Ending the war with skeptics

by Judith Curry

As we approach the anniversary of Climategate, I am getting a lot of queries from reporters, which invariably includes the following question:

Is there any hope for ending the war between climate scientists that support the IPCC and skeptics?

My answer is “yes.”

The big war is arguably over

The political war over whether anthropogenic climate change will be the primary driver of global energy policy is pretty much over.  Yes, everyone agrees that we need a new energy policy and that clean green energy is desirable.  Further, people recognize that there is an increasing need to reduce vulnerability to extreme weather and climate events.  But it seems that climate change is not going to be the primary driver for global energy policy; the UNFCCC is losing that war.

Without political impetus, what is the rationale for continued trench warfare between the climate scientists that defend the IPCC and the skeptics?  I can’t think of any.  Climate science will continue on its merry way, with a spectrum of view points and ideas on how and why the climate system is changing, and how humans and ecosystems respond and react to this change.  Yes, we are all concerned about sustainability.  But saving the planet is above the pay grade of climate scientists.  Climate scientists have made a clear and cogent case that we are facing risk from the threat from anthropogenic climate change.  The  nature and magnitude and likelihood of this threat is the subject of continued active investigation.  Let the economists, military/defense intelligence experts, resource managers, and yes politicians, sort out how we should manage these risks.

The artless climate wars

Apart from the “why” of the climate wars, the “how” needs to be looked at also.  It seems that those fighting to defend the IPCC consensus never read the Art of War.  Translated to the climate war, Sun Tzu’s principles might look something like this:

  • Outsmart your opponent so that battles aren’t necessary
  • Pick your battles carefully.
  • In the course of your battle, don’t lose the moral high ground.
  • Divide and conquer; don’t give your enemy cause to rally together and combine forces
  • Overconfidence can be fatal to your strategy
  • If the campaign is prolonged, the resources will not be equal to the strain
  • If you know your enemy, you can win battles without a single loss
  • Others?

The mistakes made by the defenders of the IPCC have been illuminated by the outcome of this war against the skeptics over the past year.  The most visible outcome is the hugely enhanced public platform for skeptics, particularly McIntyre and Michaels, which seems the opposite of their intention as reflected by the emails.

Some terms for ending the war

Here are some ideas for how we can end the war with skeptics.  Lets start by declaring the war over.  Its pointless.  Scientific progress is spurred by disagreement.  There will always be cranks.  There will be rebels who are outside the mainstream, but with ideas that are not irrational.  There will be newcomers to the field with fresh ideas and new perspectives. Etc.  Let it happen.  When somebody puts forward what you think is mistaken, rebut it.  Open your mind and try to learn from other people’s ideas, even if their conclusions are incorrect.

So let’s declare a truce.  Here is what it might look like:

  • If someone presents research that you disagree with, either ignore it or rebut it, in the blogosphere or journal publication if the research is published.
  • Attack the argument, not the person.  No ad hominem attacks and no appeal to motive attacks. No argumentum ad populum.
  • Do not use science to fight political battles
  • Rediscover the joy of science, with debate as the spice of scientific discourse.
  • Amnesty for war crimes on both sides (that fall short of formal research misconduct)  (h/t to Zajko)

This is already happening, one scientist at a time.  Here is a quote from an email message from a climate science colleague that I received this morning:

A couple years ago I met a skeptic that got me past my troglodyte stereotype.  I haven’t been quite the same since in climate science circles. Not that I am free of sorrow and worry about the future of the planet in climate as well as other terms, but that’s beyond my pay grade.

281 responses to “Ending the war with skeptics

  1. # If someone presents research that you disagree with, either ignore it or rebut it, in the blogosphere or journal publication if the research is published.
    # Attack the argument, not the person. No ad hominem attacks and no appeal to motive attacks. No argumentum ad populum.
    # Do not use science to fight political battles
    # Rediscover the joy of science, with debate as the spice of scientific discourse.

    I agree unilaterally. As an aside, I’d find it encouraging if you would not respond with “Good point” or “Thanks for that” to comments which include such gambits.

    • # Do not use science to fight political battles
      # Rediscover the joy of science, with debate as the spice of scientific discourse.

      Ready for the big one?

      # Time to change the paradigm of science

      The current paradigm of science is anchored in an autistic perspective. It traps us and chains us to a single universal ‘subjective’ singularity.

      Heretofore we have been unable to move beyond a single universal subjective consideration because can’t appreciate how it is possible to move across a discontinuous void without becoming lost in confusion.

      The autistic perspective solves the problem by avoiding discontinuity.

      The is only one university in the autistic reality. It is a monolithic totality.

      The universe multiple limited intermittently connected subjectivities, by definition cannot be spanned by a description that is monolithic totality.

      Those who are autistic type thinkers are unaware and unknowing in regard to multiple limited intermittently connected subjectivities.

      The autistic universe is timeless. The trick in abstraction is to freeze all considerations, so that all thing can be represented a in timeless perfect universal visualization.

      Non-autistic type thinkers inhabit a timely universe connections across voids of discontinuity are discovered or manufactured. Fragments in the timely distributed space are joined through discovery, recognition or deliberate reconnection. The awareness and horizon in the nonautistic universe is inconstant flux as the passage of time alters awareness in a form which is not virtual.

      Climate is a huge topic. My suspicion is that there does not yet a single virtual description that effectively spans the requisite space.

      Without a methodology for describing the timely discontinuous spaces we are forced to use the virtual are well developed familiar and proven.

      ..and we must also continue to inhabit a universe with just one subjectivity.

  2. Is there any hope for ending the war between climate scientists and skeptics?

    This dichotomous question implies that no climate scientists are skeptics. That is false.

  3. I don’t see it as a war. Climate science has become a political movement first and a science second. If climatologists need ‘credibility’ returned, they need to begin to denounce the bad work i.e. UHI papers without supporting data, fish, sheep, birds and butterflies all shrinking. Every ice loss report on sea ice, exaggerated Antarctic temperature trends etc. Not every effect is caused by warming, i.e. Kilimanjaro but funding is tied to results and attribution to AGW.

    I don’t see it as very likely to change with a political structure like the IPCC in charge.

    Also, while green energy sounds good — it doesn’t exist — which is something I wish climate scientists would also admit.

    • The reporters keep asking about the war with skeptics. The public seems to see it as a war. I agree that the key issue in terms of the science is a return to credibility.

      • “The Public” is a very large group. Most people outside of government, climate science and environmentalism aren’t aware of the any such “war.” Battles maybe. Occasional loud noises. But no “war.”
        Next time you’re at a non-work function, ask some people if they know what Climategate is.

        Reporters thrive on wars.

      • Well, those paying attention to climategate view it as a war with the skeptics. Presumably these are the people that would read articles about the one year anniversary of climategate.

      • The public seems to see it as a war.

        I don’t think so. A certain group of climate scientists (both camps) may see it that way, some reporters may see it that way because they need to fill their columns. But the general public is rather uninterested as see the “war on climate” as something outside their circle of interest and a proof that AGW is not settled.

    • Oh, Jeff, it’s a war all right. Now the warmistas have a Climate Rapid Response Team to “to take bold measures to not only communicate science but also to aggressively engage the denialists and politicians who attack climate science and its scientists,”

  4. Climate scientists have made a clear and cogent case that we are facing risk from the threat from anthropogenic climate change.
    I wonder!
    “The data doesn’t matter. We’re not basing our recommendations on the data. We’re basing them on the climate models.”
    Prof. Chris Folland, Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research

  5. First and ever, we learn; occassionally, we teach. Our entire life is about learning and teaching; most happens outside a classroom (or labratory). Life’s a beach, always changing, always the same.

    PS: Re-“Ending the War”: By all means. Ditto! Ditto! Ditto!

  6. Judith

    “Climate scientists have made a clear and cogent case that we are facing risk from the threat from anthropogenic climate change.”

    I strongly disagree.

    Climate change of the last century appears to be natural as it has a pattern:


    The war will end if the above pattern breaks (proving AGW) or still applies (disproving AGW) in the next 5 to 10 years, or when the AGW side admits the science of AGW is not yet settled.

    • Girma, risk is the threat times the probability of it occurring. The threat is there; the probability of something catastrophic occurring is being debated by scientists, economists, etc., and the probability may be small. But that does not mean that the risk is not there.

      • Judith,

        Finally something I agree with you on….well, to a point. It is prudent to assume that the risk is there and the evidence (from past climates) that the probability of the consequences being serious are actually quite high. Either way, it is prudent and conservative to take preventative action.

        Are you in favour of moving towards sustainable energy and reducing our GHGs, especially though the drastic reduction in the amount of coal we burn?


      • I didn’t see Judith saying anything about the prudence or otherwise of attempting to reduce atmospheric co2 levels, so it’s hard to see how this is something you agree on.

      • especially though the drastic reduction in the amount of coal we burn?

        Try telling the Chinese that. They build a coal fired plant a month. They just signed a 25 year deal with Russia for coal. Coal is the cheapest means to produce power, and emissions from them can be cleaned. In Holland they are look at funnelling coal emissions into greenhouses to boost plant growth!

      • It also means there may not be any risk at all. “warmer” and more CO2 could be good all round. Less cold winters means less FF consumed to keep warm. Higher CO2 means better crop yields. There very well may not be any risk at all to a “warmer” world.

      • TheobromaCacao

        I’ve always understood one of the implications of “warmer” is higher sea levels. This would likely be a problem for folks in places like Bangladesh. Do you not believe a warmer climate would result in thermal expansion of the oceans?

  7. Dr. Curry–

    I’m not sure you answered the question you paraphrased.

    “Is there a way to end the war with skeptics?”

    Your answer is exactly right.

    “Is there any hope for ending the war between climate scientists and skeptics?”

    I am skeptical.

  8. Judith

    The war will be over when proponents of AGW follow Richard Feynman’s advice all the time:

    “But there is one feature I notice that is generally missing in cargo cult science. That is the idea that we all hope you have learned in studying science in school–we never explicitly say what this is, but just hope that you catch on by all the examples of scientific investigation. It is interesting, therefore, to bring it out now and speak of it explicitly. It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty–a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you
    think might make it invalid–not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked–to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.”

    “Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can–if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong–to explain it. If you
    make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem.
    When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea
    for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition.”

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

    Richard Feynman

    • I can’t agree more.
      I am an engineer and I’ve learned that it is important to solidify and examine those vague doubts that you may have about your design.
      Unfortunately for those that fail to examine their designs, we really do have to build and test them, at which point we get found out pretty quickly.
      Where I work we have a peer review process to help pick out mistakes. I notice it is the more experienced engineers that encourage and respect the process.
      It’s time that climate scientists do likewise.


  9. * If someone presents research that you disagree with, either ignore it or rebut it, in the blogosphere or journal publication if the research is published.


    * Attack the argument, not the person. No ad hominem attacks and no appeal to motive attacks. No argumentum ad populum.

    agreed… if the person is incompetent… that will be apparent from an analysis of their errors… no need to explicitly state the obvious…

    * Do not use science to fight political battles

    “use”… worded too vaguely… that could encompass ‘using’ science to describe the possible and probable outcomes of policies…

    * Rediscover the joy of science, with debate as the spice of scientific discourse.


    The political war over whether anthropogenic climate change will be the primary driver of global energy policy is pretty much over. […]

    Without political impetus, what is the rationale for continued trench warfare between the climate scientists that defend the IPCC and the skeptics? I can’t think of any.

    pretty much agreed on both counts… scientists have already done as much as they can to influence policy (sorry mt)… the rest is a battle between politicians, the public, and vested interests… I think it likely (> 60%) that an unfortunate confluence of ghg driven climate trends will result in much of southern and particularly SE Australia unable to support some of its population in around 20 years… which will be the ultimate impetus to decarbonization policy, if it hasn’t been implemented by then… on the other hand, if scientists representing the consensus step down completely from public life… it is rather more likely that think tank bots like Michaels and Lindzen will expand to fill a vacuum and guide public opinion with their vacuous nonsense (disrespect intended)… I don’t think ceding the airwaves is a good idea…

    • * Attack the argument, not the person. No ad hominem attacks and no appeal to motive attacks. No argumentum ad populum.

      agreed… if the person is incompetent… that will be apparent from an analysis of their errors… no need to explicitly state the obvious…

      think tank bots like Michaels and Lindzen will expand to fill a vacuum and guide public opinion with their vacuous nonsense (disrespect intended)

      Ah, that didn’t last long then.

      • “I think it likely (> 60%) that an unfortunate confluence of ghg driven climate trends will result in much of southern and particularly SE Australia unable to support some of its population in around 20 years…”

        What is your evidence (other than the output from climate models) for this statement? I think there is a >80%probabability that the population of south-eastern Australia will be at least 20% greater, than currently, by 2030.

      • Sorry this comment was directed at Lazar, not tallbroke

  10. David L. Hagen

    Affirm the need to return to scientific method without ad hominem attacks. Separate out policy and politics from science.

    Re: “we need a new energy policy and that clean green energy is desirable.”
    Strongly agree. For perspective, catastrophic AGW cannot happen on existing light oil resources with conventional or enhanced extraction, regardless of IPCC projections. Globally, conventional light oil production is near half through. See: Tad W. Patzek
    Physical Limits on Mining Natural Resources (2010) AAAS.
    Gregory Donald Croft, 2009, Resource Limits and Conversion Efficiency with Implications for Climate Change and California’s Energy Supply etc.

    The economies of oil importing countries (US, Germany, Japan, China etc.) will soon experience a massive depression because alternative transport fuels are not being brought on line in time. See Robert Hirsch The Impending World Energy Mess.
    Peak Oil Versus Peak Net Exports–Which Should We Be More Concerned About?
    Jeffrey J. Brown, Samuel Foucher, PhD, Jorge

    The most important issue in restoring/maintaining the global economy is to develop abundant inexpensive alternative fuels asap for oil importing countries and to enable developing countries to rise out of extreme poverty. Everything else pales in comparison (except the next major earth bound asteroid and solar coronal mass ejection!)

    Climate wars have been contributing to the current high unemployment and the coming major economic decline by diverting attention and resources from the critically important need to develop alternative transport fuels.

    Affirm Curry’s “So let’s declare a truce”.
    Let’s get back to the most important issues now facing us.
    PS the “good news” from Hirsch is that there is light at the end of the tunnel in about 50 years.

  11. Can you explain what part the skeptics might have to play in ending the “war”?

    • David L. Hagen

      “# If someone presents research that you disagree with, either ignore it or rebut it, in the blogosphere or journal publication if the research is published.
      # Attack the argument, not the person. No ad hominem attacks and no appeal to motive attacks. No argumentum ad populum.

      For a model, see Steve McIntyre at Climate Audit. See his
      Blog Rules. e.g.,

      Blogs like this one provide a wonderful opportunity to people like me (a retired scientist) to get involved in an ongoing debate and it is very disappointing when the debate generates into one of these slanging matches. May I suggest some ground rules for posts:
      1. Refrain from personal abuse and swearing,
      2. Never attribute ulterior motives to another participant
      3. Be patient with people who know less science or maths than you do yourself.
      People who consistently break rule 1 and 2 should be issued with a yellow card by the moderator. If they continue they get a red card and are banned from the site.

      Strongly recommend applying these rules to all Climate/Skeptic web sites.

    • Stop reinforcing the accusations that their skepticism is politically motivated (for cases where this is an issue), and stop using the argument that the other side is politically motivated to bolster what are often weak arguments. Raise the level of your game (i.e. get more serious and do better science), which is an issue for probably 70% of the skepticism that is at least quasi-serious.

      • Does this recommendation apply to both sides? Isn’t

        Nevertheless, the policy cart was put before the scientific horse, justified by the precautionary principle. Once the UNFCCC treaty was a done deal, the IPCC and its scientific conclusions were set on a track to become a self fulfilling prophecy.

        A case of “using the argument that the other side is politically motivated ?”

      • there were political motivations on both sides all over this, from the very beginning.

      • JC: “there were political motivations on both sides all over this, from the very beginning.”

        So Arrhenius had political motivations for his research?! You need to read Spencer Weart’s book, if you have the content was clearly lost on you.

      • uhhh . . . from the beginning of the IPCC

      • Well you should have said so, not my fault you were being vague, again.

      • I said exactly this same thing yesterday, in case you forgot. So give me your questions within the next half hour, or i won’t bother again.

      • The ones most guilty of playing political games with the science are the ‘skeptics’. Example, the Wegman Report, demands for NAS investigation into MBH98. Calls by Inhofe for inquisitions. Cuccinelli. I could go on and one, but I hope that you get the point.

        You know that reality, stop spreading nonsense, it is betraying your bias.

      • Now you are just being silly. The political warfare is full scale on both sides. Playing “who is worse” is the game we are trying to stop here. As for Wegman, his statistical analyses were first class. Of course his sponsor (Congress) was a political entity, just like the IPCC, whose members are countries. Any country that belongs to WMO or UNEP is a member of IPCC.

      • No, you are being silly for saying Wegman’s stats was top notch:


        Wegman’s sponsors were Joe Barton and Ed Whitfield, not Congress.

      • URL me no URL’s mapleleaf. I do not take the “read this and get back to me” gambit. If you have something to say then say it, and do me the courtesy of typing it yourself. Wegman is just an extraneous example, yours in fact, but if you want to argue about an example I don’t mind.

        But your basic claim, that skeptics play political games but warmer don’t, is ridiculous. Are you claiming that Barton is political but Waxman is not? Are you serious?

      • I am serious. Waxman has not hauled “skeptics” before a congressional investigation/inquiry like Barton? Do you not see the very obvious difference?

      • Jealous are you Mapleleaf?

        Mostly always you say (paraphrased) is …
        What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

      • The Wegman Report, the Inhofe yammering (I am a Progressive), the Cuccinelli investigation – all these are puny compared to the political games the IPCC has played. Even just the stonewalling by CRU – as evidenced in the Climategate emails – was bigger than those efforts.

        The total effort by the skeptical side pales in comparison to the politicization by the IPCC and pro-AGW camp that has gone on for 25 years non-stop.

        The efforts you cite are only hiccups in a hurricane. Give it a break…

      • curryja | November 6, 2010 at 1:32 pm: Stop reinforcing the accusations that their skepticism is politically motivated

        curryja | November 6, 2010 at 1:59 pm: there were political motivations on both sides all over this, from the very beginning.


      • PDA,

        I don’t see a dichotomy here…of course people on both sides have political motives. Everyone has self interest. To say that everyone (including me) has an agenda is the ultimate Duh.

        My read on the first comment is to stop trying to spin all of someone’s position as politically motivated. It’s not that black and white and to the extent that it raises hackles, it’s counterproductive.

      • The correct interpretation of Dr. Curry’s two comments above is obvious to even the most casual observer. I’m not sure why PDA can’t figure it out also. Hmmm … what could be going on there?

      • Why don’t you explain it to me like I’m stupid, Jim. Perhaps I am.

        I have no problem with the idea that casting someone’s position as “all” politically motivated is dumb. Is that what you really think Curry is suggesting here?

      • 1. (The skeptics) should stop reinforcing the accusations that their skepticism is (solely) politically motivated.
        2. November 6, 2010 at 1:59 pm: there were political motivations on both sides all over this, from the very beginning.

        Does that clear it up for you?

      • Understood, Jim: I misread sharper00’s original post, which means I completely misunderstood Curry’s response. Thanks for the clarification.

      • Raise the level of your game (i.e. get more serious and do better science)

        Ok, have it your way.

        Regarding skepticism …
        For me, the science was never an issue. Those who are engaged in the science and overstep their confidence will get caught up accordingly.

        What gets up my nose and makes me suspicious from the very get go is the OBSCENELY INTENSE amount of image management that takes place.

        It’s worse than disgusting and stinks higher than a shipping container of rotting fish.

        One type of ‘dogmatism’ that hasn’t(?) been commented on is the English physician’s paternalistic attitude. “Doctor knows best” and the patient cannot be trusted to make an intelligent decision on their own behalf.

        The overselling of paternalism and the credibility of Science-In-General in the AGW propaganda road show reeks to stinking high hell +++

        I am hearing pure crapolla from white coated talking slide rule heads insisting they are the Nobel awards committee appointed genius experts and everyone else are imbecilic pig farmers.

        The science is decimatingly invisibly, non-registeringly irrelevant.

        I’ve spent my life being bombarded endless bids to puff up the credibility of dubious products.

        I hate being sold what is very obviously flimsy imperfect conjecture whilst at one and the same time being told indisputably and in certain terms that it sovereign backed ‘settled science’.

        Damn you all. You are snake oil salesmen and charlatans.


      • Here is an example of science and PC values screwing each other together into an ugly obscene knot.

        The scientific content is next to null. That’s a big pity because variations of phenotype frequencies in human populations is an important subject. The topic remains toxic and poisoned

        IMO the toxic mix of politics and science swirling about AGW is a bigger uglier mess.

        Have some common sense. Leave the science out of the discussion. It has enough difficulties W/O the complication brought on by political opportunism.

        Go blame Gore.

  12. Hi Dr. Curry,

    Thank you for creating this blog. I find your veiwpoints helpful. If I had to say where I stand, it is firmly in the skeptic camp. My post concerns your comment about avoiding ad hominem attacks. I concur totally, but I believe you have stopped a bit short. In the beginning of my doctoral studies we spent a lot of time studying logical fallacies (as I recall there are something like 12). The ad hominem attack is one of the worst. But another I recall specifically was the argument from authority, and this is one used constantly by AGW proponents. “Everybody knows,” “the vast majority of scientists agree,” etc., are used in an attempt to shut down discussion without addressing the predicates of the opposing viewpoint’s arguments. As I recall, Einstein summed this up nicely when he said something like ‘a thousand scientists cannot prove me right, but one can prove me wrong’ (sorry, I don’t have the exact quote to hand, but I think that’s the essence of it). Perhaps if those in the blogosphere understood and decried the use of logical fallacies in their postings we would make more progress.

    Thanks again and best of luck with your blog,


    • David L. Hagen

      Well said.
      Einstein’s quote is possibly:

      “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.”

      Wikipedia reference under the Scientific method:

      As noted by Alice Calaprice (ed. 2005) The New Quotable Einstein Princeton University Press and Hebrew University of Jerusalem, ISBN 0-691-12074-9 p. 291. Calaprice denotes this not as an exact quotation, but as a paraphrase of a translation of A. Einstein’s “Induction and Deduction”. Collected Papers of Albert Einstein 7 Document 28. Volume 7 is The Berlin Years: Writings, 1918-1921. A. Einstein; M. Janssen, R. Schulmann, et al., eds.

  13. ” The political war over whether anthropogenic climate change will be the primary driver of global energy policy is pretty much over. ”

    Declaring victory when the science is not in,
    is not a good recipe for “peace”.
    It is however a recipe for unquestionable indoctrination.

    ” Yes, everyone agrees that we need a new energy policy and that clean green energy is desirable. ”

    No, they most definitely do not.
    How does climate science help determine this “desirability” anyway ?

    ” Climate scientists have made a clear and cogent case that we are facing risk from the threat from anthropogenic climate change. ”

    No, they most definitely have not, not in any scientific way at all.
    Go on, anyone, give me a 5 sigma example……..
    Politically speaking, maybe, there has been a “cogent case” made,
    using the scientific method, no they have not.
    This is the “precautionary principle” in any other terms,
    remember DDT….
    The precautionary principle should be applied to, NOT BY “AGW climate science”.

    Climate models are not worthy of mention, full stop.
    The earth is not flat, as it is modeled.
    “We” do not understand oceanic currents and phases,
    neither (obviously) do the “climate models” – full stop.

    Literally, playstations do not make a science,
    neither do beliefs.
    That however is what AGW is, a belief, a religion,
    “backed up”, sorry, “proven” by playstation games.

    • Derek –

      “Declaring victory when the science is not in,
      is not a good recipe for “peace”.”

      This is EXACTLY why I first got all involved with this – after I found I could not find the exclusionary studies. Judith speaks elsewhere about the scientific method. For me, one of those is to design studies to eliminate possibilities until only one is left: THAT is the culprit.

      I went looking for those studies. I never found them. Barely any even addressed other possible causes than human CO2, and the ones I found were completely unconvincing.

      Now, the AGW folks don’t have to convince me. They don’t give a crap about me. But when they don’t convince me, there are a lot more like me that will come along.

      Your point here, about “declaring victory” – that is exactly what I saw. They declared victory way back in 1988-90, and based on WHAT? Look at all the NEW developments that have been found since then, and NONE of that was known in 1988, so just what did they base their conclusions on?

      The precautionary principle.

      Both sides in this are not only political. Both sides in this are also fear mongers. The skeptical camp is afraid that this will all lead to some loss of the American spirit of individuality, the Marlboro man and all that. They fear that the Chicken Littles will take over the world and enslave them in some monolithic world government. I don’t sign onto that, but their scientific points I agree with.

      The AGW side has sold fear from day one (for MapleLeaf that means the beginning of the IPCC) – fear of some global catastrophe, somewhere between a boiling ocean and The Day After Tomorrow’s Ice Age. Every warm spell is paraded out as if it is the beginning of THE END. They tug at everyone’s hearts over polar bears and Maldive Islanders, as if they all were Bambi’s mother.

      Politics, fear mongering – all of that is bull crap. One or two degrees C in the next 90 years is not going to kill the planet. Everyone knows the planet has seen warmer times, no matter how much the Hockey Stick tired to hide that fact.

      The AGW side, in declaring victory back in 1990, set themselves up. SOMEONE AT CRU, probably slowly, figured out the way things were being fudged and decided to expose the lies for what they were. The political lies, the grant-money-inducing lies, the UHI-means-nothing lies, the glaciers melting by 2035 lies, the no-MWP lies, the no-LIA lies, the heat causing more hurricanes lies, the rising ocean lies, and more.

      I call those lies, rather than errors, because there are PLENTY of studies out there that some people ignore, that argue that all of those are untrue. And if they ignore inconvenient truths, then what is left is lies – lies of omission. Richard Feynman’s 1974 CalTech graduation talk about science talked about the absolute NEED to include ANYTHING that could disprove one’s hypothesis. The day I see ONE climate paper that does this, I may keel over in a faint. If they don’t SHOW that they have asked the tough questions having to do with their hypothesis, the hypothesis must not be worth a whole helluva lot. It turns decent ideas, ones that should be studied, into lies. If one doesn’t give his/her opponents the darts to throw at him/her, one must not believe in the premise much to begin with.

      The AGW people asked for it. Until Climategate they could all argue “OIL MONEY! OIL MONEY!” and put their opponents down. When it turned out THEY were playing politics – WHICH IS THE THING THAT THE PUBLIC SAW – all of a sudden the people who trusted them NO LONGER TRUSTED THEM.

      THAT is where we stand now.

      Judith would not HAVE this blog if Climategate had not happened. We all know that. She would still be writing about hurricanes or whatever, the world would still be sold on the sky falling any day now, and WUWT would not be getting 16,000 hits a day.

      The public slid down to the far end of the bench, wanting to distance itself from global warming. Politicians pulled their hands back from the fair haired boys of AGW.

      And AGW folks have no one to blame for it but themselves. We, the skeptics, had little to do with it. We aren’t saying anything today that we weren’t saying 2 years ago, 10 years ago. We kept saying, “You haven’t proven anything yet!” And the world ignored us. Even our victories were hiccups in a hurricane.

      Climategate was a tipping point, folks. The AGW crowd has to listen now. YES, they have their fingers in their ears and they are humming so they can’t hear us. But LOOK: Judith is hear, and as insulting as they are to everyone who doesn’t agree with them, SO ARE THEY.

      And WHY?

      Because they don’t have a freaking CHOICE. They don’t own the soapbox anymore.

      Perhaps in another 20 years they will get their fingers out of their ears. Perhaps by then they will have read some of the hundreds of papers proving that Michael Mann’s obituary about the MWP was dead wrong. Perhaps they will see by then that the climate sensitivity is not so ridiculously positive as they’ve programmed into the models. Perhaps they will realize that the grant money is now going to more immediate problems, like the over-fishing of the oceans.

      And perhaps by then someone of them will have invented a really efficient energy source, so that we can all get rid of fossil fuels. YES, guys, we don’t want to be using them, either. But we don’t have a stinking choice in the matter: Tilting at windmills isn’t going to fill our energy needs anytime soon, even if we covered the entire globe with the infernal things.

      So, claiming victory? Anyone ever heard of President Dewey? The 1,000 year Reich? Say hello to AGW…

  14. War is exciting, especially for those who don’t feel the consequences. I’d say this is why journalists are sending you questions (“calm in the climate debate” is not a good headline).
    Blogs also feast on conflict, but we can do something about that.
    I agree that debate is fine, and integral, although sticking to the science is hard when various “villains” of the debate are always on the rhetorical horizon. There’s a lot of ethics, values and interests that are simply difficult to exclude.
    But let’s try to work on an armistice, and maybe an amnesty for alleged “war crimes”. The times have changed, some things seem increasingly pointless as we reach the end of this long year.

    • Well the public seemed to view the climategate emails of providing much evidence of a war on skeptics. I also agree with amnesty for war crimes on both sides, let me add that to the main post.

      • I noticed you added amnesty for crimes “that fall short of formal research misconduct”.
        That’s fine, but research misconduct is rarely a criminal matter. There are cases where some law can arguably be said to be violated, but even then I don’t see much use in hauling the scientific offender into criminal court other than to give their side of the debate a public flogging. Trials don’t do much to ease the tension, and I’m more concerned with moving forward than obtaining “justice”. Where scientific standards apply, they should be enforced, but that’s not really what I meant by a “war crime”.

      • ok, clarification on war crime in this context?

      • I was referring to the sorts of moral accusations found in heavy rhetoric such as “selling out the future of our grandchildren”, “killing the poor in the Third World”, “lying to destroy the economy/institute a One World Government”, “defrauding us of our tax dollars”, “corruption in the service of big oil and hastening the coming climate apocalypse” (paraphrasing of course)

      • Well said, Zajko. Scientists, convinced and unconvinced, should concentrate on advancing the science, and go easy on the moral accusations.

  15. That sounds fine, but I doubt that the political impetus is over. The environmental activists, the politicians, the business people, the NGOs, the UN, and no doubt others will remain committed to climate change as as a war that must be won. They will continue to press that war for some years still, especially if global temperatures spike upward. They will continue to enlist climate scientists in that cause.

    Also, I imagine that there are some climate scientists who will continue to feel moved to save the world, whether it is above their pay grade or not. There may be others who remain committed to the war because so much of climate science’s reputation has been staked upon the climate change movement.

    Climate science will continue, but I’m not sure how merry that way will be if funding for it is halved or quartered as the political impetus dissipates.

  16. Judith

    Climate science needs to ditch its political wing. It needs to distance itself from the NGO’s that have the destruction of industrialised life (and the return to poverty) as their principal goal

    Regards Gary

  17. In California, the war is still ongoing and little prospect for a truce is on the horizon.
    The latest political battle in California was over prop 23 (failed) that would have suspended AB32. The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) mandates that California reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
    The yes on 23 lost the PR battle this time around. Support with adds by the American Lung Association showing a little boy having to use an inhaler due to the “dirty pollution” caused by CO2 was a personal favorite.
    California did pass prop 26, an initiative relabeling environmental mitigation and other fees as taxes, requiring a virtually impossible to get two-thirds vote.
    CAGW is one of those issues where I see little common ground. Both sides are out “to save the world” from “evil” forces. CAGW is true and the world is sliding toward destruction and any sacrifice must be made to save the world or CAGW is one of the biggest scams in the history of the world and what is proposed will destroy the economies of the the world with little effect on the perceived problem.

    Where is there any room to compromise on either side given the fate of the world rests on the outcome?

    • Well, this is about politics, and there will always be plenty of this. Science seems to be irrelevant in all this; is anyone debating the nuances of AGW science in this context in CA? This looks to me like a classic clash of two values systems.

      • “..is anyone debating the nuances of AGW science in this context in CA?..”

        For the MSM in California, the “science is settled”. No need to confuse people with distractions such as:

        1. CO2 is a greenhouse gas. No mention that the CO2 warming effect is logarithmic.
        2. The MWP was likely warmer than today and was worldwide as shown by years of data and many research papers. So nothing unusual about today’s world temps.
        3. As the world came out of the LIA, you should ( and do ) see a warming trend from the 1850’s into the current century.
        4. The 1970’s were a COLD period of time. It is cherry picking to use this time as a base for a “normal” temp period.
        5. Scare stories of ocean “acidification” due to increased CO2. This with research showing ph results within normal variation currently seen in different parts of the worlds oceans unless you assume 1200 ppm CO2 into the future.

        The list goes on, but the CA MSM does not want to confuse people with facts. There is a world to save.

    • @Ed Forbes –

      I am four days late reading this blog thread, so this may not get read – but I need to reply to this:

      “Where is there any room to compromise on either side given the fate of the world rests on the outcome?”

      NO. That is the point. The CAGW side is saying that, and the skeptics are saying, “Hold on, don’t get your underwear all bound up.”

      They CLAIMED the world was going to hell in a hand basket, AND NO ONE DEMANDED TO SEE THE PROOF. And once they declared a few times that, “Oh, ANYBODY WHO KNOWS ANYTHING AGREES WITH US,” the climatologists who disagreed saw the writing on the wall and shut up, so as to not risk their positions in academia. I know this because one of them told me in a personal communication.

      They shut everybody up with the “consensus” claim – which never was true in the first place. Yes, THEIR side agreed, but they made sure to dis-include opponents every chance they got. And wrapping it all up in claims like “The fate of the world rests on the outcome,” meant that ANYONE WHO DISAGREED WITH THEM WANTED TO KILL THE WORLD. How many people were going to stick their necks out, with that kind of attack going on right and left?

      Not many. Give CREDIT to the bloggers who fought the good fight all those years. They got a lot of scorn heaped on them – and MUCH of it was the CAGW people. Those people did not have to do that. The vitriol I’ve seen is 85% coming at the skeptics.

      The CAGW people had the whole world snowed on this, in my now fairly well-informed opinion, and anyone who didn’t agree with them was labeled the enemy and was given no quarter.

      Judith knows now what they are like. I myself lost the love of my life because of this. She thought I’d lost my senses. And she thought I wanted to ruin the world. That was not the case at all. I just wanted them to be held to account for creating this environment where honest people were trashed because they wanted to see the evidence. Everyone who disagreed was “in the debt of the oil companies.”

  18. Yes, everyone agrees that we need a new energy policy and that clean green energy is desirable. Further, people recognize that there is an increasing need to reduce vulnerability to extreme weather and climate events. But it seems that climate change is not going to be the primary driver for global energy policy; the UNFCCC is losing that war.

    Without political impetus, what is the rationale for continued trench warfare between the climate scientists that defend the IPCC and the skeptics? I can’t think of any.

    – Pride.
    – Ongoing investment.
    – ‘Presumption’ that the main issue is energy&climate (I disagree. The inflationary bubble is much broader)
    – Vast reserves of opportunity remain unexploited in the ‘Green Gold rush’. People like to make money.

    BTW If you are correct, you might as well shut down this blog.

  19. Dear Judy – On first encountering Climate Etc., I reacted with optimism, but my optimism has given way to apprehension over the direction in which your blog appears to find itself heading. I interpret your intentions to include (a) a critique of how mainstream climate science addresses the trajectory and uncertainty surrounding climate change (with particular emphasis on the IPCC), and (b) a desire to foster a productive dialog between mainstream climate science and those who challenge its principal tenets. If item b succeeds, it will reinforce the value of item a. If it fails, your effort will accomplish far less than you wish, and your blog will simply become a haven for contrarians who flock here hoping to gain respect from the reflected light of your good name and current celebrity status. It is this latter phenomenon that I see happening, and you may have little time to rectify it.

    Clearly, almost no-one from the active geophysics/climatology community is participating here, and many have been highly critical. It will be tempting to attribute their alienation to arrogance, bias, and insularity, but while those qualities characterize some individuals, I don’t think they explain the distancing between the climate science community and your efforts here. Rather, I see the alienation reflecting a perception that your willingness to offer an honest appraisal of current happenings has been selective. You have been unsparingly honest, specific, and detailed in presenting your unfavorable interpretation of IPCC transgressions, but you have pulled your punches in addressing serious systemic flaws in the approaches of contrarians throughout the blogosphere through the use of language that is vague and ambiguous. Ambiguity and its cousin uncertainty in the interpretation of climate data are central to the contrarian arguments, and the extent to which claims of great ambiguity or uncertainty are justified is an issue of overarching importance. (I would also argue that some of your criticisms have been justifiably perceived as unfair, including the unfortunate choice of the term “corrupt”, which you have not retracted but rather “explained” as having been misinterpreted).

    As someone whose scientific career has not been in climatology but who is familiar with the principles and empirical evidence underlying climate change, I find the evidence that our anthropogenic emissions are substantially warming the planet, with possibly dangerous consequences, to be compelling – compiled as it is from thousands of independent sources that preclude alternative interpretations with a high degree of certainty. One need not read IPCC documents to reach this conclusion, but instead rely on data that have accumulated over the past fifty years and have been reported in dozens of scientific publications, assessed in conjunction with challenges that have also appeared and have failed to refute the mainstream conclusions despite enormous effort.

    Although this perspective is subject to human fallibility, if it is to be seriously challenged, that challenge cannot come from data reported exclusively in the unfiltered blogosphere, but must withstand the rigors of scientific review. I’m very familiar with how science operates. I have submitted grant applications, reviewed grant applications, published papers, reviewed papers submitted by others, and served on journal editorial boards. I know the imperfections of the process, but I also know that those imperfections can only retard the emergence of legitimate claims for limited intervals, and do not explain the failure of the contrarian arguments to undermine the basic premises of current climate science. I also know that there are millions of dollars of corporate money that would be spent if the donors thought they were buying unassailable refutations of current thinking on climate. The shortage of refutation is not attributable to a lack of grant money.

    If you disagree with mainstream science – if you believe that the conclusions of the mainstream are seriously in doubt in a fundamental sense rather than on specific issues that can be illuminated by thoughtful debate – then this blog will reflect that view accordingly. In that case, however, you cannot serve as an honest broker between the mainstream scientists who operate within the published literature and the contrarians who operate in the blogosphere. However, if you largely accept the mainstream conclusions, with doubts narrow enough to be resolvable, your broker role can be fulfilled, but only at a price. That price is the requirement that your honest appraisal include some statements specific enough about the magnitude, urgency, and level of certainty about the climate threat we face to displease the large majority of individuals who have been commenting in these various threads. The trick will be to displease people without driving them away; it’s a formidable challenge, but you appear qualified by temperament to undertake it.

    Will you? I’d like to think so, but the celebrity status you currently enjoy will be fleeting, and you will probably need to start displeasing people on all sides before it’s too late. Otherwise, your blog will simply descend into the existing universe of contrarian blogs that allow individuals with shared views to talk to themselves with little expectation of bridging the divide between themselves and those who see things differently. That would be a shame.

    • “I know the imperfections of the process, but I also know that those imperfections can only retard the emergence of legitimate claims for limited intervals, and do not explain the failure of the contrarian arguments to undermine the basic premises of current climate science. ”

      Do you consider the use of current CGM model projections to be part of the “basic premises”. If not, then before we go do anything based on those projections, could we please let the process overcome the imperfections?

      If you do consider the projections part of the basic science, then I submit that the imperfections have not been overcome.

      • Kan – I believe I can easily refute these contrarian arguments, but to what purpose? Unless it is Judy who does some of this, her blog will become a contrarian blog, joining the existing surfeit of such sites, affecting the legitimacy of climate science itself very little, and failing to accomplish the rapprochement she seaks regarding areas where open-minded individuals can agree.

      • Fred,

        To what purpose is solely determined by the speed with which everybody is being told we must do something right now, because the model projections say we must.

        The fundamental question then becomes – have the imperfections (you admit exist) in the process been overcome, such that the CGM have been fully vetted, and are now part of the “basic premises”? Thus, making the demanded action justified?

    • Fred,

      You miss the entire point of Judith post. Judith want the climate scientist to concentrate on the science instead of the politics. Remove the politics from climate science and you will only have individuals who argument about the science, instead of people throwing names and accusations to each others.

      Climate policy is losing support around the world. For sake, China is cited has an example in reducing its co2 production while at the same time opening a coal power plant every week and not considering general pollution.

      Energy policies is very compatible with climate policies to the exception that it is a much easier to sell to the public.

      Ask yourself why does the climate science community has any take on whether cap and trade or a carbon tax, or on how high that tax should be. By favoring some policy option to other climate scientist are sealing the coffin to the implementation of any policy at all.

      The climate science community by fingering to supposed deniers, or whatever name is used, is only pointing to its own failure.

      Finally if there is no dogma why in hell should Judith blog be criticized.

      • Sylvain – I intend no disrespect for you, but my comment was very specifically addressed to Judy Curry, because I perceive the fate and potential impact of her blog to depend on how she addresses the issues I raise. I see her blog to be in danger of sliding into oblivion as her celebrity status recedes, and I believe she can avert that outcome with some judicious changes in the way she approaches the commentary here. What anyone else says will matter much less. I’m still hopeful she will have the time to respond to my comments.

      • Your response is exactly what is wrong with climate science.

        Judith popularity grew because of a paper she wrote around 2005 which addressed hurricane. She was acclaimed by the community as long as she wasn’t independent from it, or her opinion differed from it.

        Her blog is in danger only if there is dogma and that it still persist. Even then, it will put into oblivion only by the people who care about dogma instead of science.

        But I’ve known you long enough to know that you don’t care about science.

    • I find the evidence that our anthropogenic emissions are substantially warming the planet, with possibly dangerous consequences, to be compelling

      And the dogma returns. There is no chance at all that this “warming” is returning us to a normal state as seen in the MWP and the RWP? Explain how cooler summers, milder winters, longer growing seasons are “dangerous consequences.”

      • jr,

        I thought that Fred Moolten’s view was carefully expressed and not dogmatic. He is saying to HE finds the warming evidence compelling, and that it may have possibly dangerous consequences. That’s not dogmatic. It would be if he said that YOU must find it compelling.

      • As I mentioned above, my comment was directed to Dr. Curry for reasons I stated, but it seems to me that your response to my comment illustrates the point I tried to make – without her very detailed responses to contrarian arguments such as yours, this blog will come to be seen as a contrarian blog and will lose its ability to influence thinking on climate issues. For me to respond instead of her would do little to change this outcome.

      • Only those afraid of facing the music at this blog will shun it.

        Why is it none of you are willing to entertain the possibility that the planet is returning to its normal “warm” state? Why it is not possible at all that “warmer” is better?

        If asking such questions is “contrarian” and uncomfortable for you to answer, then this blog is not the problem.

      • “Why it is not possible at all that “warmer” is better?”

        It could very well be that “warmer” is “better”. It all depends on how you define your criteria.

        However the issue that concerns everyone is not the end state but the rate of change towards that state along with the ability of both the biosphere and human civilization to adapt to that change.

        You can look back at the Earth over tens of millions of years and see atmospheres that would be relatively toxic to life on either end of that time period. Which is the better atmosphere? That reality all depends on which biosphere you’re talking about and how quickly you plan to change it.

        The climate changes we’re talking about are of direct consequence to millions of people and secondary consequence to many more. Simply shrugging and saying “Climate always changes” ignores the very real and serious problems that are likely particularly when the changes being referenced occurred before humans had grown to a population of billions.

    • Fred Moolten – please allow me to summarise your painfully wordy post:

      “Dear Judy –

      Para1: “I thought this was going to be another RC, telling me what I want to hear. But now I’m not so sure and I’m worried that you’re NOT going to join-in with slinging mud at people I disagree with.”

      Para2: “None of the folks that I like to listen to are joining your discussion here. You’re not being harsh enough in knocking the opposition.”

      Para3: “I’m stuck in my ways. Although I’m not a climatologist, I have managed to convince myself that the science is settled on climate catastrophe theory. I’m deeply suspicious about new ways to promote scientific discourse, such as the internet.” (Although Fred, you have failed to notice the inconsistency in your own appetite to promote your positon on the internet, and that your are not a climatologist.)

      Para4: “I cannot see any flaws in climatology to account for the lack of open and full discourse in the question of climate catastrophe. From that, I repeat my view that the science is settled.”

      Para5: “If you (Judith) do not accept my assumption of a consensus of climatologists, then I will deem you to be incapable of hosting a balanced debate on the issue.”

      Para6: “You (Judith) will make yourslef unpopular with me, and I’ll dismiss you as no better than other people I disagree with.That would be a shame.

      Nice one Fred – like sylvian, I have seen enough from you to know that you do not come here looking for new ideas.

  20. Latimer Alder

    Can I add:

    ‘Show your working’.

    Not just an abstract saying roughly what you did. The whole kit and caboodle. Methods and data. Enough for anybody interested and capable to reproduce your work. Forget that it might be difficult or that people might be trying to find something wrong with it.

    Even if everybody has the purest minds and the finest brains and the highest scientific abilities, the impression that something is being concealed is a bad one to give.

    As the old Russian proverb has it ‘Trust but verify’. This can only be done with complete transparency

  21. David Weisman

    Dr. Curry,

    Your prescriptions would help end the ‘war’ if followed by everyone – but if highly respected and credentialed people have done things which look very bad in daylight, they might still be better off with ad hominem attacks or by emphasizing lack of credentials. This applies to their professional reputation even if they are ultimately on the correct side of the argument.

    You may be in a unique position to help set a new standard, so that anyone who doesn’t follow the new rules will seem strange even to casual onlookers.

    You’re commonly considered to have moved to the skeptics camp even if you don’t think of yourself that way – those worried about anthropic global warming mostly post here to argue with you or others, and those concerned about alarmism (now dubbed warmism?) mostly comment here in support of you. Yet a few months ago you posted some penetrating criticisms of Lindzen and Choi 2009 which were much closed to the IPCC viewpoint than the skeptical viewpoint. Since then they’ve revised, and believe they have answered all reasonable objections. Dr. Trenberth and others have disputed this. An even handed discussion of the current state of the argument could help establish a new standard.

    • David – I agree with you that some very specific analysis of scientific issues by Dr. Curry would add credibility to some of these threads – it’s a point I made several comments up from here.

      Regarding Lindzen-Choi, I’m not aware that their new paper has been published in JGR, and judging from the circulating draft, I doubt that it will appear without significant modifications. The paper is an improvement over Lindzen-Choi 2009, but still harbors flaws that I believe invalidate its principal conclusions. To focus on only one of these, the paper implies that very short term feedbacks inferred from perturbations arising in the ocean and imposed on an unchanged atmosphere can be used to judge long term feedbacks to CO2. In fact, none of the cited data relate in any way to CO2 or other atmospheric perturbations. In particular, using flux changes measured at one month lags from SST changes is almost certainly an invalid means of determining long term feedback changes in OLR, which can change substantially over the course of both months and years. There are many reasons for distinguishing ocean perturbations from atmospheric ones, including the reality that changes in atmospheric relative humidity and clouds resulting from a warming ocean surface imposed on an unwarmed atmosphere will almost certainly differ in magnitude and perhaps in sign from humidity and cloud changes resulting from a warming atmosphere imposed on an unwarmed ocean.

      Additional concerns can be raised regarding extrapolation of tropics-derived data to the eztra-tropics as well as other assumptions, but at this point, I don’t see the new paper as portending a need to alter current estimates of the likely range within which climate sensitivity to CO2 is likely to reside.

      • i definitely look forward to going through their new paper.

      • David Weisman

        At first I assumed you meant you looked forward to when you had the time, but then it occured to me that


        might not be officially published yet, and the link to it might not have made its way to you. Either way, I hope the weather is as beautiful where you are as where I am, and that not all your exposure to climate is via paper and computer screens this weekend.

        If you already know about this February 2010 revision – well, others can take a look too now. By the way, I found it as a comment on your 2009 Lindzen and Choi review at Climate Audit.

      • I mentioned some problems with the paper above. There are others that referees will consider in deciding whether or not to acccept the paper for publication, and if accepted, what alterations are required. One is elementary – careless mistakes in algebra as evidenced in the written equations (see, for example equation 2, where the right hand delta-T was probably meant to be a delta-To). Other questions arise as to the legitimacy of implying that the time lag demonstrating the strongest feedbacks can be inferred from correlation coefficients, or that the G0 parameter for no-feedback scenarios that was derived from global data can be applied to the no-feedback response in the tropics – in fact, I suspect that the entire set of extrapolations relating data from the tropics to global conclusions will continue to be challenged.

        It is interesting that a full draft of a submitted paper was circulated when the paper had not yet been accepted by a journal. This paper is not unique in that regard, but it tends to blur the line between the literature and the blogosphere. If this practice continues, it would be nice for authors to report the comments they receive from journal referees, including those that are received for a paper that is ultimately rejected.

      • Fred,

        Interesting analysis. We will see what Trenberth et al. have to say. But the paper still does not address the very real problem of focussing on a small area of the globe, and then extrapolating those results to apply to the entire climate system.

        In contrast, Dessler has. Did you watch the “debate” between him and Dessler. Skip the first 20 min or so of Lindzen’s talk, he really on starts speaking to the science towards the end of his talk.

        Releasing drafts on the internet has its problems. Can’t say I am a fan. But in this case I suspect it has more to do with “feeding” the “skeptics” and those in denial about AGW….got to keep fueling the machine.

      • Maple Leaf – Yes, I’m interested to see the responses of Trenberth and others. Incidentally, in reviewing the draft, I now think that equation 2 correctly states what the authors intended, although that was not obvious in reading the equation itself. I say that because they ultimately come out with an appropriate expression for the feedback parameter f. My other questions relate to more substantive issues that need to be resolved.

      • Hi Fred,

        I have not read the draft…so to be fair, I won’t comment on specifics (i.e., equations).

        That said, based on what you have said here, there still seem to be substantive issues.

  22. Hi Judith

    You state: “risk is the threat times the probability of it occurring. The threat is there; the probability of something catastrophic occurring is being debated by scientists, economists, etc., and the probability may be small. But that does not mean that the risk is not there.”

    The “threat” is an hypothesis and as such should be subject to the scientific method. The onus of proof is on those proposing the hypothesis.
    Evidence for the hypothesis:
    climate models
    unprecedented temperatures (hockey sticks)

    Evidence against:
    climate models have yet to adequately replicate the natural processes at work and failed to predict the cooling since 1998

    the hockey stick graphs do not stand up to scientific scrutiny: geological, archeological and historical evidence suggest recent temperatures are not unprecedented

    The are many ancillary arguments undermining the hypothesis such as hitherto CO2 rises have followed temperature, CO2’s effect is logarithmic etc.

    Consequently Risk = zero threat x probability = zero

    There are however many risks associated with burning fossil fuels as there are flaws in ill-considered policies to de-carbonise the world economy. Focusing on the former directly, rather than by proxy, seems a more sensible and cost effective way forward.

  23. “But saving the planet is above the pay grade of climate scientists.”

    Have you tried saying that to your grandchildren? Why are climate scientists absolved of the responsibilities of citizens to hold their government accountable or the moral imperative of human beings to pass on a healthy world to the next generation?

    As you say, the responsibility of a scientist is to share their research findings on credible threats with the public, policy makers, etc. But if that threat is ignored without being disproved, doesn’t that scientist, as a human being and a citizen, have a moral responsibility to do everything in his or her power to defend others? By everything, I mean acting on that credible threat, not sacrificing honesty or morality.

    (Disclaimer: I’m not a scientist, just a layperson trying to understand the unique ethical code of scientists.)

    • Is destroying the economy, putting millions into energy poverty, because of mitigation efforts to “save the planet” moral? You are also assuming that a “warmer” climate is a bad climate.

    • I would say that Climate scientists are merely citizens with no unique ability in the policy area. The opinion of a climate scientists on whether cap & trade is a sensible policy is no better or worse than that of a pop star or film actress.

      So climate scientists do not need to stay out of policy debates but they have no additional weight in such debates.

  24. “Climate scientists have made a clear and cogent case that we are facing risk from the threat from anthropogenic climate change. The nature and magnitude and likelihood of this threat is the subject of continued active investigation. Let the economists, military/defense intelligence experts, resource managers, and yes politicians, sort out how we should manage these risks.”

    I wholeheartedly agree. Climate scientists should concentrate on reducing the uncertainties and improving the climate science in general. In the end it will pay larger dividends than dabbling with politics, something that will just undermine their scientific standing.

  25. David L. Hagen

    For perspective, see:
    Cows, Geopolitics, and Big Business

    Environmentalism: You have two cows. The government bans you from milking or killing them.

    AGW definition:
    Climatism: You have two cows. The government requires you to collect the methane produced from both ends of the cow and forbids eating beef.

    Evidence: Cow farts collected in plastic tank for global warming study

  26. As we approach the anniversary of Climategate, I am getting a lot of queries from reporters, which invariably includes the following question:

    Is there any hope for ending the war between climate scientists that support the IPCC and skeptics?

    My answer is “yes.”

    Does that mean you are prepared to admit that research is as full of the political intrigue, power battles, ego wars and the deliberate managed manipulation and misrepresentation of ‘due process’ as all other human enterprises?

    Should we presume that researchers are above becoming embroiled in such ‘subjective’ bloodbaths?

    • People are very ‘complicated’ beings. We are all interested in many seperate areas: politics, economics, medical issues, food, clothes, roofs, sports, the Web, etc.; and, to varying degrees of interest in each, and many more areas, on any given day of the week. It should also be noted that we have the rather unique ability to mix and sort our ‘interests’ in many facinating and strange ways.

      On to the issue at hand, The War. Now in this area of interest people will ‘discuss’ and ‘argue’ climatology and the weather, and with everyone they believe is associated with it, from many angles and countless reasons.

      “Divide et impera!” (Divide and Conquer!) That’s the secret. But it is very complicated.

  27. Judith,

    I agree with what you are proposing, and sceptical that anything much will happen in the next little while.

    As for green energy, we are a long way off delivering it to the grid in any country in anything like sufficient quantity to stop burning coal. In my country the rhetoric has already moved from ‘combatting climate change’ to ‘energy efficiency’, but a carbon tax is proposed to help us become more efficient. As it happens, electricity prices are rising rapidly mostly because we have not been building power plants fast enough, so there’s no great need for a tax to ensure that we become more energy-efficient. But the tax reassures the Greens that the government has its heart where it ought to be.

    Nous verrons.

    • If the technology is too good then it WILL be IGNORED due to companies wanting to generate a profit.Why is it things made today fall apart in a short period of time compare to the past when things were built to last? Companies want to build a product for profit. If a turbine can take away 18 others, then it is of no use to the company to build.
      Turbines use a full circumference of a circle and MUST include ALL the energy pasting through that circle. That is not the case. Only efficiency model is of the blade and NOT ALL the energy going through that FULL circle. Hydro-ellectric turbines deflect more energy than what they collect. The only redemening feature is the water has density which can create torque.

    • It’s even sillier than you have stated, Don

      We are told that unless we tax CO2 emissions, the price of domestic power will go up. The obvious corollary, that taxing will reduce domestic power prices, is never discussed

      Utterly amazing doublespeak :)

  28. Dr. Curry

    A reference a bit more modern than Sun Tzu in the field of ending war, is the “Truth and Reconciliation” process.

    It’s hard to end a war without recognizing what it was.

    We all might know that the T&R process involves witnesses asked to relate their point of view accounts of what was said and done, when and by whom, pertinent to wrongdoings, suffering, aggression and conflict.

    I wish to tread very gently in what I write next.

    It is not intended as a slag, a slime, a clever jab, an accusation or an attack of any sort, but only and solely in the spirit of the topic of ending the war through truth and reconciliation.

    I will choose your own field for several reasons, mainly because as an insider to it you will be more able to address it and relate it to your topic than the other examples I have at hand.

    On more than one occasion — the first one surprising to me — while in contact with academics, it was reported or implied to me that if one wished to work on hurricanes at any advanced level, one was compelled to make at least some token “anti-Gore” statement.

    I have no idea of the truth of these reports. I’m not in the hurricane field, much less the academic hurricane field, but at least one of the sources I trust and respect having in the past shown extraordinary discretion in the handling of delicate information. This may have been a limited state of affairs within your field, and might not even be reflective of the truth so much as rumor or the unfortunate misinterpretation of onlookers.

    How would the war with skeptics end, in your field, with truth and reconciliation about such a Hurricane-bomb? Is this H-bomb reflective of any truth at all, or merely a defamation?

    Can you shed any light at all to an outsider on what these reports might have been talking about?

    • The hurricanes wars were pretty serious in the U.S. under the Bush administration. The undersecretary of NOAA (and everyone down the line) was ignoring and down playing and refuting as junk science the work of Emanuel and Webster et al. The National Hurricane Center was violently opposed to the idea of global warming increasing hurricane intensity. Not hard to believe that anti-Gore rhetoric played well in this environment. See my earlier hurricane post, but the hurricane wars was a classic case of competing certainties, which can be defused by an Italian flag type analysis.

      • …”the hurricane wars was a classic case of competing certainties, which can be defused by an Italian flag type analysis.”

        The AGW Wars would seem to mirror the Hurricane Wars: so many seem so certain of so much so strongly. Back to Italy?

      • Whew, glad I wasn’t uncovering any new scandal or too sensitive topic.

        So, as a model for how to proceed, is there some detail of how the Hurricane Wars ended (erm, they have, right?) that would be helpful?

        Has there been Truth and Reconciliation in the hurricane world, or are there still old wounds?

        Has there, to your mind, been a skewing of the attitudes and focus of research due to this episode?

        How to recover from that, to restore balance to this particular field?

        From my point of view, although I do understand that climate is a hologram and AGW would by necessity affect any major part of climate, the hurricane field seems to me the most distant from the presumed cause of climate disruption.

        If CO2 emission is a first order effect, then impact on the behavior of hurricanes must at best be, what, fifth or sixth order thermomechanical impact? Finding correlations between hurricane activity and human causes would be like recognizing the image of a face as seen through three layers of stained glass window on a foggy day while hung over.

        How important are climate disruption questions to the whole field of hurricane research? Could one not go through an entire career successfully without addressing the question either way?

      • Looks like the total cyclone energy is winning the hurricane wars. I wish Uncle Al would explain it to me again.

  29. It is barely a year since, just prior to Climategate and the Copenhagen Conference, the London Science Museum, at the behest of the then Labour- led government, promoted a poll to further their aggressive climate legislation agenda. WUWT fielded a piece on it


    At that time, sceptics in the UK were seriously considering whether an opposing vote, which required identification of the voter, would identify them on the official ‘denier list’, even perhaps get them whatever is the modern equivalent of the knock on the door in the middle of the night. Believe it or not, for many, it was perceived to be that bad. In the end, the poll backfired spectacularly, with the sceptical vote prevailing, but not without some dodgy pro-policy poll jumps during the course of it. One of the most disgraceful aspects of it was that it was intended to capture the schoolchildren’s votes during half term trips with their parents at the science museum, having been primed with propaganda and the Inconvenient Truth.

    At that time, the existence of a sceptic community, if it was recognised by the mainsteam press and the BBC at all, was vilified . Nigel Lawson, in authoring a sceptical book ‘An Appeal to Reason’, could not get a British publisher to handle it. It had to be printed and purchased at first in the States. Then out of the blue came the UEA emails. With heavily pregnant delayed action, after going into overdrive in the blogosphere, it finally, reluctantly, hit the mainstream press, and the tide slowly started to turn. We are not yet one full year on from that time.

    I mention this as a backdrop to the levels of political pressure reached, unbelievably, in a traditional western democracy in the name of AGW. The legacy of this pressure is, to all intents, fully upheld by the present administration. We have seen a succession of dubious investigations into the UEA. The sceptics battles, for many, are not yet won. While a truce may be a distant goal, there are too many grievances to rectify just yet. For a start, the ability to to pursue a research career with reasonable dogma- free funding and the opportunity to publish their results properly, not just for a few retiree emerituses, but for a new breed of objective researchers.

  30. Judith,

    Again you’re playing both sides?  You always take the high road and the low road at the same time.   You plead for climate scientists to declare a unilateral truce while declaring that AGW is politically motivated?  

    Your claim is that scientists who say that they are alarmed by the outlook indicated by climate science are motivated by politics, not by an honest interpretation of the climate science.  This constitutes an ad hominem attack against those scientists.

    You’re telling scientists to not make ad hominem attacks while making ad hominem attacks against scientists.    

    • Really? I didn’t read it that way. Thought it was one of those “if the shoe fits, wear it” statements; not an attact against everyone in the queue.

  31. Judith,

    Your post shows great depth of thought. Thank you.

    I am reminded what my daughter told me her graduate student in philosophy at Berkeley once told her during her freshman introduction to philosophy course. The graduate student basically said something like, “The greatness of the classic Ancient Greek period was in the fact that it was an extremely argumentative period. For the first time (arguably) in Western Civilization men were arguing about every aspect of the universe imaginable for the sake of seeking understanding in natural terms that were available to human understanding and knowledge; not by superstition and religion.”

    There has not been a war between supporters of the IPCC and independent thinkers (a.k.a. skeptics). There has been a ‘no-holds-barred’ argument in the wonderful Ancient Greek tradition. What clouded the argument was intimidation from authoritarian institutions of government and ideological environmentalists. Without that intimidation there was and is no problem with the scientific total argumentation scenario. Without intimidation the best ideas will prevail for the benefit of all.

    Let’s extract the intimidation factor.


    • agreed. this could make science fun again :)

      • Judith,
        This is exactly why I’m having a blast!
        For the longest time I had many doubts as the tract taken was so different from current science. But when mechnaics can confirm and back it up, I realized the science community made the mistake and not me.

    • Your comment is interesting since I’m an undergraduate history baccalaureate and that I’m presently following a course in the history of science. A few thing particularly caught my attention while we were discussing the ancient greek philosopher. One of them was that at that time it could be very dangerous to have novel idea and how some of these philosopher were killed or expatriated from their city because of what they had said or written.

      • Sylvain,

        One of the things I think you refer to this:

        “When Alexander died in 323, there was some anti-Macedonian backlash in Athens, and questions were raised regarding Aristotle’s connections to Macedonia. Fearing a prosecution similar to that of Socrates, Aristotle fled to Chalcis in Euboea. He fled “lest the Athenians should sin twice against philosophy,” so he is supposed to have remarked.” [ http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~dmidtved/greekthought.html ]


  32. @Judith
    I think you overlook one issue.

    The stringency and urgency of climate policy is, at the end of the day, a political decision. However, politicians prefer to hide from controversial decisions. In this case, politicians hide behind the science, using phrases like “the science commands that we reduce emissions by X%”.

    The science commands no such think. It’s logically impossible.

    However, as long as people continue to phrase climate policy in terms of scientific necessity, the opponents of that policy will always find it easier to attack the science.

    The battle over science is really a proxy for the battle over policy.

    If the proponents of climate policy would phrase their justification in economic or political terms, the venom would leave climate science.

    • agreed. I made this point in the disagreement thread, but everybody just thought i was naive :(

      • As Ed Fix notes below, the politicization of climate science is probably irreversible (at the time scale of the career). It is still useful to understand the root causes, if only to prevent making the same mistake in the next environmental problem.

      • On the contrary, Judith, I’ve remarked that your initial naivety is now very much dispersed :)

    • Alexander Harvey


      I agree, and I suspect that people seek the path of least resistance and if necessary that may include reconsideration of what is and is not real. Given enough cause, all sorts of impossible things may become articles of faith.

      This includes finding evidence in ways in which the normal criteria are suspended, and absolute adherence to theories as truths.


      • A good example is the Green New Deal, the notion that investing in clean energy will create jobs. There is not a shred of evidence for this — few people work in power generation so the direct impact on jobs must be small, while more expensive energy sure destroys jobs elsewhere in the economy — but politicians repeat this again and again until everyone around them believes it.

      • Wow.

        Almost exactly word for word an argument I heard in 1970 or so. Just replace ‘clean energy’ with ‘computer’ and ‘expensive energy’ with ‘electronics’.

        Which turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, for those who subscribed to that point of view.

      • @Bart
        Computers led to new services and productivity gains across the board. How would clean energy emulate that?

      • Not to mention the fact that the growth of the computer market (and growth in computing power and ubiquity) was not mandated or controlled by government mandates or controls. People *wanted* computers.

        I see no parallels to the state-mandated green economy. (A green economy driven by market forces, including increasing scarcity of current natural resources, is just fine and dandy with me — yes, I’m one of those free-market nutjobs.)

      • Oops, too many mandates and controls – I need to hire a proofreader. The sentence should have read:

        Not to mention the fact that the growth of the computer market (and growth in computing power and ubiquity) was not driven by government mandates or controls. People *wanted* computers.

      • “People *wanted* computers.”

        Said by someone who has never tried to introduce a new computer system to an organization that never had one, or that is perfectly happy with what it’s had for 20 years, thank you very much, no need for something new here.

        Ross Perot became very rich convincing people they needed computers they did not want. People didn’t, by and large, want computers until very late in the game after a huge marketing and taste-changing campaign lasting over a decade.

      • Since you ask:

        a) Plastic. The cheapest best source of plastic and countles other exotic chemical substances is petroleum. Future across the board productivity gains in the production of plastics are the immediate result of conserving petroleum resources. Burning this treasure now, for what? For one person to take an air-conditioned SUV to a minimart with the windows rolled up? That’s as counterproductive as imaginable.

        b) Unknown or unestimated services and gains; normally this section would be reserved for last, but computers and electronics led to unexpected communications revolutions in the way the Internet and mobile technology evolved with the tastes of today’s consumers, making unanticipated gains the number one benefit of computers and electronics. An argument from ignorance, perhaps, unless the parallel holds;

        c) New materials and processes; graphene for example is just in its first trimester as a new factor of technology ready made to moving clean energy forward by orders of magnitude. Clean energy as a whole fits the criteria of an infant industry. When integrating new materials and processes with the spark and drive of a technology race, it has happened in the past that across the board gains develop.

        If the clean energy race is this generation’s space race, then who leads clean energy leads the world, and secondary benefits of the new technology explosion will be felt through other fields by technical migration of ideas.

        I remember well the naysayers who predicted the race for the Moon would bankrupt America. Oh, yeah. What a mistake NASA was.

        d) The benefits of efficiency. If you’re a conservation-oriented organization, you don’t just need less energy, you make much more money per unit of labor or cash. This almost an axiom of Industrial Management. A dollar properly saved on costs multiplies its benefits in Return on Investment, sure, but it also means a tighter ship, more attentive supervision that reduces safety incidents and shrinkage, cuts the time that processes take, and requires decision makers to understand their processes bottom to top. Imagine if BP was managed this way, so some tightwad middle manager ignoring his engineers’ advice went with 24 supports rather than six in the Gulf of Mexico.

        e) Advantage to America. Old energy is labor-intensive. Clean energy is capital intensive. China has cheap labor and still struggles with capital; America has expensive labor and still leads in capital. Arguing against clean energy is arguing against America’s business interests.

        f) Consilience of beneficial effects. Getting rid of coal doesn’t just get rid of CO2, but also countless other health and other never-counted costs all up and down the production chain. Getting rid of foreign oil? How much will that save in foreign fights and foreign corruption?

    • Richard:
      If the proponents of climate policy would phrase their justification in economic or political terms, the venom would leave climate science.
      The proponents of radical changes in energy useage have been framing their justification in economic, political, and environmental terms, and got nowhere. They have latched onto climate science as a way to push their preferred policies. There is zero chance they will ever let go. As for draining the venom from climate science, it’s probably too late.

  33. Judith,

    Something to add to your library for the upcoming winter season.

    “Denialism. How irrational thinking hinders scientific progress, harms the planet and threatens our lives

    by Michael Specter

    • MapleLeaf,

      An over generalization by Mr. Specter. Skeptic (Specter says in the title) = irrational. If Specter argues that, then he basically shot himself in the foot or by another expression he scored an own goal.

      That over generalization gives the impression of imbalance for Mr. Specter’s ideas. So, he will just be preaching to the IPCC supporter crowd.


    • Orwell would be very impressed by Mr. Specter’s work.

  34. Dr. Curry,

    Others have commented on your statement: “risk is the threat times the probability of it occurring. The threat is there; the probability of something catastrophic occurring is being debated by scientists, economists, etc., and the probability may be small. But that does not mean that the risk is not there.”

    I am quite familiar with this line of reasoning. You mentioned several times that the objective of this series of posts is to discuss uncertainty. IMO, that requires that the uncertainties associated with extent and nature of both the threat and the probabilty of its occurence be included in the discussion. Therefore, my question is: “Who should be responsible for estimating in a rational manner the extent and nature of both the threat and the probabilty of its occurence? ” What do you invision the roles of the scientists vs. economists, etc., to be and how would their differences in opinion be reconciled?

    • This stuff is what I am planning to discuss in Parts II and III of decision making under uncertainty, which I will get back to in two weeks time (unfortunate delay, but my life is a zoo for the first part of Nov)

  35. BlueIce2HotSea

    To those whom civil, credible science is the most important objective, a truce is the most important first step. It might require a new, untainted organization of sorts, one with committed members and the ability to tell political squabblers to “take it outside”.

    I have hope.

  36. Re: Derek (undefined NaN NaN:NaN),
    Hear, hear! Way too many assumptions, Judith. Remember, the true null hypothesis is that CO2 and man’s emissions have NO effect on climate. No evidence falls outside the 1-sigma, much less 5-sigma, confidence level for this Null. So far, Null wins!

    Don’t demand surrender or treaties from scientifically superior enemies.

    • Brian H

      The null hypothesis depends on the experiment.

      While one could hypothesize no anthropogenic CO2 effect on climate, it would have to be in a certain class of experiments.

      Conversely, one could also propose an experiment that has as its null hypothesis “the optimal CO2 level for X plant or animal is the CO2 level they have adapted to by Evolution,” and then experiment at different CO2 levels. Same principle, opposite default conclusion by your reasoning.

      It’s begging the result, a form of bias, to think as you propose.

      Maybe you’re thinking of Sun Tzu again. All war is deception.

      • Hi Bart R

        I may have misunderstood your meaning but your position assumes there is some compulsion on humanity to address climate change. The null position is that climate change is a natural process. The debate is not, how big is the threat (of AGW) but does it exist to the extent that it overrides natural cycles? In so far as there is no real world evidence to suggest that it does, the default position is no action required.

      • Clive Menzies

        Clarity is not my strong point.

        If you understand my position to assume a compulsion on humanity, than indeed I am grossly misunderstood.

        Whose null position assumes a who, a position, a hypothesis and an experiment, none of them explicit.

        The more natural, assumption free (other than self-evident truths), null position would be no person ought be forced to endure a burden placed upon them and their rights and their posterity by any other against their will, without their permission, with no advantage to them, for the mere sake of that other’s pleasure or malice.

        The default position then would be no tolerance of CO2 emissions beyond what Nature can absorb is required.

        To go from the general, to the particular as an absurdist must, your principle would allow one person to douse another with kerosene and chase them around with a blowtorch, and there be no compulsion on humanity to address that ‘change.’ Fire is a natural process. The debate is not how big the threat (of fire) but does it exist to the extent that it overrides natural body temperature?

  37. My thoughts-

    From the IPCC Charter-

    “The role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.”

    So, by its charter, the IPCC seems to be tasked to ignore any climate factors other than those supposedly caused by human activity.

    The war will not end until the IPCC charter changes.

    Skeptics of CAGW have as much chance of a fair go about non-human factors in climate change with the IPCC as Galileo had with heliocentrism when fronting up the Inquisition.

    For the members of the Inquisition, survival was dependent upon maintaining the dogma; not upon finding the truth.

    • Orkneygal,

      While I am inclined to agree with you, my new ‘look at your own suppositions first’ rule that Judith’s threads have imposed on me forces me to say the following.

      It would be entirely possible for the IPCC, under its own charter, to find that matters were uncertain, and indeed its first report said so, as Judith has pointed out. It would also be possible for it to report that actually natural variability was so strong that it tended to mask any CO2 effects. It has not done that, and to this point while the data are consistent with that position they are to a degree consistent with AGW too.

      What is unfortunate in the charter is its one-sidedness. Only ‘human-induced climate change’ was mentioned. A better formulation would have been a mission to disentangle AGW from natural variability.

      It is not surprising either that the IPCC’s reports have become steadily more confident about the effects of CO2, or that people like yourself (and myself) react in an irritated fashion to what looks a disingenuous brief.

      But, to say it again, the IPCC could, consistent with the brief it has, report that there was nothing in it. That isn’t likely, for all the reasons that you and others have spelled out.

      • Don Aitkin-

        One of our lecturers is from Texas, USA.

        He has a lovely saying which I think is very appropriate to the point you raise about suppositions-

        “Watch their feet, not their mouth.”

        I’ll be watching the IPCC’s feet, thank you.

      • In Texas there is another saying: He who pays the fiddler calls the tune.

      • We still have a little bit of the American Revolutionary Spirit up here in the Adirondack Mtns. We have a saying that paraphrases the NRA slogan.

        It goes like:

        “You can get your enviro inspired AGW-by-Co2 taxes when you pry them from my cold dead fingers.”

        PS – Judith, OK I am still misbehaving a little, but it is so much fun.


  38. All rather begs the question. I.e., assumes it’s worth compromising and stopping the battle against the self-discrediting mediocrities who staff CRU and IPCC and GISS. Starting with Pachauri, Jones and Mann and working down.

  39. Sun Tzu brings to mind Clausewitz:

    ‘War is politics by other means.’

    Which brings to mind Mao Zedong:

    ‘Politics is war by other means.’

    Sadly, humans live in a state of conflict between a desire for harmony and integrity (hard wiring for social cohesion) and hard wired aggressive competitiveness (very important if you’re going to survive as a hunter gatherer on the African savanna or in the hurly-burly of business, science, or politics).

    Some of us thrive on conflict and the AGW ‘wars’ are just one more arena in which conflict reigns.

    I was intrigued by Steve Mosher’s citation of Tom Wigley on the last thread. Apart from Steve saying he thought much of the behaviour was par for the course in the world of science and technology, I was greatly impressed by Tom Wigley emerging as a much more nuanced figure seeking to avoid subversion of the scientific process by a political agenda.

    Unfortunately, when we try to integrate our wish for harmony and social cohesion with our aggressive drives, we invariably end up dividing into camps and taking sides often in opposition to people with whom we actually have no quarrel.

    The climate wars may perhaps be little more than a distillation of what happens in families, workplaces, corporations, and political parties. However, they’ve captured the public imagination being a ‘sexy’ cause (‘the future of our planet’ versus ‘wrecking our economic future’).

    Nevertheless, I think it was very necessary for someone on the ‘inside’ to highlight the extent to which the debate was being oversimplified to the point of risking distortion of the science and policy options.

    In the context of the emerging cold war, Dean Acheson said his arguments had to be ‘clearer than truth.’ I suspect both sides of the AGW divide have contributed to this stand off. It may take many years (or a dramatic unfolding of climate) for us to see all this in perspective.

    • “In the 1980’s or 1990’s, university graduates were destined to have decent jobs, as they were in urgent demand after the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), during which university education was suspended. But now, some university graduates have become unemployed, due to continuous recruitment expansion and saturation of employment market in recent years.”

      ~ Wu Jiang

  40. “Is there any hope for ending the war between climate scientists that support the IPCC and skeptics?”

    NO, there never should be “an end” if this is about “Science” and not about Tween Politics!

    Climate Scientists, at this point in their evolution, are little more that toys before their own unproven theory.

    Who in the World can anyone be anything other than Skeptical given the tragic “Science”?

  41. Who in the World, can anyone be anything other than Skeptical, tragic “Science”!

  42. Judith,

    In order for science to move forward, we have to STOP categorizing individual areas. Science is ALL inter-related to each other.
    Geology and medicine are they related? Yes. Our bodies NEED minerals and water that this planet has evolved us from. Water(compressed gases) hold energy from compression. Any gases held in a cyclinder to a liquid state hold massive energy that can create a good explosion when punctured.
    Our bodies rely on many different micro-organisms to breakdown our food to energy. Water is what gives the energy for our brain synapsis to fire.As well as generating lightening.

    Can science stay the course?
    No, all we are doing is creating educated idiots with bad science.

  43. It would greatly help to lower the heat of the debate if all participants could recognize two realities:

    (1) The public has, in many western nations, gone cold on immediate strong action to reduce carbon emissions.

    (2) Both the public and government in most of the world have no interest whatever in reducing carbon emissions; to the contrary, they are increasing them as fast as they can.

    Thus climate change as a political issue is a dead duck for the moment.

    Combine this with a third point, that the main stream media have largely lost interest, and it would seem to make sense for everyone to just ignore the politics for a while, and concentrate on improving the science. There is a long way to go on that front.

    • Latimer Alder

      I would add that many governments are extremely positive about fossil fuel emissions. They see them as a useful smokescreen to hide tax increases. While still mouthing platitudes about reducing carbon didoxide, they’d be really upset if it actually happened.

  44. Judith, the tone you express in this thread reveals a normal reaction of someone who just expressed a bold statement (e.g. exhortations against the IPCC) without true conviction. It is the equivalent to trying to end an argument with your children in the back seat of your Prius by taking them both to the ice cream parlor, even though you suspect that one of them is more correct than the other.

    For the skeptics who assiduously follow McIntyre, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to get Al Gore, Michael Mann, and Phil Jones out of our heads. They are our scientific nightmares. It is extremely difficult to live with their level of “quality” science, especially given their policy megaphones.

    Judith, try doing a thought experiment. If you had complete control of all NSF and UN grants, and you directed that funding to academics to study global cooling, what do you think the literature would look like in five years.


  45. “Is there any hope for ending the war between climate scientists that support the IPCC and skeptics?”

    I hope that the “climate war” will not end before the deep roots of the diseased government science program (going back to at least 1969) are restored to integrity.

    The basic integrity of science has been compromised by the use of tax funds to support unscientific government propaganda on:

    a.) The Sun’s origin.
    b.) The Sun’s composition.
    c.) The Sun’s source of energy.
    d.) The Sun’s influence on Earth’s climate.

    Let’s not allow another generation of young scientists to be forced to choose between scientific integrity and research grants. Let’s repair the system that made young scientists into the government pawns that we now criticize!

    The climate scandal has confirmed the validity of Eisenhower’s warning on 17 Jan 1961 “that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite” and pose a danger to “the supreme goals of our free society.” http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ike.htm

    It’s time to fix the flawed system that produced the Climategate scandal.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  46. Michael Larkin

    Fred Moolten | November 6, 2010 at 4:00 pm said:

    “…affecting the legitimacy of climate science itself very little…”

    Might we sometimes confuse legitimacy with power? The man who stands before us with a big stick has power, not legitimacy. The power, in this case, may be described as conviction bolstered by “consensus”. I say, forget consensus: is the truth being spoken of actually the truth? It cuts no ice merely to assert it is so and claim legitimacy because the majority agrees.

    Actually, we who are not climate scientists are in the majority by several orders of magnitude. Some of us agree with the orthodoxy, some of us disagree, and some of us simply don’t know and know we don’t know.

    Being in the last category myself, I can’t say whether or not climate science truly has legitimacy, or whether it’s a mass-hysteria-induced attempt to browbeat people into submission. Whatever, not being a scientist, not even being able to understand the science in full depth, I still have the primal urge to determine the truth for myself.

    Trust is a major issue. Such predictions as have been made have more than once failed to materialise, even been proved bogus. By their fruits you shall know them, as the saying goes. It’s not like science I know to be very convincing even if I don’t completely understand it. QT, whose intricacies are beyond me, tells me what to expect in the double-slit experiment, and I have verified that for myself.

    Do we want the war to be over? Then where is the orchard, and what are the fruit? I don’t want to see the goalposts suspiciously shifted in the light of failed predictions. It’s true that some failed predictions do not completely invalidate theory, but one can hardly be blamed for having doubts. In fact, show me a man without doubt and I’ll show you one who is quite likely wrong.

    That the orthodox frequently want the age of doubt to be declared dead and gone is a red flag. Certainty doesn’t usually come with a big stick and a gang of bruisers to back its legitimacy. It comes quietly and without prepossession. It’s amazingly persuasive precisely because it is so unassuming. I have been privileged to experience it only very rarely.

    Doubt is not going to go away unless the fruit prove to be as advertised. As one small example, I don’t want to hear that snowy winters are a thing of the past, only to discover that was wrong. What do you expect me to do? Imagine it was never said? Accept without question that other predictions for 10, 50, 100 years hence are more reliable?

    Until the doubt goes, the war will continue. There are faint intimations in Dr. Curry’s article that maybe we can all switch the focus to developing new energy sources. Maybe so, but not if it’s just another subterfuge for promulgating, sotto voce, climate orthodoxy. That will not end the war. Put in its very simplest terms, only truth will end the war. The consequences of orthodoxy being wrong, but acting as if it were right, may be more dire than it being right and acting as if it were wrong.

    Since we’re stuck with the war, I think we need a Geneva convention. There may be lots of provisions in that, but one I’d like to see is recognition that doubt is respectable. There are even doubts about some aspects of QT, for heaven’s sake, and that’s inestimably more certain than anything in climate science.

    It is the orthodox who have necessitated the proliferation of sceptical blogs, by a refusal to engage with, rather than insult, those who doubt. Steve McIntyre tried to engage at RC, got blown off, and so started CA. If they are denied a voice anywhere else, what can they do but seek other venues? Orthodoxy has reaped the opposition it sowed and has no grounds for complaint.

  47. Dr. Curry,

    Well, it sounds to me like you are defending the alleged “dogma” of AGW, and perhaps the alleged “dogma” of the IPCC. So very ambiguous and confusing, one day it is insinuations of nefarious goings on, the next it is claims that the IPCC represents a “dogma” and it is wrong to defend it (IIRC), the next day you seem to go and do just that.

    For me that point is a on-issue, b/c you are not defending a “dogma”, and neither are your peers.

    Anyways, to give credit where credit is due (I realize that I have been very critical of you, but my patience and tolerance is running very thin after the attacks over the last couple of years), I for once find myself agreeing with at least some of the things you said above, and Bart’s insistence that you are sincere shows a glimmer of hope.

    Perhaps you are just a hopeless communicator Judith, in which case, you are really out of your depth here, and doing more harm than good.

  48. Dr. Curry,

    Perhaps a more appropriate title might have been “Ending the assault on science and scientists by “skeptics””.

    Anyhow, that brings me to the point of this post. As you know there are already musing about holding McCarthy-like interrogations of climate scientists by Republicans and Tea Party ideologues. These are indeed scary times, although your actions of late may have saved you experiencing the wrath of Barton and Inhofe. Time will tell.

    You volunteered recently that you have been contacted by a politician/s. You allowed Mosher to post an (illegally obtained) email. So now I am going to ask you, very nicely, in the spirit of transparency and openness, to post a legally obtained email (or emails) that you received from the politician/s. Feel free to obfuscate their details, and name their name/s.

    Many of your readers here have been demanding investigations against climate scientists, so your position on such is pertinent. So your role in these developments is relevant and should be a matter for the public record given what is at stake and given that tax payers money will be used to fund any such interrogations.

    Additionally, please answer these questions, again as unambiguously and clearly as possible:

    1) Do you condone plans by Republicans and Tea Party representatives to launch investigations against climate scientists?
    2) If yes, do you plan to do to prominently condemn such actions and what do you intend to do prevent them from happening?
    3) If no. Why so?
    4) If no. Do you plan to assist in any way the people launching and executing the investigations against your peers?
    5) If such interrogations go ahead, do you agree that they should include interrogations/cross examination of climate scientists from both the “skeptical” (e.g., Christy, Spencer, Lindzen) and the “warmist” sides?

    If such a horrid inquisition does go ahead, it will not herald the end of the war, if anything it will just make matters much, much worse. I fear the likes of Inhofe will only be content when a “warmist” climate scientist is physically hurt or worse.

    Again, I am interested only in your position on this. Thank you.

    • Michael Larkin


      You missed your calling. You should have been an inquisitor or witchfinder general. One gets nowhere by asking questions of the “when did you last beat your wife?” variety, except one’s posts end up being treated as mindless trollery.

      By the way, we still don’t know whether the emails were illegally obtained. Why don’t we wait to see what the police enquiry has to say about this? It might be difficult to await actual evidence to back up one’s assertions, but it’s a discipline that has much to recommend it.

      Now I’ll stop feeding the troll.

      • Michael Larkin,

        But if you stop feeding the troll-like beings, then we won’t have your excellent responses!! Please re-feed the troll-like beings. : )

        Maybe someday we can capture a live one for the purpose of scientific observation?

        PS – OK, apologies to Judith for misbehaving a little bit here . . . . but I just couldn’t help myself.


      • John – you might like this then

        This just in. Transcript of a conversation overheard at AGW Mission Control two days ago

        Voice 1: the heretoscope just picked up a big sceptical pulse in the southern sector.
        Voice 2: can you isolate it?
        Voice 1: yeah. Looks like it’s coming from Judith Curry’s blog, Climate Etc
        Voice 2: what’s the reading?
        Voice 1: 8.3. Wow, that’s the biggest pulse I’ve ever seen.
        Voice 2: we got any agents on the ground?
        Voice 1: Nah, just some of the usual UIds
        Voice 2: We need our best agent on this one. Is 007 available?
        Voice 1: Just checking, sir. No, it seems he has man flu.
        Voice 2: What about BallsofSteel?
        Voice 1: He’s on paternity.
        Voice 2: Well who the f*#+ is available?
        Voice 1: Mmmmm looks like the only agent available is MapleLeaf.
        Voice 2: MapleLeaf? You kidding me?
        Voice 1: Sorry sir, that’s all we got.
        Voice 2: MapleLeaf it is then.

      • Gary Mirada,

        That got a belly laugh out of me.

        Pretty good.


      • Michael,

        ““when did you last beat your wife?””

        A straw man. Anyhow, now that you bring it up, asking that type of questions has been used widely by your ilk has it not? So stop with the hypocrisy already.

        Do some actual research on the emails. The emails were most likely obtained illegally. Why would a “whistle-blower” take extensive (and sophisticated) steps to cover their tracks? Why would a whistle-blower actually hack into the RC server and try and upload the files? You are only deluding only yourself Michael.

        Asking Curry to clarify her position is reasonable, enquiring minds would like to know.

        Now you need to improve your comprehension skills, my post was addressed to Curry, not you. Capiche?


    • Well i definitely didn’t see this the first time around. In the spirit of cooperating with the sourcewatch craziness, here goes

      I don’t recall ever receiving an email from a politician, other than mass mailings.

      1) Do you condone plans by Republicans and Tea Party representatives to launch investigations against climate scientists?
      I haven’t been paying much attention, I don’t know what is being investigated. I have spoken out publicly against Cuccinelli’s investigation of Mann.

      2) If yes, do you plan to do to prominently condemn such actions and what do you intend to do prevent them from happening?
      If, like Cuccinelli’s investigation, I find it inappropriate, i will speak out in the blogosphere.

      5) If such interrogations go ahead, do you agree that they should include interrogations/cross examination of climate scientists from both the “skeptical” (e.g., Christy, Spencer, Lindzen) and the “warmist” sides?
      It depends on what the heck they are investigating.

  49. Willis Eschenbach

    Judith, another thought provoking piece. I certainly agree with the general thrust, which is to return the science to climate.

    I do have a few problems with your approach, which I’ll deal with in separate posts. One is that climate scientists remain extremely unwilling to say one bad word about another in public. In private they’re as bitchy as can be, but few will stand up to state their views about bad science in public.

    Doctors do that too. One doc will accidentally make a bad cut, and usually you won’t find a single other doctor to say it was malpractice.

    And as a result, you end up with things like Lonnie Thompson, Prince of Unarchived Data Gathered at Taxpayer Expense, being invited to conferences and feted, and no one says “Lonnie, come back when you’ve archived your data.” No one says to Phil Jones, “If you didn’t delete anything, why are the documents conveniently missing?” Judith, you know that the so-called “investigations” have been shams … but that doesn’t seem to matter to the bulk of the mainstream climate scientists.

    Now you are again trying to “end the war”. This is something which I totally support.

    But as long as we see Lonnie and Phil and Michael Mann and the rest of the un-indicted co-conspirators still being wined and dined and invited and requested and chairing committees, we will continue to think that nothing has changed.

    Finally, you ask for amnesty for war crimes on both sides. As far as I know, neither Steven McIntyre nor Ross McKitrick nor I nor Anthony Watts nor any prominent skeptic I know of committed any crimes at all. None.

    We did not conspire to prevent publication of contrary views. We did not not try to evade FOI requests. We did not subvert the IPCC process to spread our own mistaken ideas. We did not ask each other to delete anything.

    Now, either you have not thought this through, or you have. I hope that the case is that you haven’t thought it through. When you offer a blanket amnesty to two groups, one of which is guilty of a variety of malfeasance and the other of which has acted properly in all cases, surely you must see that your offer appears duplicitous? Surely you can see that it will be insulting to those who have acted properly?

    So no, I am not interested in any amnesty at all, particularly when it is disguised as a blanket amnesty. I need no amnesty, save your blankets.

    I say that any “scientists” who lied and cheated and conspired to subvert the IPCC process and who deleted emails to hide their actions should not receive a single scrap of amnesty. Their actions should be investigated in a detailed and transparent manner, and if they are found guilty, they should be tossed out of scientific organizations. They should be drummed out of civilized scientific society.

    So while I applaud the Christian motives behind your call to ‘forgive them all’, sorry, I’m not up to that point. Before people get forgiven, they have to acknowledge their mistake and express contrition … two things which have been conspicuously absent in the un-indicted co-conspirators.

    From my warped perspective (neither a warmer nor a skeptic but a climate heretic), I like it that mainstream climate scientists continue to use Jones and Schmidt and Mann and Hansen and the like as their spokespeople. The public doesn’t trust those scientists, and as long as they are in the forefront, that won’t change.

    • WE: “Surely you can see that it will be insulting to those who have acted properly?”

      Willis don’t be insulted. You and Watts, at least, will need amnesty for scientific malpractice, and Watts for aiding and abetting Monckton’s attacks on scientists. And that is just the start.


      Just two examples of your antics Willis. And we’ll have to take your word for it when you say that you did not delete any emails (there is no proof, to my knowledge that any key emails were in fact deleted by CRU folks, certainly not by Mann), or conspire, because we just do not have your email exchanges do we now?

      “I say that any “scientists” who lied and cheated and conspired to subvert the IPCC process and who deleted emails to hide their actions”

      You got the subversion of the peer-review process the wrong way round, of course– need I remind you of the antics of Soon and Baliunas and de Freitas at Climate Research? It was the skeptics who tried, and succeeded, in subverting the peer-review process. Please stop disseminating memes to the contrary.

      I”m glad that you have the presence of mind to note that you have a “warped perspective”.

      • Latimer Alder

        Wow. Apparently there is a new crime

        ‘Aiding and abetting attacks on climate scientists’.

        I assume ML means robust discussion of the ‘scientific’ work, rather than physical assaults on the persons of the ‘scientists’. Because the latter woudl be dealt with under existing common law – whether they were ‘climate scientists’ or not.

        But ML thinks that climate scientists work should be immune from criticism – that to do so should be a crime, and that even to aid and abet somebody to do so should also be a crime.

        Exactly what is it about such people that should give them such overwhelming immunity from scrutiny? If they choose to publish their findings in a publicly available form, then one must assume that they wish others to read and digest their message. Are such readers required to suspend all critical faculties while they do so, and just to believe the message wholesale? And that not to do so becomes a crime?

        I know that all climatologits are imbued with a great belief in their own powers of infallibility, but to criminalise people for having the temerity to critocose theor work takes their self-regard beyond parody and into ridicule.

      • If you missed it, I was referring to Watts aiding and abetting Moncktopn’s attacks on scientists. Do you deny that he has threatened several scientists? I can only presume that you do and are OK with that.

        Moreover, Monckton’s work was not “robust” nor was that of Eschenbach, or D’Aleo or McLean…….

        “But ML thinks that climate scientists work should be immune from criticism”

        You are arguing a strawman. Besides, I never said what you claim– please stop putting words in my mouth. Regardless, science is fallible, and the reality is that the science is routinely (legitimately) criticized and advances because of it.

        Science, including climate science, should be immune from politically motivated, ideological and unsubstantiated attacks.

      • Attacks? I think aiding ‘criticism’ is what I think you mean…

        He allows guest posts, whilst not necessarily agreeing with their views..

        I’m sure Michael Mann, or Gavin Schmidt would be welcome at Watts Up.

        But they prefer to pretend that Climate Audit, Watts Up and Climate Etc do not exits and will not even link to them on RealClimate.

        How petty.. Actually we have eric’s answer for the reason…(maybe d) heretic – for Judith ;) )

        [Response: Being listed on our blogroll does not constitute endorsement. In general, the sites we do list — whether they are run by scientists or not — tend to get the science right much of the time, and hence are consistent with our mission. Being not-listed could mean that a) we haven’t heard of the site, b) that it is uninteresting or unimportant, or c) that we consider it dishonest or disingenuous with respect to the science. Pielke Jr, Blackboard, and ClimateAudit all fall squarely into the latter category.–eric]


    • Re: (undefined NaN NaN:NaN), Hear, *****ing hear!!
      Like offering simultaneous amnesty to the SS and US Marines for WWII war crimes. No, not on, so sorry.

  50. Willis Eschenbach

    Judith, you say:
    curryja | November 6, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Girma, risk is the threat times the probability of it occurring. The threat is there; the probability of something catastrophic occurring is being debated by scientists, economists, etc., and the probability may be small. But that does not mean that the risk is not there.

    This method works admirably when the threat numbers are easily quantifiable and the probabilities are susceptible to simple calculation. It has serious problems elsewhere.

    In climate science, for example, we have historical evidence of a couple of types that warming of one or two degrees does not lead to catastrophe. Now, it’s possible that another couple degrees will lead to Thermageddon … but anyone claiming that they can tell us how or where or when that Thermageddon might strike is just blowing in your ear and rubbing your tummy.

    As a result, we can neither estimate the climate threat (which might be no threat but a benefit, and has an unknown nature and disposition), nor can we give any kind of scientific estimate of the odds of it happening.

    So we are in the GIGO league, shovelling in numbers and pulling out conjectures at a rate of knots. I fear that the “multiply the risk by the threat” method simply doesn’t work when neither the risk nor the threat is properly quantifiable.

  51. Willis Eschenbach

    MapleLeaf | November 7, 2010 at 1:48 am

    … there is no proof, to my knowledge that any key emails were in fact deleted by CRU folks, certainly not by Mann …

    Sad but true … simply because the so-called “investigations” have been whitewashes so we have no proof in either direction. As a result, the question is unsettled, the jury is out. As far as we know, neither Jones nor Mann was even asked if they deleted emails.

    Which certainly should tell you something, both about the investigations and about Mann and Jones … we also have email from Jones to Mann saying delete the incriminating emails and tell Gene [Wahl] the same. And we have Mann replying that he’ll tell Wahl right away. Which hardly looks good for your heroes.

    But hey, MapleLeaf, defend them all you want, maintain them as your spokesmodels for AGW alarmism, I support that. Like I said, keeping those charming folks at the forefront of your movement does more to damage your credibility than anything I could possibly do. Keep it up.

    • Steve McIntyre

      Willlis, actually, there is proof that emails that Jones asked to be deleted were deleted. Earlier this year, I sent an FOI request for the attachments to the Wahl emails that Jones had asked Briffa to delete. UEA said that they did not possess the attachments i.e. the emails had been deleted.

      • Steve McIntyre,

        I think it is proof only if the UEA/CRU response has more elements of credible trust than found in the behavior of ‘the Team’ and UEA/CRU leading up to and including the unauthorized release of the UEA/CRU emails.

        Also, I think it is proof only if the UEA/CRU response is less dissembling than they and ‘the Team’ have been in conducting and responding to the various inquiries resulting from the unauthorized release of the UEA/CRU emails.

        Steve, I find my ‘if’ above to be a naïve supposition at best. UEA/CRU need to show evidence of the IT records that they do not exist. Sorry, I cannot take their word at face value.


      • McIntyre,

        Admission of yet another vexatious FOI request? Are you OK with the fact that JC admits to deleting emails? Can we expect a headline on CA loudly claiming that “Scientist admits to deleting emails!”? Or is fact OK because she fawns over you?

        Two wrongs do not make a right, but do you delete emails? If no, can we please have proof/evidence that you have not? Otherwise there is no way of knowing whether or not you are telling the truth. What a sly game you continue to play.

        Maybe FIPPA will help shed some light on the situation….

      • Leaf

        (What’s good for the goose is good for the gander)

        Project much?

      • Raving…incoherent much? Is your name Stephen McIntyre? Very likely not. Bye.

      • Raving…incoherent much?

        Yes, you can think of it as “bootstrapping one’s self into coherency”

        (What’s good for the goose is good for the gander)
        Bye bye.

      • Raving mad. You seem to have a stutter, or at least a problem with repeating yourself. Bye.

      • You seem to have a stutter, or at least a problem with repeating yourself.

        It’s called circumspection

        Remember, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

    • Willis,

      “But hey, MapleLeaf, defend them all you want, maintain them as your spokesmodels for AGW alarmism, I support that”

      Good grief, another strawman argument.

      You need to get over your ideological obsessions and focus on facts for a change, and not conspiracy theories. And how you continue to distort and spin. I am not defending some of the stupid things Jones said, even though he was antagonized and under pressure. I unlike you, said that I would stand by the findings of the inquiries. I have, even though the Muir inquiry and AIC reviews were quite critical.

      Mann provide ALL of his emails to officials at PSU when he was being investigated following complaints against him following the release of the illegally obtained emails. You would not happen to be one of those who complained would you?

      And Willis, you and your cohorts are doing a fine job undermining the credibility of the ‘skeptical’ dogma– please do keep it up.

      • Good grief, another strawman argument.

        Your specialty no doubt. :D

        (What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.)

        It’s the grand old game of The Silly Buggers of Science

    • ahem:

      From: Phil Jones
      To: mann@xxxxxxxxx.xxx
      Subject: CLIMATIC CHANGE needs your advice – YOUR EYES ONLY !!!!!
      Date: Fri Jan 16 13:25:59 2004


      This is for YOURS EYES ONLY. Delete after reading – please ! I’m trying to redress the balance. One reply from Pfister said you should make all available !! Pot calling thekettle black – Christian doesn’t make his methods available.

      I replied to the wrong Christian message so you don’t get to see what he said.

      Probably best.

      Told Steve separately and to get more advice from a few others as well as Kluwer and legal.

      PLEASE DELETE – just for you, not even Ray and Malcolm

      (followingthis, about sharing code with mcintyre (seems like some scientist thought it a GOOD idea,)

      This is what Phil Jones forwarded his reply to Professor Azar, and the others listed:

      Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2004 12:37:29 +0000
      To: Christian Azar , christian.pfister@xxxxxxxxx.xxx
      From: Phil Jones
      Subject: Re: AW: CLIMATIC CHANGE needs your advice
      Cc: “‘David G. VICTOR'” , ‘Katarina Kivel’ ,


      frtca@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, d.camuffo@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, scohen@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, pmfearn@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, jfoley@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, pgleick@xxxxxxxxx.xxx,
      harvey@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, ahs@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, Thomas.R.Karl@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, rwk@xxxxxxxxx.xxx,
      rik.leemans@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, diana.liverman@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, mccarl@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, lindam@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, rmoss@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, ogilvie@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, barrie.pittock@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, pollard@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, nj.rosenberg@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, crosenzweig@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, j.salinger@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, santer1@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, h.j.schellnhuber@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, F.I.Woodward@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, gyohe@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, leonid@xxxxxxxxx.xxx, shs@xxxxxxxxx.xxx

      Dear Steve et al,
      I’ve been away this week until today. Although the responses so far all make valid points, I will add my thoughts. I should say I have been more involved in all the exchanges between Mike and MM so I’m probably biased in Mike’s favour. I will try and be impartial, though, but I did write a paper with Mike (which came out in GRL in Aug 2003) and we currently have a long paper tentatively accepted by Reviews of Geophysics. With the latter all 4 reviewers think the paper is fine, but the sections referring to MM and papers by Soon and Baliunas are not and our language is strong.

      We need to work on this.

      Back to the question in hand:

      1. The papers that MM refer came out in Nature in 1998 and to a lesser extent in GRL in1999. These reviewers did not request the data (all the proxy series) and the code. So, acceding to the request for this to do the review is setting a VERY dangerous precedent. Mike has made all the data series and this is all anyone should need.

      Making model code available is something else.

      2. The code is basically irrelevant in this whole issue. In the GRL paper (in 2003 Mann and Jones), we simply average all the series we use together. The result is pretty much the same as MBH in 1998, Nature and MBH in 1999 in GRL.

      3. As many of you know I calculate gridded and global/hemispheric temperature time series each month. Groups at NCDC and NASA/GISS do this as well. We don’t exchange codes – we do occasionally though for the data. The code here is trivial as it is in the paleo work. MBH get spatial patterns but the bottom line (the 1000 year series of global temps) is almost the same if you simply average. The patterns give more, though, when it comes to trying to understand what has caused the changes – eg by comparison with models. MM are only interested in the NH/Global 1000-year time series – in fact only in the MBH work from 1400.

      4. What has always intrigued me in this whole debate, is why the skeptics (for want of a better term always pick on Mike. There are several other series that I’ve produced, Keith Briffa has and Tom Crowley. Jan Esper’s work has produced a slightly different series but we don’t get bombarded by MM. Mike’s paper wasn’t the first. It was in Nature and is well-used by IPCC. I suspect the skeptics wish to concentrate their effort onto oneperson as they did with Ben Santer after the second IPCC report.

      5. Mike may respond too strongly to MM, but don’t we all decide not to work with or co-operate with people we do not get on with or do not like their views. Mike will say that MM are disingenuous, but I’m not sure how many of you realise how vicious the attack on him has been.

      I will give you an example. When MM came out, we had several press calls (I don’t normally get press calls about my papers unless I really work at it – I very rarely do). This was about a paper in E&E, which when we eventually got it several days later was appalling. I found out later that the authors were in contact with the reviewers up to a week before the article appeared. So there is peer review and peer review !! Here the peer review was done by like-minded colleagues.

      Anyway, I’m straying from the point. Tim Osborn, Keith Briffa and I felt we should put something on our web site about the paper and directs people to Mike’s site [RealClimate-BJW ?] and also to E&E and the MM’s site. MM have hounded us about this for the last four months. In the MM article, they have a diagram which says ‘corrected version’ when comparing with MBH.

      We have seen people refer to this paper (MM) as an alternative reconstruction – yet when we said this is our paragraph MM claim they are not putting forward a new reconstruction but criticizing MBH 1998 !! We have decided to remove the sentence on our web page just to stop these emails. But if a corrected version isn’t a new or alternative reconstruction I don’t know what is.

      So, in conclusion, I would side with Mike in this regard. In trying to be scrupulously fair, Steve, you’ve opened up a whole can of worms. If you do decide to put the Mann response into CC then I suspect you will need an editorial. MM will want to respond also.

      I know you’ve had open and frank exchanges in CC before, but your email clearly shows that you think this is in a different league. MM and E&E didn’t give Mann the chance to respond when they put their paper in, but this is a too simplistic. It needs to be pointed out in an editorial though – I’m not offering by the way.

      I could go on and on ….


      following this sensible suggestion from Professor Azar..

      Dear all,
      I agree with most of what has been said so far. Reproducibility is the key word. If the
      Mann el al material (to be) posted on the website is sufficient to ensure reproducibility, then there is no compelling need to force them to hand it out. If not,then the source code is warranted. Yours,
      Christian Azar
      Department of physical resource theory
      Chalmers University of Technology


      Professor Azar sound very sensible:

      “Also, even if there is no compelling need to make the source code public, doing it anyway would clearly be beneficial for the entire debate.”

      A climate scientist who thinks sharing the code, EVEN if he does not have to, would be sensible and good for the debate…

      So why, as Judith implied are all the other scientist keeping their heads down, and that Judith felt that she ‘had to step up to the plate’

      as Latimer said (privaeley bitchy, publically?)

      • oops!

        I cut it a sentence out, instead of copying it out..

        Professor Azar’s full email…which Phil replied to all, and then forwared to Michael Mann, saying PLEASE DELETE ( I presume he woud have deleted his own as well, given that request ;) )

        Dear all,
        I agree with most of what has been said so far. Reproducibility is the key word. If theMann el al material (to be) posted on the website is sufficient to ensure reproducibility, then there is no compelling need to force them to hand it out. If not,then the source code is warranted.

        Also, even if there is no compelling need to make the source code public, doing it anyway would clearly be beneficial for the entire debate.
        Christian Azar
        Department of physical resource theory
        Chalmers University of Technology

  52. Dr. Curry,

    I’d be curious to read what a scientist (or scientists) and science historians have to say regarding the story of climate science and how it fits into the models of Popper, Kuhn, and Feyerabend, and see how that contrasts with progress in other scientific fields.

    Is the call of “denier” unique or just part of the process?

    It might be useful in shedding light on the correctness of these models of science, and it might also be useful in shedding light on how the climate science fights are similar or different to other science fights in the past.

  53. “Yes, everyone agrees that we need a new energy policy and that clean green energy is desirable.”

    Is that a joke? Does it describe the situation in the U.S.? Or just Dr Curry’s private opinion encoding her complete isolation from the world of reality and all the failed attempts to change something about the laws of physics such as the need for energy?

    Here, in the Czech Republic, we surely need no new energy policy – except for an “old new energy policy” that will liquidate subsidies for solar energy and similar stuff that has been adopted in the era of irrationality and that were growing out of control for 1-2 years before this disaster was stopped.

    Otherwise, our energy policy was wise and meaningful at least since the Velvet Revolution. No major mistakes have been made during the 20-year era, as far as we can see now, so we have absolutely no reason for a “new energy policy”.

    Alternative energy sources will only be desirable at the commercial basis if they become cheaper – surely, requiring no subsidies – or otherwise beneficial. But there are no additional considerations. Coal and nuclear plants are the major players in our mix – and the power plants have been clean (filters that remove pollution) and virtually safe for more than 15 years. Our existing coal and nuclear power plants have lower negative environmental impact than any of the major proposed alternative sources.

    I thought that you would say that the war was over because everyone now agrees that the ideas about changing the energy policy in any big way have been 100% defeated, every new attempt to change something substantial about our use of energy will fail just like all the previous attempts, and no serious person is actually defending it such a “new policy” today. You wrote exactly the opposite! Well, if you know many people who still think that you or the world need a “new energy policy” that should spread ludicrous and subsidized sources of energy, then the war in the policymaking world is as intense as it has ever been.

    • Very sensible advice Luboš . Unfortunately if outsourcing keeps expanding as it has done in the past your country will be bankrupt in 10 years regardless and no one will give a hoot over reduced emissions.

      • Dear Raving, that’s completely unrealistic. The economic equilibrium is such that our share is increasing, we will have a balanced budget in a few years, and we will keep the trade surpluses we’re used to for years – analogously to Germany into which economic space we belong. You know, we still have significantly lower wages than in most Western countries etc. and this – among other things that we often share with Germany – still gives us comparable advantages to China.

        Our national debt is one of the smallest ones in Europe, to say the least – something like 30% of the GDP. And yes, we are liberated from any politicians who would try to weaken the economy by environmentalist propaganda. The last ones who wanted to do such things were the Greens but they didn’t get to the Parliament again.

        So there is no one in the Parliament now who thinks that the economy should be weakened because of the regulation of some new kinds of would-be pollution. The only attempts to impose such things currently come from the Brussels – I mean the EU institutions which harbor lots of unreasonable ideologically skewed bureaucrats and where the enviromentalist mantra is often mindlessly repeated.

        You know, the influence of the EU has been positive in many respects, but be sure that if we will perceive that it is a net negative, we will stop it. And if it got damn too obvious, the inclination to leave the EU will probably grow.

        In our homeland, people know damn well what a real pollution is – we’ve had lots of it in the past, much like East Germany. We know it so well that we will surely not get manipulated into thinking that e.g. the CO2 is a pollutant.

      • Tomas Milanovic

        So there is no one in the Parliament now who thinks that the economy should be weakened because of the regulation of some new kinds of would-be pollution. The only attempts to impose such things currently come from the Brussels – I mean the EU institutions which harbor lots of unreasonable ideologically skewed bureaucrats and where the enviromentalist mantra is often mindlessly repeated.

        I concurr Lubos.
        And it is of course not only the case of the Czech republic. I suspect that here and on other blogs we only participate on an americano-american argument whether they should implode their economy immediately or a bit later.

        The advantage of East European countries is that we went through all this already 60 years ago so we know by experience how it begins and how it finishes.
        So if they expect that we’ll do crazy things like CO2 taxes and other new “clean” energy experiments, they understood nothing from the lessons history had already dispensed.

        Just a word of warning for the western world : once you go this way it will take 2 – 3 generations (if you are lucky) to get out of the catastrophy you put yourself in.
        Why people always fail to learn from history is a point that will always stay a mystery for me.

  54. By Willis Eschenbach on November 7, 2010 at 1:26 am

    MapleLeaf | November 7, 2010 at 1:48 am

    … there is no proof, to my knowledge that any key emails were in fact deleted by CRU folks, certainly not by Mann …

    keeping those charming folks at the forefront of your movement does more to damage your credibility than anything I could possibly do. Keep it up.


    Willis & Mapleleaf,

    Whatever intimidation and money is supporting the continued withholding of FOI requests and all email requests (and backup server email meta data) will fade away as climate science shifts to its new balanced form.

    That currently withheld info will all come out as scientists and university administrators scramble for a piece of the new action with the new leadership of the reformed climate science.

    Indeed, it is likely more US government inquiries will occur with the new public attitude represented by the results of the US midterm election results. This may have increased the energy level of Cuccinelli too.

    MapleLeaf, I notice you still speak of crimes against humanity committed by those not supporting the IPCC. It would be an absurd thing to watch a rather small (and dwindling) number of IPCC supporters attempting to jail Western Civilization. IPCC flea bites dog is more like it.


  55. “Never do an enemy a small injury”
    Niccolo Machiavelli

    No amnesty, no truce. It is time to bring everything out into the light of day. The congressional oversight hearings next year will be a good start.

    Listening to the radio this afternoon, the local Calif State U of Fresno radio station had a faculty member from a department specializing in global warming issues on to talk about the subject.

    Long list statements on all the bad things to expect with warming temps.One statement that stood out was that the incidence of malaria will increase in the US due to warming weather.

    When university “experts” continue to make such patently untrue statements such as with malaria, do I call them liars who are paid disinformers for “Big Green”or give them the benifit of the dought and just call them ignorant and that they need to study more? It is a hard call at times which way to go.

  56. Judith: I usually find your posts interesting and logical, but I think you went off the tracks badly on this one. “The big war is arguably over.”??? Surely you must recognize that the pro-AGW campaign is merely waiting for a more favorable “climate”, which could include events such as: a) Liberal parties return to power. b) Self-inflicted scandals fade. c) The recession ends. d) A few years of rapid warming returns. e) Another event with the impact of Katrina.

    Why would anyone want the end the war? No one feels beaten and we have a planet or an economy or individual freedom to save, after all! As Steve Schneider told us, if we want to make the world a better place, we must tell scary stories, draw over-simplified conclusions, hide our doubts, get lots of publicity; and then pretend we will still live up to Feynman’s ideals when we re-enter the ivory tower. What egotistical lord from the ivory towers is willing to leave the battle to the corrupt politicians, the ignorant voters, or even the economists (who don’t even pretend to believe that fundament “truths” can be discovered that all economists can recognize.)

    No, I think the war will continue. Every citizen has the right to speak out, especially when they are extremely knowledgeable about a subject. We certainly will use science to fight the battles. After all, most of us strongly believe that science often helps us make more rational decisions. However, some of your ideas could be useful for a “Geneva Convention” – rather than a truce – that could make the war more tolerable.

    One of the terms for peace or a Geneva Convention must be that scientists will never serve as both “prosecutor” and as “scientific judge and jury”. If a scientist wants to participate in the political struggle to use their science to make the world a better place, great. But that scientist can turn around and serve on a scientific committee that is expected to impartially assess the state of your science for policymakers. Or serve as the editor of a scientific journal. Or as a referee for a paper written by an author you wouldn’t want as a referee for one of your papers. And scientific societies and journals have absolutely no business issuing and broadly-worded statements about controversial areas of science when some members disagree. And Tim Osborne can’t participate in clearing up the IPCC’s mess left by his close colleagues Briffa, Jones, and Mann. If policy advocates continue to serve as scientific “judge and jury”, then scientists must follow the same rules as politicians and lawyers and grant equal opportunity to both sides (even though this is a lousy way to search for scientific “truth”).

  57. My answer is ‘no’

    The first battle is still escalating..

    The sceptics have not even won the right to be heard, without beeing discredited attacked, called climate change deniars. (also see New Scientist – Age of Denial)

    Michael Mann – continued use of the word… New Scientist opinion piece this week

    Has he shared his code and data yet..

    Has Phil Jones and CRU, shared their data and code and methods of adjustment for UHI.

    has the mindset changed yet: Why should I share my data with you… you just want to find something wrong with it”

    I asked Sir John Houghton – that this was unethical and morally hazardous.
    ‘What if the critics found something wrong with it, that showed AGW to be WORSE and more hazardous” –

    How can you justify this attitude in climate science – which in one of the inquiries was used as a reason not to – ie that not sharing, making code data available, was common practice in climate science, therefore OK!!

    That is a BASIC requirement of scientists..

    In my mind, with those people, the sceptics and critics of CRU and the rest of the team are the sceintists, the team and CRU are the policy advocates..

    As shown, in Tom Wigleys devasting response for a consensus advocating policy pre-kyoto..

    My persoanl war is with Greenpeace, wwf, transition town, and the media that pumps out alarmism..

    as an example – Greeenpeace ‘Abgry Kid’ visdeo..
    Where a hooded child agressively confronts adults, with one of many statements

    “BOTH polar icecaps will be gone within my lifetime…”

    the antartic to disapper in 70 years – IS IMPOSSIBLE..

    To question this is STILL to be called a ‘denair’ to be belittled, smeared and treated as a pariah..

    Has the green environmentalist activist mindset of intolerance that was behind the ‘No Pressure’ 10:10 video changed, yet?

    A very long way to go..

    As no-one has identified the whistleblower yet, of climategate emails.
    I wonder if many climate scientists are thinking, will anything else ‘appear’ on the annivesary! are the scientist at CRU looking at each other suspiciously. in my mind it has to have been an inside CRU action.

    Maybe some of those ‘deleted’ emails will pop up..

    Maybe a truce could be declared if climate scientists – actually read the climategate emails Houghton, Watson have not – but make speeches to say there was nothing in them, storm in a teacup.

    Have any scientists actually read ‘The Hockey Stick Illusion’ A W Montford, for themselves or are they all relying on taminos’ treatment of it at RC. How many scintists that Judith knows have read it.. ie taken up her challenge, if ONLY to understand the issues that Steve Mcintyrehad to deal with, with the’team’

    I wil believe a truce, when Real Climate – actually put’s links to Climate Audit, Pielke Junior and Climate Etc, on the Real Climate website.

  58. orkneygal:

    ‘Skeptics of CAGW have as much chance of a fair go about non-human factors in climate change with the IPCC as Galileo had with heliocentrism when fronting up the Inquisition.’

    For the members of the Inquisition, survival was dependent upon maintaining the dogma; not upon finding the truth.’

    Actually, you’re being a touch unfair upon the Inquisition, which was one of the fairest courts in Europe by the admittedly abysmal standards of the time.

    The Inquisition actually cared for establishing the ‘truth,’ which at the time included working out whether someone was a true heretic or just another deluded eccentric. It ran on carefully established procedures and rules of evidence (admittedly these could include torture but again those were the standards of the times). Ironically, countries which had the Inquisition were spared many of the horrors of witch burning.

    Galileo ran afoul of the Inquisition because he was unwilling to play by the rules of the game. He was actually allowed to present heliocentrism but only as a hypothesis, which was not to be given greater weight than geocentrism. The heliocentric theory seemed to contradict passages of scripture – specifically, the Book of Joshua, in which the sun was said to have stood still enabling Joshua to beat his opponents. Hence, geocentrism was considered a safer option and heliocentrism required a higher standard of proof before it could be accepted because of the difficulty in reconciling it with Holy Writ. However, scripture from as long ago as St Augustine was not considered the last word on the natural order – the Bible was said to teach us ‘how to get to heaven – not how the heavens moved.’

    Ptolemaic geocentrism at the time actually made better predictions of the motions of the heavens than Copernican heliocentrism, which was flawed by its assumption that the planets moved in circular rather than elliptical orbits (that had to wait for Kepler’s laws of planetary motion).

    Galileo further based his conclusions on the tides – a clever insight but one which failed to account for the fact that there were two tides in the day rather than the one.

    Galileo was also a less than tactful protagonist. He presented his hypothesis in the form of a dialogue in which the advocate of geocentrism was named Simplicio, or ‘simpleton’ in Italian, which was a none too subtle reference to the Pope (not a good way of winning friends or influencing people). Hence, he ended up ‘vehemently suspected of heresy’ and confined to house arrest, a fairly mild punishment for those days. Phil Jones in his multiple enquiries has had a much easier time of it and I suspect Mann will (rightly and appropriately) shake Cuccinelli off his trail putting a stop to his fishing expeditions.

    I note many fascinating parallels between the present climate ‘wars’ and Galileo’s misadventures what with competing memes around authority, uncertainty, and communication about what at the time seemed very legitimate doubts in the context of limited data. Galileo had much more of the Mann/ Jones enthusiastic pursuit of their goal ‘no matter what it takes’ than the dogged M & M ‘let’s look very carefully at the data and establish they really say what they claim to say.’

    Very tellingly, Albert Einstein expressed the opinion that Galileo developed his “fascinating arguments” and accepted them uncritically out of a desire for physical proof of the motion of the Earth.

    • Chris1958-

      What an enchanting, charming tale.

      Are you a barrister?

      If so, I will have you defend me any day, in any court of law, anywhere about the globe, against any charge; though I would be able to pay little.

      Before reading you most compelling explanation of the historical perspective, I believed that the earth revolved about the sun.

      Silly me. :~)

      How could I have ever doubted the Inquisition?

      Again, thank you for your clarification on this most important matter.

      PS: And who would be your modern day Cardinal Bellarmine?

      PPS: Where do you think Mann’s Hockey Stick ranks with Sidereus Nuncius?

      • Orkneygal, alas no, not a barrister :-)

        I hope Judith will indulge us going off topic slightly.

        I’m actually a psychiatrist who’s developed a perverse interest in AWG. But I have had a fair bit to do with the courts. For what it’s worth, I’m in self-imposed exile from Skeptical Science. I’m sorry your experience with them seems to have been very ‘so-so.’ I came away feeling that some people (not I) posting sceptic views were treated less courteously than they deserved. While in all fairness,the Skeptical Science commentariat responded to my sceptic bent with considerable courtesy, I found it too tiring after a while walking on eggshells and bowed out quietly.

        Actually, my post about Galileo was not intended as a defence of the Inquisition. I was being a little tongue in cheek :-). I regard the latter as a sorry interlude in an all too lengthy list of sorry interludes in Europe’s history :-(.

        But at the time in question, the really obvious conclusion – that the earth revolved around the sun – wasn’t as obvious as it seems to us now. The late great Stephen Jay Gould wrote a lot about various historical figures in science whom we now ridicule. To my disappointment, he reiterates the popular account of Galileo but spiritedly defends Archbishop Ussher and his calculation of the date of creation as being soundly based on the empirical data available to him at the time. His basic thesis often reiterated is that we should not judge people from the past in terms of present day knowledge and values they just could not possess.

        He also writes very well about the interface between religion and science. Gould is an atheist but believes that religion and science occupy ‘non-overlapping magisteria.’ Science will tell us ‘how’ the world came to be but cannot answer ‘why’ nor can it provide us with a source of values.

        All this might be familiar territory to you – if so, I apologise :-).

        Sidereus Nuncius ranks far superior in my eyes to the Hockey Stick . It comprised original observations with far reaching ramifications. The Hockey Stick is derivative work much dependent on the uncertain integrity of the underlying data and its mathematics. I don’t pretend however to be even remotely qualified to pass judgment on M &M’s battles with Mann et al apart from noting with wry amusement (and a touch of sadness) the bitterness of the ****fight. I think greater openness on the part of Mann et al would have led to a far more satisfactory outcome today.

        Similarly, though I doubt Mann has the stature of a Galileo, he does share with him a certain lack of flair for diplomacy.

        I’m not sure who would be the modern Bellarmine would be. Bellarmine seems to have been a reluctant instrument of the Inquisition and somewhat protective of Galileo unlike Cuccinelli who seems all to keen to pursue Mann down his foxhole. However, Cardinal Bellarmine was himself ambiguous about heliocentrism, noting (reasonably enough given the then available data) that further research had to be done to confirm or condemn it.

      • This is interesting and most definitely on topic

      • Chris1958

        Thank you for your thoughtful and entertaining comments.

        I am not familiar with the work of Stephen Jay Gould but I will add him to my “to read” list.

        I think one of the overlooked similarities between the Inquisition of Galileo’s day and the IPCC of today is that they are transnational organisations , with the ability to influence groups and individuals across borders, guided only by their own beliefs.

        Again, thank you for your comments.

  59. Let me join with the people who want the proponents of CAGW to be thoroughly discredited. If this is war, then we skeptics must demand unconditional surrender. The reason I say this is because of the damage done to science by the proponents of CAGW. This damage has been immense, and has brought science almost to the point of disrepute.

    So let the war continue until the proponents of CAGW are completely annihilated and eliminated from the battlefield.

    • Oh the irony. These allegations being made by a supporter (Jim) of the much discredited “Friends” of Science group. Or am I wrong Jim? For those who do not know FoS is an astroturf lobby group in Calgary which admits on its page that it does not engage in science, and which believes AGW to be a hoax.

      • Remarkable, isn’t it, that Curry responds to criticism of Italian flag and uncertainty posts, yet commenters who like Jim are in (almost literally) violent disagreement with this post get no response?

      • PDA, I know– the startling asymmetry of JC’s critique would be laughable if it were not such a serious matter. Well, at least she did not say “Thanks” or “interesting post” ;)

        Perhaps we are being too rational and logical about how we approach this blog? Perhaps if one views it as a rhetorical game being played out it will make more sense? I just do not know, that I why I am tying to get Judith to unambiguously clarify her position on some key points. So far her only response has been “I do not have time for this”.

        Anyhow, I’m patient, I’ll wait. She can email me too if she prefers, but to play by the rules set out by the “skeptics” I will not keep that correspondence confidential….

      • Mapleleaf, i still can’t figure out what the heck your questions are. I am online now, post them again, or email me. Don’t tell me to go find them, and then complain when I don’t.

      • Well, if you want me to respond to jim, tell me who he is and provide a link to his post. I don’t see every message (i just look at what is currently on my dashboard), and I can’t reply to every message.

      • Jim Cripwell’s comment is just up the page form here, on this very thread Judith.


      • MapleLeaf, i posted a reply, are you satisfied? I ignore stuff like this, I pay attention to things that I view as constructive to the dialogue.

      • Thanks. But letting the likes of Jim on your site, really decreases the signal-to-noise ratio.

        Perhaps you need to enlist the help of some moderators. You might ignore what he is saying, but others are reading it and being misinformed.– this is all in the public domain.

        You do wish to inform people on the science right?

      • No, the goal of this site is not to inform people on the science. It is for people to think and discuss and try to understand. Like i’ve said before, I am not engaging in arbitration on the factoids of climate science or trying to beat anyone over the head with them, there are other sites that do that.

      • If you cannot inform people about the science Judith, how can they understand? You are not making any sense….

        Thanks for your replies…I think, although you said much without really saying anything of substance. Well, at least you are consistent.

    • Jim, look at dogma, the artless climate wars. pick your battles, make sure you keep the moral high ground, don’t engage in extended battles that will wear you out. Going after proponents of AGW is pointless, and you will lose whatever moral high ground you might have.

      • Sorry if this is somewhat long, but maybe I need to expalin where I am coming from. Some 40 years ago, for about 5 years, I had a junior role in formulating the Canadian and NATO position on the subject of MBFR (Mutual and Balanced Force Reductuctions in Europe). After a couple of years of studying the subject, it became blindingly obvious to me that any treaty formally reducing the military forces in Europe would decrease the risk to NATO of military conflict. I was just about unique in both Canada and NATO military circles in this opinion.

        About 7 years ago, we had a reunion of many of the Canadians who were involved in these negotiations. I heard the head of the establishment for which I worked, say, though he did not say it directly to me, that he had been wrong, and that I was absolutely correct.

        Here with CAGW, it is blindingly obvious to me that there is no physics to support the contention that doubling the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will significantly increase global temperatures. Why this is not blindingly obvious to people like yourself, Judith, I have no idea. But I believe you agreed with me that the estimation of how much a change in radiative forcing affects global temperatures, is not sound from the point of view of the physics involved.

        I will try, by every means I know how, to try and get this message across to people. The physics presented by the pro-CAGW scientists is fundamentally and fatally flawed. There is no evidence, in physics, that doubling CO2 will have any significant effect on global temperatures. Such little data as we have suggests that any effect will be somewhere between very small and negligible.

  60. No amnesty!
    No truce!
    When all current and past practitioners of shoddy climate science have retired and their flawed science falsified, then we can have peace.
    When climate prediction models correctly include all influences of climate, then we can have peace.
    When the false economic viability of grid connected wind and solar energy is universally accepted, then we can have peace.
    When the corruption of the peer review process ceases, then we can have peace.
    When governments start promoting alternative energy sources that are the least expensive of the alternatives (nuclear), then we shall have peace.
    When all governments abolish their climate change ministries, then we shall have peace.

  61. Is this attitude to ‘debate’ changed yet (borrowed from No dogma comments section)

    2) “Anyway, I wanted you guys to know that you’re free to use RC in any way you think would be helpful. Gavin and I are going to be careful about what comments we screen through, and we’ll be very careful to answer any questions that come up to any extent we can. On the other hand, you might want to visit the thread and post replies yourself. We can hold comments up in the queue and contact you about whether or not you think they should be screened through or not, and if so, any comments you’d like us to include.”
    Michael Mann

  62. The only people gaining anything from ‘The Climate War’ are psychologists. (And the Indians and Chinese.)

  63. Judith,

    Truth and knowledge are the real sufferers to the current system.
    I see many quotes on physics and other science LAWS that are theories ingrained as scientific facts.
    Cycles are now the big thing which will also fail in the end due to the planet slowing down(30 year cycles and 60 year cycles of fluctuations in temperatures).

    Too many interfering factors are generating science to be a circus rather than expanding the mind and understanding to what is around us. If you do not follow into the current theories, then automatically your knowledge is incorrect to publish(no matter the proof to back this up) as it will effect ALL the current scientists, teacher, students, and society as a whole. Religion hates science as it can take away their dwindling authority on mass people.

    I have had many a sleepless night following a certain train of thought and the anticipation of following up on that research.

    This planet and solar system has an amazing story to tell, yet we are to stupid to listen and understand.

  64. You can’t do that your breaking a scientific LAW. It’s a generalized theory.

  65. Worth a mention?

    Al Gore’s Chicago Climate Exchange Suffers Total Failure, Does the MSM Make a Sound?


    • Al Gore’s Chicago Climate Exchange Suffers Total Failure,

      It’s Chicago. Does anyone care?

  66. Judging from the tenor of the posts here, “skeptics” have little interest in ending the war with scientists.

    • Many skeptics are scientists, so this is a war between scientists. More precisely it is a scientific debate driven by an ideological political debate. These debates are not going to end any time soon. The scientific debate will not end until the science is settled. The political debate is by now deeply ingrained in the system. What may happen is that the war will subside into two distinct debates.

      • In fact let me make a point that in my view Dr. Curry does not give enough attention to. The scientific debate has raised some wonderful questions. If the research establishment will stop spending all its time propping up AGW then there is some great science to be done, namely understanding climate change.

      • Scientists can only go where the evidence leads them. How can one study climate by ignoring the contribution of CO2 emissions?

      • like they ignore solar, not many astro physicists involved with the IPCC

      • from the link below:
        “On the basis of this “consensus of one” solar physicist, the IPCC proclaimed solar influences upon the climate to be minimal. Objection to this was raised by the Norwegian government as shown in the AR4 second draft comments below (and essentially dismissed by the IPCC): “I would encourage the IPCC to [re-]consider having only one solar physicist on the lead author team of such an important chapter. In particular since the conclusion of this section about solar forcing hangs on one single paper in which J. Lean is a coauthor. I find that this paper, which certainly can be correct, is given too much weight”…:



      • Well, Ross McKitrick has an interesting analysis of this. For solar forcing, AR3 said very low confidence. The first draft of AR4 said medium confidence. People complained, was taken down to low confidence. With all the new contradictory research on this topic, AR5 better be going back to very low. And people complained that my Italian flag analysis of attribution was “subjective”

      • You have not read AR4 have you? My how the ‘skeptics’ do deceive. They do discuss solar in AR4.


      • How the alarmists ‘spin’

        The issue was how little they discuss it, not that they do not…

      • It is not a question of ignoring CO2’s possible contribution. Rather the research has focused on this issue to the point of doing very little elsewhere. The concept of natural variability has only unfolded in the last 15 years or so. But the research program still looks like the 1990 version, when climate was assumed to be an equilibrium process. There are huge carbon cycle and water cycle programs and little else. CO2 has been studied to death.

      • Agreed. The current emphasis is narrowing the uncertainty for CO2 sensitivity, i.e. is 3C or 2.87C. If I were in “charge”, the science would focus on the possibility of 1C and 5C sensitivity (and not building a consensus around 3C). Can we falsify either of these? On the low end, we need to sort out natural variability and water vapor and cloud feedbacks. On the high end, we need to focus on whether we can get emergent phenomena from our models, abrupt climate change, and actual societal vulnerabilities (detailed, on a regional basis). And we need a lot more paleoclimatic analysis. What would it take to falsify either of these based on our current background knowledge?

      • Can’t we look at past climates and determine sensitivity from these? Sorta like Knutti & Hegerl, Hargreaves/Annan?

      • Nope, because there is no way to separate out the natural unforced variability (e.g. long term ocean oscillations) from forced variations. Exercises like you cite are assuming that everything is explained by external forcing, which acts to inflate sensitivity to forcing.

      • I am more extreme. The program should embrace the full range of uncertainties. The models should play with hypotheses (not claim to forecast the future). For example I would look at the possibility of zero sensitivity, as suggested by the satellite record. (I would also explore the step function warming this record exhibits, as it looks like a new mechanism.) I would also look at negative sensitivity, because systems with nonlinear feedbacks often exhibit just this sort of counter intuitive behavior. Let’s ask how can CO2 have no effect and see what happens.

      • I agree totally.

      • If it were possible to build a GCM with a reasonable simulated present-day climate with near-zero CO2 sensitivity, it seems that the fossil fuel companies would have done it in self defense even if no science lab had tried.

      • Judith Curry– Your agreement with David and your response to the discussions of climate sensitivity are bizarre. There’s only so much tuning you can do with a model that allows you to get a good TOA energy balance, a reasonable climatology, etc. How does a model “play” with the possibility of different sensitivities, a quantity that is an emergent property, and is not in any way input directly? Perhaps you can run a model and tell the specific humidity to stay constant everywhere in the atmosphere but why would this be useful– for the sake of exploring all possible ideas? Let’s run a model and take out all the code that conserves energy and momentum too, and throw an big asteroid into the Earth and see what happens.

        You cannot dismiss paleoclimate interpretations on equilibrium climate sensitivity under the construct of a possible-but-unproven “internal forcing mechanism.” You can argue the forcing isn’t well known (e.g., proxy resolution is poor for GHG changes over the time period of interest) but this is specific to the time period and proxy/forcing agent of interest, and the robustness depends on the size of the signal as well. The PETM is a very large climate change event clearly involved with a very large excursion of CO2. Studies ranging from LGM-holocene transitions, climate over the last several tens or hundreds of million years, etc have converged on a typical sensitivity consistent with the AR4. But just making up possibilities that “ocean currents” are killing the assumption that forcing is external is not compelling, and in fact could go in both directions as well.

      • I used to do the sort of modeling you describe. I walked away from it.

      • How much has farm land contributed to any warming? There is far more farm land now than in the 1900s’. Seems to me that more open farm land would allow more sun to be absorbed. More thermals formed. I have no idea if it would have any affect which is why I’m asking. If it does “anthropic” may be much more than CO2 emissions (UHI).

      • This is the kind of issue that Roger Pielke Sr. addresses. The southern half of the state of Georgia (U.S.) underwent a transition from agriculture to forest over the 20th century, which in part (no idea how much) contributes to the cooling in this region in the latter half of the 20th century

      • Thanks, I suspect GCM don’t include more of the sun’s energy being captured by open farm land.

      • I’m pretty sure they do, there are whole sections in th eIPCC reports on land use changes . Shouldn’t you find out how the models work before judging them?

      • Incorrect. There is LESS farm land now than in the 1900’s. It is just much more productive.

        In 1910, 27 per cent of US farm land was used solely to provide feed for horses.

    • I am a scientist

  67. Newton’s LAWS of motion do not include thermodynamics LAWS and thermodynamic LAWS do not include motion.
    SO, how can they possibly work together?

    • Joe Lalonde,

      Thermodynamic Laws are consistent with Newton’s Laws. And vice versa. They can be viewed as the same laws with different perspectives. They do work together in the sense that one is more easily applied to certain situations than the other. Like, in some instances a screw driver works better than a hammer. : )

      If somehow you are alluding to the dichotomy of QT versus classical theory, well that has a lllllllooooonnnnnngggggg debate history.


  68. “No More Science Prostitutes!”

    Judith, I will personally nominate you for sainthood if you can find a way to fix the system that allowed politicians to control public funds and use them to promote misinformation on:

    1. The Sun’s origin.
    2. The Sun’s composition.
    3. The Sun’s source of energy.
    4. The Sun’s influence on Earth’s climate.

    Public policy became “captive of a scientific-technological elite”, threatened “the supreme goals of our free society”, and could permanently end public support for science: http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ike.htm

    What can Judith do to prevent another generation of young scientists from having to choose between research grants and their scientific integrity?

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  69. Judith,

    How did the panel discussion at Purdue go with Revkin and Pielke Jr?

    Maybe you already mentioned it. So sorry if you did and I missed it.


  70. If this debate ends in a draw, and I don’t think it can, that simply means we have a new consensus. Maybe I’m misunderstanding the purpose, but any bi-lateral agreement to get along simply means we stop questioning the other side regards analysis, agenda, data integrity, competence. If these were areas of defacto agreement then we’d already have this larger consensus.

    I think many of us have not come all this way just to sit numbed and unquestioning on the fence. We all have huge differences in what we accept as quality in the science, what the science means, how the science can be used or abused, and how to manage the distortions on all sides.

    In the perfect world all parties to this debate would be skeptics because that is what it means to be a scientist. As a goal, being a skeptic or not is flawed, then, because it should be the default state. That it is not is the problem.

  71. I’m not at war with any scientist, just the lobbyists, greenpeace, Gore, wwf, politicians
    In fact an IPCC scientist is giving me a lift to a debate her department is organising – Climate Science Explained-
    Today, our 7 year old boys went to a birthday party together…

    All this talk of war is just spin – like Mann’s saying sceptics are attacking science.

    • All this talk of war is just spin – like Mann’s saying sceptics are attacking science.

      Do you mean that Mann is all about spin?


      • Actually Mann still say’s ‘Climate Change Deniars’
        He has not learned how utterly counter-productive that is now.
        his interviews are all about spin…

        New Scientist last week..

        Micahael Mann finishes.

        “While the professional climate change deniars continue their crusade against climate science, this year is likely to go down as either the warmest or second warmes on record”

        for the record Michael if you are reading this… I am not sceptical at the bidding of ‘the fossil fuel industry’ either.

        Sceptics are NOT challenging ‘climate science’ (just the lead authors politically approved IPCC version) sceptics are just challenging a small group (53 or so) of the paleo climate community, who won’t share data with their critics, (possibley because they lost some of it), won’t share code (possibly because it is such a mess (see emails) and they don’t want the scrutiny of peple who might find/look for somethin wrong with it..

        They are also relying on computer modellers that have spent too long with the models and call ‘simulations’ – experiments (see Professor Kelley’s comments)

        he spins, sceptics against climatescience, so that all the other thousands of scientists that do share data, etc, feel obliged to defend him

        First or second warmest on record..

        Does he qualify that statement like a scientist would..

        ie Which record…. is he talking about..

        the satellite record (not that old, with some issues)
        the temp dataset (not that old, big question marks over missing data , loss of weather stations, cherry picking, adjustments, etc,etc
        the proxi reconstructions ‘record’ (mcintyre has a view on those)

        As he saying the hottest ever…

        Will he qualify what he means by ‘record’..

        Again.. So what?
        This does not prove cause… natural until PROVEN otherwise in my mind. In making that statement, he is trying to imply it must be humans?

        We can’t explain it, it MUST be humans. DOES NOT CUT IT!

        Others apparently can, which recent papers, were their saying 60-70% or more of late 20th century warming was due to a natural process. Judith pointed it out to me on a blog a while back, and there are others, ocean related, solar related, etc

        As for the professional paid deniars bit.. (Mann – New Scientist)

        WHERE IS MY CHEQUE!!!! ;)

        (as an aside I must start my own blog, it does eem like fun,
        maybe I could be the anti-bob – Bob Ward – we share the same initials)

        I wonder if the domain name ;) http://www.realclimategate.org ;) is for sale ;)

    • Steve Schneider was their master strategist, lets see how they pull this off

    • Looks like we have our list of dogmans :)

      • Hah, tempting but I wouldn’t go there until we see what they come up with. Note: “the scope of the group’s work is limited, reflecting the ongoing reluctance among many scientists to venture into politics.”

    • Alexander Harvey

      There is something superbly daft about this.

      Somehow I think this is not going to turn out well. Do they think the situation is due to want of trying. Enough already!


  72. Dr. Curry,

    The idea is good but it is missing the principle point – FUNDING.
    As long as funding for research will be dependent on government, there is an unfair bias toward the Scientists who support the IPCC. The first step should be to clean the corruption in the institutions, and granting of funding based on objective credentials, not on conceding to a political ideology (AGW). The same should go to tenure, scientist wait till retirement age before they get out of the closet fearing defunding and being denied tenure.

  73. Without political impetus, what is the rationale for continued trench warfare between the climate scientists that defend the IPCC and the skeptics? I can’t think of any.

    How about personal pride, reputation, ego… people have a hard time letting go of some things.

    (I do agree that a withdrawal of the political impetus will make a big difference, though.)

  74. The war will not be over until the social capital that the AGW movement clontrols is priced according to its actual value (~0).

  75. sigh. ‘controls’. As in ‘control the timing between my typing and hitting “enter” better.’

  76. Your points are well-taken:

    “So let’s declare a truce. Here is what it might look like: …
    Attack the argument, not the person. No ad hominem attacks and no appeal to motive attacks. No argumentum ad populum.”

    Perhaps consider adding:
    Argument From Ignorance (argumentum ad ignorantiam ) – Jones on BBC
    Appeal to Authority (argumentum ad verecundiam) – IPCC consensus
    Affirming the Consequent (If A then B; B; therefore A)

  77. H – If you agree that there were similar periods of warming since 1850 to the current period, and that the MWP is under debate, what factors convince you that recent warming has been largely man-made?

    The fact that we can’t explain the warming from the 1950s by solar and volcanic forcing – see my answer to your question D.

    That is an argument by ignorance.

    From this BBC interview.
    Q&A: Professor Phil Jones
    Phil Jones is director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA), which has been at the centre of the row over hacked e-mails.

    The BBC’s environment analyst Roger Harrabin put questions to Professor Jones, including several gathered from climate sceptics. The questions were put to Professor Jones with the co-operation of UEA’s press office.


    A – Do you agree that according to the global temperature record used by the IPCC, the rates of global warming from 1860-1880, 1910-1940 and 1975-1998 were identical?

    An initial point to make is that in the responses to these questions I’ve assumed that when you talk about the global temperature record, you mean the record that combines the estimates from land regions with those from the marine regions of the world. CRU produces the land component, with the Met Office Hadley Centre producing the marine component.

    Temperature data for the period 1860-1880 are more uncertain, because of sparser coverage, than for later periods in the 20th Century. The 1860-1880 period is also only 21 years in length. As for the two periods 1910-40 and 1975-1998 the warming rates are not statistically significantly different (see numbers below).

    I have also included the trend over the period 1975 to 2009, which has a very similar trend to the period 1975-1998.

    So, in answer to the question, the warming rates for all 4 periods are similar and not statistically significantly different from each other.

    Here are the trends and significances for each period:

    Period Length Trend
    (Degrees C per decade) Significance
    1860-1880 21 0.163 Yes
    1910-1940 31 0.15 Yes
    1975-1998 24 0.166 Yes
    1975-2009 35 0.161 Yes
    B – Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming

    Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

    C – Do you agree that from January 2002 to the present there has been statistically significant global cooling?

    No. This period is even shorter than 1995-2009. The trend this time is negative (-0.12C per decade), but this trend is not statistically significant.

    D – Do you agree that natural influences could have contributed significantly to the global warming observed from 1975-1998, and, if so, please could you specify each natural influence and express its radiative forcing over the period in Watts per square metre.

    This area is slightly outside my area of expertise. When considering changes over this period we need to consider all possible factors (so human and natural influences as well as natural internal variability of the climate system). Natural influences (from volcanoes and the Sun) over this period could have contributed to the change over this period. Volcanic influences from the two large eruptions (El Chichon in 1982 and Pinatubo in 1991) would exert a negative influence. Solar influence was about flat over this period. Combining only these two natural influences, therefore, we might have expected some cooling over this period.

    E – How confident are you that warming has taken place and that humans are mainly responsible?

    All of it here..
    He agrees with the sceptics, yes the earth ahs warmed…
    It is a ‘spin technique’ to pretend sceptics do not believe the earh has warmed..
    Ignoring the fact, the sceptics keep pointing out that temperature have been rising since the ‘little ice age’ and not to assume that it is human, and tht the scientist must try to pull out a human signature, from the background rise in temperature (with cyclical high shorte term rates of cooling and warming in that rise). Which I believe has not been done, except by this argument of ignorance (we can’t explain it it msut be us)

    Full interview

  78. I posted this on Collid-a-Scape. The website address for Amazon is below.


    I find a curious resistance among climate scientists to learn new things. The journals don’t want me so I have much new information in the book referred to by the website address above. You will learn that Arctic warming is not caused by the greenhouse effect but by warm water carried north by currents. You will learn that the frequency of El Ninos is determined by the resonant frequency of the Pacific basin. You will learn that there was no warming in the eighties and nineties. You will learn that temperature curves that show it are cooked. You will learn especially that there was no warming in 1988 when Hansen proclaimed AGW. You will also learn that there has been no warming since 2002 when the twenty-first century high started. And you will learn that since 2008 we have entered an oscillating temperature period of El Ninos alternating with La Ninas as I predicted. And finally you will learn that the only real warming within the last thirty years started in 1998, raised the global temperature by a third of a degree, and then stopped. That is why the current decade is the warmest on record. All that is in the book and you are free to dispute or discuss any or all of it. But since it has been out there for a year and nobody has reacted to it I have to say that the so-called “climate scientists” have no idea of how to actually do climate science.

  79. what war?

    oh, you mean those pesky americans again, retreating into their isolationist politics as if they are the only people that count.

    don’t forget that there are another 6 billion humans on this planet. what seems so important to the american political classes may not be so to most of the rest of us. hopefully america (i mean usa) decides to join the rest of the world in fighting off agw before it’s too late

  80. crazy bill,

  81. Re: (undefined NaN NaN:NaN),
    Yes, it would sort of be nice to drag this out another decade to let the “projections” rack up even more FAILs, but already the Warmists and the politicos have the money-bit in their teeth and are doing vast damage. The sooner the cabal is smashed, the better.

  82. Re: (undefined NaN NaN:NaN),
    Considering that it’s the USA that the pro-Warmist parasites of the world want to pay the bill and carry the can, you should just regard the election as the US public kicking over the card table where the shell-game huckster is set up.

    Go persuade the Chinese to stop building coal thermal power plants if you want to cut CO2 emissions. That’s perhaps the largest of several elephants in the Warmist parlor.

    • And also take note that China is leading the world in manufacturing and installing wind power. If you really want to keep pace with China get with the modern technology instead of old-fashioned burn-something-in-a-big-concrete-something technology.

      • Re: (undefined NaN NaN:NaN),
        Raking in billions for “offsets”, mainly from deluded EU countries — which are gradually discovering to their horror the sucking holes their money is pouring down.

      • Tomas Milanovic

        Brian H
        Raking in billions for “offsets”, mainly from deluded EU countries

        I suspect that people like adelady never took the pain reading the Kyoto Protocol neither its implementation in the EU system.
        The reason for spouting nonsense is always the same – ignorance.

        China (and other countries not in Annexe 1 of the Kyoto Protocol, most of them African) is just mercilessly exploiting the stupidity of western countries which are ready to finance their development without counter party.
        But I don’t blame them, they are perfectly in their right as they have not forced us there, we went there all alone like the dumb lambs we are.
        I blame ignorant people (like adelady and some others on this blog) who got us there.
        And we have not yet finished with this untill we elect politicians who put a brutal and definitive end to this “climate” craziness.

  83. Re: David W (Nov 7, 4:08pm)

    Chris Colose (eg here) and others have used biologists’ rebuttals to creationism as an analogy to the Climate Wars, with Evolution serving as the analogy to the Pro-AGW Consensus. That comparison is also made in the cited LA Times article.

    I don’t think that’s a very good analogy, and I was going explain why, starting with the “Central Dogma” of biology that was formulated by Francis Crick. As I remembered it:

    Genetic information flows from DNA, through RNA, to Proteins.

    This is relevant in that many of the most interesting discoveries of the past few decades are in conflict with this paradigm, or represent unexpected twists.

    A funny thing happened on the way to submitting this comment. Searching “biology central dogma” led to this Wikipedia page, which showed up my memory. In 1970, Crick stated his 1958 insight as follows:

    The central dogma of molecular biology deals with the detailed residue-by-residue transfer of sequential information. It states that information cannot be transferred back from protein to either protein or nucleic acid.

    Had this been taken from 1970 on as the key guidance for “acceptable” activities in cell & molecular biology and related fields, it would have encompassed a much wider scope of research than the assertion that I recalled. Judged by this latter formulation, surprises like retroviruses, RNAi, and prions are “fascinating twists,” rather than “heresies.” Yet — unlike religious dogmas — both versions of the Central Dogma are falsifiable. And so, perhaps not dogmas at all.

    (The section of the Wikipedia article Use of the term dogma brought to mind Judy’s recent back-and-forth with various correspondents about the misuse or “stretched use” of terms as dogma, heresy, apostasy, and ideology. She isn’t the first.)

    Perhaps the problem of climate science is that its leading thinkers have arrived at a “What We Believe” position that is more restrictive than they understand it to be. Similar to the way that the first blockquoted passage in this comment is more restrictive than the second.

    In addition, I think that there are unstated aspects to the Pro-AGW Consensus position that would benefit from being explicitly stated — I don’t think they stand up to scrutiny. But that’s a different subject that’s been discussed elsewhere at this blog.

  84. Craig Goodrich

    Dr. C,

    Thank you for another insightful post. But …

    Climate scientists have made a clear and cogent case that we are facing risk from the threat from anthropogenic climate change.

    With all due respect, I don’t think they have. As you point out in an earlier article, the IPCC’s reasoning — disguised by a writing style that is unusually opaque even for scientists — is circular. I have read through AR4, WG1, Ch. 9 twice now (an exercise in masochism) looking for actual evidence that carbon dioxide was the cause of the warming in the last quarter of the 20th century, and all I can find is an oblique reference to Mann’s “hockey stick” and the assertion that the models can’t account for the warming without CO2. But this assertion was the sole grounds for the anthropogenic hypothesis more than 20 years and $100 billion in research ago, and there is not even any evidence that the famous models have increased in predictive skill! And in fact, just this year when CRU’s Dr. Jones was asked whether he was sure CO2 was causing the warming (now apparently on hold), his answer was still the same: “Well, if it isn’t, I can’t think what else it could be.”

    Which brings me to my second point: The entire anthropogenic warming theory was brought to the fore in the late 1980s as a political issue. It was not the “skeptic” side that started this war. And we see a relentless push by scientists eager for government grants, industrialists eager for government subsidies, and bureaucrats eager to expand their empires — a push to replace energy sources which actually work with taxpayer-funded “clean, green” Rube Goldberg designs which do not, in the process impoverishing the populace and utterly destroying millions of acres of peaceful countryside and wildlife habitat. All this on the basis of extremely shaky science.

    We skeptics simply cannot afford to take part in any “truce” until these hideously destructive policies are completely reversed. It is the bitterest of ironies that at this point the greatest threat to the environment is coming in the name of environmentalism.

    • Even if the probability is 2%, it is a risk that needs to be considered. risk is threat times probability. the climate scientists have articulated a plausible threat; its magnitude and probability is uncertain. But all that still makes it a risk. The UNFCCC stabilization target policy is not a good one. that does not mean we should ignore the risk.

      • “the climate scientists have articulated a plausible threat; its magnitude and probability is uncertain. But all that still makes it a risk. ”

        Not necessarily. The jury is still out on whether whatever modest warming has occurred and whatever further warming might occur is a real risk to Earth.

        My own research suggests:
        1) There probably won’t be any further warming for twenty years or more.
        2) There may well be some cooling before it satrts to warm again.
        3) Prior warming have been better for life on Earth than coolings have been.
        4) The earth’s tendency to equilibrium is strong and water vapour already keeps the planet 27C cooler than it would be if it wasn’t there.
        5) 7000ppm (yes, seven thousand ppm) co2 levels are safe for life and didn’t cause runaway warming last time the Earth had them.

        OK, I dont carry as much weight as the combined scientific output of the IPCC, but then, I haven’t been caught with my pants round my ankles and my fingers in the till.

      • I need to correct that. Water vapour and the weather systems it is part of keep the planet around 27C cooler than it would be if water vapour didn’t have a cooling effect through it’s other properties as well as a warming effect from it’s radiative properties.

      • Supporting quote for the above:
        “But what many people don’t realize is that the 33 deg. C of surface warming is not actually a measure of the greenhouse warming – it represents the balance between TWO competing effects: a greenhouse warming effect of about 60 deg. C (the so-called “pure radiative equilibrium” case), and a convective cooling effect of about 30 deg. C. When these two are combined, we get the real-world observed “radiative-convective equilibrium” case.

        This has been known since at least 1964 (Manabe and Strickler, 1964). It was also discussed in Dick Lindzen’s 1990 paper, Some Coolness Regarding Global Warming, which is when I became aware of its significance.”

      • Re: tallbloke (undefined NaN NaN:NaN),
        Yes, and there’s an interesting logic chain to be pointed out:
        Assuming biotic sourcing for all coal and hydrocarbon deposits, it came from atmospheric extraction — hyper-vigourous atmospheric extraction. Ergo, high CO2 is ultra-beneficial for life.

      • Re: curryja (undefined NaN NaN:NaN),
        The Precautionary Principle! Judith, you should be ashamed. The “risk” of egregious damage to the world’s economy and populations, exceeding by an order of magnitude those projected by AGWers less loony-tunes than Gore, is 98%. At least. And the costs of of mitigation are about 5X those of adaptation.
        So mitigation has 10X the damage at 5X the cost at 50X the probability, which means it is 2500X worse (=stupider) as an option under the PP.

      • The Precautionary Principle! Judith, you should be ashamed. The “risk” of egregious damage … So mitigation has 10X the damage at 5X the cost at 50X the probability, which means it is 2500X worse

        Nice. Hence the inflationary bubble …

    • Re: Craig Goodrich
      Agree competely with: We skeptics simply cannot afford to take part in any “truce” until these hideously destructive policies are completely reversed.

  85. Dr. Curry,

    “Even if the probability is 2%, it is a risk that needs to be considered. risk is threat times probability. the climate scientists have articulated a plausible threat; its magnitude and probability is uncertain. But all that still makes it a risk. The UNFCCC stabilization target policy is not a good one. that does not mean we should ignore the risk”

    This is a very strange argument coming from a scientist.
    Is it acceptable to a scientist that the fact that someone cannot think of a better explanation is reason to accept an unproven thesis?

    As per the risk management, we have to agree that sometimes doing nothing is better than taking a bad action. The best example is Malaria. Based on a non scientific hysteria, the UN through WHO banned the use of DDT in Africa just to find 20 years later and after suffering millions of casualties that this should never have happened.

    • There is risk, and then there is bad policy. Bad policy doesn’t mean that there isn’t a risk to consider. Robust policies (Part II of Decision making under uncertainty, if i every get there) factor uncertainty into the decision making and identify policies that are effective (including economical) across a range of possible outcomes.

      • The problem, Judith, is that public policy became the captive of a scientific-technological elite that used control over research funds to mold government science into a tool of government propaganda.

        I appreciate you and your efforts, Judith, and I invite you to read and meditate on the root problem that President Eisenhower so clearly identified in 1961:

        “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.

        “Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”


        The problem came from Washington, DC with the government research funds. The solution will require changing procedures there.

        With kind regards,
        Oliver K. Manuel