The science and silence conundrum

by Judith Curry

[S]ilence is an advocacy for the status quo. – Kevin Anderson

The issue of scientists and advocacy continues to generate interesting discussion.

Brigitte Nerlich

At the blog Making Science Public, Brigitte Nerlich has an interesting post Making Science Public:  The Science and Silence Conundrum.  The post starts by mentioning Tamsin Edwards op-ed, and also Gavin Schmidt’s recent AGU presentation. Nerlich also mentions an article by  Professor Kevin Anderson:

[Anderson] claimed that scientists working on climate change and who remained silent implicitly advocated the status quo. He said in an interview: “I think the scientists – particularly those of us who do work at the interface between science and translating that into a language that others can engage with – not just policy-makers, but broader civil society, businesses and so forth. For those of us to stay quiet about our work, that is political. […] So we may think we’re doing this neutrally, but we’re not at all. That silence is an advocacy for the status quo. So there are no such things as scientists that are not political. Scientists by their nature are being political, whether they engage or do not engage in the wider debates. And I would argue that the ones are who are the least political are the ones who engage in it.” Silence in the context of climate change is seen as a political act, an implicit act of advocacy.

Anderson’s statements were greeting in the twitosphere by a collective ‘Huh?’

Nehrlich’s article points discussion of a recent workshop took place at Imperial College London entitled Silence in the History and Communication of Science . From the Workshop’s web site:

Silence is often construed negatively, as a lack, an absence. Yet silences carry meaning. They can be strategic and directed at particular audiences; they can be fiercely contested or completely overlooked. Silence is not only oppressive but also generative, playing a key role in creative and intellectual processes. Conversely, speech, whilst seeming to facilitate open communication, can serve to mask important silences or can replace the quietude necessary for insightful thought with thoughtless babble.

Nerlich closes with the following statement:

All these recent episodes demonstrate that every act of speech and every act of silence opens up a space for interpretation and misinterpretation leading to further speech and further silence. These acts of speech and silence also open up spaces for power struggles over who should speak (for whom), who has the right to speak (about what), how to deliberate about science and politics, what the outcomes of these deliberations should be, and so on. How we use our individual and collective acts of speech and silence to negotiate common (global, national, local) goals relating to the world we live in and want to live in, still remains a deep democratic conundrum.

Randy Olson

Randy Olson chimes in with an article Gavin Schmidt vs Tamsin Edwards:  I’m with Gavin.  Excerpts:

In a perfect world, I’m with Tamsin Edwards (who says scientists should stay clear of all potential controversy). But we don’t live in a perfect world. Gavin Schmidt knows this and articulated it well in his recent AGU talk. He argued that yes, scientists should be willing to speak up. Bottom line: I’m in total agreement.

It’s a very good talk.  I’m with Gavin.  Scientist need to engage.

Now if there is one thing that Gavin, Tamsin and I all agree on, its scientists need to engage (at least those working on societally-relevant topics, such as climate change).  So, where do we disagree?

Roger Pielke Jr

Roger Pielke Jr’s Honest Broker arguments provide some insights on the different positions that Gavin, Tamsin, Anderson and I hold.  Consider the following diagram whereby RP Jr represents the world of science policy as a two-by-two matrix yielding four theoretical roles for science advisers.

As summarized by Sheila Jasanoff:

On the horizontal axis are two views of science that potential policy advisers may hold: first, the linear model, which takes the position that knowledge is always a prerequisite for action and should sometimes compel policy; and second, the stakeholder model, which maintains that policy-relevant science should not be considered value-free and that user and use considerations should have a bearing on the production of knowledge for policy.

The vertical axis represents the views of democracy held by potential advisers. Pielke describes the Madisonian view as interest-group pluralism, in which scientists act like any other political advocates, putting their knowledge in the service of special interests. In contrast, Schatt­schneider stands for a view that might better be characterized as guided democracy, although Pielke does not use that term. In this vision, the expert uses specialized knowledge to clarify policy choices and to inform decision makers of the range of options open to them.

While Jasanoff argues that Pielke’s representation is over simplified, I think it serves well to clarify this particular debate.   UPDATE But with the following modification suggested by a comment from David Wojick:

DW: The lower right box should say Issue Analyst not Honest Broker. Brokers arrange deals which is not what we are talking about. Moreover the term honest suggests that advocacy is somehow dishonest, which is false. For advocacy is the essence of democratic decision making, the honest attempt to be heard on important matters.

Another confusion that there is both a scientific debate and a policy debate, so there are two different forms of advocacy, scientific versus policy. Of course the scientific debate has policy implications but advocating a scientific point is not a policy position per se. The real problem of silence is that scientists may refrain from debating the science because the whole policy world is watching.

JC: Thank you David, I agree that ‘issue analyst’ is a better characterization than ‘honest broker’, whereby the issues are public policy (rather than science or other related topics, such as ethics of scientist research conduct). Further, RP Jr’s interpretation of honest broker as ‘expanding policy options’ is really a misfit for a scientist.

Below is my take on TE vs GS vs JC vs KA in this debate:

  • Kevin Anderson seems to view only one role for scientists – the Advocate – whether scientists choose to engage or be silent.
  • Gavin Schmidt sees the choice between Pure Scientist and Advocate, whereby anyone who engages has values and is therefore an Advocate.
  • Tamsin Edwards is a proponent of engagement but not of advocacy, putting her squarely in Science Arbiter box.
  • As for moi, I engage and get involved in policy discussions but do not advocate, putting me further towards the (new) Issue Analyst box than is Tamsin.

To make it explicit and clarify, my involvement in policy discussions related to climate change is:

  • open up space for public discussion and argumentation
  • question the efficacy of proposed policies at achieving desired outcomes and pointing out potential unintended consequences
  • disclosing the limits of scientific information and the extent of uncertainty

As summarized in my NPR interview:

“All we can do is be as objective as we can about the evidence and help the politicians evaluate proposed solutions”

This is different from advocacy (although i recall reading somewhere that hotwhopper regarded my activities as advocacy against mitigation).  While advocacy is somewhat elusive to define, the Wikipedia definition serves well:

Advocacy is a political process by an individual or group which aims to influence public-policy and resource allocation decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions. Advocacy can include many activities that a person or organization undertakes including media campaigns, public speaking, commissioning and publishing research or polls or the filing of an amicus brief.

RP Jr defines stealth advocacy as:

I argue that “stealth issue advocacy” occurs when scientists claim to be focusing on science but are really seeking to advance a political agenda. When such claims are made, the authority of science is used to hide a political agenda, under an assumption that science commands that which politics does not. However, when stealth issue advocacy takes place, it threatens the legitimacy of scientific advice, as people will see it simply as politics, and lose sight of the value that science does offer policy making .

UPDATE:  So, is Thomas Stocker’s statement Issue Analysis or Stealth Advocacy?

Continued greenhouse gas emissions cause further climate change and constitute a multicentury commitment in the future.  Therefore we conclude that limiting climate change requires substantial and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

In context of the UNFCCC/IPCC mission, if Stocker and the IPCC don’t regard this as advocacy, I would argue that this is stealth advocacy

Summary

Back to my original recommendation that scientists should steer clear of advocacy unless they are prepared to make sure that their advocacy is not irresponsible (see my previous post (Ir)responsible advocacy).   And if scientists are hoping that their advocacy will be effective, then they are advised to become educated about the policy process, politics, and the relevant science and technology studies research.

The roles of Science Arbiter, Issue Analyst and Honest Broker of Policy Options are ways for scientists to engage with the public and in the policy process without being an Issue Advocate.

522 responses to “The science and silence conundrum

    • but err that kind of silence is not advocacy. they were too busy to say anything.. except behind closed doors

  1. It’s interesting the climate scientists and their associates have suddenly become so interested in this topic.

    Your average working stiff scientist, like an industrial chemist, would be baffled. Back in the groves of academe, the biologist fighting passionate battles about the taxonomy or Australian orchids might have a glimmering, but it’s hardly top of the list.

    For a start, the notion that this debate is about “scientists” in the general sense needs to be clarified. It’s not. Most scientists do work which is in uncontroversial fields. They may be right, or wrong, but it doesn’t matter in practical terms for the vast majority of the population.

    It looks, at least partly, like another egregious example of the climatologists claiming to represent everyone else.

    • Johanna, I was referring implicitly to policy relevant science – climate science is a prime example, but by no means the only example.

    • I understand that, Judith, but the use of the word “scientists” is frequently very unclear on that point. Most scientists work in areas that have little or nothing to do with policy.

    • There’s also the unscientific assumption that one can have a climate change policy based on the present state of knowledge. Or rather, the present state of assumption.

      Once again, there is that need to “communicate” what is hopelessly speculative and inadequate. Models, boxes and diagrams to represent the obvious commonplaces of human nature and behaviour are not helping. Oh no.

      I’m sure it’s possible to have a “climate science”. It will no doubt be the result of sticky fingers, wet feet and vast amount of brain-hurtie material over many decades. Better get started.

    • “It looks, at least partly, like another egregious example of the climatologists claiming to represent everyone else.”

      Lewis Carroll couldn’t have done better than this, climatologists are the noisiest scientists in the history of science, yet spend hours, day, weeks, years in total angst because they believe no one is listening to them. At the same time governments are implementing the energy policies they suggested at massive costs to the electorate.

      Anyone else would see that as a victory, but no, our heroes want, and indeed need, universal approbation for their efforts. They’re winning hands down but they need the approval of the people they’ve defeated, it’s very strange.

    • Even those scientists who do not work in climate are inadvertently drawn into it as funding for research is extremely tight and as more and more money gets sucked into climate related silliness, a smaller percent is spent on important medically-related research.

    • That’s why “social” “scientists” are piling into the climate science space. Other People’s Money Galore!!

  2. Of some relevance, but too good a quote to resist, as quoted by Mark Steyn of course:

    http://www.steynonline.com/4749/silent-night

    When Lord Sacks, chief rabbi in England, rose in the House of Lords to speak about the persecution of Christians, he quoted Martin Luther King. “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

  3. Joanna, I came to the opposite conclusion: “the notion that this debate is about “scientists” in the general sense needs to be clarified. It’s not.”

    Regretfully, I find little difference between the scientific practices of astronomers, astrophysicists, climatologists, cosmologists, nuclear, particle, planetary, solar and space scientists.

    • “I find little difference between the scientific practices of astronomers, astrophysicists, climatologists, cosmologists, nuclear, particle, planetary, solar and space scientists.”

      That’s a really interesting and worrying point of view Oliver! But surely most of the people on your list can at least say that they’ve made the occasional discovery… can’t they? I mean, we do actually know more about all those subjects (except perhaps one) than we did 5 years ago, don’t we?

    • Brad,

      The fruits of post-normal science are abundant in every field of science:

      http://junkscience.com/2013/12/27/aids-research-fraud-at-iowa-state/

  4. Silence is often construed negatively, as a lack, an absence. Yet silences carry meaning.

    If you do not state what you believe, any side can say you agree with their side.

    • This reminds one of the famous joke about Northern Ireland. On a dark street a man is accosted by a gang who wish to know whether he is Protestant or Catholic. He replies he is a Jew. Yes, but are you a Protestant Jew or a Catholic Jew?

      People who do not advocate any particular position on climate may simply not have one. They may think its not clear. Entirely legitimate point of view. They are not arguing for business as usual, they just do not feel able confidently to argue for any particular alternative.

      This is just ‘for us or against us’, black and white thinking. In its crudest form its like counting all abstentions one way or the other. The usual thing in climate science, just as ‘post normal’ climate science theory is an attempt to dispense with normal standards of proof and evidence. Or the use of the ‘precautionary principle’ is an attempt to justify action in the absence of sufficient evidence to support it.

    • michel, I believe what you say is true. A person’s silence on a subject may mean he has no position on the subject. The question is should he?

    • Only in modern social theory could one now construe silence as more obviously advocacy than speech and actual advocacy as not advocacy.

  5. “[S]ilence is an advocacy for the status quo.”

    Ah yes, those scientists who engage in research and publish their results are MORE political than the Gavin Schmidts and James Hansens.

    Sheer and utter nonsense. This is just an attempt to normalize the hysterical “advocacy” of the worst of the CAGWers.

    And the quoted authors should be careful what they wish for. The status quo right now is the inexorable march of the decarbonization agenda of the progressive consensus. They might want to leave it at that. You never know what actual scientists might say if they are pressured to speak out on the “97% consensus” of the 95%+ certainty of the pending thermageddon.

    • should be “those scientists who JUST engage in research….”

    • I agree with GaryM (surprisingly) for once in the first part. The majority of scientists work in their narrow area of climate, and just want to advance that area, whether it is making an aspect of a climate model better, like the ocean or vegetation effects, or understanding a period of paleoclimate better using new proxies, or being able tell something from surface temperature records about natural variability. They are not all advocates of a policy and may not even think about the global politics of how this gets done. That their findings are reported and summarized in various IPCC reports is a sign their own piece of work has been noticed and is useful, but does that mean they are politically motivated? No. It is just science, like in any non-political field, for the majority. Skeptics have painted all the science as politically motivated just because they are mirroring or projecting their own approach to the science. It is damaging to their cause that the science itself is neutral due to the fact that the scientific majority are just doing the science and trying to pursue the truth. Yes, it sounds idealistic, but the majority of people go into science for discovery, not for politics. When they don’t advocate, as most don’t, it is because they see the politics as something to avoid.

    • Jim D, and here you paint all the skeptics as politically motivated (a meaningless concept by the way). I presume this includes all the skeptical scientists. The hypocrisy is amusing. Each side calling the other the same names.

    • David Springer

      +1

      I seem to agree with you a lot.

    • Are there any contrarian climate scientist left who has not testified before Congress?

    • willard,

      the bench is thin.

    • yes willard.

      but if they’re vocal enough that you and I know them as contrarian (if that term doesn’t of itself imply outspokenness) then probably not.

    • DW, the majority of skeptics here are politically motivated judging by the way they just conflate policy and science almost every time they comment. You also should remember that Arrhenius thought a warm world was a good thing when he proposed the AGW mechanism a century ago. Just because the concept of AGW is supported by a scientist, it doesn’t follow that they want carbon taxes. Some may think it is good or that this experiment on the world is scientifically interesting (as Gavin has been known to say), and perhaps many don’t care about the global consequences for future generations.

    • Jim D tries to paint skeptics as politically motivated – I suppose in order to maintain the pretense that the truebelievers are not.

      He also carefully avoids that virtually the entire climate science profession is politically motivated, selected and funded as it is by political institutions. That it peddles alarmism is exactly what you would predict. He who pays the piper.

    • Jim D also carefully overlooks that many truebelievers probably just don’t care about (or even think about) the massive economic damage that carbon taxes and the like will wreak on this and future generations, especially on the poorest people. To them, all must bow before political correctness.

    • JimD,

      Saw an interesting story from the NY TImes from several decades ago where they acknowledged that the greens liked CAGW theory as it coincided with many things they already believed and advocated.

      Why is it that when one side worries about theoretical calamities in 100 years and wants to waste money on wind and solar and cut back on coal (and often nuclear as well) they are considered the “humanitarians” and not political but when the other side says they don’t think the science is well enough understood to act yet and is worried about people freezing to death and having greatly lowered standards of living – WITH ALL THAT IMPLIES – over the next decade, that this latter category is dismissed by you as unfeeling political actors only? I am worried your policies will kill people in the near future, but you are the humanitarian?

    • Yeah, Bill, it’s utterly amazing that they would make hostage their ideology to a conception of a static climate and demonization of CO2, puissant plant food, and impuissant warming agent.

      Would they consider a do-over? Well, one can hope.
      ===========================

  6. I have talked to MANY people. Many listen and say nothing. Many listen and say they think I may be correct. A “very few” listen and say they think I am very wrong. I would like to hear from more from the ones who have said nothing. What Do They Think?

    • you are very wrong. we are silent because its a waste of breath to speak to you.

    • Steven Mosher,

      And yet you demonstrate that you are prepared to tell him that it’s a waste of breath to speak to him by speaking to him.

      I presume you are giving us a clear definition of “silence” according to the Book of Warm. I would ask for clarification, but I would be concerned that you might consider it worthwhile to respond, and therefore remain silent.

      I think I understand. Thank you.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Yup, as in HAP’s case, the majority of the skeptical views can be classified as kranks. These views can be safely ignored except for a few potentially useful special cases — in particular, those skeptics that are generating interesting ideas but who try to cast them as ABCD (Anything But Carbon Dioxide).

      You see, skeptics such as N. Scafetta, I. Wilson, R.Carter, P.Vaughan, M.Vuckevic, M.Wyatt etc may be on to something with their ideas but they bend over backwards to claim that they are the only solution to variations in global warming. Why not, instead of completely dismissing them, treat their ideas as small pieces of the larger jigsaw puzzle of the warming signal ?

      I am doing just that with some of the models that I am building, yet unsurprisingly am being met with howls of derision from many of these commenters whose ideas I am borrowing from.

      The only thing I can conclude is that they do not like it because it either messes with their political agenda, or they are not real scientists and not interested in getting at the truth. Surprise, surprise.

      Real scientists build on the work of others, as Newton wrote, “If I have seen farther than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.”. But perhaps the valid quote for mainstream climate scientists is the urban legend attributed to Nobel laureate and Feynman’s CalTech colleague Murray Gell-Mann — “If I have seen further than others, it is because I was surrounded by dwarves.”

      Step up your scientific game, skeptics. All you have to do is get on a foot-stool and peer over the ideological junk that is obscuring your line-of-sight.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      ‘“There were lot of fools at the conference – pompous fools – and pompous fools drive me up the wall. Ordinary fools are alright; you can talk to them and try to help them out. But pompous fools – guys who are fools and covering it all over and impressing people as to how wonderful they are with all this hocus pocus – THAT, I CANNOT STAND! An ordinary fool isn’t a faker; an honest fool is alright. But a dishonest fool is terrible!” Richard Feynman

      So Webby tries his hand at rhetoric. Rather than howls of derision – I have not wasted any time actually looking at Webby’s method. I have studied Lean and Rind quite closely. It is a very simple curve fitting method. The method uses linear scaling to fit a number of curves to the temperature curve. I noticed a long list yesterday – fitting a dozen or so curves to the temperature. I had to laugh. It is like trying to solve for 12 unknowns in 1 equation. Only possible if you fudge the result. Hocus pocus indeed.

      My motivation was always knowledge for it’s own sake – a deep passion for natural philosophy. There is much more interesting work being done than webby’s blog science – despite his claims to be standing on vertically challenged people.

      Weather has been known to be chaotic since Edward Lorenz discovered the ‘butterfly effect’ in the 1960’s. Abrupt climate change on the other hand was thought to have happened only in the distant past and so climate was expected to evolve steadily over this century in response to ordered climate forcing.

      More recent work is identifying abrupt climate changes working through the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, the Southern Annular Mode, the Artic Oscillation, the Indian Ocean Dipole and other measures of ocean and atmospheric states. These are measurements of sea surface temperature and atmospheric pressure over more than 100 years which show evidence for abrupt change to new climate conditions that persist for up to a few decades before shifting again. Global rainfall and flood records likewise show evidence for abrupt shifts and regimes that persist for decades. In Australia, less frequent flooding from early last century to the mid 1940’s, more frequent flooding to the late 1970’s and again a low rainfall regime to recent times.

      Anastasios Tsonis, of the Atmospheric Sciences Group at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and colleagues used a mathematical network approach to analyse abrupt climate change on decadal timescales. Ocean and atmospheric indices – in this case the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the North Pacific Oscillation – can be thought of as chaotic oscillators that capture the major modes of climate variability. Tsonis and colleagues calculated the ‘distance’ between the indices. It was found that they would synchronise at certain times and then shift into a new state. It a state that was called synchronous chaos – linking climate quantitatively for the first time to that third great idea of 20th century physics – the theory of dynamic complexity.

      It is no coincidence that shifts in ocean and atmospheric indices occur at the same time as changes in the trajectory of global surface temperature. Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Tsonis said. Suffice it to say that webby is far from excited.

      Four multi-decadal climate shifts were identified in the last century coinciding with changes in the surface temperature trajectory. Warming from 1909 to the mid 1940’s, cooling to the late 1970’s, warming to 1998 and declining since. The shifts are punctuated by extreme El Niño Southern Oscillation transitions – dragon-kings in the new terminology. Extreme outliers that reveal the mechanisms of climate system self-organisation. Fluctuations between La Niña and El Niño peak at these times and climate then settles into a damped oscillation. Until the next critical climate threshold – due perhaps in a decade or two if the recent past is any indication. This again is not something that fits into webby’s world view at all.

      This is the new – parsimonious – theory of climate. As Einstein said – a theory should be as simple as possible and no simpler. But of course anyone who espouses these newer ideas is a skeptic no matter how knowledgable or broadly respected. But perhaps Webby is another example of the old joke about paradigms proceeding one death at a time. There seems little hope that he can or will get it.

      I occasionally am a student of rhetoric – I’d give webby a fail. Too much playing to the peanut gallery in a sad quest for ego affirmation.

    • @WHT, classic framing: “There is no science but the IPPC approved alarmism”

    • Chief: helpful summary for one honest fool who’s reading the blog more carefully again for a week or two. One thing that interests me about CE is that by opening up to all (however foolish) on policy it somehow leaves space for this kind of overview out of frustration at pompous foolishness and genuine passion for “knowledge for it’s own sake”. One senses it could be tidier but never completely so. Ward Cunningham would no doubt cite Wabi-sabi at this point, as he frequently did in the early days of wiki.

    • Steven Mosher:

      you are very wrong. we are silent because its a waste of breath to speak to you.

      Very true. It’s just a pity that so many of the biggest targets of that sentiment can’t see that it applies to them.

    • Chief-
      Thanks for another inoculation of sanity. It give me hope and keeps the heebie-jeebies away.

    • David Springer

      As far as I can determine, Mosher, every breath you take is a waste no matter whether you use it to vocalize or not. Who would miss you if you disappeared?

    • WHT:

      “If I have seen further than others, it is because I was surrounded by dwarves.”

      LOL… A really insightful reference. I wouldn’t be surprised if this already *was* the private motto of a number of the leading lights within alarmist (or as you call it, “mainstream”) climate science. I can just see them whispering Gell-Mann’s words to themselves at night. And I expect they’ll do so forever, no matter how many times an outsider has to point out and clean up their mistakes.

    • Chief does not like it because it is too simple a formulation. Too bad because nature doesn’t care if it simple or complex.

      It will be a lot of fun to see how this pans out.


    • Hans Erren | December 28, 2013 at 5:16 am |

      @WHT, classic framing: “There is no science but the IPPC approved alarmism”

      Hans Erren, You use quotes as if I actually said that. Classic deception on your part. If you are simply ignorant about the rules of scientific discourse, the guidance is to avoid quotes unless you make the correct attribution If you are making the statement, no quotes are necessary.

      And back to my observation, nowhere in the IPCC report does it make reference to statistical climate models as I am describing. Recent work by Foster&Rahmstorf, Lean, Kosaka&Xie, Cowtan, and Lockwood are making inroads in that direction and this approach certainly will become part of the next IPCC report … if there is one.

    • Mike informing him its a waste of time to respond to his science is not a waste of time nor is it a response to his science but rather is a response to his request for an explanation. In short its kindness toward him and wisdom for others who may be thinking of wasting their time.

    • blueice2hotsea

      HAP –

      First, thanks for sharing the insight. It’s pretty cool. I think it should be renamed Pope’s Rule-Of-Thumb. My two cents worth. We need about one-hundred more insights just like it. What’s next?

    • Steven Mosher,

      You might care to enlighten as to why I should give the slightest weight or consideration to your suggestions as to how I should comport myself.

      I, not you, determine to whom I speak.
      I, not you, determine what I think.
      I, not you, determine what I say, and how I say it.

      I am sure you know this already. Your sanctimonious exhortations are wasted on me – but keep wasting your time. I may change my views. Who knows? The Earth might even start warming!

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • blueice2hotsea

      WHT –

      There are no doubt a number of silent skeptics who have a grudging appreciation for your CSALT defluctuation efforts. Good is good. And the appeal of technical aesthetics stands independent of results.

      Still, given the abusive nature of some of your taunts, you can’t really expect much back-slapping and high-fives from skeptics.

      Also there are the CSALT defects which have not been addressed.

    • If you do not specify what the “CSALT defects” are, I can only ignore you. I am not a mind reader.

    • Yes, pompous truebeliever Web’s latest pretense is that all/most skeptics are deniers, ie grant no part at all for CO2. The oldest lie in the book? Not to worry, Web, it’s absolutely politically correct.

  7. Harts’ summary of Janis’s “The Victims of Groupthink”

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CDMQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.polsci.wvu.edu%2Ffaculty%2Fhauser%2FPS493V%2FHartVictimsGroupthinkPolPsych1991.pdf&ei=O-y8UrfXOYTSkQfq14CACQ&usg=AFQjCNFFDL5t7QAPxeGbowziQhJHPg9DKw&bvm=bv.58187178,d.eW0

    “According to Janis, groupthink stands for an excessive form of concurrence seeking among members of high prestige, tightly knit policy-making groups. It is excessive to the extent that the group members have come to value the group (and their being part of it) higher than anything else. This causes them to strive for a quick and painless unanimity on the issues that the group has to confront. To preserve the clubby atmosphere, group members suppress personal doubts, silence dissenters, and follow the group leader’s suggestions. They have a strong belief in the inherent morality of the group, combined with a decidedly evil picture of the group’s opponents. The results are devastating: a distorted view of reality, excessive optimism producing hasty and reckless policies, and a neglect of ethical issues. The combination of these deficiencies makes these groups particularly vulnerable to initiate or sustain projects that turn out to be policy fiascoes.”

  8. I agree that it is fair that Tamsin and you are not grouped together. While both of you believe in engagement, the comparison stops there since Tamsin seems to be very much IPCC. I guess we have only Hansen as a candidate in the public arena for displaying scientific humility by highlighting the other niche of the uncertainty spectrum, so we should probably find him a seat in the Honest Broker section also.
    .

  9. Chief Hydrologist

    ‘It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it.’

    I am tempted to quote Voltaire as well – but seeing as I characterised him recently as a pompous Oscar Wilde – Beth may add another tsk to the one already earned.

    The real problem with climate science is that 97% is utter rubbish. They are wrong on a fundamental level and unwilling or unable to progress beyond the 19th century. Following them would be like hitting the beach at the Bay of Pigs. We all think it’s a great idea so here is a gun and waders. If anyone asks – tell them you are going black swan hunting. Study this food for real men manifesto on the way – http://www.esquire.com/blogs/food-for-men/black-swan-recipe-0311 – as a cover story.

    At the very least I have learned a new phase – cherchez la dinde – which indeed describes most climate scientists to a T and which I will be sure to fling about with abandon in future. Cherchez la dinde – James?

    If we could just agree on a number – say 0.07 to 0.08 degrees C/decade – we could move onto something more interesting. Like what to do about it in some practical and pragmatic way. Such a low number seems relatively benign – however – and as such is ideologically unsound as we all know the planet is doomed to burn baby baby unless we repent of our sins and take vows of poverty (we just can’t afford you), chastity (every baby is another nail in the planets coffin) and ecosocialism (up against the wall you useless waste of oxygen, neoconservative scumbag). Cherchez la dinde – climate dudes.

    • Priceless! Thank you CH for one your best rants ever. I, for one, am very happy that you didn’t go gently into the night.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Not trying to be a prima donna. I am using a different approach.

      “Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”
      ― Mark Twain

    • Chief Hydrologist

      The poem you allude to I just reread. It is I realised the perfection of the villanelle form. Thanks.

      http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/175907

    • “The real problem with climate science is that 97% is utter rubbish. ”

      How much of the research literature have you actually read or even understand completely. And I am assuming that the 3% of the science that is not “rubbish” is done by the “skeptical” scientists you agree with.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      It is of course a play on the 97% consensus – itself an oversimplified nonsense.

      You should read some of the science I quote – these are mainstream and hugely respected scientists from Waly Broecker – the ‘father of climate science’ to Tim Palmer – head of the European Centre for Mid-Range Forecasting – the NAS commttiee on abrupt climate change – a who’s who of climate science – Norman Loeb – NASA’s head of the CERES science team, James McWilliams – Louis B. Slichter Professor of Earth Sciences, UCLA Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics and Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and many more.

      Anastasios Tsonis quite frequently – because he has quantified first in 2007 the new paradigm of dynamical complexity in climate on decadal scales. .
      That this science challenges the simple memes of blogosphere climate science is not my problem.

  10. “According to Janis, groupthink stands for an excessive form of concurrence seeking among members of high prestige, tightly knit policy-making groups.”
    ____
    That sounds like the way corporations operate. I guess it’s done that way because it works.

  11. Chief Hydrologist opines:
    “The real problem with climate science is that 97% is utter rubbish.”
    ____

    Maybe 97% of climate scientists think you are rubbish. If so, I would say they aren’t far wrong.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Cherchez la dinde – as usual – Maxy dud

    • Your momma should have kept you pouched, you knock-kneed nipple-nosed numbat.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Been working for long on that one Maxy – you’ve wasted your time and – much more valuable – that of everyone else.

      Let me quote something to derive some value from this.

      ‘We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.’
      Oscar Wilde

    • Sorry, Chief. Now you got me feeling guilty for poking fun at an old fool who is wasting his life at Climate Etc.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Your whines about old people would be more persuasive if you had started with some substance, wit, wisdom and erudition. You’re really behind the 8 ball there Maxy_dud. It is difficult to imagine anything of less interest or relevance than the malicious and vitriolic bile that passes for repartee with you.

      To quote Voltaire. ‘I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous. And God granted it.’

    • David Springer

      Max_OK

      +1 for the numbat comment

    • Chief, I’m sorry you aren’t comfortable with your age. As consolation, I’ve moved you up one notch (from #6 to #5) on my list of the weirdest Australian mammals. Here are my new top five:

      1. Duckbill Platypus

      2. Leadbeaters Possum

      3. Spotted Cuscus

      4. Thylacine (extinct)

      5. Chief Hydrologist (might as well be extinct)

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Time to pull the plug on this Maxy, Jabberwock. Although some fun is possible in a battle of wits – it depends on the oppositions having some. And my new years resolution is not to waste too much time descending to juvenile banter.

      ‘Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.’ Mark Twain

    • Chief Hydrologist,

      You might say to him “I’d challenge you to a battle of wits, but my father always told me it’s bad form to duel with an unarmed opponent.” – or something similar.

      You like it? It’s yours.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • David Springer

      Max got a +1 for originality and form not for being apt. Maybe ‘knock kneed nipple nosed numbat’ is something you’ve heard many times before given the land down under is the unique home to most of the world’s marsupials but it was new to me and quite colorful I thought.

  12. The big question is does science drive policy or does policy drive science? If your at Nasa and hope for a manned mission to mars you would look for all the reasons why we need to go there. You wouldn’t say well we can do everything with the rovers. Climate scientists are being paid by the government to find out how we are affecting the environment. You wouldn’t say well nothing to see here no problemo.

    • ordvic, you seem to think scientists are just a bunch of whores. What’s your take on preachers and used-car salesmen?

      • Max, Well since I’m an atheist preachers, scientists and used car salesmen are all the same to me. A simple question of survival.

    • ordvic, unlike our hostess, you don’t seem big on uncertainty. I hope you don’t end up in hell.

      • Well just to be clear I’m in favor of policy that moves toward better energy technology and away from fossil fuels whether or not CO2 is catastrophic. I also think CO2 affects temperature. I am not so clear as to whether or not the government can be successful in policy pursuit: to wit suddenly Hansen has now seen the light and now wants full speed ahead nuclear. Three mile island, Jane Fonda, Chernobyl, Fukushima opps ahh never mind … changed my mind. Further complicating things for now for Germany, Japan, China and India it’s all about coal. Even if the technical issues are cleared up government still always manages to mess up on all their good intentions. So yeah with that kind of attitude maybe I am in hell, but thanks for your well wishes anyway :-)

    • Well, I’m sort of am atheist too, but I hope I’m wrong and have a nice afterlife. Now, if there is an afterlife, I doubt you, ordvic, will end up in hell just for being atheist. I can’t imagine God, if there is one, holding it against a person just for being honest with himself. I sure hope I ain’t wrong about all this.

    • David Springer

      Max_OK | December 28, 2013 at 12:59 am |

      “ordvic, you seem to think scientists are just a bunch of whores.”

      Doubtful. 95% of all scientists are not whores. We are interested in how and why Climate Science ended up with the other 5%.

    • Hah, Max takes both ends of Pascal’s Wager, and still loses.
      ===========

  13. @omanuel,
    “Regretfully, I find little difference between the scientific practices of astronomers, astrophysicists, climatologists, cosmologists, nuclear, particle, planetary, solar and space scientists.”
    Absurd, the other scientists aren’t advocating trillions in new “taxes” and a reduction of the standard of living for all but the wealthy, or the end of life as we know it.

    • Mi Cro, did you get banned somewhere?

    • This is an example of what I talked about above – projection. When a scientist goes to a lakebed and finds evidence for past warm climates, is he doing it so that you can pay carbon taxes? Think. Sometimes science is just science.

    • “When a scientist goes to a lakebed and finds evidence for past warm climates, is he doing it so that you can pay carbon taxes?”

      I wonder, has a consensus scientist ever gone looking for evidence of CAGW – and didn’t find? Ever?

    • GaryM suggests scientists are biased. I suspect that may be because scientists don’t serve GaryM’s obsolete ideology.

    • Max_OK, of course not.
      Jim D, did you hear the whistle over your head? That was you missing the point.

      To save time, the point is if you want to spend trillions on your science of how the Earth’s climate works you better show up with more evidence Co2 is the cause than lab spectrums. As I believe Judith said, All things being equal, maybe, but they are not equal.

    • I like for money to be spent finding out how things work. Figuring out how things work is good.

      • @Max_Ok,
        “I like for money to be spent finding out how things work. Figuring out how things work is good.”

        So do I. But that’s not climate science is being used for, nor what climate activists/scientists are asking to be done with it.

    • Mi Cro, you are saying that the climate scientists as a whole are advocating new taxes, which is a ridiculous viewpoint to put in writing. If that is not what you are saying, you need to be clearer.

      • @Jim D,
        “saying that the climate scientists as a whole are advocating new taxes,”

        As a whole of course not, just the ones asking for a carbon tax.

    • “I wonder, has a consensus scientist ever gone looking for evidence of CAGW – and didn’t find? Ever?”

      So they are just making it up as they go along? It is all part of an elaborate hoax?

    • There are paleoclimate people working for oil prospectors. Do they deny that past areas, which are today’s oil and gas reserves, could have been rich forests in high latitudes? The science tells them where to look. The oil companies have no prejudice about past climate that prevents them from looking in these places. These days they say one thing and do another.

    • Mi Cro, and what percentage of them do you think are advocating for a carbon tax? I think you are using the old ‘tarring with the same brush’ fallacy to attack climate scientists as a whole, if you read your first comment.

    • “It is all part of an elaborate hoax?”

      It’s all part of an unelaborate hoax.

      Andrew

    • Jim D
      … [are you] saying that the climate scientists as a whole are advocating new taxes …?

      Don’t need to, obviously. Advocating a ‘science’ that supports them is more than enough.

  14. Lots of research on silence in theater:

    > However, we do not know how to celebrate, because we do not know what to celebrate. All we know is the end result: we know and we like the feel and sound of celebrating through applause, and this is where we get stuck. We forget that there are two possible climaxes to a theatre experience. There is the climax of celebration in which our participation explodes in stamping and cheering, shouts of hurrah and the roar of hands, or else, at the other end of the stick, the climax of silence—another form of recognition and appreciation for an experience shared. We have largely for­gotten silence. It even embarrasses us; we clap our hands mechanically because we do not know what else to do, and we are unaware that silence is also permitted, that silence also is good.

    http://owendaly.com/jeff/grotowsm.htm

  15. Don’t worry, scientists never fudge their results to increase their access to grants in policy related research.

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/12/26/Researcher-Accused-of-Spiking-Blood-to-Validate-Aids-Vaccine

    Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if some “scientists” remained silent.

    • GaryM demonstrates how anti-science ideologues operate.
      He finds an instance of a scientist being crooked, so he can imply more than just this one scientists is crooked, and maybe a lot of scientists or even most scientist are crooked.

    • But max in the climate science community there have been ample clear cut examples where scientists crossed the ethical boundary lines, and the whole peer community kept schtum.

    • The deafening silence of the climate profession in response to the rank corruption and bias revealed in Climategate, and again in the thjis’investigations’ of it wherein the institutions implicated cleared themselves of any wrongdoing, gives the public a very clear message : the rot in government climate science is not restricted to a few people and universities, it pervades virtually the entire profession. Their silence conveys an approval of the politically motivated corruption of science, and suggests that this approach is widespread.

  16. “…me further towards the Honest Broker box…” – JC

    Everyone links to think they are ‘honest brokers’.

  17. How many years of study before working as a scientist? And yet all activist climate scientists believe they KNOW how to proper engage policymaking thanks to their amateurish innate ignorant uncultivated skills.

    It ain’t serious (for most). When it is one gets (what else from a scientist?) scientific papers on the issue of how to proper engage policymaking. When it isn’t one gets advocacy speeches at the AGU.

  18. Judith’s summary:

    To make it explicit and clarify, my involvement in policy discussions related to climate change is:

    – question the efficacy of proposed policies at achieving desired outcomes and pointing out potential unintended consequences

    That’s where my interest lies. And i am convinced that any policies that increase the cost of energy do far more harm than good – i.e. they have large negative unintended consequences.

    • Peter “Nukey” Lang is now against nuclear power? Holy Cow, I never thought I would see the day!

      Well, I guess the poor old guy finally came to his senses and realized renewables and natural gas were making nuclear power obsolete.

    • Max_ok:
      Renewables are, as James Hansen correctly stated: “Easter bunnies and tooth fairies”

    • I believe Hansen underestimates renewables. While wind, solar, and hydro may never provide all the power the world needs, these renewables are a growing source, and don’t pose the risks associated with nuclear power.

      Unless AGW starts causing big problems very soon, which doesn’t seem likely, natural gas power will continue to deter interest in investment in additional nuclear plants. Natural gas is less expensive than nuclear and coal, and it causes far less CO2 a than coal.

    • Heh, ‘far less’, he says. It’s the solution of an easy chemical equation to define ‘far less’. Can you do it, Max_OK?
      ===============

    • ‘Far less’ Max treads where numbers fear to go.
      ==============

    • Why a peacock?

      Why not a chicken?

    • Speaking of chickens, do you like the light half or the dark half?
      =========

    • This flexitarian doesn’t eat chicken at all.

  19. A scientist need be neither silent nor an advocate. All we want is for scientists to give us the facts as they know them, with all caveats and data, and to explain the implications for climate – and for other areas in which they have expertise – as they see them. That provides a basis for policy-makers and the informed public to consider the issues arising, in the broader context where there will always be a wide range of issues, preferences and constraints.

    Scientists becoming advocates implies that they believe they have a superior capacity to government and the wider public to determine policy, even though they may have little or no exposure to other factors influencing policy, and no reason to believe that their preferred action would be considered optimal from the point of view of society or humanity as a whole. To abstain from such advocacy does not imply support for the status quo, it implies recognising that your role is good science and good communication of your findings, not determining or seeking to influence policy, except in your role as a citizen.

    I therefore endorse Judith Curry’s stance: that her involvement in policy discussions related to climate change is:
    • open up space for public discussion and argumentation
    • question the efficacy of proposed policies at achieving desired outcomes and pointing out potential unintended consequences
    • disclosing the limits of scientific information and the extent of uncertainty.

    It would have been very helpful if over the last thirty years other climate scientists had adopted Judith’s position.

    • PS: When I was a government economic policy officer, the rule was that one did not contribute to the public debate on the issues on which you worked. That is, your role was to provide advice to policy-makers, not to be an advocate for the areas on which you worked.

      I did frequently write on economic matters – mainly, for a long time, to The Economist and the AFR, occasionally The Times and The Australian, but on topics for which I had no official responsibility, and as a private individual.

      This would have been a good approach for climate scientists, who would mostly be publicly funded, and are paid to do good science rather than to advocate policy.

    • Well said. Why the fact that someone has a science degree (or any other kind of degree) would automatically make them a superior being when it comes to public policy is a mystery. The formation of public policy in a democracy is very much a synthesis of many inputs, and the recipe can change from day to day.

    • I therefore endorse Judith Curry’s stance …

      That’ll do me, who tires very quickly of the conceptual frameworking. Tamsin is younger and less senior, which is surely a factor in the differences noted. Brave women.

      The formation of public policy in a democracy is very much a synthesis of many inputs, and the recipe can change from day to day.

      Too true. Perhaps why I couldn’t begin to calculate who my favourite cooks (policy wonks) were on CE the other day. This seems the attitude of a wise one.

    • Faustino
      A scientist need be neither silent nor an advocate. All we want is for scientists to give us the facts as they know them, with all caveats and data, and to explain the implications for climate

      Quite so. But more than that is needed. They need to keep an honest and open mind, and to investigate all avenues that occur to them – not just those that promise support for some or other precommitted position they adhere to for ulterior motives.

      So it’s not just a question of which facts and theories scientists DO look into. More revealing, perhaps, is those – if any – they willfully DON’T. Suitably selected, facts can indeed lie.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      ‘I would like to add something that’s not essential to the science, but something I kind of believe, which is that you should not fool the laymen when you’re talking as a scientist. . . . I’m talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you’re maybe wrong, [an integrity] that you ought to have when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen.’

      Richard Feynman

      Of course there is no scope for being wrong – just ask any of the usual suspects. Not even much uncertainty – except at the boundaries. The reality in many ways is of course far different.

      ‘‘Prediction of weather and climate are necessarily uncertain: our observations of weather and climate are uncertain, the models into which we assimilate this data and predict the future are uncertain, and external effects such as volcanoes and anthropogenic greenhouse emissions are also uncertain. Fundamentally, therefore, therefore we should think of weather and climate predictions in terms of equations whose basic prognostic variables are probability densities ρ(X,t) where X denotes some climatic variable and t denoted time. In this way, ρ(X,t)dV represents the probability that, at time t, the true value of X lies in some small volume dV of state space. ’ (Predicting Weather and Climate – Palmer and Hagedorn eds – 2006)

  20. Thomas Stocker’s statement above is written (expressed) in short hand and jargon. We always speak in short hand, what we say needs to be complemented by knowledge of background.
    Here is Thomas Stoker’s statement in straight English:
    CO2 emissions, caused by burning fossil fuels cause CATASTROPHIC climate change, this is a fact (no doubt). Therefore it is imperative that we stop the burning of fossil fuels immediately, at any cost.

    The problem with this statement isn’t whether it’s advocacy or not – it’s whether it is true or not.
    In this case we use “advocacy” as shorthand or polite jargon for “lying” or “propaganda” (which also means lying).

    The question isn’t whether scientist should speak up. Anyone is entitled to speak up (or stay silent). The question is what do you say. Do you adequately express the truth – i.e. with all doubts, uncertainties and caveats, or do you lie ?

  21. A common thrust-and-parry in the climate change debate is for both sides to argue that the other does not discipline its members — reprove them when they are wrong or overdo it. This move is implicit in the position put forward by Anderson in the piece cited in the essay.

    But I can’t really recall many instances of academics reproving disciples for an excess of virtue. Much more common is the tacit approval of the disciple’s vigour. It is left to disciples of the other side to point out errors and overstatements. These remarks apply generally to pretty well all forms of academic knowledge with which I have come into contact. I will be most happy to be provided with counter examples.

    In the climate change issue the orthodoxy does have a position, and most members of it seem to accept most parts of the position. But the members of the dissident side, the ‘skeptics’, come from all points of the compass. In many cases I have no idea whether or not some of the sceptics have it right, and where I think they have it wrong I don’t feel in a position to provide a lengthy account of why I think they are in error.

    And (as has been pointed out many times) the orthodoxy is on the position of having to defend its CAGW theory. A critic is not obliged to have a different theory; it is enough to expose what one feels to be errors of argument and evidence.

    That makes the battle asymmetrical.

    • Much of what you say resonates with something I argued on my blog in the piece: citizen Scientist. In this I said that sceptics are a community of citizen scientists joined together by the internet which now rivals the “official” community which in some (but not all) areas is beginning to exceeds the skill and understanding of the “official” community.

      This is a new paradigm in science: that science can exist outside academia. This is not only hard for academics to understand (because their ‘closed shop’ culture is that science = academic science), but it is also extremely threatening. It explains much of the vitriol and hatred we have experienced from “official” science and their attack dogs like Lewandowsky.

      Fundamentally, I think we are seeing a change in the power relationship between academia and outsiders. Before the internet, that relationship was the “master” and “student”. Now, citizen scientists – empowered by the internet- do not bow and scrape to their “masters” in academia and instead gain their knowledge through the net. That will be worrying to academics because as I said:

      We citizens are no longer students of academia but researchers and even professors in our own right.

      This is why academia keeps trying to “communicate better”. What this really means is that they are trying to enforce the old power relationship where academics spoke and (student) outsiders listened. That relationship has broken down in climate, and by extension it is likely to break down in many other areas where academia formerly could expect to be listened to as the single source of authority.

    • David Springer

      +1 for Scottish Skeptic

    • Citizen scientists ? HA HA, what a joke !

      I would label them “citizen windbags.”

    • Heh, Max_OK projects.
      ================

    • Scotish Sceptic
      …academia keep trying to “communicate better”. What this really means is that they are trying to enforce the old power relationship where academics spoke and (student) outsiders listened. That relationship has broken down in climate, and by extension it is likely to break down in many other areas where academia formerly could expect to be listened to as the single source of authority.

      Yes – specifically only in areas where the funder of academia (government) has a vested interest in the implications of that area of science. But not in other areas, eg say a new drug for headaches, or mathematics.

      Citizen Auditor might be a more accurate term than Citizen Scientist. Being audited by Climate Audit being an early example – but even that earned the ire of arrogant/corrupt academics.

  22. Silence is advocacy. It is up to the listener to decide what they are advocating for.

    • status quo

    • Which status quo? The one alarmists see as the continued rush towards world destruction or the one deniers see as a fake conspiritorial alarmism?

    • You would have to ask the silent person. But you aren’t going to run into any of them here.

    • Silence is an effective method of advocating for change especially when you SUCK at public communication.
      Gavin sucks
      Mann sucks
      Hansen sucks
      They would do more for change by shutting up than by speaking because by speaking they make the job of change harder.

    • David Springer

      Mosher

      pot:kettle:black

    • Meh, the double ethical bind has engendered these rare souls, and bound them to the wheel. You don’t really think genuinely free spirits would actually choose this ludicrous role, do you?
      =======

  23. [S]ilence is an advocacy for the status quo. – Kevin Anderson

    Well, is it a sin to advocate for the status quo ?
    The status quo might be the best option… better, by far, than the revolution.

    For Revolutionaries – those who don’t support the revolution are considered enemies that need to be exterminated. There is no middle ground.

    As with most revolutions – the decarbonization revolution might not end up too well…
    Yes, keeping silent isn’t good. We must speak up and warn against the dangers of the decarbonization revolution.

    • Advocacy of the status quo is a forecast of no change. But things always change.

    • Yes, but not usually based on wide spread advocacy.

    • “Advocacy of the status quo is a forecast of no change. But things always change.”

      Wrong.

      The “status quo” (a.k.a BAU) is dynamic, thing always change. Technology and science always advance. We always adapt and improve. This is BAU. In 100 years the world will be totally different from the world today, in ways we cannot predict.
      We need to keep advancing in the normal (mostly rational) way, as we have been doing until now. Without hysteria, without “forcing” from ridiculous theories or ideologies. (Yes, I mean CAGW).

      • Excellent point, I am confused that this concept is lost on the warmists, 100 years ago there were few cars, no planes, and ice was what kept your refrigerator cold.

    • The knowledge of impacts is already bending the emission curve down with the Copenhagen agreements, but is it enough? Change is not occurring in a vacuum, but with things like Copenhagen in mind. Technology advancement also already has a significant green component aimed directly at reduced emissions. These are things that would not have happened without the forewarnings from science. So yes, the “status quo” is already moving things in the right direction.

    • “Excellent point, I am confused that this concept is lost on the warmists, 100 years ago there were few cars, no planes, and ice was what kept your refrigerator cold.”

      Luddites is strong part of Left’s mythology, the worship of pastoral life, the Romantic age art, Germany “environmentalism” was an aspect of Nazism.
      The idea they there are somehow “progressive” is more lies of Left.

  24. I have often said the only reason the Roman built the Antonine wall in Scotland is because with an army of several thousand people, unless you direct their efforts toward something, they will inevitably end up meddling in affairs where they have no right to meddle. (On the Antonine wall that was probably sleeping with the local population and so stirring the local tribesmen into revolt)

    Today we have a similar army which is bored with its lack of progress and meddling in affairs to which it has no place. That “army” is academia and particularly in the climate. Bored of the painfully slow – and even backward – pace of real science on the real frontier of knowledge, they are beginning to direct their attentions away from the tough frontier of science toward the ever so much more attractive sphere of politics to the detriment of everyone.

    And the inevitable result is that the reputation of science will suffer as more and more “science” starts to play by the rules of politics where nothing is certain except sooner or later everyone gets egg on their face.

    There is only one solution: that scientists have no role WHATSOEVER in advocacy. That they do not get involved in politics at all. That they have to chose: to be scientists or to be advocates.

    Unfortunately, enforcing that requires a strength of character in the leadership which is currently lacking.

    So whilst I applaud Judith’s interest in this area, her entry into the sphere of science advocacy in terms of the reform of science is as much part a symptom of the wider falling standards of science as that which she seeks to amend.

  25. Anyone looking to Gavin for inspiration on ethics and behavior should perhaps do some background reading.

    http://climateaudit.org/2009/02/04/gavins-mystery-man-revealed/

    http://climateaudit.org/2005/10/29/is-gavin-schmidt-honest/

    And of course Gavin’s whining about losing a debate with skeptics is priceless. Especially the part about blaming the loss, at least partially on Crichton being tall.

    However, this live audience were a rather select bunch, and so maybe this will go over differently on the radio. There it might not matter that Crichton is so tall…

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/03/adventures-on-the-east-side/

    Three links, off to moderation. I await the morning. ~ctm

  26. Fernando Leanme

    I guess the problem I see is that if actions and policies are required, they involve a lot more than climate science. And since the long term climate models require political, engineering and economic inputs, then the topic isn´t purely ¨scientific¨.

    Thus advocacy for action, or inaction, by climate scientists is fine, but I don´t find their advocacy of a given course of action to be worth my attention span if it´s based only on what they know as climate scientists.

  27. The logical steps from climate science to advocacy require an understanding of effects and adaptation/mitigation strategies. This is almost explicit in the three working groups that the IPCC has set up. Yet many of the advocacy side of this issue make the leap without explaining the uncertainties in the intervening steps.

    Rasmus at RC in his “A failure in communicating the impact of new findings” expresses his disappointment at the recent first working group report:

    “The SPM really provides a lot of facts, but what do all those numbers mean for policy makers? There was little attempt to set the findings in a context relevant for decision making (ranging from the national scale to small businesses).”

    Apparently for Rasmus and many advocates we can skip the science relating to effects and the economics of potential actions and move straight to “decision making”.

    We can see the same omission in the Stocker quote:

    “Continued greenhouse gas emissions cause further climate change and constitute a multicentury commitment in the future. Therefore we conclude that limiting climate change requires substantial and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”

    Even if we agree with the first sentence, the logical connection to the second does not exist.

    The problem for the climate scientist is that understanding effects requires understanding science beyond climate science. It requires understanding biology, geology, agronomy, economics, and public health. It requires making linkages between climate science and other fields. Yet advocates seldom make any linkages. I suspect this is because the linkages are complicated and messy and outside of the climate scientist comfort zone. If we want to understand the effect of climate change on Midwest corn production, we not only need predictive models of climate but also predictive models of corn production and its future economics.

    Some advocates (the CAG Warmers) skip the messy details and move straight to worse case scenarios – Florida will be inundated, multiple Category 5 hurricanes will strike the U.S. every year, the Midwest will become a desert. Of course, there is no science behind this stuff but this is where the typical blog thread breaks down with CAG Warmers on one side and complete deniers on the other.

    Advocate climate scientists like RC do not help matters as they almost exclusively focus on climate science. Yet there is no direct connection between climate science and advocacy. You can’t leap from the science about future warming (with all of its uncertainties) to any particular strategy for dealing with it without going through the middle steps. When advocates start doing the middle steps, I’ll start paying more attention to them.

    • Fernando Leanme

      Many advocates of urgent action don´t understand the linkages exist. I´ve even found debaters on both sides of the issue which fail to understand the inputs for the long range climate models are prepared using models which do use these linkages in a very coarse fashion. They spend endless hours discussing the climate models and forget other issues. For example, I never see people engaged in discussions about methane emissions from rice fields, cattle, poorly regulated oil production sites, etc.

    • Fernando,

      I agree with the fact there are problems with debaters on both sides of the debate.

      If you accept that there is any influence of humans on climate (which even most skeptics do), you have to go on with the next steps and ask what are the effects and can/should we do anything about it. You might conclude we shouldn’t do anything about it but unless we understand the effects you can’t jump to that conclusion either. Only if you believe there is zero impact of humans on climate can you say we should do nothing.

      My own view is that there is a > 0% chance that global warming caused by humans will have a negative impact. I think the percentage is low but still > 0%; therefore, we should adopt what some one in a previous thread called “no regrets” policies – do things that it makes sense to do anything to reduce global warming and its impacts.

  28. No one’s mentioned that the advocates of catastrophe are wrong, and that that pretty badly wrecks all these apparently sophisticated manners of talking about science and advocacy.
    ================

    • It’s plain as day that those advocating for catastrophe have allowed their inadequate grasp on science to amplify their fears, and just as plain as day that their overly anxious fears urge them to catastrophic economic advocacy.

      They exaggerate one catastrophe, an imagined one, and are blind to the other catastrophe, a very real one. Why this is so, even kim doesn’t know.
      ==============

  29. The lower right box should say Issue Analyst not Honest Broker. Brokers arrange deals which is not what we are talking about. Moreover the term honest suggests that advocacy is somehow dishonest, which is false. For advocacy is the essence of democratic decision making, the honest attempt to be heard on important matters.

    Another confusion that there is both a scientific debate and a policy debate, so there are two different forms of advocacy, scientific versus policy. Of course the scientific debate has policy implications but advocating a scientific point is not a policy position per se. The real problem of silence is that scientists may refrain from debating the science because the whole policy world is watching.

    • Thank you David, I agree that ‘issue analyst’ is a better characterization than ‘honest broker’, whereby the issues are public policy (rather than science or other related topics, such as ethics of scientist research conduct). Further, RP Jr’s interpretation of honest broker as ‘expanding policy options’ is really a misfit for a scientist. I will add these ideas to the main post.

    • Moreover the term honest suggests that advocacy is somehow dishonest, which is false

      In theory maybe. Not in the real world of climate science.

      What we need a new term meaning “honest advocate”. And then we need to find someone it applies to.

  30. #charles the moderator

    Gavin in thread AGU talk on science and advocacy on RC in response to Kip Hansen writes:

    “That there are fashions in science is undeniable (and not just medicine), but the best bet for avoiding the vast majority of these is to pay attention to the assessments (from the AMA, or the NRC or the IPCC) and not to individual scientists (including us).”

    Did I get this right – Gavin says we should think the IPCC is sort of like the AMA.

    A primary goal of the AMA is to promote the economic welfare of doctors. It has a long history of attempting to restrict alternative medical practices and promoting the medical care that has given us thousands of unnecessary surgeries and the highest cost medical care in the world.

    The AMA is hardly a disinterested party in medical care in the U.S.

    From Wikipedia on AMA:

    “The AMA has one of the largest political lobbying budgets of any organization in the United States. Its political positions throughout its history have often been controversial. In the 1930s, the AMA attempted to prohibit its members from working for the then-primitive health maintenance organizations that had sprung up during the Great Depression, which violated the Sherman Antitrust Act and resulted in a conviction ultimately affirmed by the US Supreme Court. The AMA’s vehement campaign against Medicare in the 1950s and 1960s included the Operation Coffee Cup supported by Ronald Reagan.”

    I suspect Gavin is completely naive about what the AMA is about.

    • Well, no.
      Gavin is well aware that the IPCC is like AMA – an advocacy body. He is all for advocacy, provided it’s for the “correct” side – his.

    • Jacob

      You might be right.

      But with the reference also to the NRC, it seems more likely that Gavin is just an establishment sort of guy – doesn’t like anything that challenges the prevailing opinion. If the IPCC came out and said burn more oil, he would probably be arguing we need more CO2 in the atmosphere.

  31. Pingback: Science and silence | And Then There's Physics

  32. I’m more than a little amused at the whole ‘failure of communication’ schtick.

    Here, we have practically the whole world believing the alarmists, such that policy is still overwhelming directed at avoiding catastrophe by all means necessary. Communication, rather than failing, has succeeded all too well.

    The problem is that the ‘advocates’ couldn’t communicate with Nature, neither speaking nor listening, and that has made all the difference. Where do you think skeptics would be, as a class, if temperature had continued its rise of the last quarter of the last century?

    Frankly, it’s been dumb luck that it didn’t. We give thanks to Black Swans, or mebbe it’s ocean oscillations or the sun which we should gratefully acknowledge instead.
    ==========

    • swings and pendulums, Kim. It’s a good reason to be on your side as it swings back.

    • Kim, you’re the won who has failed to kommunicate with nature. Where’s the kimooling. I know, you cnow it is right around the korner.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “Where do you think skeptics would be, as a class, if temperature had continued its rise of the last quarter of the last century? Frankly, it’s been dumb luck that it didn’t. We give thanks to Black Swans, or mebbe it’s ocean oscillations or the sun which we should gratefully acknowledge instead.”
      _______
      I would hope that honest skeptics would not change due to “dumb luck”, but to be clear, the climate during the past century or the past 10 years or the past year is never a matter of “dumb luck”. There are always specific deterministic causes in the system, and that’s why it’s called “Deterministic Chaos”. You can thank Black Swans if you want, and the PDO, aerosols, ocean cycles, the sun, or whatever– but make sure you thank them as a group, for climate is always the sum of all forcings added together in a very nonlinear way.

    • RGates, if you didn’t sound so earnest I’d think you missed the point.
      ================

    • Chief Hydrologist

      A black swan event – http://media.brisbanetimes.com.au/news/national-news/swans-surf-kirra-5013546.html

      A black swan event because no one really expected black swans to go surfing.

      The 1998/2001 climate shift was not unexpected – not a black swan. The 1976/77 shift was extensively documented – and many people were anticipating a shift back. We are much more sure of the cause now – emergent behaviour in a deterministically chaotic system. But regardless of how deterministic it all is – the outcome of the next climate shift – initiated by changes in control variables μ – and as tremendous energies cascade through powerful systems is incalculable.

      Big picture?

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/bifurcations.png.html?sort=3&o=92

    • Chief, 1941, what that a swan?

      So unbelievable that buckets get blamed?

    • Chief Hydrologist

      I am pretty sure the dragon-king ate the black swan.

    • I take your point on the science, Robert. I think I was speaking of the existence of the black swan temperature pause in the white swan world of CO2 control knob narratives.
      ===================

    • David Springer

      kim | December 28, 2013 at 7:35 am | Reply

      “Here, we have practically the whole world believing the alarmists, such that policy is still overwhelming directed at avoiding catastrophe by all means necessary. Communication, rather than failing, has succeeded all too well.”

      That isn’t even close to true.

    • Well, Dave, take my share of the success then, or just a little bit of it, my skyrocketed electric bill. There, that feels better.
      ==============

  33. I’ve expanded on my earlier reply with an article on Scottish Sceptic. For brevity I’ll just post the conclusion.


    The Citizen Scientist : a paradigm shift in Science.

    Conclusion

    The growth of “citizen science”, is challenging “official” science, largely as a result of the internet. This is because the internet is making it possible to build a well-informed community outside academia which now challenges it for authority on the subject. And, unless one were to “uninvent” the internet, that community will continue to grow and even flourish and not just on climate. As such we may see “citizen science” increasingly challenging academia for credibility in areas where academia thought it was the only authority on the subject.

    This is a paradigm shift: one which is likely to change science and academia perhaps more fundamentally than we can now imagine.

    • “a scientific position, such as AGW”

      David, I think you are confusing “claims made by scientists” with “scientific positions”. If you’d like, I can provide examples of both so you can see what the difference is.

      Andrew

    • I see no difference Andrew so fire away.

    • Claim Made By Scientist That’s Not A Scientific Position:

      “Global warming isn’t a prediction. It is happening.” -James Hansen

      Made a Scientific Position:

      “The interpretation of temperature data I’ve collected and adjusted is being presented to you with the intent of convincing you that “Global Warming” is not a statistical abstraction, but is “real.” In the interest of full disclosure, I can only provide you with representations of “Global Warming”, because it’s just an idea.”

      Andrew

    • Sorry Andrew, but I do not see the point, especially since the second rendering is unintelligible. That global warming is happening (and real, which is the same thing) is certainly a scientific position, a quite common one in fact.

      There are slight differences between a claim and a position. The former often concerns one’s own work. The latter often implies a controversy. But in general they are interchangeable. My claim is my position and Vivek versa.

    • “the second rendering is unintelligible”

      Which (plain English) words elude you?

      Andrew

    • “I do not see the point”

      Yeah you do. You just don’t want to address it. You just repeated your claim again. Not much of an arguer are you?

      Andrew

    • Andrew, it is unintelligible because no one talks that way, plus you have words in quotations, which means they do not have their ordinary meaning, but you do not indicate what their meaning is.

      My field is concept analysis, which is based on how words are actually used. The statements “I claim that p” and “My position is that p” are virtually identical in ordinary speech, including ordinary scientific speech (where p is a proposition in the sense of propositional logic). Whatever your point is, it is not reflected in our language.

    • David,

      “plus you have words in quotations”

      Yes, I have “Global Warming” in quotations because that is the phrase that James Hansen used. It’s his phrase. Can you explain with comprehensive scientific detail what he intended that phrase to mean when he said It (Global Warming) is happening?

      Andrew

    • And my point has to do with what is scientific and what isn’t, which seems to be eluding you as grandly as English words are. lolz

      Andrew

  34. The problem with advocacy and science is not whether scientists behave as analysts or advocates. They can play either role with honesty.

    The problem arises when scientists behave as advocates, and, at the same time, insist that they are, actually, behaving as scientists.

    • But if they are advocating a scientific position, such as AGW or skepticism, then they are behaving as scientists. A lot of the debate is about the science. The concept of advocacy is confused over this fact.

  35. Nailing one’s colours to the mast is the essence of the problem with many scientists and many bloggers here.
    This requires a person to develop a belief in a particular argument or view and in doing so deny completely the opposite view or outcome.
    This is a good mechanism to use when in hindsight it turns out the approach was right, as it avoids wasting resources on side tracks and blind ends.
    It is a terrible mechanism when it is wrong, because it attacks the persons core belief [in themselves[ system as well as the consequences of their actions on those around them.
    It is also a terrible mechanism when the issue is or remains in doubt.
    Unlike unprovable beliefs or arguments eg religion etc most concepts that are debated will be resolved in time.
    Global warming will be proven or disproven in time.
    In such arguments it is important to consider the quality of the data and the quality of the debaters.
    There are certainly enough quality scientists around who do not believe in the concept of AGW to say that the science is not settled. Therefore it behoves all people in the argument to consider the possibility that there is some truth in the arguments of the other side.
    There has certainly been some increase in warming on the data presented over the last half century.
    There remain massive arguments on the data collection, the data interpretation and the implications of warming, positive and negative.
    While such doubts exist is it reasonable for most people and scientists to remain silent and consider the facts personally, not promote their own views.
    This is not tacit approval, just common sense.
    The facts speak for themselves is possibly a legal expression that explains the best approach to this conundrum.

    • People do not choose their beliefs, they have them. Nor should they not have them just because someone else disagrees. If that were true there could be no beliefs except universal beliefs and these would be few because today’s universal beliefs were yesterday’s debates.

    • “Nailing one’s colours to the mast is the essence of the problem with many scientists and many bloggers here.
      This requires a person to develop a belief in a particular argument or view and in doing so deny completely the opposite view or outcome.

      Therefore it behoves all people in the argument to consider the possibility that there is some truth in the arguments of the other side.”

      These statements would be much more impressive if they actually reflected history. Many, many conservatives at first accepted the warnings coming from the “scientific community” about “global warming”, including two of the most hated conservatives (by the left) Margaret Thatcher and Sarah Palin. They changed their views when the politicization of the science, and the identity of the people pushing the political agenda of CAGW, became clear.

      Conservatives don’t need to be lectured by luke warmers or middle of the road moderates about considering the arguments of “the other side”. We start out that way. But we are not sheep like the progressive drones who accept whatever “consensus” their political leaders put out, regardless of the facts.

  36. All knowledge is community property used to protect and promote survival of the human race.

    That is why deception is a violation of society, even when initially done for a noble purpose: Avoiding nationalistic wars and the possibility of nuclear annihilation.

  37. > I engage and get involved in policy discussions but do not advocate

    Here’s the first paragraph of Thy Wiki:

    Advocacy is a political process by an individual or group which aims to influence public-policy and resource allocation decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions. Advocacy can include many activities that a person or organization undertakes including media campaigns, public speaking, commissioning and publishing research or polls or the filing of an amicus brief. Lobbying (often by lobby groups) is a form of advocacy where a direct approach is made to legislators on an issue which plays a significant role in modern politics.[1] Research is beginning to explore how advocacy groups in the U.S.[2] and Canada[3] are using social media to facilitate civic engagement and collective action.

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

    • First, an opportunity to write a 2000 word op-ed in a venue that I greatly respect is a rare opportunity. Second, I was asked to write about the science and issues at the climate science-policy interface, which I regard as of the utmost importance.

      Yes, I have stepped up my ‘activism’ regarding advocacy for integrity in climate research. The world needs a heavy dose of this as we prepare to receive the IPCC’s report.

      http://judithcurry.com/2013/09/20/the-ipccs-inconvenient-truth/#comment-383527

    • John Carpenter

      Do you see a difference between advocating for policy making positions such as mitigating CO2 and advocating for good scientific behavior? I still say this was a ‘tongue in cheek’ stab at being an ‘advocate’. A play on words… However, some may take every word spoken and written as literal.

    • > Do you see a difference between advocating for policy making positions such as mitigating CO2 and advocating for good scientific behavior?

      Yes, I do. The first advocates for a public policy related to climate science research findings. and the second advocates for INTEGRITY ™. The problem is to find good reasons to exclude the first while doing the second.

      Besides, advocating for INTEGRITY ™ does not cover up advocacy for matters such as resource allocation within climate research community. So once you find good reasons to feel OK with INTEGRITY ™ advocacy, you might need to find other good reasons.

      One does not simply promote libertarian social networks (e.g.) and pretend to merely advocate for INTEGRITY ™.

      ***

      Speaking of advocating for INTEGRITY ™:

      If you choose to advocate, here is a reminder of guidelines for responsible advocacy from the AAAS: [...]

      http://judithcurry.com/2013/12/22/rethinking-climate-advocacy/

      Does the “if you choose [...] here is a reminder” signal a factual claim?

    • John Carpenter

      “The problem is to find good reasons to exclude the first while doing the second.”

      In a perfect world where bias is accounted for and transparent for all to see, is agree. Since this is seldom the case, there may be good reason exclude the first until the second is achieved.

      “So once you find good reasons to feel OK with INTEGRITY ™ advocacy, you might need to find other good reasons.”

      You lost me.

      “One does not simply promote libertarian social networks (e.g.) and pretend to merely advocate for INTEGRITY ™.”

      So JC is promoting libertarian social networks? How is this the case and not liberal or conservative social networks? I find all political persuasions commenting here.

    • John,

      Sorry if I was unclear.

      Arguing that climate scientists should not advocate for public policies related to climate science research findings while advocating for all kinds of other things, ranging from resource allocation in climate research to INTEGRITY ™, needs very special reason, so special in fact that it would be very tough not to see it as special pleading.

      And that’s notwithstanding the fact that Judy’s publicly represents contrarian individuals, organizations, AND ideas – with the aim being to persuade people to look at them favorably.

      Hope this helps,

    • John Carpenter

      “And that’s notwithstanding the fact that Judy’s publicly represents contrarian individuals, organizations, AND ideas – with the aim being to persuade people to look at them favorably.”

      I think it is a bit of a leap that she persuades people to look at such contrarian ideas as ‘favorable’. Rather, I have observed she offers a space for some such ideas to be heard. Offering the space does not mean the material is looked upon ‘favorably’, though often she does find aspects of those ideas as worth looking at. The best counter example I can point to of where she offered space but did not ‘favorably’ recommend the ideas was the ‘sky dragon’ threads. Perhaps you have specific examples of ‘favorable’ representations of contrarian ideas you could share. You stated this as a fact, so I trust this will not be hard to furnish.

    • > Offering the space does not mean the material is looked upon ‘favorably’, though often she does find aspects of those ideas as worth looking at.

      I’d settle for “Judy does find aspects of those ideas as worth looking at”, since this suffices to argue that Judy does advocate. But I’d rather call these “aspects” concerns. And my own policy is to always be thankful for concerns.

      ***

      You know, John, I hope you agree that if one claims that one ought not do X because it’s advocacy, then the “because it’s advocacy” should apply to any kind of advocacy. The same applies to “because it’s stealth advocacy”, with the added difficulty to guard oneself about the true Scotsman fallacy:

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

      Special pleading might be the most suboptimal way to advocate for INTEGRITY ™.

      ***

      Do you believe one can be an activist without being an advocate, John?

    • The strong emphasis should not end here, but after “any kind”.

    • John Carpenter

      “You know, John, I hope you agree that if one claims that one ought not do X because it’s advocacy, then the “because it’s advocacy” should apply to any kind of advocacy. ”

      Well, on the whole, I do not disagree, however it may not be a realistic rule to abide to as one could come up with innumerable examples demonstrating how one could arguably be breaking the rule while still trying to keep to the spirit of the rule. Similar to, one ought not kill someone ‘because it’s against the law’. It would be impractical or even impossible to try to live ones life applying ‘because it’s against the law’ to every life situation successfully. There are so many ways to violate that rule, many unintentionally, that if you had an official observing every move you make, you would being answering to ‘the law’ to the point of paralysis. That is not to say one should not live one’s life lawfully.

      “Do you believe one can be an activist without being an advocate”

      Sure, In competitive situations, one might be an ‘activist’ for a particular strategy to gain a competitive advantage within a group but not ‘advocate’ that strategy among a wider audience for fear of losing the competitive edge.

      Here is another, one could be an activist for clean water for human consumption but not advocate the only way to get clean water is by getting it from mountain streams.

      In general you could be an activist for any position yet not advocate it can only be pursued by one solution. Isn’t this what we are talking about here?

    • John Carpenter

      Heh

      “That is not to say one should not live one’s life ‘unlawfully.”

    • John Carpenter

      Heh heh, damn

      Double negatives got me messed up again…

      I got it right the first time,

      Alternatively, ‘That is not to say one should lead their life unlawfully”

    • “The problem is to find good reasons to exclude the first while doing the second”

      Childs play willard.

      “The first advocates for a public policy related to climate science research findings. and the second advocates for INTEGRITY ”

      Judith has already given her good reason for separating the two: effectiveness.

      1. She has a warranted belief that advocating for specific policy positions reduces the trust that people have in her objectivity and hence her effectiveness. That is her experience. She is warranted to draw conclusions from her experience.
      2. She has a warranted belief that advocating for integrity in the process of science does not impair the trust people have in her objectivity. She is warranted in drawing conclusions from that.

      The good reason has been laid out. Now, you might not find that reason compelling. you dont matter. You can question any and all distinctions. its your job. Is there a good faith basis for drawing that distinction. Yes. Is it certain? nope. does that matter? nope. nothing much is certain.

    • John,

      I’m not unpleased by your non-disagreement. Therefore, I will simply address this:

      > In general you could be an activist for any position yet not advocate it can only be pursued by one solution. Isn’t this what we are talking about here?

      No, we’re talking about

      [From Act to Ad] Being an activist for X entails advocating for X.

      Your examples only show that being an activist for X can imply not advocating for Y. After all, “any position” ain’t the same as “only position”.

    • > Judith has already given her good reason for separating the two [advocating for policies and advocating for INTEGRITY (tm)]: effectiveness.

      Not in this op-ed, which ends with this proviso:

      Back to my original recommendation that scientists should steer clear of advocacy unless they are prepared to make sure that their advocacy is not irresponsible (see my previous post (Ir)responsible advocacy).

      One could argue that advocating for INTEGRITY ™ implies being responsible, but playing the responsible scientist does not entail one is.

      One could also argue that being responsible implies some kind of effectiveness, but that might be refuted by black hat marketing science.

      Besides, advocating for INTEGRITY ™ does not cover up advocacy for matters such as resource allocation within the climate research community, e.g. climate models and the IPCC.

      ***

      Speaking of which, no mention on the Keeling Curve to date, BTW:

      Friends,

      I am writing as the director of the Scripps CO2 and O2 programs, which keep track of how these vital gases are changing in the atmosphere over time. The CO2 measurements include the iconic Mauna Loa record, now commonly known as the “Keeling Curve”, which was started by my father in the late 1950s.

      The O2 measurements, carried out on samples from Mauna Loa and many other stations, also provide critical information about how the planet is changing. The measurements show that the world’s O2 supply is slowly decreasing, and have helped prove that the CO2 increase is caused by fossil fuel burning, but offset by natural sinks of CO2 in the land and oceans.

      http://rabett.blogspot.ca/2013/12/an-appeal-from-ralph-keeting.html

      ***

      I am willing to consider that what I’m asking for is easy peasy, even though John Carpenter seems to claim the exact opposite.

    • John Carpenter

      “I am willing to consider that what I’m asking for is easy peasy, even though John Carpenter seems to claim the exact opposite.”

      Nothing in life worth pursuing is ever easy peasy… Which maybe says something about what your willing to consider. Speaking of easy peasy, still waiting for that example where JC represents contrarian views with the aim to persuade people to look at them favorably. Willard, you represent this statement as fact… Ante upon auditor, show your INTEGRITY.

    • Willard.

      The challenge was to find good reasons.
      It’s not hard to do. I did.

      your complaint that those good reasons are not in a particular text is beside the point. The challenge was to find good reasons. found them. they are reasons and they are good.

      nice try.

    • Let an Honest Broker HB have as personal experience that advocating against mitigation is more efficient than advocating for mitigation. For clarity’s sake, let HB entertain the belief that advocating for mitigation has no efficiency whatsoever.

      Assume Moshpit’s justification: efficiency tells everything one needs to know about what to advocate.

      HB could then very well argue that advocating against mitigation is more justified than advocating against mitigation.

      Has HB provided a good reason for advocating against mitigation?

    • > Still waiting for that example where JC represents contrarian views with the aim to persuade people to look at them favorably.

      Be careful what you wish for, John. I may be tempted to submit a enough examples to create a stadium wave.

    • I agree, Judy. It’s Judy’s main raison d’être. Or the second one, if we consider advocating for Judy’s work, as Anderson says scientists should.

    • Of course, I did not mean to say that every scientist should stand up for Judy’s work, but that Judy should. Any scientist who identifies with Judy’s work might wish to advocate for it too. It’s unclear what Anderson meant without an explicit quantification.

      More on that later, if I find the round Tuit.

      ***

      The first and second raison d’être I offered for Judy’s are not incompatible, BTW. They can even coincide, at least sometimes, and perhaps oftentimes if we consider that Judy’s public image is faithful to her beliefs.

    • John Carpenter

      “Be careful what you wish for, John. I may be tempted to submit a enough examples to create a stadium wave.”

      Not sure why I should be careful Willard, it’s not a challenge. If I were auditing you and you made the assertion as fact that JC represented contrarian individuals, organizations and ideas with the aim to persuade people to look at them favorably, I would ask for an example and expect to get one. Knowhere have I denied that she hasn’t done so. I don’t need to see more than one for you to come good with your assertion. I gave you one example where she provided space for a contrarian idea where the aim was not to persuade people to look at it favorably. You need to furnish one example of contrarian representation by JC of an individual, organization, or idea where the aim was to persuade people to look at them favorably. Easy peasy, you probably have several ready at hand.

    • > [I]t’s not a challenge.

      Then I am at loss as to what you wished to convey with “Ante upon auditor, show your INTEGRITY”, John. Looks like a challenge to me.

      Please acknowledge this.

      ***

      BTW, I already said that I’d settle for “Judy does find aspects of those ideas as worth looking at” instead of “favorably”, since this suffices to argue that Judy does advocate.

      But it’s not that tough to find examples of favors she distribute. Take the latest:

      While I think the ethics/morality issue is an important consideration in deliberating about climate change, I am not a fan of the arguments being made by Brown and Broome. IMO, the arguments of Hillerbrand Ghil provide a much better framework for deliberations on this issue.

      http://judithcurry.com/2013/12/29/scientific-uncertainties-and-moral-dilemmas/

      I think it’s fair to read Judy as welcome deliberations based on specific frameworks. The framework she prefers (yet again) is not the one put forward by the IPCC. It is not that farfetched to surmise that the preference she expresses leaves a favorable impression on her readership.

      ***

      Before you dispute this one, in which case I will simply offer another example, I’d like you to either acknowledge that activism for P might very well entail advocacy for P, or to provide a better counter-example.

    • John Carpenter

      Ok Willard, ante up was a bit strong, but it was made in good humor.

      “I’d like you to either acknowledge that activism for P might very well entail advocacy for P, or to provide a better counter-example.”

      I agree, activism entails advocacy. What you asked before was if one could be an activist without being an advocate and I provided some examples.

      Look, I don’t disagree with the premise ‘one ought not do X because it’s advocacy, then the “because it’s advocacy” should apply to any kind of advocacy.’ You say easy peasy, I say not so black and white. For me, I give some latitude… I am biased to consider JC’s ideas favorably because I find her to be an honest broker. Hey, that’s just me. Maybe I’m a sucker. But more likely I just identify with her position. Others like to dissect every word she writes or says looking for contradictions they can use to play ‘gotcha’ with. They are biased to look at most anything she says unfavorably. Some may even feel she is being less than honest. I don’t know if this is a factor in your argument or not.

      Everyone has a bias toward various issues. We have identified all the many factors that influence ones bias whether it be political leaning, personal experiences, spiritual belief… Etc, on these threads over the years. JC has a bias like everyone else. By reading her writings and opinions, one can surmise what biases she has. Knowing that, one can surmise what she will advocate for and what she won’t. In addition, she has told us in various ways. Now I don’t have a specific example to offer, but I think she has been pretty consistent in saying she does not think it is good for scientists to advocate for any one specific policy option to address AGW. I think she has been saying that scientific literature which infers CO2 mitigation to be the first and foremost policy option to address AGW is a stealth advocacy tactic. That such tactics may end up doing more harm than good due to the publics image of scientists and climate scientists in particular. One could argue from either side of the aisle why such an opinion exists. One could argue about whether the opinion is even real or significant. Further, one could argue that because she has argued it is not good for scientists to advocate for specific policy options to address AGW, yet has made the grave error of saying she ‘has stepped up her activism regarding advocacy of integrity of climate research’, she crossed some kind of hypocritical red line. That once she says scientists should not advocate for policy options regarding AGW, then she can no longer advocate for anything at all. That to do so, it requires special reason lest it becomes special pleading. And if you do so and advocate for research INTEGRITY, one maybe entering a slippery slope of double standards. Well, one could make such arguments Willard, yes one could make such arguments and not be wrong. But what is the spirit in which one makes such arguments? To help or to hurt? And that is the question I am stuck with in my evaluation of this argument. What is the true purpose? How does this benefit? How does this bring people together to find common ground? Any insights Willard?

    • John,

      Thank you for your comment. To answer your question about why I am doing this, I could reply that I like to solve puzzles, that I earned enough money and could indulge in an excentric hobby, or find another line already used by the Auditor. I could also epilogue about philosophical scepticism. Instead, I’ll simply return to the first sentence I quoted from Judy:

      > I engage and get involved in policy discussions but do not advocate.

      Something’s missing from that declaration: the fact that Judy does advocate. There are policy discussions to which she does not wish to add. But there sure are policies about which she advocate.

      Notice how in the second quote “being an activism” is conceded, while “being an advocate is kept unsaid:

      > Yes, I have stepped up my ‘activism’ regarding advocacy for integrity in climate research.

      This concession followed weeks of pussyfooting around being or not being an activist. Nowadays, being an activist is now accepted behavior. But then we get the same pussyfooting about advocacy.

      Since advocacy immediately follows from activism, I guess everything we said about activism can be transposed into our advocacy discussion. At the very least, we can see a similarities between the moves played. Here’s an example

      – Y is an A.
      – Who is not an A?
      – Aren’t you an A too?
      – Anyway, I’m more of a B.
      – And Y is (or is not) a true A.
      – But isn’t it true that B entails A?
      – Perhaps, but I’m not A-ing about P.
      – If one is A-ing-with-an-adverb, I don’t mind.
      – Here’s a list of how we should do A-with-an-adverb.

      Don’t you feel that most of our typological discussions have these moves being played, John?

      There’s a similar game being played about modalities, triggered by words like “requires”.

      ***

      All in all, there seems to be a abstract form for these rounds of pussyfooting. There are also characteristic speech patterns. Both interest me, the first because I study argumentation theory, the second because I like the poetry of it all.

      Now that Killroy has found a round Tuit, I’ll try to offer a more constructive comment on Anderson’s claim later on this week.

      Goodbye for now,

      w

    • John Carpenter

      Thanks Willard for taking the time to explain, though I am not sure you truly answered the question I asked, I will persist pursuing a more direct answer at this time.

      One final parting question…

      Is expressing an opinion equal to advocacy?

      • I regard the distinction between expressing an opinion vs advocacy is that advocacy is done with the intent of influencing public policy and/or resource allocation

    • > Is expressing an opinion equal to advocacy?

      Once, perhaps not. Once in a while, we might guess it bears repeating.
      Once each week, it becomes a pet topic.
      Once each thread, it’s a slogan.

      Etc.
      Climate Etc.

      ***

      I’m at a party at the moment, so I’ll respond with a thought experiment:

      Suppose I tell you that there are N immigrants in country C.
      I also tell you that there are N persons in C without a job.
      (N = N.)

      Suppose I tell you both facts on a big billboard.
      I also ask you: “what should we do?”

      Am I expressing any opinion?
      Am I advocating for anything?

      (The example is courtesy of J. Haider.)

    • Quite often here someone expresses an opinion like business-as-usual would seem to lead to 3-4 C over pre-industrial somewhere around 2100, and the “skeptics” immediately turn it into an assumption that they not only want a carbon tax, but a world government to implement it, or something determined by fears deep in their own imagination. They take a statement of a scientific possibility and turn it into a political one so that they can argue against it on their own terms. Advocacy is in the eye of the beholder sometimes and many beholders here have those types of eyes, or heavily tinted glasses, or something.

    • John Carpenter

      Willard, first a correction, I meant to say in my last reply,

      ‘I will NOT persist pursuing a more direct answer at this time.’ Just to dispel any confusion with what I meant to say.

      Thought experiments are interesting, mainly because there are no rules on how to conduct them.

      First, is a question either an opinion or advocacy?

      Second, referencing Joerg Haider certainly helps to bias ones thought toward the worst possible interpretation wrt how one could interpret the message and perhaps the way it was intended to be interpreted if it was sponsored by the Alliance for the Future of Austria. However, being a thought experiment, suppose the message was courtesy of the Green Party, or more specifically Initiative Grüne MigrantInnen. Then how would you interpret it?

      IMO, regardless from which side you look at the billboard, if it is an extreme angle, it will look like advocacy.

    • John Carpenter

      OTOH, Willard… Perhaps the billboard is the result of drinking too much j haider single malt whiskey, Austrian made of course, in which case it is most certainly an opinion.

    • Indeed, John. To recognize what is advocated by J. Haider, one must take his bag of opinions expressed as a whole.

      I say bag and not set to take into account the importance of repetition:

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

    • > Then how would you interpret [a billboard made by enviros]?

      As a way to dogwhistle a prescription by way of factual statements.

      I already used the example at Bart’s, in the comment thread of an op-ed on which Judy has remained silent to date:

      http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2013/12/23/gavin-schmidt-and-judith-curry-on-science-advocacy/#comment-19652

      The power of silence.

      ***

      The example was recycled to suggest that advocacy might very well be an emergent property conveyed by what is expressed, be it an opinion, a judgment, or even a well-chosen, recurring fact.

      The power of listening.

  38. Representation seems to the the key difference between activism and advocacy:

    Many authors on advocacy (Tusinski, 2007; Masner, 2008) see it as the act of publicly representing an individual, organization, or idea – with the aim being to persuade people to look favorably on it. Cohen (2001) – an author on advocacy in social justice – also defines advocacy as the pursuit of influencing outcomes in society – including social policy, budgets and resource allocation within political, economic, and social institutions that directly affect people’s lives.

    Onyx (2003) argues that not only is advocacy an important role for community organisations seeking to improve outcomes for the people they represent, it is also an essential part of the process by which we are motivated to solve social problems in society. In this sense advocacy can be viewed as one tool which people can use to exercise their power to influence government and policy makers to achieve social outcomes.

    http://changethink.wordpress.com/2011/03/22/advocacy-vs-activism-whats-the-dif/

    Is it possible to be an activist without being an advocate?

    • You will need to ask lolwot about it being a big Waste Of Time.

    • Some nice confusions here.

      One cannot represent an idea.

      An activist is one who is active, so if one merely actively analyzed the issues without taking sides then that would in a sense be being an activist without being an advocate. But the term activist normally means active in advocacy.

    • > One cannot represent an idea.

      INTEGRITY ™ sounds like an idea to me. We know that Judy stands for INTEGRITY ™.

      Armchair dismissiveness will get David Wojick nowhere on this matter.

      ***

      > the term activist normally means active in advocacy.

      Thus being an activist entails being an advocate.

      We know that Judy stepped up her activism.

      Since David Wojick is an authority on matters of logic, he ought to help Denizens by spelling out the conclusion that follows.

      • The difference is in advocating a position for an issue for which there is political debate (e.g. CO2 mitigation) versus highlighting an issue for which there is no explicit public policy or resource allocation debate.

        The integrity issue is one for which there is no public debate, but in terms of specific proposals to improve integrity, these have resource allocations (time and $$)

    • Good post Willard!

      Advocate:

      Activist:

    • After a few mental exercises, I decided you can’t be an activist without advocating something. ‘Give peace a chance’ for instance. You may not be recommending a certain policy or asking fighters not to fight hoping the fighting will just end and you may be simply hoping for an altruistic state of being; but you are still advocating for peace. Maybe I’m wrong but I went through a few issues and couldn’t think of any. I think what Dr. Curry said is a close as you can get and may have hit the nail on the head but I’d like to see an example.

    • Sure it is. Take a look at Alinsky’s bomb. That won’t make people look favorably on Alinsky or his group, but it is definitely an activist’s tactic.

    • Advocacy seems to refer to a speech act while activism seems to refer to an activity in general.

      There might be a distinction in the expected intentions: having to face “professional activists” sounds more surprising than “professional advocates”. In fact, we even have a term for professional advocates: we call them lobbyists.

      We never expect lobbyists to be active in doing things, except perhaps writing op-eds, open letters, blog comments, etc.

      Our languages has yet to solve the mind-body problem.

      ***

      The only example I can find of activist that advocate nothing would be the Cohen brothers’ nihilists:

      > We believe in nothing, Lebowski. Nothing. And tomorrow we come back and we cut off your chonson.

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118715/quotes

      ***

      A proper justification for advocation might include a set of beliefs.

  39. Let me add a new thought to the discussion about advocacy and science, by taking a specific case; The Royal Society. This eminent institution has centuries of history, promoting science. Now in the case of CAGW, it has taken a position of advocacy. The question I ask is this. Is there sufficient science to permit the RS to take the position it has? I have come to the conclusion that there is not sufficient science. And it appears that there are a significant number of Fellows who agree with me. Names like Mike Kelly, and Sir Alan Rudge.

    The situation is that the President of the RS, Sir Paul Nurse, some of his predecessors, and a limited number of senior Fellows have taken over as spokesmen for the RS, and have declared CAGW to be scientifically valid; a position of advocacy, not supported by the science. We even have a former President of the Royal Society, Lord Rees, telling actual lies in public. http://theconversation.com/astronomer-royal-on-science-environment-and-the-future-18162 A limited number of Fellows have tried, unsuccessfully, to remove this advocacy position. The bulk of the Fellows seem to be silent.

    It seems to me, that the thrust of this thread is aimed at this bulk of the Fellows of the Royal Society. They are remaining silent, when they ought to be making their voices heard.

    • I don’t know any skeptical climate scientists, but I can feel them in the theatre.
      =========

    • Well, Kilroy, the solution is simple; get rid of all but the top 7 & 1/2 % of hospitals. There is an analogy here with climate and energy policy.
      ===========

    • Bed sores are preventable and treatable. They claim if patients are turned every two hours, they are highly unlikely to get them. It costs a lot of money to turn a patient every two hours. A lot. The labor alone probably approaches $100,000 grand per patient year.

      Who gets them?

      Calling this a hospital error tells ordinary people a lie. The vast majority of people are not going to get a bed sore while a patient at a hospital. People are thinking 195,000 people are getting their heads amputated instead of getting their appendix removed.

    • It’s a no brainer to find some hospitals worse than others. It is evidence of no brain to call the difference ‘preventable’.
      =======

    • They called it preventable.

      Bed sores can kill people. It’s one of the biggies in the 195,000.

      Patients Have the Right to Choose Death From Bedsores.

    • It’s simples, JCH, make all the hospitals above average. Of course, that is only a half measure. Better, only admit patients to the best hospital. There, that’s the ticket.

      Oops, errors occur even there. What to do? What to do?
      ================

    • With respect to bed sores, I suspect some of the “best” hospitals are routing high-risk patients out the door before they expire. Just a hunch.

  40. As pointed out in a recent post, there are similarities between climate science and economics. As I pointed out there, there are also differences, that arguably make economic problems “more wicked” even than climate problems.

    Anybody advocating for economic policy solutions is taking a stance regarding these “more wicked” economic problems: specifically, advocating e.g. “carbon taxes” as a “solution” to the “problem” of “CO2 warming the planet” is, in effect, claiming “expertise” in economic “science” as well as climate science.

    Also, of course, in the various fields necessary to predict the effect of reduced human emission of fossil carbon (even assuming that’s what results) on ecosystems that have been adapting to it for decades.

    Everybody advocating on the subject is doing so from a position of profound, ignorant, non-expertise. Anybody claiming otherwise is being dishonest, either with themselves, their audience, or both.

    (P.S. Sorry for all the “scare quotes”.)

    • Using “advocacy” as a form of name calling or criticism does not work. You are as much an advocate as those you criticize (and for basically the same reasons). So if in fact “Everybody advocating on the subject is doing so from a position of profound, ignorant, non-expertise” then that includes you, as you are certainly advocating on the subject.

      Note too that some of the folks advocating carbon taxes are in fact experts on taxes as policy instruments. There is in fact a great deal of expertise in the debate.

      I see no point in your scare quotes as the sentences read fine without them. If you mean something other than that what is it?

      • The key issue of relevance to the advocacy debate is policy/political issues related to CO2 mitigation and energy policy, adaptation vs mitigation, geoengineering versus mitigation, urgent/act now versus more cautious approaches; precautionary principle as dominant over robust/no regrets decision strategies.

        Advocacy (vs issue analysis) is characterized by explicitly stating a policy preference with an aim to influence policy and resource allocation decisions. “Urgent action needed” in the AGU statement on climate change is clearly an advocacy statement.

        Analyzing mitigation policies (CO2 emission reductions) and arguing that energy policy has many competing drivers and that CO2 emission reductions is unlikely to be a primary driver in the current political/economic/technological environment is arguable Issue Analysis (not advocacy). I would argue that this is what I have been doing. I don’t have a preferred policy for dealing with climate change (the issue is way too wicked IMO), so I am not advocating for any specific policies in this regard.

        Stocker’s statement as a stand alone statement is arguably issue analysis, if the issue is solely defined in context of the model simulations given in ch 12 of the AR5. However in context of Pachauri’s public advocacy and the policy objectives of the UNFCCC (the IPCC’s chief customer) other framings of the climate change problem, Stocker’s statement is one of advocacy.

    • True enough Dr. Curry, but the deeper policy issue is if there is any problem at all. What you describe are mostly alternatives in case there is a problem. However, proposing that skeptics should be listened to or that the IPCC is doing the wrong thing are policy arguments.

      • Whether there is any problem at all is a scientific issue (apart from the ‘dangerous’ part). Good science listens to skeptics (Mertonian norm). Whether IPCC process is hurting climate science is issue analysis.

        The tricky part is that policy makers have created the IPCC as the interface between climate science and policy. Arguing that this interface is broken is a policy argument, I agree. This particular policy (use of IPCC as the interface) speaks directly to the main policy issue (energy) only indirectly, owing to the advocacy of the IPCC for mitigation policies.

    • > Analyzing mitigation policies (CO2 emission reductions) and arguing that energy policy has many competing drivers and that CO2 emission reductions is unlikely to be a primary driver in the current political/economic/technological environment is arguable Issue Analysis (not advocacy). I would argue that this is what I have been doing. I don’t have a preferred policy for dealing with climate change (the issue is way too wicked IMO), so I am not advocating for any specific policies in this regard.

      The following is arguably an explic statement policy preference with an aim to influence policy and resource allocation decisions:

      Securing the common interest on local and regional scales (referred to by Brunner and Lynch as “adaptive governance”) provides the rationale for effective climate adaptation strategies. This requires abandoning the irreducibly global consensus seeking approach in favor of open debate and discussion of a broad range of policy options that stimulate local and regional solutions to the multifaceted and interrelated issues surrounding climate change.

      http://judithcurry.com/2013/09/28/ipcc-diagnosis-permanent-paradigm-paralysis/

      That it does not apply to specific policies regarding mitigation does not make it a statement of issue analysis.

      ***

      Moreover, if that is not sufficient, we could analyze this issue in the context of the political stalemate some might lukewarmingly seek, with libertarian think tanks and right-wing news outlets as primary customers.

    • Interestingly, while dangerous may be a policy concept, catastrophic is not. Catastrophes are typically easy to recognize.

    • @David Wojick…

      You are as much an advocate as those you criticize (and for basically the same reasons). So if in fact “Everybody advocating on the subject is doing so from a position of profound, ignorant, non-expertise” then that includes you, as you are certainly advocating on the subject.

      I don’t think (speaking semantically) that I was “advocating” in my comment, although I certainly have advocated for and against certain policies WRT fossil carbon. And I certainly am doing so from “a position of profound, ignorant, non-expertise”. My point is that so is everybody else.

      Even those you claim “are in fact experts on taxes as policy instruments” are doing so. They may have “credentials” labeling them as “experts”, but any real expert on economic issues, like (later) Hayek, understands their own ignorance. This is why I put economic “science” in scare quotes, because by the standards of “real” sciences such as physics or chemistry, it doesn’t qualify.

      I see no point in your scare quotes as the sentences read fine without them. If you mean something other than that what is it?

      As I speak as somebody who has at least studied semantics, I use “scare quotes” when I don’t agree that the commonly used “meanings” for words or phrases are really consistent with the intent of those using them.

    • @curryja…

      The key issue of relevance to the advocacy debate is policy/political issues related to CO2 mitigation and energy policy, adaptation vs mitigation, geoengineering versus mitigation, urgent/act now versus more cautious approaches; precautionary principle as dominant over robust/no regrets decision strategies.

      Agreed. My point is that no matter how much expertise (or “expertise”) somebody may have, or claim, WRT climate science, when they advocate for economic policy positions they are doing so “from a position of profound, ignorant, non-expertise.”

      I recognize the expertise of some climate scientists WRT to, for instance, the interactions of the components of the climate system. I start deprecating that “expertise” as I see more reliance on models that, from my own experience in IT and amateur studies of chaos theory, strike me as unreliable. When they venture into economic policy, they stop speaking as experts, even if they have credentials in economic “science”.

      My earlier comment (linked above) referencing George Soros and his ideas WRT the relevance of reflexivity to economics was intended to demonstrate that point. He became very wealthy, as I understand it, by making (and betting his own and other people’s money on) predictions that the “experts” weren’t. Real experts, like (later) Hayek, understand this fact, just as real experts in climate, as far as I can tell, understand their own ignorance WRT to their subject matter.

  41. > i recall reading somewhere that hotwhopper regarded my activities as advocacy against mitigation

    I recall this tweet:

  42. Schrodinger's Cat

    Scientific integrity involves the measurement and analysis of data in an independent manner. That means free of influence whether financial, political, religious or to do with personal gain or prejudice.

    Scientists have a responsibility to ensure the highest standards of integrity, not just for themselves and their subordinates, but for their colleagues. Scientific integrity is meaningless and worthless if it becomes optional.

    Often, where science is difficult to understand by laymen and by politicians, scientific integrity is the foundation for credibility.

    Climate science seems to have one group claiming total confidence in the models. Another less formal group, branded as deniers, claims that the models are flawed. The majority of scientists, many of whom have the ability to form judgements about some or all of the climate work seem to be silent.

    The silent majority seems to bolster the acceptance of the science by authority and by government. “The science is settled, there is a strong consensus.”

    Now, we know that that science is not proven by consensus, but it is true that public thinking is swayed by it. This is where the politics of the matter begin to enter the picture. Sound bites and cherry picking of data and statements go hand in hand with consensus science and are just as misleading. What has happened to integrity?

    There are questions relating to the quality of data, natural variability, variables that are not understood or difficult to quantify, uncertainty, errors, unknowns and countless other factors that may reduce confidence in the results. If these are not made clear or excluded from the debate, then again the silent majority are guilty of turning a blind eye. Integrity requires that scientists address these issues.

    If observation continues to shift the science in the favour of the deniers, climate science may at some point face a crisis of integrity and credibility and the silent majority will be in it up to their unseeing eyes.

  43. Dr. Curry advocates, among other things, that skeptics be taken seriously. That is certainly a form of advocacy, given that many warmers claim that skeptics should not be taken seriously.

    • I hope Dr. Curry is not advocating I take all self-identified skeptics seriously. Many who call themselves skeptics are just cranks. I’m not taking cranks seriously.

    • Just as many warmers are cranks no doubt. But who they are depends on what you believe, so that too is part of the debate. I do not think anyone advocates taking everyone seriously and I did not allege that of Dr. Curry. Come to think of it I do not take you seriously.

    • Max_OK, “Well, I take anyone (you) seriously who claims he needs a 3/4 ton truck to do what his 1/4 truck used to do. I believe there’s seriously something wrong with you. ”

      A 3/4 diesel dually 4×4 cost about 75K new and will haul a boat on the rare occasion one wants to haul a boat or heavy trailer and can be depreciated as a business or write it off as 179. They also retain value well enough to provide other options that a 1/4 ton POS can’t.

      A fuel cell Hummer almost pays for itself thanks to the warm and fuzziness of “green” tax credits. Before long there will likely be “flex fuel” Lear jets.

    • capt, I didn’t understand what David Wojick’s problem was with the truck.

      Nor do I understand what you mean by “They also retain value well enough to provide other options that a 1/4 ton POS can’t .”

      BTW, several new cars have a fuel-efficancy driven feature I don’t like, the continuously variable transmission (CVT). But in time I may get used to this kind of automatic transmission.

    • Max_OK, “Nor do I understand what you mean by “They also retain value well enough to provide other options that a 1/4 ton POS can’t .”

      1/4 ton pick-up resale values sucked, so bad it was easy to get upside down on a loan, where a 3/4 ton loaded values sucked much less.

    • I see. Absolute depreciation is greater on the small truck than on the large truck.

    • David Springer

      captdallas 0.8 or less | December 28, 2013 at 2:54 pm |

      Max_OK, “Well, I take anyone (you) seriously who claims he needs a 3/4 ton truck to do what his 1/4 truck used to do. I believe there’s seriously something wrong with you. ”

      dallas: A 3/4 diesel dually 4×4 cost about 75K new and will haul a boat on the rare occasion one wants to haul a boat or heavy trailer and can be depreciated as a business or write it off as 179. They also retain value well enough to provide other options that a 1/4 ton POS can’t.

      I don’t think dual rear axle pick-me-ups come in 3/4 ton. Those are full-ton. Quarter ton too must refer to something other than a full size truck. Half-ton (Dodge for example) is the Ram 1500, 3/4 ton the 2500, and full-ton the 3500. The 3500 can be dual or single rear axle. Ford (F150,F250,F350) samo samo. It refers to cargo weight limit in the bed in pounds (x10 for Ford) while the half, three quarter, and full ton are slang from probably when the standard offerings actually were 1000, 1500, and 2000 pounds maybe. As long as I can remember (50+ years) those were the common names for pickups by capacity.

      Towing has some additional concerns. The longer the length of the pickup the longer the trailer it can safely tow, at least for rear hitches, I don’t know a lot about goosenecks as I’ve never owned or driven one. The longer wheelbase makes it harder for a long trailer to wag the tow vehicle. In general the heavier the tow vehicle the better for stability but things like diesel and 4WD add a lot of weight that counts towards gross maximum weight of truck plus what’s being towed.

      Most people I know consider a truck without 4WD not very useful for a lot of tasks. I deliver cargo to construction sites that are muddy and on hills and I have to climb over stuff to get the best position for unloading, etc. I have a RAM 2500, 4WD, Cummins Turbo Diesel, automatic trans, 8′ bed, club cab, and towing package. I added a front hitch wired for a Warn Winch on a hitch cradle which is very useful on occasion and more often I use it for precision moving of trailers as it’s way easier to push a trailer around in tight places on a front hitch.

      I tow boats, travel trailers, and have a dual-axle 19′ flat-bed/car carrier. I can and do use it to the limit with 10,000 pounds of cargo in the flatbed. Three cubic yards of stone or gravel about brings it up to the limit. I still get 12 mpg in mixed driving conditions moving five tons of cargo in the flatbed. Easy driving too with an automatic tranny even in city traffic and a godsend in more difficult conditions and anywhere four wheel drive is necessary. Automatic takes a bit away from fuel economy but not much and the return on how much easier it is to operate with feather touch super-accurate torque control on drive wheels is worth it IMO.

      I paid 42K for mine new in 1999. Only have 85,000 miles on it and it’s the last vehicle I’d ever sell. I get 16mpg around town and 22 on the highway unloaded. My other car is a 1998 Honda Accord with 190,000 miles on it and about 25mpg around town and 29 on the highway. Fuel is about 20% cheaper for the Honda so it’s a bigger fuel economy is actually closer to twice as good for the Honda. Repair and replacement parts are a lot less expensive for the Honda too.

  44. Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

    JC said: “scientists should steer clear of advocacy unless they are prepared to make sure that their advocacy is not irresponsible”.
    But IPCC’s WGI is a manipulated collection of scientist with the only aim of creating advocacy in relation with climate change.
    If any scientist (or secondary school lad) can notice IPCC’s manipulation, what can he/she do? Answer. Creating a pdf about that:

    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4r_7eooq1u2VHpYemRBV3FQRjA

    and showing it in any climatic blog.

    • I am pretty sure that just about everyone in WG1 believes what they write. Yes it is advocacy in that they are arguing for what they believe scientifically. Your PDF is also scientific advocacy. Advocacy is all about debate, the struggle of conflicting ideas. You cannot argue with an advocate without being an advocate.

    • Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

      David, I am not against advocacy, I am against manipulation.
      Everyone in WGI can believe scientifically in their small contribution. Ok. But, in that AR5, the wholeness of what it is written is not scientific. E.g. 1, that analysis relies in the fictitious (invented, not tested, …) value of a variable (climate sensitivity); e.g. 2, their attribution of anthropogenic climatic change (due to CO2) is based in a confusion regarding uncertainties (not the ones after measuring but the ones due to a lack of knowledge [which is not scientific]); e.g.3, modeling timescales are completelly wrong (this comes from another confusion between metheorologic and climatic analysis [may be in a near future, we could discuss about this 3rd example in JC's blog]).

  45. [S]ilence is an advocacy for the status quo. – Kevin Anderson
    I think that is another way of saying “if you are not with us, you are against us”.
    Is this what climate science has come to?

    • Anderson’s assumption about scientists is plain wrong, or his interpretation of the meaning of advocacy is wrong. What is the advocacy status quo anyway? If it is the consensus scientific view on sensitivity, that may be correct that they remain silent in agreement that this is not wrong scientifically. If he means some kind of political status quo (advocacy in the normal sense), what is that status quo? I think he doesn’t distinguish between scientific support for a consensus and advocacy, and what he means by status quo is just consensus science.

  46. Schrodinger's Cat

    DW 11:44
    I see that as a sign of scientific integrity. Good science should welcome challenge and has nothing to fear.

    If the science is fundamentally strong, then dealing with challenges will make it even stronger.

    Climate warmers do everything to avoid debate, which makes me wonder about the fragility of their beliefs.

    • Why doesn’t it make you wonder if “climate warmers” see climate deniers as fools not worth wasting time on?

      If I wrestle with a pig I get muddy. The pig likes it, but I don’t.

      OK, sometimes it might be a little bit fun.

    • The power of empathy is almost as strong as the power of silence, Max OK.

    • “If I wrestle with a pig I get muddy. The pig likes it, but I don’t.”

      And if you debate with CAGW skeptics you get beaten. The skeptics like it, but you don’t. It only took three or four humiliating encounters for the alarmists to figure this out: debates inevitably act as skepticism recruitment drives. It’s perfectly understandable, then, that the alarmists long ago developed a terror of debate and a ban on engagement: their arguments simply can’t survive public contest.

      Sure, it’s a little frustrating for us when the alarmists refuse to be pinned down. But what looks like intellectual cowardice on their part is just hard-earned strategic prudence and good Causemanship. And intellectual cowardice.

      “Why doesn’t it make you wonder if “climate warmers” see climate deniers as fools not worth wasting time on?”

      Riiiight. How credulous are you, exactly, Max? Tell me if your mind rebels, even slightly, at the following articles of faith:

      1. planetary action on climate is existentially urgent

      2. the only thing standing in the way of desperately-needed planet-saving measures is those bloody deniers

      3. we have all the science on our side and they have none

      4. debating such marginal cranks would be a waste of time, and what would it achieve? I can’t think of anything. Can you? No. Nothing.

      It must take an almost heroic act of ratiocinative contortionism to believe all 4 doctrines simultaneously. It’s almost admirable, in a way. How do you do it, Max?

    • “Climate warmers do everything to avoid debate, which makes me wonder about the fragility of their beliefs.”

      The nice thing is that regular citizens don’t even need to know anything about the Earth’s atmosphere to figure out who’s lying to them on climate change. They see one faction openly exaggerating, pathologising and demonising honest doubts, abusing people for asking questions (*cough*RealClimate), rationalising the use of deception in the name of the cause (Gore/Gleick/Lewandowsky etc) and then—to cap it off—running scared from every opportunity to debate against the very people they’ve spent years depicting as self-evidently mistaken and evidentially-bankrupt fools. Regular folk don’t have much trouble (unless there’s something wrong with them mentally) deducing that the movement that behaves like this is a cult of error.

    • RATIOCINATIVE ! Wooooeee… what a word! I had to look that one up and hear how it’s pronounced. I like the way it sounds so much that I just keep repeating it.

      ratiocinative ratiocinative ratiocinative ratiocinative

      I can’t wait to use that word at a party. Uh Oh, I already forgot what it means.

      As for deniers and skeptics, poking fun at them is one of my hobbies, my least demanding hobby. When I get frustrated with my other hobbies (birding and model railroading) , I can always let off some steam and refresh myself by ridiculing deniers and skeptics, rather than resorting to drinking a lot of beer.

      http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ratiocinative

    • Fascinating, Max—but I was hoping you’d answer my question, you know, by providing some actual insight, if possible, into how you succeed in juggling mutually-refuting beliefs. If you’re just here for larfs though, that’s fine too. Sorry for treating you seriously.

    • Brad Keyes, I apologize. I got so carried away with the word “ratiocinative,” I forgot to answer your question.

      I don’t go along with your #2 and #4. I can see how you might think I believe #4, based on my previous comments, but I was talking about some warmers, not myself. So, that leaves my with only #1 and #3 to as you put it “juggle.” It’s easy juggling two things.

    • Brad Keyes “cult of terror” perhaps?

    • OK, cheers for the clarification Max!

  47. Schrodinger's Cat

    Advocacy is a dangerous distraction for scientists. It can compromise integrity and leads to politicisation of science. At that point, the science is ditched in favour of a political agenda.

    Another danger is that climate scientists may urge politicians to adopt particular policies or strategies. It is very likely that the scientist sees these as solutions to the particular climate problem but may have no comprehension or knowledge of the possible consequences in terms of financial, social, political or technical impact.

    • Climate scientists are well aware that fossil fuel usage is an index of well-being. They know the more fuel you use the better off you are financially, socially, politically, and technically. Yet, these scientists want us to use less fuel anyway. For example, after they got the government to outlaw regular old light bulbs, and I had to start using those weird looking energy-saving bulbs, my well-being took a nose dive. OK, you might ask how saving money by using less electricity could make me less well-off. Well, I’m unhappy with the way those new light bulbs look. Them things look different and I don’t like different.

    • First its the gas-guzzler clunkers, then it is the light bulbs and better insulated buildings, gradually the freedoms to pay more for your energy usage are being taken away. If you feel bad, you can still buy some gasoline and burn it in your backyard, I guess.

    • What you call gas guzzlers were powerful vehicles that are no longer made due to green rules. I just had to buy a one ton truck to do what a quarter ton truck used to do.

    • The term clunkers referred to the older generation cars that take people from A to B using twice the gas, and can’t be used to tow much anyway.

      • Jim D,
        “The term clunkers referred to the older generation cars that take people from A to B using twice the gas, and can’t be used to tow much anyway.”

        Can you define to me what cars fit this description, and how successful the “Cash for clunkers” program was at getting these specific cars off the road?

    • No, Mi Cro, I am pretty sure you can still buy a second-hand one from somewhere if that is what you are after, but luckily they are going extinct on their own so you need to be quick.

    • The term clunkers referred to the older generation cars that take people from A to B using twice the gas

      With twice the space, comfort and speed.

  48. Schrodinger's Cat

    Max_OK 12:40
    Why doesn’t it make you wonder if “climate warmers” see climate deniers as fools not worth wasting time on?

    Climate science is extremely complex, has very poor data and is not understood very well. If climate warmers are confident that they are right and the deniers are fools then they are not very bright scientists. Furthermore, the sceptics often have observations and logic in their favour, strong points in any scientific debate.

    I think part of the weakness of climate science is that in the early days a clique of influential scientists decided on the scientific agenda and shut down any dissenting or critical debate. See the climategate emails for endless evidence of this.

    • If I thought deniers were not fools, I wouldn’t be bright. I would be like them.

      Science in general has always offered skeptics an audience. Indeed, science welcomes skepticism. It wouldn’t be science otherwise. But to make a difference, a person who claims to be a skeptic must do more than just say he’s skeptical. So far, the climate skeptics have done little more than just say they are skeptical. Anyone can do that. You don’t even have to lift a finger.

    • Max_OK
      Science in general has always offered skeptics an audience. Indeed, science welcomes skepticism

      Proving that “climate science” isn’t science. .

  49. The science takes you as far as WG1 figure SPM.10 that shows for each 1500 GtCO2 added you get a 1 C temperature rise.

    From there anything regarding what to do or not do about it is advocacy. Many take this figure as advocacy because they conflate an implied temperature rise with policies they don’t like, when in fact it is just a gradient of temperature rise per emitted CO2. Take that as the scientific central estimate, and then decide what to advocate for.

  50. Does it count as advocacy to just say we should reduce fossil fuel usage and aim at not going too much above 500 ppm. This isn’t a policy but a goal. It may be achievable without carbon taxes. For example (yes, I am just kidding) we could imagine a capitalist solution of just buying out the fossil fuel execs with healthy golden parachute pay-offs to make them close their companies and go away.

    • A policy goal is a policy, in fact it drives policy, so yes it is policy advocacy. To will the end is to will the means.

      As for your kidding example, what do you think would happen if oil, gas and coal suddenly became unavailable? The death toll would be astronomical.

    • DW, yes, a policy can be too effective in one area and damaging in another. If you shut down all the oil and coal production tomorrow without thinking it through that would be a bad policy by any measure. There can debates about timelines, and handovers of energy production. This is how policies are made with a goal in mind.

    • Jim D
      For example (yes, I am just kidding) we could imagine a capitalist solution …

      A clearer proof of ulterior political motives would be hard to find.

    • “fossil fuel execs with healthy golden parachute pay-offs to make them close their companies and go away.”
      You could if you want most of the world’s population to live in the 19th century.

  51. Curious George

    For me, science is about clarity and sharing knowledge, not obscuring it. Alan Greenspan is famous for never speaking clearly; scientists should not copy him. A quote from Sheila Jasanoff in this post epitomizes what is wrong with this discussion: “..policy-relevant science should not be considered value-free and that user and use considerations should have a bearing on the production of knowledge for policy.” It tells me exactly nothing.

  52. By the current standards of Western academia, what is a refusal to admit Mann’s ‘hockey stick’ is scientific fraud? Common sense and pragmatism?

  53. Steve Fitzpatrick

    Saying nothing is actually advocacy? Orwellian, nothing less. And crazy.

    • Saying nothing while drawing a salary as climatists stab those in the back who pay all of the expenses of the government-education complex is Orwellian for, ‘us academics are socialists to the last drop of the blood of the productive.’

  54. Schrodinger's Cat

    Sorry to quote myself, but see 12:52, final paragraph. My comment there has subsequently struck me as being key to our situation today.

    A healthy debate about global warming was denied at the very time when this debate was needed and would have been of maximum benefit to the science. A stronger scientific understanding would have resulted.

    Yet today, the challenges remain unanswered, the number of sceptics are increasing, the warmist claim is losing support and the science is still controversial.

    This is really an example of how political manipulation of the scientific process destroys scientific integrity, credibility and eventually the science itself.

    Those who witness this process and possess the expertise to intervene to set the record straight are failing in their duty if they sit back and observe yet do not speak out. So I say to the silent majority,

    “Whatever side of the debate you are on, please contribute scientific advancement to our current position. Political support is not welcome.”

    The time to hammer out differences in scientific opinion is before policy making, not afterwards.

    • SC, I was thinking something similar while out walking this morning. The approach from the 1980s on could have been:

      1. Some people believe that the Earth is likely to warm because of human GHG emissions and that such warming would be dangerous.
      2. If you think that is credible, but can not be clearly known or quantified by existing knowledge of climate, put resources into better understanding climate, how it has changed, what drives changes.
      3. As you develop that understanding, focus on whether in fact anthropomorphic GHG emissions cause warming.
      4. If it appears that they do/might, seek to quantify the timing and extent of actual and potential AG warming.
      5. Then see what the implications of such warming might be. This would involve people from many disciplines outside of climate research.
      6. Seek to ascertain the positive and negative impacts.
      7. At this point, it is possible to determine (subject to many uncertainties) whether or not AGW may be a problem or a benefit, and, if a net problem, the extent and timing of it.
      8. At this point, advise policy-makers and the wider community as to your findings, and let them determine what if any response is needed. The pms and wc can, of course, seek further info and advice from climate scientists if they think it is necessary.

      Most observers would think that this is far from the process that was actually followed by the IPCC et al, and that the present situation – where the important questions are far from resolved, the policy implications are far from clear, science in general is somewhat discredited and great costs have been imposed on the peoples of the world for no discernible benefits – could have been avoided.

      In practice, CO2 was seen as a smoking gun, efforts were focussed on demonstrating this, catastrophe was assumed rather than demonstrated.

      The way forward is not for climate scientists to be advocates, but for the public and governments to determine the extent to which they have credible advice on which to make sensible policy choices, and seek particular further information where needed, from climate scientists and others. Or to say, we have other things to worry about, come back when you have a credible demonstration of impending doom and how it might be addressed. Which IMHO is not presently the case.

    • Faustino,
      IPCC was established to do exactly what you ask for. Some parts of the work have succeeded in following those ideas, while other parts have performed less well. As a general rule the success is the better the more mature the science is in each subfield.

      Direct conflicts of interest have also been a problem for WG2 and WG3.

    • Pekka Pirilä
      Faustino, the IPCC was established to do exactly what you ask for

      The IPCC is part of the UN, a body dedicated to world governance, an embryo world government. The IPCC was established to further this aim.

  55. “Saying nothing” isn’t even the most effective advertisement for the status quo. The statistically-healthy, pleasant climate of recent years is the real clincher.

  56. > Now if there is one thing that Gavin, Tamsin and I all agree on, its scientists need to engage (at least those working on societally-relevant topics, such as climate change).

    Why?

    How?

    Does that imply activism?

    Does that imply advocacy?

    On what do Tamsin, Gavin, and Judy agree exactly?

    • That more scientists should engage with the public (at least those working on societally relevant topics). TE and myself regard engagement as a two way street, which includes plenty of listening; I am not sure exactly how GS would define engagement here.

    • > That more scientists should engage with the public (at least those working on societally relevant topics).

      I thought it was that scientists working on socially relevant topics should engage with the public, Judy. In any case, that does not mean much on the nature of your agreement with Gavin and Tamsin. How can you agree with Gavin if have no idea what Gavin means as “to engage”?

      In any case, I acknowledge that listening is a form of engaging. Anything else that could substantiate the agreement you’ve stated between you, Gavin, and Tamsin?

      ***

      Oh, by the way, some but not me might argue that you’ve just suggested that Gavin does not listen. Are you suggesting that Gavin does not listen?

      Many thanks!

    • Yeah, I have similar questions about that claim, willard.

      For starters, are Gavin, Tamsin and Judith all speaking English when they agree on the value of “engagement”?

      I only ask because, for Gavin, “engagement” apparently entails things like:

      — going on John Stossel’s show but refusing to talk to Stossel until Roy Spencer leaves the room.

      — “we’ve simply deleted all attempts by McI and his cronies to draw attention to this [at RealClimate].”

      —”We’ll be very careful about which comments we screen through. RealClimate is about making sure they [skeptics] loose [sic] the PR war…”

    • Heh, he listens for you, willard; don’t try doing it for yourself.
      ==============

    • I had a similar question over Twitter:

      The power of silence.

    • What’s similar about your question?

      Anyway—just brainstorming here—maybe Bart’s interpretation wasn’t actually as ludicrous as Sou’s? Or if it was, maybe he couched it in less cretinous and obnoxious language (it’s hard to imagine anyone rivalling Sou on that front), predisposing Judith to go easy on him?

    • > maybe Bart’s interpretation wasn’t actually as ludicrous as Sou’s?

      See for yourself:

      Adaptation doesn’t actually limit climate change, as the word says it means adapting to climate change.

      http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2013/12/23/gavin-schmidt-and-judith-curry-on-science-advocacy/

      To use the language of Dr Spock – that is not logical. We cannot limit climate change by adapting to climate change. That’s just silly. Our choices are (a) to limit climate change OR (b) to adapt to climate change OR (c) a bit of both.

      http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2013/12/gavin-schmidt-on-advocacy-and-judith.html

      If Sou’s point is ludicrous, Bart V’s should also be ludicrous, IMO.

    • I don’t know the context, but at face value:

      Those are the same point. Sou’s point is Bart’s point. To call Sou’s point ludicrous is to call Bart’s point ludicrous. Having already called Sou’s point ludicrous, a separate statement on Bart’s point would be redundant, n’est-ce pas? And we all know Twitter, as a medium, abhors redundancy.

    • Brad Keyes, I think my response to willard was appropriate:

    • So do I.

    • > Yes, why are people silent about someone they weren’t talking about?

      There are lots of sentences in which one could replace “is silent on Bart V’s op-ed” and “is not talking about Bart V’s op-ed”. To underhandedly offer “is not talking about” as an explanation of “is silent on” might suffer from being trivial. It may not suffice to answer a why-question, except in cases where meaning and words play a major role.

      ***

      The question remains: why did Judy chose to talk about Sou but remained silent about Bart V’s op-ed? Bart V even came here to present his case:

      I think Judith Curry misses the mark on several points: [...]

      http://judithcurry.com/2013/12/22/rethinking-climate-advocacy/#comment-428089

      By chance our bard was there to cut the crickets party, as otherwise readers would have got the impression that nobody answered Bart V.

      ***

      So let’s recap.

      Judy acknowledges Sou’s contribution, but to dismiss all of it in one single stroke. In Sou’s op-ed, we find the same argument as in Bart V’s, whom she ignores. Why did Judy ignore Bart V?

      INTEGRITY ™ — The power of listening.

    • willard worries that if we aren’t talking about him then he doesn’t exist.
      ==============

    • You’ll always be there to mention my name, Koldie.

    • Years ago at Tom F’s I asked Bart V how his logic survived graduate school. With you I don’t wonder.
      ==================

  57. Chief Hydrologist

    Science leads us many places – but it is not to a simple relationship between emissions and surface temperature. Time and again – the warming in recent decades attributable to greenhouse gases – after discounting natural variability – is estimated at 0.07 to 0.08 degrees C/decade. But even that – as seemingly benign as it is – is not the critical scientific fact for policy in the world of realpolitic.

    ‘‘We are already in a cooling trend, which I think will continue for the next 15 years at least. There is no doubt the warming of the 1980s and 1990s has stopped.’ Anastasios Tsonis

    In the context the reason for cooling is the reason – minimising the rate of change in the Earth system induced by people. But it sets the political environment for mitigation for the next few decades at least.

    A vigorous spectrum of interdecadal internal variability presents numerous challenges to our current understanding of the climate. First, it suggests that climate models in general still have difficulty reproducing the magnitude and spatiotemporal patterns of internal variability necessary to capture the observed character of the 20th century climate trajectory. Presumably, this is due primarily to deficiencies in ocean dynamics. Moving toward higher resolution, eddy resolving oceanic models should help reduce this deficiency. Second, theoretical arguments suggest that a more variable climate is a more sensitive climate to imposed forcings (13). Viewed in this light, the lack of modeled compared to observed interdecadal variability (Fig. 2B) may indicate that current models underestimate climate sensitivity. Finally, the presence of vigorous climate variability presents significant challenges to near-term climate prediction (25, 26), leaving open the possibility of steady or even declining global mean surface temperatures over the next several decades that could present a significant empirical obstacle to the implementation of policies directed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions (27). However, global warming could likewise suddenly and without any ostensive cause accelerate due to internal variability. To paraphrase C. S. Lewis, the climate system appears wild, and may continue to hold many surprises if pressed. http://www.pnas.org/content/106/38/16120.full

    Any by sensitivity is meant sensitive dependence in a coupled, non-linear, deterministically chaotic system – far from a linear control knob. This is a different idea of sensitivity entirely – γ in the following diagram.

    http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Ghil_fig11_zpse58189d9.png.html?sort=3&o=40

    http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/tcd/PREPRINTS/Math_clim-Taipei-M_Ghil_vf.pdf

    Surprises there may be – but cooling for 20 to 40 years from the 1998/2001 climate shift is not one of them.

    • In short, as I suggested above in reply to Schrodinger’s Cat, a serious problem has been claimed and drastic remedial measures proposed and adopted long before there was a basis for making a determination on the CAGW issue. The focus from the 1980s should have been on better understanding climate processes but was focussed instead (including for political reasons) on demonstrating CAGW. As we learn more about climate (rather late in the piece), the CAGW alarmism seems to have less and less basis.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      I have been studying decadal hydrological regimes since 1998 – since Wayne Erskine and Robin Warner published in 1988.

      ‘The impacts of alternating flood- and drought-dominated regimes on channel morphology …
      Geomorphic effects of alternating flood- and drought dominated regimes on NSW coastal rivers.
      RF Warner (Ed.), Fluvial Geomorphology of Australia, Academic Press, Sydney (1988)’

      I can’t find a copy anywhere but what they noted was a change in the morphology of central NSW streams in the late 70’s from a high energy braided form to a low energy meandering form. The cause was an abrupt shift from a ‘flood dominated regime’ to a ‘drought dominated regime’ – which we later came to realise was due to PDO+ENSO states that shifted around 1910, the mid 1940’s, the late 1970’s and 1998/2001.

      This has a couple of implications. First that the rate of warming from greenhouse gases was at most 0.07 to 0.08 degrees C/decade. Second that these regimes last for 20 to 40 years in the long proxy records – and so we are unlikely to see much warming if at all for a decade to three. Third – that these regimes are emergent climate properties in a system that is multiply coupled and dynamically complex. In this system – catastrophe (in the sense of Rene Thom – http://www.exploratorium.edu/complexity/CompLexicon/catastrophe.html ) is a mathematical certainty. Very real catastrophe for human societies is possible within as little as 10 years – which is something to bear in mind when exploring policy.

      It all emerges from complexity theory – which deems to be a bit of a threshold concept – difficult with a lot of movement back and forth across the threshold – but opening up a whole new way of thinking about something.

      i.e. http://www.ee.ucl.ac.uk/~mflanaga/thresholds.html

      Try – http://web.mit.edu/esd.83/www/notebook/Complexity%20Theory.ppt

      As Wally Broecker said long ago – the “climate system is an angry beast, and we are poking at it with sticks.” As in the Hogwarts motto – and as Bilbo Baggins discovers in the latest Hobbit installment – draco dormiens nunquam titillandus.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Let me try that again.

      ‘Geomorphic effects of alternating flood and drought dominated regimes on NSW coastal rivers.
      in RF Warner (Ed.), Fluvial Geomorphology of Australia, Academic Press, Sydney (1988)’

  58. Before advocating policy, you need a consensus on goals. The current framing of goals is in terms of how much CO2 we want in the future atmosphere. Should it be 450 or 500 ppm, or something in excess of 700 ppm by 2100 for business as usual to approaching 1000 ppm if and when we burn everything under laissez faire. Copenhagen got as far as goals, but left policy to individual countries. A few skeptics might even agree in principle that a 500 ppm climate is better than 1000 ppm one, but others would see such an agreement as a trap of some kind, even though inside they feel it is true, so we won’t hear them openly say it, and that would be an entirely political stance.

    • Many skeptics think it of no concern, others that it is not doable, and others not in our control.

    • Even, if they think it is impossible to do, do they think it is a better climate? I think they do. These questions have to be separated, and if there is enough interest, a way or a compromise can be found. For example reductions of 20% emissions in 20 years is realistic and may not be hard to do. Several countries realized this and have set this kind of target already.

    • Jim D
      … if and when we burn everything under laissez faire.

      Yet again we see the ulterior totalitarian political motive underpinning the alarmist position. To them the science facts are almost entirely irrelevant.

  59. Chief Hydrologist

    A ‘few skeptics’ might also abjure carbon limits as a failed policy.

    ‘Climate policy, as it has been understood and practised by many governments of the world under the Kyoto Protocol approach, has failed to produce any discernable real world reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases in fifteen years. The underlying reason for this is that the NFCCC/Kyoto model was structurally flawed and doomed to fail because it systematically misunderstood the nature of climate change as a policy issue between 1985 and 2009. However, the currently dominant approach has acquired immense political momentum because of the quantities of political capital sunk into it. But in any case the UNFCCC/Kyoto model of climate policy cannot continue because it crashed in late 2009. The Hartwell Paper sets and reviews this context; but doing so is not its sole or primary purpose. The crash of 2009 presents an immense opportunity to set climate policy free to fly at last. The principal motivation and purpose of this Paper is to explain and to advance this opportunity. To do so involves understanding and accepting a startling proposition. It is now plain that it is not possible to have a ‘climate policy’ that has emissions reductions as the all encompassing goal.
    However, there are many other reasons why the decarbonisation of the global economy is highly desirable. Therefore, the Paper advocates a radical reframing – an inverting – of approach: accepting that decarbonisation will only be achieved successfully as a benefit contingent upon other goals which are politically attractive and relentlessly pragmatic. The Paper therefore proposes that the organising principle of our effort should be the raising up of human dignity via
    three overarching objectives: ensuring energy access for all; ensuring that we develop in a manner that does not undermine the essential
    functioning of the Earth system; ensuring that our societies are adequately equipped to withstand the risks and dangers that come from all the vagaries of climate, whatever their cause may be.

    It explains radical and practical ways to reduce non-CO2 human forcing of climate. It argues that improved climate risk management is a valid policy goal, and is not simply congruent with carbon policy. It explains the political prerequisite of energy efficiency strategies as a first step and documents how this can achieve real emissions reductions. But, above all, it emphasises the primacy of accelerating decarbonisation of energy
    supply. This calls for very substantially increased investment in innovation in non-carbon energy sources in order to diversify energy supply technologies. The ultimate goal of doing this is to develop non-carbon energy supplies at unsubsidised costs less than those using fossil fuels. The Hartwell Paper advocates funding this work by low hypothecated (dedicated) carbon taxes. It opens discussion on how to channel such
    money productively. To reframe the climate issue around matters of human dignity is not just noble or
    necessary. It is also likely to be more effective than the approach of framing around human sinfulness – which has failed and will continue to fail.’

    I disagree on one point – taxes no matter how low are a dead dog. Neo-socialist greens are responsible for this backlash. Any investment in energy innovation needs to be driven by the private sector.

    It remains only for the ideological blinkered left to catch up with both climate science and policy. A forlorn hope it seems.

    • Chief, generally supportable, although I don’t understand why “the raising up of human dignity,” whatever that means, should be the “organising principle,” or why decarbonising the economy is “highly desirable” (I have read some of the Hartwell stuff, can’t recall details).

      This thread deals with advocacy in regards to climate science and climate change; Hartwell’s advocacy puts human dignity at the forefront. In my view dignity is an internal matter for each human, both in their dealing with themselves and with others. I don’t see how it can be imposed or be the basis for energy, economic and other policies.

      I would say, though, that people can more easily attain dignity in their lives when they are not constantly scrabbling for survival, and that fossil fuel use has, and continues to be, a major factor in raising people’s living standards and general well-being beyond the point where securing day-to-day existence is the overwhelming priority. So I would see carbon-based energy as continuing to contribute to human dignity.

    • Thanks, Chief, I downloaded the paper some time ago, but for now will return to non-electronic activities. HNY.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Michael,

      That is the exact point of this group – who have produced three papers in the series to my knowledge.

      Dignity in this usage is an outcome of economic and social development. I have frequently suggested links between this and the Copenhagen Consensus of Lomberg and the UN Millennium Development Goals. The latter being laudable and well framed goals despite the disreputation of the UN. In a sense – there is a cost to the MDG of 0.7% of GDP committed to more in the breach than reality. Australia is a prime culprit in terms of not living up to our promises. In a sense – there are economic benefits in increased trade opportunities and elsewhere. I read recently that agricultural research paid for with aid dollars have had significant local spinoffs. Some 12 times return on the dollar spent.

      The reason for decarbonisation range from undoubted health, agricultural and environmental impacts to the potential risks of changing the composition of the atmosphere without any depth of understanding of the consequences in a coupled, non-linear, chaotic system. Doing so is a bit of a leap of faith – i.e. leaping without being able to look. Of course we may always persuade (delude) ourselves that it is very simple and that we do understand – therefore leap away.

    • “I disagree on one point – taxes no matter how low are a dead dog. Neo-socialist greens are responsible for this backlash. Any investment in energy innovation needs to be driven by the private sector.”

      It does not necessarily follow that carbon taxes must be invested in energy innovation.

      We could tax and use revenue to reduce deficit or reduce tax rates on businesses or individuals. This could still achieve energy innovation through the market.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      The Hartwell group was arguing for a hypothecated tax. A low tax radically different in scope to a punitive carbon tax intended to enforce energy substitution. If you are going to comment please show the courtesy of actually reading the comment – and perhaps looking at the source instead of merely regurgitating talking points.

      Of course we can do something else. Hayek argued that almost anything is feasible in the evolving social contract of a democracy. So if you can get sufficient political support – by all means.

      Here is another one.

      ‘The old climate framework failed because it would have imposed substantial costs associated with climate mitigation policies on developed nations today in exchange for climate benefits far off in the future — benefits whose attributes, magnitude, timing, and distribution are not knowable with certainty. Since they risked slowing economic growth in many emerging economies, efforts to extend the Kyoto-style UNFCCC framework to developing nations predictably deadlocked as well.’ http://thebreakthrough.org/archive/climate_pragmatism_innovation

      Quite frankly it doesn’t seem an argument worth having yet again. Let’s vote on it. Oh that’s right – I’m Australian – we did.

  60. Jim D asks a good question:

    > What is the advocacy status quo anyway?

    I thought “status quo” would refer to what Business As Usual scenarios try to analyze:

    Exploratory (or descriptive) scenarios describe how the future might unfold, according to known processes of change or as extrapolations of past trends. They are sometimes described as BAU scenarios; often they involve no major interventions or paridigm shifts in the organization or functioning of a system but merely respect established constraints on future development (e.g., finite resources, limits on consumption). However, the term “business-as-usual” may be misleading because exploratory scenarios also can describe futures that bifurcate at some point (an example might be uptake or rejection of a new technology) or that make some assumptions about regulation and/or adaptation of a system. The simplest model is a direct extrapolation of past trends (e.g., projection of future agricultural crop productivity often is based on extrapolation of recorded increases in productivity; Mela and Suvanto, 1987; Alexandratos, 1995). Most climate scenarios considered in this report can be regarded as exploratory: They are future climates that might occur in the absence of explicit policies of GHG reduction.

    http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg2/index.php?idp=126

    Now, if an honest broker were to claim that the climate problem is too wicked to advocate explicit policies of GHG reduction, does that imply the underlying issue analysis leads us to conclude we should satisfy ourselves with BAUs?

    • Chief Hydrologist

      When did you stop beating your dog? Yourself/

      http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/27939/1/HartwellPaper_English_version.pdf

      BAU? Seriously straw dog territory – not merely a distraction but a dog of an argument.

    • It is easy to interpret ‘status quo’ as ‘business as usual’. If silence means supporting business as usual, it is completely opposite to the argument being made by the main post on their view. Maybe by remaining silent the consensus scientists support business as usual, or maybe they just don’t want to get into advocacy. I think the latter is more likely.

    • Like our Honest Broker, I think Kevin Anderson can keep a slot for those who wish to play the role of pure scientists. The slot that Kevin Anderson’s argument challenges most is the honest broker’s. As Eli is fond to say, a broker is paid to limit the plausible choices so that you win time and improve your chances.

      The same should apply to issue analysis. As soon as you start to analyze, choices are made. Climate change debates are not so wicked as to prevent issue analysts (assumed for illustration’s sake) from seeing where their analysis is going and, unlike econometrists, can’t pretend starting anew with unanalyzed data.

  61. Searching for the word “context”, I notice a non-trivial update in the main post.

    At what time was it made, Judy?

  62. Given the discussion of issue analysis versus advocacy I offer my crude little textbook on the former;

    http://www.stemed.info/reports/Wojick_Issue_Analysis_txt.pdf

  63. Matthew R Marler

    [S]ilence is an advocacy for the status quo. – Kevin Anderson

    Two comments:

    1. in modern society, the “status quo” is continuous change.

    2. scientists who study a feature of the environment or climate and report their results are not being “silent”.

    Nearly our entire infrastructure will be replaced or modified in the upcoming 150 years, and the people who do the building and rebuilding, and the people who write the regulations and building codes, will take the scientific reports into account. What is called “business as usual” (BAU) includes this continuous rebuilding. Much good follows from BAU, and people who want to use government to control it should always consider that they changes they insist upon may do more harm than good. That is the point made by Bjorn Lomborg: realistically, the cost of CO2 suppression may be greater than the benefit, so actual costs and benefits should be studied in great detail, including the opportunity costs of investment in CO2 reduction.

    Scientific research, carefully done and fully reported, is not “silence”.

  64. Matthew R Marler

    David Wojick: Another confusion that there is both a scientific debate and a policy debate, so there are two different forms of advocacy, scientific versus policy. Of course the scientific debate has policy implications but advocating a scientific point is not a policy position per se. The real problem of silence is that scientists may refrain from debating the science because the whole policy world is watching.

    That is well said.

  65. Kit Carruthers chimes in at Anders':

    As a CCS researcher, I guess I sit on the side of the fence that Kevin Anderson inhabits. I do not need to say/communicate anything to fly my advocacy colours. At least, whether I communicate anything or not, I will be judged to be advocating for CCS. In this regard, saying nothing is still a de facto advocacy.

    Furthermore, as an “early careers researcher” (i.e. PhD student), it is drummed in to me that communication of my research is vital, for all sort of reasons that Judith Curry would probably find abhorrent, such as making engaging other scientists for future research opportunities. This, apparently, now requires a tight-rope walk between showing your passion for research (an advocacy in itself) and communicating the facts of said research.

    http://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/science-and-silence/#comment-10824

    Must be a contextual thing.

  66. Matthew R Marler

    Randy Olsen: It’s a very good talk. I’m with Gavin. Scientist need to engage.

    Everybody knows about “sour grapes” and the modern research on “cognitive dissonance” and “dissonance reduction”. Scientists are not immune to these mechanisms of self – delusion: people who take strong stands in policy advocacy become committed to their commitments, and over time cease to evaluate the evidence as fairly as they would have before. Everyone’s awareness may be why the polls show that scientists who become advocates lose the trust of the public, and come to be seen as just plain “advocates”. Science will be the most reliable possible if the scientists pursue knowledge as “disinterestedly” as possible.

    So I disagree with Gavin Schmidt: for long term effectiveness and good to society, scientists should debate science and avoid advocating policy.

    • If academic scientists are silent drones, industrial scientists will fill the void with no compunction, and they are very skilled at getting listened to. You may not like Tillerson at Exxon’s position- I don’t- but as a petrochemical engineer who may have had research/development responsibilities as some part of his career (I suppose I could ask someone I know there- can’t tell from Wiki) he’s got no reservations about speaking up and doing so both as a scientist and a businessman. Silence leaves the floor to him.

      In the interest of full disclosure I’m a 37 year veteran of the petrochemical industry in a very broad sense: I have oil, tar oil sands, solar, wind, grid management, grid storage, power generation stains on my hands. I’ve gotten bloody well tired of no-account amateurs with no training in science and no work history and no scholarship disrespect the climate science community. The story and science behind our understanding of climate is a wonderful celebration worthy human achievement, The paid naysayers, the reactionaries and the folks at ATI with their Serenghetti games need to be confronted at every turn.

      http://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/science-and-silence/#comment-10831

    • “I’ve gotten bloody well tired of no-account amateurs with no training in science and no work history and no scholarship disrespect the climate science community.”

      There we have it. I always suspected credentialist amour-propre was at the heart of a lot of anti-skeptical sentiment.

    • Matthew:

      “So I disagree with Gavin Schmidt: for long term effectiveness and good to society, scientists should debate science…”

      They can’t though—they’re too busy denying the debatability of The Science™.

      willard:

      Do you have any idea how pompous (yet insecure) that quote makes your “37 year veteran” look? If so, what was your purpose in posting it?

    • Heh, Brad, his conscious purpose was to ‘confront at every turn’, but the part to which he is blind insisted on exposure of pomposity and insecurity.

      I swan, if any more of that spaghetti gets on the ceiling, it’s ‘game over’.
      ========

  67. Amusing to watch Judith’s evolving and increasingly complex and confused stance on advocacy.

    I remember the good old days when Judy was stridently against all advocacy, and was equally strident that she did nothing of the sort.

    • uh back then i did nothing of the sort. Circa 2005/2006 RP Jr called me a stealth advocate (during the hurricane and global warming debate). I think he thought I was advocating for mitigation policies. I clearly was not, although at the time I had been ‘adopted’ by several pro AGW NGOs etc. I still think it is better for scientists not to advocate in political debates (e.g. energy policy and CO2 mitigation), but I acknowledge that there is a role for responsible policy advocacy by climate scientists.

    • ” I still think it is better for scientists not to advocate in political debates (e.g. energy policy and CO2 mitigation), but I acknowledge that there is a role for responsible policy advocacy by climate scientists.”

      That’s as clear as mud.
      We can’t advocate for energy policy, but can do responsible policy advocacy.

    • Hah, ‘responsible’ would be to get the science right before plunging into the whirlpools of advocacy. Global Circulation Models aren’t water wings, rather the opposite, and what else they got?
      ===================

  68. Seeing the way the scientists who do advocate on either side draw fire is deterrent enough. It is a major commitment to become a public figure on climate change. Those who are, devote much time to non-science-related consequences of just being in public, and it is a time-sink that only certain types of people would welcome.

  69. The trouble with climate science is that advocacy is built into the language. It all starts with the words ‘greenhouse gases These words should be expunged from the language because they are meaningless scientific jargon. More than that they ate an attempt to bias your brain towards a particular view of nature and they have succeeded in poisoning discourse towards political views rather than scientific .

    Let’s take a closer look at the label ‘Greenhouse gas”. Firstly, a greenhouse is an enclosed space and works because it lets sunshine ib and prevents warm gases from escaping out. No such structure exists in nature. That CO2 can absorb large quantities of heat is controversial, The specific heat of Nitrogen (N2) (70% of atmosphere) is about 29, while CO2 is about 36 (<1%) both at 25C,. So on that basis each gram of N2 will absorb almost as much heat as each gram of CO2!. Secondly, your view of CO2 depends on whether you are a chemist or a physicist If you are a chemist, all CO2 is the same, if you are a physicist CO2 has hundreds of different modes to absorb radiated heat, Indeed carbon 14 in CO2 is routinely used to date archeology samples. For example, Europe switched from Texas crude to Iranian in 1940 because of the U boat threat in the Atlantic. Is this why the first bout of anthropogenic heating ended and reversed so dramatically in 1940? Much more research needs to be done to establish which CO2 modes existed in 1940 and why they changed to dramatically.

  70. Trofim Lysenko was a scientist – and not a bad one at that, apparently.

    He set a standard for successful advocacy to which Gavin Schmidt (and others of like ilk) can only aspire.

    I would much rather Schmidt and Co. continue to exhibit the same advocacy incompetence that they have demonstrated to date.

    It seems obvious that the most ardent Warmists are prepared to go to any lengths to save us from ourselves – they will spend to the last coin of our treasure, and fight to the last drop of our blood.

    But don’t worry. Sacrifices must be made – preferably by anybody who denies the Truth according to the Book of Warm.

    I live in hope that when the taxpayers have to choose between their own comfort and that of the parasitic Climastrologists, common sense will prevail. Humanity can then move along to the next irrational infatuation.

    It’s time for a change – anybody have any suggestions?

    Live well and prosper,

    Mike Flynn.

  71. Where do the UN and IPCC fit in re Judith’s suggested:

    *open up a space for public discussion and argument.?

    *.question the efficacy of proposed policies at achieving desired
    outcomes and pointing out potential unintended consequences?

    *disclose limits of scientifiic information and extent of uncertainties?

    Hmm, the UN? As i’ve said before, makes me think of Umberto’s
    ‘Name of the Rose’and the Inquisition …
    The rustling of cardinal silk and whisperings
    in the papal corridors of power, the far flung
    authority enacted within the stone walled hive,
    while on the slopes outside, peasants scrabble
    fer scraps from the priests’ table.

    beth-the serf.

  72. R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

    This was an excellent post Judith, and gives much to consider on a topic that will grow in importance over the coming years. It is certainly a very personal choice if a scientist is going to step into the advocacy role. It depends of both the nature of the science they are an expert in, the balance of uncertainty and certainty related to that science, and what the potential costs are to remain silent and nothing. Should anyone have faulted Professor Rowland from becoming the advocate he did?

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

    I would hope not. But certainly some would.

    • R Gates,

      Well, seeing how ozone is only created from oxygen (in the upper atmosphere) by shortwave UV from the Sun, and needs no help from any thing else to react with whatever is handy, nitrogen, for example. Or possibly, when two molecules of ozone meet, they combine to once again form three molecules of oxygen. And so it goes. So yes, Rowland caused a lot of unnecessary worry and cost to a lot of people.

      Worrying about the supply of ozone running out is predicated on a lack of oxygen. Of course the ozone concentration depends on atmospheric composition, and the quantity and quality of UV available to hammer the constituent molecules into small bits.

      If you are worried about excess UV at the surface, don’t. If the energy in the UV absorbed by CFCs, it doesn’t reach the surface as damaging UV. But if you want something to worry about, I suppose it’s as good as Global Warming.

      Finally, you may care to consider what actually absorbs the harmful UV radiation. Oxygen, not ozone in the first instance. I leave it you to figure out how ozone supposedly screens out UV before it exists. No oxygen, no ozone. No ionising radiation, no ozone.

      Just as with CO2, nobody seems to consider what happens to the ionising radiation absorbed by, say, N2, and the subsequent reaction with either O2, O3, or just plain old O.

      What is the result? More ionising radiation? Luckily, no.

      So sleep soundly. Feel free to disregard the advocacy of Lysenko, Schmidt, or Rowland. You won’t be any the poorer, that’s for sure!

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      ‘Ozone in the ozone layer filters out sunlight wavelengths from about 200 nm UV rays to 315 nm, with ozone peak absorption at about 250 nm.[20] This ozone UV absorption is important to life, since it extends the absorption of UV by ordinary oxygen and nitrogen in air (which absorb all wavelengths < 200 nm) through the lower UV-C (200–280 nm) and the entire UV-B band (280–315 nm). The small unabsorbed part that remains of UV-B after passage through ozone causes sunburn in humans, and direct DNA damage in living tissues in both plants and animals.' Wikipedia

      Although ozone is continuously created and destroyed in the atmosphere – the increase in ozone destruction through the unbelievably complex chemical interactions with human made compounds increases the rate of destruction.

      CFC's were largely replaced with CFC's and HCFC's with minimal economic impact.

      These are being replaced in turn with 'naturally occurring, non-toxic refrigerants that have no ozone depleting properties and almost zero global warming potential. Air, Water, Carbon Dioxide, Ammonia and Hydrocarbons are the most efficient and environmentally safe refrigerants in the world. They are also all natural refrigerants.

      Hydrocarbons are also a much more efficient refrigerant and can save anywhere from 13% to 37% in electricity consumption over some of the old chemical refrigerants.'

      http://www.oz-chill.com/about-us/why-hydrocarbons/

      This is mitigation technology on the boards.

    • Chief Hydrologist,

      Wikipedia is just as wrong about the ozone layer as it is about the
      greenhouse effect and resultant global warming.

      The oxygen absorbs the ionising photons to create ozone. This process absorbs energy. This energetic ionising radiation is no longer available to do harm as say, UVC. N2 decomposes to N + N, etc. CFCs break down similarly, and of course are oxidised by any ozone or monatomic oxygen in the vicinity. This may take some time. There are quite a few free ions wandering around at that altitude, which accounts for the name “ionosphere”.

      I am a little surprised by your statement “These are being replaced in turn with ‘naturally occurring, non-toxic refrigerants that have no ozone depleting properties and almost zero global warming potential. Air, Water, Carbon Dioxide, Ammonia and Hydrocarbons are the most efficient and environmentally safe refrigerants in the world. They are also all natural refrigerants.”

      Carbon dioxide – almost zero global warming potential? Well, yes, but not according to the environmentalists who managed to get CFCs banned.
      Air? Water? Natural refrigerants?
      Ammonia – environmentally safe? Natural?
      Hydrocarbons – Ethylene? Acetylene? Methane?

      You are having a lend of me, aren’t you?

      If you believe this is mitigation technology on the boards, good for you!

      Just as a matter of interest, what sort of material are you going to use in your ammonia refrigeration system? You can’t use copper, obviously, and some of the more useful steel compounds are expensive, difficult to work, and need to be very carefully chosen, depending on the installation parameters. I need to point out that releasing ammonia into a confined area may be environmentally safe, but may well be fatal for humans.

      Let me know how you get on.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Chief Hydrologist,

      I suggest you reread your linked article. It doesn’t really support your cause.

      You may well have decided that Wikipedia is not 100% accurate at all times, but to claim that a green blog constitutes a “reliable source” of information might have others doubting your credibility.

      What next? Claims that a Stirling engine using waste heat from garden compost is the next Great Leap Forward?

      Show me something that’s more cost effective than what I use, and I’ll buy it. In the meantime, avoid facts, wave your hands, adopt any posture you like, change the subject – if I didn’t know better, I’d believe you were a Disciple of the Book of Warm.

      When you lay your hands on a fact, get back to me. In the meantime, colour me unconvinced that you understand the reality that I observe.

      I’m still unsure as to your reasons for calling me an idiot on all counts (amongst other epithets, of course). Do you think I should care? Or don’t you care whether I care or not? Do you? I don’t.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Flynn – my comment seems to have to have disappeared – whether it was the well merited characterisation expletives or some other reason is moot.

      I was talking actual technology in use – i.e. http://www.danfoss.com/BusinessAreas/RefrigerationAndAirConditioning/Refrigerants/CO2+in+Industrial+Refrigeration+Applications.htm

      And – http://www.danfoss.com/BusinessAreas/RefrigerationAndAirConditioning/Refrigerants/WhyAmmonia.htm

      There are literally millions of references across the interweb – and if you think I read more than 1 word in 100 of the nonsense you
      pull out of your arse – you would be sadly mistaken yet again.

    • Chief Hydrologist,

      From the first link I looked at (which just happened to be . . . surprise, surprise . . . a refrigeration equipment company touting their wares), at the bottom they had this disclaimer :

      “Ammonia is not a universal refrigerant, and mainly suitable for industrial and heavy commercial applications. Ammonia’s toxicity, flammability and material compatibility have to be taken in to account.”

      Apart from the fact that ammonia is toxic, flammable, and has problems with some materials, you are on a winner.

      As long as you intend to use it where it has always been used, why use anything else? As the comment at the bottom goes on to say ” . . . there is a huge global population of ammonia systems where those challenges are successfully dealt with.”

      In other words, it’s old technology that still works as as well or better than anything newer, taking everything into account.

      Hit me with something I don’t already know. How hard can it be?

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Let me just make sure you get the point – it seems quite difficult to get anything through your arrogant and quite superficial pontificating.

      1. OX-CHILL is not a green blog but a commercial organisation. – http://www.oz-chill.com/about-us/why-oz-chill/

      Quite appropriate as I was talking actually technology in use. Carbon dioxide when used as a refrigerant replaces substances with 1000’s times the GWP. And if you bothered to read anything instead of waffling on you would find that propane and butane were the hydrocarbons mentioned.

      2. ‘Ozone in the ozone layer filters out sunlight wavelengths from about 200 nm UV rays to 315 nm, with ozone peak absorption at about 250 nm.[20] This ozone UV absorption is important to life, since it extends the absorption of UV by ordinary oxygen and nitrogen in air (which absorb all wavelengths < 200 nm) through the lower UV-C (200–280 nm) and the entire UV-B band (280–315 nm). The small unabsorbed part that remains of UV-B after passage through ozone causes sunburn in humans, and direct DNA damage in living tissues in both plants and animals.' Wikipedia

      This is all information that can be independently
      verified. I do it routinely. You should tr it sometime.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Whoops – OZ-CHILL

      Flynn is another whose ‘science’ – in the sentiments of mosher – is not worth discussing. Is anyone tempted to believe his nonsense – or did I just waste my time again?

    • Chief Hydrologist,

      You must have had a comment deleted. You provided a link to www2.
      buildinggreen. something or other. You can pretend you didn’t if you wish.

      Now you pretend that you haven’t linked to Danfoss. Oh well, we all have memory lapses, I guess.

      On to iso-butane. You love Wikipedia, so I know you will love this :

      “Substitution of this refrigerant for motor vehicle air conditioning systems not originally designed for R600a is widely prohibited or discouraged, on the grounds that using flammable hydrocarbons in systems originally designed to carry non-flammable refrigerant presents a significant risk of fire or explosion.” Guess what Wikipedia is talking about. You’re correct! Iso-butane.

      You may use it if you wish. I don’t want to risk it while there are safer alternatives.

      Using iso-propane in R290 A is about as safe – or not.

      Now onto your Wikipedia “fact”. UVC is stated elsewhere in Wikipedia to be around 100nm to 280 nm. Either your cut and paste didn’t work, or your Wikipedia editor is in error. Maybe a Warmist – in the case of queries, just change the definitions!

      If you don’t want to discuss facts, feel free. Merely repeating something appearing in Wikipedia doesn’t make it true.

      Anyway, good luck with your efforts to convince others not to read my comments. You’d probably have more success if you practiced what you preach.

      I repeat, if you can find an actual fact showing that I have erred, let me know. I’m not perfect, and I admit to my mistakes.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      The site was OX-CHILL – quite clearly linked to again – and DANFOS is clearly the author of the links on industrial ammonia or CO2 refrigerants.

      Appropriate given that I was talking about actual on the boards, for sale technology. You rush to unfounded conclusions – CO2 not being relatively climate friendly for instance or babies being at risk from ammonia – and rush to obfuscate and divert.

      Your bad faith is clearly on display.

      My question stands – is anyone fooled by you – or have I just wasted my time correcting yet more of your nonsense? The real question should be why am I still wasting my time. I am a bit outraged by your lies and dissimulation – but that’s no excuse. .

    • Chief Hydrologist

      I have done it again – the commercial site is OZ-CHILL.

      http://www.oz-chill.com/

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Here is a UN site – supported by Greenpeace – warmers all I’m sure.

      http://www.refrigerantsnaturally.com/statements/coca-cola.htm

      But of course CFC’s don’t destroy ozone – allowing UV in certain bandwidths through – and the world is cooling over billions of years.

      I think you pretty much reject reality and substitute your own – but then I’m a closet warmer along with anyone else finds your alternate reality disconcerting. .

    • Chief Hydrologist,

      To say that your outrage concerns me is true to a degree. I would prefer that you don’t do yourself harm as the result of a surfeit of rage. However, you will obviously pay as much attention to my concerns as I to yours.

      You say “But of course CFC’s don’t destroy ozone – allowing UV in certain bandwidths through – and the world is cooling over billions of years.”

      I don’t agree with your first statement, although you are obviously using “destroy” in a Warmist sense. Obviously, ozone can oxidise pretty much anything it comes in contact with. I am surprised you don’t know this. If you call oxidation “destruction” of the oxidant, your statement doesn’t make sense. Of course the oxidant is “destroyed” as it interacts with more ozone, oxygen, nitrogen, CFCs, or anything else to hand.

      Your second statement is of course self evident. Original surface temperature – above that of molten rock. Present surface temperature – quite a lot less. You may call this warming if you wish. I believe the correct term is cooling.

      But anyway, it is the season of good cheer. Season’s greetings to you and yours.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

  73. “Silence as advocacy”

    A new low in interpreting other’s coclusions.

  74. Diana West comes to interesting conclusions about deception at the end of the Second World War:

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2013/12/27/doug-proctor-essay-on-west-and-beyond/

  75. WebHubTelescope (@WHUT) | December 28, 2013 at 2:58 a.m. said:

    “You see, skeptics such as N. Scafetta, I. Wilson, R.Carter, P.Vaughan, M.Vuckevic, M.Wyatt etc may be on to something with their ideas but they bend over backwards to claim that they are the only solution to variations in global warming. Why not, instead of completely dismissing them, treat their ideas as small pieces of the larger jigsaw puzzle of the warming signal ?

    My; reply:

    None of the people you cite above regard their scientific contributions as the be-all-to-end-all with regard to climate change. I for one do not discount that CO2 probably plays some role in affecting the world’s mean temperature. Although, I believe its role is heavily mitigated by negative feed-back and natural variability.

    Thank you for recognizing that our collective works may make some potential contribution to the problem of climate chsnge.

    WebHubTelescope (@WHUT) | December 28, 2013 at 2:58 a.m. said:

    I am doing just that with some of the models that I am building, yet unsurprisingly am being met with howls of derision from many of these commentators whose ideas I am borrowing from.

    My Reply:

    The reason we are objecting to your models is because you are misrepresenting the results of our work and then claiming that these misrepresentations are then discounted by your analysis. We would not howl [so much] if you made honest attempt to try and understand how our models work.

    WebHubTelescope (@WHUT) | December 28, 2013 at 2:58 a.m. said:

    The only thing I can conclude is that they do not like it because it either messes with their political agenda, or they are not real scientists and not interested in getting at the truth. Surprise, surprise.

    My reply:

    I think I can speak on behalf of most of the skeptics that you cite in saying emphatically that we do not have a “hidden” political agenda. We are proposing our ideas and models for the simple reason that we believe that they are worthy of consideration as alternatives to the human driven green-house model.

    • Ian Wilson,
      They are not alternatives to the “human driven green-house model” as you phrase it.

      Instead your models are minor yet perhaps critical pieces to the larger jigsaw puzzle of the natural variability of climate.

      The control knob of CO2 is still the established driver of climate in the present time. That is still the signal, and your stuff is in the noise — get used to it.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      No obviously 4 links doesn’t work. Perhaps I will have more luck with:

      ‘ Hot Tranny really like to Cum on How to humble a wing nut’ – well perhaps not but the latest spam has me giggling.

  76. Chief Hydrologist

    ‘That such warming has not occurred suggests an internal reorganization of the climate system has offset this presumptive radiative imbalance, either via an anomalously large uptake of heat by the deep ocean or a direct offset of the greenhouse gas forcing by a shift in cloud forcing.’ ftp://starfish.mar.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/pub/ocean/CCS-WG_References/NewSinceReport/March15/Swanson%20and%20Tsonis%20Has%20the%20climate%20recently%20shifted%202008GL037022.pdf

    So no warming since the 1998/2001 climate shift.

    http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/ProjectEarthshine-albedo_zps87fc3b7f.png.html?sort=3&o=33

    ‘Earthshine changes in albedo shown in blue, ISCCP-FD shown in black and CERES in red. A climatologically significant change before CERES followed by a long period of insignificant change.’

    http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/cloud_palleandlaken2013_zps3c92a9fc.png.html?sort=3&o=56

    This of course can’t be real or science in webby’s universe.

  77. I detest the term “Science Arbiter” as it conveys a power that does not exist.
    Look up the definition of Arbiter:
    1. One chosen or appointed to judge or decide a disputed issue; an arbitrator.
    2. One who has the power to judge or ordain at will: an arbiter of fashion. See Synonyms at judge.
    An Arbiter has the power and authority to say, “The Science is Settled.” Where in the history of either science or representative democracy has anyone hold that power?

    “Science Advisor” is a more realistic term. One offers their services, advice, and council. Freedom is involved. There can be more than one Advisor, with different colorations of advice and council. Debate still exists.

  78. scientists who give grave warnings about climate change should be concerned about the nocebo effect.

    • Isn’t nocebo effect included in universal “daisy” PR standard?

      Follow us or

      Any nocebo effect has to be less risky than them not being in charge.

    • “Isn’t nocebo effect included in universal “daisy” PR standard?”

      It seems all government corruption AGW is major nocebo effect, but then again, this seems the whole purpose, therefore not so much a side effect but the desired outcome.

  79. Of course scientists are human and will variously seek to play each and every one of the above roles, just as there will be policy makers that find it comfortable to take advice where it best suits them (and to suit their own predilections).

    The real question is what checks and balances are needed to cope with these human foibles. In democratic and pluralistic societies we tend to put the policy maker in the position where there is public accountability for the type of advisers they treat with and the decisions they make. This usually extends to building an institutional framework that forces some degree of transparency over how the game is being played.

    In other forms of society other processes are preferred.

    So in the end the scientist who wishes to influence/inform policy can choose any quadrant. But in the long-term it is the nature of the society they do it in that will determine the extent or otherwise they prosper.

    And so it should be if you believe in pluralism. We need all sorts.

    I’d just note in passing that the IPCC probably lacks the democratic and pluralistic underpinnings and accountabilities that places a premium on the independent science adviser.

    Finally the idea that silence means advocacy only makes sense if you are an advocate scientist (“you’re either with me or agin me”). In all other quadrants silence carries no such message.

  80. Two experts form the post

    As summarized in my NPR interview:

    “All we can do is be as objective as we can about the evidence and help the politicians evaluate proposed solutions”

    This is different from advocacy (although i recall reading somewhere that hotwhopper regarded my activities as advocacy against mitigation).

    ..

    So, is Thomas Stocker’s statement Issue Analysis or Stealth Advocacy?

    Continued greenhouse gas emissions cause further climate change and constitute a multicentury commitment in the future. Therefore we conclude that limiting climate change requires substantial and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

    In context of the UNFCCC/IPCC mission, if Stocker and the IPCC don’t regard this as advocacy, I would argue that this is stealth advocacy

    Judith tells, how she sees these two cases. I’m sure many other climate scientists (perhaps Gavin as one) have the reverse view.

    How to tell who is right and who is wrong?

    People tend to consider the views they hold as more objective and less value laden than the opposing views of others.

    Both the case of Stocker and the case of Curry represent a mild form of advocacy, where the statements can be linked to objective arguments, but both represent also clear advocacy in the sense that both Stocker and Curry have in their mind a direction in which they wish the decision making to move, and they both make their statements hoping that they would have an influence in that direction. Neither of them is pushing for any specific policies, but Stocker tries to support stronger mitigation by means to be selected by others while Curry is supporting a wait and see policy response.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Judy has endorsed no regrets policies in the past – this is arguably a more effective approach to mitigation than the nonsense of Kyoto and taxes and caps.

      Uncertainty is never used as an excuse for inaction – nor should be the overwhelming likelihood of non warming at least for decades. The problem for mitigation is a manufactured certainty of continued warming as an excuse for green overreach – not Judy.

      Pekka’s mischaracterisation of Judy can be seen as an innocent mistake or a mischievous reframing of her views in ways typical of the true believers.

    • CH,

      I like no-regrets policies. You could certainly find many comments where I have said that.

      Both Gavin and Judith tell in their presentations that they ponder what’s a right role for the scientists, I try to do the same. Listing abstract ideals we all are likely to agree on most principles.

      The real test comes when we look at concrete examples. The distinction between “wait-and-see” and “no regrets” is often very subtle. In particular the difference seems to disappear in climate policy choices of today. I would really hope that effective no-regrets policies could be found and adopted. There’s, however, little evidence for the existence of such a choice. At least one of the following three requirements seems to fail for all policy proposals
      – no-regrets,
      – effective,
      – politically possible.

      No-regrets means in practice weak policies that don’t lead to significant changes.

      There are some policies supported by many (but not all) from all sides. Research in some fields gets such wide support, but there are differing views on what to study, and what are the right policies in promoting research.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      So the range of options where the benefits exceeds costs – without considering hypothetical costs of greenhouse gas damage – are so ineffective that it may as well be a wait and see approach?

      The absolute failures in fact have been the Kyoto approach of carbon limits and taxes and caps over more than 30 years. This will not fly – it’s a dead dog – if necessary we will see that these inadequate and damaging expressions of green overreach are roundly defeated in the political arena. Make no mistake about that.

      There are many approaches with multiple goals that provide the only realistic way forward. We include investments – not necessarily by government – in energy innovation, farming systems, chemical engineering on refrigerants and materials, mechanical engineering progress on efficiency and energy conservation and ecosystem and farmland conservation. All the motherhood statements that are progressing more or less without your endorsement thank you very much.

      But there are also trade, aid and social programs that allow progress to be made on population pressures. Economic development which turn promotes efficiencies and lower birthrates. The provision of health and education, safe water and sanitation, stable and open government and alternatives to solid fuels – all have solid community justification but also reduce environmental pressures.

      Waffling on about being a scientist as if being a physicist gives some especial standing in any public forum – or even in discussing something like climate science which has so many elements not reducible to simple physical principles – is far from credible. Listing some silly little points strikes me as showing a lack of any ideas of real substance.

      If you want to get serious about mitigation options – by all means. As it is you are acting in bad faith – you have deliberately mischaracterised ideological positions for political points and then dissemble in a vague and incompetent fashion when challenged. You will really need to do a lot better than that if you wish to be an effective advocate. . .

    • CH,

      I really don’t know, what should be done. I accept many of the arguments from both sides that tell, how wrong the other side is.

      I agree with the alarmists to the point that the other side mostly belittles the risks, and that there’s, indeed, a good argument for doing something substantive.

      I agree with the other side that the costly proposals for mitigation are too uncertain of resulting in benefits that justify their costs, which are also highly uncertain.

      When I think also that the no-regrets and low cost actions and policies are too ineffective to help much, I’m left with the conundrum. Better analysis of cost efficiency of alternatives is needed, and better alternatives should be developed as a priority, but I’m not very optimistic on that approach either. Furthermore it’s not enough to have technical or policy possibilities for effective and cost efficient actions. We need also ways to implement them in a democratic setting.

      I don’t feel desperate, because I don’t think that the likelihood of really catastrophic outcomes is large, severe damages are much more likely, but really catastrophic ones not so likely. Humanity can adapt to major changes in the environment and has survived major catastrophes like world wars, but we would certainly like to avoid the repetition of comparable damages of all sorts – and I would prioritize highly lessening of the suffering that goes on all the time in poor countries. To me climate change is one major issue, but not one that dominates over other issues.

    • Pretty nice, Pekka, and it illustrates why you are worth reading. Once you figure out that warming of any degree is better than cooling of a similar degree, and that Nature is capable of causing greater temperature excursions than man, you may become the powerful advocate denying human caused catastrophe I’ve long expected you to become.

      You just have to understand that the bogeyman that the IPCC caused to crawl out from under your bed is a nightmare, a phantom without real ability to harm you. The faint warming man can bring about is a boon rather than a threat.
      ============

    • Discussions of scientific advocacy remind me of my first marriage, it had some great moments, but on the whole was a waste of time and money.

    • Kim,

      The evidence for AGW is increasing all the time. The uncertainties have always been large, and the get reduced only slowly. Nothing substantial has changed since AR4, and surprisingly little since earlier assessments – or since the early work done before the first assessment report.

      During all this period the valid argument for acting have been based on the possible outcomes, not on virtually certain outcomes. The amount of consistent evidence has grown essentially, but the conclusions have changed little. As the uncertainties are as large as they are it’s, indeed, possible that the outcomes are not very severe, but it’s equally possible that the damages are much larger than in the central estimate. We need much more knowledge that happens to move towards low damages to conclude that little action is needed. If the new evidence goes in the opposite direction, the urgency of action may grow rapidly.

      Nordhaus’ thinking goes along similar lines as can be read from his new book. He has developed models to make quantitative comparisons. He concludes that the optimal choice is implementing a modest carbon tax very soon and raising the tax rate at a rather high pace to a much higher level in future. The great uncertainties that I mentioned in my previous comment make me doubt, whether we can really give much weight on his calculation. He agrees on these uncertainties, but has decided that doing a model calculation is useful even in their presence. Richard Tol has told on this site that he agrees with Nordhaus that the approach is justified, I’m less sure, but even so I agree that that’s the best we have available right now.

      I have stated several times that I would also choose a modest carbon tax, if I would have to make the choice now, but what I really hope is that more people of high competence and wide views join Nordhaus and Tol in trying to analyze the alternatives. We could wait for the outcome of such an exercise, but it may be that we cannot wait for many more years (new scientific results may lead to such a conclusion rather soon). The present structure of IPCC is not suitable for supporting such an exercise, and it might be better that several groups do such work in parallel.

    • @ Pekka

      “I agree with the other side that the costly proposals for mitigation are too uncertain of resulting in benefits that justify their costs, which are also highly uncertain.”

      First, I agree with Kim: In large part, I disagree with you as to the existence of an AGW problem that needs to be addressed by governmental ‘Climate Policies’, but find that your comments are well worth reading. Civil and to the point.

      As to the above quote: “……….costs, which are also highly uncertain.” Keeping in mind that since CAGW burst onto the international scene with the proclamation that ‘The science is settled!’ the demand has ALWAYS been for stiff taxes on ‘carbon’ and a reduction of ACO2 by 90%–or more, the only uncertainty in the costs is in how close they will come to infinite. The costs of a rise in average TOE of a couple of degrees, spread over a century or so, sea level rise of 2-3 mm/year, and an ice free Northwest Passage for a couple months in the summer pale into insignificance compared to the costs of reducing ACO2 by 90% over 10-20 years.

      It is especially disturbing that governments (especially ours) are plunging ahead full speed in trashing our electrical grid and punishing energy consumption, given the complete lack of evidence that ACO2 is causing any of the putative ‘problems’ or that the actions being taken will have ANY efficacy in solving them.

      The only absolutely CERTAIN result of all the ACO2 amelioration schemes will be (is) a concentration of power in government, with a concomitant increase in its size and cost, a massive transfer of funds from the productive to those with ‘pull’ (See how the Clintons and Gore became worth hundreds of millions of dollars without ever DOING anything or the Solyndras that seem to be spreading like kudzu.), and the loss of freedom by the average citizen.

    • No, Pekka, ‘equally possible’ in your second paragraph simply isn’t so. And your contention that there is increasing evidence for AGW flies in the face of the recent temperature pause. If the pause is any support for AGW, then it is support for a weak effect, quite insignificant in the big picture of Nature’s ability to bring about large temperature change, and much more so to the cooling side than to the warming side.
      =================

    • Pekka, you write “The evidence for AGW is increasing all the time. ”

      Personally I have never disputed that AGW exists. CAGW is still a viable hypothesis. But that is all it is. Despite what you state to the contrary, there is no measurement of a CO2 signal in any modern temperature/time or OHC/time graph. This, to me, is ample evidence, that taking any form of drastic action to reduce CO2 emissions is bordering on insanity.

      I just don’t buy you logic and arguments at all.

    • Well, now that I’ve read past your second paragraph, I agree with you that future costs and benefits of warming need to be more carefully evaluated.

      It is clear that warming is always a benefit, from paleontology, and from our recent history. The rapidity of change is potentially problematic, but, as per Jim Cripwell, show me that present change is problematic, or even definitively ascribable to man.
      =====================

    • Flying in the face of the pause. Lol.

      The HadCrappy3riology and RSuksSuks is all you have left.

    • Evidence is not a zero sum game so while the evidence for AGW may have increased so has the evidence against it, the latter arguably at a greater rate than the former.

    • David, there is a cleavage; evidence for AGW has increased as has the evidence that it is mild and beneficial. Evidence for CAGW has decreased, and dramatically.

      There are far too many who use the terminology confusion to elide these scientific facts.
      =========

    • JCH Hadcrappy and Really SuckS are still data. If fact Really SuckS was created to prove the existence of that elusive tropical troposphere hot spot. Climate Science folks figured there was a conservative conspiracy to make them look bad remember? There is also plenty other data out there that tends to show things are not quite going along with the Armageddon Global Warming game plan.

      There is cloud fraction in that warming like crazy northern hemisphere,

      And surface wind velocity that impacts surface mixing and climate patterns.

      Just pick yer bias

    • “…but it’s equally possible that the damages are much larger than in the central estimate.”

      Really? So it precisely a 50/50 proposition? Smart guy Pek, but you’re just making this up as you go along. “Equally possible” has as much validity and usefulness as the IPCC’s manufactured out of thin air 95 percent certainty. Instead of sound statistical analysis, which of course is quite impossible at this point…or perhaps any point….it’s nothing more than a rhetorical flourish .

    • Concerning evidence and AGW I should perhaps have written:

      Evidence on the properties of AGW has increased continuously.

      There’s no real question on the existence of AGW, the questions concern it’s properties.

      The stated estimates of climate sensitivity and the stated uncertainty ranges have changed only little. That even the uncertainty ranges have changed so little tells that the early estimates must have lacked objective justification. On the other hand the stability of the estimates seems to indicate that the estimates are likely to be closer to the true values than the present uncertainty range indicates. That’s not so surprising when many separate arguments that support similar values do not allow for clear uncertainty limits of their own. Under such conditions the uncertainty ranges derived as they are by IPCC are probably too wide.

    • He’s afraid, pokerguy. It’s just that simple and senseless.
      ===============

    • Really? So it precisely a 50/50 proposition?

      Is this really the way you interpret my sentence?

      Whenever an estimate is not obviously biased, deviations in both directions are equally likely in a way that does not refer to specific percentages. Everyone does not agree on the lack of obvious bias, but who can show objectively that there’s bias – and in which direction?

    • Kim, the only way evidence can decrease is if you are talking about the overall weight of the evidence. The units of evidence are research findings heir absent a radical reinterpretation their number cannot decrease. Note that the weight of evidence is relative to the observer.

      Pekka, AGW per se can be doubted. For example, if the CO2 increase is not due to human emissions then AGW does not exist. And this is not the only case on the books.

    • Pekka, you write “The stated estimates of climate sensitivity and the stated uncertainty ranges have changed only little.”

      The key word is “estimates”. Of course the estimates have not changed. People invented scientific fiction to produce the estimates in the first place. And the ways of doing the estimates have not changed in 40 years or so.

      According to the scientific method, by this time we ought to have more than estimates. We need measurements, based on empirical data. The reason why the estimates have not replaced by measurements is because it was always obvious that it was impractical to ever get direct measurements, since we cannot do controlled experiments on the earth’s atmosphere.

      So little has changed in 40 years. All we have for the value of climate sensitivity, however defined, are complete guesses. And on this basis, you want us to take drastic action to reduce the amount of CO2 we produce. The mind boggles.

      • Jim C,
        IMO a reasonably accurate CS is in the surface measurement data, if you look at it other than butchering it into a made up GAT.

    • @Pekka

      “There’s no real question on the existence of AGW, the questions concern it’s properties.”

      In reading all the arguments on this site, between highly qualified people who are using the same data sets, over whether the SLOPE of the TOE trend line is positive or negative, depending on the start/stop times chosen, it is apparent that there is a question as to the existence of GENERIC ‘GW’, never mind what part of it may ascribed to ‘A’. If we start in 1975 and end in 2007, there is definitely GW but what part is ‘A’? How do you know? If we start at the peak of the MWP and stop at 1975 does the trend line show GW–or GC? How about if we start at the peak of 2007 and end at the peak of 2013–actual, measured data. not a ‘trend line’? Definitely GC; any of it ‘A’?

      When the EXISTENCE of the problem comes and goes with the choice of measurement interval does it make ANY sense, precautionary principle or not, to implement ‘climate policies’ whose only obvious effect will be to bring our technical civilization to a screeching halt, with no guarantee that they will have ANY affect on the TOE, however defined?

    • Bob Ludwick, as I posted to kim earlier, the period it makes most sense to look at is the past century, when the early part had a much smaller manmade influence than the later half and measurement methods are relatively uniform. This accelerating effect is seen most clearly with this kind of graphic.

    • Bob,

      It’s always good to remember that discussing and even worrying on AGW did not start from observation of GW, it started from solid theoretical arguments combined with Keeling’s observation of increase in CO2 concentration. That the effect does exist was essentially proven that way and a preliminary estimate of the strength of the effect was given by the work of Manabe et al in 1960s.

      Since that time the proper question has been: “How strong is the effect when all factors are taken into account?”

      The answer might be that the effect is so small that there’s nothing to worry, but it cannot really be that there’s no effect at all.

      Since that we have also had two different but highly interlinked research questions:
      – Understanding climate in all respects.
      – What’s the strength of AGW and should we react to the projections of AGW?

      The first is a normal question of basic science, the second is a question of applied science asked by the governments when first creating UNFCCC and then IPCC.

    • @ Pekka

      “It’s always good to remember that discussing and even worrying on AGW did not start from observation of GW, it started from solid theoretical arguments combined with Keeling’s observation of increase in CO2 concentration.”

      Other than a (very) casual interest in local weather reports, my introduction to ‘Climate Science’ came with the announcement that:

      a. ACO2 was causing the TOE to rise at unprecedented rates.
      b. The rising temperature would cause other changes that would result in positive feedback and, consequently, catastrophic runaway heating of the Earth that would likely, at least for humans and most mammals, make it uninhabitable.
      c. The changes were happening so rapidly that if immediate action were not taken to curtail ACO2 we would soon reach a ‘tipping point’ beyond which recovery would be impossible. When first announced, the tipping point was before 2000. ( I don’t remember the exact quotes and the goalpost keeps moving.)
      d. The predictions were based on rock-solid climate models; the ‘science, that ACO2 was the knob on the TOE thermostat, was settled’.
      e. The situation was so critical that there was no time to tolerate objections; those who persisted were enemies of humanity and should be treated as such. Those claims persist today.

      Regular scientists start with theoretical arguments, then make observations to see if reality matches theory.

      I do not want to get into an ‘angles/head of pin’ argument as to the existence of anthropogenic warming. It is undeniable that if I grill a hamburger I have raised the TOE–anthropogenically; it is also undeniable that no one can measure it and the rise is unimportant. The only important question is whether the total amount of ‘A’ in ‘GW’ is measurable OR important. Until that question is answered, with real data, the BEST thing that can be said about ‘climate change policies’ is that they are a waste of time and resources. And the consequences go down hill from there.

      In the event, theory predicted positive feedback from ACO2 resulting in a near term ‘tipping point’ followed by world wide catastrophic heating.

      Data supports neither prediction of the ‘solid theoretical arguments’, but the theory endures. And, according to the IPCC, with ever growing certainty that ACO2 is the predominate influence on the climate.

      According to climate science the TOE has ranged fairly widely during recorded history. Current TOE, spitting in the face of ACO2 and positive feedback theory, remains well within that range. Also, FWIW, the fact that the CO2 and TOE curves seem to be diverging is having no obvious impact on the solid theoretical theory. It remains settled.

    • @ Me

      “Regular scientists start with theoretical arguments, then make observations to see if reality matches theory.”

      I actually know better than that; regular scientists often–maybe most often–make observations and then devise theories to account for them.

      According to Pekka, the theory came first in the case of ACO2 and its consequences.

    • Bob,

      In science more generally both orderings are common enough to be considered normal. Many experiments are done to test a theory, but it’s also common that unexpected empirical observations lead to new theories. There’s nothing wrong in either case. Influence of ACO2 just happens to belong to cases where theory came first, but was not complete enough to make accurate quantitative predictions. The order of magnitude was predicted and turned out to be consistent with later observations.

      The work of Manabe and his collaborators in 1960s and 70s was in many ways a breakthrough in understanding the physics of the atmosphere more quantitatively than before, estimating the warming from additional CO2 was only one of many important results.

    • @Bob Ludwick: In the event, theory predicted positive feedback from ACO2 resulting in a near term ‘tipping point’ followed by world wide catastrophic heating.

      Aw shucks, Bob, I bet you say that to them all.

      And I bet none of them ever have the presence of mind to ask you to source it.

  81. Pingback: Holding out for a hero – science, silence, #climate and communication #Manchester | manchester climate monthly

  82. Well, mcm, pinged back above, please get a real climate scientist to review ‘pretty damn stable’ climate for the last 10,000 years with you.
    ================

    • Can’t be done. Once people discover those third and fourth digits right of the decimal point they have to figure out some use for them. In a slide rule society there would be no problem, but now everyone is “aware” that there could be a problem. Today we learn that a 91% increase is from 100/100000 to 191/100000 but since you can’t place a price on the value of something, without regard for cost you must protect that “invaluable” something.

      That creates the Dana’s of the world that think a 1 in a 1,000,000 chance is worth insurance but anyone playing a lottery is an idiot.

      Rationalization trumps sex any day.

    • Kim

      Not much sign of climate stability when you compare an instrumental record to the models.

      tonyb

    • The shaft of the Piltdown Mann’s Crook’t Hockey Stick was the Big Lie, and it still pervades.
      ===============

    • Kim

      If you want Mann’s version of climate stability here it is compared to real world temperatures.

      tonyb

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Science is like sex – there are practical outcomes but that’s not why we do it.

      H/T – RF

    • @CH: Science is like sex – there are practical outcomes but that’s not why we do it.

      How do the numbers pan out in this simile?

      Sex: 4000 acts and 2 kids.

      Science: 4000 research grants, 2 practical outcomes?

  83. @Pekka Pirilä | December 29, 2013 at 8:15 am said:
    “When I think also that the no-regrets and low cost actions and policies are too ineffective to help much, I’m left with the conundrum. Better analysis of cost efficiency of alternatives is needed, and better alternatives should be developed as a priority, but I’m not very optimistic on that approach either. ”

    In the US natural gas has already be implemented. All we need there is for the government to butt out.

    One commercial firm already has a liquid fuels substitute for fossil fuels on the way, with a commercial plant being build. It, like natural gas. was implemented without Federal dollars. (Yes, I know the gov’t did do some research in the oil and gas field, but they didn’t do the work to build the companies, further develop technology, and didn’t subsidize the companies any more than any other business.)

    What do you think about revamping regulations for nuclear power and streamlining the vetting process? Do you think nuclear is a good choice for a no regrets process?

    It seems to me the free market is performing as advertised. It is the government that stands in the way of nuclear.

    • Jim2,

      Free markets are essential in the development of the future. All reasonable long term models of economic development have some reservations for new discoveries and new resources. Estimates of ultimately recoverable fossil fuel resources contain large fractions from unknown sources. They are based on statistical analysis that uses data from well prospected areas to make estimates on other parts of the world. They contain also reservations for improved technologies.

      In the case of oil, which is the best studied and known fossil fuel, the estimates of the full resource base have not changed much over last 60 years. There have been changes in the estimates of ultimate recovery rate but there’s not much space for major further changes in that. Shale oil has been included in the analysis for long as a separate category, but the potential of shale gas was evidently underestimated for long.

      All in all it’s possible to make reasonably reliable estimates of the fossil fuel resource base. Reaching the estimates of future production requires that some surprises do also materialize. Shale gas is one large piece in the puzzle, but it does not revolutionize the understanding. It has helped U.S. to reduce emissions of CO2 and does that for some time to the future. It does not offer any ultimate solution, and it does not indicate that the global problems have been solved.

      While we cannot trust that free markets alone will lead to a nearly optimal future, the role of free markets should not be belittled in any analysis. Market forces will remain a major factor as long as we have societies that are even remotely like our present ones. Attempts of building an alternative have failed spectacularly. Including the free markets properly and fully in the models like those of Nordhaus is a major problem. His models are supposed to include free markets in the equations, but doing that correctly gets problematic when the period considered gets longer. A few decades might still be understood at a reasonable level, but longer than that not as well.

    • It’s useful to remember that warming is always better than cooling for the biosphere, as warming sustains more total life and more diversity of life. Also useful to keep in mind is that Nature is capable of a huge swing to the cold side and only a little to the warm side. It seems we, too, are only capable of a little swing to the warm side.
      =====================

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      “It’s useful to remember that warming is always better than cooling for the biosphere,”
      _____
      It’s more useful to remember that this is a completely false statement. Temperatures can get too warm for the biosphere in both ocean and on land. Thinking that temperatures can just keep going up and things get better and better without end is quite erroneous and leads to wrong conclusions.

      • Which would be better for most of the world’s population, 5F increase, or 5F decrease? Unless you’re one looking to use the energy starvation diet to get rid of 5-6 billion people?

  84. The growth of the political influence of climate change science has been owing to a handful of hardened activist scientists who permitted and campaigned to this to happen. The growth of institutional climate science has primarily occurred as a hand-maiden of power-brokers and players at the geo-political stage. Talking about ‘values’, ‘engagement’, ‘communication’, ‘policy’, etc, is second nature to climate science.

    There are several aspects of the study of climate that have, or may have proven useful to humankind. However, it is extremely hard to find any use from the IPCC/UNFCCC process, except the advancement of certain political doctrines that is.

    • The UN, including the two orgs you mention, exists to centralize power and shuttle money from developed countries to developing ones, even if the developing ones are run by dictators who will intercept the money and use it for themselves instead of their people.

    • Hah, Pekka pretends not to understand why the estimates have not changed, nevermind that empirical estimates have dramatically changed.

      Pekka, the science was settled, and the IPCC told you so, and great fear entered your heart. Now you understand why the science isn’t settled, why the IPCC fibbed so grandly, and so now you may allow the exit from your heart of your great fear.
      ===============

    • @kim (to Pekka): nevermind that empirical estimates have dramatically changed.

      Yes, Pekka, why do you not pay more attention to the dramatic changes in the empirical estimates made by the skeptics? Compared to kim, Gavin Schmidt is a fink. Do you not trust the superior science of the skeptics, who have demonstrated to the satisfaction of every skeptic on the planet that the world’s geophysics Ph.D.’s are morons? One hundred million skeptics can’t be wrong! The story of global cooling is true. Only the direction has been changed in the media to prevent an investigation.

  85. Steve from Rockwood

    To me, scientific advocacy falls into one of two categories, philosophy or religion. Gavin Schmidt is not a philosopher. He is a priest of the global warming movement. And priests all know to go with what the Pope says.

  86. IMHO climate scientists should stick to what they’re good at: explaining to the rest of us what to do and how to live, and telling the government what laws to pass. Take a leaf from Australia’s most popular Climate Commissioner, Will Steffen. With his chemical-engineering degree and American accent, Steffen logically became the nation’s go-to guy on the science of climate change. But he only found his true calling when he was made a macroeconomics guru to the Labor government. (“Make Tax Hurt, PM Advised [by climate scientist Will Steffen].”) He was so successful in this role that nobody even started a campaign of death threats against him or his climate science department at the ANU. (There was, at one point, a popular misconception that such a campaign did exist—but this lie was eventually traced to a handful of climate believalists including scientist David Karoly.)

    The reason the climate science profession has gotten into hot water in recent years, I think, is that too many climate scientists wander outside this core competency and allow themselves to publicly opine about things they don’t know: how the Earth’s atmosphere works, what the temperature will be in the future, how much Arctic ice there will be in any given year, etc. Nobody, let alone climate scientists, has the kind of omniscience needed to pull this off. Such overreach is a recipe for embarrassment to the profession.

    • Steve from Rockwood

      “He was so successful in this role that nobody even started a campaign of death threats against him…”. That was clever AND made me laugh :)

  87. Pekka, “The evidence for AGW is increasing all the time.” Funny, I see the opposite. I honestly would like to hear your reasoning as it appears to be counter-factual, at least to me.

    • Bob,

      More data is collected in very many ways. Almost everything is consistent with AGW. Nothing related to hiatus is against that, only for a slightly weaker AGW. After all the temperature continues to be close to its highest value in instrumental period. Only a rapid and rather strong drop like that after the 1940 peak would have been evidence against.

      But as I wrote in another message. The existence of AGW is not in doubt, most skeptics agree on that, what people doubt is the severity of AGW.

    • Meh, Pekka mistakes evidence for warming for evidence for anthropogenic warming. Forgive him, for he knows not what he knows.
      ================

    • How much of the warming is anthropogenic, and how much colder would it now be without it?
      ============

    • kim, here

    • Note Jim D, that the higher the sensitivity, the colder it would now be without man’s effect. And please, please, please, note the benefit of the warming.
      =========

    • Indeed the members of 350.org think the current temperature, which is the equilibrium value for 350 ppm is the most ideal. Perhaps you belong to that club, or are you more a member of the 700 club (four times more warming), which is where it is going?

    • “The existence of AGW is not in doubt”

      Yes it is.

      Andrew

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      For a discussion of what this particular interglacial would look like without anthropogenic activity, I am persuaded by some of the excellent research done by Ruddiman:

      http://www.whoi.edu/pclift/Ruddiman.pdf

      It seems possible that the planet would be colder and perhaps already headed down into the next glacial period (if you believe that Ruddiman’s research has merit.)

      So there are several larger questions raised by Ruddiman’s findings, the very least of which what name to give this interglacial, if indeed humans have altered its trajectory. The term “Anthropocene” seems a bit distasteful to some for reasons I can’t quite understand fully. Never the less, the realization that “puny” humans can indeed impact an entire planet’s climate is enough, and now, comes the hard part– what to do, or not do, with that realization, and how might we best get on with making sure that we keep this world a Goldilocks world, to be just like the Baby Bear’s porridge, not too hot and not too cold. This involves of course Anthropocene Management, which will mean the beginnings of applied climate science, which would be the most direct form of scientists as advocates that I can imagine.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      ““The existence of AGW is not in doubt”
      ____
      Ruddiman has gone to the proper length’s to try and disprove the null hypothesis from a paleoclimate perspective.

      http://www.whoi.edu/pclift/Ruddiman.pdf

      AGW or CAGW should always be in doubt if we are to keep the proper skeptical perspective, but, as in all things, doubts can be so small that they don’t impact practical decision making in matters of importance.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      “Pekka mistakes evidence for warming for evidence for anthropogenic warming. Forgive him, for he knows not what he knows.
      ================
      It seems Pekka has properly looked at the data and come to a reasonable conclusion. I suspect there is nothing to forgive in that.

    • R. Gates, the size of the change is not just the Epoch from Holocene to Anthropocene, but the Quaternary Period is defined by the Ice Ages, and it could be argued that period is over too (perhaps the Quinary is starting). If there is mass extinction the Cenozoic era would also come to an end (perhaps Neozoic comes after that).

    • “It seems Pekka has properly looked at the data and come to a reasonable conclusion.”

      Or not.

      Andrew

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      That’s a great point Jim D. If indeed, humans have knocked the trajectory of the natural climate forcings and cycles off enough, we could end the cycle of glacial/interglacial and return to something more akin to the Pliocene or even Miocene. The ongoing mass extinction event is even more in line with this.

    • We can see from the recent comments that kim values speed of response so highly that he doesn’t always have time to check the logical consistency of his replies, and that Bad Andrew does not belong to the group that I claimed to contain most skeptics as well (having in mind mainly those skeptics that write on this site and who have indicated their position in some way).

    • Pekka – the evidence for a slightly weaker AGW could be erased very quickly, and history tells us that.

      The ~15 years just prior to the 1998 El Nino were, by the current definition, a pause in global warming.

    • R Gates:
      “AGW or CAGW should always be in doubt if we are to keep the proper skeptical perspective, but, as in all things, doubts can be so small that they don’t impact practical decision making in matters of importance.”

      Yeah but a lot of your fellow believers go much further than just *doubting* CAGW. They either feign total incomprehension of the term, or disavow it as a “denialist strawman” which no “mainstream” scientist has ever proposed.

      Nice that you believe in it though.

    • Heh, and we see that Pekka values dodging the question of how much of the warming is anthropogenic.
      ====================

    • JHC,

      Small adjustments in the best estimate may change quickly, but again: If it’s really the best present estimate, the next change is equally likely in both directions. It’s futile to make guesses on what’s the next best estimate on any other basis than showing that what’s supposed to be the best present estimate is not really that even right now.

      People ask all the time, what do you say if the future turns out to be … That’s another example of futile speculation.

      By that I don’t mean that we should not be prepared to surprises, but that we should not assume that some particular “surprise” is likely to materialize.

    • @Mi Cro: Pekka, you’re looking at the wrong data.

      Duh. Wake me when Mi Cro says Pekka’s looking at the right data.

      • Vaughan, until you look at the actual surface records, you’re not looking at the right data.

      • Vaughan, I watched you spend weeks discussing filter coefficients, that you then ran against data that was at best a model of the actual measurements. Even if you think I don’t know what I’m doing, go to the NCDC and download the Global Summary of Days data, look at the data yourself, look at the measurements, not some abstractions based on made up data.
        I work with data for my day job, one of the things I’ve learned is to do a sanity check on the data after you’ve made changes to it, see if it still represents the original data. The various temp series published don’t represent the actual measurements, Mosh tells me I’m wrong, but the data does not look like what’s published.

    • You are on the wrong thread, doc. If you want to hold Pekka’s coat, don’t show up two weeks late.

    • @Mi Cro: The various temp series published don’t represent the actual measurements

      This is one of the more commonly heard arguments against global warming. But when challenged to come up with a temp series that represents the actual measurements sufficiently well as to become widely accepted, no one does (though props to Tony B. for working on improving the CET data).

      The result is that skeptics are left with two choices: accept the “various temp series published”, or reject them and claim that everyone including the climate scientists are ignorant of what the actual measurements are.

      Many skeptics do the former. The advantage to both sides is that it puts the debate on a level playing field.

      The advantage of the latter is that it requires exactly zero effort. If a debating team were to base their argument on the claim that there were no facts available to support either side of the debate, the judges could with equal effort award them exactly zero points.

      • The advantage of the latter is that it requires exactly zero effort.

        I’ve been working on this for the 3-4 years, and months of actual work invested. I’m not debating what the time series might be, I’ve done the work, generated data, made my code available.
        But, because it disagrees with the preconceived notion of what it should be by warmists, it is ignored, with BTW zero effort to understand what the implications are.

    • @DM: don’t show up two weeks late.

      I bet DM used to give short shrift to mothers asking for maternity leave. “If you can’t work full time on this job you’re not pulling your weight.” Showing up full time is a major part of loyalty.

      Those who allocate most of their time to research tend to be regarded with suspicion by those who prefer to spend it blogging, and vice versa. Each side views the other as not pulling its weight.

    • Mi Cro,

      Your analysis is not rejected for disagreeing, no attention is given to it because it’s irrelevant. You calculate quantities that are predicted to be too small to observe and your attempts just confirm that the expectations are right. That’s not interesting.

      • You calculate quantities that are predicted to be too small to observe and your attempts just confirm that the expectations are right.

        I think the fact that there is no measurable effect of Co2 in the temperature record is important, it shows CS has to be exceedingly small, immeasurable in fact. If it’s not measurable it wasn’t the cause of the late 20th century warming.

        That’s not interesting

        I think that’s the most interesting fact in the climate war to date.

    • Mi Cro,

      There’s a rather strong CO2 effect in the temperature, but you have selected to calculate quantities where it cannot be seen. Although the effect is rather string it’s still only fractions of a degree in a decade. Your measures are insensitive to such changes.

      • I’m calculating an anomaly on daily max temp for all stations, and then averaging it. And the method is plenty sensitive to detect changes in Min temp.

    • Mi Cro,

      It may be sensitive enough, if you make comparisons over a period of several decades.

      • There are 2 to 3 million station samples per year after about 1975, when you look at the anomaly of Tmax there is no positive trend, some years it’s positive, some it’s negative, and in fact then you average all of them it’s negative. If there’s no day over day temp increase in ~88 million samples over 60 years, no positive trend. This is from averages out to 8 places.How would looking at a few decades make any difference (I’d really like to know, I’ve put a lot of time and effort in to find one).

        Now, I have detected a change in the rate of change in seasonal data, but I can’t tell if it is a co2 signal or that the inflection point around 2000 is changing direction or not. You might be able to convince me that’s a co2 signal, but so far no one has given me any reason to think there’s a co2 signal hiding in the data I have.

    • Mi Cro,

      Over the period from 1975 the temperature has risen as shown by all carefully executed analyses. The difference between the daily minimum and maximum has not changed much, certainly much less than the rise in the average. Thus we know from these analyses that the maximum temperature has also risen. If you don’t find it, then the problem is in your method.

      • all carefully executed analyses

        All carefully executed analyses include interpolating temperatures over very large parts of the globe where no measurements were taken, and much filtering of which stations were included in to said analysis, neither of which I did, I worked with the data we have, no more, and only slightly less due to needing 2 consecutive days to get the anomaly. My code is also available for all to review.

        So, we’re back to my original statement, measurements do not meet expectations, so they are dismissed.

    • Mi Cro,

      They do include interpolation, because the results are otherwise not correct. Making well known errors is not science.

      If you decide to make well known errors you may not expect correct results.

      • They do include interpolation, because the results are otherwise not correct.

        I believe in using actual measurements, not making them up when convenient.
        BTW, I’m not saying what I created is a global average temp, but an average of the measurements that were taken. To me this shows the trend in GAT is an artifact of processing, not part of the data.

    • Mi Cro,

      You should study the methods, if you doubt them. You cannot dispute them by an calculation that’s not correct. There are many possible factors that contribute to an erroneous result.

      Your calculation might have given the same result, but that would have been to some extent accidental, if the result is significantly different it’s due to some bias in your sample.

      All analyses of surcafe temperatures have used significantly different methods, but all have corrected for identifiable biases in their own way. In spite of the different methods the results are essentially the same. The remaining differences are probably mainly due to different areal coverage. Part of the original data has been common, but BEST included a lot of new data. The results didn’t change from that.

  88. I wonder if Gavin’s view of the world — that scientists should be advocates for dealing with implications of their findings — might have prevailed under different circumstances?

    The different circumstances would be: (1) Climategate and the associated rot, like gatekeeping of alternatives, keeping quiet about doubts, etc., etc., etc., (2) the non-scientific advocacy of the IPCC, where the head of the IPCC says that a real scientist in India if practicing “voodoo science” when that scientist correctly points out that Himalayan glaciers will not melt by 2035, a profoundly political statement from the head of a supposedly scientific organization, (3) all the non-scientific rubbish surrounding Michael Mann and the Hockey Stick, (4) Peter Glieck and all the other “scientists” who seem to think that the ends justify the means in their bare-knuckled advocacy.

    In 1998, I was still fully capable of listening to climate change scientists and believing what they said, and thinking that we had no alternatives. I trusted science and scientists generally more than any other group of public figures, bar none.

    That is all gone now. If it weren’t for the “differing circumstances,” which nearly completely eroded my trust, I might still give the huge amount of trust to climate change scientists that I did 15 years ago.

  89. I agree with john. I am skeptical by inclination but if a gun were to be put to my head, I would trust Curry and Edwards, and others like them (there are others) rather than Gavin and others like him (there are others, as we know), for the same message.

  90. Steve from Rockwood

    “without honesty there is no possibility of being effective” – Gavin Schmidt. Ironic given the fact that even climate scientists acknowledge they have been ineffective in instituting change.

    • @SfR: Ironic given the fact that even climate scientists acknowledge they have been ineffective in instituting change.

      The only irony the logically minded will see here is you denying the antecedent and inferring the denial of the consequent: From p implies q and not-p, infer not-q.

      One does not appreciate the value of logic in ordinary discourse until one attempts to engage someone without it.

  91. To Shub and Kim: Thanks for your thoughts.

    Basically, most humans are tribal. We want to believe in something, we want to have a group who things and feels the same way. For those of us who are science minded, we often — especially when young — believe in something idealistic, some outrage where adults aren’t taking care of the planet. And we have company. I sure thought that way. It is only after the curtain is pulled down, and you see the little man at work manipulating things, that the idealism of youth fades, to be replaced by a very different sort of idealism: a commitment to scientific truth, not scientific advocacy. At first, you think that charging out and changing things is the way to make to world a better place, but eventually year come to see that understanding things correctly is the prelude to deciding what to change, and how.

    • Western academia has no understanding and no acceptance of the simple fact that the power of the individual over the power of the government is the true path to greatness. Belief that government can stop the seas from rising is a detour.

  92. My reactions are both tribal, and a considered assessment of a few years. As a newcomer to the climate debate, I encountered polarized and cocky projections from both sides of the debate. If I had concurrently encountered silence from scientists over the same points at that point, it would have lead me to conclude that the points being raised were either not relevant or unimportant, or not worthy fighting over. Instead, what was on offer are voices supporting the alarmists.

    This immediately worsens the trust situation.

    Silence from scientists regarding alarmist concoctions of activists is useful. It would have helped squelch bad science and exaggeration in the public domain. Silence from scientists regarding alarmists’ behaviour is bad. It provides assent to their actions.

    • Shub
      Silence from scientists regarding alarmists’ behaviour is bad. It provides assent to their actions.

      Yes, but to say anything risks jeopardizing their government careers.

    • @ Gail

      “Yes, but to say anything risks jeopardizing their government careers.”

      No it doesn’t; it GUARANTEES that they will have no government career. At least not in the climate science field.

  93. Climate scientists need to understand how silence works.

    Silence is providing succor to the forces of delay and denial. Silence is advocacy for BAU emissions. Silence is implicitly opposition to action.

    Oh… unless Naomi Oreskes is parsing your paper, in which case silence = consensus.

  94. Weather.com says it’s -13°F at the North Pole right now (as of 8:00 am) but it will be -5°F later today. The warming is due to the Sun. Nominally, all warming is due to the sun, right?

  95. Research vessel Akademik Shokalskiy has been stuck in the ice for the last 15 days. The climatists aboard await rescue and may have to be airlifted to safety. As usual, there are few if any real consequence for being wrong when global warming alarmists come face to face with the reality of their delusions.

  96. Are these these proposals for carbon taxes just an attempt to lurch into a more totalitarian world, or do they come packaged with equal or greater cuts in taxes elsewhere ?

    • You can get some idea by what happened in Australia. They were going to pay for emission reduction costs with carbon taxes, but now the government just does it themselves (presumably out of regular taxes).

    • Gail the problem I see with your argument is you made the giant leap from paying taxes to totalitarianism without any real explanation. Call me a hippie commie but to me there isn;t that obvious a relationship

    • HR
      Gail the problem I see with your argument is you made the giant leap from paying taxes to totalitarianism without any real explanation. Call me a hippie commie but to me there isn;t that obvious a relationship

      It’s simpler than perhaps you think – a more highly taxed (or state regulated) society is by that fact more totalitarian, more statist (ie more controlled by government, less free).

    • @HR

      “the giant leap from paying taxes to totalitarianism without any real explanation.”

      This may not be ‘the’ explanation, but it is ‘an’ explanation:

      Collecting more taxes, per se, does not necessarily imply totalitarianism.

      For example, the government says that it needs money to operate and imposes a sales tax. Merchants jack up their prices by the designated amount, people shop, and the merchant’s send in the government’s portion. Not much in the way of totalitarianism. Whether the government spends the money wisely is another problem.

      Alternatively, the government says it needs money and imposes an income tax. Now the government gets to define ‘income’, which can, and does, get very ‘creative’, to the point that the law provides exemptions that only apply to one individual or one company in the entire country. Income tax is ALWAYS ‘progressive’, allowing the government to exempt the poor and provide them with largess from their neighbors, while them to retain their voting privileges. With the income tax comes thousands of pages of ‘rules’ for determining income and requirement for the citizens to follow them faithfully, under penalty of law, and to provide documentation to the government to prove that they have done so. Documenting and reporting income is now one of the largest consumers of time in the country. When you have to account to the government for every penny earned and spent (if you itemize) and can be prosecuted for doing it improperly, the opportunities for ‘totalitarianism’ are endless. See the recent flap about the IRS helping progressive organizations and punishing conservative ones.

      Now comes CAGW, with its requirement to ‘do something right now to stave off disaster’. That ‘something’ is ALWAYS, according to Climate Experts, regulating and/or taxing ‘carbon signatures’. Now start thinking about the activities that you engage in that have ‘carbon signatures’ and those that do not. Traveling, by any powered conveyance, building your house, heating your house, cooling your house, cooking, washing your clothes, flushing your toilet, farming, burning a fireplace or wood stove, choosing your lighting system, bagging your groceries, ad infinitum all have carbon signatures. Don’t worry about your activities with no carbon signature; there aren’t any. EVERYTHING you do has a ‘carbon (CO2) signature’ and that CO2 is a dangerous pollutant, per Supreme Courts decision following testimony by a herd of ‘Cimate Scientists’. The EPA, by law, MUST regulate ‘dangerous pollutants’. See any opportunity for totalitarianism when every aspect of your life, including your ability to ‘move about the country freely’, is subject to regulation and/or requires a permit for its associated ‘carbon signature’? And do you see why ‘progressives’, who will be doing the regulating and issuing the permits, are universally ‘hot’ for CAGW–and conservatives not so much? And why conservatives are screaming ‘Show us the data!’ and the progressives/liberals/socialists/Marxists/communists are screaming ‘We don’t need no stinkin’ data, we got models!’ and/or constantly adjusting the data and finding heat in unlikely locations?

      The stakes are very high and they have nothing to do with the putative catastrophe caused by variations in the TOE.

    • @Gail: Are these these proposals for carbon taxes just an attempt to lurch into a more totalitarian world, or do they come packaged with equal or greater cuts in taxes elsewhere ?

      If those are the only two possibilities you could come up with, you wouldn’t have a prayer of passing the sort of tests they give job applicants at high tech companies.

  97. Chief Hydrologist

    I was trying to think of something new and relevant to say. It’s my birthday? Naw – I got nothin’.

    So I googled science advocacy youtube .

    This came up – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDWAcP2zH4w – it is pretty boring. Sorry Judy. Gavin is a pushy type not content to let people finish. Apologies if you have seen this.

    This is much more interesting.

    The kids are essentially right. They have all the virtues that make the human race such an astonishing force of nature.

    I was looking for a Joseph Campbell passage I read many years ago about myths converging in the modern era to create a new synthesis and a new direction for the human race. No luck – but this is the essential idea – albeit expressed less poetically.

    ‘The thesis to be developed here is that a new mythology is being born in the human psyche. It is, in fact, already seeping through the cracks of the mythology that has been guiding Western civilization for centuries. Because a culture’s new mythology is hammered out on the anvil of individual lives (Feinstein & Krippner, 1997), the emerging mythic contour is also evident in the psyches of many people throughout the world. And not only is the myth changing, but the myth-maker as well. Humanity’s ability to meet the world as shape-shifter, dream-weaver, and myth-maker has radically expanded. Today, large numbers of people are becoming aware of themselves as evolving beings who have arrived at a moment in history when they can decisively reflect upon, analyze, and influence their personal and collective development. And this possibility has emerged at precisely the moment in history when we must deliberately and wisely influence the course of our development if our species is to survive.’ http://innersource.net/em/78-handout-bank1/hbmisc/241-david-feinstein-v15-241.html

    Despite the overblown rhetoric – something I rarely find to be a sin – it defines I believe the essential task of humanity today. That is to forge a new narrative – a song of our courage, resourcefulness, strength, passion and love – a song of the future – a new topology of the zeitgeist to give us the confidence to face the future squarely and joyously.

    It reminded me that I have a long ago song of the future. If I may be permitted to indulge on my birthday?

    Song of Tomorrow – a scifi ecopoem

    Imagine an ocean, a world,
    A galaxy of being. Every
    nook, every cranny bursting
    with life. Crawling and
    scuttling on planets and
    reduced to mere strings of
    protein in the inter-stellar
    spaces, quiet, frozen, insensate.

    When does feeling and Instinct
    become consciousness?
    That is the riddle of awareness.
    When it becomes aware of
    itself and it’s environment.
    Are not the turtles supporting
    each great foot of the
    elephant bearing the earth
    aware of themselves?

    If we don’t exclude the
    turtles, what then of dolphins and
    bumblebees. Where do draw
    the line between mind and not mind?

    The Earth seethes with
    humanity. Gigawatts of synapse
    and nerve pulses catching and
    amplifying the imponderable
    energies of the cosmos.

    Comes a blue mountain
    rising clear and square
    from green forest. An electric
    blue woman reflecting the
    half moon, descends the
    basalt face of the mountain.

    Call her what you will.
    Diana is a good name.
    She calls to the wilderness
    and the wildness in us on a
    quest for a million years of the
    persistence of human culture.

    The fire and smoke dies down.
    The devastation is halted. The
    wild places invade their hearts
    and the cities sing with the
    voice of a happy, contented,
    useful people.

    Their buildings shine with the
    colours of the day. Green and
    black and red and grey. In the
    foreground on a balcony is a black
    chair with an odd shaped backrest.
    Couldn’t sit on such a flimsy thing.
    but the beauty of the dream of such a
    thing is made and I have a memory
    and a colour photograph.

    Diana pauses in her incalculable purposes.
    She crouches on a ledge, transforms to an owl
    and soars in to the night. I push back the rim
    of my little red cap and soar into the sky after her,
    drone to her existence. The sweet scent of her
    binding me to the future. The heights make
    me dizzy. I fall from the heights into the deeper
    night of oceanic time. If each drop were a year
    of universal time – we would have to count the
    oceans many times before it fell to nothingness.

    Now that the universe has become a
    construct of physics, it would be wiser to
    speak of the cosmos. What is a year of
    cosmological time? We forget that it
    has all been discovered before. It is the
    eye of humanity apprehending eternity.

    When the ocean casts
    me forth I beach myself
    amongst the pleasant fisher folk
    and eat some food. It is time to
    think about the future and what
    we can do to tend the wildness.

    Diana pauses again, this time to
    salve the face of a mountain gorilla.
    Perhaps that’s what we could do.
    Keep the lion and lamb separate.
    Foster the birds and the beasts.
    Entice the dolphins with fishbait
    laced with a parricide.

    Something stirs in the depths of my
    memory. Isn’t that why they sent
    us forth from our watery cradle?

    A fishy story? A wind swept,
    wave tossed oceanic vision?
    The blurred muttering of a drunken boat?

    Just remember your song of tomorrow.

    The photo below is of a splendid song of tomorrow called ‘Solar City’. It was by a great friend of mine who died earlier this year – Maree Faulkner.

    http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/DreamCity_zpscae0bb78.jpg.html

    Tome to par-ti. Bye.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      Chief wrote:

      “Perhaps that’s what we could do.
      Keep the lion and lamb separate.
      Foster the birds and the beasts.
      Entice the dolphins with fishbait
      laced with a parricide.”
      _____

      This was an interesting poem Chief. Broad and expansive. Dream-laden yet concrete. This excerpt above was particularly interesting to me with the sense of wild-things management that it hints at. Lion and lamb need each other. They are a team that works great together. Please don’t separate them…and please please please don’t feed the dolphins.

    • Happy birthday but that’s as much as I’ll give you. Given the overwhelming propoganda (assuming what my kids get fed at school is the norm) I suggest it takes very little ‘courage’ to spew out the eco-narrative contained in this video, More impressive would be a positive support of industrial progress and consumption, there are still large populations on this planet yet to have the privilege of turning their backs on such filthy concepts.

      And one small question just because the video mentioned plastics. Why aren’t they a win-win thing? Sure the occasional duck chokes on a bit and beaches look ugly covered in it but tie up carbon for extended time periods and great material. whats not to like? From an ecological point of view whats the difference between a pebble or peice of sand and a similarly sized bit of waste plastic? (a genuine question coated with a bit of flippant sarcasm)

      (Maybe you’re just seeing the good in everything on you’re birthday, sorry for pooping on that feeling)

    • Chief Hydrologist

      I am sorry you think your kids have been indoctrinated. Thar’s not how it is meant to work. Real teachers teach how the think not what to think – and I would be outraged and interventionist if this was not what was happening. As for plastics – after lunch at the sailing club and a bottle of chardonnay – thinking hurts a lot. .

      And gatesy – stuff the dolphins. If they are so smart they can look after themselves.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “…stuff the dolphins. If they are so smart they can look after themselves.”

      ——–
      Ah, quite poetic and humane of you Chief. Here we see our fine stewardship and humanity toward these very intelligent creatures:

    • Chief Hydrologist

      You are such a downer gatesy. I quite recently saw a wild dolphin do a backflip. They aren’t supposed to do that in the wild. I guess we were wrong again.

      We have a very special relationship with our wildlife – including dolphins.

  98. Happy Birthday, Chief.

  99. Now there ‘ll be nothing ter stop u Chief, lol.

    Tango Man.

    Dancing the tango, slow uncoiling,
    Moving to the pulsing, breathing music
    In unison with his black eyed partner,
    All gravitas and grace;
    On the dance floor, he’s a god.

    The last tango – it’s over.
    He hurries home, needs a clean shirt,
    Dancing shoes polished to
    The utmost gloss.
    And he’s ou of there – in a rush.

  100. tsk, ‘out’ of there

  101. If these advocate-scientists would stop the outrageous lies then there would be no problem. eg:

    Presenting a worst case scenario with huge uncertainties as if it were the most likely factual outcome is lying.

    Telling us that extreme weather events are provably linked to CO2 is lying.

    Telling us that the so-called ‘missing heat’ is certainly lurking in the ocean is lying.

    Telling us that current model projections are reliable enough for policy is lying.

    Assuming that all warming is a priori bad is either lying or just plain stupidity.

    And the bald assertions that ‘climate skeptics’ are all immoral stooges for the oil industry is just an excuse to avoid thinking about the potentially bad consequences of their lies.

    We all know fossil fuels must be replaced at some point by some means – it is just that some of us would rather not do more harm than good in the process. If the process was easy there would be no discord whatsoever. Advocate-scientists just need a moral compass. If they think a lot harder about the potentially really bad consequences of their lies prior to uttering them then they may just be able to be pure scientists again.

    In short, it is not about advocacy but about honesty! They think they lie for the greater good but they are 100% wrong!

  102. Pingback: Science, Advocacy, Politics, Technocracy » Climate Resistance

  103. solvingtornadoes

    Every climate scientist knows that any one of them that actually did become unsilent and endeavored to participate in open discussion with skeptics would bring embarrassment to the discipline, would be ostracized by other climatologists and would soon find themselves unemployed.

    Every one of you knows exactly what I’m talking about here.