Uncertainty gets a seat at the “big table.” Part V

At the end of the Hearing Charter, under The Response section, is the following statement:

Scientific research plays a role in guiding the nation’s response to climate change by:

  • projecting the beneficial and adverse effects of climate changes;
  • identifying and evaluating the likely or possible consequences, including unintended consequences, of different policy options to address climate change;
  • improving the effectiveness of existing options and expanding the portfolio of options available for responding to climate change; and
  • developing improved decision-making processes.

This is what the science-policy interface should look like.  Compare this with my list in the no dogma thread:

  • no petitions signed by members of the IPCC or national academy members
  • Nature and Science not writing op-eds that decry “deniers”
  • no climate scientists writing op-eds that decry the “deniers”
  • no climate scientists talking about “consensus” as an argument against disagreement (argumentum ad populam, h/t Nullius in Verba)
  • IPCC scientists debating skeptics about the science
  • climate scientists stop talking about cap and trade and UNFCCC policies because the science demands that we do this
  • no more professional society statements supporting the IPCC
  • other ideas?

See the difference?  This list does not reflect useful engagement with the policy process.  Rather, it is groups of scientists (including institutions) playing “power politics” with their expertise, trying to change people’s minds.

79 responses to “Uncertainty gets a seat at the “big table.” Part V

  1. “Power politics”
    … or perhaps it’s just an attempt to rebut the nonsense that is out there?

    There are more possibilities to explain this situation, and the explanation that someone favors probably depends on one’s view of the science vs one’s view of the critics of the science.

    • Bart says:
      … or perhaps it’s just an attempt to rebut the nonsense that is out there?

      That was the hypothesis I started with in the beginning. After looking at the events, I decided that hypothesis was broadly inconsistent with the following:

      • Only nonsense that embraces a certain viewpoint is rebutted. Friendly forces get a free pass no matter how weak or whacked their arguments may be. This seems more political than an objective search for correctness.

      • The oppositions strongest arguments are not addressed, instead they are strawmanned or dodged. Once again, this seems more political than scientific.

      • The opportunity exists to argue directly at the source. I doubt any of the scientific skeptic/lukewarmer sites would modify or change any argument made ( a distinction that can’t be made in the opposite direction). This opportunity is routinely passed up in favor of stirring emotional speeches to the existing congregation.

      I would think that any reasonable person would conclude your hypothesis simply does not fit the facts. The above behaviors are certainly consistent with “power politics” so we don’t get to rule that out quite as easily.

      • Also, the “list” assumes that the “climate change” is anthropogenic, harmful, and susceptible to policy initiatives. It’s called “begging the question”.

  2. You’re counter-pointing the first list with your own list, I don’t see how that does anything but repeat your own argument. Furthermore if we take points from the list you’ve identified as good such as

    “projecting the beneficial and adverse effects of climate changes;”

    I don’t see how this can happen without scientists falling into the “values” trap you’ve set. Given instances where you’ve criticised climate scientists I don’t see how it fails on this metric even though you’ve said it has.

    “identifying and evaluating the likely or possible consequences, including unintended consequences, of different policy options to address climate change;”

    Again I don’t see how scientists do this while avoiding the label of “policy advocate”.

    • Policy advocacy for an individual is fine. I object to the “power politics,” trying to change peoples minds, that is being played by the institutions

      • There is no sensible differentiation here between an individual or a group of scientists. Or between “power politics” (which reamins usefully vague) and public outreach.

        Why is is OK for one to do ‘X’, but not 2??

        This is just silly.

      • Well, what is the difference between James Hansen or Richard Lindzen saying what they think, vs an institutions such as the AAAS, IPCC, NAS, etc. saying such things? Note, both are fellows of the AAAS and members of the NAS, and both have been involved in the IPCC. Institutional statements such as we all have seen do not reflect the opinions of all their members, but rather the opinions of some executive committee of the society. And the intent of these statements is to marginalize dissenting scientific voices and influence votes. Call it what you want, but I call it playing power politics with expertise.

      • I think there is a difference. If their dissent is political, who cares; if it’s scientific, get to work.

        Power politics? They just got steamrolled in an election. Some power politics.

      • Power politics in the climate arena hasn’t been effective recently, particularly in the wake of climategate and glaciergate.

      • “Power politics in the climate arena hasn’t been effective recently, particularly in the wake of climategate and glaciergate. …”

        I think you may be overestimating that. By a bunch.

        A Moscow-level heat wave in Washington DC (really, any large US city,) puts those two teapot tempests down an active volcano and shoots them into a galaxy far far away.

        Short of that, it will just fade away.

        Whenever I’m with you
        Something inside starts burning
        and my heart’s filled with fire

        Stop this – it’s got a hold on me
        I said this ain’t the way it’s supposed to be …

        Gomer Pyle will figure it out when he notices it ain’t the way it’s supposed to be.

      • They may have been “steamrolled” but that doesn’t resolve the political impact. Regardless of the election results the established system for grants continues unchanged. The problem of political based funding of science is a science-wide problem and isn’t resolved by an election. The problem of scientific associations, organizations, publications, schools within universities, etc., taking political positions will continue until fundamental changes are made and the current modus operandi is supplanted with a better system. The “ability” of scientific organizations and schools to be political should never be restricted; the temptation by scientists and schools to go that route should be very rare and exceptional indeed.

      • I’d like to have a go at that with the example of James Hansen.

        I hope whatever flavour you are you will agree Hansen has a particular political outlook which he isn’t shy in expressing. It seems fine that he should express that position in his private life or in any role outside of the science he chooses to take. What seems unacceptable is expressing that position or massaging the message in his science in order to strongly support that position. I’m critical of much of the NASA GISS material that is put out by him and his close colleagues because much of it is worded or constructed to reduce the uncertainty and leave no doubt about what conclusions should be made from the work. Just to add there is plenty of climate science work which I approve of which is generally supportive of AGW but which manages to do this through a balanced position which does not go beyond the data in it’s conclusions.

        I think there must be a reason why the names of only a relatively small number of climate scientists keep re-appearing in climate skecptics criticisms.

      • That basically assumes a random and even set of policy advocation among climate scientists. We know that in the real world some policies are better than others or at least lead to outcomes more preferable to some groups than others.

        What happens when the vast majority of climate scientists end up dismissing a particular policy (e.g. deliberately seeding the atmosphere with sulphates)? How do they avoid accusations of “dogma” or being “closed minded”?

      • No, advocacy by individual scientists does not have much of a political impact on major national or individual policies. Has Jim Hansen made much headway on the coal issue in terms of changing any policies? The decision making process considers the scientific information as one piece of information in the decision making process.

        Re something like deliberately seeding the atmosphere with sulphate. Scientists need to lay out the scientific case (pro and con), the uncertainties, and describe the unintended consequences. That is what policy makers want from the scientists.

      • So your point is that advocacy by individuals is fine because it has no influence? But advocacy by institutions is wrong because it might? It sounds very much like you simply want to marginalize these voices.

      • No. Advocacy by institutions marginalizes dissenting scientific voices, and this is bad for science. institutions that support science (professional societies, funding agencies, etc) represent a diverse group of people and scientific ideas.

      • Getting the current crop of organizational administrators, editors at professional journals, and deans at verious universities to realize this in this day and age would appear to be a rather high hurdle. But that IS where the revolution must take place and it IS up to the membership and boards and faculties to impose the “rule of self-imposed restraint”; no one else can do it.

      • This tends too closley to post-modernist clap-trap for my liking.

        Of course ‘institutions’ can advocate. Your reasoning holds the views of the vast majority hostage to a single ‘dissenting voice’, or crank.

        Now that’s bad for science – it essential demands 100% agreement on an issue before any ‘institutional’ position could be taken.

      • What is postmodern is the illusion that there is unanimity where there is none, and where the truth of wide varieties of opinion are concealed by that illusion.

        What is postnormal is the idea that the lack of an institutional position is somehow bad for science. What is bad for science is the attribution of any value at all to any scientific institution’s advocacy statement.

      • Correct, and the reason for it is the percieved need for ‘consensus’ in order to attract funding. Institutions with dissenting voices in their midst don’t get to go to Bali.

      • This is weird.

        The logical outcome of Judith’s position is something she says she disagrees this – it mandates institutional unanimity. No position can be made unless there is absolute agreement.

        Absolute nonsense.

      • So, if it is “absolute nonsense”, why is it that the most eminent of all science institutions, The Royal Society, had a policy for over 150 years of not espousing an official position on any issue?

      • “Has Jim Hansen made much headway on the coal issue in terms of changing any policies?”

        Can you give a counter example of where “power politics” by a scientific organisation concerned with climate has made headway in terms of changing policy?

        ” Scientists need to lay out the scientific case (pro and con), the uncertainties, and describe the unintended consequences.”

        Many would argue the IPCC already does this. What I’m unable to understand is the distinction between disagreement over whether uncertainties have been correctly or clearly communicated and whether it’s done at all. You appear to habitually argue that climate scientists and scientific organisations don’t communicate this but again others would disagree.

      • The UNFCCC treaty and Kyoto protocol are the obvious example,influenced by the IPCC.

      • That suggests neither the UNFCCC treaty nor Kyoto would be enacted given a more balanced presentation of climate science, do you believe this is the case?

      • It’s impossible to really even guess how things would have played out following a more balanced presentation of climate science. It didn’t happen. All we can hope is that it does in future.

      • They wouldn’t even be seriously considered. The acknowledged effectiveness of the “remedies” is negligible, and the cost is astronomic.

      • Judith,

        How is it “power politics” for a scientific organization to proclaim that they are in broad agreement with the scientific consensus on a topic? By nature of the consensus having been reached through applying the scientific methods and by accummulation of the evidence, it only makes sense that they agree. The factthat they find it necessary to say so is a result of the fact that amongst the public there is a great deal of confusion about the science. How is this “power politics”?

    • Consider a region that is already strapped by water resources, with a projected population increase. More water in the future is good for household consumption, ecosystems, industry, power generation; less water in the future is bad. Of course if you have political motivations for wanting this region to suffer, that is another story.

      One policy option is to install nuclear power plants to reduce CO2 emissions. If nuclear power plants use river water for cooling, and the region is already water strapped and less water is likely in the future, well an unintended consequence of putting in that nuclear power plants is a major strain on already strapped water resources. I call this an unintended consequence of putting in a nuclear power plant.

      • If small nuclear plants can be mass produced relatively cheaply, then desalinization could be cost effective.

      • yes there are a range of options, my point is that the unintended consequences need to be explored.

      • I don’t think you can explore unintended consequences. By definition they’re things you haven’t thought of (unknown unknowns). The best defence against unintended consequences is almost always to do nothing.

      • PolyisTCOandbanned

        Nukes are already expensive. going to small ones will increase the relative cost (scale economies for machinery and workers). The only thing you save on is distribution. But if anything nukes (and maybe large dams) are the primary example of high capital, baseload. If you want scalable small power production, what you want is a GAS TURBINE. Not a nuke. Oh…and SL-1 (google it).

      • You’re being silly poly. Pre-fab house components assembled on site are cheaper due to the assembly line used to build them. Same for small nukes, since they could be manufactured on an assembly line, they would be cheaper. They would be standardized. So you assemble the nuke and generator on the site. It’s cheaper.

      • Also, the savings in transmissions losses prevented are significant.

      • “SL-1”
        You’ve got to be kidding.
        Not related to anything.

      • Can you point us to any statement by any climate scientist or group of them that has advocated for anything this specific? Or where they have suggested that site specific environmental impact assessments be abandoned? If you are worried about unintended consequences, CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning should terrify you.

      • limited on time for digging things up, but the APS statement and Hal Lewis’ complaint is one example.

      • Hal Lewis also claimed (by implication) you were involved in a fraud and scam worth trillions of dollars. I presume you don’t want want us to accept everything he says.

      • Is that a “shut up at the back there, or you’ll get us all busted!”? Because it sure sounds like one.

      • LFTR nuclear power can operate efficients using air cooling. Large amounts of water for cooling is not needed. Also, as has been pointed out, waste heat can be used for desalination.

      • yes, there are better technologies, this was intended as an example with unintended consequences.

      • PolyisTCOandbanned

        I think you are confusing primary coolant (which is a closed system with almost no makeup) with the water going around the condensor in the Rankine cycle on the secondary side.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        There are unintended consequences of infrastructure, plant construction, et, sure, and typically those impacts are addressed through NEPA or EIAs. But there are also the current impacts of carbon emissions from coal plants, and 150 more primitive coal plants coming on line in a few years, as one example. What do we do? We have uncertainty in one case, and certainty in the other. Where do you focus your concerns?

  3. 1. Nature and Science might acknowledge the success of Piers Corbyn in predicting long range weather and climate forecasting [Weather Action, 18 Nov 2010] http://www.WeatherAction.com/

    2. Editorials in Nature and Science might express appreciation to the StairWay Press and to John O’Sullivan for organizing the annual Ernst-Georg Beck Award for Scientific Integrity and Competence (BASIC).

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Emeritus Professor
    Nuclear & Space Science
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  4. projecting the beneficial and adverse effects of climate changes;”

    I don’t see how this can happen without scientists falling into the “values” trap you’ve set. Given instances where you’ve criticised climate scientists I don’t see how it fails on this metric even though you’ve said it has.

    No need to include any kind of values. The science can just show how increased CO2 and increased average temps have been better for the biota and for crop production. Examples can be given from the peer reviewed literature no value opinions need to be included.

    • Easy – the same change (ie increased rainfall) can be adverse for one person (wheat farmer) but beneficial for another (grazier).

      • The planet will never be a Goldilocks climate. It’s going to be varying everywhere in space and time. The reality of the world is there are winner and losers to everything.

      • Subsistence farmers the world over know this and keep goats as well as grow cereals. Hedging your bets is the best adaptive strategy, and has been used for millenia, through warming and cooling cycles.

  5. Please forgive me if I ramble a little.

    I am what I call a “fundamentalist”. What I mean by this is that I believe that if you get the fundamentals right, there is a chance, however small, that you can solve the problem. If you get the fundamentals wrong, there is no chance whatsoever of your ever solving the problem.

    CAGW has a fundamental problem in physics in that it has divided theory from observed data. What I was taught in Physics 101 was that theoretical physics and experimental physics are opposite sides of the same coin; they are inseperable. Any advance made by one, means that an advance has been made by the other.

    CAGW has pitted the proponents of CAGW, who rely on theory and the output of non-validated computer models, against the skeptics, who rely on observed data. The situation is such that, at present, the observed data can tell us very little as to whether CAGW is right or wrong. So instead of theory and experiment operating together, they are competing. This is a recipe for disaster; which is what we observe. The fundamentals are all wrong.

    In the end, the observed data will, as it always has (Michelson and Morley), determined which idea is correct. Politically, time is on the side of us skeptics; it is extremely unlikely that there will be any reduction of CO2 emissions for decades. Time is not on the side of the proponents of CAGW; they believe in “tipping points”.

    So I am prepared to wait for the observed data. Thanks to Spencer and Christy, we have an excellent set of measurements of global temperature anomalies. If we can get an equally good set of data for ocean heat content, this would help. We need to wait to see what will happen to this observed data in the future. When, and I dont believe in if, the observed data shows that global temperature anomalies, and/or ocean heat content are falling consistently and steadily, then the public and the politicians will see that CAGW is just plain wrong.

    I am a very patient man.

    • Jim

      I am also a ‘fundamentalist’ although I would frame the situation slightly differently. No problem can be solved without first identifying what the underlying problem is. From the point of view of a proponent of AGW there seems to be a problem in that the public at large show increasing signs of scepticism. So some say it must be a failure to communicate properly. My view is that it is more fundamental. The science produced by the climate science community has not been of a level to demand public confidence. The climate science community has to go back to basics, has to re-examine all of the tenets that they hold so dear. There are examples that this is happening – surface temperature datasets being re-examined is just one example.

      I think Judith has touched on another issue and that is whether climate change can successfully be framed as a global issue. To my mind history has shown that there is no global mechanism (and more importantly) no global political will to tackle climate change. Too many countries have much more important issues to resolve and in many cases those issues stand diametrically opposed to reduction of human carbon emissions. Extreme weather events will happen no matter what. Better to focus our limited resources on tackling these at a regional/local level than attempting the impossible that is global climate control.

      Regards Gary

      • Gary, I dont disagree with anything you say. However, I would like to comment when you write . – To my mind history has shown that there is no global mechanism (and more importantly) no global political will to tackle climate change. – This is true, but it does not prevent governments from acting unilaterally. The UK government has passed it’s Climate Change Act, requiring draconian reductions in CO2 emissions by 2050. Here in Ontario, Canada, our provincial government is deteremined to phase out coal fired hydro (electricity) generators, instead of removing all true pollutants, and keeping a cheap generating capability. They are replacing this capacity, they hope, with wind generation. First, wind cannot do the job, and second, it is prohibitively expensive. Hydro rates are due to go up 45% over the next 5 years, and heaven knows how many manufacturing jobs we will lose.

        The trouble is that our government is trying to do the right thing for the wrong reason; and getting it wrong. They want to replace fossil fuel consumption because it produces CO2. I want to see fossil fuels replaced because the resource is finite, and as we use it up, its price will rise.

        It is far better to let market forces dictate what happens. As fuel prices rise, industry will try and find cheaper replacements. Wind may eventually be such a replacement, but not yet. My bet as to which renewable will first make its presence felt is cellulose ethanol. I gather when gas (petrol) in the USA stays over $2 per gallon, wholesale, for a significant period of time, cellulose ethanol makes economic sense. We seem to have reached this criterion, so, if this price persists, expect cellulose ethanol to start being produced in significant quantities around 2012.


      • Except, that in practical terms, it seems “fossil” fuels are not finite (i.e., not a limiting or constraining factor). Centuries worth of NG, with considerable associated liquid fuel, is being opened up world-wide by frac-tech as we speak. Even Israel has uncovered enough near-shore reserves to make it independent, even an exporter, in the near future. India also. The “peak fuel” argument has gone away.

      • Brian, Again, I dont disagree with you. We simply dont know whether fossil fuels are a finite resource. But you are surely making my main point more valid. The last thing we want is politicians distorting the energy market by using taxpayer’s money to subsidize ways of producing energy, merely because they do not produce CO2. We need the politicians to stay out of the way energy is produced, and let private enterprise make money by developing new sources of energy which are economically viable.


  6. Dr. Curry,

    I watched and your testimony yesterday and generally liked what I heard.
    You were actually the only one who really talked to the core issue of the hearing-uncertainty. As I mentioned before, I think that the whole debate should be reframed, since there is very little meaning to “Global Temperature Anomaly” for the public and the policy makers. You raised a good point by talking about benefits that some areas will have from warming while other areas may benefit from cooling.
    The IPCC is actually stating that the average temperature around 1850 is the optimal for mankind and for the earth! What is the source of this claim, who says that the earth cannot deviate from this fixated value? The IPCC also indirectly proposes the alarming concept of runaway warming triggered by C0² concentration, this concept is very strange to earth science and should be empirically proven (not with models) before it is further advanced.
    So before any policy discussion can take place, the goals have to be set, in a scientific and intelligent way if it is at all possible and if not there should not be any further discussion about remedies.
    There is no argument that alternative fuels are good for the long run, even if there is no harm in fossil fuels, because of the trouble with extracting fossil fuels, and the countries which control big chunks of them, so research directed toward new fuels is always welcome, as long as politicians don’t assume that we already have them and abandon the current reliable energy sources.
    One last point, I don’t think that modelers and environmental advocates belonged in yesterday’s discussion, which was supposed to be about science, and risk, not about speculations.

  7. AnyColourYouLike

    Watching, from my somewhat sceptical perspective, I thought (superficially at least) that Feely came across rather well on the Ocean Acidification stuff. Of course, he was helped quite a bit by the sympathetic congressman feeding him emotive stuff about his poor fisherman brother’s livelihood, but nonetheless his testimony had an impressive ring of well-researched “consensus” science to it.

    This is an area I know little about, though I’ve read the findings of the whoi, the one whereby the effect is seen to be not straightforward, with some species apparently benefitting. I’ve also heard Lindzen mention in interviews that he thought acidification wasn’t much of an issue. Links to any balanced, (comprehensible to a layman) literature on this topic would be appreciated. Thanks.

    • Yes – I was similarly impressed despite my mild scepticism, and I would also be interested in further information or comment on OE

    • He didn’t address the adaptation point though. That is, he didn’t acknowledge or state what he thought the response of that particular part of the biosphere would be, apart from just dying off (nobody asked him to be fair).

      We know by now that biology has a remarkable capacity for adaptation. What Dawkins calls the tyranny of the discontinuous mind in critics of Evolutionary Biology, I would call the tyranny of all else being equal in Climate Science.

      • We also know that biology has a remarkable failure to adapt. And I think you will find they are already doing a great deal of research on species adaption to climate change. Climate scientists have for years been pointing to animals that are adapting to current temperature changes – by moving into new habitat.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        Thanks for the link JCH.

        “Climate scientists have for years been pointing to animals that are adapting to current temperature changes – by moving into new habitat.”

        That still doesn’t prove the warming is anthropogenic, of course! :-)

        I was interested in Feely’s evidence of how they can pick up the specific isotopic signal of man-made CO2 in the oceans, and also his claim that the oceans will be “corrosive from top to bottom” in the near future at current rates of CO2 emissions. Has this been challenged anywhere?

      • It’s nonsense, the oceans are alkaline, and aren’t heading below PH7 anytime soon.

      • So what? That’s just normal evolutionary mechanisms at work. Have a look at the 35 year study of the finches on the Galapagos, amazing changes in morphology in just that short span of time, all normal variation.

        When you say failure, you need to be very careful. The claim is often made that 99.9% of species that have ever lived are now extinct. Except there are two different “extinctions”. Phylogenetic extinction is when a clad comes to an end with no descendents. That is actually rare, often occurring in mass extinctions. Taxonomic “extinction” is when one species evolves into one or more other species. Taxonomy dictates that at some point a new name must be applied and the old name becomes “extinct”. Thus the “extinction” of 99.9% of species spawned the speciation of 100% of all species.

      • In addition to your point, jrw, there is also the point that almost all species currently on earth must already be adapted to higher temperatures and ocean CO2 levels than presently exist, since we know that they existed at times when these conditions prevailed.

  8. Congressman Bartlett asked why common ground has not been found between those concerned about co2, energy independence and “peak oil”. I offer the following explanation.


    Warmers want energy that does not emit CO2 because they look at the climate data and conclude that CAGW is a credible threat that needs to be addressed. Their energy sources of choice are typically wind and solar.

    Skeptics look at the same climate data and conclude the evidence for CAGW is just too weak to justify accepting the current high cost and unreliability of wind/solar. They look at Europe and notice that nuclear has given France the smallest carbon footprint and wind/solar has not been effective in any European country in keeping energy both low cost and low carbon.

    What about nuclear? Some warmers support it (e.g. Dr. James Hansen) but others do not because of toxic waste streams, lingering concerns about safety, cost, and the potential for proliferation.

    What if we could have nuclear power that was far “greener” than current technology, cost considerably less, was even safer and more proliferation resistant? What if this “greener” nuclear technology had already been proven in working prototypes?

    Welcome to LFTR (liquid fluoride thorium reactors) technology. Demonstrated in the 60′s, the thorium/uranium fuel cycle molten salt reactor (LFTR) approach was abandoned to concentrate efforts on the uranium/plutonium fuel cycle pressurized water reactor (PWR) during the cold war bomb making era, an era when lots of plutonium was considered a good thing, not something to be worried about.

    LFTR (compared to current PWR): A waste steam 10,000 times less toxic (some variations of LFTR can actually burn PWR waste). Cost <50%, thus competitive with coal. Even safer (no fuel rods to melt, no high pressure radioactive water to escape, passive criticality control ….). More proliferation resistant.

    What about the politics? Replacing coal with LFTRs is far easier politically than imposing cap n trade or carbon taxes. $10B invested over 10 years could update this technology and make it ready for commercialization. LFTR is attractive to both Democrats/warmers and Republicans/skeptics. It is very green, cost competitive and can be put into production for a realively modest sum.

    American Scientist “Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors”


    “Energy Cheaper Than From Coal”


    Mechanical Engineering Magazine “Too Good to Leave on the Shelf”


    Dr James Hansen LFTR endorsement


    LFTR nuts to bolts.


    • Yes, I like the concept of LFTR. Imagine how far that technology would be today if some of the $80BILLION the US has spent on AGW were applied instead to that technology. Talk about priorities all wrong…

  9. AnyColourYouLike – see the excellent review article By Doney et al.:
    (with several pages of references), and the Summary Guide for Policymakers put out by the European Project on Ocean Acidification:
    Summary Guide

    • Pat,
      That summary guide is the biggest load of bs yet introduced into the AGW hysteria market.
      Amazing. Thanks for showing us how far the fear mongers will go.
      They even put a nice value ‘model’ on it.
      I love bestest that they skip over the pesky part about the ocean pH not actually changing, clearly showing that like all else related to CO2 obsession, reality declines to cooperate with prediction.
      So of course the AGW community ignores reality.

  10. AnyColourYouLike

    Cheers Pat!

  11. Fixed LFTR links

    American Scientist “Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors”

    Mechanical Engineering Magazine “Too Good to Leave on the Shelf”

    “Energy Cheaper Than From Coal”

    Dr James Hansen LFTR endorsement

    LFTR nuts to bolts.

  12. Judith, can we have a discussion various testimony items? I’d really like to take to task the claim that there are more record high temps than record low temps. I do not see that in the Canadian data at all. The number of days of high temps has dropped, not increased. Summer TMax across Canada has been dropping since 1900.

    The claim of that ratio is 20 times in the future is pure nonsense. It negates the fact that the planet cannot overheat.

  13. Most of the set pieces were as one would expect, based simply on previously published positions in journals, MSM outlets and websites. The protagonists generally just talked past one another … but then, it wasn’t a debate, only set piece exposition.

    I really disliked the pontificating politicians in the opening of the Hearings. They are genuinely nauseous and clearly determined to get in the way

    But Heidi-ho was jaw-dropping for her “dumbing down” efforts. She should have remained on the Weather Channel, but it seems she made the mistake of giving up her day job

  14. Dr. Curry,

    Because of your comments, I am currently reading “Good Calories, Bad Calories”. It is absolutely uncanny how the proposition , fat in the diet causes heart disease, matches the tract of AGW and over roughly the same time period. We have supposedly impeccable institutions like NSC promulgating unproven propositions as scientific fact; other institutions and clicks of individuals assuming authoritative postures; skeptical research and opinion belittled; ad hominem attacks; flimsy evidence deemed unassailable, etc. In other words actions and effects that are a complete repudiation of everything that science is supposed to be.
    It is almost cause for weeping when I see people with obvious scientific backgrounds running down those who disagree with them rather than being open to the possibility that they may be wrong. Skepticism is the very lifeblood of science not an unpatriotic attack. Is the scientific method and the philosophy of science still taught? What are we raising?
    In either event that book should be recommended to everyone interested in the AGW debate as it shows when skepticism failed, ignorance prevailed. AGW is heading the same way.

    It would be an interesting post some day to hear you compare the events described in that book to the issue of AGW.

    • Yes Paul,
      here we have a complete parallel. We have been told by the authorities for 30 years that we shall reduce fat in our diet and eat a lot of carbs instead, without solid evidence. People has thus became fat and sick, more than 30 % of the Americans today are fat or obese. During the years no scientific evidence whatsoever has been presented to support these diet claims, yet the authorities persists without reaction to this catastrophe. Obese people who give up carbs and replace it with a diet rich in fat (natural saturated fats) instead can loose 30-60 kg and arrive to normal weight and gain health and a long life. E.g. persons with diabetes (type 2) can often get rid of medication. I have eaten low carb, high fat for four years and gained normal weight, cholesterol and health.
      We also have been told that carbon dioxide in the long run will make our place inhabitable again with no evidence whatsoever. Avoid carbohydrates and don’t be afraid of fat but also don’t be afraid of CO2. Ask for the evidence! Gary Taubes book ‘Good Calories, Bad Calories’ is rich of references for the counter evidence on how to eat.

  15. Judith,

    Why do we go for temperature measurements as a thermometer to the planet’s health?
    Temperature at best is regional reactionary events. Temperatures are not a crystal ball to future events about to occur.

    Good scientific detective deduction or findings are trashed if they have not a mathematical component.
    Getting a degree does not make a climate expert.

  16. Hi Dr. Curry,

    I’m glad somebody mentioned unintended consequences at the hearing.

    For instance, if we accept the hypothesis about sulfate emissions mid-20th century causing global cooling then our response at the time, which was driven by a combination of fear about global cooling and acid rain, had an unintended consequence. The response was mandated filtering of smokestack and exhaust pipe emissions beginning with the Clean Air Act of 1963 and subsequent amendments. The unintended consequence may well have been the global warming experienced in the next few decades.

    So why don’t we just loosen up the standards on sulfate emissions? If we’d just burn our fossil fuels a little less “cleanly” the aerosol component would negate the GHG component. Even better, this solution would not only cost nothing it would actually reduce the cost of building and operating machinery that burns fossil fuels as the filters are an added expense to install and maintain.

    The potential downsides of course would include “acid rain” but this phenomenon was (aside from being questionable) was at worst a regional thing primarily centered around the most egregious industrial emitters. To avoid that potential problem the modified restrictions should be regional as well so that the aerosol emissions are widely distributed.

    The other potential downside would be global cooling. Cooling is a bad thing especially since the indisputable testimony of the geologic column is that the planet is poised over a tipping point that can end the Holocene interglacial and plunge the planet back into the ice age which has persisted for the last several million years. Warming is beneficial in my opinion so we should take all we can get. Cooling is bad and should be avoided. But if cooling is what is really desired then just start emitting sulfates again along with the CO2. I think the reason this is not considered is that the AGW alarmists aren’t really alarmed about warming – they have another agenda and CO2 regulation is nothing more than a means to an end.

  17. To the degree persuasion, via social intercourse, is the means by which society pursues the experience of feeling moral (homeostasis), the restrictions suggest in this post regarding a framework for that intercourse constitute, systemically, an iteration of prohibition—and, to the degree history provides helpful data for critiquing it, a recipe for failure. Some of us may be neurologically biased to trust rationality as a means of seeking truth and truth’s comfort (i.e feeling moral) but there are other ways to affect this feeling. And there are degrees/stages of psychological and social maturation and their associated neuroimmunoendocrinological “addiction system” needs that are in play as well. Who controls what “males sense” is a human conundrum for which we have yet to demonstrate sapience, while—and this is both ironic and systemically a primary force—effecting change.

    As a female scientist, Judith, you may be the exception that proves the rule concerning the role gender plays in the messiness of the policy making re AGW. In general, females, with there, relatively, neurologically-whole brain processes, are poorly equipped to participate directly in political policy making when the issue needing addressing is apocalyptic. (Dot Earth has a 11/18/10 post on a study the has implications regarding this. The old truism about things one should not discuss in mixed company is another, less scientific, insight into the challenges our society faces with AGW).

    Regardless, universal suffrage has mixed the genders up regarding direct political intercourse. Limited liability laws exist that enable markets and global capitalism. These combine to yield a dynamic in which the demands of greed have evolved to defined what is a social good. Such is, in terms of social maturation, is developmentally, childish. Consequently, and psychologically, and to the degree rationality is a social value, its sapience is thereby limited. In terms of this posts framing of how persuasive discourse should structured in the future, and good intentions aside, self-serving relative to one perception of how a sense of feeling moral and changing behavior is effected.

    BTW, my bias concerning AGW is that until their work is refuted, Bloom et al have identified the detonation of the methane time bomb while Dlugokencky et al, by extrapolating an unjustified “[not] yet” from two years worth of data in a decade where CH4 has increased about 50 ppb in the Arctic., when combined and added to other observations of climate change that are unfolding earlier than modeled, define a reality that transform all the current passionate conflict to be little more than a bad joke on those so engaged; for us all. Our most evolved feeling, fear, in its iteration as greed, has revealed the pious hubris by which we came to name ourselves homo sapiens sapiens. What we are doing—and have done—for our love of greed and trust in the current iteration of global capitalism is, IMHO, non-rational. Consequently—and contrary to both intention and feeling, variously, morally pious, we are doing all we can—and this time, globally, through the technological assistance of computers and networking—to fail together to learn from past behaviors; to move further into a new iteration of the Dark Ages; to demonstrate that we lack the sapience to do otherwise.

    (See what is linked to the slide show at my web site for a rational “otherwise”—that is equally and otherwise experienced as non-rational; fails to persuade; is feared.)

  18. Speaking of uncertainty … this, from Pat Frank, was buried in the comments at ClimateAudit.

    “Uncertainty in the Global Average Surface Air Temperature Index: A Representative Lower Limit”
    Abstract: “Sensor measurement uncertainty has never been fully considered in prior appraisals of global average surface air temperature. The estimated average ±0.2 C station error has been incorrectly assessed as random, and the systematic error from uncontrolled variables has been invariably neglected. The systematic errors in measurements from three ideally sited and maintained temperature sensors are calculated herein. Combined with the ±0.2 C average station error, a representative lower-limit uncertainty of ±0.46 C was found for any global annual surface air temperature anomaly. This ±0.46 C reveals that the global surface air temperature anomaly trend from 1880 through 2000 is statistically indistinguishable from 0 C, and represents a lower limit of calibration uncertainty for climate models and for any prospective physically justifiable proxy reconstruction of paleo-temperature. The rate and magnitude of 20th century warming are thus unknowable, and suggestions of an unprecedented trend in 20th century global air temperature are unsustainable.