Nate Silvers’ 538: inconvenient statistics

by Judith Curry

If Silver’s data-drive approach gets in the way of your political aims, so much the better. – Michael Brendan Dougherty

Nate Silver has a new blog FiveThirtyEight (well a relaunch and extension of his blog, which is now owned by ESPN).  What he is trying to accomplish is outlined in the post What the Fox Knows – basically he is promoting ‘data journalism’ .

I’m a Fan of Nate, and I applaud what he is trying to do.  But there have been a number of criticisms, and none more vociferous than the choice to publish an article by Roger Pielke Jr.

Criticisms of 538 

A roundup of bad reviews of 538 is provided in this Salon article Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight is getting some high profile bad reviews.

The Science section of 538 has been the particular focus of bad reviews.  The Columbia Journalism Review has an article FiveThirtyEight’s disappointing science section.  Excerpts:

A piece assessing the freezing weather this winter as compared to historic temperatures isn’t wrong, but it’s a confusing version of a story published by other outlets during polar vortex hype in January. 

JC comment:  I read the piece, how is it confusing?  I thought it had some straightforward, useful analysis.

One of the dangerous things about purporting objectivity because your journalism uses data is that even data can be conveyed with prejudice. “In a perfect world the data would just speak for itself, but that’s never the case,” the economist Allison Schranger wrote at Quartz following FiveThirtyEight’s launch. “Interpreting and presenting data requires making judgments and possibly mistakes.” That’s why so many writers have been concerned about FiveThirtyEight’s climate writer, Roger Pielke, Jr, a University of Colorado professor, who ThinkProgress once called “the most debunked person in the science blogosphere, possibly the entire Web.” 

JC comment:  You can see where all this is going.

The Week has a post Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight and the dangers of being ideologically neutral. Excerpts:

One major problem has to do with ideology. In an attempt to focus solely on objective analysis, Silver is ignoring one of the hardest-won journalistic lessons of the last decade — there is no such thing as ideology-free journalism.

The way to get past this, it was thought, is to wear your ideology on your sleeve. If writers are straightforward about their ideological commitments, then readers can judge their biases more easily and avoid sublimated thinking.

Because FiveThirtyEight’s science coverage stinks of sublimated ideology. The opening science pieces were pretty bad, but far more telling was Silver’s hiring of climate troll Roger Pielke Jr.

JC comment:  Now I get it, there is a big danger of being ideologically neutral – journalists who demand that science support their ideology will attack someone who attempts to be neutral.

Michael Mann has a post FiveThirty Eight:  the number of things Nate Silver gets wrong on climate change.  This post is worth reading if only because it is not Mann’s usual hatchet job.

Defending 538

Michael Brendan Dougherty has an article in The Week entitled In defense of Nate Silver. Excerpts:

FiveThirtyEight’s critics are unhinged.

ince FiveThirtyEight’s launch, some of the most intense criticism has dwelled on the hiring of Roger Pielke Jr., whose moderating work on climate change has mostly been to say that some of the direst warnings exceed the science. This criticism has the tone of close betrayal. Pielke accepts and promotes the science on climate change, but is sometimes skeptical of the sweeping policy proposals and rhetorical flourishes of other political actors and activists in the arena. 

[I]t seems long overdue that in a media world overpopulated with fluff projectsideological anvil-pounders, outrage porn, and a million and one precious niches, one little corner would dedicate itself to numerical investigation, train some of its journalists in statistical programming languages, and run some data visualizations.

A world where businesses file public documents with the SEC means we need some business journalists experienced in reading a 10-K, not just in regurgitating industry hype. Similarly, in a world drowning in new data, collected everywhere, it’s worthwhile to have journalists who are trained in making sense of it.

Silver is plainly right that a kind of innumeracy pervades journalism. Many journalists don’t know how to evaluate academic studies. If, occasionally, Silver’s empirical research gets in the way of your ideological priors, you have an opportunity to rethink them. He’s done you a favor, not a disservice.

RP Jr’s 538 post

Ok, so what did Roger Pielke actually write for 538 that is causing this kerfuffle?  His article is Disasters cost more than ever but not because of climate change.  The post is vintage RP Jr, citing results from the IPCC SREX and using data from SwissRe.

RP Jr’s post at 538 has elicited what is probably the most reprehensible and contemptible smear job that I have ever seen of a scientist, at least from an organization that has any pretense of respectability.  Kiley Kroh of ClimateProgress has a post entitled Nate Silver’s New Science Writer Ignores the Data on Climate Science.  Excerpts:

Nate Silver’s highly anticipated data-driven news site FiveThirtyEight launched on Monday, with a controversial figure covering science issues. Silver has brought on Roger Pielke, Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, as a contributing writer – a political scientist who comes with a long history of data distortion and confrontations with climate scientists.

Pielke routinely seeks to minimize the impacts and severity of climate change and in the process, has been repeatedly criticized as inaccurate and misleading by some of the nation’s foremost climate scientists.

Most recently, Pielke tangled with Obama science advisor and former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, John Holdren, over the relationship between the severity of California’s epic drought and climate change. In February, Pielke slammed Holdren for offering a scientifically-grounded explanation of how climate change is worsening western drought. As Joe Romm observed, “Holdren’s views are right in the mainstream of climatologists’ view of drought. I can think of no climate scientists who share Pielke’s startling assessment of Holdren’s views as ‘zombie science.’”

James Annan, another climate scientist, has written numerous takedowns of Pielke’s flawed analyses. “There’s obviously a simple conceptual misunderstanding underlying Roger’s attempts at analysis,” Annan observed. For example, Annan debunked a 2008 post by Pielke that called into question whether actual observed trends are consistent with the climate models employed by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its projections. Pielke concludes that they are inconsistent, but Annan is quick to point out the lack of a foundation on which to base that claim. “I challenged this obvious absurdity and repeatedly asked him to back it up with a calculation,” Annan wrote. “After a lot of ducking and weaving, about the 30th comment under the post, he eventually admits ‘I honestly don’t know what the proper test is.’”

JC comment:  James Annan, how is that observation-climate model intercomparison thing going for you lately?

While many prominent climate scientists view the IPCC’s climate change projections as overly cautious, it is widely acknowledged that the panel is comprised of a large number of accomplished scientists whose conclusions are heavily scrutinized. Pielke takes the opposite approach, telling the Wall Street Journal in 2010 that “it’s very much an advocacy organization that’s couched in the role of advice … He [Pielke] says many IPCC participants want ‘to compel action’ instead of ‘just summarizing science.’”

While discourse amongst scientists is necessary and beneficial, Pielke has a track record of consistently cherry-picking and mischaracterizing the work done by climate scientists and has made a name for himself by disparaging their work. 

In this article, there is not a single critique of anything RP Jr actually said in his 538 post.  Before looking at the author of the post, I assumed it was either Joe Romm or Michael Mann, since it has their unmistakable hatchet job signature.  Instead, the author is Kiley Kroh, co-editor of Climate Progress (Joe Romm is the founder and overseer of ClimateProgress). ClimateProgress is an element of  ThinkProgress, a liberal American political blog that is an outlet for the Center for American Progress.  CAP’s first President and CEO was John Podesta, who is now a Special Advisor to the Obama Administration (and also Chairman of the Board of CAP).

JC comments

Pielke Jr’s analyses are clearly inconvenient to the political agenda of Obama/Holdren/Podesta.  RP Jr. has written on this topic at the New Republic An Obama Advisor is Attacking me for Testifying That Climate Change Hasn’t Increased Extreme Weather.

A new post in the Washington Times by Chip Knappenberger  is entitled Mainstreaming Fringe Science with John Holdren, subtitled The White House science advisor confuses global warming facts and fancy.  Excerpts:

In recent months, White House science adviser John Holdren has repeatedly pushed the link between extreme weather events and human-caused climate change well beyond the bounds of established science. Now, veteran climate scientists are pushing back.

Is the president giving orders to his science adviser to make the case that carbon-dioxide emissions are the cause of weather disasters in the United States despite the best science that argues otherwise? Or is his science adviser misinforming the president as to what the collection of science actually says, leading him to pursue carbon-dioxide regulation where it is not needed?

In either case, the situation is badly in need of repair.

Well as recently as 5 years ago, I never thought I’d live to see the day when I am very grateful that I have tenure at a university, which provides my job with some protection against politically inconvenient scientific analyses.

Back to the topic of Nate Silver’s 538:

If Silver’s data-drive approach gets in the way of your political aims, so much the better.

215 responses to “Nate Silvers’ 538: inconvenient statistics

  1. “RP Jr’s post at 538 has elicited what is probably the most reprehensible and contemptible smear job that I have ever seen of a scientist, at least from an organization that has any pretense of respectability. ”

    People who have facts to counter arguments don’t need to do this. This behaviour speaks volumes about the intellectual and moral standing of those who resort to these tactics.

    • nottawa rafter

      Those who use this tactic have so little self-awareness they never understand how much of a laughing stock they have become. That attitude is so pervasive that it has become their trademark.

    • It is a powerful convergence of interests among a very large number of elites, including politicians who want to make it seem as though they’re saving the world… It is a kind of nasty combination of extreme political ideology and a religious cult all rolled into one, and it’s taken over way too much of our thought process and way too much of our priorities. ~Patrick Moore (Senate Testimony, 2-25-2014)

    • David L. Hagen

      Illogical Fascist Climate Lemming Attacks
      Roger Pielke Jr. accurately summarizes inconvenient truths:

      There have been more heat waves and intense precipitation, but these phenomena are not significant drivers of disaster costs. In fact, today’s climate models suggest that future changes in extremes that cause the most damage won’t be detectable in the statistics of weather (or damage) for many decades.

      There is an old trial lawyers’ saying

      “When the facts are on your side,pound the facts. When the law is on your side, pound the law. When neither is on you side, pound the table.”

      The articles Curry cites evidence today’s adaptation:

      “When the facts are on your side,pound the facts. When the science is on your side, pound the science. When neither is on you side, attack the messenger.”

      Pielke is so effective that today’s Fascist Climate Lemmings have clearly degenerated been reduced to attacking the messenger – which even Aristotle said was a logical fallacy amidst the sound and fury.

    • AGW activist’s reaction to any RPJ extreme weather analysis can be easily summed up as:

      “If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.”

      RPJ had a post on his blog a while back about him joining 538. If there is one thing a theoretical “climate propaganda model” could predict with 100% certainty was what the usual suspect’s reaction to his science would be.

      Almost all the blowback on RPJ is emotionally charged ad hominen attacks. The good news is this come across very clearly to the reader.

      I just don’t get this extreme weather linkage. It’s like science by the power of suggestion. Anyone can go look at these trends and see the correlation is not there. You can’t even start on causation without correlation. This is one bridge to far by the activist community.

      In reality these attempts at extreme weather linkage are gifts to skeptics. It makes their job easy.

  2. You did the best possible summary:

    I never thought I’d live to see the day when I am very grateful that I have tenure at a university, which provides my job with some protection against politically inconvenient scientific analyses.

    • Think what it is like for the post-Doc’s and tenure-track climate scientists; they say anything out of turn and they are screwed.

  3. The problem is that Nate Silver does not know physics. His recent book The Signal and the Noise demonstrated that quite well. He is out if his element of soft science statistics when he tries to do climate science.

    • That’s an evasion. You are doing precisely what the thought-controllers and Lysenkoists are doing, you’re just doing less aggressively.

      Judith’s post is mostly about the attack on Pielke. What’s your view of that? Should he be silenced and denied the right to express his views as a scientist? My sense is that his work is well-grounded in physics. Maybe that’s why Silver hired him.

    • Naw, Webby.

      The problem is that RP Jr. is very good at objective fact based analysis.

      His 538 article on costs of disasters demonstrates this ability.

      His detractors are not good at fact based analysis, relying instead on plain vitriol in a futile attempt to smear both 538 and Pielke.

      That’s the issue here, Webby.

      Plain and simple.

      Max

    • Seriously? You go from Pielke to Silver. Pielke knows his physics well enough to give a perspective. Silver isn’t trying to do climate science, he’s just an editor.

      I’m really not a fan of Silver, but he’s not trying to be a climatologist or a scientist. He’s just publishing someones analysis.

    • “The problem is that Nate Silver does not know physics. His recent book The Signal and the Noise demonstrated that quite well. He is out if his element of soft science statistics when he tries to do climate science.”

      Webbie’s got the usual lack of self awareness…or is it lack of shame… that seems to be common to the alarmists. Did you even bother reading the post?

    • Matthew R Marler

      WebHubTelescope: The problem is that Nate Silver does not know physics. His recent book The Signal and the Noise demonstrated that quite well. He is out if his element of soft science statistics when he tries to do climate science.

      You agree with the others that there was nothing much wrong with Pielke Jr.’s post? This is a perfect opportunity to point out a mistake.

    • Nate Silver doesn’t know physics, so he didn’t realize that Junior also doesn’t know physics.

      So Silver was ultimately responsible for hiring Junior and so it’s his own fault, not Junior’s.

      Get it?

    • Matthew R Marler

      WebHubTelescope: Nate Silver doesn’t know physics, so he didn’t realize that Junior also doesn’t know physics.

      Still can’t find an important flaw in Pielke Jr’s article on the lack of a relationship between global warming and increasing costs of property losses?

    • Silver could have hired someone like Nick Stokes who knows his physics AND knows statistics, which would have made an excellent fit.

      Listen, Silver is a sports and politics stats guy. All I am doing is criticizing the hiring decision that Coach Silver made. This happens all the time in sports. Silver screwed up. Even someone like Tamino would have made an excellent choice.

      It is all about the talent and not the ideology. It’s not Stokes and Tamino’s problem that they also happen to be consensus.
      That’s where the talent is.

    • Hey, get off Jnr’s back everyone.

      It’s not his fault he’s a politcal scientist – how the hell is he supposed to get all this climate stuff right???

    • I believe WebHub Telescope should rephrase his criticism. His problem with Mr. Silver has nothing to do with physics. He seems upset that Mr. Silver has ignored his marching orders.

      His site, is good, as was The Signal and the Noise. One of the strengths of both is actually a direct response to Mr. WebHub Telescope’s criticism: It is subsidiarity, using the appropriate level of analysis for a given problem, and not a continual slicing and dicing of the data until it yields the desired result.

      Physics is for climate change. It is not for impacts. It is only religionists that feel forced to conflate the two.

    • nottawa rafter

      Scope

      For all the talent the consensus have, they sure made a mess of things. How are those 100 consensus models that are incompetently running hot working out. Lots of players full of talent under perform and are run out of the league. It’s time for the stars to be cut.

    • You really should read what Nate Silver wrote as a manifesto for his 538 site:
      http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/what-the-fox-knows/

      Lots of good intentions in that post. He essentially wants to create a “quantitative” journalism site that uses science to get at the truth.

      “Our team also has a broad set of skills and experience in methods that fall under the rubric of data journalism. These include statistical analysis, but also data visualization, computer programming and data-literate reporting. So in addition to written stories, we’ll have interactive graphics and features.”

      He will fail miserably at that if he relies on Junior. That’s why I mentioned Nick Stokes, a guy with many brilliant ideas regarding data visualization, check out his Moyhu project.

      “Traditional journalists have a well-established means of organizing information: They formulate a news story. The story might proceed chronologically, in order of importance (the inverted pyramid) or in some other fashion. Data journalists, meanwhile, can organize information by running descriptive statistics on it, by placing it into a relational database or by building a data visualization from it. Whether or not a picture is worth a thousand words, there is value in these approaches both as additional modes of storytelling and as foundations for further analysis.”

      Does Silver know anything about organizing around a Semantic Web? Does Junior?


      In journalistic terms, this might mean going beyond the who, what, where and when questions to those of why and how. In traditional journalism, stories of this nature are sometimes referred to as “news analysis” or “explanatory journalism.” Data journalists, again, have their own set of techniques — principally running various types of statistical tests to look for relationships in the data.

      I could care less about responding to one article that Junior wrote. The strategic map that Silver has planned is what is important. It would be great if he could make it work. Unfortunately, it looks like he selected the wrong players for his team.

    • Matthew R Marler

      WebHubTelescope: All I am doing is criticizing the hiring decision that Coach Silver made.

      I get that. I disagree and think you raise a red herring. Pielke Jr’s article is fundamentally sound, which is why no one is critiquing it.

    • Matthew R Marler

      WebHubTelescope: I could care less about responding to one article that Junior wrote.

      Without a showing of at least 1 important mistake by Jr, you have no case that Silver made a mistake. Yet you are “responding to one article that Junior wrote” with an empty ad him directed at his employer.

      The fact remains that Pielke Jr’s first article for Nate Silver is fundamentally sound. That’s why no one is critiquing it.

    • “Pielke Jr’s article is fundamentally sound, which is why no one is critiquing it.” – Matthew

      http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/nate-silver-falls-off/

      • Non Sequitur – Here’s why:

        Rather than topping my “must read” list, however, the new FiveThirtyEight is something I won’t be reading.

        You should read your links before you erroneously use them.

    • Matthew R Marler

      WebHubTelescope: How dare you refer to Professor Pielke as “Jr”. That is quite demeaning.

      I apologize. I was trying to be careful always to refer to him as “Pielke Jr.”

    • Matthew R Marler

      Michael, I went to the “thingsbreak” link you provided, and read, among other stuff, this:

      Ostensibly, Roger Pielke Jr. accepts all of the above. He just doesn’t want you to focus on this big picture. Instead Pielke wants you to believe and to focus on the claim that we’ve seen no increase in “normalized” damages due to climate change. The fundamental conceit of this claim is that even though disaster losses are unquestionably on the rise, once you account for changes in the value of infrastructure being built in areas affected by disaster (due to population growth, inflation, etc.), there is no “statistically significant increase”.

      This claim rests on our ability to account for factors which might spuriously inflate the damages caused by disasters, but also our complete failure to account for factors that have allowed us to avoid even greater losses.

      The case of 2012′s Superstorm Sandy is illustrative. While Roger spent the first few days of the disaster trying to play down the magnitude of the mounting carnage, Sandy ultimately ranked among the most costly storms on record, even using normalized losses. Preliminary estimates range from $50-65 billion USD.

      So perhaps it is fair to say that “thingsbreak” was trying to critique Pielke Jr’s article, but the link does little to undermine the claim I made that Pielke Jrs article is basically sound. “thingsbreak” seemed not to know that Tropical Storm Sandy had 20th century precedents on the US Atlantic Coast. He seemed not to understand that increased casualty losses are caused by increased building and propery values, not by increased frequency of unusually sever events.

    • Little Miss Sunshine,
      Sorry to break it to you, but real science is very “thuggish”.

      Nature doesn’t have manners and never went to charm school.

      So when we report on quantitative and objective data, there is no reason to pretty it up like it was going to a beauty pageant.

      That was the reason that Nate Silver was never consider a part of the villager elite division of the DC press corps. He let the analysis speak for itself.

      Regrettably, with the choice of a second rate has-been as a science guy, he has lost that luster and credibility.

    • The problem with Roger’s analysis is that he mixes the earthquake, tsunami and volcano data in with the hurricane, drought, flood and weather data.

      “However, the possibility of identifying such influence in the future cannot be ruled out”

      If he can’t rule it out, he hasn’t made his case yet.

      It’s like the alarmist’s are saying it will rain tomorrow, and the skeptic’s position is that the sun is shining right now, so the alarmists are wrong.

    • webby404: “Nate Silver does not know physics”

      Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t. But any one who has half a brain knows the top echelon of climate “scientists” do not understand statistics at all.

      Otherwise some of them might admit warming stopped in 1998.

      And Tornadoes and Hurricanes are at record lows.

      Thats why the webby404-like attack thugs went nuts. They can’t handle the truth.

  4. “Well as recently as 5 years ago, I never thought I’d live to see the day when I am very grateful that I have tenure at a university, which provides my job with some protection against politically inconvenient scientific analyses.” JC – I’m glad you do too. However, this sort of personal attack/response in the last 25 years seems to be the harbinger of the end..and frankly encourages me.

    This is the noise the beast makes when it starts to realize it’s wounded or even dying. The side that argues for activism ahead of objectivity has engaged in a rear guard action. They’re feeling it.

    To be clear, the “beast” in this case is only coincidentally associated with climate science. The salient point has always been how science will be conducted, necessarily conjoined with how scientists will conduct themselves. That is, what is the morality in this realm going to be?

    Good job.

    • You are right on target. The beast has met reality.

    • Reminds me of a newspaper article in a Melbourne newspaper,
      when a French-American expedition found the Titanic, September
      1985 …

      ‘A giant lies stricken on the ocean floor, a gaping wound pointing to the cause of death.’

  5. “RP Jr’s post at 538 has elicited what is probably the most reprehensible and contemptible smear job that I have ever seen of a scientist, at least from an organization that has any pretense of respectability.”
    I have to disagree with you there. I would not associate respectability with Climate Progress. Pretense, perhaps.

  6. “Now I get it, there is a big danger of being ideologically neutral – journalists who demand that science support their ideology will attack someone who attempts to be neutral.”

    Precisely.

  7. Good Lord, these jerks will stop at nothing. Roger Pielke, Jr. is an examplar of how to do thoughtful data based work, and if he weren’t working in such a politically loaded subject, he would be seen by many as the exceptional data analyst that he is. Even the self interested Munich Re has come around to agree with Pielke, Jr. Did Holdren or Romm or whoever Kiley Kroh is not see that?

    Is there an animal that combines the characteristics of a weasel, a skunk, and an poisonous snake? Because Holdren and Romm Kroh and their ilk combine these characteristics. I sure wouldn’t want to be attacked by such a creature, so all the more kudos to those few scientists, like Judith and Pielke, Jr., who are brave enough to fight for good science in a ring with such attackers.

  8. Judith writes: You can see where all this is going.

    Here’s where it’s going (Mark Steyn linked the following today in his post):

    http://thefederalist.com/2014/03/19/why-liberals-attempt-to-silence-honest-debate/

    People fought and died to defend and preserve freedom of speech and expression. Do those who are now attempting to abridge basic constitutional rights think they won’t do it again?

    Steyn’s latest: http://www.steynonline.com/6184/oh-wont-you-stay-ay-ay-just-a-little-bit-longer

  9. I, too, am grateful that you have tenure.
    The nation, as well, should be.

  10. The 538 article by Roger Pielke Jr. on costs of disasters makes good sense (it is fact based).

    The subsequent smearing of 538 or RP Jr. does not (it is not fact based).

    Max

  11. “Pielke routinely seeks to minimize the impacts and severity of climate change and in the process, has been repeatedly criticized as inaccurate and misleading by some of the nation’s foremost climate scientists.”

    Truly sad. Once they’ve been bitten by a zombie carrier of the 97 percent “consensus” meme, they become climate zombies themselves, which is to say intellectually undead…. thus beyond the reach of reason or evidence.

    There is only one way to cut them off at the knees (to shamelessly mix my metaphors), and that’s by attacking and undermining the “overwhelming consensus’ myth in every way possible.

    Want to bell Cripwell’s cat? (Who doesn’t?) Hire a nationally known polling firm to conduct a survey of qualified scientists and meteorologists as to their positions on CAGW. Anyone got a spare million bucks?

  12. Wow. Apparently one of the worst things a person can do is acknowledge the validity of someone not dedicated to their team.

  13. Hurray for Nate Silver!

    Hurray for Roger Pielke Jr.!

    Hurray for the objective facts!

    Hurray for the truth!

    They will prevail, despite the frantic attempts by their detractors to smear them.

  14. Funny. Reminded me of the article about why Democrats the party of science. http://thefederalist.com/2014/03/20/why-democrats-are-the-party-of-science/ :-)


    • The most recent Pew study indicates that only 6% of the scientific community supports the GOP.

      There’s a no-brainer.

    • Follow the money. Scientists, like other academics, support Democrats for the money. Just like government workers.

      Btw, if taking a dime of corporate money renders a scientist’s research invalid, then every bit of government paid-research which is used to increase the size and scope of government is even less reliable.

    • “The most recent Pew study indicates that only 6% of the scientific community supports the GOP.

      There’s a no-brainer.”

      So only 6% of scientists support the party that freed the slaves and enfranchised African Americans and it’s a “no-brainer” for you.

  15. Roger has said elsewhere that his writing focus at 538 will not be exclusively climate but on other issues including sports governance e.g. FIFA.

    The word to describe the left’s vitriol to Silver concerning Pielke’s writing role: jealousy. The climate policy advocates wish to keep their control of major newspaper editorial pages AND the news columns as well. Nate and any other new-media is a threat to that monopoly.

  16. Seems to me that the “climate change” –>>> increased extreme weather meme is a long established (by the IPCC, in accordance with the “needs” of the UNFCCC) factoid that has been percolating and simmering on the back burners of the movers, shakers and hatchet-men for quite some time.

    For example, this pseudo-linkage was part of the 2009 “Scoping Paper” for the “three years in the making” (2011) SREX. As I had noted in a post, which includes some text from this “Scoping Paper”, that which the journos and hatchet-men are now flogging and wildly attempting to keep afloat, was probably quite predictable. At the very least, it is very much in keeping with an apparent IPCC/UNFCCC practice of ‘Here’s our next big scare to flog – now go forth and find us some ‘science’ to help us do this’.

    Excerpts from the 2009 SREX “Scoping Paper” (all emphases are mine -hro):

    Background: The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) concluded that climate change has begun to affect the frequency, intensity, and length of many extreme events, such as floods, droughts, storms, and extreme temperatures [...]

    However, the AR4 reviewed policies and measures that were specifically identified as adaptation and not the full range of activities undertaken to reduce the risks of extreme events and disasters.

    Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) acknowledged the relevance of disaster risk reduction to advance adaptation in the December 2007 Bali Action Plan, which calls for enhanced action on risk management and risk reduction strategies, including risk transfer mechanisms such as insurance, and disaster reduction strategies to lessen the impact of disasters on developing countries.
    [...]
    Rationale: The participants [in the scoping workshop] concluded that a Special Report is needed for the following reasons:

    The Special Report would contribute to the goals of the UNFCCC [...]

    The proposed Special Report [...] meets the other priority guidelines: sufficient scientific literature exists; the primary audience is the UNFCCC and the target is the development of the post‐2012 agreement and adaptation plans [...]

    As RP Jr has noted, the SREX did not quite work out as planned, i.e. notwithstanding contemporaneous headlines to the contrary, this scary link was far from established in any remotely scientific manner.

    But, as those who followed the orchestrations of the November 2013 Warsaw Concerto (aka the UNFCCC’s COP 19) can attest, this did not stop the movers, shakers and hatchet-men from promulgating recycled myths, legends and memes, such as (those who write the scripts for) the UN’s head honcho, Ban Ki-Moon (again my emphases added -hro):

    UN LEADER Ban Ki-moon said a super typhoon that killed thousands in the Philippines was an example of climate change and should serve as a warning to mankind.
    [...]
    The UN chief said the world was facing a tipping point, [...]
    [...]
    “We have seen now what has happened in the Philippines. It is an urgent warning,” he said, “an example of changed weather and how climate change is affecting all of us on Earth.”

    So, all that is left to the poor beleaguered Hatchet-Mann (and Holdren and quite possibly the resurfacing and upwardly-climbing Podesta) and their allies is to fall back on their time-honoured tactic of reprehensible smear campaigns.

    • hro001

      Yeah.

      That’s the very same Ban Ki Moon who (after touring Antarctica on a tour ship) wrote in a November 17-18 op-ed in the International Herald Tribune:

      The entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet is at risk…If it broke up, sea levels could rise by six meters…It may not happen for 100 years – or it could happen in 10.

      adding

      I am not scare-mongering. But I believe we are nearing a tipping point.

      Not “scare-mongering”?

      Wow!

      I’d hate to see what “scare-mongering” would look like!

      Max

    • PS That op-ed was November 17-18, 2007

    • @Manacker

      From 2007? Which just happened to be the year that (according to Canadian IPCC-nik, Andrew Weaver) AR4 – in which climate change would be shown to be “a barrage of intergalactic ballistic missiles” – was foisted on the world.

      Amazing coincidence, eh? Then, again, perhaps not so amazing!

      In any event, never let it be said that the climate “cause” clubbers of the UN / UNEP / UNFCCC / IPCC fail to practice “recycling” – particularly when it comes to the “non-scaremongering” and “non-policy-prescriptive” exhortations of the high and mighty movers, shakers and “experts”, eh?!

  17. Curious George

    As recently as 5 years ago a Democrat was a president, Democrats controlled the Senate and the House. Whatever changes happened, happened on their watch. Sadly, I don’t see a better alternative.

  18. David L. Hagen

    Attack of the Fascist Climate Lemmings
    Three cheers for Nate Silvers and Roger Pielke Jr. upholding the scientific method. The outcry against them is clear evidence that alarmists have crashed into the hard facts of data.
    Despite the rhetoric, science will triumph over fascist climate lemmings. As Richard Feynman said, if the models do not match the data, they are wrong.

  19. Matthew R Marler

    Well as recently as 5 years ago, I never thought I’d live to see the day when I am very grateful that I have tenure at a university, which provides my job with some protection against politically inconvenient scientific analyses.

    A somber thought, that.

    • A tragic thought that tenure is all that stands between a fair minded scientist and the hounds of political and scientific correctness.

      So sad but it is accurate.
      Scott

  20. Judith says “Michael Mann has a post FiveThirty Eight: the number of things Nate Silver gets wrong on climate change. This post is worth reading if only because it is not Mann’s usual hatchet job.”. I read that post, and I have to say it was an extremely unpleasant experience. Hatchet? I thought it was, but if it isn’t hatchet, it’s slime.

    It makes little reference to Nate Silver’s actual statements, preferring to damn by consensus. One actual statement was referred to, and dismissed, thus: “He asserts that the projections of the IPCC forecasts have been “too aggressive”, but that is simply wrong. It neglects that in many cases, e.g. as regards the alarming rate of Arctic sea ice decline (we saw a new record low set just weeks ago), the climate models have been far too cautious;”.

    Remind me again – on which planet is the Antarctic?

  21. The greatest thing about the hiatus — or is it the, stasis (or, statis) — is a triumph of nature (reality) over ignorance (global warming alarmism). GCMs (toys produced by Western academia on the taxpayer’s dime) that purport to predict global temperatures — or the temperature anywhere — more than a couple of weeks into the future at the most have become totally irrelevant because the numbers speak for themselves.

  22. “Michael Mann has a post FiveThirty Eight: … This post is worth reading if only because it is not Mann’s usual hatchet job.” – JC

    Obsessed much?

    Even when noting that there’s nothing to criticise Mann about, Judith just has to take a swing.

    The politics of personal grievence.

    • You mean like Ryan Cooper dissing of “Silver’s new venture,” and yet, feeling compelled to throw Bush the Great under the bus — along with “George W. Bush’s stenographer back in 2002″ — just to maintain his Leftist credentials?

    • Michael,

      I wonder if you might care to enlighten me in regard to your thoughts on whether politics has any effect at all on physical facts?

      I cannot see how name calling, either overt or otherwise, can affect the weather. I appreciate you may obtain some hopefully short lived personal satisfaction from attempting to affect a strangers contentment in some detrimental fashion. However, I am uncertain as to your apparent desire to gain satisfaction from attempting to inflict pain on another.

      Would I be right in assuming you live in the US? Many US TV shows seem to be based on police or other people in authority wrongly accusing suspects, threatening and browbeating the innocent, and failing to apologise to their victims when the guilty party is eventually identified. I might be wrong, but I assume being raised in such an environment may have a deleterious effect on those of slight intellect.

      In any case, your use of English might leave something to be desired. Two word incomplete sentences demonstrate a lack of understanding of the basic principles of communication. Combining an incomplete sentence such as “The politics of personal grievence.” with an obvious spelling error is something only a Warmist would think acceptable.

      If you wish to enter into a completely pointless personal insult competition, I will be glad to accommodate you, purely for the mental exercise. Possibly others may care to join in, but I would suggest that Warmists brush up a bit on the use of sentences of more than a few words, and study a little logic before entering the fray. What say you?

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Mike,

      Typical ‘skepticism’ – I’m guilty of “pointless personal insults” for noticing that Judith took a gr@tuitous swipe at Mann.

      Carry on.

    • Your observation was gratuitous in that you failed to pick up on the real point: that his post was totally worthless other than for the fact that it wasn’t his, usual hatchet job.

    • Mann claimed that Pielke’s analysis did not account for building design reducing damages and implied that disasters are more severe, but buldings are stronger. True buildings are stronger etc., but Pielke didn’t calculate disaster intensity by the severity of damage.

      Mann basically lied.

  23. The main problem with Nate’s critics is they don’t get that data mining HAS turned up results that are less prejudiced and more accurate than supposed ‘expert’ opinion.

    There is no reason to suspect that Climate Science is any different.

  24. Michael E. Mann.
    “As a result, Nate’s chapter on climate change (Chapter 12: “A Climate of Healthy Skepticism”) is marred by straw man claims that don’t stand up to scrutiny. These include the assertion that (a) climate scientist James Hansen’s famous 1988 predictions overestimated global warming (they didn’t),”

    The data since then (1988) says Nate’s right and Hansen/Mann are wrong.

    http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c274/richardlinsleyhood/HansenUpdated_zpsb8693b6e.png

  25. Mann states:-

    “That is, he repeatedly invokes the alluring, but fundamentally unsound, principle that simple ideas about forecasting and prediction from one field, like economics, can readily be appropriated and applied to completely different fields, without a solid grounding in the principles, assumptions, and methods of those fields. It just doesn’t work that way (though Nate, to his credit, does at least allude to that in his discussion of Armstrong’s evaluation of climate forecasts).”

    I understood that Climate Scientists do ‘projections’, and not forecasts, and that projections cannot be objectively tested by statistical methods.

  26. “Pielke Jr’s analyses are clearly inconvenient to the political agenda of Obama/Holdren/Podesta.” – JC

    Or, maybe Roger just has poor analyses, and the facts raised by Holdren are inconvenient to Roger’s political agenda?

    I’ve had only one direct experience with Roger that confirms the concerns that others have raised.

    He commented on a blog (can’t remember if it was here) about the 2011 floods in my hometown in Oz. Roger related what he purported to be facts – they were hopelessly wrong. Roger simply ignored this and maintained his preferred narrative that the floods were nothing unusual and there could be no link to AGW – despite me pointing out that rainfall projections under an AGW scenario had pointed very precisely to increased heavy rainfall events and flooding in exactly the area where this record rainfall event occurred.

    Roger had no interest in the facts, only his not-AGW agenda.

    • Robert I Ellison

      There is no data that even remotely suggests that 2010 rainfall was outside the limits of natural variability.

      e.g. http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/change/index.shtml#tabs=Tracker&tracker=extremes-timeseries&tQ%5Bgraph%5D=R99p&tQ%5Bave_yr%5D=0

      Merely suggesting it is going to pour doesn’t do more than suggest the Sun is going to rise in the morning or that heads will eventually be thrown.

      Come back when rainfall is amplified.

    • What do you think that graph says Rob??

    • You posted the link – tell us what you think the relevence is to what I wrote?

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘There is no data that even remotely suggests that 2010 rainfall was outside the limits of natural variability.’

    • and that’s relevant to this;
      ” increased heavy rainfall events and flooding in exactly the area where this record rainfall event occurred.”

      How?

      Not much. I’m talking a specific location, with a specific forecast about increased heavy rainfall events and flooding in this location, and you give me Aus wide averages.

      Getting back to the specifics – this particular rainfall event has a recurrence interval of 500-1000 years in some areas.

      Interesting, huh? (RPJ wasn’t interested either – he had a meme to spread).

    • Robert I Ellison

      I assume your rainfall projection covered much of Queensland.

      Again – predicting rainfall somewhere in the state that is within the limits of natural variability is not all that impressive.

      A hard rains gunna fall? Yeah sure.

      Rainfall intensity has not increased and neither have totals. For God’s sake – I predicted the drought would break – in print – back in 2005. But that was based on actual science.

    • I agree that it could be little more than coincidence, but it’s notable that a very specific forecast for increased heavy rainfall events in the ranges in SEQ, were shortly followed by this extreme rainfall event.

      Inquiring minds would consider this pertinent. I think it would be un-sceptical to dismiss it as nothing.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Rainfall intensity has not increased – I would hesitate to ascribe increased intensity to AGW.

    • Here’s the December rainfall data for Eagle Farm (a station with decent history of data near Brisbane):
      http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/ncc/cdio/weatherData/av?p_display_type=dataGraph&p_stn_num=040212&p_nccObsCode=139&p_month=12

      And Amberley AMO (a station with a decent history of data near Ipswich):
      http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/ncc/cdio/weatherData/av?p_display_type=dataGraph&p_stn_num=040004&p_nccObsCode=139&p_month=12

      While 2010 stands out as a big year, it’s not significantly different from earlier big years. Data for months other than December are also available at those links.

    • This recent game of saying a model “predicted this flood”, or “that drought” is simply propaganda, and anyone who espouses it should know better.

      How are global projections for all droughts and all floods across all models going lately? Being successful with “a model” in one area is hardly a proper analysis.

      If this model has prediction skill as you claim, well please tell us, where the next droughts, floods, and other extreme events will be. Inquiring minds want to know. Withholding this life saving information would be irresponsible, right?

      I’m sure that everyone who claims this model was useful was espousing this loud and clear before the drought, or that flood? This couldn’t possibly be post-hoc analysis and misrepresentation of the predictive skill of all models, could it?

      No, because that would be propaganda.

  27. Robert I Ellison

    •“Overall, the most robust global changes in climate extremes are seen in measures of daily temperature, including to some extent, heat waves. Precipitation extremes also appear to be increasing, but there is large spatial variability”
    •”There is limited evidence of changes in extremes associated with other climate variables since the mid-20th century”
    •“Current datasets indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century … No robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin”
    •“In summary, there continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale”
    •“In summary, there is low confidence in observed trends in small-scale severe weather phenomena such as hail and thunderstorms because of historical data inhomogeneities and inadequacies in monitoring systems”
    •“In summary, the current assessment concludes that there is not enough evidence at present to suggest more than low confidence in a global-scale observed trend in drought or dryness (lack of rainfall) since the middle of the 20th century due to lack of direct observations, geographical inconsistencies in the trends, and dependencies of inferred trends on the index choice. Based on updated studies, AR4 conclusions regarding global increasing trends in drought since the 1970s were probably overstated. However, it is likely that the frequency and intensity of drought has increased in the Mediterranean and West Africa and decreased in central North America and north-west Australia since 1950”
    •“In summary, confidence in large scale changes in the intensity of extreme extratropical cyclones since 1900 is low”

    In summary… there is decadal to millennial variability of climate, extremes such as not seen in the past century have always been with us but attribution to anthropogenic causes is absolutely necessary to the green socialist agenda.

  28. This thread is turning out to be yet another bun fight between the two sides, repeating the same mantras, move on now folks, there is nothing new here.

  29. I gather that in the US there is a journal or web site run by a Nate Silver which disparages the IPcc’s work or their data. Well, join the club. There is plenty to disparage starting with its creation by the UN’ FCCC and the dictum that the science ‘was settled’.

    That the science is not ‘settled’ is best illustrated by the failure of the IPCC models on which they rely, to correctly predict the present temperature of the planet. Unfortunately for the IPCC this is not the first time they missed their cue. They failed to recognise the climate singularity in 1940. This happening had some important lessons they failed to learn. See my web site underlined above

  30. JC said:

    Well as recently as 5 years ago, I never thought I’d live to see the day when I am very grateful that I have tenure at a university, which provides my job with some protection against politically inconvenient scientific analyses.

    How true. But when will more academics start doing what they should be doing in the best interests of humanity, instead of their own careers?

    Interesting post. But very scary. It seems like we may be in the ant-enlightenment period. We seem to be returning to a period where religious beliefs dominate academics’ thinking. How long can this go on? How long until we return to the dark ages? Can the Stadium Wave make any predictions on this?

    • “But when will more academics start doing what they should be doing in the best interests of humanity, instead of their own careers?”

      Peter, The day after never. THere are always a few heroic types like Judith, but only a a very few. Human beings can for the most part be counted on to take care of themselves first, the rest if the world later.

      Moreover, the human mind being what it is (that is an efficient rationalization machine), most people manage to take care of number one with a clear conscience.

    • Pere et fils.
      ========

  31. “The post is vintage RP Jr, citing results from the IPCC SREX…..” – JC

    Yes, it certainly is – maybe that’s the problem?

    http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/nate-silver-falls-off/

    • The opening line of your article states:-
      “In 2012, Nate Silver faced a conservative and media-led backlash for bringing rigor to election forecasting”

      That was not the problem, ‘conservatives’ didn’t think the polls were going to reflect the vote; essentially many of us didn’t think Obama was going to get the turnout and that the polls were +3-5% biased towards the Democrats.
      Polls are typically biased to Democrats.

    • Robert I Ellison

      No – what he is saying from AR5 is that extremes haven’t increased and couldn’t be distinguished against background variability even if they had.

      And that losses relative to global production haven’t increased.

  32. Perhaps the greatest damage to this country by this administration is not legislation passed, but what has been done to science by Obama and Holdren.

  33. Pielke’s way of looking at disasters only through the lens of their cost diminishes the impact of events like Haiyan or typhoons in the Bay of Bengal, because they don’t cost much in global GDP terms. To proclaim that climate change isn’t the reason for increasing costs of disasters is neglecting the real human-life cost by underweighting that factor. Maybe he is only interested in US costs rather than global lives, but he comes across as saying climate change has not impacted us yet (by this measure). Depends what you mean by “us”.

    • jimmy, jimmy
      Why don’t you show us the real human-life cost globally, of alleged CAGW? Don’t forget to adjust for population growth, jimmy dee.

    • Robert I Ellison

      No – what he is saying from AR5 is that extremes haven’t increased and couldn’t be distinguished against background variability even if they had.

      And that losses relative to global production haven’t increased.

    • Go look at the GLOBAL trends on tropical cyclones, tornadoes, floods, and droughts. Please. There’s nothing happening here (yet).

      RPJ has a lot more information on his site where he counts hurricanes in many different ways.

      http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2009/10/shameful-article-review-and-update.html

      Curiously the above post from 2009 is eerily similar to this post. RPJ posts data trends and the usual suspects slime him with ad hominen.

      Many make claims about regional changes in extreme events, this is because there is nothing “useful” to report on the global trends. And obviously with noisy data sets, the smaller the number of members, the more erratic it gets.

      AR5:

      “Current datasets indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century … No robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin”

  34. A good post from William Connolley on the Pielke 538 topic:
    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2014/03/20/3601/

  35. I think commenters here have overlooked Pielke’s lese majeste in gainsaying a claim made by The Won in the article being discussed. That alone could account for the vehement reaction to it.

  36. JC wrote;

    “Well as recently as 5 years ago, I never thought I’d live to see the day when I am very grateful that I have tenure at a university”

    All very well and good for you, Dr. Curry (I have the utmost respect for your scientific integrity BTW).

    But what of all the rest of us that have to provide a useful service/product that people will agree to part with some of their hard earned wealth to obtain ?

    After 30 some years in engineering with lots of useful products and patents I am still just one “poor scientific opinion” from being cast aside.

    Perhaps you science folks should start out producing something valued by the “common folks” before you proceed on towards telling the rest of us “what we need to do” ???

    Tenure is great, but do not be too comfortable, when the money runs out (as it always does) you may have tenure, but no salary.

    Cheers, Kevin.

    PS: OK, that was a tad bit harsh, but you climate scientist folks (others are much worse that yourself) have been “preaching” for so long about all the evil things everybody else is doing (OH, look at that rouge over there, he’s actually drilling for oil so I can fill my gas tank, the scoundrel….) that everybody’s eyes glazed over about 10 years ago.

  37. Danley Wolfe

    There clearly is a coordinated attack from the top going on right now aimed at moving the climate agenda of the administration. cif. policy paper on under AAAS banner on needing to take action now; the series of opinion briefs in Science magazine since Jan 2014, presence in the NYTs of Podesta making speeches. What is needed is: a well formed response in a high visibility OP-ED e.g., in the WSJ a) exposing this propaganda move b) countering with facts of what is capital S science, what is know, the uncertainty monster which needs to be taken into account in any new policy debate and unilateral moves that may be under consideration by the administration. Judith?

  38. When the brougha breaks
    Juggernaut, argot naughty.
    Rock a bye, baby.
    =============

  39. Professor Bob Ryan

    This is all so depressingly familiar. The web didn’t exist in the 1980’s but the ridicule heaped upon those who questioned the rational expectations/monetarist consensus in economics was just as unpleasant and damaging as what we now see in climate science. There was a lockout in the top journals and the careers of many fine but dissenting scholars was held back for a generation. Unlike the US, tenure was abolished in the UK by Thatcher’s 1988 Education ‘Reform’ Act and what little protection it afforded was swept away. It may have many faults but the US university system through its retention of the privilege of tenure is a genuine beacon for freedom of thought in a world where reason appears to be in very short supply. However, like all ‘single control knob’ theories the monetarist consensus was fatally flawed but it took 20 years for the wisdom of the ‘skeptics’ of the day to be fully realised. Climate science like economics has seen reason distorted to the service of ideology, the well of thought has been poisoned by those who fail to see that the natural world, like the social, is endlessly subtle and complex. If I have one rule of thought it is that if anyone tells me that there is just one crucial variable that controls all others, whether it be CO2 or the money supply, then they are certainly wrong and have probably been educated beyond their intelligence.

    • David Springer

      +1

    • Jim Cripwell

      Prof Ryan, you write “This is all so depressingly familiar.”

      Yes and no. There may be similarities between science and economics, but, surely, there is one big difference. Ever since the 17th century, science has made progress by following the scientific method. I don’t think that economics has an equivalent. I don’t think there is such a thing as the economic method.

      Where climate science has lost it’s way with respect to CAGW, is abandoning the scientific method. And shame on all scientists, particularly those in the senior ranks, such as Fellows of the Royal Society, or members of the American Physical Society,who have remained silent while this travesty has been taking place.

    • This post by Prof Ryan just shows how personal memories are! My recollection of the 1980’s involves senior Keynesian professors furious at having their domination of economic thinking and policy being challenged. Books published in that decade will, I think, testify to there being rather less than a monetarist or rational expectations ‘consensus’. Indeed, one might point to the writings of 1986 Nobel prize winner James Buchanan for a good description of how American economics professors were shut out of more prestigious positions (U. Chicago excepted) by Keynesian dominance before 1980.

      Possibly at some institutions at some point in that era there may have been some of the ‘consensus’ referred to? However present climate orthodoxy seems more like the old Keynesian orthodoxy, not that I would ever push the analogy.

    • Steven Mosher

      “If I have one rule of thought it is that if anyone tells me that there is just one crucial variable that controls all others, whether it be CO2 or the money supply, then they are certainly wrong and have probably been educated beyond their intelligence.”

      You’ve misunderstood the C02 control knob metaphor. Granted its a lousy metaphor, but the metaphor does not suggest that C02 controls all others.

      you’re a professor, dont make the freshman mistake of attacking a straw man

      Start with the effin primary literature

      1. the control knob theory is about PALEO climate.
      2. C02 is the biggest knob, not the ONLY knob
      3. Minute 3:19 in the video below should clear the fog from your addled brain.

    • “It may have many faults but the US university system through its retention of the privilege of tenure is a genuine beacon for freedom of thought in a world where reason appears to be in very short supply. ”

      That must be another US on another planet somewhere.

      Tenure at universities is a beacon for freedom of thought? If by freedom of thought, you mean freedom to regurgitate the consensus/party line, then I guess you could say that.

      Tenure is actually a bar to freedom, once those who seek uniformity of thought gain control of the organizations that grant it.

      A case in point, Dr. Curry notes above her relief at already having tenure, before she showed the audacity to engage in critical analysis in one small area of the progressive social/economic/political group think that dominates virtually all major universities, and most colleges.

      “Beacon for freedom” my a….

    • An excellent example of how the “beacon of freedom” shines it light on American university campuses:

      http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/373901/federal-jury-speaks-and-academic-freedom-wins-david-french

      “Dr. Adams began his career at UNCW in 1993 as an outspoken atheist and liberal. During this period, he was widely praised in the university for his teaching and scholarship and achieved tenure in 1998 without any controversy. In 2000, however, shortly after visiting a mentally handicapped prisoner on death row in Texas — and being struck by the fact that this prisoner had read the entire Bible while he had not — Dr. Adams read the Bible and experienced a religious conversion, becoming a Christian and, over time, a conservative as well.

      As a conservative, Dr. Adams eventually began writing a column for Townhall.com that is often sharply critical of leftist excesses in universities nationwide, as well as in his own university.

      The reaction within the university was furious, with the chancellor of the university going so far as to propose changing the university’s promotion standards to address Dr. Adams’s speech. The chancellor also placed him under a brief, secret investigation at the request of an anarchist transgendered group to determine whether Dr. Adams was passing along “transphobic” views to students.

      In 2006, after compiling an impressive record of scholarship and accumulating multiple teaching awards and honors, Dr. Adams submitted an application for promotion to full professor. University officials, however, denied his promotion in a process where they applied a made-up promotion standard that contradicted the faculty handbook, passed along false information about his academic record, deceptively edited documents to influence the faculty vote, explicitly discussed his constitutionally protected viewpoint, and allowed a faculty member with an obvious and outrageous conflict of interest to cast a vote against him.”

    • Another example of the illumination provided by the “beacon of freedom” that is American college campi:

      http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/03/21/Video-Pornography-Professor-Assaults-Pro-Life-Activist

      (No quote needed, the link tells you all you need to know.)

    • Professor Bob Ryan

      A very interesting set of replies. My understanding of the blogosphere is that +1 is a positive so thank you David Springer. Jim Cripwell repeats the often made point that economics is devoid of method. True there is a greater diversity of method in economics than compared with (say) many of the more established natural sciences but many economists would claim they are just as well grounded in the empirical aspect of their subject. By and large economists and particularly financial economists are very strong on statistical analysis and the analysis of time series data. Jim Cripwell is certainly correct that some climate scientists have not done a good job of upholding scientific method – whatever that is. OAS’s comment is most interesting and he is right in the sense that my memory of economics is focused on the area of financial economics where the influence of the Chicago school was most pronounced. The point that I would make is that whenever ideologues of any persuasion take hold of a discipline they turn the subject to their ends, they simplify the message, they eschew complexity and they minimise uncertainty. They do this to the detriment of those who prize an open mind and a degree of objectivity in their work.

      I am not sure what to make about Steven Mosher’s comment. I have a great respect for his analytical abilities and I presume he is widely read in his subject. However, I am not sure how he can jump from the position that he does not agree with me to the conclusion that I do not have command of the primary literature. His comments about control knob theories make no logical sense and watching the video (thanks for the link, although its not as good or persuasive as he thinks it is) I am still not clear what he means and I am not sure he is either.

      Gary M: it is depressing when those with authority in academic life seek to abuse that power in the absence of tenure or not as the case might be. I can assure him that although freedom of thought is never guaranteed tenure does provide some protection for those who challenge the mainstream. Take a post in many UK universities and he will soon discover what I mean.

    • Regard the flight of the arrow of time, moshe; your CO2 is more the controlled knob, trails as it consistently does temperature.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Professor Bob Ryan: His comments about control knob theories make no logical sense and watching the video (thanks for the link, although its not as good or persuasive as he thinks it is) I am still not clear what he means and I am not sure he is either.

      Steven Mosher is too terse and mocking sometimes to communicate his thoughts. He did that here. The “control knob” idea was published in Science by Gavin Schmidt and others. Without CO2 the Earth would not have warmed enough for H2O vapor to be in the atmosphere in sufficient quantities to warm the Earth; were CO2 to be withdrawn, the Earth would eventually cool quite a lot, and the water vapor would condense and precipitate to the ground, where it would not be a GHG. In that sense, the CO2 is the knob that “controls” the H2O effect. You could think of it like the power switch on your electronic equipment, say your home entertainment system (especially in the pre-transistor days, but even so now): if the power switch is off (or the power supply low enough), none of the other knobs works at all. Another analogy might be the fuel in your automobile, or the food you eat; without them, everything else grinds to a halt (interestingly, that can happen if either of them gets too cold.)

      Whether that has implications for effects of future CO2 increases can be debated.

    • Matthew, do you think, firstly, that we possibly could, and secondly, that we plausibly would release enough CO2 to prevent an icehouse earth?
      =====================

    • Matthew R Marler

      Kim: Matthew, do you think, firstly, that we possibly could, and secondly, that we plausibly would release enough CO2 to prevent an icehouse earth?

      For a bot, that is a very intriguing question. Would you like to suggest more details? There is possibly an amount of sunlight below which no amount of CO2 could keep in enough radiant energy to prevent the freezing of all H2O; the extreme case would be the dying out of the sun. Suppose insolation (all frequencies considered) declines to levels likely during the Maunder minimum; could humans produce enough CO2 to keep the overnight wintry lows warmer than were observed back then? And thus keep all winter temperatures higher than they were back then? Maybe.

    • I think it is 350 ppm. Anything above that trends more towards an iceless high-water hothouse which would inevitably result from the 600-700+ range, so my concern is more at that end, since that is where we are headed.

  40. I haven’t seen an extreme climate event yet that doesn’t fit in reconstructions of past climate events for the region. Each and every time extreme events are brought up it reminds me of a climate scientist that many years ago said that if you can’t argue the climate you argue the weather. He was refering to skeptics of course. Climate scientists of the warmist persuasion appear to have been doing little but arguing the weather every since.

  41. It is interesting in a depressing sort of way to read the comments after the article on 538. It is almost a catalogue of moot argument tactics. Very few of them actually address the facts, or when they do, argue black is white. Case in point is what the IPCC actually said. Same problem the host ran into – if you don’t re-enforce the false preconceptions, you are one of them and need to be eliminated.

  42. Clearly, what’s going on is no debate about science, but the smearing of all informed dissent in the face of a collapsing paradigm – ie, that man-made CO@ is the control knob of the earth’s climate. This was Gore’s great “contribution” to AGW debate. and the fact that Gore is now uncited, unloved, even derided and marginalized at the citadel’s of AGW-orthodoxy like the NSIDC (where I’ve hobnobbed of late) speaks volumes about the politicization of science and ruling class dependencies of such “scientists.”

    Keep it up another four, six, eight years, while the world fails to warm – and where will the Great Alarmists be? Where does the greed and myopia bring the “Great?” Out of reason, out of power, out of respect – and out of jobs.

    As the savant Mel Brooks noted about movie sequels, it’s all about “The Quest for Cash.”

  43. michael hart

    “JC comment: You can see where all this is going.’

    They’re gonna give him the full Lomborg.

    • michael hart

      That is, prominent and articulate personalities who may agree upon the magnitude of the (alleged) threat, shall face excoriation or worse if they don’t agree with the preconceived “solutions” written on tablets of stone.

    • I was thinking of this. Climate change (e.g., Global Warming) came on my radar years ago when Scientific America banned Lomborg. The kerfluffel encouraged me to get his books, and learned that his crime was that he agreed with them, but disagreed on the policy implications.

      For Silvers, his problem is that when you’re ideologically neutral, you’re the enemy of both sides.

  44. Instapundit just direct linked to this entry so the whole conservative blogosphere will be taking a look.

    His site now has comments too:
    http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/185603/#respond

    • “Actually Not. deciding which hypothesis to check, how to check it, and how to interpret the results is idiosyncratic at best”

      Steve, do you know that experimental design is what experimentalists do for a living don’t you?

      Steve, do you know the history of validation of techniques, material and mathematical, and the usage of internal/external negative/positive controls is both long and rational?

  45. Re subjectivity/objectivity, Karl Popper and the scientific method,
    isn’t every hypothesis we ask nature, scientists or plebs, theory
    ridden – subjective? But in science, a hypothesis is formulated as
    a testable proposition and that’s an objective process.

    Isn’t data journalism, as Nat Silvers describes it attempting a similar accountability, subjecting journalist opinion pieces to more rigorous accounting methods, something like Steve McIntyre’s accounting of
    Mann’s tree ring data selection and methodology? Of course this is
    jest a serf’s opinion. (

    • Steven Mosher

      “But in science, a hypothesis is formulated as
      a testable proposition and that’s an objective process.”

      Actually Not. deciding which hypothesis to check, how to check it, and how to interpret the results is idiosyncratic at best

    • Ah, but surely your testing is objective.
      ======

    • Yeah all of Mosher’s interpretations always come out correct. Just ask him.

      Andrew

    • ‘Test:’ to measure, check the performance or reliability of
      something. Seems to me the point is that the hypothesis
      is formulated as a testable proposition able to be subjected
      to tests, if not by the one who makes the hypothesis then by
      someone else. Don’t engineers come into this testing process,
      tests too idiosyncratic and the bridge collapses? bts.

    • Hopefully the right place

      “Actually Not. deciding which hypothesis to check, how to check it, and how to interpret the results is idiosyncratic at best”

      Steve, do you know that experimental design is what experimentalists do for a living don’t you?

      Steve, do you know the history of validation of techniques, material and mathematical, and the usage of internal/external negative/positive controls is both long and rational?

    • Matthew R Marler

      Steven Mosher: Actually Not. deciding which hypothesis to check, how to check it, and how to interpret the results is idiosyncratic at best

      The decisions are idiosyncratic, but the methods have to be described in language sufficiently for everyone to be able to repeat them, and all the details have to survive public rigorous scrutiny. The “interpretation” of the results is always a participatory public activity.

    • beth

      The problem arises when the hypothesis becomes the paradigm or dogma.

      Then the “testing” of the hypothesis is no longer an unbiased, objective process following the normal scientific method, i.e. a “search for truth”.

      Instead it becomes a “search for proof”.

      And we see things like “wind shear” being substituted for “temperature” (because the thermometers did not support the paradigm).

      Or warming still “hidden in the pipeline” waiting for a postulated “equilibrium” (because the warming was only half as much as was predicted by the models).

      Max

    • “Actually Not. deciding which hypothesis to check, how to check it, and how to interpret the results is idiosyncratic at best.”

      What does that have to do with “climate science?”

      CAGW has never been treated as a hypothesis by the “consensus.” It was hatched full grown as revealed scientific dogma by James Hansen and the Democratic congressional staff in 1988.

      It has never been “checked,’ idiosyncratically or otherwise, by the “consensus” scientific community.

      It took 15 years of the so far 17 year “pause” of virtually no rise in reported temps for the climate cognoscenti to even acknowledge that their own temperature reports were not rising as predicted. And their response, to a government funded man, has been to find excuses and rationalizations for why their own cooked data does not match their own tuned climate models.

      I mean think about that. They are constantly “adjusting” temps, older temps downward, and current temps up. They control the weather stations, the data collection, the models that create temperature data where there is none. And they control the GCMs which they tune, with a primary parameter of climate sensitivity which assumes their faith in CAGW is accurate.

      And they STILL can’t get the reported temps and model runs to match.

      For 17 freakin’ years.

      Idiosyncratic is not what I would call it, though it’s close.

    • Gary M

      Idiosyncratic is not what I would call it, though it’s close.

      Let me correct that for you:

      Idiosyncratic

      There. That outa do it.

      Max

    • Max,

      Guess yer wouldn’t call hypothesis inoculation ‘testing,’ more
      like cargo cult ‘science.’ (

      beth the serf.

  46. Eeyore Rifkin

    RE confusion. The confusion is understandable considering the censorship of skeptical views. Connelley is part of the problem, since his infamous edits of Wikipedia have distorted the information landscape–its impact magnified by Google, which has a distorting bias of its own–not to mention his stint at Real Climate which from its inception censored skeptical questions with a heavy hand.

    Many newspapers refuse to publish skeptical views. Television and radio networks refuse to air skeptical views. Popular science magazines and journals refuse to publish skeptical views. Skeptical comments are continuously scrubbed from the websites of popular newsmedia outlets.

    You may recall viewer outrage and confusion in response to your appearance on PBS’s NewsHour’s story about the Pause. Think of Plato’s cave. After years watching shadows in the darkness, they were shown the light and they were blinded. They were bewildered.

    Senators walked out of your recent testimony in Washington. Why should they listen to skeptics (broadly defined)? 40% of the public is ready to believe that global warming causes extreme cold weather, which doesn’t leave too many voters to worry about. The donors they seek to appease don’t care about the science. They support Science only insofar as it can be used to rationalize their prejudices, their status claims or their ambitions.

    I suppose perhaps you were being a bit flippant with the question about confusion, but I think it’s an honest reaction on the part of some, and that puts them a step above the usual suspects.

  47. I’m somewhat loosely familiar, from a distance, through mostly hearsay and invective . . . okay, I don’t know much about Silver at all beyond thinking that he was quite good at his specific craft, but I wondered if that goodness would carry over into writing, and running a writing place and writers . . .

    . . . but . . .

    . . . if he truly got M. Pielke (the junior) signed up to discuss climatism on 538, then I’d have to give him more points than I would have expected for his ability to sign up an intelligent, well-grounded honest-to-gawd scientist.

    Guess I’ll have to read it.

  48. Surely the most trenchant summation of this whole situation is the one that can be found in the National Journal article ‘Nate Silver is Having an Ezra Klein Moment':

    ‘It seems like wherever climate science is, Roger Pielke is there saying that it’s wrong in some way,” said Miles Grant, a senior communications official with the National Wildlife Federation. “With friends like these, who needs the Koch brothers.’

    That sound bite has won the Internet. Take that Roger — and all the rest of you!

  49. S.C. Schwarz

    They loved Nate Silver when he was writing that Obama was going to beat Romney but now that his site strays from liberal orthodoxy he will be trashed. Again we see that liberalism is a religion and will not suffer blasphemy.

    • No, we are not turning on Nate Silver for that. We criticize him because he is another one of those statisticians that does not understand physics.

      Another case was the Freakonomics duo who used to be on the NY Times web site. They were ridiculed routinely when they misapplied statistics to known physics.

      Silver’s site will go that way unless he gets some real scientists involved — right down the drain.

    • Web, show us an example they where misapplied statistics to known physics. Here’s the archive.

      http://topics.nytimes.com/top/features/magazine/columns/freakonomics/

    • That’s an easy one. Since they never consider physics, Freakonomics believes that everything is governed by human behavior. Therefore they do not believe that non-renewable resources such as fossil fuel are finite.

      It’s in their book and they continued that theme in their column.

      From 2005:
      http://freakonomics.com/2005/08/21/peak-oil-welcome-to-the-medias-new-version-of-shark-attacks/


      The cover story of the New York Times Sunday Magazine written by Peter Maass is about “Peak Oil.” The idea behind “peak oil” is that the world has been on a path of increasing oil production for many years, and now we are about to peak and go into a situation where there are dwindling reserves, leading to triple-digit prices for a barrel of oil, an unparalleled worldwide depression …

      Are oil reserves dwindling? Yes world-wide …. Check
      Is the price of oil at triple-digits? Yes world-wide… Check
      Unparalleled word-wide depression? A world-wide recession since 1998. … Check
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Recession
      “The bad financial situation was made more difficult by a sharp increase in oil and food prices. ”

      How wrong could those guys have been? The writing was on the wall as I wrote at the time:
      http://www.theoildrum.com/story/2005/8/21/13643/8236#comment-157

      The Freakonomics writer said this:


      I don’t know much about world oil reserves.

      This is what you will get from Junior as well

    • Thanks Web. I read the article and find they are spot on. The substitute developed for “conventional” oil is shale oil and nat gas. So, I’m not seeing where they were wrong.

      From the article:
      As he notes, high prices lead people to develop substitutes. Which is exactly why we don’t need to panic over peak oil in the first place.

      So why do I compare peak oil to shark attacks? It is because shark attacks mostly stay about constant, but fear of them goes up sharply when the media decides to report on them. The same thing, I bet, will now happen with peak oil. I expect tons of copycat journalism stoking the fears of consumers about oil induced catastrophe, even though nothing fundamental has changed in the oil outlook in the last decade.

    • I meant recession since 2008 and not 1998.

      Clear that the recession was sparked by instability in oil prices and concern about the direction of the reserves as well as other factors such as the mortgage crisis.

      Look at where many foreclosures occurred, in the exurbs far away from places of work. People had the choice of paying for gas or going underwater.

    • Web derails; clean-up on the corridor.
      ===========

    • Webby – Seems to me that you’re the guy who argued vehemently for Peak Oil some time ago. And yet the US apparently has quite sufficient reserves, pumps more than ever, is on the verge of oil independence and export – all from private land rather than Federal land. Personally, I find your predictions and pronouncements more than a little suspect.

    • I didn’t argue for Peak Oil. That was a fact. What I did was to model the depletion trajectory, of which I contributed several analysis algorithms which turned out to be spot on.

      And fracking for oil is the equivalent of a drunk rummaging through dumpsters looking for left-over gulps from discarded Jim Beam bottles.

      There you go. You think Junior would write about that? Not in your wildest dreams.

    • Webby – Of course you did. I was one of those with whom you argued for the end of civilization. And your claim was belied by previous performance of the industry. In addition, your algorithm was pure conjecture and had no basis in fact – as proved by the fact that your prediction simply failed. The ONLY thing you’ve said that MAY be true is that oil is a finite resource. But how finite is, I think, beyond you.

      I haven’t always agreed with RPJ, but your attack on his basic thesis is, let’s just say, uninformed, and without factual basis (as usual).


    • Jim O | March 21, 2014 at 6:12 pm |

      Webby – Of course you did. I was one of those with whom you argued for the end of civilization.

      So Jim O, you were arguing for the end of civilization? Bizarre. I usually ignore those kind of people. Yourself included.

  50. It seems the norm these days is to fight science with slogans

  51. The Catastrophists are comfortable dealing with Senator Inhofe and the Koch brothers. They cannot handle the Pielkes, Lomborg, Ridley, Spencer,Curry and Lindzen because these are all people with relevant climate science backgrounds. Yes. I know that Lomborg is an economist.
    Their overwrought responses tell everything and reek of desperation. See the childish reference to “Junior!!” Give me a break and grow up.

  52. I’m just wondering if their political aims are really to make us all poorer and then pretend we are somehow better off. It’s certainly the result though.

  53. When Dr. Curry says 5 years ago she would never have thought of being grateful for having tenure to protect her from having politically inconvenient scientific analyses, it is somewhat chilling. Science is in a sad state if scientists have to feel endangered if they stand by their findings…

  54. Alexej Buergin

    Is it not depressing that the so called “Leader of the FREE World”, who even tried to force the IPCC to deny the pause, is originally a physicist?

  55. Obama was plainly off base scientifically with his California drought stunt. Holden was clearly stung when Pielke called him out (six page White House rebuttal?!?). The Green left os getting increasingly desperate as their climate change horse falters (see today’s WSJ for the KXL/fracking/ gas export kerfuffle around CovePoint–yetbtheybhave no response to Putins annexation of Crimea, knowing Europe can do nothing test he cut off their gas…)
    The more this devolves into the kind of mindless smearing shown by the response to RPJ at 538, the better the chances that the 2014 election will be like 2010, a rout. Lots of folks running scared, and increasingly showing it using the classic Chicago style political smears.
    Call these types out with facts at every turn. A heaping of ridicule won’t hurt either, since most seem immune to mere facts and logic.

    • They make themselves ridiculous, narrative stumbles over nature.
      ============

    • It’s getting harder and harder to blame Bush for everything. The Left cannot forever avoid seeing the devalued buck on the table. They should stand up and take credit for it! It’s what they wanted.

    • “They make themselves ridiculous..”

      The very hallmark of ridiculousness is a lack of awareness. Is there anything more oblivious…or dangerous… than a bunch of not very bright people determined to save the world?

    • “It’s getting harder and harder to blame Bush for everything.”

      That ship sailed years ago.

    • Rud,
      Thanks for your logical and rational comments. Plus the data and articles you provide. Making fun of the CAGW crowd as they crow about global warming in deep drifts of snow is a good approach. Heap ridicule and the cartoons will stand for nudging science back to the observation based empirical developments we long to return too.

      What did you think about the past data adjustments by NASA and NOAA that change a slight cooling trend from the 1900 to a medium and then accelerating warming trend?
      Scott

    • Scott, I am just finishing up a new book of essays on climate and energy. It will contain versions of essays that our gracious hostess was kind enough to post previously. There is a new essay on the temperature modifications. Goes well beyond what Steve Goddard has posted, and beyond the few brief paragraphs on the subject in the climate chapter of my last book. the behavior is more that NOAA and NASA. I illustrate HadCrut 3, 4.1 and 4.2, plus Australia BMet and NZ NIWA. Different methods, but always the same boge. Title is, When Data Isn’t.
      I will ask Judith where she has an interest in posting it for you all to critique.
      Regards

  56. Judith, when was the last time your were audited? Tenure won’t help there.
    Also, how do expect to get some of that $1 billion Obama announced? The system is still get grant/publish or die isn’t it? The folks with the money and the media behind them are still very much in charge.

  57. The models of global warming appeals to the gaming mindset of Leftists and libs who believe life is like gaming where success has nothing to do with sacrifice and the investment of a lot of blood, sweat and tears over many years to achieve something of value.

  58. Those man-induced-climate-change-believers who begin to have doubts only need to see how Roger Pielke, Jr is being attacked to silence them. It takes a courageous person with firm beliefs to endure this kind of onslaught. It’s much easier to stay in the pack, where the number of weaklings provide false strength, than to wander off alone where strength is required..

  59. Ah — Nate Silver. I really enjoyed his book, The Signal and the Noise. He made a big mistake there: the chapter on Climate Change suggested that the climate sensitivity to CO2 is much lower than the data from 1970-2000 might suggest, and that the high model sensitivities were the result of overfitting to that period. How could he have known that that would infuriate people like Michael Mann? Those who don’t follow climate obsessively think that the controversy is between people who believe that CO2 will cause warming, and those who don’t! He was still saying that CO2 will cause warming, so why was everyone so upset with him?
    And here he is again, with Roger Pielke Jr. and extreme weather events, wandering obliviously into more gunfire.
    Good for him; welcome to the reality-based community. But Nate Silver and the literally millions of liberals who respect him a lot (as do I) are going to be a major problem for AGW supporters. No doubt Michael Mann agrees.

    • That’s why Silver is in over his head when it comes to climate science. Fit to the entire period in which we have good measurements, say 1880 onwards and you come up with a value for TCR and ECS that match the mean values in the IPCC document. How did they get this right while Silver is off base?

      Because Silver made the mistake he criticizes everyone else for, choosing the ANECDOTAL over the STATISTICAL. How could this happen you say — well I really doubt that Silver had done any of this kind of physics, doesn’t have any feel for what is involved, so just made a boneheaded judgement.

      Just like his boneheaded decision to hire junior mint.

    • “Fit to the entire period in which we have good measurements, say 1880 onwards and you come up with a value for TCR and ECS that match the mean values in the IPCC document”

      Between 1.5 and 4.5C?

      Gosh.

    • His “boneheaded judgment” is shared by increasing numbers of experts in the climate community, as I expect you know perfectly well. You’re at liberty to disagree, but not to try to give the impression that what you’re saying is consensus science with everyone who “has a feel for what’s involved”.

    • @ whut

      ” Fit to the entire period in which we have good measurements, say 1880 onwards and you come up with a value for TCR and ECS that match the mean values in the IPCC document. How did they get this right while Silver is off base?”

      Which measurements would those be? The ones referred to by Scott and Rud above, where the raw sensor data has been adjusted repeatedly to make older temperatures colder and new temperatures warmer? Is the original, unadjusted data still available?

      Are you certain that the ‘good data’ wasn’t in fact fitted to the desired TCR and ECS?

  60. Brilliant post Judy – one of your very best. Sorry I arrived late to it but such a life where ‘climate’ = drain on resources and ‘resources’ = dwindling!

  61. Confident prediction: in ten years the warmists will be exposed as the ideologically-driven suckers off the government teat that they are. The credibility of their GCMs and the manipulated data will be finally and utterly destroyed (we are getting close already). Leave aside the questionable scientific process that 1) has corrupted the peer review process 2) continues to conceal from other scientists the data they use and their GCM software code and 3) fights their critics with spurious litigation. Instead focus on the idiocy of ignoring India and China–who will NEVER accede to carbon restrictions. They build a new coal-fired plant every week and we’re supposed to cripple our economies while they accelerate their carbon fuel use?

    Ideology. Idiocy.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      Sounds like you have a brain full of wishful thinking.

    • PD Quig

      You’ve expressed it a bit more strongly than I would, but what you write is almost certainly right (leaving the door open for a “black swan”).

      There will be a few “no regrets” initiatives that save energy and reduce CO2 (these are already WIP in the developed world) but there will be no global mitigation of human GHG emissions.

      If a few industrialized nations are foolish enough to start mitigating beyond these few “no regrets” initiatives, they will only lose any competitive advantage they now have to the rest of the world, who will not mitigate.

      Anyone who dreams of global CO2 mitigation is indeed dreaming.

      It ain’t gonna happen.

      Instead the world will adapt to any challenges resulting from any future changes in our climate that nature or anyone else throws at us, if and when it becomes apparent that such changes are likely to occur.

      Adaptation wins.

      Mitigation dies.

      Max

    • Sounds like another libertarian nutter there.

      I hear the Congo is nice for those wishing to avoid the evils of Big Gubmint.

    • Michael, you had best take a look at what just transpired at the UNFCCC conference in Bonn. And, maybe you have not noticed that Russia just annexed Crimea with impunity, since the EU cannot respond lest Putin cut their gas supplies.

      Whoever you are, come back to earth, get real, and quit your inanities. Gore called all climate skeptics nutters on Jimmy Kimmel last October. You must have stayed up watching him, since you echo his nutter aspertion. But you missed that Hypocrite Gore lost an election, and that most skeptics are not libertarians. Skeptics just notice that climate observations vary from climate theory and predictions. Nothing to do with politics. Now, if by libertarian you mean the truth shall set you free, then I agree. But I do not think that is what you meant.

      You want debate, this is a good forum. Next time, bring logic and facts, not your usual tripe. En guard!

    • We have Big Gubmint here too (Oz) Rud – universal health care, free eduction, unemployment benefits.

      A ‘socialist’ utopia, if you pay any heed to the libertarian nutters – but somehow the sky hasn’t fallen in….far from it in fact.

      Some need to be far more discriminating in what constitutes evil Gubmint.

    • Robert I Ellison

      When I say that the conservative lacks principles, I do not mean to suggest that he lacks moral conviction. The typical conservative is indeed usually a man of very strong moral convictions. What I mean is that he has no political principles which enable him to work with people whose moral values differ from his own for a political order in which both can obey their convictions. It is the recognition of such principles that permits the coexistence of different sets of values that makes it possible to build a peaceful society with a minimum of force. The acceptance of such principles means that we agree to tolerate much that we dislike. There are many values of the conservative which appeal to me more than those of the socialists; yet for a liberal the importance he personally attaches to specific goals is no sufficient justification for forcing others to serve them. I have little doubt that some of my conservative friends will be shocked by what they will regard as “concessions” to modern views that I have made in Part III of this book. But, though I may dislike some of the measures concerned as much as they do and might vote against them, I know of no general principles to which I could appeal to persuade those of a different view that those measures are not permissible in the general kind of society which we both desire. To live and work successfully with others requires more than faithfulness to one’s concrete aims. It requires an intellectual commitment to a type of order in which, even on issues which to one are fundamental, others are allowed to pursue different ends.

      It is for this reason that to the liberal neither moral nor religious ideals are proper objects of coercion, while both conservatives and socialists recognize no such limits. I sometimes feel that the most conspicuous attribute of liberalism that distinguishes it as much from conservatism as from socialism is the view that moral beliefs concerning matters of conduct which do not directly interfere with the protected sphere of other persons do not justify coercion. This may also explain why it seems to be so much easier for the repentant socialist to find a new spiritual home in the conservative fold than in the liberal. http://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/articles/hayek-why-i-am-not-conservative.pdf

      ‘The successful use of competition as the principle of social organization precludes certain types of coercive interference with economic life, but it admits of others which sometimes may very considerably assist its work and even requires certain kinds of government action…

      To prohibit the use of certain poisonous substances, or to require special precautions in their use, to limit working hours or to require certain sanitary arrangements, is fully compatible with the preservation of competition. The only question here is whether in the particular instance the advantages gained are greater than the social costs they impose…

      He notes that there are certain areas, such as the environment, where activities that cause damage to third parties (known to economists as “negative externalities”) cannot effectively be regulated solely by the marketplace…

      Nor can certain harmful effects of deforestation, of some methods of farming, or of the smoke and noise of factories, be confined to the owner of the property in question, or to those willing to submit to the damage for an agreed compensation…

      Even the most essential prerequisite of its [the market's] proper functioning, the prevention of fraud and deception (including exploitation of ignorance), provides a great and by no means fully accomplished object of legislative activity…

      There is no reason why, in a society which has reached the general level of wealth ours has, the first kind of security should not be guaranteed to all without endangering general freedom; that is: some minimum of food, shelter and clothing, sufficient to preserve health. Nor is there any reason why the state should not help to organize a comprehensive system of social insurance in providing for those common hazards of life against which few can make adequate provision…

      In no system that could be rationally defended would the state just do nothing.”

      There is in theory nothing in the liberal (in the not American sense) world view to prevent even carbon taxes in principle. You just need to get people to vote for them. Good luck with that.

  62. Judy: I found Michael Mann’s piece just as unpleasant and full of ad hominem as his other opinion pieces, save for a general partiality for Nate Silver.

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  66. It’s pretty obvious what’s going on here. Holdren attacked Pielke and thus sent out the dog whistle to “the mob” to enact revenge.
    They are only doing what the pack mentality demands.

  67. John Holdren’s prophesies back in the 1970s-80s proved spectacularly wrong and he is made science advisor to President Obama. Who is advising whom? Heaven help the country.

    James Rust

  68. patmcguinness

    I just spent 10 minutes listening to an MSBNC recording (youtube) of Chris Hayes interviewing climate ‘activists’ and ‘journalists’. Both are in quotes because it was clear to me that the line between a 350.org flunky, the MSNBC host, the HuffPost columnist, Joe Romm, and Andy Revkin (NY Times journalist) was blurry; the climate-journalist-vs-activist is blurred to the point of nothingness. It was painful indeed to hear what was nothing more than a Climate Alarmism cheerleading squad reassuring each-other and reinforcing their biases.

    There IS no objective journalism. Even Nate Silver has a bias, but if the bias is one in favor of ‘data’, well bully for him. Because it beats the pants off this journalists who are clearly in the ‘agenda first, then make the stories that fit the agenda second’ camp.

  69. Each discipline has boring technical details that need to be followed
    For wonkish blogging, one detail is accurate links
    Either Pielke or 538 is sloppy and lazy, because they give the IPCC home page as a link for IPCC statements on freq of disasters; just un acceptable

    almost as bad as economists who cite “www.bls.gov” as source
    can you imagine how Prof Pielke would grade a student who gave the IPCC home page as a citation for a specific fact ???
    lazy, sloppy and definitely not wonkish

  70. Another blog post on the topic: Vile Global Warming Politics

  71. Ian Blanchard

    Why is RP jr’s piece even controversial? It can be summarised as follows:

    Global warming is real.
    It is hypothesised that over time extreme weather events will become more frequent and more severe.
    Increases in cost of disaster losses are attributable to increased wealth in the areas affected by extreme events.
    Presently, the data for extreme weather events does not show any evidence to support this hypothesis for most/all of the events that would generally be considered ‘extreme’.
    Given by their nature, ‘extreme’ events are very infrequent, a far longer time period will likely be necessary before any mathematically significant signal associated with warming will show in the data.

    About the only criticism of the first article (and addressed in the follow-up article) that has merit is some flip-flopping between costs for weather-related disaster losses and total disaster losses, but I think this was solely used to support the point that costs have increased because of increasing wealth rather than increased frequency or severity of events

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  73. OK then, Nate Silver. Don’t take my advice
    Why not go and do something really stupid, like kiss goodbye to integrity, pay Danegeld to your tormenters, and humiliate one of your innocent writers?

    Oh. No. Wait. You already did.

    If Silver still doesn’t realize he’s the victim of an orchestrated plot by a handful of deep green astroturfers to destroy his site as punishment for his failure to pay proper obeisance to Mother Gaia, maybe he should check this out. (H/T My Right Penguin)
    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2014/03/28/Now-Nate-Silver-Capitulates-Needlessly-To-The-Green-Activists-And-Throws-His-Staffers-To-The-Wolves

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/28/fivethirtyeight-climate-change-dispute_n_5049279.html

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  75. Nate Silver seems to be having second thoughts.

  76. Patrick Moffitt

    “RP Jr’s post at 538 has elicited what is probably the most reprehensible and contemptible smear job that I have ever seen of a scientist, at least from an organization that has any pretense of respectability. ”

    Perhaps you have forgotten what happened to Ed Krug as a result of his questioning the politcally correct acid rain paradigm. http://employees.oneonta.edu/blechmjb/jbpages/m205/The%20EPA%20vs_%20Ed%20Krug.htm

    Or

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