A statement by Kuhn in his debate with Popper suggests,
        however, that he does view scientific knowledge as
        advancing, ‘We must explain why science – our surest
        example of sound knowledge – advances as it does’ ( p20)
        while he is unable to hypothesise how this progress occurs,
        offering, ‘My impression ..no more than that..’ that a theory
        or paradigm will only be abandonned when it solves almost
        all the the puzzles of its predecessor. He then seems ter
        argue against scientific progress claiming a replacement
        paradigm or theory belongs ter a different universe of
        discourse ter its predecessor, which means they are
        incommensurable, neither theory can be said to be
        better than another.

        John Watkins in Lakatos et al argues against this, that
        incommensurability does not apply to rival alternatives
        ( p36) by reason of their being logically incompatible.
        The Ptolemaic system fer example, is logically
        incompatible with the Copernican system, Newton’s
        theory logically incompatible with Einstein’s Relativity ..
        therefore it is possible, by devising crucial experiments,
        he uses Einstein’s prediction of a deviation in Mercuriy’s
        orbit as an example, ter make a rational choice between
        them. Seems ter me as well but as a non scientist so
        I daresay this is jest subjective ) that because scientific
        theorieshave empirical application, enabling us, fer
        example,ter escape Earth’s gravity and send probes ter
        distant planets, this demonstrates a tentative evolution
        of knowledge.
        Btcg.

      • David Springer

        Steven Mosher | May 6, 2013 at 9:46 pm | Reply

        “sadly Popper did not study science scientifically”

        Perhaps because Popper was a philosopher not a practioner of science. The former is concerned about assumptions and foundations while the latter is concerned about results. Feynman said “Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds.” That’s true enough but maybe only because birds can’t read.

      • Steven Mosher

        Springer

        ‘Perhaps because Popper was a philosopher not a practioner of science. The former is concerned about assumptions and foundations while the latter is concerned about results. ”

        Really, is that your own philosophy? is that your theory about what philosophy is and what it should aim at? Popper failed to follow his own method. Had he followed his own method he would have seen ( actually later he did see ) that what he proscribed for science was actually not practiced.

        Feynman? Why of course he said philosphy of science was not useful, except when he was preaching his philosophy of science, which he didnt even follow. Can you say ‘renormalization?” I knew you could.

      • Steven Mosher

        Beth.

        I’ll suggest you think about things for yourself

        “that because scientific
        theories have empirical application, enabling us, fer
        example,ter escape Earth’s gravity and send probes ter
        distant planets, this demonstrates a tentative evolution
        of knowledge.”

        dont confuse a change in our ability to do things, know how, with
        progress toward an unspecified goal.. what’s the goal of science?
        ? truth? hmm is science ever settled? Doing things? you dont need knowledge to “do things”

        Maybe you think progress can be measured by counting the problems we can solve. Did you ever try to count all the problems ? how many are there? How do you count a problem? how do you scientifically measure scientific progress? hmm

      • pottereaton

        Mosh says: “Maybe you think progress can be measured by counting the problems we can solve. Did you ever try to count all the problems ? how many are there? How do you count a problem? how do you scientifically measure scientific progress? hmm”

        Scientific progress is like pornography, Mosh. You know it when you see it. (g) For example, in college in the late 60s, I used to type on a manual typewriter and was lousy at it. Had to throw half the pages away when writing papers. Now I have word processing and print machines. When I first encountered it, I thought it was a miracle.

      • Steven Mosher –

        “dont confuse a change in our ability to do things, know how, with progress toward an unspecified goal..”

        At first blush it seems that ‘renormalization’ is both, though the ‘progress’ characterization may fade…or already has faded.

      • Beth Cooper

        SM re comment @11.58 am ,
        Yeah I’m in outa me depth. I don’t know that we can
        say what our future goals or destinations in science
        could be, only that they involve something unknown
        today. But I think we can look back and say we have
        some understanding now, like the theory of atoms,
        fer example, that we didn’t have in a more distant past.

        Don’t know how yer go about counting problem solutions
        as a measure of knowledge – gain because, seems ter
        me, as a problem is something we perceive as such,
        then what’s a problem, say, fer a group of engineers
        today, wasn’t likely a problem fer their great, great
        grandfathers. The more complex and technical
        the world, the more problems yer have ter solve.
        In old tribal societies sometimes one ritual, like
        virgin sacrifice sufficed ter solve the multi-variant
        problem of the wrath of the gods.

        Questions fer you Steven:
        Is not knowing ‘how’ ter achieve a complex physical
        application like sending a rocket into space more
        than ‘application,’ being based on our man-made laws
        of physics? Guess cargo science won’t do it. And if
        we are able ter get the darned thing of the ground and
        into space, may we not infer that somehow our man -
        made laws approximate somewhat ter some part of
        what – ever – the – truth – or – reality – is – out – there?
        Minnows are puzzled by mysteries such as these.
        Bts

    • When the Spartans got close to a bit of lucre and got a whiff of civilised indulgences they were like Sydney convent girls discovering the party circuit in the 1970s. When the Spartans got to rule over other states, Persian domination didn’t look so bad. (Thanks to Xerxes for killing off at least three hundred of these perverts, bores and thugs.)

      Plato’s vision of government by boarding school bullies and aspie eggheads is a perfect fit for EU and UN aspirations. What better “leadership model” than some Belgian or Burmese autocrat nobody has voted for in partnership with a technocracy promising to propitiate the weather gods?

      I’m on the side of the serfs. Let ‘em have air-conditioned shopping malls and some obesity problems for a bit. After millennia of short, brutish lives and servitude, it’s a nice change.

      • Beth Cooper

        Plus One mosomoso.
        Yeah, I know a serf’s ‘plus one’ doesn’t amount ter much
        but never – the – less. )
        A serf.

      • Normally, we do not ask the opinions of serfs. But our theologians have determined that one may accept their praise, provided familiarity is avoided. If they give more than a +1, however, this is deemed to be super-sizing, which is forbidden to serfs for their own good. If serfs regularly perused the NY Times and Guardian, they would be aware of these things…although then they would cease to be serfs, and become junior members of the New Class (or Plato Scouts, as we like to say).

      • Beth Cooper

        I accept yer advice in a proper spirit of servility
        and will eschew The Guardian … OMG even the
        name ‘ Guardian!! ‘

      • Were I Sydney, I’d not know to be boy or girl.
        ==============

    • > Popper’s own quest for answers also brought him ter recognise, as Socrates did, back at the Agora in Athens, that our knowledge is uncertain [...]

      That would be Protagoras, as Popper says in his Search for a Better World essays.

      To conclude that he only knows nothing, Socrates has to hold a stronger concept of belief than Popper.

    • As a serf who does have to take his time in reading, it took me quite a while to read my first edition of the serf underground newsletter but enjoyed it immensely Beth, so +1 +1 +1′s to you!

      Poppererian philosophy is fine but my preference is for Kant. He doesn’t like the linear thinking of Descartes and he would have most definitely decried the latter-day rational thought that underlines the AGW movement.

  27. Western climate scientists of the Left who are so accepting of their very peculiar view about reality that they cannot tolerate an open discussion about it and amongst themselves there is this strange element that lies impervious to scrutiny — like the freakish consensus of the Heaven’s Gate Cult concerning the best method to reach their oddball destination located on the dark side of the Comet Hale-Bopp! Where would they be headed if not opposed? Heaven on a mule? What better proof could we possibly have that reality is stranger than fiction and that Western civilization is a lot less stable than the climate?

  28. “The organization is totally dependent on the income from client project as the independent funding covers only a small fraction of he budget.”

    How independent from client projects are the organizations and agencies that trumpet CAGW at every turn? Where would “climate science” be without government funding?

    • The difference is that if a government funded a study of sheep breeding no-one would bat an eyelid.

      But if an oil company funded a study of sheep breeding everyone would go HUH?

      Governments fund all kinds of science irregardless of whether it benefits the government. Therefore there’s better reason that studies might be independent.

      But why would an oil company fund a climate study, unless it had some kind of business utility? And what kind of utility could a climate study have for an oil company?

      What part of an oil company even comes up with the idea of putting money into a study of climate? There must have been a meeting involved in putting the study in motion. What section of the business decides to spend time, let alone money thinking and acting on such things?

      • “But why would an oil company fund a climate study, unless it had some kind of business utility? And what kind of utility could a climate study have for an oil company?”

        What if you are an oil company which sees broad-brush alarming claims being made to the effect that your product is causing ecological catastrophe and you wish to know whether these claims are TRUE or FALSE? What if there is a reasonable possibility that the studies upon which the alarm is based have been conducted by or interpreted by people hostile to oil companies or indeed to any profitable private enterprise such that their conclusions can reasonably be suspected of being ideologically motivated and factually unfounded? Considering the immense value to the vast majority of the human race of carbonaceous energy sources surely such a study could have great utility if it actually discovered the FACT of the matter. Surely an oil company has an interest in knowing whether its activities are destroying the world around it and thereby undermining its own continued existence. And surely such an oil company can be forgiven for funding its own research rather than relying on the questionable products of people whose ulterior motives are suspect. Throughout my observation of this debate I see again and again statements on both sides, but particularly the alarmist side, which simply beg the question whether CAGW is TRUE.

      • “Governments fund all kinds of science irregardless of whether it benefits the government. Therefore there’s better reason that studies might be independent.”

        I’ll ask again, for the umpteenth time, for citation to a single government funded climate science study that argued against the CAGW consensus. To date, not a single citation.

        It’s fun to believe things without a shred of evidence. But not very convincing. The fact that government might waste several thousand on a study of the mating habits of three toed albino sloths is irrelevant to the massive government funding of “climate science” that is designed specifically to support government CAGW policy.

      • GaryM said:
        “I’ll ask again, for the umpteenth time, for citation to a single government funded climate science study that argued against the CAGW consensus. To date, not a single citation.”
        ___________

        GaryM, since no one seems interested in helping you, why don’t you look for some yourself.
        ____________________________________________

        GaryM also said:
        “It’s fun to believe things without a shred of evidence.”
        __________

        Not for me, but if it’s fun for you, do it.

      • The Bush administration came up with some summary statements that watered down consensus opinions which went against their internal views. They were reduced to that because the government-funded research came up with inconvenient conclusions. Does that count? For sure it is a case of funded research going its own way regardless of their own top-level government opinion. AGW has stayed the same even as governments have changed not just in the US, but also the UK. How is that explained as politically funded work?

      • lolwot

        You write about climate studies funded by oil companies. I could imagine that if an oil company saw a business incentive in getting a climate-related message across (for example Exxon-Mobil with its biofuels from algae project), it would do do.

        But let’s look at the bigger picture.

        US taxpayer-funded climate-related expenditures have risen to around $7 billion per year, of which around $2.5 billion are for climate science and the rest for climate-related technology projects and investments (wind and solar power, biofuel production, etc.)

        On the other side, the Koch brothers are alleged to have funded contrarian groups by around $67 million over the 13 years from 1997 to 2010.

        The Guardian reports that

        Anonymous billionaires donated $120m to more than 100 anti-climate groups working to discredit climate change science

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/feb/14/funding-climate-change-denial-thinktanks-network

        However you slice it, the largest slice of the climate research pie by far is coming from public taxpayer funding, rather than private individuals or corporations.

        As the old saying goes:

        ”He who pays the piper calls the tune”

        And it is clear who is “paying the piper” here. Elected politicians and their appointed government bureaucrats.

        But what is “the tune”?

        Let’s start at the top of the climate hierarchy: with the IPCC.

        There is no doubt that IPCC has been very consistent in conveying a message of potential threat to humanity and our environment from global warming caused principally by human greenhouse gas emissions, primarily CO2. The message has gained confidence and strengthened over the years in subsequent “summary reports”, culminating in the message now known as potentially catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (or CAGW for short), as outlined in detail in its AR4 report.

        In order to convey this message with more clarity, IPCC has adopted a “consensus” process, whereby dissenting studies and views or conflicting hypotheses are essentially ignored, rationalized away or filtered out as “noise”, in support of the “consensus” paradigm.

        There are policy makers on both sides of this debate, but many politicians see the opportunity for a trillion dollar revenue potential in direct or indirect carbon taxes, at the time when many governments are struggling with imbalance of payments and mounting national debt. It is obvious that these policy makers want to hear the CAGW “tune” to support their agenda.

        So we can conclude that the lion’s share of climate research money is being funded by “pipers” who are calling for a CAGW “tune”.

        Is is any wonder that this is the tune we are hearing?

        This is basic logic, lolwot – not rocket science.

        Max

      • contrarian groups don’t do science. they do political propaganda. Costs a lot less than science.

        Don’t need to launch a satellite to spread disinformation, just set up a website.

      • FYI, Det Norske produces oil in one of the harshest marine environments: the North Sea. Platforms have been destroyed there by storm waves with many lives lost. The concern with climate is not what you imagine it to be.

  29. Sorry. The REPLY feature misfunctioned. My last posting was intended for Pekka Pirila.

  30. Judith Curry

    Thanks for posting this objective and thoughtful analysis by Emil A. Røyrvik of the current debate surrounding AGW. Agree that Røyrvik was ”not kind to the overly staunch defenders of the consensus”, as you wrote.

    The 2007 speech by Gro Harlem Brundtland, at the time the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Climate Change, before the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, was an excellent starting point, because this speech epitomized a key flaw in the consensus argument: “the science is settled (i.e. ‘doubt has been eliminated’), and it is reckless and immoral to question it”.

    I also enjoyed the “four myths” underlying the CAGW premise:

    ”lamenting Eden”
    The eco-theological vision of pure and pristine Nature before human meddling, with a nostalgic view of “pre-industrial” CO2 levels and climate

    ”presaging Apocalypse”
    Starting with popular books, such as Silent Spring, Population Bomb, Limits to Growth, etc. to the current prophesies of irreversible tipping points leading to deleterious changes in our climate, sea level rise measured in meters, increase of vector borne and diarrheal diseases, extinction of species (all the pests and plagues of the Bible combined)

    ”constructing Babel”
    Another good Biblical analogy of man’s inflated god-like ambitions, such as the notion that we can dominate Nature and willfully change our planet’s climate by throwing enough money at it with various mitigation and geo-engineering schemes

    ”celebrating Jubilee”
    The very Judeo-Christian notion that since human sin has caused this impending problem, we must seek repentance to achieve salvation, i.e. social and environmental justice

    This all rings of religious dogma, rather than science.

    Of course, science is used as the basis for these myths (always was, in one form or another, along with the “word of God”). It’s just that now we have multi-million dollar computer models to give us these dire prophesies, while in the past we relied on oracles or prophets.

    Plus ça change…

    Røyrvik lists the four principal “contrarian” counterarguments to the premise of CAGW as outlined by IPCC in its AR4 report:
    1) IPCC report is not accurate
    2) GW is mostly natural
    3) causes of GW are largely unknowm
    4) effects of GW are more positive than negative

    The many papers cited, which refute the IPCC claims from different standpoints, are all quite persuasive, but from my standpoint Schwartz et al. (2010) gives the most compelling critique in their conclusion:

    “the observed increase in global mean surface temperature (GMST) over the industrial era is less than 40% of that expected from observed increases in long-lived greenhouse gases together with the best-estimate equilibrium climate sensitivity given by the 2007 Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)”

    .

    The quote attributed to you on “consensus and dissent” points to the large uncertainties regarding the IPCC claims of human impact on global warming and reiterates the conclusion (from your earlier testimony before a congressional committee) that AGW does not appear to be alarming during this century, “even in its worst incarnation”.

    Røyrvik also mentions Climate Etc. and your efforts there (bravo!):

    On her climate research blog “Climate Etc.” she gives voice to the full spectrum of science, knowledge, discussion, questioning and dissent on AGW”.

    And, of course, the essay mentions that the warming pause since the new millennium is causing a general re-evaluation of the notion that human GHG emissions have been a major driver of our climate, as postulated by IPCC.

    Røyrvik analyzes the Oreskes report on the “scientific consensus” and subsequent studies on this.

    This conclusion is straightforward:

    ”the claim of a near 100 % consensus and lack of dissent on key aspects of AGW is simply not true, and likewise, the claim that “mainstream science” is closed off to dissenting voices is also not true.”

    The above statement gives a bit of hope for the future, but the “proof of the pudding” will be how IPCC will react to all the new data, which largely conflict with its previous conclusions in AR4, in its new AR5 report: will it be ”closed off to dissenting voices” and conflicting data, or will it incorporate these into its new report?

    On va voir…

    Max

  31. Rud Istvan

    Judith, thank you for this posting. Not because of what it says (which is interesting), but rather because of the comments it has already illicited. Which demonstrate very vividly what is ‘wrong’ in this public discourse.
    Now, not the only place where this perversion of facts is happening. Just among the most ‘scientifically based’, at least in theory.
    Regards

    • Rud,
      Please clarify! The comments range over a wide continuum of opinion. Seems like a real world discussion unless there are absolute facts are settled which seems in dispute?

      • Rud Istvan

        Glad to. Dr.Curry’s uncertainty monster cuts many ways. Including here. posted article ‘proves’ this, counters disprove that.
        Best I can see, is the models are faulty, the global data uncertain to within the precision being demanded, and we have a lot more to learn about natural variability.
        Does not mean AGW is wrong. Does mean that thesis unlikely, and is far from actionably proven. And this is not a FUD or precautionary principle argument. It is a simple statement that the theory asserted is so far from proven as to be laughable, until further facts in support are brought forth. Now unfortunately for Warmers, the past 17 Years have brought forth the opposite.

      • Rud,
        Thank you for the answer. I could not agree more with your answer.
        Thank you

  32. A note from Silicon Valley. Andy Grove suggested that the moment a person took on a leadership role, his/her technical expertise started to wither. You can’t really pay full attention to both at the same time. As a result, some people have position power and other people have the power of expertise. The longer and stronger you have the position power, the farther away you get from the technical expertise. This can lead to some very stubborn people, who need to get over it.

  33. “The allegation that the science of AGW is settled to such a degree and cohesion that the debate can be closed, contradicts the findings in this report.”

    Disappointing. I had hoped that Norwegians would know better than to put a comma after a subject clause.

  34. Kind of bizarre reading the comments here. Surely when the whole point of a paper is, “If scientists disagree on something – even a little – then it isn’t settled”, that is not a place to start saying, “I am sure they got that point wrong because I am an expert and he is an expert, and I don’t care that that other stupid expert disagrees!”

    “Read this link – it proves that I’m right!” Sigh. Missing the point. The only consensus that matters is when all scientists in the field have moved on to other issues.

  35. A book from our social anthropologist:

    The managerial revolution,A” or the rise of management as a distinct and vital group in industrial society, might be identified as a major development of the modernization processes, similar to the scientific and industrial revolutions. Studying transnationalA” or globalA” corporate management at the post-millennium moment provides a suitable focal point from which to investigate globalized (post)modernity and capitalism especially, and as such this book offers an anthropology of global capitalism at its moment of crisis. This study provides ethnographically rich descriptions of managerial practices in a set of international corporate investment projects. Drawing also on historical and statistical data, it renders a comprehensive perspective on management, corporations, and capitalism in the late modern globalized economy. Cross-disciplinary in outlook, the book spans the fields of organization, business, and management, and asserts that now, in this period of financial crisis, is the time for anthropology to yet again engage with political economy.

  36. Interestingly, our Tall One was there first:

    > This is a sensible document: H/T to Gabe Rychert at Climate Realists

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2013/04/23/emil-a-royrvik-the-debate-on-man-made-global-warming/

    As Auditors would say, a dig.

  37. Seems there’s a mention of the Clearances, an event that is dear to me:

    > When I was doing my archaeology course, I picked the clearances as a “straightforward” essay. But I couldn’t help checking my facts and went to look for population data. Much to my surprise I found that the population of the highlands increased through the period of the clearances. Indeed, the number of cases cited was extremely small and where there was a death – it went to court and by and large the landlords in Scotland treated their tenants far better than e.g. we find in Victorian slum clearances. (The big drops in population was the famines on the 1690s which were probably climate related and post 1850s emigration)

    http://scef.org.uk/index.php/scottish-sceptic/514-academic-consensus-v-common-sense-scepticism

    • Steven Mosher

      I cannot recall if Emil was at Lisbon. There were a handful of folks from europe, athros and socios who were very fun to talk to as none of the discussion had to do with science but rather with things like mythic structure and institutions,science and goverance, the myth of nature blah blah. Personally, I’d like to see more work from this perspective– your “tactical” observations about rhetoric combined with some bigger picture narrative/mythic–call it strategic– observations.
      You realize that if you just do a handbook for climateball we will all be disappointed..its needs the bigger picture.

      • Commenting on Alastair Macloed’s *No Great Mischief*, the stupendous Robert Adams reminds us (ca. 18:00-20:00) that the Scots could have won the battle of Cullodan in 1746, “if only the ships have come from France”, in which case the house of Stuart might still be ruling over England and Canada, and not “the dysfunctional, German family that presently reigns over us”.  

        This defeat led to the Act of Union in 1707 and the Highland clearances, which destroyed the clans, and made the clansmen join the English army. This may also explain why General Wolfe, during the Battle of Abrahams, had so many Scots among his soldiers, soldiers he did not trust very much.  Hence James put the Highlanders on the line of scrimmage, writing in one of his letter:

        > It will be no great mischief if they fall.

        McLoed’s son told Adams that his father wanted to call his book *No Great Mischief if They Fall*, but there already was another book under that name.

        If only the ships have come from France.

        http://ww3.tvo.org/video/188174/robert-adams-novel-no-great-mischief

      • Steven Mosher

  38. On April 25th, John O’Sullivan notices the story:

    > The Scottish Science, Climate & Energy Forum, scef.org.uk, showcases a brilliant new study by Emil A.Røyrvik constrasting and comparing the intellectual approach to learning and understanding between academia and the applied sciences in industry.

    http://principia-scientific.org/supportnews/latest-news/178-consensus-and-controversy.html

  39. “Efforts to make people bow uncritically to the authority of a dogmatic representation of Science”

    Straw argument.

    Though I’m willing to be persuaded as to the reality of this with actual examples.

    • Michael

      Check AR4 WG1 SPM for “examples”

      Max

      • Due diligence required.

        Notably with ‘bow uncritically’ and ‘dogmatic representation’.

        “examples” suggests handwaving.

  40. April 24th, Jennifer Marohasy quotes the final paragraph of a new report by Emil A. Røyrvik and comments:

    > That’s the final paragraph in a new report by Emil A. Røyrvik; a social anthropologist and senior research scientists at SINTEF Technology and Society, Scandinavia’s largest independent research organisation.

    http://jennifermarohasy.com/2013/04/consensus-and-controversy-the-debate-on-man-made-global-warming-2/

  41. April 26th, a commenter reports the report on **Global Warming Skeptiks**. The signature of this commenter includes a quite from William O. Douglas, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 1952:

    > It is our attitude toward free thought and free expression that will determine our fate. There must be no limit on the range of temperate discussion, no limits on thought. No subject must be taboo. No censor must preside at our assemblies.

    http://www.globalwarmingskeptics.info/thread-2149-post-12417.html#pid12417

  42. On April 24th, **Paradigms and Demographics** reports the report by what I believe is a quote from the press release. Its author is Rich Kozlovich:

    > I’m just another “Bug Guy” who believes that the pest control industry is part of that thin gray line that stands between the public and disaster. We are “the hunters that keep the tribe healthy”! The Greenies demand perfection! Reality shows that the “best we can hope for is a search for the most tolerable imperfection”. I believe that to be Green is not only to be irrational and misanthropic, but to be morally defective.

    http://paradigmsanddemographics.blogspot.com/2013/04/consensus-and-controversy-debate-on-man.html

    Our emphasis.

    • David Young

      I’m not sure what your point is here Willard, except that free speech results in “overflowings of liberty” as Washington referred to patriot actions against the British after the Boston Massacre. It means nothing and proves nothing except that you are obsessed with irrelevancies. Anyone can point the fringe of any movement and use it as a tactic to try to discredit the legitimate parts of the movement. Old tactic and very unethical. Standard issue for demagogues of all stripes.

      • David Young,

        If I were to take your point at face value about the fringe of any movement and considering your diagnosis, I should not take issue with your comment.

        So thank you for your comment,

        Due diligence,

        w

  43. On April 24th, the **Cornwall Alliance** reports the report and add this editor’s note:

    > Editor’s note: This is an extremely important paper on the state of debate about global warming—and (despite some bad English grammar in the translation from Norwegian here and there) it’s delightfully well written by a scholar who demonstrates not only scientific but also literary sophistication. In light of the facts presented in this, anyone who continues to claim consensus about global warming thereby betrays (a) the extent of his lack of awareness of the true state of the debate and (b) his failure to understand that consensus not only isn’t a scientific value but, particularly when sought, manufactured, and enforced, is the deadly enemy of science.—ECB

    http://www.cornwallalliance.org/newsletter/issue/newsletter-april-24-2013/

    • …or (c), his belief is that Socrates is still dangerous and the he and anyone else that questions the official truth should be strung up.

      • Historians are still wondering how to use Socrates’ trial as a simile for ClimateBall:

        The trial and execution of Socrates took place in 399 BC. Socrates was tried on two charges: corrupting the youth and impiety (in Greek, asebeia). More specifically, Socrates’ accusers cited two “impious” acts: “failing to acknowledge the gods that the city acknowledges” and “introducing new deities”. These two problems were the result of Socrates asking philosophical questions. A majority of the dikasts (Athenian citizens chosen by lot to serve as jurors) voted to convict him. Consistent with common practice, the dikasts determined Socrates’ punishment with another vote. Socrates was ultimately sentenced to death by drinking a hemlock-based liquid.

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

        Perhaps Wag could analogize the emphasized bit?

      • In as much as everyone expected Socrates to flee after his friends and admirers bribed him out of jail, the fact that Socrates would actually obey their law not only was the furthest thing from the minds of the jury, in their view his death was actually against the law, much like the productive should not really listen to the Left’s nihilism and contue to labor to provide the goods and services the Left demands, all the while under being blamed by the Left of working hand-in-hand with the devil against nature.

      • Good!

        We need anther simile for this one, Wag:

        > I. F. Stone, an American journalist, wrote a book entitled “Trial of Socrates” after his retirement, arguing that Socrates wanted to be sentenced to death in order to justify his opposition to the Athenian democracy, and that Socrates felt that old age would be unpleasant anyway.

        Ibidem.

      • Beth Cooper

        A few years ago I read the book by journalist I.Stone
        and remember it based on The Republic ‘Socrates’
        Plato’s mouthpiece in his arguments for the totalitarian
        state. The individualist Socrates of The Apology and
        Crito is very different from this later Socrates.

        Socrates as an individualist and teacher went out of
        his way to enter into dialogue with the youth of Athens,
        but these connections that were later to cause his
        death. When the great war was lost, Socrates was
        accused of having educated some of the men who
        conspired with Sparta to bring about the downfall of
        Athens, though Socrates reminded the jury at his
        trial that one of his most enthuisiastic disciples,
        Chaerephon, was an ardent democrat.

        When Socrates was given the chance to escape
        Athens he refused (Crito) explaining that by escaping
        he would violate the laws of the state. By staying he
        would prove his loyalty to the state with its democratic
        laws and prove by his willingness to die for them, that
        he had never been the enemy of democracy.
        BC

      • When it comes to AGW instead of trusting a man’s fate to a jury of his peers perhaps we should just put the finishing touches on the Utopia of the liberal fascists, complete with energy rationing at gunpoint. The Left has already commanded that the science method be hanged because it looks for truth in all the wrong places.

        AGW is the thriller of our time. It is a reality show with a fictional antecedent. The Trial is a novel and in it, imagine for a moment, Franz Kafka in the throes of government agencies. We are presented with all of the usual symptoms of a paranoid anti-bureaucracy and yet, there actually is a government agency for whom a crime truly has been committed and they know Kafka is guilty: they know Kafka emitted poisonous CO2.

      • > Socrates reminded the jury at his trial that one of his most enthuisiastic disciples, Chaerephon, was an ardent democrat.

        It might be interesting to know what being a democrat meant back then.

        It might be even more interesting why this name when Socrates had many pupils:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Pupils_of_Socrates

        Please tell us more about Alcibiades, dear Beth.

      • Yeah, Alcibiades: sort of like Max_OK –i.e., a floater…

      • Indeed, Wag, a floater:

        During the course of the Peloponnesian War, Alcibiades changed his political allegiance on several occasions. In his native Athens in the early 410s BC, he advocated an aggressive foreign policy, and was a prominent proponent of the Sicilian Expedition, but fled to Sparta after his political enemies brought charges of sacrilege against him. In Sparta, he served as a strategic adviser, proposing or supervising several major campaigns against Athens. In Sparta too, however, Alcibiades soon made powerful enemies and was forced to defect to Persia. There he served as an adviser to the satrap Tissaphernes until his Athenian political allies brought about his recall. He then served as an Athenian General (Strategos) for several years, but his enemies eventually succeeded in exiling him a second time.

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

        Just like Max_OK.

  44. On April 24th, **Greenhouse Bullcrap** provides the best title so far:

    Big Norwegian Science Organisation

    http://greenhousebullcrap.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/big-norwegian-science-organisation/

    An interesting quote:

    > Could be the first scientific organisation in the world to break ranks with the alarmists?

    Another one:

    > Should have thought twice about some of their Nobel Prizes – shouldn’t they?

    • Even before the Australian-American Chemical Engineers of India Pale Ale Fermentation and Swilling?

    • Beth Cooper

      Willard dear ) re Alcibiades:

      Socrates was not a party man, his arguments fer the
      open society concern individual responsibility and his
      advice, ‘Care for your soul,’ that the inividual be worthy
      of his liberation. As a non party man and as a teacher
      Socrates took an interest in all the young men he would
      not have been deterred by oligarchic connections as in
      the case of Alciabides, Critias or Plato himself.

      At his trial on the vague trial of corrupting youth,
      Socrates in his defence Socrates insisted that he
      had no sympathywith the policy of the Thirty Tyrants
      and had actually risked his lifeby their attempt to try
      to implicate him in one of their crimes. Re Antius’
      intention, not to make a martyr of Soctates but to
      exile him, this was foiled when Socrates chose to
      stay for the reasons I cited above, his loyalty to
      the democratic state.

      Bts

  45. The **Right Side News** published a post “Written by Emil Røyrvik, SINTEF” on April 23rd, with this complimentary addendum:

    > More material can be found : The Global Warming Policy Foundation, restoring balence and trust in the climate debate

    http://www.rightsidenews.com/2013042332408/life-and-science/energy-and-environment/consensus-and-controversy-new-report-on-the-global-warming-battlefield.html

  46. On April 23rd, The **Global Warming Policy Foundation** publishes a post by “Emil Røyrvik, SINTEF” with this call-out in blue:

    > SINTEF is the largest independent research organisation in Scandinavia

    http://www.thegwpf.org/consensus-controversy-debate-man-made-global-warming/

    • Hulme argues that the myth of apocalyptic climate change has become even more dominant since that time [1996], particularly in Western Europe and North America. The vocabulary of Apocalypse includes concepts such as “species wiped out”, “catastrophic climate change”, “approaching tipping points”, and illustrative is for example the following statement by scientist James Lovelock: “We [humans] are now so abusing the Earth that it may rise and move back to the hot state it was in 55 million years ago and if it does, most of us and our descendants will die” (ibid.).

  47. Years ago I predicted that there would be hundreds of doctoral theses in the history and philosophy of science about this social mania of untoward demonization of the quite beneficial little gas, CO2. I didn’t really predict the brainstorming in the think tanks. Such a naif.
    ================

    • If there was any earthly way to harvest the energy wasted on brainstorming the right to free air conditioning would be the next entitlement.

      • I think 4 or 5 of us could settle this right quick. I’ll take the plant fertilizing effect. You can have the warming effect, such as it is.
        ============

      • I have yet to figure out how anyone north of, say Scotland, would ever worry about global warming unless it’s the peat in the alcohol.

      • Peter Lang

        Wagathon,

        I have yet to figure out how anyone north of, say Scotland, would ever worry about global warming unless it’s the peat in the alcohol.</blockquote?

        Should that be north of the south pole?

      • The way the Left braved the heat in Cancun in 2010 to hold their global warming conference was truly inspiring.

      • Gimme the slightly shorter and warmer winters bit. I don’t mind it a bit if the ski lifts have to shut down end March.

        Max

      • If the elderly in the UK are ever again forced to burn books to survive a bitter winter we will all be thankful for the many filing cabinets full of global warming junk science.

    • Good timing Waggy.

      May 10th will be the 80th anniversary of the Nazi book burning.

      I don’t know who is the most disgusting, you are kim. You want books you don’t like burned, and kim steps on kittens and puppies. Call it a tie.

  48. This report is not “unbiased”. It has no criticism of skeptical papers, nor any compilation of skeptical views that even agree with each other, while it tries to say consensus studies are all wrong without offering an opinion on what the consensus view might be or how to get at it if not by reading the papers. Perhaps many skeptics will find it “unbiased” merely because it didn’t offer their favorite conspiracy views as a reason for the apparent consensus, but it also didn’t offer any reason why the consensus appears so strong. Certainly they can argue against it when a politician makes a “settled science” statement which seems to be the main motivation for this piece, but beyond that argument, I didn’t see any motivation here except to make consensus not count, a common tactic these days.

    • Jim D,

      It’s another ‘teach the controversy’ waste of space.

      Judith seems rather susceptible to this kind of wishy-washy sociological babble.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      It clearly makes the point that the ‘consensus’ is religiously motivated with millenialist underpinings and has absolutely nothing to do with science at all.

      • That only makes it even less “unbiased” than I said it was, but I don’t see where it says that.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Yes – we think you are all quite literally insane. Cult of AGW groupthink space cadets. The first truly global millennialist cult.

    • Chief,

      Yes, it asserts such a ‘point’.

      A well made “point’….. if waffling sociological babble is your thing.

    • Jim,
      “I didn’t see any motivation here except to make consensus not count, a common tactic these days”.

      A narrow interpretation at best but “we all have opinions”. This report accepts at the start that many believe in consensus climate science. Some also believe “the science was settled” decades ago. It is hard to believe that anyone that could have wrote this report could have overlooked all the benevolent CAGW believers that were sure label him “heretic”.

      Before writing the report, likely thought this could be good fun with my intellect. He did use the humor like a rapier.

      The outlined climate myths are what stand out. CAGW advocates used the media and tactics which must have made Wall Street smile. Since the author choose to describe all the climate myths with a nice touch of “tongue in cheek” it is IMO clear, that he was not trying to win a climate argument. “Hearts and souls” never but by these comments he got people to think (and laugh). What a gift?

      Too bad too CAGW believers quit reading at “debate/not compatible with settled” and myths but quit reading. I myself remember someone years ago Gore admonishing skeptics as flat world thinkers and worse.”

      By the way my opinion other wise is still open to the best empirical evidence.

      Rud says latter, in a previous answer above significantly better. Nothing was proven but the report was a dam good read (and I have read some poor one).

      • JimD,
        Sorry for the typo’s Just got out of surgery at noon and the eyes/mind seem to be leaving words out at a distressing rate. I hope you can see my drift (if you are interested). “Two sides to every coin”. The blog is great therapy!! Thanks Dr. Curry and to all the contributors.

      • The anti-AGW people often say you can’t appeal to either the majority or authority, so I would assume that a consensus being a majority of an authority must appear doubly wrong. This appears to be backwards thinking to me and applies in no other field of science, but it is the only tactic left when any random scientist you take is probably (19:1) going to take a consensus view as a given. The consensus is a range of estimates of warming (2-4.5 C per doubling).

      • Jim,
        Fair answer! The temperature continues to rise per.Dr. J.-N.- Gammons (a bright moderate in climate). He takes the position that CO2 has not risen as much as expected which accounts for the lower trend. Maybe John is correct.

        My issue is the unqualified hubris of a 6 degree centigrade increase this century crowd. That argument comes from people that will concede and not read anything but their opinion.

        The latter lack of reasonableness makes “97% of people that can think/many here” enjoy seeing these people weakened. S. McIntyre might not have gone after Mann if he not said, “Who are to challenge my work?”. The guy is a world class numbers person. I have seen them show MD’s that the medicine is wrong. It happens in every walk of life.

        Thank you and again a very fair answer!

      • Peter Lang

        Jim D,

        There is not majority support for implementing policies that will be economically damaging. This is the stumbling block. Because the AGW believers have been trying to implement economically damaging policies – which, by the way, most people believe will not make the slightest difference to the climate – most people are rightly concerned and skeptical about the whole basis and justification for such policies. And so they should be.

      • GarryD and Peter Lang, I think a more likely rise is 4 C over pre-industrial if the CO2 concentration reaches above 700 ppm by 2100, which it would without policies on reducing coal-burning and vehicle emissions for example. The harder consensus to achieve is to quantify the level of damage 4 C would cause with its sea-level rise and some question whether undamaged or less damaged high-emitting countries should even help those that are more damaged and low-emitting, or maybe they will be too busy helping themselves if nobody escapes damage. It will become a global moral issue for this century, if it isn’t already.

  49. …the Brundtland statement has several problems when interpreted as a general statement about the practices, authority and truth claims of science in the context of science. In this context the form of dogmatism expressed by Brundtland, even explicitly asserting that raising further critical questions is immoral, is itself unscientific and contrary to the norms of the scientific institution from which she lends her authority in this case. Such a position then rather seems to represent a form of quasi-religious faith in science .

    I am grateful that the tide is turning.

  50. I really wish this GWPF-like Emil Røyrvik/SINTEF tract were more worth commenting on.

    Tell you what.

    Make a game of it.

    Who thinks it contains more instances of fallacies than instances of techniques of propaganda?

    I expect it’s more propaganda than fallacy.. so why don’t we all make secret tallies, and at the end of May come back and compare. Unless we’ve utterly forgotten this forgettable pamphlet by then?

    • Bart,

      You’re being a little unkind – it was, after all, written by a social anthropologist.
      Surely, leniency is the order of the day. No doubt he was writing with the clients needs in mind.

      OTOH, the self-described ‘skeptics’ who are falling all over this in a case of credulity-driven mass-hysteria, deserve nothing but derision.

      • Michael | May 7, 2013 at 1:06 am |

        I’m being a little unkind?

        Is this the first time you’ve read any of my comments?

      • TIC

      • More interesting, perhaps, the manner in which the beached whale of CAGW will return to the elements. Some are busy fastening wires all over it into little pegs in the sand.
        ==========

    • What about examples of just plain god-awfulness?;

      “The theatrical tropes of the debate is also squarely pinpointed by the fact that the play’s definitive number one villain and enfant terrible is the agent and actor (or rather “actant” in the vocabulary of actor-network-theory) that goes by the name of CO2. Carbon dioxide. This gas is quite literally the “smoking gun” (Archer and Rahmstorf 2010: 11) of the play, metaphorically represented as something like the (Lord of The Rings’) Sauron in the saga of global warming, and believed to play the major role in causing anthropogenic global warming – with all its possible detrimental consequences. Yet CO2 is also a major actant in photosynthesis and the life-giving production of oxygen. With CO2 at the centrepiece of the play, inhabiting this radically doubleedged position of being both the gas of life and death, global warming as eschatological tales of humanity’s end-times, and its embedded counter narrative of secular (or rather quasi-religious) earthly resurrection and salvation through heroic deeds and technological measures,…”

      • Chief Hydrologist

        In the attempt to frame the essential mythological character of the AGW groupthink narrative it is necessary to delve into mythology. I’d have gone with Darth Vader as an example of redemption through – eventual – balancing of the forces of light and dark.

      • Waffling sociological babble is your thing.

        OK then.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.’

        We are trying to understand the psychopathology of the AGW space cadet. It is no sociology but archetypes of the soul. Why do you think they work so well as popular entertainment.

        Ragnorak of one sort or another is central to mythology. It is central to this first global millennialist cult of AGW groupthink.

        ‘Ragnarok (“Doom of the Gods”), also called Gotterdammerung, means the end of the cosmos in Norse mythology. It will be preceded by Fimbulvetr, the winter of winters. Three such winters will follow each other with no summers in between. Conflicts and feuds will break out, even between families, and all morality will disappear. This is the beginning of the end.

        The wolf Skoll will finally devour the sun, and his brother Hati will eat the moon, plunging the earth [into] darkness. The stars will vanish from the sky. The cock Fjalar will crow to the giants and the golden cock Gullinkambi will crow to the gods. A third cock will raise the dead.

        The earth will shudder with earthquakes, and every bond and fetter will burst, freeing the terrible wolf Fenrir. The sea will rear up because Jormungand, the Midgard Serpent, is twisting and writhing in fury as he makes his way toward the land. With every breath, Jormungand will stain the soil and the sky with his poison. The waves caused by the serpent’s emerging will set free the ship Naglfar, and with the giant Hymir as their commander, the giants will sail towards the battlefield. From the realm of the dead a second ship will set sail, and this ship carries the inhabitants of hell, with Loki as their helmsman. The fire giants, led by the giant Surt, will leave Muspell in the south to join against the gods. Surt, carrying a sword that blazes like the sun itself, will scorch the earth.’ http://www.pantheon.org/articles/r/ragnarok.html

      • Congrats.

        That’s even worse.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Ragnorak didn’t speak to you? That’s cause you can’t see the funny side of your AGW groupthink insanity.

      • andrew adams

        What about examples of just plain god-awfulness?;

        Wow, 161 words of sociological babble just to say “CO2 is plant food”.

      • The Bloom on the Hill sees the Sun slowly rise.
        =========

    • Bart R

      Read it again, Bart.

      Just as our hostess did, I found it to be an objective summary of the rise and fall of the “the science is settled (i.e. there is no remaining doubt) and to deny this would be immoral and reckless” shtick voiced in 2007 by Gro Harlem Brundtland.

      Max

      • manacker | May 7, 2013 at 4:17 am |

        Wow. The ‘report’ only cherry-picked Harlem Brundtland out-of-context to allow the reader to infer the wrong interpretation.

        You have to go farther, just in case anyone could fail to draw the wrong interpretation, put words in her mouth she never uttered and explain what you want people to believe Brundtland meant.

        I urge rereading Dr. Harlem Brundtland for disambiguation.

        http://www.regjeringen.no/en/dep/ud/selected-topics/un/Brundtland_speech_CSD.html?id=465906

        In describing the world 20 years earlier:

        Theories about the physical effects of CO2 concentrations on the global climate were first presented more than a hundred years ago.
        Twenty years ago, in 1985, the World Commission underlined the findings of scientists from 30 countries gathered in Villach, Austria, under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization, UNEP and the International Council of Science.
        According to this forerunner to the IPCC, man-made climate change was possible and plausible.

        Put what Dr. Harlem Brundtland said next in that context, and what is clearly meant is that the ‘possible’ and ‘plausible’ explanation now has so much less doubt as to make it irrational not to act.

        Do you never feel any shame at all when you so defame and deceive?

        http://theelders.org/gro-brundtland might bring you up to speed as a starting point. And you must get that I’m not a Harlem Brundtland booster normally. But misrepresentation of someone I disagree with is as bad as misrepresentation of someone I agree with. Not that the latter happens very much.

      • Bart, a year ago, we did an entire thread on Brundtland’s ‘doubt has been eliminated

        http://judithcurry.com/2012/05/26/doubt-has-been-eliminated/

        I refer you to this thread.

      • > Do you never feel any shame at all when you so defame and deceive?

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/49857559548

      • By now we have learned that the report is a one-man effort by a person who has not shown any extensive knowledge on anything related to climate or climate policy.

        We know that the research was commissioned by an oil company whose CEO is an active climate skeptic.

        The report was probably commissioned for use within Norway. Det Norske or its CEO may have felt that something like this report is useful in defending corporate interests. For that reason it’s natural that some emphasis is given on the words of Brundtland.

        Reading the words of Brundtland in proper context explains much about them, but the sentence “It is irresponsible, reckless and deeply immoral to question the seriousness of the situation.” is too much for me. Those words referred also to the Stern Report that I consider very much worth questioning (without feeling immoral). Sincere questioning is always moral, and the argument that none of the skeptics is sincere is obvious nonsense.

      • curryja | May 7, 2013 at 11:35 am |

        It was, apparently, one of my favorite threads, judging by the amount of participation it drew me into at the time.

        Though I summed up my relevant arguments of a year ago as http://judithcurry.com/2012/05/26/doubt-has-been-eliminated/#comment-203470

        a minute there, I thought there was some substance to the topic. Imagine a scientist saying something so unscientific sounding as “doubt has been eliminated”.

        Except, not a scientist. Not even a practicing physician, but a politician said it. FIVE YEARS AGO. And in a completely different context than is implied.

        http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Magazines/Bulletin/Bull491/49105681214.pdf

        “At the Toronto climate conference in 1988, I used the occasion to propose that an international convention be established, to deal with science, technology transfer and concrete measures to reduce emissions of harmful gases. We signed that convention four years later… So what is new today?”

        Between 1988 and 2007 had doubt been eliminated?

        Somewhat substantially in relative terms, yes.

        I challenge anyone with the least mathematical aptitude to say the uncertainty about GMT value, direction of GMT trend, value of GMT trend, CO2 level, direction of CO2 trend, value of CO2 trend did not in the two decades being discussed dramatically drop within the published and generally accepted science. The literature of climatology more than quadrupled between 1988 and 2007. The field of climatology in total in 1988 had fewer scientists self-identifying as part of it then than now make up the 3% who do not agree that GMT has risen over about the same period.

        Do you even remember the sorry state of the data in 1988?

        Not saying it inspires praise even now, five years later and with BEST pending publication, with satellites and their corrections and adjustments entering their, what, sixth generation since, but to claim a whole order of magnitude of doubt hadn’t been reduced in those 19 years is patent nonsense.

        Mountain. Molehill. Misdirection.

        So far, nothing’s changed in the rehashing of old cherry-picking — the echolaliac chamber music of exactly the same cherry picking that was invalid last year.

        You must surely see how much more evidence for bias in the “report” this coincidence is suggestive of.

        Not to make too fine a point of it, the “Science isn’t settled” meme broke out in a big way in 2003 with http://www.tsaugust.org/images/Speech_by_Schlesinger_030707.pdf and it would be remarkable were those charged in their duties to address these questions raised by Schlesinger to not have some answer four full years later. Al Gore made an answer in 2007. Dr. Harlem Bruntland made an answer. William Ruckleshause made an answer. Why, six years later, are these answers still being cherry-picked and manipulated, lied about and misreported?

        There are four questions to answer when asking is Science settled on a particular question:

        1. Is there a parsimonious explanation for the observations?
        2. Is the statement of the explanation so simple as possible without being too incomplete to accept?
        3. Is the explanation universally applicable to all the data?
        4. Has new observation that demands revision of the prior explanation that fulfilled the criteria of Science been made that renders that prior explanation inaccurate?

        Please, by all means show where Dr. Harlem Brundtland, and Mssrs Gore and Ruckleshause, erred on those four criteria, at least to the level where action in response is prudent.

  51. This report seems to me to be unbiased, which is why I am highlighting it on Climate Etc.

    Dr. Curry, with all due regard, you must understand that if this report seems to you unbiased, you have not made nearly so much progress in the detection of bias or understanding methods of manipulation as you claim.

    From calling the pamphlet a “Report”, the choice of font and color, format and style are all dressings that contrive to frame and misdirect the gullible reader and ensorcel the senses of the cautious skeptic alike.

    The claims of foundation in Merton and Polyani boggle on first and second reading. That slim pretext is too thin a coat of paint to hide how far from the tree this gilded and bruised roadapple has fallen.

    The biblical allusions from Winds to the four Myths — which a diligent social anthropologist might rather refer to more precisely as dogma — serve the same function as any straw man, and the tribalism of this piece is patent throughout.

    Check the provenance of the source material used, and observe that any decent social anthropologist would offer scrupulous notes about either the behaviors leading to the social structures or the social structures leading to the behaviors in these sources. Popular Technology? Now there’s a goldmine for a social scientist in that site’s “About Us”; though the social science might be more psychology than anthropology.

    • “And SINTEF seems a somewhat surprising sponsor for a report like this.” – JC

      Huh??
      They get paid – they do it.

      Judith needs to send her BS detector in for a service – it’s busted.

      • Michael

        Aw, c’mon. I know the truth can hurt sometimes.

        But you’ll get over it (and not by shooting the messenger).

        Bart may have more of a problem, though (he seems to get more emotional about these things).

        Max

      • In paid research the client defines the question and has the last word on framing the research question and starting points of the analysis. The research institute may refuse the order, but it’s easy to get lured even to something that hurts the reputation of the institute. The final report must be acceptable to both the research institute and the client, but the original agreement limits the power of the institute at that point.

        This report was written by a single scientist, a social anthropologist who seems to have little knowledge on climate science based on the detailed content of the paper, and also on his other research. He is working in the group of Industrial Management. Thus it’s not so surprising that the quality control didn’t catch the serious faults of the paper.

      • A nice example of the spread of FUD.

        It’s been picked up by a lot of the, ahem, skeptics, as Willard has shown.
        And of course Judith found it wonderfully “unbiased”.

        For some reason the phrase “useful idiot” springs to mind.

      • Michael

        For some reason the phrase “useful idiot” springs to mind.

        As compared to “useless idiots”?

        Gotcha.

        Max

      • In the context of spreading lies, misdirection and propaganda, I certainly hope to be completely and utterly ‘useless’.

    • Bart, please elaborate on your meaningless comment about my site, thank you.

      • Poptech | May 8, 2013 at 11:50 am |

        You say please and thank you, and only have one incidental insult in your request. For Climate Etc., that’s practically the height of manners.

        Your site represents a great quantum of work, shows diligent attention to detail, and scrupulous adherence to niceties, so it deserves comment to that degree.

        One notes at the start, “Impartial Analysis of Popular Trends and Technology” is copyrighted and in quotations. Which means of course it need not be true, any more than “X Cola Adds Life” would, were it a copyright slogan. However, one suggests examination of the choice of the word ‘impartial’ might be enlightening.

        Technically, we see any practitioner of professional formalized impartiality might have issues with the way this word is used here. Possibly, ‘disinterested’ might be meant, and could be true, in the sense that the analysis originates from someone not in the pay of any party, nor seeking personal lucrative return. Or ‘methodical’.. that’d work in the same sense. However, as plain reading of the behaviors exhibited on the site show neither the requisite balance nor fairness in treatment of all claims and all parties, ‘impartiality’ is more an indication of a deeper drive than a statement of bland fact. Note we speak only of the word choices, format, behavior, separated from personalization.

        One also notes, WARNING: Do not accept any criticisms of this list without first reading the rebuttals or emailing, populartechnology (at) gmail (dot) com

        Warning? Why warning? It’s a curious choice of words.

        Likewise, in the rebuttals section one is warned to place above all other considerations upon entering the topic of the 1,100, one notes an especial concern with ad hominem. Methodical, technical, but again not entirely valid the way it is used.

        Anthropologically, speaking of the format, word choices and ideas on the site only, without reference to personalization, the conduct of expression is overtly glib, one-sided, defensive, condescending, patronizing, manipulative and an obvious shell-game substituting form for fact, and ideology for idea.

        Composing a list of 1,100 items that have passed peer review but do not pass any smell test, that do not even pass impartiality in that the tests applied to the 13,950 Meaningless Search Results appear custom tailored to produce meaningless parsing, not valid criteria for comparison.

        There is no quantifiable difference in the validity or value add of either the near 14,000-strong nor the 1,100-long lists, so far as deeper analysis appears. All there is, apparently, is defense of weak method by weak appeal to rhetorical complaint.

        Numerical measures of the validity of any one published article such as citation count may be scandalously inaccurate, however on lists into the hundred or over a thousand, citation count is arguably the best numerical measure we have of influence and acceptance, especially once we remove for self-citation or citation in an article that debunks the original by authors with similar or greater influence. When PopTech has done valid analyses to this depth, with objective standards, perhaps with steps taken to warrant actual not merely claimed impartiality instead of simply throwing up a vetted list it asserts is more meaningful than any other, then we can have a look at something worth talking about, other than mere expression of the quaint social science phenomena instantiated by the site.

      • Bart, it helps when you don’t make incorrect assumptions. I am not claiming copyright on the specific phrase in quotes but my entire website and it’s contents. This is foreshadowing of the sort of contextual problems you are going to have.

        So you can read the minds of every practitioner of professional formalized impartiality? Please provide the objective criteria for determining “requisite balance or fairness in treatment of all claims and all parties”.

        I choose “warning” simply to get people to read the rebuttals section first (which people frequently were not) so I did not have to continue and repeat the same things over and over.

        Using my definition of ad hominem show that it’s use is invalid. If I have not provided a definition then explain how you determined what definition I used.

        The list of formatted “Criticism/Rebuttals” is only a part of the rebuttals section. There are a preceding 18 links to details rebuttals as well. As a whole the focus on “ad hominems” has no such weight you implied nor was this my intent. Even in the formatted “Criticism/Rebuttals” section they only account for 5 out of 21 items. The list of 21 formatted “Criticism/Rebuttals” evolved over time in debate based on what was commonly argued.

        ” the conduct of expression is overtly glib, one-sided, defensive, condescending, patronizing, manipulative and an obvious shell-game substituting form for fact, and ideology for idea.”

        These are all dishonest ad hominems. Are you claiming to be able to judge my emotion by reading text? It is one thing for Tom Cruise to do it sitting in front of the physical person but rather ridiculous to pretend to be able to do such things online reading text. Any text that is arguing or supporting a certain position would be considered “one-sided” that does not make it wrong. Obviously a rebuttal would be considered “defensive” but again this is just stating the obvious. Being condescending does not mean you are wrong either. However, it is completely untrue that I am attempting to be manipulative or anything on my site is some sort of shell-game.

        What are you talking about “passing a smell-test” is that a code word for your lack of a ability to objectively apply a valid criticism to the list?

        If you do not understand how thoroughly I laid waste to the 13,950 Meaningless Search Results then it is clear (here comes the condescending part) you are as computer illiterate as James Powell.

        http://www.populartechnology.net/2013/04/13950-meaningless-search-results.html

        Do you not understand these irrefutable facts?

        1. The context of how the “search phrases” were used in all the results was never determined.

        2. The results are padded by not using the search qualifier “anthropogenic”.

        3. The 13,950 results cannot be claimed to be peer-reviewed as the Web of Science does not have a peer-reviewed only filter.

        4. It is a strawman argument that skeptics deny or reject there has been a global temperature increase of a fraction of a degree since the end of the little ice age.

        Maybe I can make it easier for you to grasp one key point. Powell falsely claimed he had “13,950 peer-reviewed climate articles” but the Web of Science does not have a peer-reviewed only filter.

        My 1100 long list is merely a resource and you have yet to present a valid criticism. Feel free to present one you feel is valid so I can rebut it in extensive detail. Your failure to do so means you cannot support your argument that it is defended by rhetoric.

        Citation count is simply a measure of popularity not scientific validity. It is a simply an argumentum ad populum.

        Does my list discriminate between mutually exclusive skeptical viewpoints? If not then how is it not impartial?

        Where is my list thrown up as more meaningful than another?

        All you have are dishonest ad hominems about my site. No facts, no evidence just rhetoric.

        BTW your written form is not very coherent. Stop trying to sound impressive and write more intelligible. It is not impressing anyone.

      • I had to comment again as I find it hilarious Bart used assumptions as the crux of his argument. “Impartial Analysis of Popular Trends and Technology” is copy-written, ROFLMAO! That is what happens when people think they are smarter than they really are.

      • You misunderstand.

        My comments are solely and specifically about the contents of your site (which really isn’t worth me spending more time on, or recommending others to visit to make up their own minds about), not you. I don’t care about you. I don’t know or pretend to know you. I don’t foresee or hope for that to change. I’m not your therapist. I lack the temperament.

        Read harder.

        If you worry about what I, or anyone, thinks about you, be comforted by how little any of us do think about you.

      • So the site has no editor and no one wrote the content? I have just stated that you are making false allegations about the content of my site and when pressed to defend such rhetoric you simply deflect and run away throwing around more personal attacks because you cannot form a valid criticism.

        The snide therapist remarks are expected from a pseudo-intellectual like yourself. You cannot even debate a single point I presented and just run away, falsely implying I missed something in what you incoherently stated. These games are tiring and meant to cover up your insecurity and inability to address actual arguments or formulate a valid criticism.

      • I appreciate the citations that Poptech makes to the dude Sherwood B. Idso. Is everyone aware of the embarrassing research articles that Idso, PhD in soil science, has contributed to the climate science literature?

        The guy writes like a hyper-ventilating school kid:

        http://www.mitosyfraudes.org/idso98.pdf

        “Assuming that
        this temperature increase was a consequence of the
        extra thermal radiation produced by the seasonal
        redistribution of atmospheric dust, I divided the latter
        of these 2 numbers by the former to obtain a surface
        air temperature sensitivity factor that was identical to
        the result derived from my first natural experiment:
        0.173°C/(W m–2).
        The perfect agreement of these 2 results was totally
        unexpected. “

        I guess that passes for the scientific method in the skeptical world.

      • WebHub, yes Dr. Idso is a highly credentialed scientist,

        Sherwood B. Idso, B.S. Physics with Distinction, University of Minnesota (1964); M.S. Soil Science with a minor in Physics, University of Minnesota (1966); Ph.D. Soil Science with a minor in Meteorology, University of Minnesota (1967); Research Assistant in Physics, University of Minnesota (1962); National Defense Education Act Fellowship (1964-1967); Research Soil Scientist, U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (1967-1974); Editorial Board Member, Agricultural and Forest Meteorology Journal (1972-1993); Secretary, American Meteorological Society, Central Arizona Chapter (1973-1974); Vice-Chair, American Meteorological Society, Central Arizona Chapter (1974-1975); Research Physicist, U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (1974-2001); Chair, American Meteorological Society, Central Arizona Chapter (1975-1976); Arthur S. Flemming Award (1977); Secretary, Sigma Xi – The Research Society, Arizona State University Chapter (1979-1980); President, Sigma Xi – The Research Society, Arizona State University Chapter (1980-1982); Member, Task Force on “Alternative Crops”, Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (1983); Adjunct Professor of Geography and Plant Biology, Arizona State University (1984-2007); Editorial Board Member, Environmental and Experimental Botany Journal (1993-2003); Member, Botanical Society of America; Member, American Geophysical Union; Member, American Society of Agronomy; ISI Highly Cited Researcher; President, Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change (2001-Present)

        Who is an ISI highly cited researcher,

        http://researchanalytics.thomsonreuters.com/highlycited/names/i/

        His papers passed peer-review in the scientific world.

      • I am only partially embarrassed that Idso got his PhD from my alma mater. I will eventually get a chance to talk to some of the earth scientists currently working there to try to understand WUWT. The malady is often referred to as “gone emeritus”, a once respected scientist who gets a case of unchecked hubris.

      • Poptech

        Before now I had always thought that Idso was a minor scientist but having seen your list and done my own research I can only thank Webby for drawing my attention to him. Idso has an extremely impressive track record and those that seek to disparage him appear to be showing an irrational bias.
        tonyb

      • Linus Pauling once had an impressive track record. So did William Shockley. So did Francis Crick AND James Watson.

        See the subthread on Shechtman’s experiences with Pauling.

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/05/06/consensus-and-controversy/#comment-319607

        How convenient of you skeptics to cherry pick scientists depending on whether they are pro or anti to your own agenda. No coasting where science is concerned. If they do bad science, you give them a break or two, but then you have to let them go.

      • Webhub, I am sure if Dr. Idso knew he would be embarrassed you even went to his alma matter.

        climatereason, people like Webhub have no interest in science, which is why they waste time personally attacking credentialed scientists they disagree with. Their tactics are usually quite effective until someone does their own research.

      • Webby

        How can I possibly ‘cherry pick’ Idso when he wasn’t even on my radar before you disparaged him?
        tonyb

  52. Chief Hydrologist

    ‘To further explicate the cultural premises for understanding the debate about global warming, this section outlines the four core narratives, or myths, that arguably frame the discourse on climate change. Such a perspective is essential to be able to grasp the underlying and more subtle reasons for the intensity of the debate, and for understanding fundamental characteristics of the climate change field. Professor Mike Hulme, who has published over hundred peer-reviewed journal papers and more than thirty books or book chapters on climate change topics, and who has also been a contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), outlines the four dominating myths of climate change. He is using the term ”myth” in the anthropological sense, not as something “untrue” but as something that reveals meanings and assumed truths among groups of people. He distinguishes between four main myths in which ”our thoughts, discourses and feelings about climate change become loaded with deeper sets of assumptions about the world around us – and the worlds behind us and ahead of us – and our relationship between them. This is one sense in
    which climate change (lower case – physical transformation) becomes Climate Change (upper case – carrier of ideology)” (2009: 341).

    Hulme suggests that the four myths; 1) Lamenting Eden, 2) Presaging Apocalypse, 3) Constructing Babel, 4) Celebrating Jubilee, all are rooted in our human instincts for nostalgia, fear, pride and justice.’

    Hulme is a Christian and perhaps looks at myth making in the modern environmental movement as a challenge to the Christian myth. Nonetheless he understands the power of myth making and defines the core of the space cadets belief system.

  53. It is not enough to oppose dogmatic statements like Brundtland’s which have no real supporting evidence. We need to go deep into the science as it has been presented by the IPCC and discover and publicise the flaws. It certanly is not enough to quote the specific heat of CO2 as justification for it’s almost magical powers to absorb heat. No, one would have to take into account it’s vibrational modes of which there is a vast number due to its isotopic molecules’ elements. Yet ihe IPCC has never listed them nor justified their assertions on those bases.

    Then there is the on/off nature of climate change. I am not referring to the annual random fluctuations in global average temperature, but to those correlated with CO2 concentration. It is a necessary condition for the UPCC’s thesis to be true that there br positive currelation between these functions. There has been posirive correlation in the past (1910 to 1940 and 1970 to 2000) but it is inconsistent and unexplained, although I have suggested a possible explanation on my website underlined above.

  54. Efforts to make people bow uncritically to the authority of a dogmatic representation of Science, seems largely to produce ridicule, opposition and inaction, and ultimately undermines the legitimacy and role of both science and politics in open democracies.

    AMEN!

  55. On 2012-10-24, engineer students visit Det Norsk AS for their first lesson in mythology.

    > R&D Manager of Det norske, Hans Konrad Johnsen, introduced the students to the facts and myths of the petroleum industry as well as current challenges faced by the energy sector. Furthermore, two of Det norske’s engineers provided information on the kind of tasks and problems they have to address as engineers within development and HS&E.

    http://www.detnor.no/en/frontpage-news-and-media/85/1093-visit-by-engineering-students

  56. On 2009-06-03, Hans Konrad Johnsen and his CEO were photographed while they were discussing how to optimize their spin-off investment:

    > In this way we hope to strengthen research and development within the petroleum sector in Northern Norway. This is important to optimize spin-off effects when petroleum activities gradually move northwards. From our Harstad office, we put special emphasis on activities in the Barents Sea.

    http://blog.norway.com/2009/06/03/oil-company-invests-in-troms%C3%B8-university/

  57. On 2010-06-25, Hans Konrad Johnsen speaks for all Santa Clauses of the past:

    We want to provide the University of Tromsø with means to produce high quality research as well as good candidates for future employment within the oil industry and Det norske. When asking UiT what was on the top of their wish list, they came up with the answer that resulted in this R&D agreement. I sincerely hope that the equipment we are inaugurating today, will be in operation day and night and that other departments at UiT will discover how this equipment may benefit them as well”.”We will provide our share of future research around these instruments” says R&D manager of Det norske, Hans Konrad Johnsen.

    http://www.detnor.no/en/news/news-archive/775-uit-recieves-important-support-from-det-norske

  58. On the main page of klimarealistene.com, there is a link to an Open letter to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute from Svenn Korseth Sr., Martin Hovland and Hans Konrad Johnsen.:

    Kjære direktør,

    Den 21. desember 2009, kunne vi lese følgende offisielle prognose fra DNMI:

    ”Sesongvarselet for temperatur i perioden januar 2010 – mars 2010 viser vel 1,5 grader C over normalen for den østlige delen av Sør-Norge. Osv…” Allerede nå, midt i januar er det åpenbart at dette varselet ikke bare er skivebom, men det representerer det diametralt motsatte av hva som har skjedd!

    Herved utfordrer vi deg som øverste ansvarlige i DNMI til å forklare det norske folk følgende:

    1) Hvorfor bruker dere ordet ”viser” i et slikt varsel? Er det ikke ganske arrogant å si at et varsel viser noe som helst? Vi forventer at et varsel fra kompetent hold skal bygge på en grundig analyse av en atmosfærisk tilstand og en begrunnelse for en fremtidig utvikling av denne tilstanden.

    2) Hvorfor unnlater dere å angi disse faktorene i sesongvarselet? Vennligst gi en detaljert analyse av forutsetningene for varselet dere utstedte den 21. desember og grunngi varselet dere satte på trykk for knapt en måned siden.

    3) Når DNMI så tydelig har demonstrert total inkompetanse og mangel på realisme i sesongvarselet, så har dere kanskje vurdert nytten av ti-dagers varslene dere pådytter det norske folk? I offshore-industrien har vi vært belemret med forsøk på ti-dagers varsler i en årrekke. Vi har imidlertid lært oss å ignorere alt ang. vindretning, vindstyrke og bølgehøyde utover ca. 5 døgn fram i tid. Som fagfolk vet vi at disse langtidsvarlsene bygger på ”bevisstløs” bruk av generelle numeriske sirkulasjonsmodeller, uten innblanding av menneskelig erfaring og kompetanse. Fra matematikken vet vi jo dessuten at numeriske metoder feiler totalt etter en viss mengde iterasjoner. Helt naturlig sniker det seg inn små feil etter hvert. Etter omtrent 5 døgn, er disse feilene blitt multiplisert opp så mange ganger at de tar over realismen i værprognosene, noe som gjør at 10-dagers varslene stort sett er verre enn ingen varsler, dvs ’sunn fornuft’.

    Vi håper på et snarlig og ærlig svar på dette brevet.

    Med vennlig hilsen

    Svenn Korseth (formann i ’Klimarealistene’), Martin Hovland (dr. philos) og Hans Konrad Johnsen (dr. ing.).”

    http://www.klimarealistene.com/Brev%20til%20DNMI100110.pdf

    (To have an idea what this means, provide the letter to your favorite translator.)

    Our emphasis.

    Could the actants mentioned on the main page of klimarealistene.com be seen as contemporary clansmen?

  59. I wrote somewhere in this thread

    We have already seen so many different articles discussing the trivial point that there are gaps in knowledge. Perhaps it would be more fruitful to start again to discuss, what is known.

    Some people seem to have understood, what I meant, some others not.

    The problem is that uncertainties are discussed as a generic issue. Such a discussion can never differentiate between almost certain and very unlikely, it cannot differentiate between uncertainties on central points and uncertainties that are irrelevant. The trivial point is that there are always uncertainties that can be discussed on general ground and that such discussion has been too dominant on this site.

    Such discussion is based on relativism, where every view counts the same, there are no specialists who understand better and whose scientific results should be given much more weight that some random blog postings. The paper of Royrvik has that fault again. He uses as evidence very dubious examples.

    I’m skeptical on every single opinion and on every single scientific publication, but I’m much more skeptical on typical blog postings. The whole scientific process is about building better and better as well as more and more reliable knowledge out of all the papers that should be considered skeptically as individual contributions.

    Through this scientific process we have the understanding of physics we have. Many studies that contributed to the buildup of that understanding have been faulty, but all the research put together has produced results that we can trust.

    Climate science is not as far in its development as present day textbook physics, but it has produced a lot of understanding. My above quote was saying that we should go to the specifics and stop generic repetitive discussion on the existence of uncertainties.

    • The problem with uncertainty in climate science is that it doesn’t seem to exist when it comes to making prognostications about future climate trends.

      • Peter,

        What you meant by “it doesn’t seem to exist”?

        I believe that the uncertainties of the projections are almost always emphasized in original publications and in reports like the IPCC reports. The users of those projections may concentrate on the central estimate, but such a behavior is true every time any uncertain estimates are used in non-expert media.

      • Heh, and we got fun when the ‘central estimate’ is squishy. Measurement be squoshed, full speed ahead. That berg of alarming warming has deep cold roots.
        ================

      • Pekka said “I believe that the uncertainties of the projections are almost always emphasized in original publications and in reports like the IPCC reports.”

        Really? In political publications that originate from the IPCC?

      • Beth Cooper

        Who knew in 1940 what
        the climate might
        be like in 1980?
        Who could state
        in 1968 that 1998
        would be unusually
        hot? Seems
        back then
        the BOM
        presaged
        a future ice age …
        but they were wrong.

        Uncertainty about the future?
        What did Yogi Berra say?
        Remind me …

      • Beth, Yogi Berra said “when you get to a fork in the road, take it.”

        He did not say “when you get to a fork in the road, stand there with your finger up your butt. .” That’s what deniers and false skeptics say.

      • Peter,

        The IPCC global temperature projections are based on a number of different scenarios, which in itself shows uncertainty over future emissions, and each scenario has its own error bars.

        Other obvious examples of uncertainty in the IPCC reports are climate sensitivity -

        [sensitivity] is likely to be in the range 2°C to 4.5°C with a best estimate of about 3°C, and is very unlikely to be less than 1.5°C.

        and attribution of recent warming -

        Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        There are great – an irreducible – errors in models for instance. There is less uncertainty in the future trajectory of climate. It is less warming than seen between 1976 and 1998. The problem arises when science ceases to matter and is replaced with a certainty of things that just aren’t so.

      • Max,

        My opinion – better a finger and not your head.

    • Rob Starkey

      Pekka
      Imo, climate science got off the tracks when many climate scientists moved far too quickly to promoting the adoption of specific governmental policies in response to their conclusions about what the preliminary science led them to believe was likely to occur. Initially, the conclusions of these scientists were generally accepted, but as move data became available; much of the data supporting the conclusions was discovered to be flawed and therefore the general conclusions became suspect. As a result, their conclusions regarding government have not, and will not be implemented.

      A agree that there is much more know today in climate science than there was 25 years ago, but it is the unknowns that continue to drive discussions and therefore dominate governmental policy decisions worldwide.

      1. How much will it warm (or cool?) over the next 25 years?

      2. What other conditions important to the lives of humans will change in different countries as a result of any changes in temperature?

      3. How will energy be supplied to the roughly 3 billion people who do not currently have access to electricity or personal transportation worldwide over the next 25 years that does not vastly increase CO2 emissions? Who will pay for this energy?

      We do know more than we used to but until the answers to those 3 simple questions can be reliably answered is seems highly unlikely that anything more than minor actions and meaningless discussion will continue.

      • There has been far too much attention paid to the construction of a narrative, rather than to naturally follow where curiosity flows. When, where, why, how, and by whom the current was diverted is beyond my ken, but Gaia knows.
        ===========

      • Peter Lang

        I agree those three questions are critical. They ned to be answered. And they have not been to date.

      • Rob, you ask “1. How much will it warm (or cool?) over the next 25 years? ”

        We sort of know the answer to that one. No-one has the slightest idea. There is no emipirical data which shows that CO2 has any appreciable effect on global temperatures; only hypothetical conjectures, or guesses. We have little understanding of the magnitude and time constants of natural variations. IMHO, this was obvious 30 or 40 years ago, but people like Pekka, our hostess, Steven Mosher and others have spread the myth or hoax, that data equivalent to empirical data was available which proved that the effect of adding CO2 was overwhelmimg.

        Now, thank heaven, the scientific world is slowly waking up the the fact that CAGW is at best an enormous misrepresentation of the science, or at worst, a hoax.

      • Inestimable measurement or immeasurable estimate?
        ====================

      • [Reposted here...sorry about that]

        “…until the answers to those 3 simple questions can be reliably answered” (Starkey)

        “They [the questions] ne[e]d to be answered.” Lang

        What constitutes sufficient answers to make a decision or decisions? A decision is made under uncertainty. Given the risks particularly in regard to time, given the different costs (implementations, impacts, etc.) how do you arrive at a drop-dead “it is decision time” point?

      • Rob Starkey

        Jim

        I disagree with your conclusion regarding CO2 but imo the 3 questions are still important to have answered if significant government policy decisions are going to be made that change prior behavior. If actions are taken that reduce CO2 emissions and results in atmospheric concentration being at 450ppm instead of 470ppm in 2060 does it matter?

        Imo, the most important potential harm is sea level rise and it seems to be rising at an uneventful rate.
        Imo, the 3 billion people who will need to get access to power in the coming decades is the key to future emissions. I see no path by which worldwide emissions do not continue to increase.
        Imo, construction and maintenance of robust infrastructure is the only sensible response.

      • From the post by Jim Cripwell on May 7, 2013 at 10:28 am

        Rob, you ask “1. How much will it warm (or cool?) over the next 25 years? ”

        We sort of know the answer to that one. No-one has the slightest idea.
        _____________

        No-one ? Nah ! There are lots of ideas. One might be it will continue to rise at the same rate it rose over the last 25 years.

      • And one might be that it does not rise at all like the past 17 years.

      • Rob, you `write “I disagree with your conclusion regarding CO2“
        `
        I would be interested to know why you disagree. My claim is that there is no empirical data that shows that adding CO2 to the atmopshere from current levels has a measurable effect on global temperatures. There are all sorts of guesses, by Pekka, Steven Mosher, our hostess, etc.who put great empahsis on estimates of climate sensitivity. But these estimates are not empirical data. What do you disagree with?

      • Rob Starkey

        Jim
        Your claim is that there is no empirical data that shows that adding CO2 to the atmosphere from current levels has a measurable effect on global temperatures.
        I have read your exchanges with Mosher on this and prefer to not repeat those exchanges. I might agree that it is not possible to conclusively determine that warming in the earth’s system was in fact caused by the additional CO2 but it seems to be highly probably to be a significant contributing factor. Other factors in the system may overwhelm the impact of the additional CO2 over timescales important to humans, but it would have an impact.

      • Rob, you write “but it seems to be highly probably to be a significant contributing factor”

        If there is no empirical data to support the idea that CO2 causes anything more than negligible warming, on what do you base your conclusion that it is “highly probably” “a significantly contributing factor”?

  60. Pingback: Quote of the Week – dogmatic ‘mannerisms’ of science | Watts Up With That?

  61. Pekka Pirilä said in his post on May 7, 2013 at 9:00 am

    “The problem is that uncertainties are discussed as a generic issue. Such a discussion can never differentiate between almost certain and very unlikely, it cannot differentiate between uncertainties on central points and uncertainties that are irrelevant. The trivial point is that there are always uncertainties that can be discussed on general ground and that such discussion has been too dominant on this site.”
    _________

    AMEN !

    I see uncertainty as a dead end. I get the impression many who frequent Climate Etc want to hang out at the dead end. I’m not sure why, but I suppose it could be because the dead end seems like a safe place to them.

  62. “…until the answers to those 3 simple questions can be reliably answered” (Starkey)

    “They [the questions] ne[e]d to be answered.” Lang

    What constitutes sufficient answers to make a decision or decisions? A decision is made under uncertainty. Given the risks particularly in regard to time, given the different costs (implementations, impacts, etc.) how do you arrive at a drop-dead “it is decision time” point?

    • Gamps and towels at crunch time, more useful than damp vowels.
      ================

    • mwgrant asks “What constitutes sufficient answers to make a decision or decisions?”

      Deniers and false skeptics have made a decision based on a forecast of no harm resulting from atmospheric CO2 rising to a level never experienced by modern man. Of course this is a gamble they are willing to take because they won’t live long enough to suffer the consequences if they are wrong. Indeed, some are so old they will be lucky to live out the decade.

      • mwgrant says: “A decision is made under uncertainty.”

        Indeed, I make decisions under uncertainty all the time. It’s a fact of life.

      • Rob Starkey

        Max-Ok- I am not sure what defination you apply to conclude certain individuals are “deniers” or “fake skeptics”.

        If person “A” proposes that great harm will occur if persons “B to Z” do no change their behavior, but person “A” can’t reliably define the likely harm or how much the harm will be reduced if “A’s” suggestion were followed, is it likely that “B to Z” are likely to follow “A’s” suggestions?

      • Rob, it’s moot because you won’t live long enough to be harmed. But how do you know the experiment you are proposing(raising CO2 to levels never experienced by modern man) won’t cause harm to future generations?

      • Rob Starkey

        Max-
        I do not KNOW that emitting CO2 will not cause harm, but I also do not see any practical alternative for the 3 billion currently without power to gain access to power as cost effectively as possible.

        How do you know that any action you take today will not have unintended negative consequences? You really don’t. You know that the immediate benefit outweighs the immediate or reasonably foreseeable negative consequences.

      • Max_OK

        “…this is a gamble…”
        Making any decision entails a gamble–if there is not uncertainty, there is no decision to be made. [I'm assuming you do not advocate irrational acts.]

        Later you remark: “Indeed, I make decisions under uncertainty all the time. It’s a fact of life.” I ask do you make decisions without uncertainty?

        My point above is that it is too simplistic to say ‘these questions must be answered” without introducing the idea of the consideration of what constitutes a sufficient answer or answers. Decision-making is a process.

        Finally your continual ‘old’ comments are getting…well, old. Maybe one of these days you’ll spit it all out, let it loose. Don’t be shy.

        Cheers

      • Rob, I don’t see any negative consequences from carbon taxes in B.C. and Australia. I don’t see any negative consequences from mandated mpg levels for new cars. I don’t see any consequences from power plants switching from coal to natural gas.

        You say “3 billion without power.” I’m sure you don’t mean 3 billion people just had their power cut off. I think you mean you have decided they would like to have electric power, and I would agree it seems reasonable that most of them would, but the market wants money they don’t have. On the other hand, electric power is not essential to a thriving culture. Should we give them the money so the world’s finite supply of fossil fuel can be depleted faster?

      • Rob Starkey

        Max
        The negative consequences of any tax are that those paying the tax have less of their funds to use as they wish. Those paying the tax understand the negative consequence. I ask you what was the positive consequence of the tax in either instance. Will the weather be different as a result? No. It was a tax with no measureable benefit except the generation of revenue.

        There are over 3 billion people would like to get electricity who don’t have it now. They will eventually get access to electricity or they will in all probability overthrow their existing governments. Max, the question is how will the nations that currently do not generate electricity for these 3 billion people do so over the next 20 to 30 years. Imo, the leaders of these nations will elect to generate electricity in the most cost efficient manner. That will mean emitting CO2. That would only change if other nations were willing to pay the differential between the costs of producing electricity from a power plant that uses fossil fuels vs. one that does not. Imo, the economics of the world make such subsidies extremely unlikely.

      • Re mwgrant post of May 7, 2013 at 12:31 pm

        1. You are right to assume I don’t advocate irrational acts, but like most people I occasionally act irrationally.

        2. Yes, I frequently make decisions based on what I think is certainty. Sometimes I’m wrong.

        3. Yes, decision making is a process.

        4. I comment about “old” was true. A person knowing he will not live long enough to experience any negative consequences from his actions can affect how he thinks about those actions.

      • Max_OK

        That’s straight-up. I appreciate that and agree on all points.One note–negative impacts avoided can also include retribution–altruism might be more viable. Thanks.

      • Rob, if as I suspect, you are an anti-government anti-tax ideologue, there is nothing for either of us to gain from discussing carbon tax. I’m not going to change your mind and you aren’t going to change mine.

        IMO, you have an ethnocentric and naive view about electric power. You seem to believe it is necessary for civilization and those who don’t have it will be unhappy. You should know America did not have electric power through almost all of the19th Century and it did not become commonplace in rural America until well into the 20th Century.

        What are the countries you believe will have governments overthrown over lack of electric power? What are the countries you believe will be building coal-fired electric power plants and where will they get the coal? Why do you believe these countries will burn coal rather than natural gas?

      • “Rob, I don’t see any negative consequences from carbon taxes in B.C. and Australia. I don’t see any negative consequences from mandated mpg levels for new cars. I don’t see any consequences from power plants switching from coal to natural gas.”

        But climate skeptics were predicting that Australia’s economy would have collapsed by now!

      • Rob Starkey

        Max

        You seem to draw conclusions about people and other issues with insufficient evidence to support your conclusion. I am not anti government or anti tax. You seem to support a carbon tax that raises revenue but can be shown to do nothing positive for the climate. Why is that? Perhaps you should go to the doctor.

        Yes Max- I believe that the 3 billion people currently without power will get power in time. If you do not, I again suggest that you go see a mental health professional.

        I do agree that there is little reason for further exchange until you get your meds checked.

      • They will say the carbon tax needs more time to destroy the Australian economy. After more time and no destroyed economy, they will say the economy would have been even better if not for the carbon tax.

      • Now Rob, people can disagree with you without being crazy.

      • Where’s Jim Cripwell to point out that the effect of carbon taxes on the economy is indistinguishable from zero?

      • Max,

        “Rob, I don’t see any negative consequences from carbon taxes in B.C. and Australia.”

        This is because you close your eyes, cover your ears and go na, na, na, in order to ignore information which contradicts your opinion.

        The Auditor General found quite a number of issues with BC’s Carbon Tax. In short, their is little accountability in determining where the tax money goes and little evidence the money is doing what it is suppossed to be doing – reducing emissions more than would occur without the tax.

        If you want to believe that money which is not achieving the objectives it used to justify the tax program and that could otherwise be used for schools and hospitals is not a negative effect, fine. It is evience your “faith” is strong.

    • Rob Starkey

      lolwot

      If someone believes that a tax has no impact on the economy they do not understand economics. Regarding a carbon tax, it is an effective means of increasing government revenue. Unless the carbon tax is very substantial it is not an effective means to significantly reduce CO2 emissions. Try to get answers on the specifics of how much emissions have been reduced in any particular market as a consequence of having implemented a carbon tax. Next try to look at what that specific CO2 reduction did to global emissions. Again I ask- does it matter if CO2 is at 450ppm vs. 460 ppm in 50 years? Was it worth the cost?

      • “If someone believes that a tax has no impact on the economy they do not understand economics”

        We skeptics of Economic Alarmism don’t deny that carbon taxes impact the economy, we just question how much they impact the economy, whether the impact will be positive and negative and whether it is really worth worrying about them.

        So far proponents of Economic Catastrophe have failed to provide Empirical Proof that carbon taxes will harm the economy in any substantial way. All they have is flawed economic computer models and hand-waving. We should not worry about the impact of carbon taxes until it can be proven they cause harm.

      • Rob Starkey

        lolwot

        The impact of a carbon tax on a nation’s economy depends on the condition of the economy when the tax is implemented. The multiplier impact of government spending on the overall economy is generally about 1/3 lower than is the impact of private sector spending. You could calculate the overall impact based on the amount of the overall tax. The negative impact would be essentially zero if an alternative tax was going to be implemented that was collected with the same efficency.

        None of that mean that such a tax is effective in meeting the stated goal of showing a lessening of harm to the environment

      • lolwot | May 7, 2013 at 2:46 pm |

        Stop that.

        Someone with no sense of humor or knowledge of Economics will take you seriously.

        Oh. See? Starkey already has.

        Revenue neutral carbon tax, or fully-recycling dividend and fee systems, obey none of Starkey’s parameters.

        Even strict double-dividend carbon taxes obey none of Starkey’s conclusions.

        Even mere Pigouvian carbon taxes do not fulfill Starkey’s fears.

        Huh. False premises, faulty conclusions, and fictional fearmongering.. lolwot may be onto something.

  63. MieScatter

    I like to see that it has a good discussion about whether the greenhouse effect exists or not.

    This shows that the authors are excellent at being unbiased and are clearly extremely well informed about basic physics.

  64. pottereaton

    The report reads like an indictment of the climate autocracy to me. It elegantly and precisely expresses what most skeptics feel about the disturbing course of the debate so far, i.e. that people in positions of authority are trying to squelch debate on the most “pressing issues of our time.”

    It’s clear now that people within the climate science autocracy should not be expressing opinions about policy or making predictions about the future. There projections are looking increasingly inaccurate in the face of new empirical data. Then there is the matter of their financial, ideological and reputational interests which compromise their objectivity.

    If AR5 is more of the same, the IPCC should be disbanded. Here is a list of all the meetings for the IPCC since 2009 as it relates to AR5:

    http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/AR5_provisional_schedule.html

    I would like to see a cost analysis for flying all those IPCC functionaries to glamorous locations around the globe. I’d like to see data on how much CO2 was produced as a result of all that jet travel.

    Will the product be worth the cost?

  65. Mosh, “This” was true of Andy. Ummm, which “This” are you referring to? Do you mean that Andy lost his technical expertise, or that he got over it? Or that he didn’t completely lose it, but he didn’t write any more classic textbooks on semiconductor physics? Or that Intel lost its mojo at the time, or since then? Or that Andy had a lot to be modest about in the first place? Or are you trying to say something else. ??

  66. Consensus is not good for science.

    Helicobacter pylori

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/4304290.stm

    • One thing (Helicobacter pylor) and the consensus is not good for science? That’s a laugh.

      How did the scientist who discovered Helicobacter pylori is the cause of stomach ulcers fund his research?

      Have the consensus doctors rejected his findings, and refusing to treat ulcer patients with antibiotics?

      • Consensus is not good for science.

        “Nobel Prize in Chemistry for dogged work on ‘impossible’ quasicrystals

        Daniel Shechtman, who has won the chemistry Nobel for discovering quasicrystals, was initially lambasted for ‘bringing disgrace’ on his research group”

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/oct/05/nobel-prize-chemistry-work-quasicrystals

      • Bad example. Linus Pauling, who was past his prime, was the only critic of Shechtman. John Cahn, his boss at the bureau of standards lab was always behind him.

        Urban legend run amok
        .

      • blueice2hotsea

        Jimbo

        I’ve watched a number of Shectman videos and he really hammers home the point that at the highest levels of science, there is sometimes no difference between science and religion. In the end, the final hurdle that Shectman had to clear was Pauling’s prodigious army of true believers, which quickly vaporized when Pauling died.

        I have encountered this in engineering and other analytical disciplines albeit at a much lower lever. And I believe the cause of the weirdness is a difference between types of problem solving: thinking vs memorizing.

        Memorizers solve most problems that a thinker can, and can solve some problems more easily (i.e, the extremely abstract) – provided, that is, they have previously encountered a solution. The problem for them is that while still young, they must rely upon authoritative “prophets”. Only at some much later point (than for thinkers) will their accumulated knowledge make the dots close enough to connect on their own.

      • I was doing diffraction studies of disordered material at the time and can report that the work by Shechtmen was only encouraged and looked at in awe. We each wish we had discovered what he had, along along with STM, High Tc superconductors, Bucky balls, fractional quantum Hall effect, etc, etc.

    • The irony is that the only reason we now accept H pylori causes ulcers is because the consensus of doctors is that it does.

      The BBC only reported it so, and we believe it so, because the experts are by and large agreeing that it is so. If instead there was a substantial number of experts that claimed the experiment was flawed and H pylori DIDNT cause ulcers, we would not be so sure would we?

      • blueice2hotsea

        lolwot -

        What you are wrongly suggesting is that everyone “thinks” like you. There is a huge difference between thinking and parroting.

        Think about this. My former father-in-law had ulcers. When I openly speculated in the 1970′s that a potential cure might be streptomycin and Pepto-bismol, he nearly threw me out of his house! My information was that veterinarians had cured ulcers in pigs since the 1940′s with bismuth and anti-biotics. But he was not a pig!

        An ulcer cure is worth investigating even if a Nobel prize is not at stake. Or maybe not. For some who will not or cannot think, perhaps misery is even preferred if the alternative is relief through unlicensed thinking. What do you think, eh lolwot?

  67. “We do know more than we used to but until the answers to those 3 simple questions can be reliably answered is seems highly unlikely that anything more than minor actions and meaningless discussion will continue.”

    Minor actions ???

    Tens of thousands of windmills, about 2 million solar panels, Billions of gallons of bio-fuel, produced by hundreds of big factories, elctric cars…
    many hundreds of billions of dollars spent. Are these minor actions??

    No, A tremendous lot has been done, driven by the warmist hysteria.

    What is less than minor, or even totally absent are results. No significant reductions in emissions have been acheived, and those acheived are mainly due to the new gas, and the economic slowdown, i.e. – would have happened anyway, without the tremendous expenditure.

    The warmist hyateria has, so far, acheived just two things: the corruption of the scientific process and the corruption of the political process, leading to totally irrational policies and actions.

    Well done!

  68. David Wojick

    It is about time we had an independent assessment that presents something like the full range of the debate. Hopefully it is a sign of progress. It is true that the study sometimes lapses into presenting debated claims as facts. It is hard to talk about a debate without accidentally participating. But the science of science is a social science and one must be careful not to take sides.

    There is however a certain dilemma. Every argument has several counter arguments, down through many levels of detail. This is the issue tree.
    See http://www.stemed.info/reports/Wojick_Issue_Analysis_txt.pdf

    So no matter where you stop with any line of argument you are leaving out the other side’s next level of counter arguments. This looks like bias but it is the inevitable product of limited space and the tree structure of complex issues. At which level do you stop each issue sub-tree?

    The study here tends to stop on the skeptical argument levels because its primary point is that the debate is real. As it says up front the so-called-consensus claims that there is no debate are simply empirically false. This conclusion is well demonstrated. Who is right in the debate is not the social scientific issue.

  69. Steven Mosher | May 6, 2013 at 9:13 pm | says he made 150 million on his electronic inventions.

    I am impressed!

    Unless of course 150M is not 150 million.

  70. I’m just an engineer, so I’m not well-versed on preparing a paper for publication or the peer review process. But as noted in the cited report, the internet has done amazing things for those such as myself. I have more than once sought out the peer-review comments for a peer-reviewed and published paper, and I have also read through comments in response to papers and reports posted on publicly accessible fora (i.e., blogs on the internet), and I find the blog-review (crowd-sourced, to many) to be far more rigorous than a peer review. Especially with regard to the actual analysis and calculations. I have not seen a peer-review dig into the database and the math and attempt to recreate what the author has done, yet in in a blog-review, I haven’t seen the math slip by yet. And the math often gets dissected, or if it’s incorrect, massacred, from several directions at once. So attempting to dismiss a paper as “not peer-reviewed” is just an attempt to throw up a smoke-screen.

    • Latimer Alder

      @cyrus

      Here’s Phil Jones – the well known CRU climatologist, testifying before Parliament to the rigour and depth of climatological peer review. He has published over 200 papers:in a 25+ year career.

      ‘The most startling observation came when he was asked how often scientists reviewing his papers for probity before publication asked to see details of his raw data, methodology and computer codes.

      “They’ve never asked,” he said.’

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

    • Peer review has never been the ultimate arbiter of a scientific paper, it’s only a rather low cost method for improving the quality of the published paper. The role of the ultimate arbiter is given on subsequent research that can either confirm or disprove the findings.

      it should always be understood that any individual scientific paper can be wrong. More solid knowledge is created trough the accumulation of corroborating evidence.

    • Peter Lang

      Cyrus P Stell

      I agree. Excellent comment.

  71. 1) What is the relationship between the concentration of atmospheric CO2 and a) land surface temperature and b) ocean temperature?
    2) What evidence is there for a ‘lag’ in an increase in the steady state level of IR radiation and ocean temperature?
    3) What is the rate of atmospheric sequestration of CO2 from the atmosphere into a) ocean reservoirs and b) mineralization sinks?
    4) What are the positive and negative impacts on human wealth and well-being of various temperature increases, over defined time periods?
    5) Is the study of climate science being well served by the current institutes and practice’s? If the science is poorly served, what new institutions, guidelines, data storage, study propagation and funding can be improved.
    6) Has the climate science community served its primary academic purpose of serving humanity? What mechanisms could be forged to allow the taxpaying public to see the results of investigations they have funded and either directly, or indirectly, pose questions to leading and controversial investigators.
    7) Given the polarization that climate science has generated, is it not time to solicit the general public, including lay-scientists, for their concerns and to address them in a series of ‘What we believe and why’ articles, with archived data, running code and public access?

  72. Thank you for bringing this essay to our attention. He says in the introduction that ‘an explicit goal of this report has been to give the dissenting or “contrarian” perspectives a serious treatment’, and he has done that. There wasn’t much in it that was new to me, save some of the examples, but its importance lies as much in where it comes from — Norway, the heartland of environmentalism and ‘sustainable development’.

    My take on it is at http://www.donaitkin.com

  73. I tried to post this comment here about 24 hours ago. It is fairly anodyne so I presume it was not moderated out. It may be that writing a comment first and then logging-in as requested upon posting (WordPress) does not always work. This time I have tried logging-in first. I have also corrected a couple of typos:

    The irresponsible scaremongering we have had to endure for decades about carbon dioxide is exemplified at the more sophisticated level of climate diplomacy by the profoundly foolish words of Brundltand, quoted in the report: ”doubt has been eliminated”, and that it is ”irresponsible, reckless and deeply immoral to question the seriousness of the situation”.

    The report authors note:

    ‘The goal of the report was to enter this debate and “battlefield” of arguments and take stock of the debate about anthropogenic (man-made) global warming. Based on the present review of this debate there are several conclusions to be drawn. The first and simplest one is that considered as an empirical statement, the assertion that “doubt has been eliminated” on AGW is plainly false.’

    These features alone commend the report to me as worth reading. The astonishing political success of the campaign against carbon dioxide (and in which CO2 sometimes seems to be a proxy for ‘modern civilisation’) is surely worthy of deep and extensive research. I hope it will be one for decades to come, and I hope that that will help protect us from such extravagant excursions happening again soon.

    Released at about the same time, I’d also commend this open-letter by 4 professors in Belgium: http://www.thegwpf.org/belgian-scientists-double-standards-climate-change/

  74. History will probably record that the climate catastrophe was well recognised and acted upon. Carbon taxes were implemented across the globe. The resulting action stopped the warming in its tracks. Well done global citizens.

    • blouis79,

      when these people look back they will be able to say that human intervention controlled the world’s temperature to with in +/- xC. I wonder whbat “x” is?

      That leads me to ask: what tolerances should we specify as or requirement for or climate control system? It is essential that wse do specify the tolerances if we want to control the system and if we want to be able to look back and se that we actually did control Earth’s temperature.

  75. I have been writing “Random thoughts about Peer-Reviewed Consensus”

    Science is always Skeptical. Peer-reviewed Consensus is not any kind of proof. Only data is proof that anything is right or wrong.

    Look at History. Peer-Reviewed Consensus has been wrong many times.

    Consensus is an illness where people quit considering any idea from outside their clique and persecute those who believe differently and when the travesty occurs that data does not agree with their models they use tricks to make the data appear to agree with their theories.

    When anything is well understood and easily explained no one seeks consensus. When something is not well understood and not easily explained people use peer-reviewed consensus to justify doing evil things to the people who disagree with them.

    When I look back in history, I find no examples where peer-reviewed consensus was used for good. I only find examples where it was used to do evil things people who were different or who did think differently.

    In human history, as knowledge has advanced, peer-reviewed consensus has halted the progress many times. I think it could be a good thing if properly used, but I don’t think it ever is used properly.

    True science does listen to and debate with people who disagree.

    Peer-reviewed consensus could be well used to figure out what is known or believed now but should never be used to stomp out everyone who disagrees and that is really the only thing it is used for.

    • Agree 100%.

    • HAP said

      “Consensus is an illness ..”

      Well then, crackpotism must be a psychopathy.

      And the crowd comes to a hush, how dare you.

      • Like Herman says, look at history. While consensus (paradigm, dogma) has halted the scientific progress many times, I can’t think of any instances where crackpotism did any damage to the scientific progress.

      • Well then, crackpotism must be a psychopathy.
        Wow! Excellent Example. That is one of the terms the consensus cliques uses to demonize any and all who disagree.

      • HAP reinterpreted the phrase “Liberalism is a mental disorder” used by Michael Savage, the right wing reactionary.

        We all know the dog whistles.

        HAP is projecting and it is him, taking orders from the Savage Weiner who is doing the demonizing.

      • Web

        I am surprised how you could accept IPCC’s “0.2 deg C/decade for the next two decades” after looking at more than 100 years of the data.

        For climate, we must look at only the long-term trend of about 0.1 deg C/decade.

        How could you fail to see the climate signal is a warming trend of about 0.1 deg C/decade, not IPCC’s 0.2 deg C/decade?