Science and policy – reconciling the two cultures

by Judith Curry

There are obvious issues, such as protecting the independence of advice, acknowledging the limitations of science and being clear about what we know and do not know, to understand how science informs but does not make policy, and the need to ensure honest brokerage of information. – Sir Peter Gluckman

Sir Peter Gluckman is the Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand. Gluckman was highlighted on this previous post at Climate Etc:  The Art of Science Advice to the Government.

Recently, Gluckmen presented the Arthur E. Mills  Memorial Oration to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, entitled  Science and Public Policy – Reconciling the Two Cultures.  Excerpts (JC bold):

Policy-making is primarily a process of identifying problems and exploring the options to address them. It is ultimately the politicians that decide between options to define policy. Policy-making is rarely simple but the process provides the analysis and framework on which decisions about the inevitable tradeoffs have to be made. Most of the considerations are values laden and this is why politics is inevitably so contentious. Obvious considerations include public opinion, the electoral contract of the day, fiscal priorities, diplomatic considerations and assessment of risk and reward both politically and economically.

Some issues that policy-makers address are straight-forward and uncontentious and receive little media attention. But many are contentious or become contentious – generally because the values components are real and because there is often no right or wrong answer. These debates have a strong philosophical basis that often is somewhat tritely reduced to a uni-dimensional characterisation of left versus right -leaning ideology.

[F]irst we need to remember what science is – it is not a compilation of facts. Rather it is a set of processes used to gather relatively reliable information about the world we live in, our societies and ourselves. It is the formality of these processes that gives science its privilege and validity over other claims to knowledge about our world that can only come from belief, received wisdom, or anecdote. When this formality is broken – whether by unsupported claims, hidden biases, lack of reproducibility, and inadequate peer review, public trust in science is harmed and its privilege is undermined.

Science used to tackle only relatively linear problems and inform society in a very linear (and indeed uni-directional way). For instance, antibiotics could kill bacteria; vaccines could prevent whooping cough; clean water supplies could enhance a community’s health; renal disease causes hypertension and so forth. To the extent that the policy maker needed science it was uncontentious – it was simply information to put into the mix.

But the processes of science and the contexts into which it is now applied have changed. This is in part because of computational and imaging power that allows much more complex systems to be addressed, and in part because, as a society, we now demand solutions to more complex problems. Now science must deal with non-linear systems of immense complexity and often with a great deal of uncertainty.  In many cases, it is about trying to make apparently objective estimates of probability or risk with inevitably incomplete understandings of the system and with quite different understandings of the meaning of risk by – say – the statistician compared to the general public or in turn the politician. Think about how your patients understand and perceive risk. This will very much depend on how you convey the information and in turn how that is done depends on what you know and what you believe – which are not the same thing. But it will also depend on your patient’s own biases and prior knowledge – whether reliable or unreliable.

It can go well, and it can go badly. It is done badly when science overstates what is known and does not admit to what is unknown about contentious issues. But at the same time, it is made more difficult when the almost inevitable hope of the politician is for the certainty of black-and-white answers.  The relationship is also mishandled when the science community assumes that science alone can make policy – it does not.

We do our best to use the processes of science to protect our results from the influence of values when we analyse data, but in reality, values abound in science, so we need to identify them, understand them and ultimately minimise their effect. Values are inherent in what scientists choose to study, how they frame their questions, their methodological choices, and in how they interpret and communicate results. Managing and acknowledging those values properly is essential if science is to sustain its privileged position in the advice process.

[I]n recent years, we have seen many examples where the complexity of science has been used by interested groups as a proxy to debate when the issue is really one of values. Climate change is an obvious example.  In this uncertainty, there is opportunity for legitimate scientific debate, but that debate has largely been displaced by using scientific complexity as an excuse for a proxy battle which when peeled away is really a values debate over the economic interests of this generation versus the next. Science can easily get damaged in such proxy debates.

First and foremost the challenge is one of trust: the intermediary knowledge broker must simultaneously maintain the trust of at least four stakeholder groups: the politician, the policymaker, the public and the science community – a real challenge. Each group expects something different from the intermediary and the science community often confuses the role with that of a lobbyist for them. This can have the effect of undermining the trust of the others in the role. It requires a sense of accountability – both by scientists producing new knowledge, and by policy-makers and politicians whom we expect to put it to use. This creates difficult issues of when  scientists should act as knowledge brokers and when as citizens they act as advocates for a cause. Increasingly this almost impossible distinction may need to become clearer if science is to keep its privilege and to earn the respect of the policy maker.

JC comments: Gluckman’s speech touches on many issues that we’ve discussed at Climate Etc.   My main challenge in putting this post together was in deciding which of Gluckman’s words to excerpt.  I encourage you to read his entire speech, it isn’t too long.  This is the best overall summary that I’ve seen of issues at the science-policy interface.  New Zealand is fortunate to have Gluckman as its science advisor.   Somehow, I can’t imagine the U.S. equivalent of in this position (John Holdren) penning such a speech; Holdren seems to me to be unfortunately focused on using science to stifle political debates.

 

 

262 responses to “Science and policy – reconciling the two cultures

  1. …in an electronically connected world the tactics of those who reject the consensus, whatever their motives, can undermine confidence in the entire science system.”

    – Sir Peter Gluckman.

    (I believe the New Zealand equivalent of Kool-Aid is Raro.)

  2. I didn’t realize the AGW errr climate change errrrrr climate disruption debate was just “a proxy battle which when peeled away is really a values debate over the economic interests of this generation versus the next.”

    IMO boiling it down to being a generational argument is as fatuous as saying it’s purely left v right.

    I thought it was all about honest/open/verifiable science vs dishonest/closed/unsupported “science”.

    • Rob Starkey

      “a proxy battle which when peeled away is really a values debate over the economic interests of this generation versus the next.”

      There is little reliable evidence to describe where the next generation will be harmed vs. benefit or that the net result will be net harms overall. There is ZERO reliable evidence that actions taken by the US regarding CO2 mitigation actions will do anything to benefit the next generation.

      That BELIEF is faith based, and it seems inappropriate to try to force others to adopt your personal faith based system of beliefs.

    • –I didn’t realize the AGW errr climate change errrrrr climate disruption debate was just “a proxy battle which when peeled away is really a values debate over the economic interests of this generation versus the next.”

      IMO boiling it down to being a generational argument is as fatuous as saying it’s purely left v right.–

      Considering governments willingness to go into debt, the generational argument seems more relevent, than it would be otherwise.
      But in terms of “global warming” it’s also very much having to do governing in terms of future generations. And rather than for next 20 years, [next generation] the focus seems to be largely over 50 years in the future, making it rather farcical.

    • I also found that interesting, in that we have a denizen (Faustino) who regularly argues that seeing things that way is fallacious–but not for the reasons you guys give. Faustino frequently argues that the best thing for future generations is to leave them as wealthy as we can… understanding “wealthy” in the economic sense of leaving them with the most broad set of choices. It really isn’t crystal clear what that means, though. Given all the risks, it might be a combination of smart (relatively low-cost) mitigation and simple economic growth and technological progress. I think that’s in the spirit of what Faustino frequently argues for, if not identical in all particulars.

      At any rate, the view of a grand bargaining game between the present and the future IS a very static one, inasmuch as it imagines some fixed cake of goodies that needs to be split. I suspect this misses the larger part of the equation–the dynamic and evolving nature of our global economy.

    • Peter Lang

      NW,

      Given all the risks, it might be a combination of smart (relatively low-cost) mitigation …

      The problem is that there is no such thing as ‘relatively low-cost mitigation’ – well at least while low cost low emissions energy (i.e. nuclear) is not viable thanks to the anti-nukes.

      ‘No regrets’ policies is what is required, but the ‘Progressives’ have effectively blocked them for all the time the UN climate negotiations have been underway (22 years since the 1992 Rio Earth Summit).

    • –Faustino frequently argues that the best thing for future generations is to leave them as wealthy as we can… understanding “wealthy” in the economic sense of leaving them with the most broad set of choices. It really isn’t crystal clear what that means, though. Given all the risks, it might be a combination of smart (relatively low-cost) mitigation and simple economic growth and technological progress. I think that’s in the spirit of what Faustino frequently argues for, if not identical in all particulars.–

      What is “leave them as wealthy as we can”?
      Hmm, I would say we don’t seem to be doing this.
      I would say there are many different ways we are not doing this.
      A major element is we are doing well in regards to educational reform.
      Or in terms small details, we are continuing to have financial institution “too big to fail”- and of course they will fail again in the future.
      Though with both these things, we might simply bypass “the whole mess” and simply increasingly do things differently- so say home schooling combined with education online- each sort of self supporting and growing like a kind fungus. And crowdfunding and Kickstarter, etc and perhaps reincarnation of Bitcoin or some other mutant may also develop.
      So rather than a plan, such things may evolve, and it’s quite possible they grow in what seems unlikely parts of the world.

      Now, to me, the most obvious sign of increase wealth is the ability to be able to leave Earth. So, would include what are could joyride to space, via suborbital rocket and this extends to suborbital flight of more than 500 km distance, which leads to global travel and gong to orbit. That would big in terms of getting more wealthy and something to leave future generations. As air travel was left to future generation [and air travel has made us wealthy in sense that most people if want can jump on plane and travel hundreds of miles- instead of using a donkey or sampan. So this is generally called, access to Space, or Cheap Access to Space [CATS].

      Having access to a cheap and low maintenance community size nuclear reactor could also be something related to increasing wealth.
      Of course the internet is already wealth which is passed on, and it no doubt will continue. And may gradually improve, or we have some big steps in the future.

    • gbaikie

      you mention the internet as ‘wealth’ we will leave to future generations. I am becoming increasingly concerned that it is a poisoned chalice.

      The latest Google hack reveals how easy it is to strike at the core of peoples privacy and in turn potentially impoverish them by stealing money or identities, this hacking of private and state systems is likely to escalate and may be directed to overwhelm important infrastructure we all rely on.

      Always being online means it is becoming less necessary to learn things as the answer-or somebody’s version of it -is one click away.

      Yes, numerous benefits to the internet but the jury is still out as to whether it is on balance ‘wealth’ that will benefit future generations.
      tonyb

    • Poisoned chalice climatereason, tsk!? U of all people who know
      the importance of the record and understand that knowledge,
      however provisionally we hold it, is preferable to ignorance, should
      worry about the open society of the internet?

      Those cosy coteries, holding ter their silk-shirted chests, information
      not ter be made available ter the serfs, decisions ter adjust data,
      cast data down some memery whole, are challenged by the open
      society that the internet, warts ‘n all, allows ter by-pass consensus
      politics.

      Better fer youth ter come up against realities of human behavior,
      the best and the worst, than live in some nanny-state of ignorance
      and power-less-ness, ter be manipulated and dumbed
      d
      o
      w
      n.

      Jest- a- serf.

    • Beth said

      ‘…..nanny-state of ignorance.’

      Transparency, lack of privacy-surely two sides of the same coin.’

      As I said, the internet has many benefits but it has its downsides. I see little evidence that transparency has won through without the correlation that we suffer lack of privacy and lack of knowledge as we become less able to think for ourselves and rely on the words of others via the internet.

      Google ‘climate change’ and see how much we deviate from the consensus. You need to be able to think for yourself to interpret data.

      tonyb

    • Yes Tony,

      Bright side-dark side. We would like youth to be broadly educated,
      fostering critical thinking, the classics, maths/physics etcetera
      and we know the ideal isn’t the reality. But at least with the
      internet there’s a channel that was lacking in States where
      information was strictly censored. Even institutions in
      democratic countries can become consensus fortresses.
      Thank goodness fer the diligent researchers motivated by
      curiosity like yrself and some forums where they can be
      discussed like Climate Etc.

      bts

    • Beth

      The internet is as open as the gatekeepers want it to be. If material isn’t digitised it doesn’t exist for many researchers. Using climate as an example, the Met Office doesn’t believe in the historic record so what incentive do they have to spend time and money digitising historic climate material?

      Not a conspiracy theory or anything that material they don’t like is being deliberately supressed, just pragmatic reality

      tonyb

    • Tony,

      The problem is in the hive, Met Office, seige mentality, not the
      internet, isn’t it? Like Mann’s Hocky Stick data that Steve McIntyre
      questioned in the public arena of the internet.

      bts

    • Beth

      Chicken and egg. The Met office is setting the agenda and that agenda excludes from the internet certain material. This is hardly the open transparent internet but a muddy version of it with the gatekeepers controlling the message.

      tonyb

    • Gatekeepers sitting on their eggs … (

    • – climatereason | May 23, 2014 at 4:04 am |

      gbaikie

      you mention the internet as ‘wealth’ we will leave to future generations. I am becoming increasingly concerned that it is a poisoned chalice.

      The latest Google hack reveals how easy it is to strike at the core of peoples privacy and in turn potentially impoverish them by stealing money or identities, this hacking of private and state systems is likely to escalate and may be directed to overwhelm important infrastructure we all rely on. —

      Internet is basically a different kind of telephone. But it’s much better than a phone and phones has been improved, an people connect to internet with cell phones, and we instant news around the world, and etc.
      But you are basically saying a telephone is a bad or threatening thing.
      Not much different than say using fire might have been bad move. And ever since the wheel we have had highway taxes, highway robbery, and whatever.
      The internet is something hundreds of millions of people want- and they have various reasons, but wealth is what people want.
      And you are on the internet, and I get irritated if I can’t get on the internet- so I think internet is just fine- unless something better is created. Which no doubt. will happen.
      We have to moving, we have to keep exploring- there is a lot to do. I want Earthling move from “mostly harmless” to “crazy dangerous”.

  3. These debates have a strong philosophical basis that often is somewhat tritely reduced to a uni-dimensional characterisation of left versus right -leaning ideology.

    Nothing “trite” about what is essential about the AGW “cause” which is its front nature for left-wing activism from inception. If that isn’t the first concession of facts the rest is gibberish.

    More consensus apologist twaddle and deceit.

  4. pokerguy (aka al neipris)

    “Holdren seems to me to be unfortunately focused on using science to stifle political debates”

    In Obama-land, at least two important debates are already settled, The rightness of the Affordable Care Act is now inscribed on stone tablets of truth, as is the certainty of the coming climate apocalypse. All who can’t find it within themselves to accept these self evident truths, are contemptible troglodytes, or worse, obstructionist Republicans.

    He’s the most purposely divisive President I can think of, with the possible exception of Nixon with his appeal to the morally superior “silent majority.”

  5. Hank Zentgraf

    Political debates are important, but until the American people have access to on going technical debates (3 hours on cspan) every week for a prolonged period, the political debates are premature. It is seldom that citizens see climate scientists eyeball to eyeball presenting positions, with facts and submitting to challenges from opponents on the spot with plenty of time for rebuttal. The science has many points of agreement/disagreement and plenty of uncertainties that could go either way as we study this messy problem. The American people deserve a comprehensive process to form their own framework to understand public policy.

    • Hank Zentgraf,
      The American people have proven time and again that they are easily influenced by emotional appeals rather than practical appeals. Why else would poor people vote against a system of health care for all? Since the majority are hardly surviving month to month, debate on the climate is low on there list of priorities. This is not because it is unimportant. A human being can only deal with the most pressing issues. That’s the reason I feel the governments are responsible for making this kind of decision for them. That is what representative governing is all about. The problem is that there seem to be very few representatives that have unbiased policy advisors.

  6. Well most obviously it is science that leads to the technologies that change our world, our society and the way we live.

    And if we look around, it becomes clear that science and technology are at the heart of the biggest issues we face as a global population – both as the source of solutions, but also as a cause.

    Interesting placement. Most alarmists seem to start with the obvious fact that technology is primary to the cause, then argue over how much it can contribute to the solution, and how to motivate that contribution. His attitude seems to be more one of “we’ll use technology to solve the problems, which is only fair since it contributed to them”. Very different emphasis here.

    There is no denying that until recently science has been patronising and positioned rather isolated from society. But in the late 20th century there was a broad recognition that science like medicine had to engage with and recognise it was part of society and to recognise the extent to which it both shaped and was shaped by the social context.

    Finally, in this new relationship, it is also important to not assume that science itself is value free. It is not.

    In regard to these quotes, I’m reminded of a post here a while back on personality profiles, and the way younger “climate scientists” tend to be much more socially involved than older. IMO this represents a corruption of the older spirit of science with reliance on social processes rather than actual objective scientific processes to determine results. I suspect it results from actual social processes at the entry to the science, with many graduate students being motivated to become “climate scientists” due to a pre-existing ideological commitment.

  7. Note how we’ve left behind those quaint old “linear” days for a sexy era of “computational and imaging power”. Did you know that with complexity comes uncertainty? Pete knows.

    Gawd. Give me some inarticulate guy in a smudged labcoat with a permanent bad-hair day over one of these non-linear po-mo “communicators”.

  8. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

    JC:

    Holdren seems to me to be unfortunately focused on using science to stifle political debates.

    Good.
    There is zero value in “political debate” for its own sake.

    Gluckman:

    Science can easily get damaged in such proxy debates.

    Holdren is using science to determine policy.

    This is infinitely preferable to using politics to stifle science.
    Not that I know anyone here who would ever do such a thing.

    • Steven Mosher

      “This is infinitely preferable to using politics to stifle science.
      Not that I know anyone here who would ever do such a thing.”

      I can name a few.

      • At least in the U.S. I would say the people using politics to stifle science are the scientists themselves (not so much the government)

    • Then for Christ’s sake, either name them with accompanying proof or shut up about it.

    • nottawa rafter

      JCH
      Who were you addressing your comments to?

    • Steven Mosher

      JCH

      “Then for Christ’s sake, either name them with accompanying proof or shut up about it.”

      beware what you ask for.

    • “Then for Christ’s sake, either name them with accompanying proof or shut up about it.” – JCH

      You know from past experience that’s not gunna happen – remember the IPCC “cabal”.

      Judith likes her broadbrush smears, which when challenged on, she neither retracts, nor specifies or offers evidence for.

    • nottawa rafter

      Mike
      You see, I wanted JCH to tell us exactly who he was addressing. If it was Mosher, ok, we are all fair game in this give and take. But if it was directed at our hostess, then that was just bad manners. Based on your reply, I take it bad manners are acceptable to you. Do you ever get second invitations to dinner parties?

    • Real sceptics prefer substance over style.

    • Michael: May 22 11:12 a.m.: “Just had a look at Paul’s blog – interesting tone.”

      Michael: May 23 8:38 a.m.: “Real sceptics prefer substance over style.”

      I’m not sure which is funnier- a warmist concerned about “tone” or a warmist unable to stick to a message for 24 hours.

    • Jeff,

      I was using ‘tone’ as an euphamism.

      Sorry to confuse you.

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

      curryja | May 22, 2014 at 1:51 pm |

      At least in the U.S. I would say the people using politics to stifle science are the scientists themselves (not so much the government)

      Coming form a scientist who blog-shouts “McCarthyism!”, and who accuses the IPCC and other climate scientists of incompetence or malfeasance almost daily, I would have to agree.

      But then “the scientists themselves” to which you refer would, of course, not include the chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

      Some scientist are just morally superior. They “offer advice”, they “suggest”, they “critique” – but they certainly do not “advocate” – and would never “stifle”.

      But, really, the comparison presumes a false dilemma…

      Let’s have a quick look at, say, the US Republican Party, shall we?

      90 percent of the Republican leadership in both House and Senate deny climate change

      17 out of 22 Republican members of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, or 77 percent, are climate deniers

      22 out of 30 Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, or 73 percent deny the reality of climate change

      100 percent of Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Republicans have said climate change is not happening or that humans do not cause it

      http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/06/26/2202141/anti-science-climate-denier-caucus-113th-congress-edition/

      So many people out to stifle what they do not like, or even understand.

  9. Another highly relevant quote from Gluckman;

    ““There have been too many examples where appealing to apparently confused science masks what is in fact a policy or ideological debate (for example, exploiting scientific uncertainty to justify inaction on climate change). This has been termed the ‘misuse of science as a proxy for a values debate’. Such misalignment can only undermine confidence
    in both science and policy formation.”

    Would never happen here…..

    • Rob Starkey

      Michael
      It all comes down to the merits of the specific actions being suggested and whether they make sense.

      Is it dumb to ignore the climate and how it might change in the future when making government policy? Certainly. It is also dumb to use the limited resources of government to implement policies that will have no benefit to those paying for them when those limited funds could have been used in another manner that actually would have provided a benefit.

      The most sensiable action in response to a concern about a changing climate is the construction and maintenance of robust infrastructure.

    • The exploitation cuts both ways.
      Remember, according to the bulk of the advocates, AGW is serious enough to warrant re-thinking capitalism and considering population controls and high energy taxes.
      But if you suggest a nuclear power plant- whoaaah, hey, down boy, it ain’t THAT serious!
      The proxy fight is real, but it isn’t about future v current economic interests. I think my (young) kids will be adults in a wealthy modern world powered by nukes and, where economical, wind and solar. That will be a world with dramatically reduced CO2 emissions. My responsibility as a citizen is making sure folks like Michael and Joshua don’t take us off into progressive political crazy town based on an “urgent” hyped up claim that pickup trucks are responsible for every storm.

    • JeffN | May 22, 2014 at 11:41 am |
      “progressive political crazy town based on an “urgent” hyped up claim that pickup trucks are responsible for every storm.”

      I’m thankful JeffN isn’t some crazy postulating extravagantly absurd claims like some people (ie those he doesn’t like) say that pick-up trucks cause storms.

      Aren’t we lucky?

    • Actually, my yard was looking really dry the other day so I drove around for the rest of the day in my Chevy Suburban. It rained that night.

      Just sayin’

  10. “Holdren seems to me to be unfortunately focused on using science to stifle political debates.” – JC

    Interesting choice ‘stifle’ – so nicely loaded.

    How about ‘inform’?

    • No, how about “stifle” as when he attacked Pielke, Jr. even though IPCC and peer-reviewed literature supported Pielke’s position.

      http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2014/03/john-holdrens-epic-fail.html

    • So Jr. says.

    • Steven Mosher

      “President Obama’s science adviser, Dr. John P. Holdren, said the report proves “that the kinds of harm already being experienced from climate change will continue to worsen unless and until comprehensive and vigorous action to reduce emissions is undertaken worldwide.”

      Err. That is not science informing debate.

    • Where does it stifle? Is P Jr. dead? Is he unemployed? Is his blogged censored?

    • They’d never “stifle”…..change the peer-review procedure, ostracize and/or threaten to stop cooperation/partnership on an article maybe but never “stifle”.

    • ‘stifle’

      More pearl-clutching.

    • Here you go and loaded with laughs just like on TV but now it is a different track.

      ” Archie is based on Lear’s Russian-Jewish father Herman, who really did tell his wife to “stifle.”

  11. Jeffrey Eric Grant

    Hank, the American Public has plenty of opportunity to explore AGW in a school system guided by “Common Core”, where it is posited that AGW is the truth and anything said against that position is false; and should be banned in the public square. If the Global Warmists lose their current fight to change the world, they will wait for one genereation to make it happen. Slowly, the gears move…

  12. John McClure

    Guest post by Lennart Bengtsson: My view on climate research
    21 May, 2014 | on the Uppsalainitiativet blog

    http://uppsalainitiativet.blogspot.se/2014/05/guest-post-by-lennart-bengtsson-my-view.html?m=1

    • A post on this is coming on Saturday

    • “Unfortunately, things are not as splendid as they seem. As a result of chaos theory, weather and climate cannot be predicted, and how future climate will turn out will not be known until future is upon us.”

      I disagree. Correlations are useful even if we have no theory to explain them. For purposes of making a prediction, the underlying reason for a correlation may not matter. One does not need an accurate cause-effect explanation to make a prediction.

      I predict that global temperature indices will plummet in the next few decades due to the slowdown in solar cycle frequency.

    • Interesting comment
      “It would be interesting to hear from Lennart Bengtsson how it all happened. Did he actually what is in the articles or distorted journalists his statements? Did he talk directly with all journalists (at least three major British newspapers), or have copied from each other (I can find no evidence that later)? Have GWPF been involved, and if so, how? Both Lawson and Ridley, for example, received column space in The Times about Bengtsson’s departure, but was involved in just these articles? Was there some kind of press conference?”

    • Edim said “Correlations are useful even if we have no theory to explain them. For purposes of making a prediction, the underlying reason for a correlation may not matter. One does not need an accurate cause-effect explanation to make a prediction.”

      May not, yes. But “one does not need” is too strong, because the historical correlations might be policy-dependent. That possibility has a name:

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

      Mind you, I’m not claiming you’re wrong about the climate system. It’s just that the claim is too broad, and definitely doesn’t apply to complex systems inhabited by sentients making choices which depend on policy choices.

  13. What is amazing to me is the hubris of alarmist “scientists” such as Hansen and Mann. I am a lawyer, and I instinctively understand the huge societal and changes required by the megaregulation required to attain the policy goals they seek to obtain. Government control or regulation always leads to increased chances of abuse by government officials or those utilizing the regulation for ulterior purposes. For instance, one of my rental properties is registered with the county so that I can be contacted if there are problems on my property. (No problem with that). Then what happens is that a city within the county decides that they want to make money off of rental registration and it sends me a letter saying that I have to pay them $10 to give them exactly the same information that they already have to register my property with the city. Obviously, the city is simply using the registration as a cover to make money. Additionally, this same city tells me that I have to inform my tenant that she is subject to city income taxes. (Why is it MY job to deal with my tenant’s income tax liabilities)

    If you modify this city’s abuse and authoritarianism a billion times that is what we are looking at with megaregulation of CO2. You can argue over the extent of the abuse that will occur or the extent of the benefits that will accrue by reducing CO2, but you can’t really argue that the secondary effects of megaregulation will not be substantial. However, the alarmists, in their insular ignorance, have no clue as to the difficulties and risks of megaregulation. Worse still, they arrogantly call those opposed to megaregulation d>niers while at the same time making no effort to understand the societal and regulatory impacts of their policy proposals.

    JD

    • John McClure

      Well said and the abuse can clearly be seen in Congressional legislation.

      The Senate version of the Farm Bill is a good example.
      It included:
      – regulating “wet meadows” and “potholes” under the Clean Water Act
      – a provision to allow bird watchers to trespass on private lands
      – added additional Federal land

      The first two examples are simply absurd. The third example is foolish as they can’t properly maintain existing Federal lands.

      The list of crazy examples is sadly endless.

    • John, in raising the issue of so-called wetlands, you bring up some very interesting issues that arise in that context. My parents bought 40 acres of land in Collier County Florida in the 60s. In the 70s, out of nowhere the Federal Government claimed that 95% of my parents land was wetlands, essentially making that 95% unusable. It turns out that in Florida a “wetland” is land where water comes within 12 inches of the surface for 10 or 14 days per year. If there was an honest description of “wetlands” under Federal Rules, it would be called occasionally moist land. Instead when the public hears of wetland regulation, it thinks of ducks and alligators.

      What is really absurd is that the agency with the most responsibility for regulating “wetlands” is the Army Corps of Engineers, which supposedly is doing so for national defense purposes. Of course, most people in the environmental movement take no responsibility for the appropriation of my parents’ property that occurred.

      JD

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


      I am a lawyer, and I instinctively understand the huge societal and changes required by the megaregulation required to attain the policy goals they seek to obtain.

      Good for you, lawyer.

      Next time you meet an actual scientist – ask them if they understand the huge societal changes entailed by our current inaction on the climate crisis.

      Seriously – if you think “megaregulation” is going to cause some sort of crisis as compared to climate change, then you haven’t been paying serious attention.

      Climate change this century will make your worries about “the difficulties and risks of megaregulation” seem so quaint as to be funny…

      Climate change will be a Large Crisis:

      In fact, if you’ve got a moment, it’s a twelve-storey crisis with a magnificent entrance hall, carpeting throughout, twenty-four-hour porterage, and an enormous sign on the roof saying ‘This Is a Large Crisis’.

      – Blackadder.


      Of course, most people in the environmental movement take no responsibility for the appropriation of my parents’ property that occurred.

      Oh dear.
      Most people in the “environmental movement” have never even heard of you or your parents.
      Say – Is that a Large Crisis on your shoulder?

    • JD Ohio:

      I agree with your comment.

      In addition to the problems you raised, I think another big problem is the lack of a robust cost benefit analysis related to proposed regulations.

      How much temperature increase is avoided over what time frame by the proposed regulation (or idea)?

      How much will the regulation cost (in terms of increased fuel costs, increased heating costs, increased food costs, etc.).

      My impression is that these regulations will be enormously expensive, making food, fuel and energy more expensive, and providing a very small and perhaps immeasurable decrease in the potential temperature rise until 2100.

      As a first pass – we could look at the cost to provide all carbon based energy (oil, natural gas and coal) with Nuclear. Just in the United States, it is my understanding that we would have to build 300 nuclear power plants to replace the energy produced by all of the carbon based sources.

      It is doable – but very very expensive. Especially given the current regulation climate for nuclear power in the USA.

      If we did that – would we prevent .1 C of future rise? Or would the increases in carbon output by the rest of the world swamp our trillion dollar investment?

      I don’t know – that is why we need a good hard cost benefit analysis.

      I have yet to see one.

    • The Very RJH “Climate change this century will make your worries about “the difficulties and risks of megaregulation” seem so quaint as to be funny…”

      Your scientists need to be introduced to the rapid pace of technological change. CO2 is a trace gas. (I agree that its effects are magnified) In the next 50 to 100 years, it will be a trivial exercise for science to mitigate the effects of CO2 if that is what is desired. Julian Simon, the greatest environmental futurist ever, has proved the practical efficacy of this point.

      JD

    • John McClure

      Hi JD Ohio,
      Did they appropriate the land or simply render it unusable in the sense the land can not be developed? If they appropriated the land, they should have paid for it.

      I completely agree, environmental legislation has been poorly defined but regulating “potholes” takes it to the level of an SNL skit.

      How can they grandfather these regulations on land ownership? It devalues the property without compensation.

      To use a different example, when Congress banned the use of PCBs they imposed a deadline but didn’t bother to look at the disposal of existing inventory. So we now have river bottoms full of PCBs thanks to Congress.

    • John McClure “Did they appropriate the land or simply render it unusable in the sense the land can not be developed? If they appropriated the land, they should have paid for it.”

      This turned out to be a very complicated story. The government rendered the land unusable, and my parents got zero offers on it for 10 years while trying to sell it, notwithstanding the Naples/Fort Myers area was one of the fastest growing standard metropolitan areas in the U.S. in the 80s & earlier 90s. (Additionally, the land was close to I-75, which would have otherwise made it quite valuable.) Eventually, it was sold in conjunction with other lands not owned by my parents, but by itself it was rendered worthless for 10 years (luckily my parents, who were elderly, were alive when the property was sold) without compensation by the Federal Government.

      JD

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


      Your scientists need to be introduced to the rapid pace of technological change.

      Oh goody – it’s the “argument from future magic beans”.


      CO2 is a trace gas.

      Really. Never heard that one before.

      If it’s so insignificant, then I guess it can’t really be very important to plants then, can it?

    • Rick A I agree 100% with what you said. There is only so much that you can put into a blog post, and I didn’t mention the cost/benefit issues explicitly.

      JD

    • John McClure

      JD Ohio,
      So I’m guessing it was eventually consolidated with other properties and sold as wetlands or was it eventually developed?

      The term Carpet Bagger comes to mind. Why we allow government to abuse the regulatory process is beyond me. Maybe they mistakenly think no one is watching?

    • J McClure “So I’m guessing it was eventually consolidated with other properties and sold as wetlands or was it eventually developed?” It was purchased by a private school that used my parents’ land as open space and built on property that was owned by others. My parents’ 40 acres was never developed. By itself, it was worth close to nothing. In conjunction with other properties, it was worth something and could be sold. It would have been impossible for an “average Joe” to have sold the property. I went to Naples every August for 10 years and after much work (much of it legal) we finally figured out a way to move the property.

      The gotcha of the environmental regulation is that you have to have the property analyzed and submit development plans to the Corps of Engineers (which is very expensive),but you have virtually no idea what they will consider or approve. So, my parents could have easily spent $100,000 in attempting to get the property permitted and the Corps could simply reject it and tell my parents that they had to do something totally impractical. Theoretically, the Corps doesn’t prohibit you from doing something with your land, but the practical road blocks make it unusable for any but the most sophisticated and well connected people, once a large portion of your land is considered wetlands.

      JD

    • John McClure

      JD Ohio,
      Bias in the courts is an other aspect of this regulatory problem.

      If memory serves, the 4th Appellate Court is so biased it has its verdicts overturned 80% of the time by the Supreme Court. So even if one goes to trial over an issue, bias can drive the costs to the point of no benefit.

      80% wrong answers and they get a passing grade. All at the expense of the taxpayer. Its quite the mess.

    • Steven Mosher

      “If it’s so insignificant, then I guess it can’t really be very important to plants then, can it?”

      When you steal a moshpit argument you better give me credit.
      like now.

    • Matthew R Marler

      JD Ohio: CO2 is a trace gas.

      I wish there were some way to kill this slogan. There is enough CO2 added every year by human activity for the total accumulation to make a large difference; calculations based on reasonable (but simplified) models and accurate measurements show that. Whether it actually will happen can be doubted, but not because CO2 is a “trace” gas.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Matthew R. Marler: I wish there were some way to kill this slogan.

      But in a free society, the people are free to bring in their own debating points.

      It is the total CO2 that matters, not its concentration.

    • Marler & Mosher, (CO2 trace gas & technological advances)

      The point of my comment about CO2 being a trace gas is being misconstrued. I don’t deny that it has significant effects through amplification procedures now. What I was saying is that since it is such a small proportion of the atmosphere, it is much easier to modify its effects through technology than would be gases, such as nitrogen and oxygen, which occupy a much larger proportion of the atmosphere. For instance, in 1900 certain bacteria were extremely dangerous. Since the development of antibiotics, many of these bacteria now only create small health risks because of the availability of medical treatments that were unknown in 1900.

      What I am saying here is that because CO2 is such a small proportion of the atmosphere, it will be easier to remediate through technological advances (particularly over 50 to 100 years) than if its proportion in the atmosphere was higher. I thought I made that clear in my earlier comment which state that I agreed that CO2s effects were magnified.

      JD

    • John Carpenter

      “Climate change this century will make your worries about “the difficulties and risks of megaregulation” seem so quaint as to be funny…”- Rev

      Oh, more pearl clutching… Michael, take note.

    • John,

      You don’t seem to understand pearl-clutching.

      It’s a threatical over-reaction to a matter of not much consequence.

      Take two examples;

      1. concern over man-made made changes to our atmosphere (the only one we got) and then the climate, with possible harmful effects extending into coming centuries. Someone suggests this is more concerning that government regulation.

      2. The rejection of a single paper by one particular journal ( happens everday). Met with claims of “McCarthyism”,”Reign of Terror”, “Auschwitz”, “thought police”, “N@zi’s” and other infantile, emtpy-headed, brain-dead, hysterical babble.

      Which is more likely to be an example of pearl-clutching?

    • “1. concern over man-made made changes to our atmosphere (the only one we got) and then the climate, with possible harmful effects extending into coming centuries. Someone suggests this is more concerning that government regulation.”

      Michael,

      Ever heard of “hype”?

      “Someone suggests”

      As in a multi-million dollar, wall to wall sensational suggestion?

      Andrew

  14. Politics is almost always linear. Unfortunately. But that appears to be the extent of the politicians brain. Science is rarely linear. So when you mix the 2, neither are ever satisfied. IN the real world the 2 will always be mixed because politics is always looking for new excuses to execute old policies. And science fits the bill.

    But while many people “do not care” enough do that the false trails of linearity that science is forced to take when wedded with politics will be called out. Sometimes for the betterment of science. And sometimes to the detriment (when McCarthyism kicks in).

  15. I’ve always found Gluckman to be an airbag, speaking from personal experience of New Zealand rather than from in depth study of the world; more narrowly from personal experience as a medical practitioner set loose in the world of New Zealand’s government employees who treated them all as hospital workers informed by their level of medical training: that is, like orderlies and candystripers, not professionals.

    Why feature this man’s opinionated and badly wrong views, when there are actual policy experts with actual credible, reasonable, well-informed views and the accomplishments to back up their expertise?

    What sort of scientist would so contrive to cast distrust on the motives and knowledge of every scientist, by focus on the off chance that there might still be something we don’t know, when the principles of Science recognize at the start that everything we don’t know is a vast undifferentiated void in which we do not operate except where parsimony, simplicity and universality guide our inference on the observations and data we do have?

    What sort of scientist pretends it’s always only the scientists with ideologies?

    Gluckman gets practically everything he says about policy wrong. It is not ultimately politicians who decide, rather it is lawmakers. This may seem a subtle distinction, as people get to be lawmakers by being politicians and nor to they give up their bad habits always once elected to their responsibilities, but that lawmaking is all the difference.

    He’s just another guy who speaks in authoritative-sounding verbiage and with a tone of confidence in his assertions and hopes no one notices that he is spouting nonsense.

    • Bart R wrote, “He’s just another guy who speaks in authoritative-sounding verbiage and with a tone of confidence in his assertions and hopes no one notices that he is spouting nonsense.”

      And then we have Bart R who is … just another guy who speaks in authoritative-sounding verbiage and with a tone of confidence in his assertions and hopes no one notices that he is spouting nonsense.

    • Speed | May 22, 2014 at 11:11 am |

      Bzzt. Would that more people practiced the habits of recognizing nonsense when they see it; that is my fond hope.

      I don’t put “Sir” and/or “Dr.” before, nor letters after, my name to puff up the authoritative seeming of what I say. I thumb my nose at such practices, and I thumb my nose at myself just as often. Where do I present mere assertion as fact, as Dr. Gluckman does, without actual evidence? Granted, in the slim format of blog comments, I often leave off the supporting references, but they are there, and could be easily uncovered by a literature search. With Dr. Gluckman, we only have his experience as evidence to sustain his opinion, and his experience in this subject is remarkably slim.

      So you may assert what you will of how you think I sound; I have evidence contrary to your views.

    • Bart R wrote, “Granted, in the slim format of blog comments, I often leave off the supporting references, but they are there, and could be easily uncovered by a literature search.”

      Have you ever heard of a wish sandwich? A wish sandwich is the kind of a sandwich where you have two slices of bread and you, hee hee hee, wish you had some meat…
      “Joliet” Jake and Elwood Blues

    • Speed | May 22, 2014 at 1:46 pm |

      Are you the police?
      Elwood Blues: No, ma’am. We’re musicians.

    • See http://www.pmcsa.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/New-Zealands-Changing-Climate-and-Oceans-report.pdf for more details on the Office’s view on cliamte change science.

    • HAS | May 22, 2014 at 4:43 pm |

      Thank you. That’s actually useful. . .

      And to my great delight, kicks the legs out from under much of what I’ve said in my comments above.

    • The funny thing is that Bart R and Gluckman are in near-total agreement on the climate-change issue and the role of science, if you read the other Gluckman article linked above by AK. Both are UMs. Bart R has been accidentally taken in by Gluckman’s attempt to take in reasonable people worried about the abuse of science for political ends. Collateral damage.

    • stevepostrel | May 22, 2014 at 9:31 pm |

      An alternate view is Gluckman’s candystripers and orderlies, the actual policy advisors who wrote the paper and supplied the science, weren’t cowed by Gluckman’s rhetoric.

      Whatever it was, we can easily see that the Gluckman reflected in the policy paper, and the Gluckman of the speech Dr. Curry so loves to cite are diametric opposites.

    • Nope. Gluckman is a conventional UM and is now posing as a reasonable interlocutor to gull the increasingly mitigation-reluctant audience. Like any double agent he’s at risk of getting shot by his own side, as happened here with Bart R.

    • stevepostrel | May 23, 2014 at 5:46 pm |

      Like I’m on a side?

      Agree or disagree with papers with his name on them, he’s still airbag material.

  16. Jeffrey Eric Grant

    I have had conversations with many who do not even try to understand the science of Global Warming, stating that they leave that to the Scientists. Global Climate is extremely complex, making is easy for those with understanding to obfuscate with details dressed up like ‘facts'; while weather is something we all seem to understand. Weather is the building blocks for Climate, thus it is easy for the AGW crowd to argue in a way to confuse (and clarify) the situation for those inclined to not want to understand for themselves. It is too easy for such people to throw their hands in the air and state that they cannot undestand it, so they will accept some scientists’ view. And the Case is closed that easily. By stating that 97% of the scientists agree, the AGW crowd has won over at least 50% of the American public; all they have to do is convince another 16%, and they can pass any law they want. Problem for them is: how do they get to the 16%?

    • Jeffrey Eric Grant . I agree with what you say. I feel that extreme weather events are exploited by those in the climate community who talk to the media. The media is just a megaphone.

      It seems that many laws have unintended consequences on the local level. That’s a problem and the reason that States should have more say in local solutions. Or local governments. But somewhere along this chain of command, someone has to say “no” to someone wanting to build a mall on a wetland. I believe “tragedy of the commons” defines this problem. This last paragraph is more a response to the writer whose parents bought land in Florida. I think the Real Estate agents, those bastions of ethical behavior (read sarcasm here), who sold it to them who are at fault. For every good law there is someone who will exploit it for monetary gain. Same goes for the carbon tax.

  17. Should Science stifle political debates?

    Let’s replace Science with a few of the deliverables of Science: accuracy, truth, validity, verification, evidence, inference, reason, knowledge, fact..

    Should accuracy stifle political debates?

    To explain for those who had to even think about that question, WHAT THE FREAK ARE YOU THINKING?! OF COURSE INACCURATE POLITICIANS OUGHT TO SHUT THE FREAK UP!

    Should truth stifle political debates?

    What, we need more lies from politicians?

    Hopefully you can see where this is going.

    There’s plenty of room for political debate within the bounds of accuracy, truth, validity, verification, evidence, inference, reason, knowledge, fact, and a desire for advancement of the nation. We don’t need to worry about any politicians’ loss of liberty to be lying sacks of crap. We certainly don’t need to sacrifice the truth and advancement furnished by Science for the sake of lying politicians.

  18. Jim Cripwell

    I became interested in CAGW about 12 years ago. Over the years, some things have been, to me, blindingly obvious. No-one who mattered seemed to be writing about these. I tried, but, unsurprisingly, no-one took any notice. Now some of the people who matter are starting to write these things, as we see here with Gluckman. What he has written could, and should, have been written by someone important at least 10 years ago.

    The debates on CE have become sterile. I could write what people on both sides of the debate are going to say. So, the only thing I look for on CE now, is what our hostess writes. 2014 could be an interesting year. To quote Herman Kahn again, “Nothing would be more surprising, than that nothing surprising is going to happen”.

    Sooner or later, someone is going to bell the cat.

  19. Here at the University of Nottingham we’ve just had a great 3-day meeting,
    Circling the square” on exactly the science-policy question. (click on brochure to see the full programme).

    Judith Curry was originally on the list of speakers but unfortunately wasn’t able to come, though we did have Roger Pielke Jr from the US. There was a lot of discussion about bias and hype in science, how science informs policy, uncertainty, and the advocacy debate came up a few times. Climate was not an explicit theme but came up regularly.

    The conference was filmed so will at some stage become visible. In the meantime there is a lot of commentary on the twitter tag #circlesq, and there have been a couple of blog posts.

    • Paul, thanks for highlighting this, I wish I could have attended. do you know if ppt slides will also be available? I would definitely like to do a blog post on this if sufficient info is available (I have been following on twitter)

    • There is a blog on the first part of the conference here with a link to three other blogs on it at the bottom.

    • Judith, I’m not sure if ppt slides will be made – the format was non-standard (from a science conference perspective) with a lot of time devoted to panel discussions without slides, and Q&A sessions, rather than formal talks.

    • Just had a look at Paul’s blog – interesting tone.

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

      It’s always amusing to read about social scientists complaining about how bad physical scientists are at communicating.

      Plenty of journalists make the same accusations.

      My theory?
      It’s psychological defense to avoid having to recall grade-school physics.

    • Rev, one of the things the meeting did was to bring together physical scientists and social scientists, to try to improve understanding, bridge gaps and counter stereotypes.

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

      Gosh, Paul,

      …bring together physical scientists and social scientists, to try to improve understanding, bridge gaps and counter stereotypes

      sure sounds great.

      Then I go to your blog and read this:

      Unstoppable collapse in the credibility of climate science?
      May 14, 2014Uncategorized

      The climate science community and its media lackeys are currently in full hysteria mode…

      “Improve understanding”
      Seriously?
      Narcissism much?

      You seem to “bridge gaps” in much the same way Dr Curry does.
      By sticking a stereotypical ideological wedge in.

      Your Very Serious Concerns are hereby noted.

    • Steven Mosher

      “It’s always amusing to read about social scientists complaining about how bad physical scientists are at communicating.”

      Well its more than social scientists.
      Its also media professionals, you know experts in messaging.

      Here is a clue Rev,. Hiding who you are doesnt help.

    • Rev –

      ==> Then I go to your blog and read this:

      ”Unstoppable collapse in the credibility of climate science?”

      ==> “You seem to “bridge gaps” in much the same way Dr Curry does.
      By sticking a stereotypical ideological wedge in.” Unstoppable collapse in the credibility of climate science?”

      Dude, he used a question mark. As in, you know…..

      Partisan ideologues pretending to be unbiased and reasonable while trying to hide their extremist nature through concern trolling?

      See. I used a question mark.

    • Steven Mosher

      Joshua

      “What is particularly depressing is the failure of the climate science community to say anything critical of any of this hype. ”

      It is interesting to contrast two episodes:

      Episode A; Bengtsson writes a paper. It’s got some problems. The reviewer notes those problems and he also notes a concern that the paper will
      be misused by skeptical media.

      Episode B: two papers get written about a potential collapse in a region
      of the antarctic. The media and political meme machine mis characterize the science. Not just a little, totally and completely.

      Is it fair to ask

      A) were the reviewers concerned about how this paper might be misused by the alarmist press?
      B) If a reviewer rejected the paper in part because of its potential misuse
      what would you say?
      C) Should the authors remain silent about this misuse?

      D Can you name a scientist who believes in AGW, other than Muller, who has been critical of the handling of this paper by the press and the science community?

    • Steven –

      Two wrongs don’t make a right.

      And as an aside, some “skeptics” have a problem being skeptical long enough to realize that media “alarmism” is: (1) not so easily generalized and categorized as they often like to do (read any of Rud’s posts) and, (2) has less of an impact on public opinion than they often argue:

      http://www.culturalcognition.net/blog/2013/8/8/partisan-media-are-not-destroying-america.html

      Partisans on both sides are absolutely convinced that they are victimized by “The MSM.” I find that amusing.

    • Steven Mosher

      Joshua

      “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

      Did you see me argue that? I asked you a series of questions.

      #############################################

      And as an aside, some “skeptics” have a problem being skeptical long enough to realize that media “alarmism” is: (1) not so easily generalized and categorized as they often like to do (read any of Rud’s posts) and, (2) has less of an impact on public opinion than they often argue:

      What does this aside have to do with my questions. Why are you derailing the conversation?
      bias perhaps?

      ##########################################################

      Partisans on both sides are absolutely convinced that they are victimized by “The MSM.” I find that amusing.

      HUH? what does this have to do with the questions I asked you.
      It is frustrating to try to have a dialog and exchange with a person who
      wont tell you where they are coming from. Lets call it bad faith.

    • “A) were the reviewers concerned about how this paper might be misused by the alarmist press?” – mosher

      Might be even more fair to ask, was this the comment of just one of the reviewers?

      And obviously, did the same person review the Antartic papers??

      Reviewers can ask/suggest/comment what they damn well please and don’t need moshpit approval.

      Imagine if we’d seen every review from every article ever submitted.

      Oh the fun!!

    • Papers are usually judged on whether they present new information or not. On this basis, both papers got the right decision. Thankfully, how it will be received by the public is not a deciding factor in science journals.

    • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

      DocMartyn | May 22, 2014 at 7:38 pm |

      Paul Ehrlich predicts that we will soon need to eat corpses.

      http://newsbusters.org/blogs/sean-long/2014/05/22/alarmist-paul-ehrlich-predicts-need-eat-bodies-your-dead

      We’ve been there already, Doc:
      http://judithcurry.com/2014/05/05/profits-of-doom/#comment-542630

      Ehrlich is right.

      Pass the salt, please.

    • “Papers are usually judged on whether they present new information or not.”

      Indeed. However, there appears to be some bias here, in that new information can be:
      a) new data
      b) new intrpretations of data
      c) corrections to data
      d) corrections to interpretations of data
      In climate science, it seems to me there is plenty of b & c, but not much a & d.

  20. The balance sheet for the government-education industry is disappointing because the public is getting very little of what it’s supposed to get, in return for its investment in personnel and infrastructure, and getting a whole lot of grief in the bargain. With global warming, the entire public education system has become a mixture of 419 scammers and self-dealing special interest groups with us folks in the crosshairs.

  21. ‘Now science must deal with non-linear systems of immense
    complexity and often with a great deal of uncertainty.’ (p3)
    Seems the word ‘often’ in this case should be omitted.
    ‘Immense complexities’ seems to me suggests a wicked
    problem, implying whole flocks of black swans…cascades
    … chain reactions …

    Remember those 5 Year,even 10 year plans and great leaps
    forward? Hmm. Beware science trying to predict complex systems
    full of non-computable inter-dependencies, and beware politicians expecting or requiring black and white answers when the science
    or economics – whatever the complex – non-computable system is
    – requires taking a leap in the dark. Sometimes less is more.

    I like Nassim Taleb’s comment in Antifragile,’ (Prologue) about
    top down decision making concerning complex problems. He
    argues that the largest fragilizer of society and the greatest
    generator of crises is top down decision making by those with
    no skin in the game, politicians, bureaucrats, academics, with
    too much power and no real down-side or accountability. While
    they are able to game the system, its the citizens who pay the
    price.

    • Beth, well said. Read “Reckless Endangerment” by Gretchen Morgenson. She demonstrates the “top down” decisions which created the nation’s mortgage credit crisis. Through a series of congressional statutes, mortgage lenders were required to make loans in minority zip codes to individuals with no job, no savings and no credit worthiness. They ordered Fannie May and Freddie Mac to change their mission from safe loans to 30% in minority communities and 30% in urban areas regardless of credit considerations. All lending institutions were encouraged to look for “extenuating circumstances” to approve loans that would otherwise be rejected. The financial community got the message loud and clear and recklessly drove the system into the abyss.
      What person in congress has been held accountable? And how about all the business leaders who complied and escaped untouched?

    • zentgraf2, Taleb in ‘Antifragile,’ has a section called The Stiglitz
      Syndrome where he cites academic economist, Joseph Stiglitz
      and colleagues the Orzag brothersr’ report pre Fannie Mae
      crisis that ‘on the basis of historical experience, the risk to the
      government from a potential default on GSE debt is effectively
      zero.’

      Despite contributing to the problem by publishing statements like
      the above, however, in 2010, Stiglitz wrote an I – told – you – so
      book claiming that he’d predicted the crisis. Memory lapse, no
      skin in the game, no downside for his errors of prediction.

    • nottawa rafter

      zentgraf

      I read the Morgenson book as well. There was no play in the MSM. Why? Because it did not demonize the villains of choice- the banks. And since both parties were complicit over 15 years, there was no opportunities for finger pointing. To this day the full and accurate story is not known by the public.

    • Ehrlich like Steglitz can go on making those top down failed
      predictions from the risk free zone, no sweat. :(
      http://newsbusters.org/blogs/sean-long/2014/05/22/alarmist-paul-ehrlich-predicts-need-eat-bodies-your-dead

  22. Craig Loehle

    Unfortunately, the fundamental definition of policy as the attempt to solve problems is wrong in a political system. It is what policy SHOULD be. What politicians actually do is that they wish to be seen to be doing something that people will notice and be grateful for. It can be as crass as protectionist legislation for some industry or subtle favors for unions. In the case of solving social problems the incentive is to do something, but there is no incentive to do it carefully. Take the Americans With Disabilities Act. Before the act many businesses tried to be helpful to those with disabilities. But now there are actually fewer (as a %) of the disable employed than before the act. Why? Because now the employer can’t fire the person for failing to show up or being a jerk or stealing or because the business is in trouble. The ADA has led to insanity like insisting that a coffee shop must put a deaf person at the cash register even though they can’t understand the customers, or that a violent schizophrenic is a protected class who can’t be fired for hitting fellow employees. The law was passed to “feel good” but without care. In the case of science issues, the needed care involves understanding the science involved as well as a full cost-accounting of the proposed remedies. This is way beyond the deliberative abilities of a body (Congress) incentivized by “looking good”. So they delegate to agencies like the EPA, who unfortunately can drift in their mission or be captured by constituencies (green or industry).

  23. Theo Goodwin

    There is a little more clarity than Gluckman acknowledges. Gluckman is addressing physicians on the topic of the different responsibilities of scientist, policy maker, and citizen as advocate. He might have begun by pointing out that the physician qua physician is not acting as a scientist but as one whose first duty is relief of patient suffering. When a physician created a hole in a patient’s leg and guided a balloon tipped wire into the patient’s heart, he was not pursuing science and not taking direction from existing scientific knowledge. Angioplasty was invented because a physician believed that the technique offered hope to a patient who was beyond help from existing medical practice.

    Physicians act to relieve suffering. There are exceptions. Some medical doctors become research scientists. As research scientists, they do not act to relieve patient suffering but to understand the causes of some kind of patient suffering. The scientist qua scientist acts to gain understanding. The one motive of the scientist qua scientist is to scratch the itch that is produced by curiosity.

    Notice how easy it is to distinguish the motives and responsibilities of scientists and physicians. The same can be done for all actors in the debates over climate change. However, some would obscure the very distinction that I presented above.

    Michael Mann once published an opinion piece in the New York Times in which he argued that climate scientists should have the moral standing of physicians to Gaia. (Whew! I will let you sort through the implications of thinking that you are a physician to Gaia. For example, has Gaia given Mann the legal right to undertake experimental actions to save a life that is beyond hope? Who were the witnesses?)

    All too many who believe that CAGW is upon us share Mann’s conclusion. No doubt many of them have not thought deeply about that position. All who are concerned about clarity in the debates over CAGW should do the work of explaining the various responsibilities of the several actors, the scientist qua scientist, the government bureaucrat, the government decision maker, and many others. For example, bureaucrats at the EPA have given themselves the role of balancing the well being of Americans against the well being of future generations. The Supreme Court has affirmed their decision, though not all the details. What is the moral standing of the EPA?

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Theo Goodwin avers “Angioplasty was invented because a physician believed that the technique offered hope to a patient who was beyond help from existing medical practice.”

      Medicare entitlements were invented — specifically, kidney dialysis “death panels” were replaced by Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson’s universal renal-care entitlement — for precisely the same reason!

      Conclusion  The 21st century technologies of data-mining and genomic medicine and have combined to mandate Swiss-style universal healthcare — aka RommeyCare/HillaryCare/ObamaCare — as the sole enlightened alternative to the privacy-invading tyranny of market-failure.

      Good on `yah, Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama, for respecting humanity ahead of ideology, in learning-and-adapting to the scientific realities of modern health-care!

      Needless to say, climate-change is no different. Here too, science and humanity trump ideology and special interests!

      Thank you, Theo Goodwin, for reminding Climate Etc readers of the long-standing relation between medical science and ideological politics.

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

  24. “It is done badly when science overstates what is known and does not admit to what is unknown about contentious issues.”

    Quote from Daniel Boorstin in the latest Lennart Bengtsson statement:
    “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge”.

    • “It ain’t what we don’t know what gets us in trouble. It’s what we know that ain’t so.” — Will Rogers

  25. Real But Exaggerated

    It’s all so simple.

    Warming is less than was expected ( observations less than Hansen testimony and IPCC4 predictions ).

    That’s as it should be, because forcing is less than expected ( peaked in 1985 and down around 1/4 since then ).

    That’s as it should be, because population growth is slightly less than the low end scenario ( peaking as soon as 2030 instead of 2100 as the IPCC ).

    The policy implications are -there is no need for policy-

    But crusading irrational scientists can’t allow/admit/retract to that position, so we’re stuck with insanity.

    Have a nice day.

    • Latimer Alder

      +1

      Mother Gaia ain’t cooperating with ‘the narrative’. Naughty Gaia!

    • Addressing the pause in global temperature since around 1998
      Sir Peter Gluckman said:

      ‘Any short -term departures from the long term warming trend
      can broadly be explained through a combination of other
      causes of climate variability and inherent lags in the system …
      inherent in any science assessment of the future is a component
      of uncertainty, given the nature of climate science and the climate
      system, but despite this there is a strong scientific consensus on
      the general trends and drivers of recent climate change. The
      most probable future scenarios are cause for concern.’

      … there’s those words again, ‘consensus,’ ‘ most probable,’
      hmm … wind back a line to ‘but despite this’ … doesn’t that
      kinda’ sound like an expression of faith?

      http://www.sciencemediacentre.co.nz/2013/08/01/chief-science-advisor-on-changing-climate-and-oceans/

    • Serf, a free translation of Gluckman’s verbal molasses: “We’re right even when we’re wrong; nobody knows much at all about climate but we know it anyway; 97% of people who agree are 100% on board, the other 3% are 97% on board.” Or words, words, words to that effect.

      My advice to Kiwis: Strangle vowels, not economies.

    • Yr quite good at translation, mosomoso.. )

  26. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Peter Gluckman argues [utterly anhistorically] “Science used to tackle  only relatively linear  even the most controversial and grossly nonlinear problems.”

    Peter Gluckman asserts [utterly one-sidedly] “It [advising] is done badly when science  overstates  understates what is known.

    Anhistorical cherry-picking by Sir Peter Gluckman, factual corrections by FOMD.

    Beginning in the 1940s,the exact sequence reason → mathematics → physical theory → experimental observation → inventive technology → viable enterprise → political ideology led many scientists to conclude:

    The thermonuclear arms race is cuckoo!

    Ultra-conservative ideologues reasoned (utterly unreliably!) in the opposite direction to conclude

    The risks of radioactive fallout and accidental armageddon are scientifically over-stated, and therefore, scientists who advocate disarmament are irresponsible and/or fools and/or traitors. We should revoke their funding (Szilard) and clearances (Oppenheimer) and refuse their passports (Pauling, Sakharov).

    Nowadays we can substitute “carbon energy economy” for “thermonuclear arms race”, and the same reasoning applies.

    That’s common sense, eh Climate Etc readers?

    Scientific Celebrity Spotting  Walter Munk — the world’s greatest living planetary oceanographer! — was spotted last week asking supportive questions of Naomi Oreskes! (beginning at 08:25:55).

    Walter Munk says “I would like to just confirm her [Naomi Oreskes'] conclusions, that there is a strong feeling among many of us [scientists] that we would like to work *VERY* closely with the people [the Vatican's Pontifical Academies] who are associated with the meeting today, and we have sincerely welcomed the invitation to take part in the discussion of the last four days. Thank you.

    Conclusion  Good on `yah, Walter Munk and Naomi Oreskes, for your public advocacy of Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature: Our Responsibility!

    Peter Gluckman and Judith Curry, please take lessons from Walter Munk and Naomi Oreskes in the fundamental facts of science, history, economics, foresightedness, and morality!

    \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • Why would Dr. Curry take lessons from alarmist partisan non-climatologist Naomi Oreskes in anything?

  27. Philosophically, science and policy are two different things. I doubt there is a formula that ‘reconciles’ them.

    Next topic.

    Andrew

    • Real But Exaggerated

      Ya – there’s a good book ‘The Myth of the Rational Voter’ which somewhat obviously points out that policy implies benefits and detriments. As soon as people conceive of benefit or detriment, they necessarily have an -emotional- not logical response.

  28. Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

    At least in the US you have someone (Holdren) equivalent to the “kiwi” advisor (Gluckman). What I wonder is: who is the scientific advisor in the EU?. Despite that advicing seems to be not possible to comissioners such as Hedegaard:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/10313261/EU-policy-on-climate-change-is-right-even-if-science-was-wrong-says-commissioner.html
    Good bye Ms. Hedegaard.

  29. ==> “These debates have a strong philosophical basis that often is somewhat tritely reduced to a uni-dimensional characterisation of left versus right -leaning ideology.?”

    There is abundant evidence that the polarization related to climate change is associated with political ideology (in the U.S., at least).

    So what does it mean, other than creating a straw man, to suggest that a particular debate, say the one about what to do about ACO2, is “tritely reduced to a uni-dimensional characterization of left- vs. right-leaning ideology?

    Generalities here are just same ol’ same ol’ Specifics would help to actually advance the discussion. Which arguments (on either side) are those that “tritely” reduce the debate about climate change – given the overwhelming evidence of the ideologically-associated polarization?

    What explains whether that striking association is causal, or whether the association is the product of some other causal mechanism? How does one deal with that association without being “trite?”

    What is this “strong philosophical basis” that is sometimes “tritely” mischaracterized? That people on one side have a “philosophical” belief in careful science and recognizing uncertainty, and people on the other side are “alarmist?” That people one side have a “philosophy” of wanting children to starve, particularly poor children, particularly non-white poor children?

    Could be. But where’s the evidence to outline this philosophical distinction
    in a “non-trite” manner?

  30. “It is the formality of these processes that gives science its privilege and validity over other claims to knowledge about our world that can only come from belief, received wisdom, or anecdote.”

    To the extent scientific knowledge has any “privilege and validity over other claims to knowledge of our world,” it is limited to the description and understanding of the physical world. “Science” has no privilege on issues of morality, values, or any ultimate questions of policy. It is just one aspect of an issue to be considered, and that consideration should include all the caveats discussed above.

    Not to mention, the vast majority of “scientific knowledge” in the world also comes from “belief, received wisdom and anecdote.” “Climate science” being an excellent example. Actual direct knowledge is limited to the few who have actually done the experimentation etc. The rest of us rely on “belief, received wisdom and anecdote.” Belief in the word of the scientists who publish their work. Received wisdom – is there any better description of a “consensus,” among those who did not do the primary experiments? And as for anecdote – pictures of dead polar bears, fraudulent graphic hokey sticks, the occasional El Nino, etc.

    • A classic response – and explains quite well why you rely on anecdote as the equivalent to science is resolving issues related to morality, values, and policy.

      My favorite is your frequent refrain of how things ain’t as good [moral, ethical, etc.] as they used to be, without feeling any requirement to provide the evidence that underlies your conclusions.

    • actually I agree with GaryM, up to the last sentence that is.

  31. Rob Starkey

    Imo much of the Democratic Party seems to be “jumping the shark” in regards to the topic of AGW/climate change. The hue and cry from self described progressives like Tom Steyer is to unleash a seven-state, $100 million offensive against Republican “science deniers” this year. “This is the year, in our view, that we are able to demonstrate that you can use climate, you can do it well, you can do it in a smart way, to win political races,” said Chris Lehane, the longtime Democratic consultant advising Steyer.

    There are simple questions that make progressives like Steyer appear ridiculous to the electorate.
    1. What specifically do you want the USA to do?
    2. What will each of your ideas cost the taxpayer?
    3. How will your proposals be paid for?
    4. What specifically will be accomplished in regards to the climate if each of your proposals are implemented and when will we be able to tell if the proposals were effective. Is the weather going to be different if we adopt your proposals? When?

    Self described Progressives beware- when independents in the US think that your plans have little to no merit, you have lost the battle for the electorate. Imo, the big “climate push” by progressives will lead to a republican US Congress.

    • CNN can’t even get their own audience interested.
      =======

    • I’m glad to see the Dems pushing this issue. They campaigned on it hard on global warming in Florida in a special election earlier this year. Florida will be especially hard hit by global warming/stasis/change/weirding. The half meter (or is it half-mile) of sea level rise expected anytime within the next 5 to 5,000 years is particularly (un)concerning.
      Also the dramatic increase in hurricane activity that hasn’t happened but will any day now is guaranteed to almost have some sort of impact.
      Anyway, the election results went really well. In my opinion.

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2014/03/12/alex-sink-rides-global-warming-alarmism-to-surprise-congressional-defeat-in-fl-13/

    • Rob Starkey

      It probably means a couple more years of little to nothing being accomplished by the US government. both of the major parties seem more interested in making the other look bad vs actually accomplsihing something productive

    • nottawa rafter

      JeffN
      And you just listed 2 of the failed predictions. Then there is the pause, and then there is the below average tornado activity, and then there is the lack of increased drought activity,
      then there is the above average Antarctic sea ice level. In our area they have attributed below average Great Lakes Levels to Global Warming. Ooops, now Lakes Superior, Erie and Ontario are above average and Lake Michigan-Huron are very close.

      The march of time will have the final say in this debate. Eventually, the public will start to notice the difference between the predictions
      and the observational data.

  32. John Power

    Why do academics always make everything so complicated? The issue is basically simple: traditional scientific culture is centred on the pursuit of knowledge of reality whereas traditional political culture is centred on the pursuit of absolute power. The two cultures are divergent in their aims and thus are fundamentally incompatible with one another – hence irreconcilable.

    The proof of their incompatibility can be found in the travesty of real science which the political class calls “climate science”, where the true scientist’s traditional reverence for the truth has been replaced by the coerced deference to an official “consensus” and the traditional sovereign independence of the individual scientific observer has been replaced by his subjection to politically-correct groupthink.

    Such authoritarian, collectivist “climate science” is the antithesis of real science: it is pseudoscience sub-serving the propagandist aims of the political establishment. It is politically inspired and orchestrated illusion-spinning and intellectual repression masquerading as scientific progress and enlightenment.

    In order to change this corrupt situation and render science and politics compatible with one another again, I think we need to focus on transforming our political culture primarily because that is the primary source of the problem. Its goal of absolute power over everyone and everything in the hands of an unaccountable, untouchable clique of all-superior demigods has been the bane of the human race since the end of the last ice-age. It really needs replacing with a better goal for everyone’s sake anyway, regardless of what that may do for science.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      cwon14 avers “It [denialism] is all a vast right-wing conspiracy.

      Common-sense affirmation by cwon14, fact-based scientific validation by FOMD.

      Reason for Hope  Common-sense conservative Ronald Reagan wisely went took action against his own party’s denialists in embracing global atmospheric regulation and wise global thermonuclear disarmament

      Good on `yah, Ronald Reagan! The 21st century needs plenty *MORE* foresighted morally grounded science-respecting conservatives like you!

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    • thx FOMT, for your irrelevant link to the Brulle/Drexel U. “study” — a work which is so inept, incompetent, and mendacious that it figures you would be here flogging it.

      You truly are shameless in your continual dishonest trolling with blizzards of links which rarely even begin to substantiate whatever points you think you might be attempting to make.

    • Theo Goodwin

      If I had the time I would do a blow-by-blow commentary on Mann’s article. The man has no self-awareness whatsoever. The entire essay is projection. With regard to each criticism he makes, he is the worst offender.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Skiphil avers [ideologically] “The Brulle/Drexel U. study [is] inept, incompetent, and mendacious.”

      Froth by Skiphil, facts by FOMD.

      Needless to say, Climate Etc readers are encouraged to read-and-think for themselves!

      That’s a good idea, eh Skiphil?

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse | May 22, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
      ‘Skiphil avers [ideologically] “The Brulle/Drexel U. study [is] inept, incompetent, and mendacious.”
      Froth by Skiphil, facts by FOMD.
      Needless to say, Climate Etc readers are encouraged to read-and-think for themselves!’

      FOMD, you might try taking your own advice.
      That’s a good idea, eh FOMD

    • Gas by Fan of Malicious Trolling

      Match by Skiphil

      (oops, I’d better stand clear)

      FOMT, that “study” is laden with pejorative judgmental terms, with utterly no self-awareness from the author

      Nice that it relies heavily upon “network analysis” to portray relationships which are vastly more numerous and (potentially) intricate than what the “network analysis” in an appendix of the Wegman Report tried to do, yet you view this throwing-spaghetti-at-the-wall as objective and scientific.

      Are conservative and libertarian groups more likely to be critical of gaseous claims about CAGW? Sure, for a variety of substantive reasons that have nothing to do with funding.

      Does your “study” illuminate the nature of its proclaimed “CCCM”?

      No, because none of the interesting and significant issues are even touched upon by its shallow methodology. Sone questions for you and your author:

      What proportions of funding and expenditures in each organization have to do with “climate change”??

      What proportions of decisions by funders are settled by concerns with “climate change” rather than by myriad other conservative or libertarian interests?

      How many of these organizations shaped by concerns with “climate change” vs. for which entities is CC an incidental issue?

      Is work on Big CC issues some “conspiracy” or do funders support organizations which tend to be critical of govt. usurpations of large sectors of energy output and the economy?

      Does funding drive criticism of CAGW hysteria, or do critics of CAGW hysteria tend to draw funding? Does ANY of the relationship spaghetti you show depend upon CC issues, or is climate entirely incidental to some/all of the connections for certain entities?

      Which personal, institutional, and financial connections in the author’s lists and charts are caused or affected by work on climate issues, and for which items is CC more of an occasional or incidental issue while working on other matters?

      These are just a few of the issues that your conspiracy mongering “stupdy” doesn’t even begin to understand or address. I’m not saying it would be easy to attain a thorough understanding of such matters, only that yoyr “study” does not even attempt to do so.

      It is spaghetti-on-the-wall… yes here are funders and organizations that have some degree of critical interest in CC, so we will just throw them all in a vat and allege “conspiracy”!!

      Yeah, that really informed us well, FOMT. Maybe you should have Lewandowsky and Cook study the “conspiracist ideation” of you and your author.

    • FOMT says CCCM* = vast right-wing conspiracy

      call in Lewandowsky, FOMT is foaming and hyperventilating again!

      *CCCM = “climate change counter-movement”

      (according to FOMT’s conspiracy-ideationist study)

      So critics of CAGW are all motivated by conservative or libertarian ideology, funders of such groups are all in a VRWC (vast right-wing conspiracy), no conservative or libertarian groups are interested in anything but climate, and no one could be critical of gasbags like FOMT except due to conservative or libertarian ideology?

      Thanks FOMT, once again you have been so informative, more about you own shallow, blinkered world-view than about what you were trying to say….

    • p.s. “stupdy” was merely a typo

      yet, as a coinage for “stupid study” it has potential

      perhaps the unconscious can cause apparent typos which are laden with meaning

      a new kind of “Freudian slip”

  33. Stephen Segrest

    Most people have already made their mind up? — Climate Science as Culture War (Stanford Review): http://www.ssireview.org/articles/entry/climate_science_as_culture_war

    • Rob Starkey

      The link stated-
      ” there is no doubt that a scientific consensus exists on the issue of climate change. Scientists have documented that anthropogenic sources of greenhouse gases are leading to a buildup in the atmosphere, which leads to a general warming of the global climate and an alteration in the statistical distribution of localized weather patterns over long periods of time.”

      Nowhere is it even claimed that there is evidence that the climate is changing in a manner which is a net negative for humanity overall or for any specific nation. If there is not a consensus that the changes are net negative, how can it be expected to reach a consensus on spending money to prevent the change???

    • Rob –

      ==> “If there is not a consensus that the changes are net negative, how can it be expected to reach a consensus on spending money to prevent the change???”

      There is a consensus that there is a risk of the changes being net negative, and that there is a risk of the extent to which they are net negative justifies an evaluation of various mitigation and adaptation policy options.

      When a consensus of scientists identify a risk for the changes to be net negative, and you then hold that against against an expectation for a consensus of certainty, then you are basically ignoring their scientific output with a non-sequitur.

      Additionally, I often see “skeptics” arguing that the very notion of a “consensus” is unscientific – that it’s anti-science, that consensus has nothing to do with science, that the existence of a consensus is irrelevant, that consensus science is a fallacy, an “appeal to authority,” and in the end destructive. So why are you waiting for that evil, bad, horrible consensus thingy (a consensus of certainty that the changes are net negative) before being willing to spend money to prevent change? Do you disagree with those “skeptics,” or is your attitude about consensus….er….selective in nature?

    • Rob Starkey

      Joshua writes- “There is a consensus that there is a risk of the changes being net negative, and that there is a risk of the extent to which they are net negative justifies an evaluation of various mitigation and adaptation policy options.”

      Joshua- I know you enjoy playing word games and your above comment seems yet another example.

      Of course there is a risk that the climate could change in a net negative manner. That could occur regardless of AGW. There is also a risk at a super volcano could erupt next year.

      Of course it makes sense to consider various climate mitigation actions and adaptation policies. It is not necessary for you to imitate Captain Obvious.

      If you do not know when or even if that more human released CO2 will make the climate worse or better for you, and you don’t know that a CO2 mitigation activity will make whatever is going to happen a lesser problem or a greater problem, how can it possible make sense to use limited resources to implement a mitigation action?

    • Rob –

      ==> “Of course there is a risk that the climate could change in a net negative manner. That could occur regardless of AGW. There is also a risk at a super volcano could erupt next year. ”

      You avoided my point, completely. Why bother to respond if you don’t want to respond on point? Obviously, I was referring to a risk that climate could change in a net negative manner as the result of ACO2 emissions

      Anyway, let’s try again. Here. I’ll rephrase to address your point about volcanoes.

      There is a consensus that there is a risk of changes caused by ACO2 being net negative, and that there is a risk that the extent to which they are net negative justifies an evaluation of various mitigation and adaptation policy options.

      When a consensus of scientists identify a risk for the changes caused by ACO2 to be net negative, and you then hold that against against an expectation for a consensus of certainty, then you are basically ignoring their scientific output with a non-sequitur.

      Additionally, I often see “skeptics” arguing that the very notion of a “consensus” is unscientific – that it’s anti-science, that consensus has nothing to do with science, that the existence of a consensus is irrelevant, that consensus science is a fallacy, an “appeal to authority,” and in the end destructive. So why are you waiting for that evil, bad, horrible consensus thingy (a consensus of certainty that the changes are net negative) before being willing to spend money to prevent change? Do you disagree with those “skeptics,” or is your attitude about consensus….er….selective in nature?

      —–

      ==> “If there is not a consensus that the changes are net negative, how can it be expected to reach a consensus on spending money to prevent the change???”

      Show respect for uncertainty, Rob, and tear off those quotation marks.

      You make damage avoidance decisions every day without having complete certainty about those damages taking place. Your argument is a non-sequitur in response to a scientist who says that there is a risk that changes resulting from ACO2 emissions will have a net negative (from the standpoint of human welfare) impact on our climate.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      ‘The essence of science is validation by observation. But it is not enough for scientific theories to fit only the observations that are already known. Theories should also fit additional observations that were not used in formulating the theories in the first place; that is, theories should have predictive power. Demonstrating the predictive power of a theory does not necessarily require the prediction of events in the future.’ http://www.project2061.org/publications/sfaa/online/chap1.htm

      The argument is that consensus is peripheral to validation and prediction. Perhaps what is most invidious about the consensus is what von Storch calls a social construct and I refer to as the Borg collective cult of AGW groupthink space cadets.

      ‘What is perhaps most worrying is the increased tendency of pseudo-science in climate research. This is revealed through the bias in publication records towards only reporting results that support one climate hypothesis, while refraining from publishing results that deviate. Even extremely cold weather, as this year’s winter in north Eastern USA and Canada, is regarded as a consequence of the greenhouse effect.

      Were Karl Popper alive today we would certainly have met with fierce critique of this behavior. It is also demonstrated in journals’ reluctance to address issues contradicting simplified climate assessments, such as the long period during the last 17 years with insignificant or no warming over the oceans, and the increase in sea-ice cover around the Antarctic. My colleagues and I have been met with scant understanding when trying to point out that observations indicate lower climate sensitivity than model calculations indicate. Such behavior may not even be intentional but rather attributed to an effect that my colleague Hans von Storch calls a social construct.’ Lennart Bengtsson

      The central failure of the ‘consensus’ is that it fails to explain climate data better than the alternate paradigm and fails to provide accurate predictions.

    • Rob Starkey

      Joshua writes- “When a consensus of scientists identify a risk for the changes caused by ACO2 to be net negative, and you then hold that against an expectation for a consensus of certainty, then you are basically ignoring their scientific output with a non-sequitur.”

      There is no consensus of scientists that ACO2 is causing conditions to change for the US or for the world overall in a net negative manner.

      But let us suppose for the sake of argument that we had much better climate models that could tell us within reasonably small margins of error how temperatures, rainfall patterns and sea level would change as a result of a rise in CO2 levels. Based on these reasonably reliable models we determined that there is a very high probability that more atmospheric CO2 will lead to a net worsening of conditions for the US or for humans overall.

      The question then is what to do in response.

      If you then evaluate potential CO2 mitigation actions, it would seem impossible to justify the implementation of the vast majority of these actions. Again the question is whether the CO2 mitigation action makes sense. You would need to know
      1. What specifically do you want the USA to do?
      2. What will each of your ideas cost the taxpayer?
      3. How will your proposals be paid for?
      4. What specifically will be accomplished in regards to the climate if each of your proposals are implemented
      5. When will we be able to tell if the proposals were effective? Is the weather going to be different if we adopt the proposals? When?
      6. What other action will not be able to be implemented because of the use of funds on the proposed mitigation action.

      Joshua- I am not asking for perfect knowledge or models, just reasonable decisions based on reasonably relaible informationand not on someone’s personal system of beliefs. Isn’t that reasonable?

    • Rob –

      ==> “There is no consensus of scientists that ACO2 is causing conditions to change for the US or for the world overall in a net negative manner. ”

      That is a non-sequitur.

      ==> “Joshua- I am not asking for perfect knowledge or models, just reasonable decisions based on reasonably relaible informationand not on someone’s personal system of beliefs. Isn’t that reasonable?”

      I think that is entirely reasonable – but it is difficult to reach your decision-making paradigm if there isn’t even a common language as to what is being discussed.

    • Rob Starkey

      Joshua

      So because you believe that there is a consensus that more CO2 is leading to a worsening of conditions it must be true?

      I didn’t write that it is not warming. I said there in no consensus that the warming is necessarily a net negative. Please provide your evidence of the consensus. When was the survey where that question was asked and answered where the overwhelming percentage of scientists said that a slightly warming planet was a net negative for humanity overall or for the US specifically.

      Writing “That is a non-sequitur” is just you agreeing you have no answer

    • Rob –

      ==> “So because you believe that there is a consensus that more CO2 is leading to a worsening of conditions it must be true? ”

      That is not what I am saying. I have tried to clarify your misunderstanding about what I’m saying numerous times now. Let’s just drop it.

  34. The science-policy interface might be interesting but is an endless, therefore useless, topic.

    The more immediate and urgent topic is cleansing science itself of pseudo-science, biased science and absurd science (eg.: the hockey stick). That needs to be done before we approach policy.
    Science (that is – mainstream climate scientists) – claims to know much more than it actually knows (as Bengtsson too asserts).

    Do the science correctly. Stick to what is known.
    This is the main problem with climate science, not “communication” or “policy interface”.

  35. Generalissimo Skippy

    ‘Our interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural.’ Anastasios Tsonis, Atmospheric Sciences Group, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

    This decidedly simple statement has in fact profound implications. The fact that at least some of the warming last century was natural is the least of it. Tsonis and colleagues solved numerically the riddle of change in Earth’s climate being highly nonlinear, of inputs and outputs not being in proportion, of change being abrupt rather than slow and gradual and of multiple states of varying degrees of hot and cold and wet and dry. The new climate paradigm links abrupt climate shifts that persist for a few decades with paleoclimatic climate shifts – glacials and interglacials, Bond events and Heinrich events – that persist over millennia.

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

    Tsonis et al (2007) used a mathematical network approach to analyse abrupt climate change on decadal timescales. Ocean and atmospheric indices – in this case the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the North Pacific Oscillation (NPO) – can be thought of as chaotic oscillators that capture the major modes of climate variability. Tsonis and colleagues calculated the ‘distance’ between the indices. It was found that they would synchronise at certain times and then shift into a new state as the Earth system adjusted in a phenomenon known as emergent behaviour in deterministically chaotic systems. It is not unlike a kaleidoscope. Every so often the scope is shaken up and a new pattern emerges. In the case of the Earth however – it is more a case of tremendous energies cascading through powerful sub-systems.

    Four multi-decadal climate shifts were identified in the last century coinciding with changes in the surface temperature trajectory. Warming from 1909 to the mid 1940’s, cooling to the late 1970’s, warming to 1998 and declining since. Climate shifts – as they are known – involve abrupt changes in the frequency and intensity of ENSO events and the state of the PDO so it is no surprise that these correspond exactly with flood and drought dominated multi-decadal regimes in north-east Australia first identified by geomorphologists Wayne Erskine and Robyn Warmer in the 1980’s. The PDO is currently negative and La Niña frequency and intensity is enhanced. The potential is for no global warming – or even cooling – for decades as well as increased summer rainfall in Australia, Indonesia, Africa and India and drought in North and South America.

    The prospect of no warming – however – provides no comfort. Deterministically chaotic systems – such as the Earth’s climate undoubtedly is – are driven by small changes that push the system past thresholds after which the pace of change is determined by the internal variability of the system itself. The risk profile is broadened considerably and includes the potential for surprises at both the cold and warm ends of the spectrum. The US Academy of Sciences in their report – ‘Abrupt climate change: inevitable surprises’ says that this includes a potential for catastrophic climate change in as little as a decade.

    Doing something pragmatic about it is where this started in my mind – something that certainly deserves a fuller exposition. A good start would be to raise foreign aid to 0.7% of GDP – as western nations have committed to under the UN Millennium Development Goals. Addressing issues like population and development, health and education, conservation and resource management is not just about carbon dioxide but broader strategies that have social and economic benefit as well bringing down black carbon, nitrous oxide, tropospheric ozone, sulphates and methane that are more than half the problem. Domestically – open and competitive performance based contracts for multi-gas mitigation seems like the way to go. If reduction of greenhouse gases is a social good – let’s at last explore least cost mitigation options in the context of defined costs and guaranteed performance. This is a time honoured procurement process – and is used extensively for conservation services. If we can restore some of the globes degraded lands and depauperate soils – this is an enormous environmental and social bonus as well as sequestering carbon over the long term.

    I have suggested that a billion dollar global energy prize would generate some interest. Energy prizes exist. The United Arab Emirates based Zayed Future Energy Prize. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Clean Energy Prize. The Virgin Earth Challenge. These are small bikkie prizes – though laudable in intent they lack the vaulting ambition needed to transform global energy systems to provide clean, cheap and abundant energy for the future needs of humanity.

  36. When not throwing up his artistic word-walls of academese and management speak, Pete is no pussycat around denialists:

    “A similar debate occurred about Aids, where a minority of scientists maintained for a long time that the disease was not caused by a virus. This view was manifestly wrong in the eyes of most scientists, but nevertheless some distinguished scientists, albeit usually not experts in virology, took different views until the science became irrefutable. The political consequences of this denialism had tragic results in some African countries.”

    Pete is yet another of those illuminated ones who, without examining most of the earth and most of what lies beyond earth, can see climate with the same clarity and certainty as they can see the behaviour of a single virus. Ah, the special insights of those who inhabit an Avatar-land of “computational and imaging power that allows much more complex systems to be addressed”.

    I’m not sure how Pete thinks skeptics compare with Big Tobacco lobbyists…but don’t get this smirker mad at you.

  37. Matthew R Marler

    [F]irst we need to remember what science is – it is not a compilation of facts. Rather it is a set of processes used to gather relatively reliable information about the world we live in, our societies and ourselves.

    I think that First we need to remember that science is the set of methods for acquiring and testing reliable results, AND the reliable results.

  38. Reconciling?;

    It more about annihilation of a particular culture if the West has a prayer of survival.

  39. Matthew R Marler

    When this formality is broken – whether by unsupported claims, hidden biases, lack of reproducibility, and inadequate peer review, public trust in science is harmed and its privilege is undermined.

    I think the public trust is broken when things don’t work and prophecies are not fulfilled. Except for the rare but recurring instances of outright fraud, scientists are judged by their results, imo. The processes, the formality, are judged themselves by their utility in weeding out falsehoods and unreliability. That’s why I think that the formality should strengthened by the full disclosure of data and computer code as used in preparing publications and other reports: it facilitates the discovery and correction of error.

  40. Matthew R Marler

    JC: Holdren seems to me to be unfortunately focused on using science to stifle political debates.

    That’s a tough one.

    When a senior government official rebuts a private citizen, it may be more than ordinary debate, but it is not “stifling.” In the particular case of Holdren v. Pielke, it might be a recognition by Holdren that his position in the debate was being eroded in public.

    • When govt officials control funding, they stifle a lot of scientists. And when they use the IRS, EPA, Justice, BATF, BLM and others to harass, intimidate and abuse ordinary citizens who disagree about policy, only a fool would think that they wouldn’t be willing to use every tool available to stifle dissent.

  41. I think it is disingenuous of Sir Gluckman to pander to the effete snobs of academia by at once saying the, “debates have a strong philosophical basis,” while at the same time characterizing opposing views — that are demonstrably Left vs. right in origin — as somewhat of a trite oversimplification of underlying ideologies. Does Gluckman seriously believe academia has not been co-opted as an ally of the government bureaucracy in a battle by the Left against business and capitalism — and, even Judeo/Christian traditions, morals and ethics — to forward the secular, socialist agenda of Eurocommunism in America?

  42. j ferguson

    Judith:

    Holdren seems to me to be unfortunately focused on using science to stifle political debates.

    This is a very creative statement. Bravo /no snarc. I think I would agree with it if I had any idea how Holdren does this. Could someone cook up an example?

  43. Scientific “conclusions” which have not been replicated should never be the basis of public policy. We know that the vast majority of scientific studies are flawed. Why would any reasonable person base policy on an unsubstantiated theory?

  44. David L. Hagen

    Energy: Blessing or Curse?
    Underlying the “climate science” policy debate is the underlying view on whether fossil energy is the ultimate curse, firing the “dark satanic mills”, or the key means for bringing the poor out of poverty, such as described by Bjorn Lomborg.
    In “The Morality of Cheap Energy” Stephen Moore observes:

    there’s a wonderful new essay out by energy expert Kathleen Hartnett White of the Texas Public Policy Foundation. It is called, provocatively: “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.”
    Her thesis is fairly logical when you think about it: “Affordable energy is the wellspring of life itself. We use it for food, shelter, clothing and everything that we need to live a productive life.”
    She also notes that cheap energy is the great equalizer in terms of levelizing living standards. “The poor,” she explains, “benefit most from cheap energy, and keeping energy production up and prices low is one of the best anti-poverty programs.”

    Moor further questions:

    Is it moral to take money from taxpayers without their consent to support one industry over another?
    Is it moral to have an energy policy that intentionally keeps prices high? Is it moral to eliminate potentially hundreds of thousands of jobs in the U.S. and ship them to China and India and Mexico when we have 18 million unemployed Americans?

  45. It’s odd.

    When we hear of humor being used to stifle political debate, no one much minds. If a politician is laughed out of office for being laughable, then we think that’s a good thing. If a politician is laughed out of office for being scientifically bumptious, why is that not a good thing?

    When we hear of treatment for substance abuse being used to stifle political debate, few mind. Rob Ford is in treatment for .. wow, are you sure he’s Canadian? His list of addictions reads like a police evidence lockup inventory report. Do we think it’s a bad thing for addicts to get treatment and sober up rather than drive the government to ruin through incompetency? No? Then why shouldn’t politicians who get science wrong not be educated and barred from office until they can pass a science exam?

    When we hear of the wartime national interest being used to stifle political debate, we respect that. War is no time to weaken the national resolve by nattering about minutiae. Well, the well-documented costs to the US in terms of treasure and lives of AGW are mounting; how long before they exceed the cost of America’s costliest war?

    We accept all of these, and more, causes to stifle debate. Science stifling debate ought be a thing we’re proud of, not constipated over.

    • John Carpenter

      “When we hear of humor being used to stifle political debate, no one much minds. If a politician is laughed out of office for being laughable, then we think that’s a good thing. If a politician is laughed out of office for being scientifically bumptious, why is that not a good thing?”

      Funny, I don’t think we’ve ever heard of humor being used to stifle debate. On the contrary, we’ve heard humor is often used to promote debate. Likewise, not once have we seen a politician laughed out of office. What does that mean anyway? The politician did something stupid and paid a political price for doing it? Is it laughable?

      “When we hear of treatment for substance abuse being used to stifle political debate, few mind. ”

      I don’t think we hear of this either. Is this broadcasted somewhere? Treatment for substance abuse being used to stifle debate? Huh, where do we hear about this?

      “When we hear of the wartime national interest being used to stifle political debate, we respect that.”

      Ok, finally one that we have heard about…. Except it doesn’t really stifle the debate. We debate the consequences of war regardless of the argument it is necessary for national interests. When is the utility of war not debated?

      To be fair… I don’t see where science is used to stifle debate either.

    • John Carpenter | May 22, 2014 at 8:18 pm |

      Wow. You really told me. Glad you got that off your chest.

    • John Carpenter

      “Glad you got that off your chest.”

      Yeah, it was really been bothering me. Thanks for your concern.

    • Emotional blackmail justified for the sake of protecting humanity/earth. The fallacy is that humanity is more inconvenienced than threatened.

    • Raving | May 22, 2014 at 11:17 pm |

      Pay me for inconveniencing me.

  46. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    A lesson from history, in regard to the ideology-driven “stifling” of science-respecting discourse …

    Question  Why did Richard Feynman never become the US Presidential Science Advisor?

    Answer  Far-right forces denounced Feynman to the FBI:

    Richard Feynman is either a Communist or very strongly pro-Communist — and as such is a very definite security risk.

    This man is, in my opinion, an extremely complex and dangerous person, and a very dangerous person to have in a position of public trust, particularly a position that so vitally affects the safety and welfare of this nation-both present and future as that of Science Advisor for President Eisenhower.

    Result: no White House invitation for Feynman.

    The behind-the-scene denunciations that political ideologues have deployed to suppress top-rank scientific discourse are incredibly obvious (and shocking), Climate Etc readers?

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    • Could it be that his “unusual personal magnetism” is repellant to Left-leaning ideologues?

    • Fan of More BS loves to lie by omission.
      From the article:

      The FBI began keeping an eye on Feynman after other members of the Manhattan Project, which built the first atomic bomb, turned out to be Soviet spies, including Klaus Fuchs, the project’s primary physicist. The documents, 361 pages, record statement after statement from the physicist’s friends and colleagues, mostly praising Feynman for his brilliance, trustworthiness and loyalty to the country. [Top 10 Mad Scientists]

      In a note to the director of the FBI, dated July 29, 1958, Special Agent-in-Charge (SAC) Los Angeles notes details from an LA Times article from two years prior, regarding his relations with his wife: “The appointee’s wife was granted a divorce from him because of appointee’s constantly working calculus problems in his head as soon as awake, while driving car, sitting in living room, and so forth, and that his one hobby was playing his African drums. His ex-wife reportedly testified that on several occasions when she unwittingly disturbed either his calculus or his drums he flew into a violent rage, during which time he choked her, threw pieces of bric-a-brac about and smashed the furniture.”

      (end of quote)

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/15/richard-feynman-physicist-fbi_n_1600110.html

      So, while he was a brilliant guy, and I admire him, he did have some issues. Intelligence doesn’t make you not a communist and it doesn’t mean you never do stupid things. Idjit.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/15/richard-feynman-physicist-fbi_n_1600110.html

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      IfRichard Feynman was a credible security risk, then so is any scientist of sufficient intelligence to qualify them as complex and dangerous (in the phrasing of Feynman’s denouncer).

      Come to think of it, Climate Etc’s resident denialists *DO* suspiciously regard “complex” cognition as being inherently “dangerous”, eh Jim2? Just to be safe, let’s order broad-band NSA wiretaps!

      Hmmm … maybe its time to storm the Stasi?

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    • Whew. It must be hours since we last got a loony new conspiracy theory against a prominent scientist whose views of the discipline undermine progressive CAGW dogma.

      “I have a list, right here, of communists among the non-consensus scientific community!”

      FBI 302 interview reports are the raw notes of interviews, not investigative reports. Just the kind of thing progressives love to use to attack those who dare hold opinions with which they disagree.

    • FOMT, the item at your own link says, “…The records don’t indicate that the Bureau, despite its extensive investigations into Feynman, took the letter very seriously….” [emphasis added]

      Yet, your comment says the “result” of the obscure anonymous letter was “no White House invitation for Feynman”

      Cause?? Effect?? Do you have any knowledge, any idea??

      Once again inquiring minds want to know, do you even bother to read the materials you link in spaghetti barrages here at Climate, Etc.??

      Buffoonery by FOMT, sensible questions by Skiphil

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Skiphil wonders “The ‘result;of the obscure anonymous letter was ‘no White House invitation for Feynman’. Cause?? Effect?? Do you have any knowledge, any idea??

      Our family’s home library includes a lively in-depth account by one scientist who *did* get the job that Feynman wanted: James R. Killian, Jr’s Sputnik, Scientists, and Eisenhower: a Memoir of the First Special Assistant to the President for Science and Technology (MIT Press, 1977).

      Killian’s account will disabuse *ANYONE* of the idea that science can be separated from policy … or that the far-right’s secret denunciations of Richard Feynman were ineffective.

      Keep in mind that the US spent multiple trillions of dollars, first on A-bombs, then on H-bombs, then on MIRV-bombs, finally on (abortive) orbital missile-defense systems.

      Unusual political forces come into play when trillions of dollars are at stake, eh Skiphil? What is your next question?

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    • FOMT, you are truly a useless gasbag as an internet troll.

      I pointed out that your link did not substantiate what you claimed it did.

      You shift ground and throw out new assertions which can’t be verified here (certainly you provide nothing to substantiate them) while ignoring your failure to defend your previous statement.

      The reason you disgust me is because in the past I wasted too much time following out your hailstorms of spurious, irrelevant links while trying to make sense of your self-important blather.

      Whenever you are called out on one of your careless proclamations, spurious links, mis-citations, non-existent reasoning, inaccurate assertions, or irrelevant tirades, you don’t even try to rationally respond to what was at issue. You don’t even pretend to be in a serious discussion.

      Instead, you glibly shift ground, throw out some new words/links, and pretend that your new comment is responsive to what went before.

      A troll, you are indeed a troll.

    • nottawa rafter

      Fan-
      Document the trillions spent on such by year and by category.

    • Just because Feynman was highly intelligent does not necessarily mean he would have been a good science advisor. We in the US would have been much better off if we had fought communism harder here. That system is one that destroys our system – a system that works well for people.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      nottawa rafter asks  “Fan — Document the trillions spent on [the nuclear arsenal] by year and by category.”

      The Brookings Institute report Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940 (1998) is a compendium of precisely the information you seek, nottawa rafter!

      “Since 1940 [up to 1998], the United States has spent $5.8 trillion on nuclear weapons programs, more than on any single program except Social Security.”

      Ongoing costs are not small; for the fiscal years 2010-2018 the deterrent triad alone will cost the taxpayer a further $179 billion, and according to the CBO, total nuclear-program costs for 2014-2023 will be $560  billion

      Conservative and liberal presidents alike — beginning with President/General Eisenhower — have long questioned whether this *TITANIC* taxpayer investment has returned good value … especially since most of the 70,000 thermonuclear weapons that were produced under this staggeringly expensive (and incredibly dangerous) program have been dismantled.

      Needless to say, the interests whose pockets were lined by that $5800 billion-dollar program were keen that independent scientific thinkers — like Richard Feynman — *NOT* be permitted a public voice in questioning the wisdom of this investment.

      Hence the relentless smearing and denunciation of Richard Feynman (and many other thoughtful scientists) by far-right/special interests.

      What is your next question, nottawa rafter?

      Here is a suggestion:

      Reasonable Question  If the advice of far-right think-tanks in regard to nuclear arms has been so horrendously wasteful, dangerous, short-sighted, and amoral … perhaps present-day far-right think-tank advice in regard to carbon-energy economies similarly is horrendously wasteful, dangerous, short-sighted, and amoral?

      If far-right think-tanks have been so easily manipulated by big-bomb special interests, perhaps today they are similarly manipulated by big-carbon special interests?

      The world wonders!

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    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      jim2 opines  “We in the US would have been much better off if we had fought communism harder.”

      Yes! And this means that nowadays, we must fight harder against the threat posed by Commie nations like Denmark, Holland, Belgium, and Norway … nations whose extraordinarily long life-expectancy, cradle-to-grave top-quality health-care, universal free education at every grade level (including college), and high levels of general happiness are posing an increasingly severe threat to America’s very way of life!

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    • Why would we want communists and sympathizers in U.S. government policy making and associated? We don’t.

      I’m glad someone was doing their job at the time. Someone clearly dropped the ball during the Reagan term trying to appease and bargain with the greenshirt left (U.N. IPCC formation), many of whom are anti-American, communist sympathizers with only modest inspection.

      You are clueless and hazard Fanboy.

  47. News roundup

    Climate Change Is on the Ballot
    Posted: 05/22/2014

    ‘The academic debate on climate change is settled: It is here, it is human-caused, and it is already having a devastating impact on our communities. But some political leaders deny scientific facts and evidence. They believe that the truth is not good for their careers. And when faced with irrefutable evidence, too many politicians choose to fall back on the classic defense, “I have no awareness of that, your honor.”’

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-steyer/climate-change-is-on-the-_b_5368917.html
    When world leaders gather in New York this fall to confront climate change, tens of thousands of people (and maybe you) will be there to demand they take action before it’s too late
    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/a-call-to-arms-an-invitation-to-demand-action-on-climate-change-20140521

    Global Warming Alarmists Are Getting Desperate
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/kylesmith/2014/05/21/global-warming-alarmists-are-getting-desperate/

    The silencing of global warming critics
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-perspec-climate-0521-20140521,0,1067988.story

    • I’ve noticed the number of alarmists articles have ramped up in the mediocria. It would be nice if we had a post to agglomerate all the propaganda we find :)

  48. Generalissimo Skippy

    ‘Kahan notes that research has found political independents and libertarians score better on cognitive reflection than do liberals or conservatives. But before we brainy libertarians and independents start patting ourselves on our collective backs, could this simply mean that we are especially good at justifying our beliefs to ourselves?

    The new Yale study finds that when it comes to thinking about policy-relevant scientific information that challenges their ideological views, liberals, conservatives, and, yes, libertarians are inclined to violate physicist Richard Feynman’s famous “first principle.” As the irreverent genius put it, “You must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.” And the smarter you are, the easier it is to fool yourself.’ http://reason.com/archives/2013/01/28/are-republican-and-democratic-brains-dif

    It really is just people telling themselves and others stories. There are a few scientists who actually have a clue and agree with me – but by and large it is all just directed at headlines. Runaway ice melt to raise global ocean by 0.25mm/year. Dire warnings that ocean acidification might result in under saturation of Aragonite in 2100 in the Southern Ocean. Another record breaking super storm hits somewhere or other.

    How can you not fool yourself? If the policy can be justified without global Armageddon hype – where’s the motivation?

    • Well, GS, if you read the comments here, you get a pretty good spread, politically and otherwise.

  49. Here’s some good sciency policy advice for ya.

    http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/impacts/national-landmarks-at-risk-from-climate-change.html

    Notice the pic of an almost submerged statue of Alex Haley during Hurricane Isabel in 2003. This is classic CAGW “science. No relation to the topic, just an example of storm surge. And the added attraction of an implicit argument that resisting reductions in ACO2 emissions is racist.

    The only thing missing is a dead polar bear draped across his shoulders, and maybe the blade of a hokey stick poking out of the water in his other hand.

    You can’t beat the Union of Progressive Scientists for good, down to earth “science.”

  50. Michael + Hypotenuse on Policy:

  51. Scientists already know all the answers. They have no intention of listening to denialists. A popular trend. It seems

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/who-s-afraid-of-christine-lagarde-1.2648869

    • “In fact, she was on the select committee at the giant bank that helped decide how big the mega-bonuses would be for the boys in suspenders.

      How wonderfully progressive of the Smith-ites to overlook all that.”

      Come on, that why they invited her. It’s not a matter of overlooking it’s what they applaud. Don’t anyone notice what Occupy Wallstreet was really about?
      Specifically, I mean the division of the elites and the drummers.

  52. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Chuck L asks “Why would Dr. Curry take lessons from Naomi Oreskes in anything?”

    Question by Chuck L, answer by FOMD!

    Full Answer  Those of Dr. Curry’s students who are broadly interested in the intersection of climate-science, history, *and* policy — and who aspire to achieve at the very highest levels of professional recognition — can fruitfully study both the literature of denialism in general, and Prof. Oreskes’ recent writings in particular.

    Summary Answer  `Cuz knowledge beats ignorance.

    Corollary  A broad-ranging appreciation of the scientific, historical, economic, and political foundations of denialist cognition assists in defeating it … hmmmm … perhaps that’s why “the denialist consensus” vehemently decries the ever-increasing prevalence and vigor broad-ranging scientific surveys and interdisciplinary/interdenominational/international workshops.

    Thank you for your thoughtful question, Chuck L!

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    • For a historian of science with a special interest in climate, Naomi Oreskes does pretty poor work covering one of the most controversial aspects of the subject. In her stupid book she dismisses Steve McIntyre as ‘a Canadian geologist with links to the mining industry’. You’d think she would at least mention some of the crappy science that was found in the hockey stick. Her poor quality work belongs on the editorial pages of ‘Mother Jones’, not in the historical record of science.

    • You are a tale of sound and fury signifying nothing. Oreskes, Cook, Lewandowski, all green partisans, all eco-fascists, all massive fails, all thoroughly debunked and none climatologists, so tell is again why we should care about what they have to say.

  53. Kevin Hearle

    Sir Peter Gluckman, is one of New Zealand’s most distinguished scientists but in terms of climate science he is an self confessed IPCC follower to the detriment of New Zealand’s policy response. While the current paper is insightful you need to read more of his papers to organisations before you form an opinion on his views in the climate debate.

  54. Geoff Sherrington

    As a retired senior and successful scientist, I found Sir Peter’s words to be a nicely composed summary of the customary knowledge, the tools of trade of science if you will. Other experienced scientists would probly react like me and wonder why the words were needed to whom they were addressed.
    Then I came to realise that it was climate change time. Sir Peter was politely associating climate work with the need to correct the stated ailments.
    It had not occurred to me before that senior, experienced CLIMATE scientists – or a good number of them – were operating and had long operated under a different set of values. In my innocent world where data drives progress and belief is a chattering class theme, I have failed to consider the possibility that said climate workers were genuinely accepting devious science as the correct way to action, as if it was an accepted way, which it is not. I had thought that they knew the correct path, but consciously decided to stray because they wanted to get their own ways – the end and the means thing.
    Now, late in the piece, I am coming to realise that the harm that dissident climate workers are doing to science arises from ignorance of correct conduct, at least for a sub set.
    If this is some, there is a serious problem. Many of the alleged offenders teach. If they teach that dissident science is ok, the problem grows. This adventure needs to be nippred in the bud.
    Guidance for corredction of bad science used to come from ouur Learned Societies.
    What has happened?
    Have people capitulated to allow the very ills mentioned by Sir Peter? Where are the Learneds when needed?

    • Geoff

      The words ‘Noble cause corruption’ and ‘post normal science’ spring to mind. Are both interchangeable but the latter is a more acceptable way of hiding the intentions behind the former? Discuss.

      tonyb

    • Jim Cripwell

      Geoff, you write “Guidance for correction of bad science used to come from our Learned Societies.
      What has happened?
      Have people capitulated to allow the very ills mentioned by Sir Peter? Where are the Learneds when needed?”

      Unfortunately, just about all our learned scientific societies, and most of academia, led by the Royal Society, and American Physical Society have been in the forefront of claiming that the warmists have the science right. We have seen no less a person than the current Astronomer Royal, and former President of the Royal Society, Lord Reese, talking scientific nonsense in public, and being economical with the truth in talking about climate sensitivity. The corruption of science by CAGW comes from the very institutions who should be the guardians of integrity of science.

      I have asked the question many times. Who is going to bell the4 cat?

    • Geoff, on the successful scientist bit, was it because you had a satisfying career, what you did usually worked, or equally successful, in my view at least, did things that didn’t work, shared the news, and protected your successors from traps?

      One of the things we seem to be afflicted with in the US is the concept of the “knowledge industry” I like the idea of the “ignorance, and by the way, we’re working on it, industry.”

      forgive all of the above.

    • Geoff Sherrington | May 23, 2014 at 3:01 am |

      Sir Peter was speaking of Policy interfaces with Science, in particularly drawing on his experiences as a medical man called in to address failures of his nation’s medical policies and then sticking around to poke his untrained-in-public-administration nose in every pot simmering on the policy stove.

      Maybe if you spoke to us of your vast policy experience, as you appear unwilling to actually reveal what you mean when you handwave about the wisdom of science?

  55. Geoff Sherrington

    Bart R, Joshua, FAMD,
    It is sad that each of you lacks the mental capacity to realise that you are precisely the types that Sir Peter describes in terms not so glowing.
    You are the new kids on the block, with your strange ideas about hard science, so I suggest you contemplate your ability to yield and accept the wiser ways of Science, as established over centuries.

    • Geoff Sherrington | May 23, 2014 at 4:01 am |

      Ooh. Do tell, Unca Geoff. Teach us all ’bout da wiser ways o’ Science.

      Start by explaining to us Newton’s Principia, the great debate of Newton and Hooke, so we can glean some historical perspective on the narrative of the evolution of Science in the two centuries between this phase and the Wunderjahr.

      Unravel for us the states of Science and its transitions between 1904 and 2004 in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Computation, and so forth.

      Forgive my lack of mental capacity if I ask you to spell out exactly what you mean, as I don’t read Handwave yet.

      Put up or shut up.

  56. Geoff Sherrington

    climatereason | May 23, 2014 at 3:32 am |

    Response. No need to dice and slice. The odious features of bad climate science can be found in many places. There is not much joy in attaching labels.
    As above, I used to think these people deviated knowingly in a rebel sort of way. Now I’m concluding that they were never educated properly and act in the misbelief that they are the normal people. They are not. They are substandard and should not be listened to, except to see how bad they are before an eventual remedy.

    • Geoff Sherrington | May 23, 2014 at 4:04 am |

      You want to know what I find odious?

      Thanks for asking.

      Two guys passing the time talking about what is bad science, who’ve never practiced science nor qualified in any science.

      That sort of thing might have flown while loitering around the Arts Quad, pretending that being on the same campus as actual scientists made you into a scientist, or somehow gave you credentials or foundation for telling people who really do the thing how bad they are at it.

      And if you want to know what is odious in education?

      It’s letting people who can’t earn a Science degree first get into an Education degree program so they can spread their ignorance into future generations. It’s letting people who can’t do multivariate calculus or set theory or lattice theory or number theory introduce children to numbers by rote arithmetic, unable to even explain why addition works or what multiplication means. It’s giving people license to talk about education who cannot explain the distinction between osmosis and diffusion, calculate for themselves the orbit of a planetary body around a star, program a computer to say “Hello world”, or understand the link between blue skies and blue eyes.

      Glad you showed that curiosity into what’s odiously bad science.

    • Don Monfort

      Well done, bartski. That is some very elegant trolling. Still, virtually nobody is scared by the ersatz multivariate calculus of the alarmist climate clique. You should consider finding a viable cause. Your talents are going to waste on this one.

    • Don Monfort | May 23, 2014 at 11:22 am |

      Scared?

      What is your obsession with alarm, fear, terror and whose afraid of what?

      Are you four years old? A chronic phobic?

      Is it math that makes you cower in a reactionary puddle of angst and propaganda? Anxiety over having to produce an answer that is either right or wrong arithmetically, with no appeal to opinion or emotion?

      I’m not actually feigning interest in you, personally. But it seemed appropriate to turn back your techniques on you, only with better diction and skill.

    • Don Monfort

      You are very confused, barty. It’s your crowd who are scared. That’s why you are raising the alarm. We are not scared, because your Chicken Little lot do not have a convincing case for CAGW. You are trying to scare us so we will accept punishing carbon taxes. We ain’t buying it. You are wasting your time and your impeccable diction on a lost cause. Are you following any of this, barty? Hello!

    • Don Monfort | May 23, 2014 at 1:44 pm |

      You’re scared of being punished?

      You’re alarmed about getting caught?

      It sounds to me like you have a guilty conscience.

    • Don Monfort

      We are done here.

    • Don Monfort | May 23, 2014 at 3:10 pm |

      I blame the education system.

      If you’d had teachers with a decent background in the sciences, you wouldn’t struggle through life with such a cartoon grasp of the world.

  57. Peter Lang

    The Climate and Environmental Impacts of Renewables
    The Current Data and Historical Perspectives on Energy in 34 Charts
    http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/programs/energy-and-climate/the-climate-and-environmental-impacts-of-renewables

  58. “Policy-making is primarily a process of identifying problems and exploring the options to address them.”
    ———————————————————————-
    Nope.

    Once again, a scientist dives into an area about which he knows little and gets it wrong, while revealing his political biases.

    The assumption is inherently statist – the government’s job is to find “problems” and fix them, and this is what policy is. No, mate, that’s politics.

    Taking economic policy as an example, there is no end of potential “problems” that a government could “find”. A particular sector, industry or company is not doing well, for example. But are they really problems, and should the government do anything? They are the policy questions.

    As for social policy, there is a bottomless pit of “problems” in the sense that human life is messy and imperfect. The policy question is, to what extent, if any, the government should “identify” (necessarily arbitrarily) these “problems” and why on earth does anyone assume that they can or should be fixed, let alone by governments?

    I am not in the least surprised to learn that this chap is a warmist. He doesn’t understand the difference between political activity and policy, for a start. This is often the first step down the slippery slope of demanding that Something Must Be Done about the Issue du jour.

    • Plus one hundred per cent.

    • Peter Lang

      +1

    • Policy is an esssence of bureaucracy: ‘Should we be involved? … Setting the terms of mandate and jurisdiction’

      … The fatuous science

    • Thanks, Beth and Peter. We Aussies do what we can. I hope that Faustino can drop by and add his views.

      People like this chap and Mike Hulme talk the talk, but are noticeably absent when it comes to walking the walk.

    • Geoff Sherrington

      Quick respone to some Q’s above. The latter years of my career as a scientist were spent managing government relation for a corporation (and Australian resources industries in general) during the development of several billion dollars of new wealth in mines and othere reources we had discovered by the application of world-leading, good, hard science.
      One does not construct and compare models of ore deposits for the outcome of claiming that they should not reflect observation. I have the current CMIP poor science wailing in mind. We did construct models that we refined for successive deposits, based on factual observations from previous deposits. The model had to pass the test, or be rjected..
      Yes, I know that many concepts of climate are far harder to quantify than in my resources case. But, that is not an adequate reasons to do strange things like data mining and preferential shoping, torture of statistics, making up home made stats to suit the outcome, guessing. We did similar stats, if you are wondering about qualifications to coment on climate work.
      In my main field, there is no place for belief. One does not imagine an economic ore deposit into existence. Its presence is confirmed by measured parameters. I therefore find it entirely valid to rip apart the main claims of CAGW becase they are not based on measured parameters, but on guesses. There is still no single, accepted, replicated, quantitative paper linking GHG changes in the atmosphere to temperature changes. It is alarming that a basic part of policy response is based, in part, on guesses.
      It is imaterial how messages about AGW are conveyed to the public, but that topic consumes much of the discussion. Might I suggest, unoriginally, that the public discussion should be about what the hard data are teling us?
      That would provide clearer input into the policy process. And more entertaining reading than the stream of excuses for the bad science of climate work that is degrading the past standards of hard, objective science. You upstarts who are commenting here with great confidence in favour of a failed new way to do science – you are the ones who have to change. The lax standards of some climate work have to go, they are not the way of the future, they are the demonstration of failed thinking and they are bloody annoying in their repetition.

    • Geoff Sherrington | May 23, 2014 at 5:55 pm |

      You make yourself sound like the Australian Steve McIntyre.. except with an actual science degree.

      When you speak of data mining and preferential torture, you make it sound like you’re referring to Wyatt & Curry’s Stadium Wave.

      There is still no single, accepted, replicated, quantitative paper linking GHG changes in the atmosphere to temperature changes. sounds like you mean http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v421/n6918/abs/nature01286.html where Parmesan and Yohe — cited over four thousand times — pretty much fulfill all your criteria, right up to and including http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00382-014-2128-2 with Lovejoy’s 99% confidence.

      Perhaps you’re looking through the wrong end of the microscope?

  59. Mike Flynn

    Oh dear. Have we all forgotten that that the legislators’ reason for existence is to pass laws? Any reason will suffice – any lack of reason will suffice just as well.

    If there is a lack of problems to be rectified by yet more laws, why then, create some. Weather too cold? We need a law. Weather too hot? We need a law.

    Someone has to be accountable! Someone is responsible!

    More law is obviously better than less law – who could possibly disagree?

    More advisers are obviously better than less advisers – who could possibly disagree?

    And yet Nature proceeds, seemingly paying no heed to our laws, or to our devout entreaties. Maybe it is time to cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war? Or maybe, to accept, graciously, that which which we cannot meaningfully change – the weather being but one example which springs to mind.

    Life goes on until it stops.

    Live well and prosper,

    Mike Flynn.

  60. How academic language translates downstream to the likes of Joshua and Fanboy;

    http://www.examiner.com/article/report-climate-alarmists-seek-jail-death-penalty-for-global-warming-skeptics

    Jewish scientists, with actual victims and survivors in their families, are called “holocaust deniers” in the modern left lexicon. Communist rhetoric and goals found everywhere in the pro-AGW leadership and rank and file.

    Remove the leftist media and academic filters for a moment and consider what it actually is we are discussing about “science” and “reconciling”.

  61. Science as Marxist solution Fanboy?

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Cwon14, given your political views, you oughtta seek-out and date the lively gal who wrote this vehement condemnation of communism:

      The Collapse of Western Civilization:
      A View from the Future

      Communism, which had spread throughout Eurasia and to some parts of Africa and Latin and South America, revealed even worse failures than capitalism.

      Communist economies proved grossly inefficient at delivering goods and services.

      Politically, early ideas of mass empowerment gave way to tyrannical and brutal dictatorship.

      In the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin (1878–1953; ruled 1941–1953), tens of millions died in purges, forced collectivization of agriculture, and other forms of internal violence.

      Tens of millions died in China as well during the ‘Great Leap Forward’ — the attempt by Mao Zedong (1893–1976, ruled 1949–1976) to force rapid industrialization.

      Because of the horrible violence in the East, many Western intellectuals came to see everything associated with Communism as evil.

      That would be THIS GAL!

      Gosh, this would be a relationship made in heaven, eh cwon14?

      `Cuz in the final analysis, her science-respecting message is *TRULY* conservative.

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

  62. Tanglewood

    Values are inherent in what scientists choose to study, how they frame their questions, their methodological choices, and in how they interpret and communicate results. Managing and acknowledging those values properly is essential if science is to sustain its privileged position in the advice process.

    Govenment-funded climate science has from the start been a means to advance the values and political cause of government, cheered on by those (largely of the left) who welcome a more government-dominated society. This tainted ‘science’ is but the servant of politics, which will only ever produce studies advancing climate alarmism (never questioning it), since this is where the vested interests of its paymaster in politics and government lie.

    • Peter Lang

      Indeed!

    • Margaret Thatcher was in on it too.

      Bloody ‘leftists’ !!

    • Tanglewood

      “Largely” leftists, I said. There is a part of the right that shares the left’s hatred of freedom from oppression.

    • Tanglewood | May 24, 2014 at 3:27 am |
      “hatred of freedom from oppression.”

      Not as succint as “reign of terror”, or “McCarthyism”, but let’s add that the ‘skeptics’ ever so reasonable lexicon of climate science.

    • Tanglewood

      Yes, “McCarthyism” probably best describes ,the self-serving, dishonest and intolerant basic nature of government climate science. All of course in the overall cause of upping the level of government / lowering the level of freedom.

  63. yes, Michael, she was misled by a couple of advisors, gave some speeches, but recanted her support for CAGW alarm a few years later…..

    so Thatcher serves as a prime example of a political figure who can be led astray by bad advice, yet she emerges triumphantly as a person of independent thought who worked her way through to a much more critical (skeptical) stance

    she is not really a useful exemplar for your Cause!!

    • The mythical Thatcher/Reagan revisionist history lesson brought to us today by Michael, it’s the warmer handbook and guide.

  64. Pingback: Here! Here! Change R&D Priorities Now | Musings on Interesting Things

  65. Knutti says that it is pretty easy to tell. “If you are on the left politically, you believe in global warming,” he says. “If you are on the right, that is much less likely.” He adds that the line between opinion and fact is often blurred, even among scientists.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/climate-scientists-mixed-over-controversy-surrounding-respected-researcher-a-971033.html

    The writer and Dr. Curry do the rational equivalency of “sides” dance but the facts are much more simple. AGW is a left-wing political meme and the science is trivial in proportions. It’s dominated by Green activism as is the bulk of the “consensus” as it is segregated by the intensity of the belief both in AGW and self assigned membership as a consensus member. Political mob psychology and peer pressure plays a part even in a room of well educated people with advanced technical training. Social stigmatization to those outside the belief system or even “soft” is standard social behavior. Ask any Hippie what it was like leaving the farm or the social group in the 60’s.

    If AGW is discussed outside the context of a uniquely left-wing social movement then a basic debate truth is being obfuscated. By treating the topic outside this frame work or minimizing the political motivations of the bulk of “consensus” opinion is a form of AGW debate dishonesty. This dishonesty is perfectly acceptable to many skeptics as well as activists in many formats for many reasons. When this dishonesty is lifted AGW will regress back to the enclaves of academia once the general funding of green activism is cut from commerce. It may not be soon but Australia is the example by cutting 90% of AGW funding (it should have been 100% of course but it’s a the right direction). Farage in England is ascending as well, a mother load of green ideology will be rejected there in coming years.

  66. To reconcile these two cultures, the skeptics (who won the debate) must
    offer their politically more powerful opponents an honorable escape.

    HISTORICAL events of December 1922 and August 1945 offer the honorable retreat that may bring Climategate to conclusion:

    1. The DISCOVERY was acknowledged with a Nobel Prize in December 1922.

    2. But FEAR and CHAOS were hidden from the public in August 1945.

    These two events are summarized on opposite sides of this one-page report

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10640850/CHAOS_and_FEAR_August_1945.pdf

  67. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup | Watts Up With That?

  68. After several days away, I’ve read five excellent head-posts (skipping the NYT article), but haven’t read the 2000+ comments (“Shame! Shame!”) I liked the Gluckman excerpts except for “that debate has largely been displaced by using scientific complexity as an excuse for a proxy battle displaced by using scientific complexity as an excuse for a proxy battle which when peeled away is really a values debate over the economic interests of this generation versus the next.” I totally disagree with that: I think that the policies which I and others here advocate would be better for us and for those who follow after, and that if there are any seriously adverse impacts from global warming, that they would be better placed from us focussing on growth, flexibility etc now than from expensive and economically-damaging GHG emissions reduction programs. The politicisation of the debate comes from the left’s attempt to enrol global warming as a tool to bring about their agenda, which to me is more concerned with ideological omnipotence than the well-being of people (or the planet if you think in those terms).

    • Global warming as a tool – yep!

    • Faustino, I agree that the “left” is using global warming as a tool. As a scientist, this upsets me. As an environmentalist, I am more pragmatic. All of the solutions (except carbon credits) proposed to slow global warming will also help the issues that I am concerned with: rainforests, bidiversity, indigenous people, and lots more. (Pretty much anything that cannot be replaced once it is gone.)

      The issue I have with the “right” is that they do not acknowledge that economic growth in developed countries can have negative side effects. Air pollution, garbage, heavy metals in water, are a few examples. We would not need regulations if industry acted responsibly. And the excuse “we did not know” just cannot be used anymore.

      I recommend the “Story of Stuff” videos.

      • The issue I have with the “right” is that they do not acknowledge that economic growth in developed countries can have negative side effects.

        That is perhaps because you do not understand what the right is saying. There are positive and negative consequences to any course of action. However the right sees the positives outweighing the negatives. The left always concentrates on the negatives and would seek to eliminate them even at the cost of all the positives.

        And that is the basic difference.

      • philjourdan I feel that extemists on both sides have the media bullhorn, which allows everyone to make generalizations like what you just wrote. I find myself always in the middle, a fiscal conservative and social liberal. I admit that I tend to read left-leaning news sources, but I do not trust them.
        My criteria for judging a news source is how they talk about global warming. I know they got their news from someone else and I can tell from whom by what they say. I’ll comment more on the new IPCC blog posted today.