AGU Fall Meeting. Part III: An Open Letter From Greg Craven

Received via email from Greg Craven, posted in entirety:

Mea Mega Culpa: an Open Letter from Greg Craven re: Dec. 15th speech at AGU.


So…that was interesting.  If you’ve heard about my performance on stage Dec. 15th at AGU’s Fall Meeting in San Francisco, you may regret that you missed what appeared to be a public nervous breakdown.  That wasn’t just going out in a blaze of glory.  That overshot all the way to thermonuclear self-immolation.

I indeed meant to shock–because I think shock is required at this late stage–but I think maybe I overdid it juuuuust a little.

This letter is overlong, so I will tell you that the most essential part is in the following two paragraphs.  The rest is context and my further futile attempt to convey what I was trying to say in my remarks.


I wish to be very clear in setting the record straight: my public comments at the AGU meeting were not endorsed by, representative of, solicited by, or even expected by the AGU, its board, or its members.  The AGU is an upstanding and respectable organization that I deeply regret having caused any harm or inconvenience to, and I happily throw myself under the bus for them. Mine was but one of around 14,000 presentations given over the week.  The AGU should in no way be associated with my comments or me, and they do not deserve the affiliation that the skeptical message network is already painting on them.  (Please see which has already been reproduced on several other skeptical sites.)  And my remarks have already been mischaracterized and misquoted, to further malign the AGU.  In the interests of accuracy and truthful reporting, I will post an audio file and transcription of my presentation as given at as soon as I can.  Please be patient, as the hard drive containing the only copy of my prepared remarks crashed 11 hours before the presentation (leading to the sharp left turn in my speech), so I am without computer for a bit. Please keep checking back.  They will hopefully be up within a few days.

I have sent my session convener a letter urging that the AGU board immediately disavow me and my remarks, and I urge you to do the same. They must do so with uncharacteristic haste, because you only need look at the article cited above to see that the skeptics have already discovered that getting one’s message out first and wide is the key to public opinion. They no more expected the extremism of my remarks than I did, and they do not deserve to feel any effects of my unfortunate delivery. (And I can assure you that their experience, while unpleasant, was far less unpleasant and surreal than my own, as I watched in horror from within as my unmitigated Papa Bear passion poured forth from my mouth.  Please believe me when I say I could not even believe what I was doing, even as I did it.)

For I did what I did out of extreme agitation for my two young daughters’ security.  I make no excuses for that.  I did not intend it, but the urgency of my last hope at making a difference in the debate prompted a last desperate Hail Mary.  And while I regret that the unfiltered stridency of my plea may have done damage to the reputation of the AGU, and that it lessened the likelihood that my message will be heard by those who need it most, I do not regret the message or my passion.  I have the comfort that I will never regret that I held back and should have said more.  That part was a deliberate decision on my part when considering whether to actually deliver the radical speech that poured forth after the hard drive containing the only copy of my prepared remarks crashed 11 hours before my presentation.

I share this because I fear that the message will be discarded with the messenger.  I urge you to consider the message on its own merits, despite the marked absence of any in its deliverer.

The message that I (all too) desperately wished to convey was that the scientist’s power in the debate lies not in becoming better communicators—in which they will never be able to match the skill of the skeptic’s messenging machine–but it would be the public merely seeing the fact that they are participating and that they are concerned, or even terrified.  That would have power exactlybecause scientists have been so averse to doing so.  To see that the scientists are now willing to break with their traditional sensibilities would be the only thing powerful enough to get the public’s attention and halt the alarming and continuing divergence between the public and the scientific understanding of climate change.  Of the immanence and severity of the threat.

What I ask of the scientists is simple, easy, and does not threaten the purity of the scientific endeavor. I ask only that each scientist recognize that we each wear multiple hats in our lives, and that it is a tragic mistake to insist on wearing exclusively your scientist hat when addressing the public.  Instead, go out and tell the public in any forum you can find:  “As a scientist, here is what I know. As a citizen, here are my concerns, and my thoughts on what we should do.  And as a father, a mother, a grandparent, here are my fears, even my terrors, and my backup plans to safeguard my family.”

This idea has been and clearly still is anathema to the traditional scientific sensibilities, of eschewing any expression of the impact of their knowledge on themselves as people, as citizens, as fathers and mothers.  Of actually speaking on policy decisions as a citizen. I am completely befuddled as to why that right–exercised by every other, equally unqualified citizen–is voluntarily surrendered by those who know best what is likely to happen in the physical world.

I suggest this hard-line refusal to share feelings and policy thoughts is dogmatic, and in fact self-defeating.  For if the scientists continue to refuse to breach that divide, in their noble defense of the sanctity of science, they may well lose that which they defend so fervently.  For if the worst does come to pass—a scenario they themselves warn us of–the purity of science, perhaps science itself, can hardly be expected to endure.  It would be the most tragic of ironies if this continuing intransigence of the scientists ends up destroying what they hold most dear.

The talk was my Hail Mary.  I suggest that we are so late in the game, with its overwhelming series of inertias, that it is time for the scientific community’s Hail Mary as well. To come down off that comfortable hill they have limited themselves to—being satisfied to give only information, reconassaince–and enter the fray before the battle is lost irreversibly.

Does that sound too radical?  Too much? I challenge each scientist to critically ask themselves: “If this situation does not merit me challenging my comfort zone, then what would?” In my fierce urgency to safeguard my daughters’ future, I will impetuously defy each scientist to come up with an operational definition of the criteria a situation would need to posses in order to prompt them to change how they operate.  And then apply those criteria to this situation.  This is no hippy “If not now, then when” plea.  It is a demand for intellectual honesty.  Is it possible that even scientists are vulnerable to the denial and confirmation bias inherent to every human brain?  Is it worth betting the world that they are immune to it?

If they do that, I ask no more.  If they do not, them I will frankly call them out as intellectually dishonest.  I know I am offensive. But I believe that when the house is burning, offense is a very small price to pay for saving the family.  And especially after learning from scientists at AGU that my worst fears are not only confirmed, but exceeded, I will bear any charge against me to prompt action.

It might surprise, and hopefully disturb you, to hear that in my short time at AGU, I discovered four scientists who are already creating some form of survival retreat for their family, and they told me there are many more.  But they are all too scared of being ostracized in the scientific community if they speak of it.  It struck me that they aren’t even “in the closet” yet.  They still think they are isolated freaks of nature, ashamed to share what they truly feel.

Being in the closet would be a positive step for them!  For then they could at least acknowledge each other, and share strategies for dealing with their need to prepare for dire circumstances.  I pray for a day when all of those that I’ve heard of, that feel this visceral concern for the safety of their family, would come out of the closet.  Not just because it would be useful for them, but because it could be the thing that turns the tide.

Imagine the impact if the public saw a significant number of scientists come out and speak of how their knowledge has them so concerned that they feel like preparing survival retreats in the mountains!  Now that would be powerful in a way that no amount of improved communication skills could ever match.

I’ve long joked that the only thing that would wake up the public at this point would be to see the climatologist all quit and move en masse to New Zealand, to homestead high above sea level.  Imagine my horror to discover it was not complete fantasy.

I have come away from the meeting shaken to the core.  Especially after seeing in the panel discussion that there is still absolutely no felt need to change how they operate, though such a small, easy, non-threatening change could turn the tide of the debate.

Instead, to my horror and dismay, what I saw was even the encouragement to hold the line harder, with the incredibly influential Michael Oppenheimer telling the audience to be sure they continue to assiduously stick to avoiding any discussions of policy.

To date, the scientific community has made the understandable but flawed assumption that providing the public with facts will result in the public making a rational decision.  It boggles me that the scientific community, of all people, would disregard so completely the long-established finding of psychological research that people on the whole simply don’t make decisions rationally, as the divergence between public and scientific opinion demonstrably shows.

So perhaps you can understand how deeply distressing it is to see the scientific community this late in the game doubling down on a strategy that has already been demonstrated to be woefully ineffective.  Isn’t one definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome?  Has the scientific community become insane in refusing to see their strategy is doomed to fail—has failed already–yet they press on harder in the same direction, even as they call for a change in tack?

And as a lifelong fan of science–having idolized scientists for so long as the paragons of rational thought, in defiance of the base human inclinations–you can perhaps understand the sense of betrayal I feel to hear what I did in the panel discussion.  To realize with dawning horror that scientists are just as human, just as capable of dogma, unconscious assumptions, and irrational decision-making as the rest of us.

Given that I know—with the confidence gained from my experience of reading tens of thousands of comments online—that such a strategy is doomed to failure, and that an alternative, successful strategy is so easy to enact, I am filled with despair.  As a result of my time at AGU, I’ve decided to retire completely from continuing to pursue making a difference in the debate, and for my family’s sake I will focus instead on building our own lifeboat.  And leave the debate to others.

I know that may confirm to many people that I have indeed gone off the deep end. And I grieve if the many people who have respected and helped me in spreading the videos and writing the book now feel betrayed. So be it. But, given the fact that those four scientists I mentioned were paleoclimatologists, with access to the newest and best data, and with their position of knowing more than any other discipline what the global climate is capable of doing, perhaps you shouldn’t assume I’m crazy.  Or that my message has no merit.

What I ask is simple, easy, and does not threaten the purity of the scientific endeavor. Simply be willing to wear different hats at different times, and speak forthrightly to the public of what effect your knowledge has had on you.  Of your hopes for policies, and your fears for your children.

THAT would shift the debate.  Giving more of the same will most definitely not.

Please, I urge all of you to consider that possibility.  After all, whatever decision you make is—by default—wagering the world.

Again, I emphasize, none of what I write above or said in my presentation is at all affiliated with the AGU, its board, or its members.  It is my delusion—my visceral terror for my daughters—alone.  And I deeply apologize if it has done any damage to the reputation of the AGU.

So, in short…sorry about that, Chief.

And for the record, I know that I never shut up.  It’s almost pathological with me.  (Imagine the hell it is from the inside.)  For that, I do apologize.

Please spread this letter as you see fit.  The AGU deserves it.

Most Sincerely (and Sufficiently Chagrined),

Greg Craven

761 responses to “AGU Fall Meeting. Part III: An Open Letter From Greg Craven

  1. Dear Greg,

    Thank you for the letter and thank you for your candor.

    Please keep in mind that you too are controlled by “Cause & Effect”, just like everything else in the universe.

    You didn’t choose to be here. You didn’t select your parents. You didn’t selects your strengths – nor your flaws.

    Welcome to the journey of life. The purpose? I don’t know. But I suspect that the last two verses of Chapter 2 of the Bhagavad Gita are as good an explanation as any:

    “He is forever free who has broken out of the ego cage of I and mine to be united with the Lord of Love.”

    “This is the supreme goal. Attain thou this and pass from death to immortality.”

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    A liberal Democrat
    A skeptic of AGW
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo
    Emeritus Professor
    Nuclear & Space Science

  2. ‘Simply be willing to wear different hats at different times, and speak forthrightly to the public of what effect your knowledge has had on you. Of your hopes for policies, and your fears for your children.

    THAT would shift the debate’

    Bring it on! This is a great suggestion. We could have the whole global warming industry abolished within three years.

    Whatever scraps of credibility anyone retains are always demolished as soon as they utter that priceless -and meaningless – line

    ‘Will no one think of the children?’

    The last emotional refuge of the advocate whose cause is doomed.

    Bring it on Mr Craven…but in quick soundbite form! We don’t need a filibuster.

    • Skeptics are concerned for children too, but it is a concern that they are being traumatized by unfounded fears.

      • Or corcern that the greatest expansion of wealth, health, life expectancy and human liberty in history will be unnecessarily sytmied by the ingrained apocalypse fearing component of our monkey brains.

        I don’t want my kid to be unable to find meaningful work because energy policies revolving around windmills and solar panels drove the price of energy so high industry pulled their tent and went elsewhere.

        So forgive me if the fears for my children are a little more closer to home and tangible than the crap-in-your-pants apocalypticism of the pro-AGW movement.

      • It is also a fear that society is being destabilised – at least in the UK, where the government takes AGW seriously, and that our capacity to deal with a real crisis is being diminished. Perhaps our own Met Office’s blandishments about mild winters, has contributed to our difficulty at handling the snow right now. In the future, that little difficulty could be multiplied a thousand fold if our electricity supply becomes unreliable – waiting for the right kind of wind!

      • And also a GREAT concern that they will inherit an impoverished slave state instead of the wealthy free one we grew up in.

    • I find it utterly offensive when warmists like Craven and Hansen parade the fact that they have families as if it were some contribution to the debate. It isn’t!

      I have kids, and a grandchild, too, and love them very much. And I do not want them to have to live in a mud hut and s*** down a hole in the ground, which appears to me ( ans economist, not a scientist) to be a highly probable outcome of the carbon slashing policies these clowns advocate. I’m quite willing to risk them living in a slightly warmer world, but will not risk them living in poverty in some eco – nuts idea of a green paradise.

      If I were to suggest on this basis that Messrs Craven and Hansen love their children less than I, that would also be offensive. So I won’t. I would appreciate the same consideration from them.

      • Judith has mentioned that she hopes to do a thread about AGW and Religion in the not too distant future.

        I’ll merely observe that the Thermageddon myths put about by Craven and his fellow believers are very similar to stories of future annihilation told through the centuries in many different places and in many different cultures.

        Strangely enough, they are always put about by people who disapprove of some part of other people’s behaviour and who want to control them. High Priests, Emperors, Religious Institutions, Cult Leaders, Politicians, David Icke, UFOlogists….

        That this current myth shares those characteristics in spades is (of course) purely coincidental….but intriguing nonetheless………

      • Perhaps the most interesting question in this regard is falsifiability. I’d dearly love to see a thread that seeks to list what these parameters might be. Then at least there could be some sort of distinction made between science and religion in the context of climate change.

      • Faith is faith. Some people suffer from it.

        CAGW is a faith just like any other – as you can see from Mr. Craven’s anguished comments. Once convinced that the bogeyman/devil/bad karma/Thermageddon is coming to get you, the only hope is deprogrammimg such as is practiced on those who escape from various cults.

        Rational discussion with true believers is a waste of time. They *know* the answer. Which might be part of the reason why Judith’s foray into a discussion about uncertainty met with such an OTT response. In a faith-driven value-system there is no room for doubt. To even suggest such a thing is heresy and disrespectful to the Faith.

      • “Frantic orthodoxy is never rooted in faith but in doubt. It is when we are unsure that we are doubly sure. ” — Reinhold Niebuhr …

  3. I really don’t know what to make of this, and to be honest I’m a bit worried about him. I think he needs a bit of a rest at home. Greg is clearly committed to the catastrophic end of the spectrum of views, and I admire the passion that is apparent in his open letter. That said, I do not believe that scientists calling out that ‘the end is nigh’ will further his cause and I suspect that all it will do is further alienate a skeptical public. Very odd.

    • Indeed. I think he fundamentally misconstrues the effect of apocalyptic sermonizing on a public burned multiple times by such stuff.

      To take a small example, wait at least 100 yrs for the effects of the Y2K hypalooza debacle to wear off.

  4. Dear Greg,

    Everyone’s probably glad it was you who said all that you said, and not them. What with the Southern Ocean heating up the ice shelves around Antarctica, sea level rise is coming — we just don’t know how fast. We don’t even need a paleoclimatologist to tell us all that.

    Human beings do not deal well with uncertainty. You are not going to be the only one to have a go-off moment in the coming years.

    Anyway, I keep hearing from people who were there that it was not as bad as you think it was. So chin up!

    • Sea level rise is not just coming..its been with us for hundreds of years.

      Did people in 1500 have a crisis because the levels were going to be a bit higher in our time? Nope. They probably never even consciously noticed. Just each time they repaired the sea wall, or built another, they built it a brick or two higher.

      Any reason to believe that this tried and tested strategy is not going to work this time? Especially since we are so much better at civil engineering than our forefathers.

      PS the total population of the Maldives is about 400,000. About 80% of the population of Sheffield. It would not be beyond the wit of man to evacuate them if it were ever to prove necessary. We;d have at least two generations (50 years) to plan it.

      • Latimer,

        Well said. However, I think you may be premature with your estimate of 50 years. I would say more like 200 years. In fact, if they took the simple precaution of standing up, they could live for another 300-400 years!


      • Maldives and other coral islands are generally growing faster than the sea rises. As often the case with GW memes, a 180° reversal of the truth is being pushed. Even Tuvalu is quite safe.

        But they REEELLY want those $Billions every year.

    • Are you writing parody?

    • RE: Major sea level rise.

      We have plenty of room in Kansas along with many nice people.

    • False. The accelerated movement of the ice tongue off the peninsula in WEST Antarctica (only) is the result of it finally having got free of a rock ridge underwater, and pent-up movement and pressure is being released.

      Other ice shelves are just fine. They all move into the ocean as fast as they can because of the buildup of ice in the interior. The more interior ice, the faster the ice shelves calve.

  5. This particular incident had passed me by until now, so obviously I have some catching up to do… One small (and unfortunately cynical) comment:

    > What I ask is simple, easy, and does not threaten the purity of the scientific endeavor. Simply be willing to wear different hats at different times, and speak forthrightly to the public of what effect your knowledge has had on you. Of your hopes for policies, and your fears for your children.

    This is, unfortunately, a strategy doomed to fail.

    What happens when you speak out forthrightly with your personal opinion? Why, you are branded as an “advocate”, or in some way irrational, and all science tangentially associated with you is called into question. Your science cannot be trusted because it will be tarnished with your publicly-stated personal views. Any conclusions you reach will be cast in that light, and the implication will be made that you reached your conclusions *because* of your personal views, rather than the other way round.

    Unfortunately, the skeptic spin machine is in a no-lose situation there.

    Summed up quite nicely in this cartoon (found via Rabett Run).

    • When you have no convincing evidence, no case to make and no credibility, you have to rely on emotional begging. Craven is so aptly named.

    • That is indeed the catch 22 scientists-communicators find themselves in: Damned if they stay in the scientific realm of communicatin, and damned if they take on more human-emotionally laden language.

      • Damned if they stay in the scientific field because the more ‘the science’ is examined by those without the vested interest of continued grant funding to protect, the more wanting it is found to be. And the weaker the case for continued funding becomes.

        And damned if they venture into the advocacy field because they have nothing to say other than ‘The Sky is Falling – You;re all going to Fry’ If that’s not believed, there is no Plan B. All the eggs are in the CO2/IPCC/Cancun basket. There is no alternative. And when ridicule comes through the door, credibility leaves by the window.

        Tough dilemma guys. And all of your own making by vastly overplaying your hand. Is it Hubris before Nemesis or the reverse?

      • When you have nothing to say, say it a lot.

      • That’s exactly what Greg has been illustrating with consummate skill.

    • “What happens when you speak out forthrightly with your personal opinion? Why, you are branded as an “advocate”, or in some way irrational, and all science tangentially associated with you is called into question.”

      Which is why we defer to disposable ‘policy makers’ to advocate for a cause.

      It takes decades to build a solid scientific reputation.

      It only takes a few short years to transform a community organizer or Texas drunk into ‘Glorious Leader’.

      Even if they do a good job we toss them out in 8 years on principal.

      Somehow I think ‘scientific progress’ would be hindered if we tossed out all of our scientists every 8 years.

      John Q Public doesn’t discriminate when it’s come to policy makers/ advocates. Sooner or later they distrust them all.

      • And so – once again – the failing lies not with scientists, but with politicians and media outlets.

        I understand the personal reasons why a scientist would want to make public statements in the current disfunctional media/political landscape, but why is it that all discussion on this topic revolves around what *scientists* can do to fix a problem not of their making? The focus really needs to be shifted onto the public mouthpieces that relentlessly mangle the message, and the “skeptical” message has gained a huge amount of ground there. Meanwhile, scientists are attacked for not communicating effectively, or overreaching when communicating through the media. Scientists are not the messenger, and should not not blame themselves when the message is lost in transit due to someone else’s ineptitude or bias.

      • Mann, Schmidt, Schneider, Hansen, Steig, Abrahams….it is a long list of self-asserted scientists who seemingly delight in joining the public fray – as long as its on their own terms and where they have the access to the delete key in case the going gets tough.

        They probably do more damage to their cause than any of their useful idiot hangers-on like Gore. Maybe it is their common humility and desire for reasoned debate rather than confrontation that marks them out for special influence in this regard.

        And they’ve also been pretty much absent from here. Where they don’t hold the delete key. Just a coincidence, no doubt.

      • The “failing” doesn’t lie with the scientists, politicians or the media. The failing lies with the argument, it isn’t convincing. I’m not saying it’s not true per se, just that to the average person it isn’t persuasive enough to do anything about in any significant cost to themselves.

      • > The failing lies with the argument, it isn’t convincing.

        A) What “argument” are you talking about?

        B) The “argument”, such as it is, is hugely convincing to those best placed to understand it. It is the job of the media and politicians to take advice from science and effectively act upon it or communicate that understanding to a wider populace. So if the average person is unconvinced, where a consensus of scientists close to the evidence *are* convinced, the fault lies with the messengers.

      • @dave H

        ‘The “argument”, such as it is, is hugely convincing to those best placed to understand it. It is the job of the media and politicians to take advice from science and effectively act upon it or communicate that understanding to a wider populace’

        Ahh. The knowledgeable elite argument. Only climatologists are clever enough to understand this stuff, so don’t bother to question ..just obey ye proles.

        How’s that one been working out for you on this blog?
        Climatologists swept everybody away with their effortless demonstrations of mastery of the subject and sheer intellectual power? Sceptics flailing helplessly in their wake. gasping in admiration at the tour de force of scientific ability? All the bright young kids clamouring to do climatology rather than going off to Wall Street or MBAs…..just to learn from the Climate Gods.

        I normally file the ‘knowledgeable elite’ stuff just next to the ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’ racing tips. Both claim special insight, unavailable to mere mortals. And both are just as wrong, just as often.

      • “So if the average person is unconvinced, where a consensus of scientists close to the evidence *are* convinced, the fault lies with the messengers.”
        I think what I’m trying to say is that human nature dictates that most individuals are reluctant to sacrifice current wealth to prevent an abstract future danger. That’s why you see a lot of polls that show that a large percentage of people believe in AGW and even think it’s bad but when they’re asked if they would be willing to sacrifice x amount of dollars to fight it they say “nope”.
        See here:
        Trying to get around this by cranking up the alarm, or “F*cking the science” as Mr. Craven suggests only leads more people to believe it was overblown BS in the first place(which I’m not so sure it isn’t). The problem isn’t that it hasn’t been visible in the media -Al Gore won an Oscar for cripes sake- it’s that you can’t *convince* someone to abandon their nature.

      • I would agree. I also think its been a very long time since politicians actually did some *leading*, rather than reflecting the whims of opinion polls with an eye on short term re-election and preservation of influence.

        I see efforts like Al Gore’s film as attempts to sway enough public opinion such that it becomes viable for self-interested politicians to actually take action. You either need:

        a) The necessary action to have sufficient popular support or indifference for it to be uncontroversial to enact, or
        b) The politicians to be willing to take unpopular action on principled grounds

        I don’t see b) happening any time soon, and a) has been hampered by inept, irresponsible or outright biased media reporting and campaigning, despite the increasing certainty of those closest to the evidence.

      • “….since politicians actually did some *leading*, rather than reflecting the whims of opinion polls with an eye on short term re-election…”

        My fear with this is that it’s a slippery slope. Pol Pot did a lot of *leading*.

        I think I understand what you mean though. What’s popular isn’t always right and vice versa.

        I don’t know if anyone has done a study on this but they should: If you were to go back over the past twenty years and collect all the newspaper clippings, TV news stories on climate change what would the aggregate slant be? I suspect pro-AGW largely because the media has never met an apocalypse it didn’t like and I never heard of any skeptical scientists until I found the climate blogosphere in the aftermath of climategate. So I don’t think it’s that people haven’t been properly exposed to just how “scary” the science is, quite the opposite in my opinion. The problem is that you can show people all the scary graphs in the world, or as many pictures of lonely polar bears, melting glaciers etc in the world and people will tell you they get it, they may even TELL you they care but when it comes down to it if they are not directly, tangibly, identifiably affected by global warming, here in the present, they will not be willing to do anything about it if it sacrifices economic development or personal wealth. There’s nothing wrong with that in my opinion either that’s just the way people are.

        If you want nothing less than a fundamental shift in human nature, well that’s gonna take a whole lot of *leading*.

      • Sure, and I think that kind of fear is a terrible motivator, particularly when it is low-key, sustained, and concerns something decades in the future. You just become immune to it pretty quickly. People shouting louder about how much worse its getting are counterproductive, because, well, you haven’t noticed any immediate problems so far, right? So they’re exaggerating, and were probably exaggerating before, so lets just carry on not doing anything… that and “wait and see” always seems like such a *sensible* option.

        But then, what is it that actually needs change from members of the public? The thing is, personal transportation is a relatively minor part, and one that can change gradually as the economic benefits of new technology reach a wider market naturally. You can’t scare me into getting a new car, because my current one runs perfectly fine – but tell me I can cut my fuel bill by 60% and I’m interested.

        Consumption is a massive problem, but almost all environmental costs arise from production and transportation.

        So then it comes down to big problems in industry and power generation, both of which are amenable to change through government action. Then the question is whether the action taken would result in a higher cost to consumers, whether economic benefits could be realised further down the line to offset the costs and whether consumers can be convinced that any costs they do experience are justified (or indeed whether the cost can be phased in such that up-front convincing is not necessary). I don’t think any of this stuff is necessarily predicated on changing human nature.

      • Here’s a few hockey sticks to ponder:

        These are why people are “addicted” to fossil fuels. There is no conspiracy of climate skeptics that are winning some propaganda war with AGW proponents. The onus is on the proponents to persuade people of a better way and frankly, they’ve had plenty of airtime.

        My understanding of the mainstream so-called “consensus” climatologists is that we need to “dramatically” reduce our carbon emissions. How do we do this? As of right now the alternatives to cheap fossil fuels (wind, solar) are incredibly expensive, not particularly efficient and still need to be supplemented with natural gas plants. Of course nuclear is far more effective but even then dozens of plants per country would need to be built over the next ten years to meet any kind of significant mitigation strategy and many environmentalists still stubbornly refuse to consider it.

        I have a hard time seeing these being implemented without incurring a huge cost to the public. In fact here in Ontario, the present provincial government last year implemented a “Green Energy Strategy” by subsidizing solar and wind projects and now electricity rates have soared and are projected to rise by 100% over the next four years! Re-election coming next fall and it’s widely agreed that they are goners and their successors will surely scrap the subsidies (if they’re able to get out of the ridiculous 20 year contracts).

        Human nature:
        Noble Cause? “Yayyyy!”
        Expensive Abstract Noble Cause? “BOOOOO!”

      • “a) has been hampered by inept, irresponsible or outright biased media reporting”

        IMHO a) It was hampered by not offering a solution that the public viewed as viable at a price they were prepared to pay.

      • With the opinion polls the way they are and the fragility of the alarmist case becoming more obvious every time it gets a proper examination from the uncommitted, you guys will have to wait until hell freezes over before any politician in any major country is going to show ‘leadership’ in the way you want.

        Face it – you guys had your chance to attain all the power you dreamed of back in November 09. But Mother Gaia showed what she thought when she dumped six inches of snow on your Copenhagen beanfeast, and (with Climategate’s wonderful help and a good shove from Voodoo Pachauri), its been downhill for your cause ever since then.

        Most especially people just aren’t inclined to believe the ‘we are climate scientists, you must listen to us’ crap any more. They’ve seen far enough round the magical curtain to see that you guys have no special insights, aren’t actually very good at what you claim to be expert in, bicker and squabble like any other bunch of people and are just another special interest group lobbying the government for more funding… But you warp yourselves up in ‘concern for the plane, saving the children etc etc’

        The illusion worked for a while…perhaps AIT was the high point. But once some real sceptical doubt was cast upon the AGW case, it began to unravel..and its credibility is rapidly diminishing.

        Cast around as much as you like for others to blame for the failure of your dreams. But don’t neglect that the greatest mistake was issuing a false prospectus in the first place. And being caught overselling it.

      • Thanks for summarising the “skeptic” dogma so well.

        Too bad for you that nature doesn’t give a hoot about your disdain.

      • No dogma involved.

        Just a reasoned analysis of why general belief in AGW has reduced and continues to slide, how the political will for change is evaporating and how it has all been a self-inflicted wound..probably terminal.

        Mother Nature is showing her claws outside my window this morning. A second snowfall, almost unheard of before January in this part of UK and temperatures of -5 (about 8 lower than normal). And set fair to stay like this for at least ten days.
        Perhaps even she isn’t persuaded about AGW today.

      • You’re so nicely provincial. Or, to be more rigourous, you have a talent for the fallacy of division.

      • @derech064


      • Your basic stance can be summed up as “It’s cold where I am, so global warming is false”. Quite deep, but in something other than thought.

      • Whatever.

      • Cold, warm, dry, wet, windy, flooding – ALL of these have been claimed to be at least consistent with, if not directly caused by man, in the CAGW mindspace. Deep thought, indeed! But those on the high moral ground can only see others’ hypocrisy.

      • randomengineer

        A man at a street corner has a sign:


        Nobody pays him much attention.

        The man figures that his specialty is knowing that the end is near and not in warning people, thus the problem must be “communication.” So he decides to fix this. He convinces a TV reporter that he’s right. She holds the sign, plus she yells. She too is ignored.

        Observing this from the blog, Dave H reckons that the “skeptical message” is louder, stronger, contains platformate or scrubbing enzymes… or something, anything…

        Also observing is the AGU and the Climate Task Force, who decides that the reporter needs a megaphone and a handful of dancing weathergirls. They can sing in sync. They turn the megaphone volume to 11, and reckon that it’s all going to work this time.


        There is no “skeptical message.” People ignore End Of The World nutbars on street corners. Deal.

      • On the other hand, people often ignore message that are perceived as “bad”, even if the evidence is compelling. Ask Winston Churchill. Funny thing is, nature cannot be appeased.

      • randomengineer

        Good point.

        Where I was going with this was merely that the current message sucks and has zero upside; as long as this is continued, it will also, unsurprisingly, continue to be ignored.

        Channeling the message to “good” would be more effective: we feel there is probably harm coming blah blah therefore we will devote what clout we have to encourage construction of nuclear and natural gas plants in place of coal, and we will… what “we” will do isn’t really material providing that this is something that isn’t a penalty and works NOW. Positive.

        Face it, carbon trading is a venture the man on the street doesn’t get. He doesn’t get Wall St, so why should he get carbon boards? Nor is this tangible. Moreover, it sounds like a TAX, which is precisely the wrong thing to discuss in the middle of a minor depression.

        Change the message to “climate change is bad, but nuclear energy is good and creates jobs” and you deliver a positive message while still doing something re emissions.

        Just a guess this may work better than “repent, you irrational republican morons, we’re all going to fry.”

        The negative message has fallen on deaf ears for 20+ years now. Perhaps it’s time to try a different message.

        Just sayin’.

        You have a better idea?

      • They’ve tried the “green economy, green jobs, new green technology is gonna work someday” stuff, and it just keeps getting slammed by economic facts.

        Subsidized production and product and grotesquely immature tech COST jobs, money, and seriously threaten energy security. This has done real, incontrovertible harm, which is accelerating.

        Warmism is too invested in the no-carbon ideal and measuring stick to compromise on gas etc., and nuclear fission is now so thoroughly wrapped up and tied down in environmental red tape that it would require a MAJOR backdown on the Message to push. Plus the problems greenification is creating are already picking up steam fast, and nuke plants are slow to approve and build at the best of times.

        Economics is going to have to get a bit brutal to force sanity on the pols, but it will likely happen. The foreseeable-future new glut of natural gas will put huge pressure on to use it to prevent disastrous energy shortages.

  6. Dear Mr Craven.
    When in a hole, stop digging.

  7. “It is my delusion—my visceral terror for my daughters—alone. And I deeply apologize if it has done any damage to the reputation of the AGU.”

    I do not doubt your motives, Greg, nor those of world leaders (Democrats, Republicans, Fascists, Communists, etc.) who sought to remove national boundaries to protect the world from visceral terror of nuclear warfare that would ultimately destroy their own lives and those of every creature on this beautiful planet we call Earth.

    The problem:

    a.) Noble objectives cannot be attained by deceit.
    b.) AGW is not our common threat; World tyranny is.
    c.) Government science must not be abused as a tool of propaganda.

    George Orwell described the end of this path in the book, “1984”.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    1-573-647-1377 (cell)

  8. “I am trying to make, before I get through, a picture of the whole world-or as much of it as I have seen. Boiling it down always, rather than spreading it out thin.”
    Ernest Hemingway

  9. You speak of scientists “preparing survival retreats”. In my own small way as a scientist I have been preparing for expected difficulties: not because of the (largely illusory) threat of AGW, but because of the (all to real) threat of the collapse of the UK’s power infrastructure due to the insane policies of politicians taken in by people like you. Did you know that heating oil is now being rationed in parts of the UK during what is (so far) the coldest winter since semi-decent records began in 1773? Personally I’m expecting major power failures in 2012 when the grid collapses under the impact of the dash from gas to toy windmills. It’s not going to be pretty, and the unprepared old and poor are going to be dying real soon now.

    • I have seen this once before. I do not understand how or why heating oil shortages in the UK can be blamed on any aspect of the climate change issue. Can you connect the dots for us?

      • The heating oil shortages are largely due to a collapse in road transport due to snow. The UK transport minister stated on the radio this morning (I think this is right – it was early so I may be remembering incorrectly) that the country had not prepared adequately for winters of this kind because of the expectation that snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.

        The resulting rise in electricity use (for emergency heating) is putting further pressure on a grid already in a perilous state.

      • couple that with the idiot Huhne’s plan to nuke us into feul poverty by gauranteeing prices for wind power (while ignoring the safe,efficient, proven and far more capable nuclear option) and things will only be getting worse if these cold winters persist.

      • Because climate fear promoters are also suppressing oil drilling.

      • randomengineer

        …and their kissing cousins are protesting nuclear power.

      • Atomic Hairdryer

        And don’t forget coal. Hansen’s been back in the UK again trying to save activists from some jail time after they tried sabotaging another of our coal stations. He had more success blocking the planned Kingsnorth replacement coal station that would have given a 20% CO2 reduction compared to it’s predecessor. We can’t have oil, gas, coal or nuclear. So dear greens, what can we have to keep us warm? The windmills aren’t turning and the solar panels are covered in snow.

      • Atomic.

        There is no snow.

        The Met Office declared it to be abolished about ten years ago. To suggest there is any on the ground right now in UK is merely to feed the Big Oil denialist machine. And give succour to the enemies of the planet.

        The windmills are not ‘not turning’. They have just temporarily failed to reach the optimum angular rotation speed for power generation.

        And surely the knowledge that your sacrifice is helping to save Mother Gaia from human-caused destruction should be enough to keep you warm at night, The heat of moral superiority is a powerful and all-encompassing one.

        If it was cold outside. Which it can’t be. Because of global warming, this is the hottest year ever. Do not little things like temperature readings dim your faith in the righteous crusade.

        Love and Peace in Gaia,

        Greg Craven.

  10. oh my…
    ‘survival retreats’ amongst climate scientists!!

    and the sceptics get labbeled the ‘fring’ people?!
    I am equally concerned for my childrens future…
    Where the are fed alarmist nonsense at every opportunity.
    and their father would be labelled a deniar just for asking questions…

    • I don’t want any climate scientist survival retreats near me. Listening to our local mad Greenie in the pub is is bad enough…but a gaggle of them wearing woad and begging outside Waitrose muttering into their matted beards about sealevels and how they were nearly on the IPCC before the public threw them out would be just too much.

      We already have a very nice resident Albanian beggar there and she doesn’t need any competition.

  11. @ kevin Lohse you have summed my thoughts up superbly.

    Fisrtly this point:
    “I will impetuously defy each scientist to come up with an operational definition of the criteria a situation would need to posses in order to prompt them to change how they operate.”

    This is a very leading statement.
    At first pass it seems to imply that he is asking just WHAT it would take ‘us’ (i.e. skeptics) to join the consensus (insert star wars joke here), but i’m not sure that that’s the case;

    Though for the record i’d want more detailed characterisation of the natural cycles, a thorough understanding of clouds (at least to allow testable predictions) and a defined climate sensitivity.

    I think he’s actually trying to say that should the threat be so big (in his eyes), what would it take for us to abandon the scientific process and just ‘go along’ with it. Which is, just mad.

    I find it highly offensive to be lectured to upon the merits of the scientific process by someone who is so blatantly and painfully unaware of it. If the scientific process (which has had plenty of time) cannot provide compelling evidence that the world is heading for cAGW, then perhaps you need to throw out the theory, not the scientific process itself.

    The anger i am feeling after reading that letter is palpable- to think idiots like him are deciding the fate of MY son is not a palatable thought. I’m FAR more worried about the effect of regular sub-zero temperatures on my son than i am with a 1’C temp rise…

    As for the letter? Mr Lohse summed it up brilliantly. It is the furious backtracking of someone who, just for a second, realised that they’d lost the plot.

    The beautiful irony is; he then goes on to do exactly the same thing that he was apologising for in his letter of apology.

    • labmunkey,

      “If the scientific process (which has had plenty of time) cannot provide compelling evidence that the world is heading for cAGW, then perhaps you need to throw out the theory, not the scientific process itself.”

      You are spot on. If I may paraphrase Willy Wonka…

      “So shines a good argument in a weary debate.”

  12. Greg, thanks for your sending your message, it was the right thing to do. Here is my take on the issues you raise. Scientists need to work very hard at identifying biases in their research; if the scientists are too passionate about the political implications of their research, bias can creep in (see this thread Further, scientists can lose their effectiveness at engaging with the policy process if they become activists.

    Personally, I think Michael Oppenheimer got it right in his presentation
    In communicating effectively, you need to understand your audience. What your AGU audience heard was “F**k the science!”, at least those that described your presentation to me. Your broader message got lost.

    So how to effectively communicate the risks to the broader public? The Climate Rapid Response Team has some interesting ideas in this regard. While I have been skeptical about the utility of this effort, and am concerned that Abrahams seems too militant, Scott Mandia seems to have the right idea. He has a superb post on his blog
    that is a must read.

    • My post prompted an email from John Abrahams, who asked me to call him (he is on his way home from SF). I called him and we had a nice conversation (we’ve never communicated before). He emphasized that we share the same goals in terms of civil debate on this issue. I’ve encouraged him to post something at Climate Etc.

  13. Graig, you are to be admired. You are an idiot and you do not deny it. Something to be said for that.

  14. “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
    H. L. Mencken

    Take it easy Greg, and don’t beat yourself up over what you said, or how others interpret it.

    “This too shall pass”

    • randomengineer

      There’s great fibre in your words.

      • Plenty of time for reflection later. Right now the man seems to be in danger of blowing a fuse. His family doesn’t need that.

      • spoken with admirable humanity Tallbloke!

      • Greg is a victim of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change overhype. Unfortunately, he’s also in a position to fill young minds with the same irrational fear. I sincerely hope he gets a bit more scientific about his approach, and more sensitive to the ethical responsibilities which go with membership of the teaching profession.

  15. David L. Hagen

    “I know that I never shut up. It’s almost pathological with me. (Imagine the hell it is from the inside.) ”

    Your extreme exaggeration is a serious detriment to science and sane political discourse. We need sound evaluation, not panic.

    e.g., See
    Arctic icecap safe from runaway melting: study AFP Saturday, 18 December 2010

    “There is no ‘tipping point’ that would result in unstoppable loss of summer sea ice when greenhouse gas-driven warming rose above a certain threshold,” said Steven Amstrup, a professor at the University of Washington and lead author of the study.
    Up to now, many scientists worried that there was an as yet unidentified temperature threshold which, once passed, would doom the ice cap.
    But the study, based on computer models, indicates that if annual emissions of greenhouse gases are substantially reduced over the next two decades, an initial phase of rapid ice loss would be followed by a period of stability and, eventually, partial recovery.
    If so, that could mean a reprieve for polar bears, which use floating ice shelves as a staging areas for stalking ringed and bearded seals, their preferred food.”

    No ‘Tipping Point’ for Sea Ice in Polar Bears’ Future
    By PAUL VOOSEN of Greenwire, Published: December 15, 2010 NY Times

    . . . The notion that no “tipping point” exists for Arctic ice decline has spread in climate science for several years, supported by deeper examination of the North’s physics. Initially, the media exaggerated fears that the loss of ice, which naturally reflects light, would expose more heat-absorbing water to the sun, causing runaway decline. However, scientists now widely believe this feedback is balanced by a host of other phenomena, like increased flows of hot air from the tropics, improved ice formation efficiency under thinning conditions and the region’s general cloudiness. . . .
    Given these uncertainties, it has been perplexing to scientists that the public seized on “tipping point” scenarios for sea ice, the one area where there is large agreement. Those fears, which peaked in 2007, were likely exacerbated by the stark retreat in sea ice that year. . . .
    However, since that shocking decline, the ice has modestly expanded during the summer, perhaps the best evidence that Arctic ice won’t drop off a cliff, said Eric DeWeaver, a co-author on the Nature paper and physical climatologist at the National Science Foundation. . . .
    A particularly scathing critic of existing models has been John Wettlaufer, a geophysicist and ice expert at Yale University. In 2007, he published a paper arguing that models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fourth assessment had deep errors in their simulations of cloud cover — a chronically difficult subject — which they tuned out by tweaking parameters like ice reflectivity. In other words, he wrote, errors were being introduced to compensate for errors. . . .
    Only four models used by the last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had physics incorporating ice thermodynamics, added Cecilia Bitz, an ice physicist at the University of Washington.

    Look at ALL humanitarian issues that we need to address. See the Copenhagen Consensus 2008

    Mitigating global warming consistently comes out dead LAST in that benefit/cost analysis of 30 major global humanitarian projects.

    Finally, compare the looming rapid decline of oil exports. There is nothing in global warming the comes close in proximate magnitude for major economic damage.

    Please stop promoting Chicken Little panic!
    Look at these real near term issues and how to address them.

    Apologies accepted.
    Please get help addressing the root causes of your pathological fear, panic and “hell”. (It is possible to walk in the “peace that passes understanding.”)

    • David –
      Thanks for bringing this article to our attention. I thought that the NY Times piece is an example of good science reporting.

      To clarify (or reinforce) some points made in the quotes you supply here, I call attention to the following passages from the article itself (in case you do not have access to the full article):

      “A key question is whether temperature increases lead to proportional losses of sea ice habitat, or whether sea-ice cover crosses a tipping point and irreversibly collapses when temperature reaches a critical threshold.”

      This is the main issue that the paper addresses, and, as pointed out in your post, the good news is that they find no tipping points; ice loss is proportional to temperature increase, over the investigated range.


      “Here we show, using a general circulation model, that substantially more sea-ice habitat would be retained if greenhouse gas rise is mitigated.” (My emphasis)


      “In the A1B [business as usual] reference run, a RILE [rapid ice loss event] occurred between 2020 and 2030, and September Arctic sea ice largely disppeared by mid-century.”


      Greenhouse gas mitigation that keeps GMAT [global mean surface temperature] rise below 1.25 oC combined with traditional wildlife management could, it seems, maintain polar bear numbers at sustainable although lower-than-present levels throughout the century.” (Again, my emphasis)


      “Controlling temperature increase, therefore, is the key to preserving sea-ice habitat.”

      (They also acknowledge that “…the absence of tipping points in a climate model does not guarantee that tipping-point behaviour will not occur in the real world.”)

      So the message re: polar bears is that it is not too late to do something, but doing nothing is still bad news. Not sure if that is Chicken Little panic or not.

      • How many polar bears are there and how much sea ice does each need? Multiply the one by the other and you arrive at a point where we need to worry about the extent of sea ice for the cuddly wuddly bears. Until then, nothing to see here…move right along.

        PS – I think the number of polies is abt 25,000. There are 6,000,000,000 humans. And they’d all like fresh water and easily accessible reliable power. That is proven to lead to wealth and health.

      • There is ample evidence that higher temperatures and temporary ice free conditions existed in the arctic prior to the ascent of man from the bronze age.

        “Extensive systems of wave generated beach ridges along the North Greenland coasts show that these areas once saw seasonally open water. In addition to beach ridges, large amounts of striated boulders in and on the marine sediments from the same period also indicate that the ocean was open enough for ice bergs to drift along the shore and drop their loads. Presently the North Greenland coastline is permanently beleaguered by pack ice, and ice bergs are very rare and locked up in the sea ice. Predictions of the rapidly decreasing sea ice in the Arctic Ocean generally point to this area as the last to become ice free in summer. We therefore suggest that the occurrence of wave generated shores and abundant ice berg dropped boulders indicate that the Arctic Ocean was nearly free of sea ice in the summer at the time when they were formed. The beach ridges occur as isostatically raised “staircases”, and C14-dated curves for relative sea level change show that they were formed in the Early Holocene. A large set of samples of molluscs from beach ridges and marine sediments were collected in the summer of 2007, and are presently being dated to give a precise dating of the ice free interval. Preliminary results indicate that it fell within the interval from c. 8.5 to c. 6 ka &150; being progressively shorter from south to north. We therefore conclude that for a priod in the Early Holocene, probably for a millenium or more, the Arctic Ocean was free of sea ice at least for shorter periods in the summer. This may serve as an analogue to the predicted “greenhouse situation” expected to appear within our century. ”

        I would suggest that polar bears have shown themselves capable of dealing with the lack of sea ice in the past 10,000 years.

        I see no evidence they would not succeed again, if those ice free conditions forecast as the “extreme”, ever comes to pass.

      • mitchel44 – Thanks for a substantive reply.

        Yes, the bears made it through the early Holocene and I suppose they might persist through ice-free conditions in the future. Or they could metamorphose through interbreeding with brown bears, which is apparently happening occasionally. Their ultimate survival will depend on the rate at which the Arctic changes, as well as the fate of prey species, the adaptive strategies that have evolved over the last several thousand years, and so forth.

        Current impacts on polar bears, which might be taken as “evidence they would not succeed again”, are abundantly documented. But, of course, the evidence cannot be considered conclusive.

      • In almost all cases of species driven to extinction by “Mans” activities, habitat changes were less stressful than the “hunted for food” pressures by mankind, current hunting restrictions should work fine, (allowed to shoot if attacked?) no problem their numbers are growing rapidly.

    • Of course there is no “tipping point” for sea ice, and I am at a loss how anyone could ever have thought there is.
      I live on the Baltic, where each and every year the sea-ice melts in spring and comes back next winter. No “tipping point” there, though the water gets warm enough for bathing in summer (well, more or less).
      And lest somebody claim that this is because the Baltic is shallow and brackish, it works just the same in the Sea of Okhotsk that is both deep and salty.
      By the way Polar Bears don’t use ice shelves for hunting seals, they use sea-ice which is something completely different.

  16. randomengineer

    skeptic’s messenging machine

    As I said on the previous thread, the ill funded “skeptic’s messenging machine” is so powerful in the face of the untold Billion$ USD that has been spent thus far on climate change that the AGU would be remiss in not hiring it rather than Mooney et al to get their message out.

    Just out of curiosity, WTF is the AGU doing getting into the “message” game for anyway? Is a “stand” on something necessary? Why?

    • The strategic plan of AGU can be found here.

      Core Mission
      The purpose of the American Geophysical Union is to promote discovery in Earth and space science for the benefit of humanity.

      Core Principles
      As an organization, AGU holds a set of guiding core values:

      • The scientific method
      • The generation and dissemination of scientific knowledge
      • Open exchange of ideas and information
      • Diversity of backgrounds, scientific ideas and approaches
      • Benefit of science for a sustainable future
      • International and interdisciplinary cooperation
      • Equality and inclusiveness
      • An active role in educating and nurturing the next generation of scientists
      • An engaged membership
      • Unselfish cooperation in research
      • Excellence and integrity in everything we do

      Vision Statement

      AGU galvanizes a community of Earth and space scientists that collaboratively advances and communicates science and its power to ensure a sustainable future.

      • randomengineer

        Thanks, but I seem to be missing the section re political advocacy for a sub-segment of the membership on the page you referenced.

        I’ve been reading a number of articles on re background info on various missions that were to be discussed etc at the AGU meeting. Funny how there seems to be great science being done here and there’s this wonderful non-political forum, and seemingly few people know about this.

        But turn the page to the science re climate, hoo boy, the AGU hires Mooney and now there’s position statements. But no position statements re solar science, lunar studies… etc.

        You’ll have to pardon my skepticism, but something doesn’t seem right. The space stuff seems to be perfectly in line with AGUs stated goals and objectives. Climate stuff, no.

      • Howare these lofty goals compatible with having Mooney or Craven involved in any formal way?

  17. Allow me to echo what others have said: the panic mode is counter-productive. Switching hats and stating your opinions is fine – everyone has a position and yours is equally valid. By the same token, when you use words like “terrified”, “hail Mary”, and invoke images of survivalist retreats, don’t ascribe your resulting loss of credibility to the “denial machine”. You could be expounding on any subject, not just climate change, and that kind of rhetoric makes you look unbalanced. The hole in your foot is self-inflicted.

  18. As they say- “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”.

    He KNOWS what the issue is and he doesn’t need any pesky scientific process getting in the way of it.

    The more i read this letter the more i dismay.

    • The more I read Greg, the more I think that climate fear mongers owe a great number of people a very large apology, at the the least.
      I wonder if he is still teaching kids? I would not let him near mine.

      • I agree, Hunter.

        Many educated, liberal friends still earnestly believe that AGW is a common threat to everyone in the world.

        Few recognize the threat of science being used as a tool of propaganda to establish a tyrannical government [Eisenhower’s farewell address, 17 Jan 1961]

        This threat is independent of any AGW threat, as a patriotic, former CIA member discovered after becoming mayor of a small town in Oklahoma [“A Time to Stand” by Jerry Clinton Oliver]

        With kind regards,

  19. Steve Mosher wrote on the other thread about two examples of how scientists should communicate and differentiate in their roles as scientist and as concerned human being:

    “Scientist A says: As a scientist I know that global warming will cause huge harms to future generations. I’m an expert, trust my view on that. As a human being, I have children and grandchild I care for so I believe that we should take action even if it is painful to preserve the planet for them.”

    Contrast that to what Greg Craven wrote in his open letter:

    “Instead, go out and tell the public in any forum you can find: “As a scientist, here is what I know. As a citizen, here are my concerns, and my thoughts on what we should do. And as a father, a mother, a grandparent, here are my fears, even my terrors, and my backup plans to safeguard my family.””

    Seems to me you guys agree on this (as do I).

    • “As a scientist I know that global warming will cause huge harms to future generations”

      Any ‘scientist’ who says this is not a scientist. We KNOW nothing of the sort. They may THINK, but that is entirely different.

  20. Hunter,

    That was a quote from Steven Mosher.

    • Even Steve can be wrong. ;^)

      • Yup. I was trying to pose a question, putting one set of words in scientists A mouth and another set in scientist B.

        Basically, The new goal for AGU is to help scientists get the word out on climate change. Issue, do they help people with odd views on the science and the policy? what do they do when they help those with divergent views and they have meltdowns

        The underlying assumption in this goal is that all AGU members will sing the same tune. That people asked to speak at AGU events will sing in key and not go off on rants. That critics will not hold the organization responsible for errant members. The goal of helping people get the word out carries with it risks that the members havent even contemplated. Basically, like it or not, if the goal is to help member get the word out, then when a member has a train wreck the chain of responsibility will go directly back to the organization.

      • The end of the AGU as we knew it.

  21. Moderation note: please keep the conversation civil, and no nasty adjectives to describe Greg.

  22. I attended the session in which Craven was a part. Judy has given you the gist of Craven’s communication at the SF AGU meeting. I actually sat through most of it before leaving with a very bad taste in my mouth. I was going to refer to it as “Craven’s talk” but rant would be more appropriate.

    It started off with what must have been a minute of silence. I thought the speaker was tongue-tied but it turned out to be for theatrical ploy to get attention. His thesis was very simple: our efforts (I presume those of the collective AGU) have failed at communicating science. We were the cavalry poised on top of the hill directing the battle but we had to get down into the valley, fight with any weapon we have, even “tearing out the enemy’s jugular veins with our teeth if necessary”. We were the last resort and so on…
    I remember him saying a number of times that his rant had nothing to do with ego although he mentioned that he often received compliments on his oratory “as the best talk” the person had ever heard. He told us his crusade was to save his children and his wife but also mentioned that for the last three years he had worked 24/7 on his mission and had had to abandon his children and his wife (as well as his job). This sounded a little like the “we have to destroy this village to save it” that some of you may remember from Vietnam.

    By the way, Judith is correct in the language Craven used. I can’t paraphrase exactly but it went something like: “F*ck your science. I know I disappoint you as you expected me to say “screw your science”.

    Actually, Craven’s talk took me back to my childhood. My parents had off-loaded us for a couple of weeks and taken up the offer of an aunt and uncle to take care of us. They didn’t realize that this meant attending a religious camp run by an evangelical, big tent and all. We had to attend three services a day and us kids an extra two bible study classes. The evenings were the worst (or most exciting) as the minister was in full flight with his fire and brimstone and it was very disarming to see your aunt and uncle role by speaking in tongues. But Craven’s rant reminded of the minister. Replace “climate” with “Jesus Christ” and “the future state of the planet ”with repent and Armageddon” and you have the AGU presentation.

    Tim Palmer, an academic visiting from the UK, and with whom I sat through most of the Craven rant made an interesting comment that (inspired by Craven) he included in his talk the following day. He said it is pointless to appeal to the emotions of public by bringing out what might happen to one’s grandchildren, children, spouse and etc. with increased global warming. The other side, too, can parade out their own progeny and say that they must fight the advocates of global warming as they refuse to allow them to suffer from an economic catastrophe brought about by changing to a non fossil fuel economy. We have then an argument completely off topic and successfully diverted.
    Since writing the above, I have read Craven’s mea culpa and I have found little to change my mind about the content of his arguments. I guess the only new thing that he said was that yesterday he was insane but today he is sane. I am happy that he found some like souls at the AGU who may want to move with him to New Zealand. However, please bear in mind that New Zealand has strong immigration rules that include psychological testing.
    I learnt a long time ago that I cannot trust an evangelical in a tent to set my moral compass. Nor can I let emotional rhetoric, calling me to put aside science and go screaming into the streets, to persuade me that the answers to our various crises, entangled as they are, will not come from strong basic research. And that, Mr. Craven, is what the AGU is all about. And that is what we will continue to do.

    Peter W

    • Peter – Your admonition to avoid invoking one’s children is worth attention, because that precept is too often violated. It always raises suspicions of hypocrisy, or at least exaggeration, but even when fully sincere, it is as likely to alienate as to appeal. Not having attended, I can’t address Greg Craven’s manner in detail, but the descriptions of others certainly suggest a hysterical tone unlikely to have done anything useful. In a comment below, I mention Greg’s other, and in my view, more valuable contributions to climate change discussions.

    • randomengineer

      The other side, too, can parade out their own progeny and say that they must fight the advocates of global warming as they refuse to allow them to suffer from an economic catastrophe brought about by changing to a non fossil fuel economy.

      Respectfully I think you have things a bit backwards. Progeny is and has been the message from day 1.

      At this stage of technological development, we don’t have reliable energy technology that can be installed anywhere and everywhere that isn’t fossil fuel.

      The gist of *that* response/argument you refer to is that there ain’t a workable backup plan, and nobody is going to switch off the heat just because the scientist at the street corner with the THE END IS NEAR sign wants to assure you of his/her passion.

      An easy thought experiment way to look at this is to ask how much skepticism would there really be if there were ample supplies of non-fossil fuel energy available.

    • Peter Webster,

      You make an interesting point about the pitfalls of mentioning one’s progeny, similar to what a Dutch MP recently made: First he detailed how the though of his kids 40 years from now would look back on his actions in case the problem materialized as expected (or worse than expected, for symmetry) and we didn’t do enough to prevent it. But then he did the same thought experiment in the case that the problem was less severe than expected and we did bring economic hardship on ourselves. Both are equally valid lines of reasoning.

      However, if you look at Greg’s first video (he’s got a good series of videos meant for the lay public), you’ll see that that’s anything but diversion: His central thesis (as I mentioned on the AGU-2 thread) is in comparing this false false negative and false positive hypothetical scenario, and basically asking the question: Which is likely to be worse? (for your progeny)

      That is the question. It is not a diversion.

      • This is a topic with an awful lot of hand-waving and assertions of massive economic hardship if we attempt mitigation.

        The problem is that doubt is generally cast over the likelihood of any modelled scenario in order to beg the question and presume any hardship through mitigation *must* be worse than the hardship experienced through inaction.

        It is amazing to me how much prevarication there is over the uncertainty in the IPCC assessment, while assertions as to the economic harmfulness of taking action are seemingly couched in no uncertainty whatsoever.

      • So lay out some plans for mitigation that won’t involve such hardship. Costed please. The floor is yours.

      • Maybe you could take an open-minded look at the AR4 WGIII report.

        Depending on the target, the summary for policymakers estimated between a 3% decrease and a 0.6% increase in global GDP through mitigation.

        > Although most models show GDP losses, some show GDP gains because they assume that baselines are non-optimal and mitigation policies improve market efficiencies, or they assume that more technological change may be induced by mitigation policies. Examples of market inefficiencies include unemployed resources, distortionary taxes and/or subsidies.

        This is an area of uncertainty, and one that hinges on acceptance of the physical science to have a meaningful discussion. Claiming economic doom if we take action is just fearmongering.

      • Don’t bother pointing Latimer to anything. He won’t bother educating himself.

      • Don’t bother pointing Latimer to a long book and saying ‘read this ‘ without any reason about why it is relevant to the topic in hand. Or even ‘Read Chapter 12 of this book’. Or even better ‘read this pp 123-135 where the point at issue is discussed, I think you will be surprised at teh weight of evidence they have ammassed’ D064 seems incapable of grasping this elementary point despite numerous requests.

        Life;s too short for blanket ‘read this’ without justification. And leads to the conclusion that the recommender is not at all familiar with the text and just using it as a distraction technique when losing the argument.

      • Your life is so short that a few hours reading a good and relevant book is asking just too much?

        If you’d shown some willingness to educate yourself, you’d be more reasonable. At this point, with your endless list of excuses as to why your comfortable ignorance is preferable, your credibility isn’t really there.

      • Without any justification, yep. The world is full of people trying t sell me their agenda. Since you consistently and spectacularly fail to explain to me *why* I should read the stuff you recommend, and by your previous behaviour on this blog which has not established you as one whose opinions I have a great deal of regard for (eg your continual haranguing of RS Courtenay as a ‘liar’ with no evidence presented and subsequent chastisement), I consider myself entirely justified in ignoring your reading list. A policy I will continue to adopt.

      • Yet another excuse. That’s one nice thing about excuses – the supply is endless.

      • Not an excuse.

        A reasoned discussion of why I will ignore all of your recommendations. Like I ignore the Jehovah’s Witnesses trying to get me to read their favourite texts. Or the mad guy who used to do the theatre queues in Leicester Square selling his own work about vegetarianism.

      • Your refusal to read much of anything relevant is made up of nothing but excuses.

        Try another act.

      • Whatever

      • Richard S Courtney

        Dave H:

        Anybody who takes the WG3 ‘reports’ seriously has not read them. I suggest that you ignore the AR4 WG3 SPM until you have read the so-called ‘Report’ is supposedly summarises.


      • You do realise that’s an Ad Hominem argument in the truest sense? You do also realise that the point is not the specific conclusions – or even the specific source – but that there are a *wide range* of them, from a variety of studies, based on a wide variety of scenarios, and some of them are even positive? This is supposed to be illustrative of the overlooking of uncertainty in the economic future dependent on mitigation, and leap to assume crippling hardship (to scare people into inaction, ironically enough).

        Do you contend there is no uncertainty in the economic hardship of action? Or do you contend that uncertainty in this area is adequately reported through “skeptical” sources? Or do you contend maybe that there is less uncertainty in this than there is in, say, the WGI assessment of climate sensitivity?

      • Richard S Courtney

        Dave H:

        You say to me;
        “You do realise that’s an Ad Hominem argument in the truest sense?”

        No! It is not.

        For a proper assessment of the SRES analyses read my refereed paper ‘Crystal Balls, virtual realities and ‘storylines’ E&E (2001).


      • You dismissed my argument because I cited AR4 WGIII as a source, with no other reason given. Explain to me how that is not Ad Hominem.

        If I dismissed your supplied reference because it was published in E&E, that would also be Ad Hominem. If I dismissed it because it was you that wrote it, that would also be Ad Hominem.

        In the end, I choose to ignore it because it is full of quite childish-sounding slurs (“pseudoscience”, “astrology” “propaganda” “mumbo-jumbo”), because it does not address the AR4 report I mentioned (predating it as it does by 6 years), because it contains unsubstantiated and unreferenced assertions (CO2 increase declining?) and because I find the arguments put forth wholly unconvincing. It seems the attack is once again on the emissions scenarios themselves, rather than the predicted socioeconomic outcomes. Which was pretty much what I complained about higher up the thread.

      • Richard S Courtney

        Dave H:

        It seems you are good at assessing things you have not read. And it is not an ad hom to say that citing the AR4 SPM that ignores the caveats in the bulk of that report and (to be polite) lacks important detail indicates you did not read the bulk of the report.

        Not content with citing the AR4 WG3 SPM and not the AR4 WG3 Reort, you now mention the part of an assessment of the SRES I quoted in another thread of this blog.

        But your mention makes clear – indeed, it admits – that you have not read my assessment.

        Your mention says,
        “In the end, I choose to ignore it because it is full of quite childish-sounding slurs (“pseudoscience”, “astrology” “propaganda” “mumbo-jumbo”), because it does not address the AR4 report I mentioned (predating it as it does by 6 years), because it contains unsubstantiated and unreferenced assertions (CO2 increase declining?) and because I find the arguments put forth wholly unconvincing. It seems the attack is once again on the emissions scenarios themselves, rather than the predicted socioeconomic outcomes. Which was pretty much what I complained about higher up the thread.”

        The AR4 is based on the SRES analyses. So, the fact that they predate the AR4 by 6 years is not relevant. Did you expect them to post-date the AR4?

        My paper contains no “slurs” and nothing “childish” (I think you are projecting). Indeed, my paper explains in detail why the SRES ‘analyses’ are pseudoscience and the various forms of pseudoscience they are formed from.

        My paper contains no unreferenced assertions although the IPCC AR4 does.

        Concening my assessment of the SRES, you say you “choose to ignore it” because you “find the arguments put forth wholly unconvincing”. Really? Which ones?

        And you say my paper refutes “the emissions scenarios themselves, rather than the predicted socioeconomic outcomes. Which was pretty much what I complained about higher up the thread.” In fact, my paper refutes both the emissions scenarios and the pseudoscientific methodology that provides the scenarios that lead to the putative “socioeconomic outcomes”.

        If the SRES are wrong then the “socioeconomic outcomes” must be wrong.

        However, in common with Greg Craven and all other AGW-promoters, you do not let any fact, evidence and/or logic interfere with what your feelings tell you to do and say.

        Perhaps this part of my analysis of the SRES may be more “convincing for you”.

        “The scenario authors say the “scenarios deal with the future, so they cannot be compared with observations”. On face value this seems reasonable, but it is not true because the scenarios project from the present and some of them project from disagreement with observations of the actual present climate data. The following examples illustrate this.

        • All the scenarios set their CO2 emissions for year 2000 at 7.9 to 8.1GtC. The likely fossil fuel figure is 6.2GtC but the scenarios add to this 0.7-1.2.GtC for “deforestation” and this means that their figure for fossil fuels’ emissions of 6.8GtC in year 2000 is too high by 10%.

        • All the scenarios except B1 have atmospheric CO2 concentrations starting to rise in year 2000 as a result of exponential increase (i.e. 0.4% p.a.), but the recent trend in the concentration has been a declining rate of increase.

        • All the scenarios except B1 assume that the downward trend of methane rate-of-increase of the past 16 years will suddenly reverse in the year 2000, and in two cases (A1F1 and A2) it rises dramatically. But nobody knows why the existing downward trend exists, so how can this trend be projected to reverse as a result of social/technology change ?

        • All the scenarios assume that SO2 emissions will reduce even if fossil fuel consumption increases.

        • All the scenarios except B1 project huge increases to fossil fuel usage by 2100 starting from now. The increase is a factor of 6.3 for scenario A1B. There is a staggering projected increase to coal production by a factor of 12 for scenario A2 rising to a factor of 14 for the most extreme scenario. (While SO2 emissions decrease) .

        Importantly, the probabilities of these scenarios are not assessed and if they cannot be compared to observations they are not science; they are guesses. Chapter 2 of Working Group III admits this. ”

        Now, if you and Greg Craven want to ‘get the message out’ about AGW, then I suggest that themessage to be told is how assertions of “socioeconomic consequences” are derived from nonsense like the SRES analyses.


      • > It seems you are good at assessing things you have not read. And it is not an ad hom to say that citing the AR4 SPM that ignores the caveats in the bulk of that report and (to be polite) lacks important detail indicates you did not read the bulk of the report.

        But that is not what you said. What you said was:

        > Anybody who takes the WG3 ‘reports’ seriously has not read them.

        Thus discounting the WGIII report as a source.

        You can of course then go on to try and justify this, which would then alter the Ad Hominem nature of your response, but your original act of discounting every single point I made based on a reference to WGIII is a classic Ad Hominem.

        And again – I do not need to defend the specifics of the WGIII report or the SPM to make my point – which was (to repeat myself yet again):

        > assertions as to the economic harmfulness of taking action are seemingly couched in no uncertainty whatsoever.


        > This is an area of uncertainty, and one that hinges on acceptance of the physical science to have a meaningful discussion.

        I say that “skeptics” claim economic doom with inadequate reference to uncertaint yin this area. Pointing out that the WGIII has lots of caveats just strengthens my point about uncertainty. You then continue:

        > you now mention the part of an assessment of the SRES I quoted in another thread of this blog.

        Not sure what you’re on about there. You cited your report in your response to me. I googled, found a word doc (second result IIRC), skimmed through it and responded. I quoted you and pointed out why I was unimpressed. It is obvious you would disagree with that. I’m hardly going to find your work more convincing if you berate me however.

        > My paper contains no unreferenced assertions although the IPCC AR4 does.

        I couldn’t find a cite for the specific claim I mentioned (that CO2 was rising more slowly). That was just the one that leapt out at me.

        > In fact, my paper refutes both the emissions scenarios and the pseudoscientific methodology that provides the scenarios

        So you admit you don’t actually challenge the economic forecasting then? Because again, this was a point I made – attacking the scenarios themselves as a way to attack the economic forecast. As long as the emissions scenarios are wrong, you don’t have to think about the economic future, right? But this does not go anywhere near challenging my claim that future predictions of economic hardship if we take mitigation steps are not couched in doubt in the “skeptic” camp. Once again, your focus on challenging the physical science basis and emissions scenarios means a productive discussion about the cost/benefit of action/inaction in different probable/possible scenarios is impossible. The two discussions are separate, and your continued conflation of them is counterproductive.

        You say:

        > I suggest that themessage to be told is how assertions of “socioeconomic consequences” are derived from nonsense like the SRES analyses.

        My point (which again I’m going to bang on about because you really don’t respond to it at all) is that claims of dire “socioeconomic consequences” if we take steps to mitigate are based on either pure assertion, or work which has a high degree of uncertainty. You may think you have refuted this whole area, but – as I said – I find your argument (and indeed your dismissive writing style) entirely unconvincing, as it seems did the authors of the AR4 a few years down the line.

      • Richard S Courtney

        Dave H:

        I wrote;
        “In fact, my paper refutes both the emissions scenarios and the pseudoscientific methodology that provides the scenarios that lead to the putative “socioeconomic outcomes”.

        If the SRES are wrong then the “socioeconomic outcomes” must be wrong.”

        To which you have replied;
        “So you admit you don’t actually challenge the economic forecasting then?”

        Say what!?

        In the light of that reply I shall discontinue this discussion because a wise man once told me;

        “Never wrestle with a greasy pig: you can’t win and the pig likes it.”


      • I couldn’t find those particular figures. Please guide me to them.

        I did find Point 20 in the SPM as

        ‘In 2050 global average macro-economic costs for
        multi-gas mitigation towards stabilization between 710
        and 445 ppm CO2-eq, are between a 1% gain to a 5.5%
        decrease of global GDP (see Table SPM.6)’ The cited table didn’t expand much.

        And that’s it! Just one paragraph in the report that discusses GDP effects. And you are prepared to bet the world economic system on this stuff? It’s clear that these guys have spent some time thinking about how they would do mitigation, and almost no time at all on how much it would cost. I was expecting at least a spreadsheet with a bit more than three rows and three columns.

        And yet climatologists claim to be so expert in computer modelling that they no longer need to bother about actually making observations any more.

        And I love the insouciance of the final paragraph

        ‘There are still relevant gaps in currently available
        knowledge regarding some aspects of mitigation of
        climate change, especially in developing countries.
        Additional research addressing those gaps would further
        reduce uncertainties and thus facilitate decision-making
        related to mitigation of climate change’

        As if to say that their understanding is nearly perfect, just needs a few tweaks around the edges.

        As ever, please guide me to the relevant discussion if I have missed it, but as an exercise in determining the actual costs of mitigation this is pathetically amateur. But then, it is probably good enough for climatology and contains enough buzz words to satisfy the most ardently committed alarmist wanting only to save their children.

      • Sorry – that got out if sequence somehow. Meant as a reply to

        Dave H @ December 18, 2010 at 5:53 pm

      • In your eagerness to insult (in this case, hilariously, the wrong people), as ever you are veering wildly off topic.

        Can you please concern yourself with my central point, which was:

        > assertions as to the economic harmfulness of taking action are seemingly couched in no uncertainty whatsoever.

        Do you dispute that here and elsewhere proclamations of economic hardship from mitigation are not expressed with the uncertainty that actual research in this area would warrant? Do you dispute that the WGIII report represents evidence on my part (as an assessment of many studies in this area based on a variety of different factors and strategies) to make the case that there is sufficient uncertainty to be certain (as so many “skeptics” are) that mitigation will even have a negative impact at all?


        > And that’s it! Just one paragraph

        Do you know what the word “summary” means?

      • Yeah sure. One paragraph proves that everything will be fine. Go ahead and present that to the electorate as being the scientists best guess and watch yourself get crucified worse than Greg Craven.

        If quanitative is beyond you, you could start to think about qualitative reasons why you think the mitigation measures would be of an economic benefit. And also answer the question ‘if these are all such a good idea, why do we need strong government action to coerce people into taking these measures. Because they are such a no-brainer that they will be doing them anyway’.

        PS The fairy on the top of my Christmas tree agrees with you.

      • > One paragraph proves that everything will be fine.

        Again: do you know what a summary is?

      • In this case it is a substitute for having done almost no work to back it up and to hope that nobody notices.

      • Right. So you don’t know what a summary is. Nor indeed what this one was summarising.

      • Please explain where I have been misled by the IPCC.

      • I also meant to add that it is for you guys to show that you havea sound economic case for taking the measures you propose, compared with not taking such measures. If WG3 is the best you can acheved, I suggest that you are five years work away from somthing even remotely worth discussing.

        Try Easterbrook and his chums. They claim (though with vanishingly little evidence) to be good at writing models. All you need is a sound econimc model covering the entirety of world trade projected out 50 years. And then you run it with a defined set of mitigation scenarios and without. Compare the two (making sure to do a bit of verification and validation along the way), and the answer you need pops out.

        Just a bit more complex than a 3×3 table, but to a bunch of climatologists the sort of thing they’ll have finished by Boxing Day.


      • Again, you veer off to have a rant about entirely the wrong thing.

        So – is there enough certainty in economic forecasts to support the claim that mitigation will have a serious, negative impact without any caveats that there is a strong possibility of positive impact?

      • Make a cae (even a qualitative one if quantitive is beyond you) that explains where you think the benefits would come come from.

        Becasue the general lack of access to reliable cheap power that is involved in any mitigation strategies that I have seen proposed do not lead me to think that such benefits actually exist.

        Prove me wrong…the floor is yours.

      • Richard S Courtney

        Dave H:

        Name one “positive economic impact” sufficient to outweigh starving the world’s poorest people.

        Or is that what you call a “positive economic impact”?

      • > starving the world’s poorest people

        Oh dear, how very alarmist of you. Precisely the kind of over-certain fearmongering I was complaining about, so thank you for yet again proving my point.

      • @Dave H

        Still waiting to hear about the ‘positive economic impacts’ that you assure us are coming.

        Are they like fairy dust, will o’the wisp or the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? You know they are there but you can’t quite pin them down?

        Or will you return to your ‘knowledgeable elite’ argument and just decide that RSC and I are simply too stupid to understand your great thoughts? Unworthy of your intellectual consideration? Not climatologists so beneath your dignity?

        If you can’t even articulate in the most general terms what the supposed benefits may be, we will have to draw our own conclusions about their existence (or lack of).

        As I’ve written before to you without reply.

        ‘The floor is yours’

      • Latimer,

        I gave you an answer. You refuse to understand what a”summary” is, or indeed what is being summarising.

        I also gave you a quote from the summary highlighting two positive impacts of mitigation.

        You may disagree with a response, but pretending you have not had a response, when you have, is cheap and dishonest.

      • As ever, if I am mistaken , my shoulders are broad enough to admit it.

        But I have reread this exchange very carefully indeed and I can see no reference whatsoever to ‘two positive impacts of mitigation’.

        Nor do I understand your continued oblique references to ‘summaries’ and your perception that I fail to understand them. I know what a summary is and I have read the IPCC one. Where do you see there to be a problem?

        Please give chapter and verse rather than cryptic references which mean little to me or other readers.

        Example : The cat sat on the mat. Not: ‘The feline nocturnal mammal was resident upon the woven floor covering designed to provide warmth to the human residents and prevent damage to the supporting understructure’

      • Meanwhile, the WGII summary indicated a range of likely impact for 4C of warming of 1% – 5% reduction in GDP.

        It is very hard to make a decent comparison, given the range of possible scenarios – but just taking these four numbers and plugging them simplistically into Greg’s original Pascal’s Wager outcome chart:

        Worst case of taking action – you incur 3% reduction in GDP through mitigation while avoiding only 1% reduction in GDP that never happened.
        Best case of taking action – you gain 0.6% GDP through mitigation and avoid 5% reduction through harm that was avoided.

        You’d be hard pressed given those figures to justify inaction, but then, the picture is of course far more complicated than that and you can’t really compare those two sets of numbers as they are based on different conclusions (one on emissions limitation, one on warming experienced). It doesn’t really quantify non-economic impacts of inaction either, nor a worsening picture over time. I’d say that it would be *extremely* useful if the impact + mitigation assessment of the IPCC was synthesised into one simple and related output. Eg, given a couple of scenarios, and assuming a small range of sensitivity, what is the likely economic impact of inaction vs a small range of mitigation proposals.

        That kind of thing would go some way to countering the paralysis-inspiring doomsayers claiming financial meltdown if we dare try and do anything.

      • That’s one of the ironies of the “skeptic” position – markets are virtually omnipotent to solve any and all societal problems, but put a price on carbon, and they’ll fall into pieces and we’ll all end up living in caves, covered in animal hides.


      • There already is a market driven price on all carbon based energy sources – it covers all aspects of energy uses and the cost/benefit of each.

        What is opposed is a secondary artificial price ajustment – called a tax – that is an arbitrary influence on the true market.

        Carbon caps are a tax, and are artificial.

      • … you do know the industry receives subsidies, right? They’re artificial, aren’t they? This is *also* an arbitrary influence on the true market. As is a complete dependence on oil for domestic transportation, driven in no small by government policy.

        And as I’ve said elsewhere – market-driven attempts at mitigation are trying to recognise some of the longer-term costs of oil in its sale price. Costs that are, at present, hidden and deferred to some future date.

        Consider taxation of tobacco – what is this for? It is justified on medical grounds, because if people smoke they are likely to become ill and as such drain the economy (either as a burden on any welfare system such as it is, or in lost opportunity cost). Taxation here becomes a market-driven way to incorporate longer-term costs not normally recognised by supply/demand economics.

      • In the UK, the tax take on tobacco far exceeds the cost of treating smokers ailments, by around £9billion to £2.5billion. Smokers subsidise the national health service to the tune of £6.5 billion a year, yet are treated like pariahs.

        The tax on heating fuel in the UK is high too, and getting higher as the subsidies for well connected wind farmers and the well heeled with roofs large enough to qualify for subsidised solar panels grow. This is killing pensioners, who were spotted buying 10p books from charity shops to keep warm by burning last winter.

        Extra tax on road fuel is a tax on everything which has to be distributed, including food. Again, this hits the people on fixed incomes, who don’t even own a car.

        Welcome to the brave new world of unintended consequences.

      • > In the UK, the tax take on tobacco far exceeds the cost of treating smokers ailments, by around £9billion to £2.5billion.

        But I made the point that it is a deterrent. You can’t compare those two numbers and argue that it is imbalanced – you have to figure out what the cost would be if you *weren’t* taxing at that rate. If you reduced taxation to £2.5billion, maybe you’d get an increase in sick smokers to the tune of £9billion. Maybe we want the burden of smoking related illnesses to drop to £0 eventually – how much tax would we need to apply over the years to make that happen? How taxation has affected behaviour is tough to determine, but it is not really justifiable to directly compare those two numbers.

        The issue with taxing road fuel for me is the complete failure to provide viable alternatives for transportation. Unlike smoking, “just stopping” really isn’t an option – people *need* to travel, especially with increased job insecurity. Hitting people with a stick without providing a carrot is pointless. But then, offer to help subsidise my purchase of a car that gets three times my current mileage and I’d accept a rise in transport fuel costs.

      • Maybe the truckers should get the govt to subsidise lighter smaller trucks with better mileage and just deliver less food too…

      • “you do know the industry receives subsidies, right? ”

        Yes I do, and fundamentally it skews the market. Subsidies are as bad as taxes in that they are artificial and arbitrary, are only used for political gain. Sugar anyone?

        Go figure this (since you brought up tobacco):
        1) We subsidize tobacco production.
        2) We tax it as sin tax.
        3) Then we tax it even more for medical reasons – except that money does not all go to pay medical costs, as i get diverted to the cause of the day.

        After all of this, nobody wants to make tobacco illegal. Yet it kills and kills a lot.

      • This “market driven” price of carbon-based energy sources is hidden away in all sorts of ways. For example, a huge chunk of the US ~$700 billion defence budget is used to maintain access to oil and protect the governments of the nations that have it. Imagine if imported oil was directly taxed to reflect those costs.

        No, the market is not properly pricing carbon.

      • Richard S Courtney


        You assert;
        “a huge chunk of the US ~$700 billion defence budget is used to maintain access to oil and protect the governments of the nations that have it”.

        I answered that fallacious point in anither thread (perhaps it was a response to you in another persona?).

        The US ‘protects’ areas of interest (e.g. Middle Eastern States) for a variety of reasons concerning peace and security. It would continue that ‘protection’ whether or not those States were oil producers.

        The largest importer of oil to the US is Canada and the second largest is Mexico. And if the US wanted to stop all other oil imports then the US has oil fields it is not exploiting that could easilly fulfil that need.

        So, there is no part of the US defence budget that is specifically spent to “maintain access to oil”. There is none, not any.

        Your assertion is a falsehood.


      • “It would continue that ‘protection’ whether or not those States were oil producers.”

        One might add that as producers of a strategically important resource, these states would continue to need protection, whether or not the USA existed either to provide that protection, or to consume their oil.

      • Why is the US intimately tied to Saudi Arabia if not because of their oil?

        We ally ourselves with an anti-democratic, theocratic, corrupt, sexist, terrorism-sponsoring regime for what good reasons, again?

      • > The largest importer of oil to the US is Canada and the second largest is Mexico.


        > And if the US wanted to stop all other oil imports then the US has oil fields it is not exploiting that could easilly fulfil that need.

        Reference, please.

      • Richard S Courtney


        Your question concerning Saudi Arabia demonstrates that you know as little about international security as you do about climate change.

        Israel has no oil, is constitutionally a racist state, and is in the Middle East. So, according to your understanding the US cannot be allied with Israel.

        Find the answers to your trivial questions yourself. That way you may come across some other things you also do not know about these subjects (there are a lot).


      • No answers and no references for your beliefs and assertions, I see.

        Who said anything about Israel?

        You’re just blowing smoke.

      • Richard S Courtney


        You made a daft assertion.
        I explained (twice) that it was daft.
        You asked questions of my points.
        I refused to answer your questions and said you should check it for yourself: you had made the assertion – not me – so you need to justify it.
        You said I was “blowing smoke”.

        Everybody still awaits your justifying your daft assertion.


        me to jus

      • You reply with supreme confidence that:

        > So, there is no part of the US defence budget that is specifically spent to “maintain access to oil”. There is none, not any.

        Meanwhile there are easily found studies that put actual estimates – in the billions – on US military commitment to protect oil interests.

        So who to believe? You, who simply assert, and then insist that your assertion is an effective rebuttal, or the studies that say otherwise?

        But crucially, a little sanity check would tell you how false your assertion must be. Over 90% of US Government fuel expenditure comes from the military, including 10% of all US aviation fuel. So if – as you say – there is no specific military budget for maintaining access to oil, then the military must be *criminally* incompetent to make no effort to budget for the security of its own oil supply. Protecting your supply lines is textbook stuff. So which is it – are you wrong, or is the US military inept?

      • I saw a lot of handwaving without a lot of facts.

        Why is it official US policy (at least it was, last I checked) to use nuclear weapons if necessary, in the Persian Gulf area, if *not* to protect our access to their oil?

        Do you really believe that if Kuwait and Saudi Arabia weren’t major sources of oil to the US and other nations, that Iraq’s invasion would have been repelled so rapidly? Really?

        You claimed my assertion about Saudi Arabia was ignorant; what about it was wrong? Is Saudi Arabia a nice country just like, say, Norway?

      • Richard S Courtney

        Derecho64 and Dave H:

        Please stop it. This is a serious blog intended for grown up discussions.

        If you make an assertion then provide argument and evidence to support it. That is what grown-ups do and are expected to do.

        An assertion is NOT true because you made it or because you can claim others have made the same assertion.

        If you make an assertion then you need to prove it. Others do not need to prove your assertion is wrong: they only have a duty to demand that you prove it.

        It is NOT “arm waving” to point out that Middle East security provides Saudi oil security but would continue whether or not Saudi oil security were required.

        It is “arm waving” to assert – with no justification, evidence and argument – that oil should be disproportionately taxed to contribute to military defence.

        Your nonsense is dragging-down discussion and I suspect that is your intention.


      • Richard,

        You ignored everything I wrote. *You* made assertions. *I* gave you a link to a relevant study and some actual numbers RE: US military oil dependency. *You* characterise my response as mere “assertion”. Your refusal to actually engage on substantive points and resort to insults and dismissals is dragging down the discussion, and it *you* that time and time again is behaving like a child – declaring yourself the winner and storming off with your toys every time you encounter a challenge. Just because you are surrounded by cheerleaders does not mean you are right.

        I repeat – was your confident assertion incorrect, or is the US military neglecting their own energy security?

      • Richard S Courtney

        Dave H:

        You made an assertion that is blatantly false; i.e.
        your assertion that significantly reducing CO2 emissions need not be economically harmful and may provide benefits.

        I repeatedly tried to get you to admit the falsehood and I provided evidence and argument concerning the falsehood.

        You wriggled and obfuscated, mostly by trying to change the subject from your claims to my evidence refuting them.

        Latimer Alder and I both still wait for you to present any example of your suggested benefits of mitigating CO2 emissions.

        I repeat, please provide arguments of a kind that adults are expected to make.


      • Heya Richard, got any evidence for

        > And if the US wanted to stop all other oil imports then the US has oil fields it is not exploiting that could easilly fulfil that need.


      • randomengineer

        D64 — “evidence.”

        USGS much?

      • The US can “easily” replace the oil imports we get from not-nice countries with strictly domestic sources? That’s what Courtney claims. He hasn’t provided any evidence, and “USGS” isn’t much of a source.

      • Nullius in Verba

        “The US can “easily” replace the oil imports we get from not-nice countries with strictly domestic sources? That’s what Courtney claims. He hasn’t provided any evidence, and “USGS” isn’t much of a source.”

        It would probably help if your approach offered a bit more motivation for anyone to make the effort – like acknowledging the point if anyone else turns out to be right.

        I know what he’s talking about, and so apparently does randomengineer, but it seems like a better move not to answer. It reads like you really want to say it’s untrue, but have been caught out so many times now that you don’t want to commit yourself, so you ask it as a question. If they turn out to be correct, you silently move on and ‘lose nothing’. Except of course that it’s got obvious now.

        You spent a lot of time earlier referring people to a book you wanted them to read, saying it would be informative. (When of course it wasn’t. It was tedious, wrong, and slanted as hell.) Well, in just the same way, we can refer you to ‘USGS’. Happy reading!

      • A pointer or reference would be nice.

        BTW, why the USGS and not the EIA?

      • Richard S Courtney


        You provide yet more ‘slippery pig’ behaviour.

        You made the ridiculous assertion that oil should be taxed exceptionally to compensate for its additional (but in reality non-existent) military cost.

        I pointed out that it has no military cost.
        You have yet to show it does.

        You try to discuss my facts instead of presenting facts and/or arguments that prove your assertion.

        I again request that you debate in the manner of an adult.


      • Why is the US an ally of Saudi Arabia, Richard?

        If it didn’t have oil, would we be? On what grounds?

      • The US probably would have a military presence in the Middle East to help protect Israel and to keep tabs on terrorists. But the military is certainly there to keep the peace and ensure the flow of oil, no doubt about it. However, we already pay taxes to support the military, so I see no logical basis for us to be taxed a second time on the oil.

      • Richard,

        > I pointed out that it has no military cost.

        I’ve pointed out that it has. With a link to a relevant study, and an a statement that should be *blindingly obvious* given more than a nanosecond’s thought that the military *must* budget for protecting its own energy interests, contrary to your unsubstantiated assertion.

        *You have not responded to this at all*. Instead you deviate onto a different subject you already washed your hands of higher up the thread. If you’re going to flounce off in a huff when challenged, I’m not going to waste my time pursuing a it any more than I already have done.

        Given that you repeat this ridiculous claim of yours yet again, I assume you have now answered my question, and believe the US military to be criminally incompetent.

      • randomengineer


        The argument re mideast oil you’re making is the same failed “war for oil” meme that failed to gain traction in 2003/4. Why? The meme was stupid.

        Military presence is essential for regional stability just as much on behalf of US trading partners — who DO get much of their oil from the region — and who don’t have the same force projection capability of the US military.

        Look at how much oil the US buys from the mideast, and then look at the how much oil is bought by US allies and countries/areas whose stability is strategically important to the US. The mideast goes tits up and instability reigns in places we’d really like to see stable. A strong military presence tips the scales.

        The notion that the US military is an expense for US oil needs is astonishingly wrong.

      • @Randomengineer

        > The notion that the US military is an expense for US oil needs is astonishingly wrong.

        I don’t really get what you’re arguing.

        Richard said that the US military expends precisely nothing on protecting oil security.

        I said that this is obviously false, given that they must expend *some* budget just protecting their own oil security. Just on that baseline level, what Richard claims cannot be supportable unless the US military is hopelessly inept. I also provided a study estimating expenditure for protection of domestic oil supply, which would represent additional expense on top of just military supply expenditure.

        What exactly are you taking issue with? Your arguments don’t seem to have a lot to do with mine.

        Especially as you also say:

        > Military presence is essential for regional stability just as much on behalf of US trading partners […] look at the how much oil is bought by US allies and countries/areas whose stability is strategically important to the US. The mideast goes tits up and instability reigns in places we’d really like to see stable. A strong military presence tips the scales.

        Which concurs nicely with Derecho64’s original comment that lots of US military expenditure goes to:

        > protect the governments of the nations that have it

        …which Richard took issue with. Sounds to me like you’re agreeing with Derecho64 there.

      • randomengineer


        Subthread is so long I think I may be losing track, sorry if I targeted you to reply to inadvertanttly. The US spends money on the military regarding regional stability but this isn’t necessarily aimed solely at the notion of oil. Resources in general is probably more applicable, e.g. sources of strategic ores etc. Somehow vivisecting the budget to determine “US oil requirement” is misleading and ultimately not particularly useful.

        Richard Courtney’s assertion is largely correct if you presume he’s responding to the notion that the sole purpose of the military is to protect oil, but misguided in ignoring that protection of US interests *does* include resources. Your argument I reckon to be incorrect in that particular specific but the overall vector is much more accurate.

        Thus: you’re both wrong and right, with the scales tilted in your favour.

      • Might it not be more accurate to assert that even if it were entirely self-sufficient in oil, the US would still have geo-political reasons (and I would argue, obligations) to keep the best peace it can in the Middle East? As such it’s not really possible to say how much of its present expenditure is on “protecting its oil importing needs”, and how much would persist even if had none?

      • @randomengineer

        Fair enough – I think my head may explode if I have to track these threads anymore, so its probably signoff time :) In any case, thanks for the reply and
        I completely agree that to assert the sole purpose of the military is to protect oil is wrongheaded.

        To sum up my understanding, what kicked this off was a discussion of externalities in the oil market. Derecho64’s original point was that *some* expenditure goes to securing the supply of oil (directly or indirectly), but that this expenditure is not reflected in its price. Things like maintaining regional stability in areas where we have an interest in ensuring an uninterrupted supply of oil (directly or to trading partners trading partners) comes under the heading of unrecognised external costs of oil. This really isn’t a politicised argument about military policy (or needn’t be, anyway) – rather the military is used as an example of the skewed nature of the current market in this regard.

        I think Richard’s counter to this (that *no* money is spent protecting oil interests) was pretty unconvincing, and its really that I’ve been trying to get a definite response on.

        Anyhow, Dr Curry has just posted a thread on religion. I imagine that will be completely uncontroversial ;) so no doubt this surprisingly tangled beast of a thread will die an overdue death from neglect shortly…

      • D64;
        Oil is almost the original perfect example of a “fungible” resource. There is one common world market, a pool. If the ME doesn’t sell to the US, it must sell elsewhere. That frees up whatever supplies those customers would have purchased, and the US (or whoever) buys those instead.


      • Richard S Courtney


        You assert:

        “Richard Courtney’s assertion is largely correct if you presume he’s responding to the notion that the sole purpose of the military is to protect oil, but misguided in ignoring that protection of US interests *does* include resources. Your argument I reckon to be incorrect in that particular specific but the overall vector is much more accurate.

        Thus: you’re both wrong and right, with the scales tilted in your favour.”

        Sorry, but no.

        The military expenditure would occur for reasons of security whether or not the oil production existed.
        It can be argued as to whether the US would meet all of that cost in the absence of oil, but the cost would be met.

        Therefore, in practical terms, the protection of oil supplies is a “freebee”; it is a beneficial by-product obtained at no additional cost.

        It is a very strange assertion that oil should make an exceptionally high contribution towards military defence costs in such a case. And it is a blatant falsehood that the purpose of the military defence is protection of the oil interests, butr many people ‘feel’ it is.


      • Silly me.

        I thought that there once was a market in carbon. They called it the Chicago Climate Exchange. The one that went spectacularly broke a while back when the market value of carbon fell below 5c a ton.

        Having hit the dizzy heights of $7.40 before Copenhagen, the value has plummeted since then to zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

        Surely a better example of collapse in belief in AGW would be hard to find. A real market, doing real trading and finding its own level.

        You can read all about it here. A short article, so easily digested. No more than five minutes of your time. And free.

      • Here’s a different take (with better background, more information, and far less childish finger pointing and gloating):

      • From Dave H’s link:
        The main strength of CCX was the fact that they provided price transparency ….However due to the trading program being run by a for-profit company, CCX came under a lot of heat for the opaqueness of their operations


      • @daveh

        Did it still go spectacularly broke in your version? Because nobody could be arsed to buy any carbon credits. i.e price = zero?

        Or is there some non-WUWT reality in which it is still trading and doing extremely well?

        You may dislike the messenger, but the basic facts remains the same. It’s dead. Flopped. Gone. It is an ex-Exchange.

        The Fat Lady has Sung and It’s Over.

      • Tell me – from your reading of the reportage and commentary on WUWT, why did CCX close, and what happens next?

      • it closed because nobody was interested in buying or selling with a price of zero. Think how few estate agents (you may use the weird word ‘realtors’) there would be if property prices were also zero.

        The article you point to also says

        ‘the shutting down of CCX can be seen as a win in the endeavor to erect more stringent emissions reduction programs’

        …but doesn’t expand on exactly how this view (seemingly 180 from reality) is arrived at.

        Perhaps they too use climatological logic such as.

        Black is white, wet is dry, temperature -11 outside compared with normal +4 is proof of global warming .

        Just a reminder:

        The CCX market died because the price of carbon fell to zero. That is its free market value. Nothing. Nobody cares.

        Nobody is willing to put their money where your mouth is. You have failed to persuade them.

      • I started following the CCX on Nov 17th last year. It has produced the only genuine hockey stick in climate “science” – just back-to-front, if you’re a warmie.

      • @TomFP

        :-) :-) ROTFL!

      • Tell me – from your reading of the reportage and commentary on WUWT, why did the price fall to zero? It seems to me you think that is a true representation of value, or it was because “nobody cares”, but I’m sure you’re just being facetious, yes?

      • Nullius in Verba

        “Tell me – from your reading of the reportage and commentary on WUWT, why did the price fall to zero?”

        That’s obvious. Carbon trading is a scam based on being granted a regulatory monopoly – creating an imaginary ‘commodity’ that everybody needs to operate, and then selling it. The idea of the CCX was to get the machinery in place so when their pals in government got the regulations into place, they could ‘offer their services’ and thereby grab control of this market, and their own thin slice of a very large pie. That’s what everybody was after. Without the prospect of artificially created value from a regulatory monopoly, CO2 credits are utterly worthless, and everybody knows it.

        It collapsed because everybody realised the scam wasn’t working. The government were not going to pass the legislation. So CO2 credits reverted to their free market value.

      • @Dave H

        Why did the price fall to zero?

        Same as any other market collapse through history. Because nobody wanted to trade at a higher price than zero. They saw no need to buy anything on sale however low the price. Confidence in the ‘currency’ of carbon trades had evaporated. Nobody cared about them. However low the price, nobody was interested in buying.

        No doubt you have an alternative explanation. Let’s hear it.

        The Floor is Yours.

        PS I will entirely disregard any posts that involve the words Big Oil, Denier, Koch Industries, Creationist, Meme or Trope. Or Acidic Well-Funded Conspiracy.

      • Actually, I agree with Nullius in Verba – aside from all the “it’s all a big scam I tell you!” parts, that is.

        The CCX represented an attempt to financially account for the negative externalities of CO2 emissions. An unfettered market will not always act in its own long-term interest, and where externalities exist some form of cooperative market or outside regulation is necessary to ensure market efficiency such that the cost to those taking part in the immediate transaction is balanced by the cost to those not directly involved, but affected – in this case, society at large. Such things are obviously necessary in certain cases – otherwise, why do we have restrictions on arms sales for example?

        So representing externalities in a market in this way cannot be seen as a de facto bad thing, despite the representations higher up in the thread that the mere attempt simply must be a scam of some sort.

        Now, what happened with CCX is that, as Nullus says, it was an initiative set up in anticipation of a regulatory framework, so that those involved would be well placed to capitalise on it. Sounds like typical capitalist behaviour to me right there, so I’m not sure what you’re complaining about, but anyhow… the regulatory framework didn’t appear, so the CCX – in its current form – was unsustainable. Externalities were no longer enforced, so they reverted to their private cost – ie 0. You trumpet this figure as if it people came to their senses and realised that this was the correct representation of the cost, and that thus was the correct thing for the market to do – but this is tautological, given that the only reason for the existence of the CCX in the first place was to inflate the price from $0 artificially to prevent the externalities from going unrecognised. As soon as it became clear that the external cost was not going to be enforced the market did what it inevitably had to. In the absence of recognition of externalities, the cost of CO2 is obviously $0 – that’s the whole point. So the failure was not of the market, nor some grand realisation that CO2 has no market price. The failure was the evaporation of anticipated government regulation.

        Now the thing I take issue with is that you – and the reportage at WUWT – seem to regard this as confirmation that CO2 *has* no unrecognised externalities, or that attempts to account for them are in some way bogus. But this does not follow logically from the failure of CCX, and you’re begging the question. Just because they have not been enforced, does not mean such externalities don’t exist, and as long as they continue to go unrecognised the market will continue to be inefficient. A failure of political will is just that, and nothing more.

      • Nullius in Verba

        “Sounds like typical capitalist behaviour to me right there, so I’m not sure what you’re complaining about, but anyhow…”

        It’s protectionism, which believers in free markets are generally against. See Bastiat’s Sophisms for an explanation.

        “Now the thing I take issue with is that you – and the reportage at WUWT – seem to regard this as confirmation that CO2 *has* no unrecognised externalities, or that attempts to account for them are in some way bogus.”

        “Externalities” are the situation when people disagree over the value of something, and one party seeks to impose its valuation on the other by force. Liberals (nowadays usually called Libertarians since the original term got hijacked) allow this under the Harm Principle: that the only possible justification for society to interfere in individual freedom is to prevent them doing (significant) harm to others. Sceptics, obviously, would dispute whether this is such a case.

        As for WUWT, the only place I can find where they make any particular comment on the politics/economics was 8th Nov 2010, where they note that it is a setback for Obama, it was meant to make lots of money, it can only make money backed with legislation, and the prospect of legislation is dead. They speculate that when Kyoto dies, the European exchange will go the same way.

        The reasoning behind the original assertion, of course, is that it is the collapse in belief in AGW that has led to the collapse in prospects (and belief in prospects) for legislation. That’s something that could be argued with. But anyway, that doesn’t appear to arise from WUWT coverage.

      • Not a secret anymore:

        Of course, our largest low sulfur coal deposit was put off limits during the Clinton Administration.

        Basically, we DO have enough energy to self supply without even Canada and without nuclear if we use all our oil, gas, and coal supplies!! If we added in nuclear we would be self sufficient for quite a long time.

        This has come about not only through new discoveries including the huge shale deposits, but through new techniques allowing reopening old fields such as the ones in Texas and California and extending the lives of current fields. Environmental issues are holding up the development of the deep oil shale deposits, gas fracking, and of course, the offshore moratorium. Then there is the lagging lease rates and the oil companies not drilling available leases to keep up prices!!

      • Because “putting a price on carbon” is not a free market action. Rather, the free market has put its own price on carbon – zilch, effectively. What you want to do is make a market. That is done successfully all the time, but only when the commodity in question has real, and testable, value.

      • Richard Courtney pointed out –

        “There is a staggering projected increase to coal production by a factor of 12 for scenario A2 rising to a factor of 14 for the most extreme scenario. (While SO2 emissions decrease) . ”

        The price of coal on global(not US) markets has been increasing 20% per year compounded since 2002. Products whose cost increases 20% year on year for nearly a decade are normally considered ‘constrained resources’. I.E. It takes a large price increase to produce a small increase in production.

        Four or Five years ago coal was thought to be an unconstrained resource. The increase in price was put down to short term market fluctuations. A couple of years doesn’t make a trend. It’s been 8 years now.

        All the IPCC ‘doomsday’ scenario’s assumed that coal is an unrestrained resource.

        If the current price trend in coal continues Solar Panels will be cheaper then electricity from coal in many parts of the world around 2020.

        I would note that the Iraqi minister of electricity announced the formation of a nuclear power program yesterday.

        Carbon is priced, the countries of the world are taking the necessary steps to move away from fossil fuels. Business as usual is ‘save my wallet’.

      • Bart, as many of us have said repeatedly, Craven’s videos are based on the logic of Pascal’s wager.

        If you believe the conclusions in Craven’s videos, then by extension you must believe the conclusions of Pascal’s Wager and be as faithful and church going a Christian as you can possibly be.

        See you in Church.

  23. Greg – I believe your YouTube video will end up being more influential than your excessive emotionalism at the AGU meeting. Despite your concerns, I doubt that the latter will create a lasting negative impression about the science – it certainly doesn’t seem to have changed any minds on this blog – but your video, as you know, has significantly changed the perspective of many individuals who previously saw climate change only as an issue of whose facts are right, but who were persuaded by you to consider the consequences of making the wrong choice in the face of uncertainty. The oversimplification in your video notwithstanding, it remains a useful contribution to thinking on this issue, and actually underpins some of the discussion that Dr. Curry has raised here on Climate etc, and in her AGU talk. Dr. Curry’s talk, like your video, addresses the necessity of making choices when there is no near-term prospect of being sure they are right. If you haven’t seen the slides of her presentation, which she described in AGU Part II and are linked to here – Curry AGU talk , you should probably take a look. Being an animal lover, I particularly liked the frog slide and the dinosaur slide.

  24. Sad

  25. Apparently, according to Steve Easterbrook, Dr. Curry is using Craven’s performance as an excuse to “bash the entire AGU”. I seem to have missed that. I guess there’s some members only section of the site where the “good stuff” is kept.

    • Actually, Easterbrook doesn’t make this statement, but a commenter does (I certainly don’t want to be held accountable for what everyone says at Climate Etc.). In my Part I and II posts on the AGU meeting (plus comments there, and also on Part III), I have gone out of my way to defend AGU, in a way that I haven’t seen anyone else in the blogosphere do (in the last week or so, anyways.)

      • Maybe I’m wrong, but the commenter appears to be Steve.

      • My, my, you are correct. Easterbrook seems to think I am some sort of denier.

      • Unfortunately anyone who expresses the slightest misgiving about any aspect of the CAGW meme will inevitably suffer the “denier” tag at one time or another. The fact that Easterbrook chooses to denigrate you in this manner only serves to further diminish his own standing IMHO.

      • Aren’t you allowed to wear a blogger hat where you get to say things you have to revise? or a climategate hat where you get say the science is sound but the behavior is bad? Do you get to wear a single person hat where you say, ‘ as a single person I don’t care about your grand kids’ Do you get to wear an old fart hat where you say “i’m too old to care about 2100, I want my medicare damit. Does Tom Fuller get to wear his liberal hat and care more for the poor today than hansens grandkids tommorrow? Nope. The unspoken rule is there are certain hats you can’t wear. Like, make conversation with the skeptics hat.

        I think I raised this before. For those of us who agree with the science, we are not allowed to wear certain hats. it’s not so much the expression of personal views that is troubling as it the assumption that all those personal views have to be unanimous.

        So back in 2007 Judy you put on a data libertarian hat and said, ” I think the data should be free” You were a lone voice. Everybody else put on a hat they really didnt believe in and said “err that data should only be free under these conditions” That wasnt a science question. It had nothing to do with physics. But still nobody but you could put on that hat and say the data should be free. They all wore fake hats and argued bogus arguments to keep the data unfree. Now, of course transparency is the watchword.

      • The irony being, of course, that the transparency so desired by all isn’t being held up by scientists – it’s being held up by various national met services, which have been given conflicting orders by their governments, which view weather data as a profit center and/or a matter of national security. In short, the consequence of the “conservative” belief that government is best run just like a business has been the lack of ease at getting at the data.

      • Do you have a list of the ‘various national governements’ that are holding it up in such a way?

        Phil Jones at CRU/UEA tried this defence, (confidentiality agreemenents) but it was shot to pieces way back when as he couldn’t produce the details of more than 4 from 200 that he claimed to have. These were the subject of the FOI requests that he found so irksome, but the Information Commissioner couldn’t get excited about.

        And one of these four basically said…happy for you to share our *raw* data, but don’t pretend that anything you and your cronies have ‘adjusted’ bears any relationship to weather reality in our country. In other words…’we don’t trust you guys an inch not to misrepresent our data’

        Maybe there’s been a sudden rush to sign such agreements since then? Or maybe not, and your memory is playing tricks on you? Please explain.

      • Two of them, actually, at least. Sweden and Canada both were explicit in their refusal to allow Jones to describe CRU-adjusted versions of their data as if it were RAW country data. Both asked Jones, instead, to direct requests to their respective freely accessible national weather data repositories.

        Jones’ (and the Met Office, who were complicit or even instrumental in this) documented attempt at bait-and-switching raw data with adjusted data should itself have been subject to its own investigation, in my opinion. But there are so many similar examples of this kind of misdirection from “The Team”, it would be difficult to know which one to start with.

      • “The irony being, of course, that the transparency so desired by all isn’t being held up by scientists – it’s being held up by various national met services, which have been given conflicting orders by their governments, which view weather data as a profit center and/or a matter of national security.”

        On this point you are wrong. probably because you have no experience trying to get data from a scientist as a mere citizen. You are also wrong about some issues surrounding the NWS.

        1. Jones believed the data he held was releasable under WMO40 guidelines. he said so to Warrick Hughes.
        2. within 6 months he changed his mind and wrote to hughes that he didnt care what the WMO said, he would not release the data.

        The problem here is scientists performing tasks they are not trained for. In my submission to Parliament I suggested that CRU establish a document management system where scientists are NOT the ones making these legal decisions. Its not the scientists data. I would be much happier requesting data from a document control specialist. Remember Jones also released this data to peter webster. Basically dragging peter’s name into this. the point is CRU need document control. So does Mann’s institution. That way we dont get this whole situation of requesting data from an individual.

        3. FOIA guidelines for CRU require that BEFORE entering into confidentiality agreements with third parties CRU must first
        A. determine that the confidential data is NECESSARY to MISSION of CRU
        B. Advise the third party that FOIA may trump the confidentiality agreement under the public interest clause.

        I will note WRT point A that CRU have not completed such an assessment. I FOIAed this material and there was no such determination. I pointed out to them that they had argued the following “the confidential data dont change the science”
        [ words to that effect] How then is this confidential data NECESSARY to the mission? I have not followed up on this FOIA, as it disappearred down the rabbit hole . WRT point B I may have to check on that point as well with an FOIA.
        Further, The obstacle we faced was not the confidentiality. The obstacle was finding out WHICH COUNTRIES had these agreements. Which is why we FIOAed the agreements. Duh.
        And further, since we sought historical data and since that data had been released for non commercial purposes, it would be no problem for us to obtain the same data under similar use restrictions. But CRU decided to argue that the agreements precluded release to non academics. This was false on its face. those of us ( putting on my expert hat in licensing) who have dealt with NDAs and Confidentiality agreements and IP could not imagine somebody writing an agreement that precluded re distribution based on a defined class of an individual’s occupation. One might say no redistribution “outside of the organization” ; one might say “no redistribution for commercial purposes”, but I can’t imagine saying “no re distribution to non academics.” Especially if the reason for limiting re distribution is the protection of commercial interests. Simply, that would permit redistribution to an academic who wanted to make money off it. Only a stupid lawyer would make that mistake and it seemed far fetched to believe that many NWS had hired the same stupid lawyer. So, we knew, and the appeal office later confirmed, that this was a lie. The scientist should not have tried to wear a legal hat in dealing with customers who make legal hats for a living. Similarly Jones should not have put on a “FOIA compliance hat” when he gave advise to Palmer about excuses he should use. The hat he should have worn is the “do your job hat”. Turn over the documents to the officer and let the officer do his job. When I am served with discovery requests, I empty my mail on a CD and pass it to the legal department. Its their job to decide what is releaseable and what is not.

        Finally, I am currently in quest for other data that is supposed to be freely available for non commercial uses. The institution is not the issue. The scientist is the issue. The scientist is the interface for the data request. And I am now trying to prove that I have no commercial interest. Since I am not affiliated with a university the scientists doesnt know what to do. They don’t understand that I’m NOT going to make money off it, They dont understand not belonging to a university or company.
        This data denial is innocent. they just don’t know what to do with the curious citizen. McIntyre found the same issue.

      • I wouldn’t bother with an intermediary – like Jones. I’d go straight to the national met services. And my point stands – some met services charge for access to their data because their governments have bought the myth that government ought to be run like a business.

        I understand the UK is run along those lines.

      • The UK MET office has already released it’s data and some gridcell handling code.

      • Does India still restrict its satellite data on national security grounds?

      • yes, even old historical data that presumably does not have any national security relevance.

      • Nullius in Verba

        Phil to the Swedish Met people in his letter asking permission to publish the data:
        “We stress that the data we hold has arisen from multiple sources, and has been recovered over the last 30 years. Subsequent quality control and homogenisation of these data have been carried out. It is therefore highly likely that the version we hold and are requesting permission to distribute will differ from your current holdings.”

        The Swedes’ reply:
        “Given the information that the version of the data from the SMHI stations that you hold are likely to differ from the data we hold, SMHI do not want the data to be released on your web site.”

        So Phil told the British Parliament that he couldn’t publish the data because the national met offices wouldn’t let him, including Sweden. This caused a lot of fuss in the blogosphere, and no doubt letters to the met offices concerned to complain about them obstructing science, which led to the Swedish met office sending Phil this follow-up:
        “With reference to the current debate regarding, amongst other things, access to climate data we have found that our letter to you dated 21 December 2009 unfortunately have rendered bad publicity both to SMHI and to the climate research community. We understand now that our response to your request forwarded by UK MetOffice 30 November 2009 may have been misinterpreted, maybe due to the fact that the formulations may have been a bit harsh.
        Our response was based on your information that it was likely that the version held by you would most likely differ from our current holdings. It has never been our intention to withhold any data but we feel that it is paramount that data that has undergone, for instance, homogenisation by anyone other than SMHI is not presented as SMHI data. We see no problem with publication of the data set together with a reference stating that the data included in the dataset is based on observations made by SMHI but it has undergone processing made by your research unit. We would also prefer a link to SMHI or to our web site where the original data can be obtained.”

        So you see, there’s no point whatsoever going to the national met services, because it isn’t the same data. It wouldn’t work. That’s why Dr Phil needs to publish his own special flavour of the “raw” data. And that’s probably why he’s been so reticent about publishing it before.

      • Is the point of the exercise to recreate CRU, or to prove something is wrong with the CRU data?

        I’d start with the NMS’s, and avoid CRU entirely. Get their data, do your own analysis, and proceed from there.

      • Actually your point doesn’t stand. The first job in any audit I would do would be to check that the data Jones recieved was the same as the data the NWS provides. Further, CRU have made adjustments to that data, so any accounting would need all three sources. That’s why from the beginning I have requested the data ( AS USED) and the code (AS RUN) and not pointers to sources.

        But yes, some METs do charge. That too is besides the point. CRU was in possession of confidential data. The FOIA statute allows for the release of this data if it is in the public interest, trumping any third party agreement.
        The rational that CRU gave for not releasing the data was as follows: if they violated the agreements ( as the law allows) the public interest would be harmed. They argued this on the basis that such a release would endanger access to future data. But clearly:
        1. The volume of data at risk is small, less than 2% of the total
        2. There own analysis and other analysis shows this data makes no difference.
        3. the data in question had already been posted on the web with no complaint by the NWS who supplied them.
        4. The data in question had been redistributed to other researchers with no adverse consequences, in the case of rutherford, the met, and Peter.

        there claim of potential future damage was contradicted by the fact that there had been multiple releases with NO damage, and arguably the failure to release the data caused more harm that a release ever could

      • You don’t audit Jones by using his tools – you entirely independently perform your own analysis and then see how his matches up.

        When I’m asked to verify someone else’s work, I don’t get their code – I write my own. I then pass it over the same data and see what the differences, if any, there are. If you’re “auditing” Jones’ work, you don’t even need the same data, since what you’re really doing is verifying his analyses, not the precise numbers. If your analysis shows something radically different then his, and you can prove that your analysis is correct, then Jones has a problem. So far, no-one has managed to show that Jones’ work is wrong, and in fact, all the other analyses are quite similar.

        That tells me that Jones’ work is much more right than wrong. Too bad for Steve Mc.

      • “I pointed out to them that they had argued the following “the confidential data dont change the science”
        [ words to that effect] How then is this confidential data NECESSARY to the mission? I have not followed up on this FOIA, as it disappearred down the rabbit hole .”

        Heh, good effort Mosh. The response from the FOIA officer probably disappeared in a puff of illogic.

      • Basically you are saying that things will be much better if another bureaucracy of fallible humans are set up to handle access to the documents??

        Why do I want to fall on the floor laughing?

      • Wow, Steven, that’s one heck of alot of hats!

        Frankly it amazes me that the “gatekeeper” mentality that was revealed so clearly by Climategate still seems to be alive and well, despite all the hearings and general hand-wringing of the last year.

        I hope that attitudes like those displayed by Easterbrook towards Dr Curry will become increasingly rare over the coming months. It seems to me that they sound more shrill and desperate with each passing day.

      • The Five Hundred Hats of Bartholomew Cravens.

      • Now that’s funny!!!!!!!

      • Dr. Curry,
        You are getting a small taste of why skeptics are skeptical of cliate crisis extremists.

      • as an ‘insider’ heretic is more appropriate and more fun..

        “Judith Curry .. throws down the Gauntlet”
        ie challenges ‘climate scientists’ to read ‘ The Hockey Stick Illusion’

  26. Greg Craven 12/18/10

    Craven’s pain was palpable, prompting no small measure of empathy. It was a case of science abused, politicized, and turned into an erupting emotional pyre for a school teacher lost in a scientific fraud.

    The folks at AGU like to claim – defensively — that AGW has somehow become politicized, turning the whole mess into a domestic conservative vs. Christian fundamentalists. That is denialists and skeptics against the One True Faith. In fact the immature science became political the moment that it was taken over by government, and not just by any government agency, but by world government, an institution with zero democratic connections.

    I read on in Craven’s blog, and watched his video with his two-by-two decision matrix. As I will explain, it is nonsense, and only compounds what is already a tragedy on all fronts, including science and politics. The decision matrix could have been written by Marshall Applewhite to convince his believers to follow him in death and resurrection.

    Craven begins by arguing that his audience will surely concede that AGW could, in some small degree, be true. That settled, he then lays out a decision matrix in which inaction has sufficiently tragic consequences that it can overcome even an infinitesimal probability of catastrophe. His method thus overcomes an almost zero probability of catastrophe with a penalty that he can escalate to infinity, the end of humanity and all the little animals. By his presumed concession, he eliminates the indeterminate mathematics of zero times infinity. His method, that of heaping death upon devastation and suffering until the smallest probability in the audience is overwhelmed, is precisely the technique practiced by IPCC. It is found in the papers of Working Groups II and III, made current and amplified through the speeches of Dr. Pachauri, the Chairman.

    Now consider Craven’s method applied to Applewhite and Heaven’s Gate. The problem is not that some infinitesimal probability exists that They Are Coming, and that the Gate to the Kingdom is opening. The problem is that the story is balderdash. It is not an event of probability zero. It a tale told outside the realm of probability altogether.

    Until the 1970s, AGW was a conjecture – a model for a real world process that fit some real world data, but which made no measurable prediction. Once turned over to government, the model and the data expanded geometrically, employing a measure of some decent science but some not so palatable, and soon the fit vanished. AGW was no longer a conjecture. It was no longer science, suitable to advance from conjecture, to hypothesis, to theory and to law.

    Nevertheless, IPCC built elaborate models designed to show just the right measure of impending doom – not so threatening that predictions could actually be tested, mind you, but that the end of mankind loomed in a few generations nonetheless. In sounding the public alarm, IPCC treated AGW as if it were a theory. It proclaimed the ultimate catastrophe to be the outcome, declaring that man had already set an irreversible chain of events in motion that only drastic action could deter. It was unethical.

    The IPCC model is chock full of gaping holes in its physics and modeling. A list is on the table at . AGW differs from Heaven’s Gate – or cold fusion, or Shöne’s nanotechnology, or Piltdown man – in the first order as a matter of scale. Science, which should be used to promote its objectivity and public calm, was employed instead to promote fear to gain recognition and largesse. AGW is scientific terrorism.

    Calm will come out of neither the political arena, nor from breast beating. A public trial is needed on purely the scientific basis, the realm of IPCC’s Working Group I. Efforts like Craven’s are sadly pointless. The question is, does AGW have merits? Or, is the coincidence of the modern rise in CO2 and temperature merely another proof like Kohoutek validating UFOs?

    • > AGW is scientific terrorism.

      How come no warning to Mr. Glassman for this rhetorical excess (to say the least), Dr. Curry?

      • It is not against blog rules to criticize an institution. It is against blog rules to insult an individual, particularly one participating in the blogospheric discussion.

      • Thanks for the clarification. One can use any hyperbole one wants, so long as it only refers to “institutions”, however they’re defined, and that “AGW” is an “institution”.

      • Such hyperbole is not useful, and if someone goes way over the top with repeated hyperbolic rants I will put a stop to it.

      • Although I’m not sure I entirely agree with Mr Glassman, I think his point is well made. His use of the term “scientific terrorism” was by way of summary of his previous paragraph, concerning the political use of “AGW” by the IPCC. Had he used the acronym:”CAGW” instead, I think his turn of phrase would have been entirely uncontroversial.

      • His “public trial” nonsense smacks of McCarthyism. Science isn’t decided in the courts.

        I’ve read enough of Glassman’s blog to realize he’s not a credible skeptic. His hyperbolic rhetoric fits, but is readily dismissible.

      • I understand your concern here, but the context of Jeff Glassman’s “trial” seems to be to achieve a return to calm rather than the kind of firebrand show trials of the McCarthy era. I think his choice of the word “trial” was a little unfortunate but I think the idea of an official public forum to examine the claims of the IPCC for instance, could be a very useful tool in establishing public confidence in the scientific process – it would also expose the charlatans from both extremes of this debate.

      • We already know what happens when science becomes a matter of court decision – and it ain’t pretty.

        Given that at least two politicians are using persecution and threats of persecution against climate science as a means to enhance their stature amongst a certain ideological subset of the electorate, merely passing off Mr. Glassman’s choice of words as unfortunate is not at all comforting.

        Oh, and how much more public do the claims of the IPCC assessments need to be? They’ve been readily available since day one. Anyone is free to investigate them – no secret cabals at all.

      • Yes, The Supreme Court demonstrated that perfectly in deciding CO2 is a dangerous pollutant.
        War on science, indeed.
        If only we had a brave writer willing to talk about this danger……Maybe the AGU would hire him or her?

      • “Science isn’t decided in the courts” I am very much afraid that you are going to find yourself sadly mistaken.

      • Meaning what? Even McIntyre doesn’t approve of Cuccinelli’s witch hunt against Mann.

      • Is Mann a witch, as well?
        Or are scientists now above and removed from pesky things like public accountability?
        And since when did you start respecting anything at all that McIntyre has to say?

      • curryja et al 12/18/10 18:55

        1. Saaad, thank you for the calm reasoning. I do believe I derived AGW terrorism, and didn’t merely hurl it invective-wise.

        2. CAGW has been preempted by Citizens Against Government Waste. Not a bad fit, though.

        3. Derecho64: Amusing that “public trial” evoked a visceral anti-McCarthyism reaction. McCarthy conducted hearings, but no trials. Not even “show trials”, Saaad.

        4. Dunton: We have already arrived. My understanding of Massachusetts v. EPA is that the US Supreme Court ordered the EPA to consider CO2 a pollutant, and thereby to regulate emissions under the Clean Air Act. Cap & Trade is underway by executive action and without Congressional oversight.

        My preference for format would be rather like a scored debate, with debaters representing themselves, as opposed to being assigned a position by lottery. It should have enough rounds of examination and direct cross-examination until all sides agree that they have made their points at least once. It should be fully covered on C-SPAN, and transcribed overnight. It might well last months.

      • Are you more interested in understanding how the world works, or scoring debate points?

      • Judith,

        I realize you want to encourage ‘open debate’ and so forth, but Jeff Glassman is clearly an insane conspiracy theorist who is too stupid to realize he is stupid. I would really suggest a degree of moderation to the type of this behavior that is involved in ‘the debate’, on both sides.

        Moderation note: Chris, this violates blog rules, no insults to individual posters.

      • Chris,
        Is he over your head?

      • Jeff Glassman:
        “McCarthy conducted hearings, but no trials. Not even “show trials”, Saaad.”

        Point taken Jeff – I must admit I hadn’t realised that – but you would have to concede that the McCarthy “hearings” certainly played to the world at large as show trials, with devastating consequences for many of the “accused” .

        However I share your desire for some form of high level public forum in which the various merits of the science and, most importantly, policies arising from the science are frankly and fully debated, without fear or favour.

        The congressional hearings in which Dr Curry has recently been involved seem to me to be a valuable step in the right direction. I think that perhaps this is a better forum than a “scored debate”, which I fear may end up as more of a talent contest than a measured debate.

      • @Judith

        Some comments were deleted earlier for using disobliging (but relatively mild) adjectives about Mr Craven.

        I hope that you will use your moderation in the same manner to comments below about:

        ‘is clearly an insane conspiracy theorist who is too stupid to realize he is stupid’, which is rather more disobliging than the original offence against Mr.Craven

      • Latimer, thanks for pointing this out, I put a strike through and moderation note on that comment

      • curryja et al 12/18/10 18:55 am

        In his video, Craven created two states for “human caused global climate change”, one false and one true. He claimed tautologically, “No one can know with absolute certainty what the physical world will do”, to conclude, “so we can all agree they are both possibilities.”

        I don’t agree. I do agree that the greenhouse exists and has a warming effect, including the effect of CO2. I do agree that man adds to the atmospheric concentration by his CO2 emissions. However, even though the total effect is positive, it is too small to be detected, much less discerned against natural variations (i.e., GW), and especially heating from the Sun (SGW).

        The notion of a measurable AGW is fantastic. The chances of a measurable AGW cannot be quantified because measurable AGW does not exist. All attempts by IPCC and others to establish a real, measurable AGW have been successful only by error and fraud. Once a conjecture, AGW is now failed science.

        Now to distinguish the subclass CAGW, meaning Catastrophic AGW, is to concede that AGW exists. It supports Craven’s meaningless analysis.

      • curryja et al 12/19/10 1:23 am

        1. Saaad, my point was the emotional reaction to my choice of the word trial, wrongly linked to McCarthyism.

        2. McCarthy’s hearings were hideous. He sought to purge people from government and the public sphere by accusation. If you want to see a naked example of McCarthyism, read chriscolose’s 12/18/10 11:15 pm post, just above. He would protect his belief system or rice bowl by hurling insults and banishing opposition.

        3. I am not enamored of congressional hearings. They are mostly run for posturing of the congressmen. A prime example of obnoxious congressional hearings was the 1994 Henry Waxman hearings in which seven tobacco CEOs were obliged to answer yes or not to the question of whether tobacco was addictive without agreement on the definition of addictive. (According to definitions laid down before the anti-smoking movement gained full steam, tobacco was not addictive because it lacks the property of tolerance (requiring an individual to use more and more of the product in repeated efforts to achieve the same effect)).

        Congressmen will load the hearing with proponents of the congressmen’s positions, making it political. The hearings need to be geared around scientific questions.

      • Jeff,

        I see what you mean about congressional hearings – I guess I was basing my enthusiasm on the current hearings involving a wide range of views on AGW, including Richard Lindzen and Pat Michaels…..nevertheless, I take your point.

        I’m not sure about your “points system” debate idea however, especially if it runs for months. To me the purpose of any public debate has to be to increase – or decrease – public confidence in policies developed from a risk-analysis of the current state of climate change science. I’m a little worried that, if this process went on for months, most peoples eyes would glaze over and we’d be back to square one.

        I would like to see core statements which outline the IPCC’s position and evidence for dangerous AGW held up to close public scrutiny, without the usual carry-on about our supposed inability to grasp the intricacies of the problem. I would like to see every conceivable counter-argument thrown at the hypothesis, even those considered to be completely hare-brained. This would give the public a really good chance to establish what the risks really are likely to be – as a result it would also lead to far more “focussed” attempts at policy from our various governments, who would be looking over their shoulders at a very well informed electorate.

        However, for this “forum” to work, it cannot drag on for months – arguments need to be concise – this shouldn’t be difficult and might well encourage some experts to become better communicators.

        Risk assessment is the corner stone here. It’s something we humans do very well, when provided with the relevant information. IMO this information is the very thing that has become obscured beneath the catch cry “the science is in and the debate is over”. The sooner a genuine debate takes place in the public arena, the sooner governments can enact – or not – policies that have genuine public support.

      • > Risk assessment is the corner stone here. It’s something we humans do very well, when provided with the relevant information.

        Really. Why do smokers continue to smoke, then?

      • They continue to smoke because their assessment of the risk is different from yours. I’ve known many smokers who reached a ripe old age with no ill effects from the practice. In my case, I gave it up 30 years ago, but I object greatly to those who would ban smoking entirely based on their own bias against it/ fear of it. Fact is that for many people smoking will cause the ill effects that you attribute to it. BUT – there are also large numbers of people for whom smoking is apparently not harmful. The question is – which people fall into which category.

        The penchant for dragging smoking into this kind of discussion is apparently confined to only one side of the debate and it contributes nothing. Except perhaps adding to the rancor, divisiveness and incivility.

      • Smokers have all the relevant information, and many, such as yourself, have chosen to quit. Others continue to do so, however. Their risk assessment is faulty, despite what Saaad says about humans generally.

        Likewise, on one day, 3,000 Americans died because of a terrorist attack. Since that day, roughly 120 times as many Americans have died in auto accidents. Which cause of death has created more concern, worry, and fear? Does the reaction match the risk?

      • Absolutely right.

        Did you know that even today there are still nutters wandering about muttering about tipping points and Catastrophic global warming and sealevels and polar bears and worrying themselves stupid about all that old malarkey.

        Their risk assessment mechanisms are way out of whack. But that’s what cultists can never do – calibrate their views of reality against the received truths.

      • Everyone has some level of risk tolerance. And they’re all different. I doubt you could live wihth mine. And I probably wouldn’t want to live with yours. That doesn’t make my risk assessment any more faulty than yours – just different.

        Gotta realize that humans are not rational beings. I spent 25 years married to someone who thought she could “change” me. That’s not rational – on either side. Nor is it rational to expect people to make the same decisions you would make in any given situation.

        If you look at your own life you’ll find that you’re not rational either. But most people never get around to that kind of self-analysis.

        Re: 9/11 – the expectation that present TSA security measures will keep one “safe” is totally irrational. And yet many, many people are willing to give up a large measure of their “rights” and freedom for that illusory safety. I’m not – so I won’t be flying very much, if at all, for a while. Your decision may be different. I can live with that – can you live with mine? If so, why are you unwilling to live with others’ decision to continue to smoke?

        Note that I’m not advocating smoking – just the personal freedom to make ones own decisions even if others believe them to be wrong or irrational – or stupid.

      • Saaad,

        I would point out that the much ballyhooed McCarthy hearings amounted to ONE investigation of the Army Signal Corps that came up empty. Later, when the Democrats held hearings on McCarthy himself, he was badgered into releasing a name that turned out to be a Soviet agent who was employed in a militay code room and who then committed suicide. There is much mythology around McCarthy and the use of the term should be dropped. Ronald Reagan as President of the Screen Actors Guild blackballed writers and actors in Hollywood. The House Committee on Unamerican Affairs actually held hearings on non-governmental persons that fit the modern McCarthyism term much more closely, yet, the leader of those investigations we can not name without looking it up!! McCarthy was crucified by the media and politicians. We should ask them why.

        Before continuing to judge McCarthy it would be good to read this account by his secretary and then INVESTIGATE THE FACTS!!!!!

      • Fair call, kuhnkat.

        I’m not an American and my only knowledge of the “McCarthyism” phenomenon is from a fairly cursory knowledge of the commonly accepted history of events. I always assumed that McCarthy was behind the whole “Un-American activities” thing in Hollywood and beyond.

        The point I was trying to make though, was related to the common interpretation of the term “McCarthyism” which, until now, I took to be accurate….so the analogy – at least in the terms I meant it – stands.

        In the light of your revelations concerning McCarthy I will definitely investigate the facts.

        Thank you.

      • Apologies for not realizing you are not American, although most Americans have been inculcated with pretty much the same information that you have!

      • Saaad 12/20/10 1:30 am

        Just as a point of order for the other-than-Americans, the infamous unamerican activities hearings were under the House Unamerican Activities Committee. Joseph A. McCarthy was a Senator.

        That used to be a distinction with a difference – people vs. States. Now it’s just redundancy – all populism. And you can throw in the Presidency and the Supreme Court.

      • Since Hansen explicitly endorsed a book calling for a worldwide terror campaign against what the author and Hansen agree are risks to the climate, I think Glassman may not really be as over the top as you seem to wish.

      • @ Chris Colose

        “…….but Jeff Glassman is clearly an insane conspiracy theorist who is too stupid to realize he is stupid.”

        Apart perhaps from one rather inflammatory paragraph: “The IPCC model is chock full of gaping holes in its physics and modeling……”etc, I found nothing particularly ‘insane’ or ‘stupid’ about Jeff’s opinion. I don’t particularly agree with his conclusions – or some of his views concerning the IPCC but I think he’s got a point when it comes to the effects on the direction of climate science once exposed to government imperatives and I thought he put it rather well, actually.

        Clearly something he said has really upset you – but I must admit I was surprised to read your response!

      • Saad, hunter,

        The material Jeff is commenting on is neither “over my head”, nor in much dispute, such as the logarthmic nature of CO2 and the effects due to the existence of absorption wings. What *is* over my head is how idiocy such as the below quote (by Plassman in the confidence in radiative transfer model thread) is even allowed to exist in this world:

        “…You don’t tell us this citation is from Petty’s introduction to atmospheric radiation (p. 78), and that Petty appears to be both an AGW supporter and a radiative transfer advocate. In that IPCC environment, the investigators NEED Beer’s Law not to apply, so they ASSERT that it is a law about monochromatic radiation. You need an independent citation.”

        According to “Dr.” Plassman, the reference to the textbook on Beer’s law is invalid because the author ‘advocates radiative transfer’ (whatever the heck that means) and is a supporter of AGW (which would supposedly invalidate most references by an author with relevant expertise in atmospheric science; I should note Petty’s expertise is in remote sensing, not climate change, and I don’t think he ever claimed to be…at least not in the many conversations I’ve had with him–he works a few floors down from where I typically am and I can assure you he understands radiative transfer).

        Even more astonishing is the IPCC apparently reinvented basic physics (which is odd since they do not do original research, they only assess the standing literature) to push a particular agenda.

        Sorry, but this is a case of pure delusion, and this judgment comes from reading much of what Plassman writes, on his blog, his comments on the physics on this forum, and elsewhere. I realize people want to be skeptical but there’s better people to hang your hat on.

      • Chris,

        Firstly, thanks for your considered response.

        I wouldn’t presume for a second to enter into a discussion of “Plassman”‘s(?) views on atmospheric physics. I haven’t visited his blog and, besides, I’m confident that your knowledge of this subject entitles you to an informed opinion on aspects of the science that are, currently, beyond my grasp. My response was purely to the post at 4.44pm above.

        Whilst I’m still learning about the complexities of molecular chemistry within the atmosphere, I’m far more knowledgeable when it comes to politics and philosophy. In other words, when a post appears such as “Jeff Glassman” at 4.44pm, with some fairly outspoken views about the IPCC, government involvement via grants etc and political fallout, I feel far more qualified to venture an opinion.
        I’m sorry that you feel his ideas on physics somehow invalidate his views on the IPCC’s involvement in the political ramifications of AR4. Personally, as I mentioned above, I found them quite intriguing.
        Whilst I’m unable to comment on the veracity of the physics, there is absolutely no doubt that the purpose of the IPCC was to inform the policies of governments around the world – indeed, this was its raison d’etre. As such – and quite rightly – AR4 is as much a political document as a scientific one. There is also no doubt, I’m sure you would agree, that the various attempts of climate scientists to engage in the political debate have been largely less than successful, especially since the climategate debacle.

        I guess the point I’m trying to make, Chris, is that public confidence in any policies arising from risk-analysis of the science is absolutely vital. Without public confidence, climate change policy is dead in the water. Thus, the type of debating points that are raised here – of which Jeff Glassmans’ was one – are absolutely central both to the public interest in climate science and to the policy outcomes relating to the science.

        Therefore, although you could well be right in dismissing any number of scientific claims made by posters here, perhaps you should be careful to distinguish between science and policy…..and please keep posting on the science – I’m an avid learner!

      • I agree that the science-policy distinction can and should be made often, but in this case Glassman’s delusions about the physics translate just as much into his delusions of the politics. While I agree Craven’s ‘matrix’ methodology of how to think about risk assessment is unconvincing, everything else from “AGW is scientific terrorism” to “IPCC built elaborate models designed to show just the right measure of impending doom …” to “It proclaimed the ultimate catastrophe to be the outcome, declaring that man had already set an irreversible chain of events in motion that only drastic action could deter” just reaks of error, conspiracy, and a Dunning-Kruger mental disorder.

        I’m sorry if you feel I am being harsh, and I am generally always willing to discuss things with people I disagree with, but a pre-requisite to any decent discussion is to have two or more participants who aren’t going to make sh*t up, throw around baseless accusations, outright lies, and then declare anyone on the “other side” (with the famously made up acronym of ‘CAGWists’) to a priori be non-credible. Glassman is self-evidently beyond disagreement or beyond reasoning with. Why people can actually pretend otherwise and continue to discuss with him is beyond me, and I’ve not actually seen a political point he made that was enlightening.

        As for public opinion, I agree that’s a whole issue in itself, and I don’t claim to know how to address that. I don’t particularly find the necessity for a point-based debate system. What’s the point in this?

      • Chris, your points are well taken.

        I must admit that I find the whole concept of “sides” in this debate somewhat facile. Indeed the polarisation of a range of viewpoints into this oversimplified paradigm is one of the major obstacles to reason when dealing with climate change policy. Tribalism is a natural human trait that is sometimes hard to suppress….but suppress it we must, if we are to make any reasoned progress with this issue IMO.

        Also, I think the “congressional hearing” method of debate, in which Dr Curry – and others from a range of different views – is currently engaged is far more likely to achieve greater public awareness of the policy issues arising from climate science than the method proposed by Jeff Glassman, although I did find his “point based” suggestion very interesting, in that it seemed to lean towards a much more “populist” contemporary approach….sort of.

      • Chris Morose on Jeff Plassman:

        “Dunning-Kruger mental disorder.”

        Isn’t this the way Soviet Russia dealt with dissidents too?

      • Wkipedia on the Dunning-Kruger effect:

        Dunning and Kruger themselves quote Charles Darwin (“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge”)[3] and Bertrand Russell (“One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.”

        Sounds like a neat summary of the warmist and sceptical positions to me.

      • Add a little projection from our cliamte change fanatics, and we have this spot on.

      • > Sounds like a neat summary of the warmist and sceptical positions to me.

        Aside from your crass terminology, I agree completely. Just not in the way you think.

      • Please explain.

      • AGW is scientific terrorism – What else would you call the 10:10 video of schoolchildren being blown up? Or the other videos produced over the last 10 years that terrorize children? Are these “scientific”? Of course not, but they’re purported to be based on “science”. Ergo: scientific terrorism.

        So….where does this “science” come from? The ultimate source that the public sees is — the IPCC and the “scientists”. Via the media, of course. But how many times have you seen a scientist trying to correct the media after they’ve misquoted him/her or blown the “science” all out of proportion? Do you need more than one hand to count the instances? How many “scientific papers” have been published that promote the CAGW meme – not just AGW, but CAGW? Don’t know about you but I can’t count that high.

        Then, from my point of view (to use your own words) – a pre-requisite to any decent discussion is to have two or more participants who aren’t going to make sh*t up, throw around baseless accusations, outright lies, and then declare anyone on the “other side” (with the famously made up —— you used [acronym of CAGWists] but my words there would be [label of “denialist”] I’ve been in these discussions for the last ten years – probably long before you started and I’ve been called more names than you can imagine. I have rarely, if ever, found an AGW believer who could resist using ad hom attacks as a method of “argument”. I have rarely if ever, found an AGW believer who could present a coherent and supportable argument. 24 hours ago I told one that “I’m listening – convince me”. They disappeared – as usual. So I’ll tell you – I’m a sceptic, an infidel, a barbarian – you’re a believer. So convince me. With facts and supportable science, not the crap that the usual AGW supporter throws out and calls “science”. But don’t – DO NOT – try to convince me that the “science is settled” because that’s not “science” – it’s religion. And I don’t need your religion, I’ve got my own, thank you.

      • It is difficult to answer this type of question without knowing where you are on the spectrum. Here are some questions that help figure that out.
        1. Do you believe the global temperature is increasing?
        2. Do you believe CO2 is increasing?
        3. Do you believe the CO2 increase is anthropogenic?
        4. Do you believe that these increases are related to each other through the greenhouse effect?
        5. Do you believe that positive feedbacks are possible?
        Having said that, I don’t think this thread is the best place to have this discussion, and at least the first 4 points have been adequately discussed and established on previous threads. I am hoping that there will be a thread on the 5th point some time.

      • Greg Goodknight

        “5. Do you believe that positive feedbacks are possible?”

        Do you believe there is evidence of a runaway positive feedback driven by ‘greenhouse gases’ in the past? When was it?

      • This is a common misconception. Positive feedback doesn’t mean runaway, it means an amplification factor, in this case up to about three. Almost no AGWer goes beyond four or five.

      • Greg Goodknight

        OK, then an event where a peak was reached via positive feedback. Something hot in the record that you think was indicative of heat due to increasing CO2.

      • There are other causes of warming climate too. None of those come even close to explaining the recent warming the way CO2 does.

      • I’d watch Richard Alley’s AGU video from last year– he does a great job of putting CO2’s role in paleoclimate into context

      • Greg Goodknight

        Alley’s talk. Oh, yes, I remember that. I recall he made a point of saying the only explanation for the Permian Triassic Extinction (aka The Great Dying) was CO2, which did get pretty high.

        Ever notice when the all time Phanerozoic minimum galactic ray flux occurred? Care to guess when that was? No fair peeking at Shaviv & Veizer (2003), “Celestial driver of Phanerozoic climate?”. Or figure 8 in Svensmark’s Cosmoclimatology survey article. For reference, the P-T was about 251 million years ago.

        Yes, if you exclude all other mechanisms, the only thing left is CO2.

        Of course, I’m conveniently ignoring the devastating proof Alley had that demolished the GCR connection to climate. All I can do is hope no one dredges that up…

      • Jim –
        To answer your questions –
        1. yes, it’s been a long, generally gentle warming for the last 150 years.
        2. of course it is increasing
        3. of course part of the increase is anthropogenic
        4. they are partially related . But there are other obvious factors as well. And they’re not directly related in the way they’ve been portrayed by the AGW proponents. CO2 is not the EVIL GAS that will eat the world.
        5. the evidence to date is that if the feedback is positive, it’s very small. But my belief is that it’s negative.

        Those are the short answers – each can be expanded into a small book.

        Just for information I’m an engineer with close to 50 years experience. Much of it with instrumentation, spacecraft (remote sensing) and science data (acquisiton, processing and analysis). I’m also a long distance hiker who has spent years and thousands of miles (literally) in the mountains and backcountry. I know what climate is – up close and personal. The rest of the resume will have to wait for another day.

      • Jim Owen, thanks for the replies, because that puts you in the less extremist skeptic categories. It seems you only need to be convinced of positive feedback for your mind to be changed. I really hope there will be a thread on this here soon. I know skeptics don’t accept models, so the best approach is data. I would point to the 0.5 C warming since 1980 that agrees with a somewhat positive feedback response to CO2, given that the sun hasn’t been doing much.

      • Greg Goodknight

        The sun was in an 8000 year maximum from circa 1940 to our very recent past. Not a significant change in luminance but its magnetic field doubled.

        We’re now in something of a solar minumum. Maybe even Daltonesque, which is what Solanki was suggesting at the ’09 AGU meeting and that is getting more and more traction.

      • Greg, solar variations associated with, probably, MWP and the LIA may have caused climate changes around 0.5 C. With CO2 we are expecting much bigger things by 2100. It is a matter of scale that a lot of people don’t get. If it wasn’t so much bigger than natural variation, nobody would be concerned.

      • And how many angels dance on the head of a pin?
        And are you pre-dispensationalist or a chialist?
        What an interesting way you have of distoring the issue.
        And there you go dodging, which is just what you were predicted to do.

      • Greg Goodknight

        Jim, first, thank you for your acceptance of a warm MWP and a cool LIA.

        What you seem not to get is that some, or even all, of the 20th century forcing the GCM attribute to positive feedbacks resulting from CO2 were in fact a forcing due to fewer clouds due to fewer GCR due to an 8000 year solar maximum, with the heliosphere doubling in strength.

        Garbage in, garbage out. The possibility that the GCM are accurate 100 years into the future is approximately zero.

        BTW, today was the first day in 70 where there are *no* visible sunspots. We live in interesting times.

      • You mention solar variation, but I have seen nothing that explains 0.5 C in the last 30 years. Cloud albedo variations are interesting, and may be partially related to GCRs, but an upper limit on that effect must be the 11-year cycle where we don’t see much more than 0.2 C and this is an up/down effect, not increasing like CO2.

      • Greg Goodknight

        Jim D, the only reason you are expecting big things by 2100 is because the GCM forced CO2 positive feedbacks to account for heat that had nothing to do with CO2.

        The last 30 years were likely (primarily) driven by the Pacific Decadal and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillations, which, along with the GCR forcings, were mostly unknown to the modelers.

        Two quotes come to mind regarding clouds; first, Denmark’s Eigil Friis-Christensen:
        “The evidence has piled up, first for the link between cosmic rays and low-level clouds and then, by experiment and observation, for the mechanism involving aerosols. All these consistent scientific results illustrate that the current climate models used to predict future climate are lacking important parts of the physics”. (Oct ’09).

        Second, the grand environmentalist, James “Gaia” Lovelock:”The great climate science centres around the world are more than well aware how weak their science is. If you talk to them privately they’re scared stiff of the fact that they don’t really know what the clouds and the aerosols are doing. They could be absolutely running the show. We haven’t got the physics worked out yet. One of the chiefs once said to me that he agreed that they should include the biology in their models, but he said they hadn’t got the physics right yet and it would be five years before they do. So why on earth are the politicians spending a fortune of our money when we can least afford it on doing things to prevent events 50 years from now? They’ve employed scientists to tell them what they want to hear.” (March ’10).

        You might want to look into the physics that has climate scientists scared stiff they’ve gotten it wrong, but aren’t too interested in going public with their doubts. I suspect CLOUD9 has many edging towards the exits…

        BTW, my degrees are in physics and engineering. You?

      • (probably some kind of recored for a thread without a reply button, lots of scrolling up and down to reply).
        The bottom line for AGW is external forcing. Clouds and aerosols can affect this through albedo. There is nothing to correlate their changes with CO2. If you have a mechanisms for the sun to decrease several times more than it cooled in the LIA, or for clouds to increase their coverage by 5-10%, you might have something that can cancel CO2. The water vapor amplifying feedback is a consequence of physics related to the equilibrium at the ocean surface. I doubt you can get 0.5 C out of some ocean redistribution of energy. Where is it coming from, and why didn’t it happen before? You should be skeptical of that idea on the grounds of energy conservation.

      • Jim–I don’t know who you have corresponded with or what you may have done to provoke them, but most scientists or people educated in climate science are more than happy to field questions. There’s a new AGU service dedicated to that specifically, for bloggers and media outlets. However, most scientists and educated individuals can also tell very easily when they are being duped into a game of answering questions that the person doesn’t actually want answered.

        I’m not saying this is your case over 10 years, or even now, but it does turn out to be the case with most conversations I tend to have on the blogs. If the same tone you carried in the last post is the tone you used in all your previous engagements, then I can understand why people would not take you to be a serious student ready to engage the matter. Therefore, yes, I do tend to be cautious and skeptical of the other persons intent when I start answering specific questions (depending on the nature of the question, it is easy to tell if the person is repeating something they heard elsewhere or has a legitimate curiousty). So I do understand the frustration of other people, and why they may become emotional and fall back to personal attacks. To be honest, some people deserve it, even if it’s not a scientific argument.

        I recently lashed out on here at Jeff Glassman, an individual who apparently has no reservations about pronouncing fraud, conspiracy, unreliability (in particular, he referenced someone who works a few floors down from where I spend most of my time and have learned from), etc. while displaying no understanding of the science. This is not someone who has any desire to learn, and “questions” posed by such an individual are not aimed to increase their personal understanding.

        So, if you have problems with the way “I” or others who share my views answer your questions, it’s completely logical that we might all just be intolerant and mean. An alternative possibility that you should entertain is that you pose your questions in a perceived hostile manner (even if you don’t actually think you are)…this is not just directed at you, but all here who share the frustration of those who think the “AGWers are intolerant of debate, etc”

      • AnyColourYouLike


        I’ve been meaning to ask you, you’ve been posting here for a while, and Dr Curry has thanked you from time to time for clarification on technical issues. She also has a link to your blog for those who may wish to understand your views further.

        In the interests of those who have a “desire to learn” would it not seem reasonable and only good manners to reciprocate? Yet I notice you have no link to Climate Etc on your blogroll? Nor, (seemingly in the isolationist spirit of Real Climate and others), do you have any links to those blogs who question the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth of dangerous AGW.

        Does this ignoring of the existence of websites such as this one, really chime with the sentiment of climate scientists who are, “always happy to field questions”? Compare the blogrolls here, and at WUWT, Climate Audit etc, many sites listed that (sometimes aggresively) disagree with the general tone of their native content. They are advertised in the interests of allowing a commentator or lurker an alternative view, should they wish it.

        Is it not a bit hypocritical to be so “cautious and skeptical of the other person’s intent”- on a site where you regularly enjoy parachuting in to debate radiative physics (often with barely concealed scholarly indignation), but yet apparently feel this place is dangerous for your posters to know about?

        Jsut wondering.

      • AnyColourYouLike


        My bad, I just noticed you have links to the Pielke’s, which is a start! I think my point about this place stands however.

      • I’ll put Judith’s up on my blogroll…to be honest I’ve just never thought of it. I’ve been inactive for some time on my site, only dropping in periodically to approve comments, which are now very diminished in number since I’m not updating with new posts much anymore.

        As for other sites, I don’t sit on the viewpoint that I should put something up just because it “is another view.” WUWT most of the time is just wrong. It isn’t even intelligently wrong, it’s just ridiculously flawed analyses time after time. Why would I endorse, promote, or link to such a venue? I don’t want my readers learning about how Venus is not hot because of its greenhouse effect, or the typical Goddard-esque cherry picking of the last 2 days of sea ice behavior, or that you should compare two different temperature anomaly graphs w/o removing the effects of different baselines. It’s disinformation and has no place in scientific discourse.

        Just because they link to RealClimate under the name of “accepting all ideas” doesn’t make it any more respectable.

      • AnyColourYouLike


        Fair enough, thanks for the reply.

      • That would be the difference between informing and convincing. Either of which is the perogative of the blog owner.

      • chriscolose 12/20/10 12:31 am

        chriscolose wrote,

        >>As for other sites, I don’t sit on the viewpoint that I should put something up just because it “is another view.” WUWT most of the time is just wrong. It isn’t even intelligently wrong, it’s just ridiculously flawed analyses time after time. Why would I endorse, promote, or link to such a venue? I don’t want my readers learning about how Venus is not hot because of its greenhouse effect, or the typical Goddard-esque cherry picking of the last 2 days of sea ice behavior, or that you should compare two different temperature anomaly graphs w/o removing the effects of different baselines. It’s disinformation and has no place in scientific discourse.

        >>Just because they link to RealClimate under the name of “accepting all ideas” doesn’t make it any more respectable.

        These paragraphs tell us nothing about WUWT or RealClimate, but it speaks volumes about the author.

        It is devoid of the ethics of science, to say nothing of common courtesy or substance. It replaces the scientific method with derision. It is contemptuous, and thus arrogant because it presumes that an author who writes such a petty, first-person-intense vacuity is possessed of opinions that carry weight, value, or interest, or that anyone cares upon what he sits.

        It is an example of the anti-science tactic of the believers in AGW, adopted as dogma for those who hiss that their opponents are Republicans.

      • @Baa Humbug

        Your rant is bizarre. Why does WUWT not have a link to then? Is that not discourteous?

      • Dave H

        3 lines constitute a rant?

        I made no judgement about who should link to whom or why.

        I merely stated (succinctly in 3 lines) those who link to blogs of any persuasion are allowing readers to make up their own mind and formulate their own judgements. That’s informing (i.e. what’s available out there)

        Those who only link to blogs whom they believe are correct, accurate, more scientific etc have made their own value judgement and only wish to direct readers to their own values. That can be construed as convincing.

        Also please note that I stated that these are the blog owners perogative, hence no judgement on their rights and wrongs.

        Are you sure you were directing your comment at me?

      • Baa Humbug:

        My sincere apologies – I was of course addressing Jeff Glassman.

      • It’s all good Dave, I knew that but needed an excuse to rant. :)

      • Apparently if I’m a math teacher I should link to articles claiming 5+5=20 just to expose my students to all ideas and get them thinking for themselves. Sorry, I don’t buy the logic. Students will end up thinking for themselves just fine if they introduce themselves to the literature and take classes on the subject-matter, and put a respectable effort into learning the material from first-rate sources…any good Atmospheric Science program will produce good “skeptics” by senior undergrad or early graduate years.

        When I said WUWT was not even intelligently wrong I meant to mean that it wasn’t as though they had “good ideas” that are thought provoking and meaningful even if they didn’t turn out to be right. Many research-level questions turn out to be good (and plausible) ideas but don’t pan out after further testing. Such is the nature of many good scientific hypotheses and the beginning of new theories. No one serious (or I) really has problems with this (or in blogospheric land, “linking to them”). However, I’m not going to link to drivel that looks like it was thought up by a drunk high schooler and is completely devoid of basis physical and statistical understanding under the guise of “balance” and “thinking for yourselves.”

      • Chris,
        How misleading and tone deaf will you be to avoid the issue.
        The ‘service’ the AGU is pushing is cr*p.
        Mooney is to good reasoinable communication what Pat Robertson is to religious tolerance.
        And frankly your answers are no better than any number of other true believers who are unable to engage on the topic.

      • Chris –
        A couple things you need to know about me –
        First is that I don’t generally get hostile. I don’t have enough time left of my life to play that game. I do, however, ask pointed questions and I have aa 50 year rep for stopping meetings in their tracks by asking obvious questions with obvious answers. If that provokes people it’s generally because they either don’t like the answers or don’t believe them but have no alternatives.

        Second thing is that I don’t play BS games. Same reason – I ran out of time for those about 50 years ago. If I ask a question, I want the answer. But I’m damned picky about what answers I’ll accept. If I perceive BS in the answer or if it doesn’t make sense or if it’s insupportable, then you might not want to waste your time giving it to me.

        Third, I can accept that you may have different views and interpretations than I do. Many of my friends are political polar opposites. My attitude is that diversity is a necessary survival trait for the human race. Too many people don’t understand that.

        Fourth is that I ‘ve spent my life learning. The day I stop learning will be the day they bury me – or maybe a couple days later.

        Fifth is that I spent most of 40+ years working with, for and around scientists. For much of that time part of my job was to, so to speak, save them from themselves. It’s amazing how little some (many)scientists know about the practical side of IT or spacecraft operations or instrumentation or data processing and analysis or …. a lot of of other things that they need to do their job properly.

        I don’t know Dr Glassman. I’ll figure him out later.

        As for my previous conversations with non-scientist AGW true believers, the ultimate defense they offer has been the “scientific consensus”. They have no clue how high that BS is stacked.
        And they rarely have anything even remotely related to actual science to offer. I have some hope for this blog, and I’ll say thank you to Dr Curry for her openness to different viewpoints. That is, after all, what science IS – free and open debate with the objective of determining what the world is and how it operates. To that end, I’ll be busy for a while with the other threads that were recommended and we can “talk” some more later. But I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes (it matches my attitude perfectly):

        I am suspicious of any ontological system that claims to deliver unchallengeable truths. The extent to which scientists claim to have delivered such certainty is the extent to which they have perverted the real purpose of science, which is above all a rigorous but open-minded and dynamic system of inquiry.
        From – “Hunting Down the Universe” by Michael Hawkins

      • Saaad 12/19/10 3:35 am

        You cheerily wrote,

        >>there is absolutely no doubt that the purpose of the IPCC was to inform the policies of governments around the world – indeed, this was its raison d’etre. As such – and quite rightly – AR4 is as much a political document as a scientific one.

        IPCC was chartered under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Its parent says,

        The IPCC was established by UNEP and WMO [World Meteorological Organization] in 1988 to assess the state of existing knowledge about climate change: its science, the environmental, economic and social impacts and possible response strategies. .

        Instead, IPCC understands its charter to be

        >>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. Caps added, Principles Governing IPCC Work, 10/1/1998.

        Thus in its first decade, IPCC inserted the assumption that “human-induced climate change” exists, and elevated that conjecture above “comprehensive, objective, open and transparent” investigation.

        IPCC claims to stimulate science, not actually to do science, as another poster here observed. However, its principle and contributing authors do science. It’s a distinction without a difference.

        IPCC claims to define the problem and then to rely on the “best available science“, meaning that agreeable science published in peer-reviewed publications. AR4, ¶1.2 The Nature of Earth Science, p. 95. But its investigators indicate that they accept as peer-reviewed only material from journals which publish no articles skeptical about AGW. The investigators reject other journals and other media, and boycott, intimidate, or ridicule editors and sources not in the camp.

        At the same time, the recent Himalayan glacier incident demonstrates IPCC’s willingness to rely on a student paper, based solely on that paper’s favorable support of IPCC’s conjecture, and on Climbing, a mountaineering paper.

      • Jeff,

        I agree with your assessment of the bias shown by the IPCC and also that it has enshrined the Anthropogenic element into its mission statement. The point I was making is that its purpose was, notwithstanding your note, always to assess the: “……science, the environmental, economic and social impacts and possible response strategies.” With the exception of the “science” element, these are all political objectives.

        My own feeling is that the IPCC’s credibilty is in terminal decline and, consequently, the impact of its next report will be severely compromised. I’m not convinced that it has ever done a particularly good job and it certainly lacks the transparency necessary to build public confidence in what was a hugely ambitious task in the first place.

        Perhaps the IPCC should be scrapped altogether. The dreaded “consensus” word could certainly be avoided and such organisations as the Royal Society and the AGU have far more “robust” debates within their ranks than was ever the case at the IPCC, at least from the public viewpoint.

      • chriscolose,

        I am far more interested in the scientific argument than any discussion on opinionated views about ‘what anyone else is thinking’ and I would echo Saaad’s expression: ” I’m still learning about the complexities of molecular chemistry within the atmosphere…”

        So, as you appear to have a grasp of the basic science, I would like to ask you to explain the radiative forcing theory at a molecular level. The way I see it, all the dry ghgs combined amount to about 0.04% of the atmosphere. This means that 99.96% of the dry atmosphere cannot be heated by radiation. As radiation is not heat, it requires a molecule capable of absorbing the radiation (at the relevant wavelength) before it can ‘becomes’ heat. With so (relatively) few ghg molecules available in the dry atmosphere, how is it feasible that an increase, even a doubling, of ghgs can lead to a significant, even catastrophic, rise n global temperature? The only way the heat can be transferred to the 99.96% is by conduction, not radiation. (Convection may play a part in moving the warm molecules from one place to another, but cannot directly transfer any heat between molecules.) I’m sure you will point out any error in my logic or knowledge here.

        If we now add water vapour to the mix, the number of radiation-absorbing molecules increases drastically. However, the water vapour is an addition to the atmosphere, making – say – 102%. However, 99.96% of this still can only be warmed by conduction with now 2.04% being able to be heated by radiation. This would suggest that H2O is overall way more effective as a ghg than any of the radiative molecules. Do you, or anyone else, know exactly how much of the greenhouse effect is contributed by the dry ghgs?

        I suppose I’m asking – most inarticulately – if the radiative forcing theory breaks down at the molecular level.

        What are your thoughts?


      • Even at ppmv concentrations any cubic centimeter of air contains billions of molecules. There are order 10^28 molecules of air for instance in a typical classroom sized room if my brain recalls correctly (this isn’t hard math/chemistry to do either; this would be a good exercise to convince yourself if you don’t believe me). In any case, from this it is easily shown that Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium (LTE) applies very well throughout the entire atmosphere– at least until very high elevations which aren’t much important for the global energy budget anyway.

      • chriscolose,

        Thanks for replying but the number of molecules is not the point. A percentage is a percentage. What was the LTE in 1850 for a ghg ‘percentage’ of 0.028?. Was it 32 deg C? The ghg concentration is now 0.04% and the rise in LTE has been a mere 0.8 deg C for what amounts to over 40% rise in ghgs – even if you ‘assume’ all of the warming is due to the rise in ghgs. Unless you can prove that the tiny percentage of ghgs back in 1850 was somehow responsible for a significant portion of the greenhouse effect, any warming that has taken place since can have no causation in the radiative theory.

        I ask again – do you, or anyone else, know exactly how much of the greenhouse effect is contributed by the dry ghgs?

      • Arfur – Regrettably, issues that more properly belong in a different thread are being hashed out here. You didn’t start that, but my first suggestion is that the answer to your questions can be found in the two threads on the greenhouse effect and the one on radiative transfer – not only in the comments, but also in references supplied by Dr. Curry and others. This will explain why uncertainty in climate change is not primarily related to the phenomena you ask about, but about other events including the magnitude of feedbacks. The greenhouse effect phenomenon and its mechanisms are well explained.

        Briefly for now, a number of analyses of the relative contribution to warming of different moieties have been done, with fairly similar results (at least when the quantitative data are published in the literature – I’m not referring to less well documented assertions elsewhere). A recent source from the Journal of Geophysical Research is

        CO2 contributes about 20 percent, water vapor about 50 percent, clouds about 25 percent, and other absorbers the rest. The predominant role of CO2 relates to its long term persistence, since elevated water content can’t be sustained for more than days unless something else has caused the climate to warm up and stay warm.

        Regarding a couple of your other points, conduction, in the sense of heat transfer over a distance, plays very little role in atmospheric warming except very near the Earth’s surface, for reasons Chris Colose points out. CO2 molecules are so numerous, and so thoroughly surrounded by other components (N2, O2) that photon absorption by a CO2 molecule is almost immediately followed by a collision transferring the energy to a molecule or N2 or O2 (or CO2, H2O, etc), increasing the kinetic energy (heat) in that molecule. Transfer over a distance is unnecessary for this immediate conversion of absorbed radiation into local heat. The quantitation is well worked out, and poses no problem in terms of the available energy in relation to the local warming.

        Regarding the ability of previous and current GHG concentrations (including water) to account for past temperatures and their recent rise, those concentrations are more than adequate. The criticisms that have been leveled are in the opposite direction – with that much CO2, why hasn’t temperature risen more than has been observed? That is an entirely different issue, and rather than address it here (it’s already addressed elsewhere), I’ll simply note that cooling influences must also be factored in, along with the fact that much time is required for the full warming effect of a GHG increase to be realized.

        (Again, though, please visit the other threads if you believe additional discussion is warranted)

      • Actually Arfur participated extensively in these previous threads.

      • Your point is well taken, Judy. I did think I had seen comments from him before, but the questions he raised here were well addressed in those threads, which is why I mentioned them. In any case, if he feels further discussion is warranted, I would still recommend those threads.

        My reason is basically this. Arfur or anyone else can ask a question, and if he gets an answer, it probably doesn’t matter in which thread that happens. However, anyone else interested in similar answers about the greenhouse effect is more likely to search for them in a greenhouse thread than on one devoted to an AGU speaker.

        I’ll also make another point, although whether or not it applies to Arfur I can’t be sure, and it would be unfair of me to imply otherwise. Some individuals raise questions in search of answers. Others at times use questions as a means of promoting an opinion, with little interest in how the questions are answered. One way to distinguish is to determine whether they have raised the same questions previously, have received what most participants would consider adequate answers, but then raise the same questions again, and perhaps in multiple places. Perhaps that’s rather unimportant in this case, since the questions are legitimate, but I mention is as an observations about blogosphere interactions.

        I’ll stop speculating, but I do believe Arfur would benefit from reviewing the other threads, and I’m sure others with similar questions would benefit more if he raised them there rather than here.

      • I reviewed some past threads. The questions Arfur asked here were ones he asked repeatedly in the past. In most cases, the answers should have been adequate to satisfy his curiosity. One exception, though, seems to be that on previous occasions, his specific question about conduction was not directly addressed in a clear manner. I hope the answers that Chris Colose and I have given above remedy that omission.

      • thanks Fred, for the heads up on the previous threads

      • Fred, Dr Curry and Chris…

        Firstly, thank you Fred for your balanced and extensive reply. I would like to assure you – all – that my purpose in asking Chris the question is not to simply re-iterate the question for the sake of it. I have not seen the question answered satisfactorily on any thread. Dr Curry said I have been involved extensively in the threads but the only one I can remember having an extensive involvement in was the Michael’s III thread when I had a robust but ultimately inconclusive debate with Vaughan Pratt. He did not answer the question either.

        Your Lacis paper appears to be based on a model evaluation. That in itself appears to be based on an acceptance of the unproven radiative forcing theory. I was actually asking if there was any real-world evidence to support Lacis’ claim of 20% contribution of CO2.

        The only other examples of a similar figure appear to be from the Kiehl & Trenberth 1997 paper, and a discourse by Gavin Schmidt of realcimate. I would prefer some proof based on evidence.

        As I have been away from posting for a while, I may have missed a thread-post where this was disclosed. If that is the case, I apologise for missing it. However, I agree with you that this discussion is not suited to this thread. If you could point out where I can find the references you speak of regarding the question of how a CO2 contribution of 20% (equating to over 6 deg C of the greenhouse effect) can be rationalised with the meagre overall rise ‘from’ a relatively large increase since 1850 without invoking unproven or unmeasured feedback factors, I would appreciate reading them.

        Thanks again for at least trying to help.



        Oh, ps, one point for you, Fred. You state that conduction plays a very small role but then you state that the energy absorbed by a CO2 molecule is transferred quickly by kinetic collision with the more predominant N2/O2 molecules. Is that not conduction? Although there are indeed numerous CO2 molecules, each one is surrounded by over 2000 ‘radiatively inert’ molecules. For every one that collides with a CO2 molecule, plenty more don’t. Maybe we could discuss this somewhere else.

      • Sorry, the thread I mentioned was the Michaels’ II thread, not III.

      • Arfur, the Schmidt, Ruedy, Miller and Lacis (2010) JGR paper only uses atmospheric soundings from a model to estimate a global average, but is primarily using a radiative transfer model. They arrive at 20% by adding or subtracting CO2 and other components from these soundings and looking at the forcing. Are you having trouble believing radiative transfer models and the spectroscopy science that forms their basis? Look at MODTRAN on the U. Chicago site for example. What do you think of it?

      • Jim D,

        Many thanks for you input. I appreciate I am probably annoying a few people around here but it’s not deliberate.

        I have checked the modtran website at uchicago. Thanks for that, it was interesting.

        In answer to your question; yes, I suppose I do have a problem believing the radiative transfer models as it appears to me that they are based on an assumption. Even the uchicago site states it assumes a deltaT figure in order to run the program. I have gone back over more threads here, and found some excellent information on the ‘best of greenhouse’ thread, although nothing which answers my question in a quantitative sense. maxwell makes a lot of sense but there are some other inputs – mostly regarding adiabatic lapse rates where I think people are confusing the adiabatic lapse rate with the environmental lapse rate. Either way, I can find no real-world measurement of the contribution of CO2 to the GE. This, to me is absolutely crucial to the debate. If one doesn’t know how much effect CO2 has initially (I take ‘initially’ to be circa 1850), how can one know how much effect an increase is likely to have?

        I realise this is the wrong thread. What is the common practice on blogs – do I just barge in and comment on an old thread?



      • Arfur, feel free to make whatever comment on an open thread (which this is). Seems like we need a new radiative transfer thread, i’ll open one now (there is a lot still going on on the confidence in radiative transfer models also.)

      • Chris,
        I am referring to Glassman’s 11:04 post.
        He says nothing there that is unreasonable.
        Frankly until your side gets more credible, your judgement on Plassman is dubious.
        That you go straight into calling him ‘delusional’ over his opinion is striking. He seems at least as reasonable than you. Are you delusional as well?
        Your closing remark is interesting. You imply that people should not be skeptical. Is that your position?

      • I’m happy Hunter that you found one post here by Glassman that was reasonable. My judgment on Plassman should be self-evident to anyone half familiar with atmospheric physics, and doesn’t involve any “sides.” I also never hinted at anything about ‘not being skeptical’ (of course, I clearly hold a different view of what constitutes reasonable skepticism than you do)

      • chris,
        You are all about not being skeptical. You depend on it utterly, from reading what you write.
        Whatever Plassman says, he is correct in one important part: You climate catastrophe promoters and true believers are wrong.
        whenther it is for the reasons he states remains to be seen.
        It would be much more interesting if your side would spend some time admitting you are wrong and trying to get it right, instead of bringing in the likes of Craven or Mooney or the other bizzare-o world hypesters to ‘clarify the message’.

      • curryja et al 12/19/10 1:23 am

        Between inappropriate and unwarranted insults and invective, chriscolose claims to understand “the logarithmic nature of CO2″ but commits to no position. He gives no indication that he appreciates that it is an impossible model, nor that it is without empirical validation (as it must be, of course). The First Course in Atmospheric Radiation, which chriscolose clearly has not read (see below) but regardless defends, does not use the word logarithm in any form to describe atmospheric absorption. Yet Petty uses Beer’s Law (15 hits) or its equivalent, extinction (72 hits), to describe atmospheric absorption, which contradicts the logarithmic model.

        In case anyone gives a chriscolose any credence, he worries that Petty might not be a biased radiative transfer advocate. Petty says,

        >>it is impossible to understand, let alone accurately predict, the medium- to long-term evolution of weather or climate without accounting for radiative transfer process in the atmosphere.” First Course, P. 7.

        By contrast, IPCC says,

        >>The RF from CO2 and that from the other LLGHGs have a high level of scientific understanding (Section 2.9, Table 2.11). Note that the uncertainty in RF is almost entirely due to radiative transfer assumptions and not mixing ratio estimates… . AR4, ¶2.3.1, p. 140.

        So either the radiative forcing model, or what is essential to it, i.e., radiative transfer, is not working.

        chriscolose suggests Petty might not be an AGW supporter. Petty says,

        >>[W]e now believe that the climate can change in response to human-induce increases in IR-absorbing trace constituents (“greenhouse gases”) in the atmosphere … . First Course, p. 65

        He might not recognize the words, but that is a description of AGW. It also is a breakdown in science literacy to proclaim a belief and to use even an editorial “we”.

        chriscolose seems to have doubt about Petty’s allegiance to IPCC. He says Petty never claimed to have expertise in climate change. However, Petty says,

        >>The most sophisticated such models are called general circulation models (GCMs) and are the best tools we have today for understanding climate and climate change. First Course, p. 143.

        First note Petty’s use of the first person. Second, note that the GCMs are the babies of IPCC. Third, the GCMs predict only a climate catastrophe, predict nothing that has ever been or could be validated, and do not match the historical records of climate. Climate is understood much better than that, even at IPCC. Our knowledge of climate reached new heights with the Vostok analysis going back a half million years. The GCMs span 250 years, and quite unsuccessfully.

      • > Second, note that the GCMs are the babies of IPCC.

        Categorically incorrect. The IPCC began in 1988; GCMs began more than 20 years before that.

        Usually, a baby is younger than a parent.

      • Conceived artificially, implanted in the body of the IPCC and delivered a daughter of Rosemary.

      • I recommend you peruse Edwards’ “A Vast Machine”.

      • It’s not an “ancient tome”.

        Why are you guys so reluctant to read it? Scared that you might have to overturn your opinions in light of the facts?

      • >> This book seems little different than the rantings of a Monday morning, arriving late, college professor, suffering from a hangover, who forgot his lecture notes and even his place in the course syllabus, who decides to talk over the heads of his students about anything in general and nothing in particular because he does not know that they will appreciate the difference.

        >>An example, “I intend the notion of knowledge infrastructure to signal parallels with other infrastructures, such as those of communication, transport, and energy distribution. Yet this is no mere analogy or metaphor. It is a precise, literal description of the sociotechnical supports that invariably undergird facts and well-accepted theories.”

        >>Imagine 439 pages of this drivel!

        >>He does not realistically appraise evidence regarding “human caused global warming” but does claim that computer model output constitutes data! How MIT could publish this is beyond me!

        Posted by Jerry W. Matchett,, on Edwards, P.N., A Vast Machine:Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warmng, 2010.

        Maybe that’s why (people are reluctant to read it).

      • Certainly some folks won’t like Edwards’ book.

        In any case, GCMs aren’t the “babies” of the IPCC. Their development started long before the IPCC existed. Such a basic error of fact casts grave doubt on the rest of your commentary.

      • :-)

      • It appears this ancient tome comprises a large section of D64’s library.

      • I was especially taken by its image of punched cards as cutting edge technology along with 1/2″ reel-to-reel tape drives. Punch cards had fallen out if use when I joined the IT industry in the late 1970s, reel to reel tapes soon after.

        But I guess if you have only ever read one book, there isn’t much else to talk about

      • Somewhere on those punch cards is the CRU data!

      • Derecho64 12/19/10 6:27 pm

        Derecho64 wrote:

        >>Certainly some folks won’t like Edwards’ book.

        >>In any case, GCMs aren’t the “babies” of the IPCC. Their development started long before the IPCC existed. Such a basic error of fact casts grave doubt on the rest of your commentary.

        Derecho64 didn’t like his favorite book panned, so he swung wildly like so many of the flamers that pollute Dr. Curry’s otherwise noble effort to promote a sensible dialog on science. It is happening on this thread and on “AGU Fall Meeting, Part III: an Open Letter from Greg Craven.” I note that the accusations wage from insane and psychopath, as if the writers were (a) psychiatrists and (b) had data, to a middle ground of marginalizing – “nonbeliever”, “denialist”, “skeptic”, and now, “Republican” (gasp!). The latter says more about the political persuasion of AGW believers than it does about those not persuaded. Some say the nonbelievers don’t understand physics – certainly not the way the believers do! They recommend their favorite texts or courses, but give no specifics. When given specific references, they are ignored and the substance of them go unanswered. They can be led to the trough, but they can’t be made to eat.

        Now I respond specifically to Derecho64 on the relationship between IPCC and the GCMs. Of course, Global Climate Models existed in the wild before IPCC. Some had their origins in old weather forecasting models. When investigators using those early models tried to estimate the greenhouse effect and what an increase in CO2 would do, they were all over the map. Some showed no effect, some showed a temperature rise in the vicinity of 15ºC. Those results were highly destructive to the AGW movement.

        So IPCC was formed, and it captured those wild animals. It didn’t just put them in a zoo to see how they behaved without learned guidance. No. They brought them into the circus, and tamed them. To quell some of the residual criticism from those GCMs that couldn’t predict climate, they renamed them Global Circulation Models. About the same time, along came Dr. James E. Hansen, the apocalyptist, frightening the public and politicians alike with his pseudo scientific tipping points. In 1984, four years before IPCC was formed, he was predicting a new “equilibrium climate” “in as little as 10-20 years”. In 2007, he was still forecasting a tipping point in “another decade”. We’re still at t minus 10 years and holding.

        So IPCC changed the name of the models and adopted the apocalypse model. It should have named the models Global Catastrophe Models. It brought the models into as much agreement as possible, after all it was in the modelers’ personal interests too, so that it could proclaim as much as possible how much the models were in agreement. This was the cyberspace analog of the consensus. Scientific proof by voting. No wonder these believers psychoanalyze the political orientation of their

        Search the IPCC TAR and AR4 for “intercomparison” and you’ll find 350 hits, and a raft of spaghetti graphs.

        >>A second source of confidence comes from the ability of models to simulate important aspects of the current climate. Models are routinely and extensively assessed by comparing their simulations with observations of the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and land surface. Unprecedented levels of evaluation have taken place over the last decade in the form of organised multi-model ‘intercomparisons’. Models show significant and increasing skill in representing many important mean climate features, such as the large-scale distributions of atmospheric temperature, precipitation, radiation and wind, and of oceanic temperatures, currents and sea ice cover. AR4, FAQ 8.1, p. 600

        An example on point here is the Radiative-Transfer Model Intercomparison Project (RTMIP) of 2006.

        Stuff that’s unsuccessful IPCC makes work in sync.

      • P.S.

        And on the thread “Confidence in radiative transfer models”.

      • Hi Jeff

        Am I misreading or is there some final part of your discussion missing? It was going along so well and then seemed to peter out. I didn’t see a conclusion paragraph.

      • Latimer Alder 12/20/10 6:09 am

        No, you’re not misreading. I might have concluded as follows:

        • So those once wild GCMs, now tamed, perform as the feature attraction in the IPCC circus. The GCMs are born again.

        • As to working, they are still in the nursery, that opaque cloud of saturated CO2 where stars are born.


        Thanks for the temporary sanity with which you spice Curry’s threads.

      • Good conclusion. I just wonder if there’s a way to stick the whole thing back together again since it made a great single read…but less so as a serial :-)

        And thanks for your kind words. Just occasionally I think that the venture to bring climate science back onto Planet Earth is beginning to gain traction…even with the most committed Zoggists.

        Excellent posts like yours are a valuable part. If we all keep at it we’ll get there in the end. Just keep on prodding the ‘evidence’ for AGW. All day. Every day. Check its there. Never take it for granted until its proved. They have got away with handwaving arguments in their own little climatological bunker (with the delete key in hand for ‘hard’ questions) for far too long

        Have a good day.

  27. This idea has been and clearly still is anathema to the traditional scientific sensibilities

    There’s a reason for that. I won’t spell it out, but let us just say that such things almost always tend to turn out badly.

  28. In my view the letter demonstrates someone somewhat lacking in self-consciousness.

  29. John Abrahams sent me this email, asking me to post it on the blog:


    First, thank you for a candid and civil discussion about this issue and your reasoned post regarding Craven’s AGU presentation. I want to take a brief moment to clarify my role in the Rapid Response Team and it’s purpose. It was formed to provide rapid and highly accurate scientific information to the media and public at large and restore some civility to the conversation. We merely connect scientists with the media so that scientists are provided an opportunity to explain their research directly with the public.

    Why did I form this group? In part because there is a deep divide between scientists and the public and that divide has hindered our collective actions to implement effective solutions to deal with the problem of climte change. We have tough decisions to make and we need the best possible information so that we act wisely and efficiently.

    I also believe that scientists have two roles to play. The first is as a scientist when they convey their best understanding of the science. The second is as a concerned citizen where they advocate for a particular solutions. These two roles often get conflated. I believe scientists need to be clear when they move from scientist to advocate. Scientists have a right to advocate (as does everyone) but when they do, they’ve stepped outside of their role as a scientist.

    I hope efforts like yours and ours serve to move the discussion forward and bring a level of civility to the conversation. Thanks for this opportunity to share my thoughts, and thanks for your work on this website.


    • Abrahams may intend well, but his impact is very chilling. He assumes to speak for all scientists, and has involved himself with a professional propagandist (Mooney) to enforce this.
      If Mr. Abrahams, all of his nice rhetoric aside, really intends to improve civility and communications quality, then he and the AGU needs to shed themselves of the likes of Mooney.

    • I too find this slightly at odds to how i would operate as a scientist.

      It is not a scientists role to go into activism and there is a clear attempt to lend that activism more credance by attaching ‘scientists’ too it. They may claim that they want to compartmentalise the two roles, but i would bet my mortgage that that is not the effect they actually want.

      As for his general argument- again,i don’t agree; It smacks of propoganda and nothing else.

      We can all agree that there are large uncertainties in the cAGW theory (regardless of which hat you happen to be wearing). I for one would not want to advocate ANY particular action as the chances of being wrong, given our current understanding of the climate is very high indeed (at least if you are arguing against natural variation whilst not understanding said variation).

      In this case, the minute they start advocating on something as uncertain as this theory, is the minute they not just ‘stop’ being a scientist for the purpose of advocacy, it’s the minute they stop being a scientist full stop.

      You simply cannot reconcile the two roles as they suggest.

      • Should a person’s advocacy of some issue X be informed by their career as a scientist who studies Y, which directly bears on X?

      • Time for a Venn diagram perhaps? The problem is that the number of intersecting informed opinions that have some bearing on “issue X” would lead to a pretty cluttered image. I guess that’s what makes this debate so fascinating.

        I can certainly see that a scientist can an should give an informed opinion of the results from his investigations. However, in the field of policy, with all its multiple considerations and nuances, a scientists opinion should carry no more weight than that of any other interested citizen.

      • > a scientists opinion should carry no more weight than that of any other interested citizen.

        I disagree. Not all opinions are equal. Those backed by facts and evidence, and supported with reason and logic, are better than those not backed or supported by those things.

        There is such a thing as expertise. Anyone, not just scientists, can be expert on a subject, certainly, but I wouldn’t weight an opinion from an expert on a subject the same as another who’s merely evinced some interest in it.

        What I find bothersome is that there are some who view expertise as illusory – some sort of con designed to get more money. That’s very troubling.

      • D64:

        “What I find bothersome is that there are some who view expertise as illusory – some sort of con designed to get more money. That’s very troubling.”

        I agree – I’m certainly not suggesting for a second that expertise is illusory. Neither did I intend to convey some form of egalitarianism in regard to this – or any other – debate, although I can see why you thought that….my bad.

        What I’m driving at is that the expert opinions of economists, civil engineers, welfare groups, business organisations, (even politicians – god forbid!) are all as relevant to risk assessment and policy formation as scientists – more so in many ways; the scientists – in the case of climate change – provide the premises on which the formation of policy is predicated – the next step is to involve those experts who help to assess the means and implications of policy alternatives.

        Lastly, once these experts have done their bit, I really do believe it is down to us, all of us as citizens (in democratic countries, that is) to make decisions based on the policy alternatives at the ballot box. At this point things necessarily become egalitarian.

        Also I do think that we all have a right – or even a duty – to try and engage with the “expert” debate as much as possible, to further our understanding and hopefully make informed decisions.

      • I agree – to make an informed decision (on just about anything) we need to become informed.

        What I don’t like are those folks who deride the entire climate science community as a bunch of “shysters” and therefore discard climate scientists’ expertise as a sham. That’s dangerous and dumb.

      • And you’re their spokesperson. To quote Pogo…

      • Meaning what? I’m not a spokesperson for anyone but myself. I absolutely refuse to speak for anyone else.

      • Even I have never derided the *entire* climate science community in those terms.

        But I have seen enough of their behaviour to take the view that there is a significant (and highly visible) part of the community for whom that is an accurate description.

        And teh consequence of that is that I tend to be very very sceptical of everything that they say.

        Particularly when its prefaced by ‘we are climatologists – you have to trust us’ and/or ‘you are just too stupid to understand …do what we tell you’.

        Which is why I keep on asking for evidence of the assertions made by climatologists. And what I see is a rag bag collection of unvalidated models, dodgy temperature records, duboius theories with no experimental backup, amateur and unprofessional work practices, obfuscation and secrecy and unjustifed intellectual arrogance.

        My own specialty was Chemistry, which evolved from Alchemy into a ‘proper science’ about 250 years ago. Seems to me that Climatology is still in the Alchemy phase and has a long way to go to grow up.

        So I don’t discard climatologists expertise when they indeed show some. But the amount on display seems to me to be very limited. Lots of psuedoscience and handwaving..but little actual expertise.

      • I use the term ‘climate “scientist”‘, as distinct from ‘climate scientist’, to preserve precisely the distinction you make.

      • @ Latimer Alder 2.57am

        I agree that the paternalistic:”we are climatologists – you have to trust us” has been far too influential over the last few years….but I’m not sure they are to blame.

        I think the problem has been that the IPCC and “An Inconvenient Truth” created, quite by chance, a political climate (sic) in which the personal opinions of prominent climate scientists – on all sorts of subjects that were outside their area of expertise – became the paradigm by which we should all judge our way of life, especially in the energy-hungry “west”. Suddenly the opinion of anyone who wasn’t a climate scientist became irrelevant. Suddenly, IMO, common sense went out of the window and the strange marriage between environmentalism and climate science was born.

        I think much of the mistrust – which I’ve certainly shared at various points over the last decade – has come about because the “science is in” meme has been used to foist all manner of ill-concieved so-called “sustainable” energy policies on us: the fact that some outspoken climate scientists support these harebrained schemes is no more representative of climate scientists as a whole than it is of society as a whole. Quite frankly, I think the: “scientists say x is going to destroy the world thanks to evil mankind” story has more to do with selling newspapers (or equivalent thereof) than it does with any kind of rational judgement: its vanity rather than science, hubris rather than reflection.

        The more we – and by “we” I mean the concerned citizenry – become conversant with all aspects of the climate debate, the less likely we are to be prey to policy outcomes that bear little or no relation to simple common sense.

        I’m just wondering when some brave ornithologist is going to be game enough to protest about wind farms destroying the habitats of rare birds…..strange days indeed.

      • Well up to a point Lord Copper.

        The IPCC enterprise is – by definition – entirely composed of climatologists. Apart from the occasional railway engineer. So you can’t really say that the problem was generated by the IPCC, not the climatologists. That is a distinction without a difference.

        And it is climatologist and their hangers-on who have been most active in attempting to supress any debate with all measures at their disposal.

        So I can’t find them as innocent as you would like to.

        But on a happier note, you;ll be pleased to know that almost no rare birds have been killed in UK by windmills in the last few weeks.

        In our current very cold spell (more global warming no doubt :-( ), the windmills haven’t been turning at all. There is no wind. We are under an anticyclone. Which isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

        So just when the country’s needs for power hit their seasonal maximum, the already risible contribution from wind power drops to zero.

        My Mum is 86 and l9ves alone in Scotland, She has been snowed in for two weeks. If there is a power cut she will die of cold. If she relied upon wind power, she would be dead already.

        That is the reality of green power policy and their woolly wishful thinking. No power in the coldest December for a generation.

        I take the liberty to be more concerned about the day-to -day problems facing people today than about what may or may not happen 100 years hence. However much Craven may emote about his daughters.

      • Latimer Alder 4:09,

        Could you please list the executive committee who wrote the executive summary that the rest of the report was made to match?

      • @kuhncat

        ‘Could you please list the executive committee who wrote the executive summary that the rest of the report was made to match?’

        Lost me there, sport ;-). My post at 4:09 made no mention of any summaries or executive committees or nuffink like that. So I am baffled as to what you are asking.

      • Latimer – can I entreat you to distinguish between “climatologists”, who existed when I were a lad and may be irreproachable scientists whom I have no wish to offend, and “climate scientists”, who didn’t exist until there was a scary story around which to cohere, and are – what are those words Der(anged) keeps saying he hates?

        Obviously the categories overlap, but anyone these days who self-describes as a “climatologist” is eschewing the cachet that, until late, came with the descriptor “climate scientist”. As such he or she may worth more, not less trust than you would place in, say, a used Toyota Pious salesman. Or, of course, may just be running for cover – but I think the presumption of innocence is warranted here.

        Incidentally, I’m expecting to see in future a lot fewer self-describing “climate scientists”, and a handful of prodigal “-ologists” returning to whatever fold will have them.

        Also see below for further taxonomy of “climate scientists”.

      • Hi Tom

        Thanks for your comments.

        But I fear on this one we will have to disagree.

        I deliberately use the term ‘climatologist’ to show that it belongs in the same class as other ‘ologies’ sociology, psychology, astrology…where the practitioners opinions are paramount and the rigour of proof by experiment is largely absent. Consensus of opinion is taken to be ‘proof enough’

        Contrast with physicist, chemist, pharmacist where proof by experiment is rigorously enforced as a basic discipline.

        ‘No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong’

        ‘-ists’ actively seek new experiments. ‘-ologists’ actively avoid any in case it damages their precious consensus.

        And of course, in UK we had the advertisement on the telly about 25 years ago that says it very well:

      • BlueIce2HotSea

        @ Derecho64 December 19, 2010 at 10:07 pm

        I do not understand how anyone can disagree with your completely reasonable comment. You have succeeded in turning the tables on Latimer Adler, no mean feat. Pssst, now is the time to call for a truce.

      • Hmmm

        D064 writes:

        ‘What I don’t like are those folks who deride the entire climate science community as a bunch of “shysters” and therefore discard climate scientists’ expertise as a sham.’

        Since I do not do either of the things that he suggests, I find it very hard to see how he has ‘turned the tables’.

        1. I do not deride the *entire* climate science community as a bunch of shysters’ Just those – and there seem to be a high proportion – who demonstrate shystrous behaviour.

        2. I do not discard clinatologists expertise ‘as a sham’, when it is backed up by evidence. But I take great exception to be being asked to believe a whole bunch of stuff that is spouted with absolutely no evidence to back it up. That is opinion nit science and it is a sham.

        Show me the rigorously argued evidence and I’ll be happy to agree with it. But not to believe something just because its proponent is a Climatologist. That is indeed ‘sham science’.

      • Derecho64

        What you’ve omitted is that Saaad was speaking specifically about policy and not science. James Hansen is a fine scientist (when he limits himself to his area of expertise and is fortunate enough to have peer review smooth out some of his more extreme conclusions), but he’s no better equipped to tell us where our electricity should come from and how much it should cost than he is to quarterback the New York Giants.

      • Hansen’s expertise on climate science makes his views on sources of energy much more informed than if he was (say) a cardiologist. Do you disagree?

      • Why? Is he somehow smarter than people who have actually delivered power on a commercial scale and have experienced the consequences and public rath of failing to do so on the rare occasions when they’ve failed? In power generation, there’s no waiting 20 years to say, oops, I guess I overestimated that sensitivity a little bit. For that matter, a cardiologist doesn’t get many do-overs either.

      • Burning fossil fuels to supply energy is a bad idea because of the emissions generated, which is changing the climate. Do you believe Hansen is outside his expertise when noting those facts, which he has studied for some decades?

      • Burning fossil fuels to generate energy has negative implications and positive implications (they do after all generate energy). Back to your cardiologist…he may very well want to ban all fatty foods and force everyone to exercise twelve hours a day because of what he’s seen in his practice, but that doesn’t mean he has a rational perspective on what’s important to the broader community and the overall balance required to sustain a modern society.

      • The point is that Hansen and other climate scientists know that if we continue to burn fossil fuels for energy, the climate will, with varying levels of certainty, change in various ways in response. That’s what informs their opinions. Their expertise isn’t easily dismissible.

        Likewise, a cardiologist can point out that if people continue to be sedentary and eat junk, certain things are going to happen to their health. If she tells a patient to eat healthier and get exercise, is she exceeding the bounds of her knowledge?

      • Response to Derecho64 | December 19, 2010 at 10:56 pm |

        The effectiveness of the cardiologist’s advice depends on how practical it is and how credible she is to here patients, which depends on how practical they view her advice. She also probably shouldn’t weigh in on how the food itself is grown or get arrested trying to shut down a butcher shop or ice cream parlor.

      • I’m not going to denounce Hansen, if that’s what you want me to do.

      • I see where you’re coming from…but let’s say that, as a result of Hansens – I would argue undue – influence on the decision not to build a new coal fired power station at Kingsnorth, there is a resultant shortage of baseload power in Kent ( I used to live there) during the winter of 2012/2013. As a result, cardiac problems suffered by the elderly are exacerbated by hypothermia caused through a combination of power blackouts and escalating energy costs.

        Would you not agree that, in this instance, the cardiologists views are every bit as relevant as Mr Hansens’?

        I know I’m drawing a really long bow here to try and illustrate my point and you are correct that, in purely scientific terms, Hansens views on energy sources would indeed be more informed than those of a cardiologist. However, there are lots more relevant expert views which come into play when it comes to future energy sources, including health.

        Actually I think James Hansen is a particularly interesting example. He is undoubtedly a brilliant scientist and has made a significant contribution to the gradual understanding of the way climate works but his reputation has suffered because of his perceived environmental activism. It has cast doubt on his objectivity as a scientist – something I don’t agree with – and has called into question his role as the head of GISS – primarily because of his use of this public profile to step into arenas where I believe his expertise is less relevant.

        I respect and uphold Hansens right to express his opinions without fear or favour – I just think he may serve us better if he focusses a little more on his real area of expertise.

      • What Hansen and the climate science community can do is to tell the politicians and the public that within various bounds of confidence, our continued burning of fossil fuels is having and will continue to alter the climate.

        Whether or not everyone else takes those informed views into account is the $64,000 question, but to demand that the climate science community refrain absolutely from communicating the consequences of various societal and political choices that impact the climate system because doing so is “advocacy” is very unwise. We must rely on expert opinion – to discard it merely because we don’t like it is is just foolhardy.

      • I agree, broadly speaking…..and I’m certainly not “demanding” that the climate science community refrain from doing anything. I’m merely suggesting that there are a host of expert opinions that need to inform any policy decisions relating to climate change. In the policy arena I don’t personally feel that climate scientists are any more important than the many other experts, some of which I referred to in an earlier post.

        I know you feel differently on this point D64. I guess my point is that I attach as much weight to your opinion regarding future energy policy as I do the likes of James Hansen….more, actually, given that your views are expressed forthrightly and consistently, without the rewards of sycophancy which some of those with a seat at the “high table” seem to enjoy.

        I really hope Greg Craven has been following all of this: I’ve found it a really stimulating and worthwhile discussion, I must admit.

      • I wouldn’t claim that climate scientists are *more* important, but that their views are indeed informed and that they are important.

        I read the nonsense about climate science and climate scientists that Judy lets through here, and it’s disheartening to see the whole field dismissed, mainly because of (a) ignorance and (b) what the science is telling us is not what some want to hear.

      • Simple answer to that one D064.

        You guys clean up your act, and maybe you earn the right to get listened to again. Credibility is the name of the game. The list of your self-inflicted wounds is long and inglorious. And if you are going to portray yourselves as useful experts with something to say, you need to act like them.

        You betray yourself by your use of ‘the nonsense about climate science and climate scientists that Judy lets through here’.

        To paraphrase’ if it weren’t for those pesky sceptics, we’d all be happy….stop them speaking and we’ll all be OK’

        As if its all Judith’s fault for allowing those views to be aired, rather than your fault for behaving in a way that fosters such views.

        Start to collectively behave in a way that fosters the public’s trust and you might get a hearing.

        Hint: hectoring, bullying, calling people liars and pursuing personal vendettas are not the sort of behaviours I recommend.

        But some climatologists seem to think that they are substitutes for being scientific. They’re not.

      • But instead Hansen is selling books that are no different from what Craven did at the meeting. And when he is not writing scary fantasy books dressed up as science, he is either breaking the law, defending those who break the law, or endorsing books that instruct people to break the law on a globally destructive scale.
        ‘Alter the climate’ is a meaningless term, by the way. The only question that is important is will the cliamte change be destructive? the Hansen’s of the world have failed in making their answer to this question credible.

      • Richard S Courtney


        Concerning energy policy, you say;
        “I wouldn’t claim that climate scientists are *more* important, but that their views are indeed informed and that they are important. ”

        I agree that those views are informed and important. But, like everything else in the AGW issue, magnitude matters.

        In terms of energy policy, the views of ‘climate scienrists’ are not as informed and not as important as the views of a typical housewife caring for, cooking for, and cleaning for her children.


      • Ummm, Latimer – how about the “skeptics” clean up their act? Are you guys pure as driven snow? I think not. Who was it that used “shysters”, again?

      • > In terms of energy policy, the views of ‘climate scienrists’ are not as informed and not as important as the views of a typical housewife caring for, cooking for, and cleaning for her children.

        How do you figure? What about the climate scientists who also do those things?

      • I used that term and stand by it. And I make no claims to be pure as the driven snow… plenty of it around here to serve as an example if I neeeded one

        But then I am not a public servant found hiding information, coming up with spurious reasons to avoid the law, stifling discussion, conspiring to subvert the scientific publishing process or publishing untrue claims in the IPCC report…to name but a few of the ‘shysterous’ behaviours that I criticise.

        All I do is write on blogs. I am not pretending that I am an expert and so deserve special dispecnsation of my words from scrutiny. Nor that my words should be accepted without challenge by ‘those without a PhD in Radiative Physics’

        But those who claim such rights of infallibility and perfection of thought sure had better be able to demonstrate that they are indeed whiter than white. Because the light of the world outside the cosy world of the climatology bubble is harsh and unforgiving. As I think you are beginning to understand.

      • Latimer, you’re not interested in the science at all – you just want to vent and rant, and have conveniently come up with climate scientists and the climate science community as targets, because the bulk of your knowledge comes from the stolen emails. That’s fine, but don’t pretend that your agenda is honest. You’re just here to smear and slur.

      • Richard S Courtney


        I pointed out that ‘climate scientists’ have less expertise in energy policy than housewives caring for their families.

        You then asked me;
        “How do you figure? What about the climate scientists who also do those things?”

        Your question demonstrates my point.
        The housewife understands the importance of energy supply to life and to survival.
        The ‘climatescientist’ does nothing to aid his/her understanding of that.

        But – as you say – a housewife could be a ‘climate scientist’ so could have such understanding. This would be fortunate. However, unfortunately, we only have the likes of Hansen, the AGU administrators (who appoint the Mooneys and Cravens), and those like you who think personal abuse is substitute for evidence and argument.


      • As has been pointed out before, evolution has endowed the human nose with a strong ability to smell manure.
        When people hear Hansen, Schmidt, Gore, Romm, etc., they are hearing the equivalent of a field covered in manure.
        Hansen has made himself a very lucrative cottage industry selling fear to the fear hungry.
        Gore has made hisself a substantial fortune selling the same.
        And etc.
        So do not be surprised as more and more people consider things like Craven’s melt down, Hansen’s palpable bs, gore’s profiteering, 10:10’s murderous little joke, etc., etc., etc. that they decide that cliamte scientists are no more to be trusted on world wide energy and enviro issues than were eugenics believing biologists and MD’s (and there were quite a few) on biological and health issues.

    • Abrahams undoubtedly means well, but he assumes that the case for collective actions to implement effective solutions to deal with the problem of climte change has been proved. Personally, I have seen no justification for the kind of action he evidently espouses.

      Secondly, the idea of “scientist as advocate” was addressed earlier in this thread. I believe someone pointed out that a scientist who is perceived as an advocate will also be perceived as a biased scientist.

      I can appreciate his viewpoint, but he’d have a hard time convincing me that it’s practical.

    • “…that divide has hindered our collective actions to implement effective solutions to deal with the problem of climte [sic] change.”

      It appears the general, uneducated, public does not agree that returning to the pristine year – energy wise – of 1850 is an effective solution. A few of them may even know a thing or two about whale oil.

  30. Dude.

    Communication is a two-process. Otherwise it becomes broadcasting. It means – and this is the key part for you (whom I believe have self-identified as an egoic extrovert (is ok – I’m one myself)) is to –
    ….. wait for it ……

    …… deep cleansing breath …..


    Simple, eh?

  31. Richard S Courtney

    Greg Craven:

    I write to object in the strongest possible terms.

    First you attacked science by calling on the scientists of the AGU to abandon the scientific method when you called on them using these words:

    “Basically, it goes like this. As a scientist you have to decide at some point that enough is enough. You have to put your scientific commitment to the discipline of doubt aside and “blow past” your boundaries. Say what you feel, not what you can prove. ”

    Despite repeated requests for you to repudiate that attack, you have not. Instead you have provided the long-winded, bloviating diatribe that heads this thread.

    And not content with refusal to withdraw your call for scientists to return to pre-enlightenment methods, your diatribe insults the parenting of those of us who insist on keeping to the scientific method by relying on evidence and not what we “feel”.

    Your diatribe says;

    “What I ask is simple, easy, and does not threaten the purity of the scientific endeavor. Simply be willing to wear different hats at different times, and speak forthrightly to the public of what effect your knowledge has had on you. Of your hopes for policies, and your fears for your children.”

    Everybody wears “different hats at different times”. We do not wear our scientific “hat” when driving, shopping for music videos, playing cricket on a beach with our families, etc.. But – and contrary to your assertion – we MUST wear our scientific ‘hat’ when conducting, reporting or discussing science or the effect our scientific knowledge has had (on ourselves or anything else): wearing any other ‘hat’ at such times damages the science we are concerned with and harms the reputations of all other science and scientists.

    And it is an insult to imply that only AGW-scaremongers have “fears for [their] children”. In fact those of us who adhere to the scientific method fear for our children because of the activities of the AGW-scaremongers.

    Here in the UK the scaremongers have afflicted both the previous and present governments with their campaign.

    The previous government repeatedly broadcast a TV advertisement that told children the future is not an opportunity for them to grow into but is a place of horrors where AGW will destroy their homes and drown their pets. Teaching that to children is child abuse.

    Both the previous and the present governments have responded to the AGW-scare by forcing the construction of useless wind turbines instead of power stations. The result is likely to be a lack of energy supply killing our “children”. Energy poverty is already killing many of our elderly in the present cold snap because ten years ago the AGW-scaremongers convinced the UK politicians that snow would be a thing of the past in the UK by now.

    So, Greg Craven, apologise.


  32. Curious Canuck

    Even as a non-American, with no real favourite and plenty I’d question about either of the two main parties I can’t help but feel the AGU appointment of Mooney was tantamout to declaring ‘The AGU War on Republicans.’

    Fortunately the only casualty so far, other than the AGU’s reptutation has been the self-immolation of (my family, my family, my family!!!!!) one craven radical.

    • well, arguably the appointment of Floyd DesChamps also to the AGU Board balances out Mooney politically, since DesChamps is a Republican (albeit a green one).

      • Dr. Curry,
        If they put, say, Monckton on the board of the AGU, that would balance out what Mooney represents to many.
        DesChamps is simply a quieter version of Mooney. He balances nothing.

      • I agree that this seems to be the reason. But the problem with attempting to create a political balance with Mooney and DesChamps, it seems to me, is that this very action itself elevates politics at all in what is demanded to be a purely scientific forum. Implicit is that the AGU of scientists has political balls to juggle.

        Perhaps it’s because I’m not American that I don’t perceive either environmentalism or science as being owned by the red or blue teams. Building political bridges in science seems certain to confuse onlookers about where the borders are, and it certainly doesn’t help the de-politicisation of scientific endeavour.

      • I don’t think these two were selected to provide political party balance; rather they were selected based on what each of them brings to the table in terms of expertise. It turns out the choice was “balanced” in the sense of the political party affiliations. Note, the AGU had many choices for the position filled by DesChamps (who is not at all a radical on this subject).

      • Dr. Curry,
        What balance?
        Mooney writes inflammatory books that promote the democratic party false claim that Republicans are anti-science.
        DesChamps is a political policy wonk that is pushing cap-n-trade.
        He has written no books that I can find.
        He does not give lectures around the country misleading people about science and politics.
        He does give lectures helping people understand why the Money’s of the world are counter productive.
        Mr. DesChamps seems to be another DC insider who works for non-profits when he is not working for a Congressman or Senator.
        What balance?

      • Curious Canuck

        Hi Dr. Curry,

        I really appreciate the reply and hope you’re right, but I remain unconvinced.

        Having just witnessed Mann’s campaign speech in the Washington Post on the eve of the Congressionals, Hansen’s criminal activity on the heels of years of allegations (through a rarely precedented run of interviews for one in most any comparable position) of being silenced by the Republicans I don’t know if the Geo-sciences could claim balance with a green Republican on the AGU board even without the Mooney appointment.

        Not that I’m attributing the above activities directly to the AGU, and I did appreciate Oppenhiemer’s professionalism recommendations. Unfortunately, we don’t hear a great deal on this other than from you lately. The tolerance of unprofessional behaviour by some of our most prominent and condescending science professionals is eroding faith with the public beyond their fields. Hansen should be out on his keister the same way any deliberately embarassing and misleading employee expounding to the public on why they hate their employer, let alone the arrests, would be.

        The AGU and other inter-disciplinary science organizations need to realize that no matter how they spin it, without disavowing what requires it, a growing number of observers are seeing the cancer spread beyond the small echelon of self-appointed ‘warriors’ of the climate modelling community exposed by Climategate. If they couldn’t see Jones’ name was mud following ‘Why should I share my data…’ to Cristy you can bet hopes were high for a correction following Climategate and still, with few exceptions we saw willful blindness. If they can choose not to see in the mirror what’s been carved onto their foreheads, how can we trust what they tell us they see in data?

        Thank you for being one of the small number of scientists who have already spoken, and with such candor, to the issue of scientific/academic professionalism, Judith. Thank you also for the hope you’ve restored in me since last year, I will gladly lend some of its shoots to the overall mission of the AGU as you suggest. Whether they die or take root all depends on the future climate there. :)

  33. Greg Craven,
    After reading your letter, I see someone who is only ashamed of getting caught, not for what they have done.
    The fundamental thing you have done is to sell fear using Pascal’s wager.
    Unless one is willing to become Catholic and attend mass and confession regularly, one should not invoke a wager about why one should believe in God.
    I am sure you meant well, but to sell apocalyptic fear and hype- which is what you did in your AGU event and do on your you tube videos- that is the wrong you have done. Your letter misses that completely.
    Until you realize that you were wrong to use science to sell climate catastrophe your apology is misplaced.

  34. Btw – could Mr Craven explain to us how he came to find himself appointed / annoited to this august panel?

    How does that work in AGU? Who are making these decisions? Its a process question that runs a bit deeper, perhaps could cut closer to the quick ?

    Just curious how this came to pass, personal passion notwithstanding. Btw – the letter / explanation IMHO still disqualify …

    • randomengineer

      Good point.

      It’s not Craven who ought to be speaking. It’s the AGU.

      In what we like to call the Real World, when the cashier cusses out her customer, the responsibility still belongs to management. That’s one of the reasons management gets to make the big cash: responsibility.

      Lack of management’s response here is telling.

      • Note, Peter Webster (who posted on this thread) counts as part of the AGU leadership team, he is President Elect of the Atmospheric Sciences Section. I asked him if he know how this particular session and choice of speaker came to be, and he said he didn’t know.

      • Actually I do know. There are no “set” session in the AGU annual meeting. That is, no one says there must be a session on “continental abduction”. Instead, members of the sections and focus groups within and across the sections (e.g., atmospheric sciences, global environmental change, oceanography…) put forth proposals for sessions. These groups also invite members to submit papers. My guess is that about 1/3 of papers in a session are invited. I do not know the details of the “book” session that Craven appeared in. I do not know if he was invited or if he submitted. I do not know the theme of the session but the authors were of books that were of a theme (Hansen, Craven, …). But it is important to note that a member can propose a session on books that are contrary to global warming and it would receive equal weight. The “weight” is based on the number of abstracts a theme receives. If there are not enough, the session becomes a poster session.
        Hope this helps.


      • randomengineer

        Thanks Peter, that seems to explain how Craven get there, sort of, but this isn’t quite where I was going.

        As I see it the AGU (management!) is stepping into political advocacy territory, which IMHO is unseemly*. As such the antics of Mr Craven reflect on the AGU itself, as does the Abrahams “climate response team” business.

        *Unseemly: Surely the AGU represents far more science than climate, but the direction management seems to be headed tends to make the AGU appear to regard climate as more important than other scientific endeavour. As I see it this doesn’t do much other than unnecessarily place the AGU into a political arena.

        As such, is it really necessary for an organisation promoting the broader advancement of the sciences to have a “position?” Isn’t promoting the sciences quite enough?

      • But does anyone know how Craven got in front of an official session?
        Or is this demonstrating the parentage of failure?

  35. Greg,

    I read your comments at WUWT where you complained about my paraphrase of your comments. I’ve also added a disclaimer that it is a paraphrase. I trust that will make you feel a bit better. And if you like we can track down the other sites and clearly indicate that it is only a paraphrase. The only quote was your line about republicans being irrational. I find that more offensive than your confused attempt to challenge scientists to identify the point at which they would “blow past” ( cant recall the actual words) their boundaries or comfort zones. That challenge I think is misguided. I think Oppenheimer gave good advice to scientists. I think your “challenge” is wrong headed. I also think you showed great disrespect to Jim Hansen by handing him a note to read.
    And a suggestion..I’m not sure if you actually want to turn the full audio of the entire meltdown over to people cause the whole thing could actually become a classic. And then of course, since you have called on AGU to disavow you, if they don’t then we have the whole “republicans are irrational thing to deal with”. You put them in a really tough situation by calling on them to disavow you. Like they have an official position on whether republicans are irrational or not, a position you indicated was based in science.

  36. I hope there is a tape of the panel discussion after Oppenheimers talk.
    ( I think Dr. Webster refers to a different discussion I was not present at)
    In The panel discussion after Oppenheimers talk Craven also argued that if we didnt save the planet that science itself would be lost. Therefore some sort of extraordinary measures in personal behavior were merited. Again, in our book on climategate Tom and I talked about noble cause corruption. I “heard” Craven making a “similar” appeal, an appeal to compromise certain values ( sticking to one’s lab, not sharing ones feelings, trying to be unbiased… who knows) to save the planet and science itself. These types of arguments are cut from the same epistemological cloth as his version of pascal’s wager.

    It’s these forms of argument that I find dangerous.

  37. Dr C
    What is this thing about children and grandchildren?

    Are climate scientists and advocates the only people who have children?

  38. Alan Sutherland

    Jeff Glassman

    Well written. The problem is that Greg Craven seems to suffer from paranoia and he should seek treatment for it. Is there any chance, any chance at all, that the planet could enter another ice age? Of course its possible. So we should all burn and waste every sort of fuel to put CO2 into the atmosphere to counteract the cooling (on the assumption that this will indeed counteract cooling).

    Is there any chance at all, even the smallest amount, that my wife is having an affair? Is there any chance at all that an asteroid will collide with the earth. Lets not stop there, is there any chance that our sun will burn itself out? What about your local volcano erupting? Where do you stop?

    Paranoia, pure and simple. The sensible thing is to wait a while and see what is happening to the climate so science can act better on observations. The tipping point nonsense is the reason given that we cannot do this.


  39. Brian G Valentine

    If you’re worried about other people, don’t be. Psychopathic paranoia is NOT contagious! So at least you don’t have to worry about other people suffering.

  40. “Please be patient, as the hard drive containing the only copy of my prepared remarks crashed 11 hours before the presentation (leading to the sharp left turn in my speech)”

    I don’t buy this.

    And why are the solutions to AGW things that leftists generally want?

    • I’m Not talking about his PREPARED Comments.
      I’m talking about the comments he made on the spot. So I’m kinda lost with what he is saying about a disk drive that went down before his comments.
      He has already noted that the only thing that bothers him is the paragraph where I paraphrase his argument about science versus what you feel. he’s not bothered by calling republicans irrational I suppose. here is the paragraph he is concerned about

      ““Basically, it goes like this. As a scientist you have to decide at some point that enough is enough. You have to put your scientific commitment to the discipline of doubt aside and “blow past” your boundaries. Say what you feel, not what you can prove. ”

      I understand how some people could THINK this was a quote. But its not. So i’ve clarified for his benefit that it’s my “gist” of his argument. If you read Peter Websters account of Greg’s earlier presentation you’ll get the same feel. Even in his “different hats” version you get the same idea. In his notion that scientists would join him in running to NZ ,you get the same idea. The truth he knows is so frightening that you have to DO SOMETHING. speak with passion, talk about your children, escape to NZ. The whole pascalian wager he proposes is just an argument to DO SOMETHING.

      I’ll say this. When the shit hits the fan I want my science experts thinking and talking as clearly and unemotionally as possible. I want them to choose to wear one hat. I already have a designated dunce hat wearer.
      Reminds me of the time the boss turned to 12 of us and said, you 11 get busy. and he pointed to one guy and said, you can panic, the others have work to do.

    • Pretty useless at IT if he doesn’t keep a backup for his only copy of a presentation to the AGU.

      Probably symptomatic of a generally ill-organised and chaotic approach to the world.

  41. Willis Eschenbach

    Dear Greg;

    As they say here in California, I appreciate your sharing your experience from the inside. From what you say it appears that your fears of the future have overwhelmed you, and sadly they have led you to a public meltdown. This kind of constant anxiety regarding some impending future apocalypse can be very debilitating. I certainly wish you the best, spend time with your family, walk, talk to a non-judgemental friend or a counselor.

    Also, I think you paint an excessively negative picture when you say:

    Again, I emphasize, none of what I write above or said in my presentation is at all affiliated with the AGU, its board, or its members. It is my delusion—my visceral terror for my daughters—alone.

    There is actually some good news in that regard, which is that you’re not as alone as you think. In fact, many other climate scientists seem to be afflicted with the same syndrome that you have. Like you, they are so overwhelmed by their fears for their children that they have forsaken science entirely, and have taken up advocacy by any means, for some even including criminal trespass. Certainly Jim Hansen suffers from your condition, as did the late Stephen Schneider, I could name a number of others.

    My suggestion, again much in vogue in California, is that you form a support group of fellow sufferers to help each other through these troubled times. This will become more important as support from the media erodes, as more and more of your scientific findings are called into question, and as your fears increase.

    To keep those fears down, I’d recommend that your support group take an activist position. Reach out to the editors of scientific journals and see what they can to deny opposing voices a chance of publication. See how many liberal non-scientist AGW supporters you can get on the AGU Board. Also, work on getting more supporting studies into the IPCC reports, even if the closing date for the IPCC report has passed. And most important, do not despair, keep up your hope regarding things like the IPCC, the “Jesus Paper” can be your beacon to show that anything is possible.

    And while your group may be censured for doing such things, I wouldn’t worry about the ethics of any of that kind of action. It is all justified, and your can finally set your fears at rest.

    Because after all … you are doing this for your daughters.

    In hopes of your speedy recovery, I remain,

    Yr. Obt. Svt.,


  42. Out there somewhere in the deep recesses of space is an asteroid, heading straight for earth. When it hits us in a hundred years’ time the planet will cease to exist.

    Hah! you say. How do I know the asteroid is even there? Well, I don’t. But then, can you prove it isn’t? No, you can’t. And if turns out that it is there, and we do nothing, what are our great-great-grandchildren going to think of us when they discover 99 years from now that they’re about to be rendered into space dust and it’s too late to do anything about it?

    The precautionary principle demands that we take immediate action to divert or demolish this asteroid whether it exists or not. Only then will we be able to sleep at night secure in the knowledge that we have done our best to save the earth for future generations.

    • Roger; I think you’re about a year too late…the Russians beat you to it.

      • Richard S Courtney

        Dennis Dunton:

        No, more than twenty years too late. In the late 1980s I wrote a letter in New Scientist that was very similar to the above post from Roger Andrews. Imagine my surprise when some months later that magazine published an article advocating anti-asteroid defence.


    • Roger,

      Don’t worry, mate. The governments of the world have it all under control. Trust them. I’m sure they’ll do something similar to the action they have taken to counter the all-too-apparent danger of increased CO2 – they’ll tax it! :)

    • Actually, it is even worse than you think. If a rather large asteroid were in fact going to hit Earth in a hundred years, it would most likely be completely unnoticable at present. As the owner of a rather large telescope, I recently made some personal observations of the night sky — and saw no asteroids on a collision course. That is exactly what we would expect to observe if we are in line for a collision in one hundred years! Now that the “Century Collision Model” has been confirmed, we need to begin funding a planetary evacuation. After all, between the CC Model and Pascal’s Wager, can we afford to delay?

  43. Alan,
    Look at Greg Craven’s website. This is mania – all the signs are there.

    As members of the climate change debate community, Greg needs our support. The mad idiots on the warm side of things will drive him over the edge.

    Greg – please put a full stop to this global warmingism. Your instincts are still intact – they perhaps tell you something weird happened at AGU. Only Mosher called it like he saw it. I say this because your mea culpa starts off like a mea culpa and then becomes something else – you lose the plot and lapse back again.

    As a fellow commenter, denier though I may be, and I am sure many others in this forum will agree when I say this – we all invest significant time and effort in the climate debate, often at the cost of our personal lives.

    One of my main beliefs is that there is a reason why it is difficult to find good people in young sciences like environmentalism. I think this is because it serves as a hiding ground for those who are seeking to avoid confronting their own personal responsibilities and demons, and instead displace it on the ‘concerns for the environment’.

    You certainly find this strain, this species, in the climate change debate as well.

    The irony is, Mr Greg, if you wish to contribute to the debate as an outsider you have to invest significant time, often at great personal sacrifice, which makes you exactly the same as those you started out to fight and change . You have to become someone avoiding personal responsibilities.

    Please stop your global warming activities. Your book and videos are out there – they will do their job. They don’t need your tending. You, on the other hand, need your tending. The debate, the usual players and the temperature graph will be there, waiting for you.

    I hope this is useful.

  44. Greg Craven is a victim – testimony to the very successful scare tactics used by politicians and scientists who manipulated observations and data so that government propaganda would appear to be “scientific facts.”

    Greg is not to blame. Greg is a concerned high school teacher – someone who could effectively communicate government propaganda to high school students as scientific facts.

    How many other teachers share Greg’s genuine fears?

    How many students have been brainwashed into believing that government propaganda was scientific facts?

    How close are we to the tyrannical world government described by George Orwell in his book “1984” ?

    Sworn testimony and cross-examination before congressional committees will probably be required to sort players from pawns in this deceptive game.

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

  45. After reading this I’m setting up a facebook group called “Paleoclimatologists Survival Strategy”. If even one paleoclimatolgist joins this group then maybe, just maybe, others will realize that they’re not alone. They will come together at this page and share their experiences, I envisage anonymously at first, but as time goes by they will see that “Hey I have something in common with these other paleoclimatologists who are also building survival shelters, I can trust these people”. It will build into a ground swell that could even include paranoics from other branches of the earth sciences (but not meteorologists, those guys just don’t get it).

  46. Mr Craven clearly suffers from a psychiatric disorder but I am not sure whether publicly making fun out of his health problems actually helps him.

    Doesn’t the U.S. have a health care system for everyone? Doesn’t America possess special institutes where people can wear different clown hats every day and build their Noah’s Ark, waiting for a hybrid of Columbus and Jesus Christ as she arrives through the water tap?

    • I think it’s actually tin foil hats rather than clown hats.

      • Thanks for your correction: I see, that makes a lot of sense. Well, let’s kindly wish Prof Craven that at this late stage, they will protect him against all dangerous influences from the deniers or any healthy people, for that matter. ;-)

  47. As condescending as it sounds, I feel sorry for the Greg Cravens, Anna Haynes, Joe Romms of the world. Apocalypticism is a revenge fantasy, it is the refuge of the powerless.

    • Unfortunately the fantasy has turned to delusion, and their ability to sell, a la ‘Music Man’, has brought them disturbingly close to being in charge of a great deal of the world.

      But while the con-artist in the “Music Man” simply wanted to skim a few bucks, get the girl and leave town, our climate obsessed friends mostly really believe in what they are claiming about a CO2 apocalypse.
      That makes them much more dangerous.

    • Greg Cravens and others who would seek refuge in the wilderness have a lot to learn.

      First about how government views those who term themselves “survivalists” (not kindly).

      And secondly about the down side of “wilderness”. I know about that first hand, having spent several years of my life in the “wilderness”. It’s not nearly as easy as they imagine.

  48. “Instead, go out and tell the public in any forum you can find: “As a scientist, here is what I know. As a citizen, here are my concerns, and my thoughts on what we should do. And as a father, a mother, a grandparent, here are my fears, even my terrors, and my backup plans to safeguard my family.”

    Unfortunately, Mr. Craven, your scientists are not professionally trained as “citizens” and as “fathers, mothers, and grandparents” – and I’m not interested in their opinions as such. I’ll take their facts and form my own opinions, thank you.

    Another issue with your scenario is that those “scientists” are not explicitly discriminating between their “facts” and their “opinions” to us folk: they mix it all up and feed it to us like some easy-to-digest pablum fed to idiots. (And with good reason: their “facts” are a bit short and their “opinions” are long.)
    How can we tell what’s opinion and whats fact? Those “scientists have been extraordinarily reluctant – even being called into court over their refusal – to reveal their raw data and processing methods. Repeat: extraordinarily reluctant. Why? Show me another field of scientific endeavor where this behavior is prevalent?

    And, sir, if they are so terrified about the future, why would they seek to actively suppress data and publications contradicting their “opinions”? One would think they would jump on the evidence that they were – perhaps? – panicking over nothing and explore it further? You’d think the “skeptic” view would be a relief for them – especially those you say are preparing shelters for the apparent Coming Disaster.

    …Unless AGW (or whatever you want to call it this month) is simply the excuse, and all their “solutions” the real goal.

    • SM,

      […Unless AGW (or whatever you want to call it this month) is simply the excuse, and all their “solutions” the real goal.]

      That sounds like dangerously rational talk, SM! Watch your back… :)

      ps, This month I think it is ‘natural variability’.

  49. Greg might have earned my sympathy had he taken the opportunity presented by his gaffe to take a critical look at the path that led him to commit it. But as others point out his almost unbelievably prolix encomium starts off all “mea culpa”, and quickly drifts to “tout comprendre, c’est tout pardonner”. He and his kind are a menace. The pain he evinces, with what sounds to me suspiciously like relish, is entirely of his own making.

    The irony is that he should choose to evince it at this blog. Had he spent the last 6 months here, his CAGW convictions may not have been shaken (they sound very dear to him), but he would surely not have addressed the AGW as he did. More ironic still, he would in the last week have seen our esteemed host taken mildly to task for her optimism that AGU seemed to have turned over a new leaf. Her harshest critics could not have dreamed that the forthcoming meeting would produce a presentation which so gratuitously confirmed their fears. Further irony lies in the fact that someone who professes to know something about communication should have committed, in the most public forum imaginable, every single one of the cardinal rhetorical errors (I mean the lot, right down to the uber-pharisaical “think of the children” BS, which all but the thickest Believers have had the wit to jettison) that has produced in his target audience the alienation he deplores.

    Greg -seek help – seriously. And give up ideas of being a communicator – you don’t yet have a fully-functioning theory of mind, let alone the especial gifts of intuition and perspicacity that must be a prerequisite for such a calling. I know people have praised your perorations, but I think if you reflect you will find they were already Believers – and they were humouring you, mate. The idea that you have pedagogic access to children is spine-chilling.

    • BlueIce2HotSea

      What I don’t have is context. Did he say “F**k the science” and “republicans are irrational” while pounding his head on the table or at some other time?

      Maybe this was a supposed to be a parody of a Republican scientist and not an aberrant example of a Democrat science teacher.

      • I was not present at the panel where he is alleged to say “eff” the science.

        At the panel after oppenheimers speach he said republicans are irrational. He even stated this as a fact of science. He banged his head on the table
        when the lady from Oakland continued talking even after he had told her that she had gone on too long. ( for his taste, not for mine, she needed to vent, she had her venting hat on )

      • Craven allegedly claims Republicans are irrational.

        Wagathon, here, says:
        “The reality is, it is easier for some of these AGW alarmist freaks to go quietly insane than to admit they were wrong at best and worse: that they have been merciless pushers of an anti-humanist climate porn agenda on a level comparable to a Nazi hate crime — for money — like digging the gold out the teeth of Jews while they’re still alive.”

        Now, which is more offensive?

      • Whatever.

        Is ‘wagathon’ contributing to this blog?

        Has he written an open letter and invited comments here?

        If not, then why do you raise his remarks here?

      • Sorry – just found waga’s comments below.

        For once – and probably the only time, folks – I agree with D064 and tallbloke. These comments should be snipped after ‘agenda’.

      • pls point me to the comment that needs snipping

      • Craven.

      • That you think Craven’s comment is worse speaks volumes…

      • Volumes of truth.

      • Craven allegedly claims Republicans are irrational.

        Wagathon, here, says:

        Probably the dumbest Tu Quoque argument I’ve seen. If Wagathon had been invited by Heartland to speak at their climate conference you might have a point. As it is, you don’t.

      • It was apparently Greg acting in character.
        Do you have examples of Republican scientists banging their heads on tables, by the way?

  50. Wow. Just Wow.

    Mr. Craven has obviously never heard the first rule of holes; if you find yourself in one, STOP DIGGING.

    “And for the record, I know that I never shut up.”

    ‘Nuff said.

  51. As Oscar Wilde famously said of Dickens’ story of the death of Little Nell, it would require a heart of stone not to laugh.

  52. Mr. Craven could you provide us with a list of the scientific papers that foretell of catastrophe in the lifetime of your children?

    It is an artifice of the world over to predict normal occurrences as disasters of the future. Read the Apocolypse it tells of catastrophes that have always been with us, yet the faithful rolled their eyes and believed these were niw and deserved catastrophes which would rightly some down on humans if they don’t change there ways.Even the De La Salle brothers who tried to get knowledge into my thick skull were able to tell us that these prophecies of doom were easy to make for the gullible.

    You need help, I don’t wish to be rude, but coming on a thread like this with the anquished outpourings about upcoming armaggedon is , well, wierd.

  53. Michael Larkin

    Greg tells us that he discovered 4 paleoclimatologists at the AGU gathering who are CAGW “survivalists”, and that they told him there were many more. If true, that is indeed disturbing, but probably not in the intended way.

    It embeds the idea that there may be a fair number of possibly deranged climate scientists whose professional practice could well be biased by personal conviction. Sceptics the world over would love for scientists to do as he suggests.

  54. Nullius in Verba

    To those above discussing A Vast Machine by Paul Edwards, I thought I’d offer a few snippets just to give you the flavour…

    [Introduction to climate controversy]
    Stakeholders – especially economically powerful groups seeking to avoid taxes or regulations, such as (in this case) the fossil-energy industry – are well aware that they can delay the closure of debate by challenging key scientific results or, sometimes even more effectively, simply by raising the level of certainty expected of scientific knowledge.
    Delaying closure by stirring scientific controversy – or even creating an appearance of controversy where none actually exists – first became a deliberate strategy in the 1950s, when the tobacco industry created organisations …

    [On framing the debate]
    Other groups, including the left-leaning Union of Concerned Scientists, immediately adopted the phrase “sound science” in an attempt to seize control of its meaning.

    [On the Republicans’ demand for “sound science”]
    The symbiotic relationship between models and data that I described in chapter 10 shows why this “impossible standard” would be fatally flawed with respect to global climate change even if it were not motivated primarily by ideology. The distinction between data and theories or models on which the Republican “sound science” crusade relied does not survive close scrutiny. As I have shown, all modern climate data are modeled in a variety of ways to correct systematic errors, interpolate readings to grids, and render readings from various instrument types commensurable. If we cannot trust models without evidence, neither can we trust evidence without models.
    [Emphasis in original. This is a good summary of the thesis of the entire book. That is that climate data is so difficult and messed up that it is totally impossible to build an accurate reconstruction, what “raw data” we have is mostly filled in, interpolated, extrapolated, and “corrected” using models, and therefore the sceptic/Republican demands for a high level of empirical certainty before overturning the world economy on the basis of their advice are completely unreasonable! We all have to lower our standards until climate science can meet them! None of this will be a surprise to anyone who has followed SurfaceStations and ClimateAudit.]

    [On the Hockeystick – this is about everything there is on the subject; if anyone has read Montford, you’ll recognise just how much he leaves out]
    I will not discuss the details of the scientific issue, which involved arcane mathematics and proxy data sources (rather than the historical instrument records on which most of this book has focussed). Instead, here I am interested in the aspect of the controversy that involved access to data and models. Essentially, Stephen McIntyre requested the original data that had been used to construct the graph. Michael Mann provided most of the data, but not all. McIntyre pursued the missing data, but Mann rebuffed him. McIntyre pressed his case – now requesting access to Mann’s data-analysis source code and methods as well as the data themselves. Mann at first resisted, then eventually provided these, but by then a congressional investigation had begun.The House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations asked Mann to deliver his curriculum vitae, a list of all his grants and other financial support, all the data for his published work, the source code used to produce his results, and an “explanation” of all his work for the IPCC. Mann reluctantly did so, and the controversy resolved into a more ordinary scientific one about techniques for analyzing data under large uncertainties.

    [On whether the skeptics could be right and the climate record wrong]
    It could be, but it’s not. There are too many models, there are too many controls on the data, too much scrutiny of every possibility, and there is too much integrity in the IPCC process for any of those things to be remotely likely. Knowledge once meant absolute certainty, but science long ago gave up that standard. Probabilities are all we have, and the probability that the skeptics’ claims are true is vanishingly small. The facts of global warming are unequivocally supported by the climate knowledge infrastructure.

    [End of excerpts.]

    To anyone wondering whether to read it, my advice is ‘don’t bother’. You’ll learn all this and more by reading the main sceptic blogs, and HSI. It’s turgid and self-justifying, and even the errors and omissions are too deeply buried in this unseasoned porridge of verbiage to even raise much amusement.

    But don’t let me talk you out of it buying it. You know you want to.

    • Cherry-picking is one of your talents, I must say.

      Oh, and the observational data isn’t climate data – it’s weather data, and is best used for that purpose. Why don’t you provide us the nice chart Edwards has that shows the differences between the data needs of the NWP community and the climate community?

      But, given that the past is past, and the data we have is all that we have, we’re forced to use it as best we can. Do you have any other suggestions?

      In any case, don’t take my word or NiV’s word on the book – read it yourself.

      • Looks like my initial instinct not to shell out twenty quid was bang on the money. Thanks NiV for the excerpts which confirmed my look at the Amazon summary.

      • Some additional comments on the book:

        The Economist: “Not enough intelligent, scholarly and critically minded history of contemporary science gets published, but this work, by a professor at the University of Michigan, is a nice exception on an important area.”

        American Scientist.

        Edwards talks at the AMS’ blog about “inverting the infrastructure”.

      • I’m glad that one or two people enjoyed it. And even gladder that I have an extra twenty quid to spend at Christmas.

        Perhaps I’ll use it to buy my local mad Greenie a copy of Anthony Montford’s first class book of science fact and history ‘The Hockey Stick Illusion’. A riproaring account of real life deception, deceit and incompetence in the climo community.

        And I’d still have £12.50 to make whoppee!

      • “But, given that the past is past, and the data we have is all that we have, we’re forced to use it as best we can. Do you have any other suggestions?”

        Could you ask Jim Hansen to stop ‘adjusting’ temperatures from the early C20th downwards every month please.


      • Go grab the Clear Climate Code and show how it’s wrong. It’s GIStemp in Python.

      • GIStemp deletes ocean data and substitutes in land data extrapolated 1200km out into the seas.

        I’m not going to waste any of my time on such fatally flawed nonsense. The sooner this activist is separated from the original data and it is put in the hands of objective data custodians who don’t have a personal axe to grind the better.

      • I would examine the code myself before asserting that it’s no good. You’re free to do so – that ol’ openness and transparency is delivered to you and you fail to take advantage. Why?

      • Other people I know and trust have, so I don’t need to. I think ocean heat content is a better metric for understanding climate, because it’s a better indicator of total energy throughput. So I’m concentrating my programming efforts there.

      • OK, according to you, CRU is junk, GIStemp is junk.

        What of NOAA? UAH? RSS? JMA?

      • I notice you don’t want my opinion about HadCRUT :)

        And to short circuit what will likely become a tedious and fruitless exchange, the problem as I see it is the unreliable reconstruction of pre 1980 global surface temperature anomaly. It is unreliable for all sorts of reasons including sparseness of ocean data, varying methods of data collection and equipment, undocumented station changes, unexplained upwards adjustments in NCDC data relied on by both GIStemp and HadCRUT, unwarranted adjustments by various individuals based on dubious methodologies (e.g. Jim Salinger in NZ), etc ad nauseum.

        I’ll leave the last word to you.

      • E.M. Smith does a wonderful job of that.

      • tallbloke, I’ve explained why this happens and it’s actually correct for the algorithm to do this. As more series qualify for inclusion the past will be cooled. It’s a function of how the reference station approach works.
        If you dont like that approach use a CAM approach ( I did) you get the same results. Dont like CAM? use least squares. same answer ( actually warmer)

        In a nutshell GISS ( and all methods) make choices which result in slight difference. But in no case does the warming magically disappear.

      • “As more series qualify for inclusion the past will be cooled.”

        That’s what concerns me. These series reach the point of inclusion when they have been infilled to Jim’s satisfaction.

        To be honest I’m happy to leave the details to others now, as I’m concentrating on reconstruction of OHC, the better metric IMO.

      • Steve –
        I think I need that explanation – reference please?

      • Steven,

        I believe David Stockwell experimented with differing ways to average the temps. He found one alternative cooled instead of warmed but was even more biased. We seem to be stuck with several methods which are KNOWN to give a bias, yet, are not ADJUSTED for this bias. He also found that the more segments are averaged in the more bias is introduced. I think it is a useable method if only a couple records are being averaged but should not be utilized if several segments are being combined.

        As in so many other ways, we have warming bias a tiny amount at a time being added until there is real bias!! Time to determine a methodology to ADJUST for the warming bias. Aren’t ADJUSTMENTS what Climate Scientists are good for??

      • What is climate made up of?
        And no, I have read enough books about how we have to accept climate catastrophism based on false versions of Pascal and authority of those profiting from it, thank you very much.

  55. From this little ditty by Greg Craven in explaining his Hal Lewis moment on steroids that he delievered in front of the AGU on the 15th, is this wee bit which I think somewhat captures the thought processes preceding the conversions of so many scientists–like Lewis, Curry, etc.–to become skeptics of the politics of fear that has been fomented by UN-approved science authoritarians and adopted by the AGW True Believer Cult:

    “But I believe that when the house is burning, offense is a very small price to pay for saving the family. And especially after learning from scientists at AGU that my worst fears are not only confirmed, but exceeded, I will bear any charge against me to prompt action.”


    Moderation note: this last paragraph is way out of line.

    • Now Judith, certainly comparing Craven to Nazis is over the top. Why hasn’t Wagathon been warmed and his comment moderated?

      • cat $comment | sed -e ‘s/warmed/warned/g’

      • I agree with Derecho64 on this occasion, though unlike him I realise what a herculaean task Judith has running a blog this busy on her own without pre-approval of comments.

        Wagathon’s comment should be snipped after the word ‘agenda’ in the final paragraph. he was doing fine until then.

      • Spotted it, last para has been snipped.

  56. Hamish McDougal

    Dr Curry
    You quote:
    “….. AGU holds a set of guiding core values:
    • The scientific method
    ….. ”
    Surely, the “scientific method” has, at its core, the concept of falsification. I ask you, the AGU, and all the warmist commentators, what single piece of evidence would you accept as falsifying the AGW hypothesis so that you no longer “believed” the A (i.e.anthrop0genic) part thereof?
    After all:
    When an outraged Hitler produced a paper entitled “100 Scientists Against Einstein” he simply replied, “If I were wrong, one would have been enough.”

    • Hamish McDougal

      Dr Curry

      You respond not.

      Nor does anyone else.

      BTW – Mea maxima culpa would seem to me to be more appropriate.

    • Hamish McDougal 12/19/10 2:09 pm

      Surely not.

      A great majority of academics would agree with you that “the ‘scientific method’ has, at its core, the concept of falsification.” Probably not, though in engineering. Philosophers will fill in the gap left by the engineers. You’d probably get the same statistics asking whether the scientific method includes peer-reviewed publication, and whether AGW exists.

      The idea came from the philosopher Popper. He believed that science comprises statements called universal generalizations in logic. Hempel expounded on Popper’s theory posing what is known as the Raven paradox. He noted that the statement (1) “All ravens are black” is equivalent to the statement (2) “Everything that is not black is not a raven”. Every example of a black raven is evidence of (1), clearly. So is a purple hot dog evidence of (2), and by logical equivalence, of (1) as well. This is an example of Popper’s notion that scientific propositions can never be confirmed, only falsified. So far, so good.

      Tangentially, Popper would also abolish all definitions! “Definitions do not matter”.

      The problem is that scientific hypotheses are never logical equivalents of “All ravens are black”. Scientific hypotheses and definitions are of the form of simple conditional statements. A definition is “If (attributes) then (name)”. A real world model is “If (conditions) then (predictions)”, where every entity has a value and tolerance bands.

      The notion that scientists put falsifiable statements into their models is remarkable for its general, and maybe universal, absence. However, one could argue that in the modern concept of science, the requirement to validate predictions, advancing hypotheses to theories, is the new falsification.

      • Hamish McDougal

        Mr Glassman

        I am, FWIW, familiar with the writings of Sir Karl, and the many commentaries thereon (and criticisms thereof). I should add “some of” to each assertion.

        I would agree (again, FWIW) that an invalidated prediction is a form of falsifiabilty. I suspect that the concept of “naïve falsificationism” is relevant here, particularly when the prediction depends (largely) on only part of an hypothesis (a sub-hypothesis?). Thus, cAGW may be a crock, but the infra-red absorption bands of CO2 do not change. Or, in reverse, desertification of sub-Saharan Africa is predicted by the model, does not occur, falsifying the prediction, but the Global Temperature Anomaly reaches 4°C in 2100.

        And yes, I do understand that the models are scenarios, not predictions. Would that some other commenters kept this in mind!

      • Hamish McDougal

        Sorry – Dr. Glassman.
        A matter of simple courtesy to get the title right.
        My bad.

      • A “scenario”, in this context, is a computerized elaboration of the opinions of its creator. The question of its value thus reduces to assessing those opinions and their source. What did it include and exclude, and how arbitrary were those choices?

        It is also interesting that the parameters in those models seem to be time-variable: that is, they are adjusted to match each segment of the record “post facto”.

        To the extent parametrization is valid, it is first externally estimated and linked to an observation set, and then inserted and left alone. It is not hand-fitted to wiggle the results.

        Any modeling experts on-line here? Tell me if that’s correct; it’s what I gather from “expert opinion” in the field.

    • I’ll give it a shot.

      Anthropogenic emissions continue to increase, but all the observed indicators consistent with AGW change sign and move toward their historic values. That is, the oceans alkalinize, Arctic sea ice volume and extent returns to their decades-earlier values, ecosystems return to their previous states, and so on.

      What would you consider a falsification of the anti-AGW position?

      • Hmmm.

        According to the Royal Society, ocean surface water pH value depends on the more acidic water welling up from the deep, which acquired it’s pH value long before human emissions grew.

        Arctic sea ice volume did indeed return to the 1940’s values around the 2007 minimum and is now increasing again.

        Biomass has increased ~7% in the last 25 years.

        So you agree AGW has been falsified. This is progress D64!

      • > Arctic sea ice volume did indeed return to the 1940′s values around the 2007 minimum and is now increasing again.

        Source? How good are our measures of Arctic sea ice volume in the 1940s?

        Biomass increase isn’t the same thing as the metric I chose. Things like species moving back down their elevation ranges, more equatorward than poleward, things like that.

      • Anectdotal evidence and sparse data for 1940’s ice volume.

        The swallows flew south two months early from the south coast of Britain this year. Unseen since 1947, another brutally cold winter.

        But in general, diurnal, seasonal and interannual temperature fluctuations far exceed the long term warming trend, so where is your evidence these species have moved due to co2 anyway?

      • Take a look at flowering dates, growing season length, and even things like ice formation and ice break-up on lakes. All have shifted as one would expect from a warming climate system.

      • True, but inconclusive as far as co2 is concerned.

      • I asked you somewhere around here about the “alternate” theories of climate, which you feel haven’t been investigated at all, that can explain the climate system without any reliance whatsoever on CO2 (or the other GHGs?). Do you have anything more about them?

        As for the importance of CO2 to the climate system, Richard Alley’s 2009 AGU talk is most illuminating.

      • Greg Goodknight

        The Alley talk was more obfuscating than illuminating. Somewhere past the 20 minute mark he discusses the Permian-Triassic extinction and proclaims there just isn’t any way to explain it without CO2. However, it was coincident with the galactic cosmic ray minima of the past 500 million years and the role of GCR in cloud nucleation is much stronger now than when Shaviv & Veizer published “Celestial driver of Phanerozoic climate?” in 2003.

        Towards the end of his talk, Alley shows one place during the last glaciation where a GCR proxy (Be10?) zigs but temperature doesn’t zag, and this is proclaimed as proof there’s no GCR link to climate. However, it strikes me that GCR, which help produce clouds that are less reflective than ice and snow, would have relatively less effect on temperature when a large fraction of the earth’s surface is icy.

        Right now, we have a couple of major experiments underway. The CERN CLOUD experiment is underway and reportedly is showing what was expected from the earlier SKY experiment and CLOUD6. A far larger experiment is what’s happening right now, worldwide, with solar activity far lower than was expected a few years ago, and a much higher GCR flux than during the solar maximum of the latter 20th century.

        If we were currently experiencing record heat it would be loudly proclaimed as a harbinger of the coming climate Apocalypse. However, it is cold, and so time will tell if it’s “climate” and not just “weather”.

      • Who says “it is cold”? Certainly not the obs data!

      • Greg Goodknight

        Perhaps not the GISS sliced, diced and pasteurized surface data, but since October the satellite data shows the waning of temps and there are a number of recent regional record lows. In short, El Niño is no more.

        There’s a great deal of thermal inertia in the system so, even if the sun is entering a Daltonish minimum, it will take awhile before there can be no doubt.

      • > According to the Royal Society, ocean surface water pH value depends on the **more acidic** water welling up from the deep

        Oh dear. Be prepared for a massive pile on from commenters here trying to claim that one cannot use terms like more/less acidic unless you actually are below neutral pH. That is, assuming they still stand by this frankly absurd notion, and are willing to upbraid you for it (and by extension the Royal Society also).

      • a solution is an Acid OR a Base..
        but their is no point arguing with a ‘craven’ mindset

      • Evidence please. Where can I read the RS making such a statement?


        Bit the RS link is dead. I hope Alan saved the document in full.

      • Do you draw any conclusions about why the RS link is no longer functioning??

      • Not really. They have been known to re-organise their data.

      • More or less alkaline would be more proper.

      • Mea Culpa, I should have said less alkaline. The quote is:

        “In the deep oceans, the CO2 concentration increases as sinking organic matter from biological production (which varies seasonally) is decomposed. These additions of CO2 to the deep oceans cause its pH to decrease … When this CO2-rich deep water upwells to the surface, it creates regions with lower pH in the surface waters”

        This cycle takes hundreds of years, so the downtrending pH value at the surface (0.1pH units since 1700 according to the model) could well be due to co2 fixed by plankton in the medieval warm period.

      • Just to confirm….the RS did not use the words ‘acid’ or ‘acidic’ to describe these ‘CO2-rich waters’?

        DaveH : please note.

      • Correct, it was my loose formulation which caused the confusion, sorry.

      • If I search some of the exact text from the quote cited above, I find very few matches, first of which is this link:

        This cites the following report:

        I could not find the same text in that report however. So where it actually came from, I don’t know. Also, given that *throughout* the actual report, they talk in terms of increasing acidity, you’ll find no support from the Royal Society for your odd position. A quick count turned up the frase “more acidic” seven times, and “less alkaline” once, in parenthesis, to expand upon prior usage of the word “acidified”.

      • “less alkaline” once, in parenthesis, to expand upon prior usage of the word “acidified”.

        Interesting. So they know they are being misleading then.

      • I wonder how “acidic” the oceans were for the millions of years while CO2 was in the 2-7,000 ppm range. And many of the current corals and shellfish were evolving.

      • Dave H 12/19/10 6:14 pm

        Part I of III: Royal Society on acidification

        Here’s a pregnant excerpt from the Summary to The Royal Society, Ocean acidification due to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide, June, 2005.

        >>The oceans are absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and this is causing chemical changes by making them more acidic (that is, decreasing the pH of the oceans). In the past 200 years the oceans have absorbed approximately half of the CO2 produced by fossil fuel burning and cement production. Calculations based on measurements of the surface oceans and our knowledge of ocean chemistry indicate that this uptake of CO2 has led to a reduction of the pH of surface seawater of 0.1 units, equivalent to a 30% increase in the concentration of hydrogen ions.

        >>If global emissions of CO2 from human activities continue to rise on current trends then the average pH of the oceans could fall by 0.5 units (equivalent to a three fold increase in the concentration of hydrogen ions) by the year 2100. This pH is probably lower than has been experienced for hundreds of millennia and, critically, this rate of change is probably one hundred times greater than at any time over this period. The scale of the changes may vary regionally, which will affect the magnitude of the biological effects.

        >>Ocean acidification is essentially irreversible during our lifetimes. It will take tens of thousands of years for ocean chemistry to return to a condition similar to that occurring at pre-industrial times (about 200 years ago). Our ability to reduce ocean acidification through artificial methods such as the addition of chemicals is unproven. These techniques will at best be effective only at a very local scale, and could also cause damage to the marine environment. Reducing CO2 emissions to the atmosphere appears to be the only practical way to minimise the risk of large-scale and long-term changes to the oceans.

        >>All the evidence collected and modelled to date indicates that acidification of the oceans, and the changes in ocean chemistry that accompany it, are being caused by emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere from human activities. The magnitude of ocean acidification can be predicted with a high level of confidence. The impacts of ocean acidification on marine organisms and their ecosystems are much less certain but it is likely that, because of their particular physiological attributes, some organisms will be more affected than others.

      • Dave H 12/19/10 6:14 pm

        Part II of III: IPCC’s CO2 model

        If the surface layer of the ocean is in thermodynamic equilibrium (Zeebe, R. E., and D. A. Wolf-Gladrow, Carbon dioxide, dissolved (ocean). Encyclopedia of Paleoclimatology and Ancient Environments, Ed. V. Gornitz, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Earth Science Series, in press 2008, p. 1), then the chemical equations for the marine carbonate buffer system apply. AR4, ¶, p. 30, citing Zeebe, R.E. and D. Wolf-Gladrow, CO2 in Seawater: Equilibrium, Kinetics, 2001; Box 7.3, p. 529, equations 7.1 and 7.2;. The Bjerrum Plot, not referenced directly by IPCC, is a graphical rendering of the solution to the equations. Wolf-Gladrow, CO2 in Seawater: Equilibrium, Kinetics, Isotopes, 6/24/06, p. 5, presentation, from Zeebe and Wolf-Gladrow, 2001. The Bjerrum graph shows that as CO2 concentration increases, considering CO2 to be the independent variable, then the pH of water must decrease (become more acidic).

        The “three dissolved forms [of CO2] (collectively known as DIC) are found in the approximate ratio CO2:HCO3^-:CO3^2- of 1:100:10 (Equation 7.1)”. AR4, Box 7.3, id. Consequently, “Together the solubility and biological pumps maintain a vertical gradient in CO2 (as DIC) between the surface ocean (low) and the deeper ocean layers (high), and hence regulate exchange of CO2 between the atmosphere and the ocean.” AR4, ¶, p. 514. In other words, the carbonate system creates a bottleneck to the solubility pump, given by Henry’s Law (Wolf-Gladrow, 6/24/06id, p. 11, but not mentioned by IPCC). “The slow long-term buffering of the ocean, including CaCO3-sediment feedback, requires 30,000 to 35,000 years for atmospheric CO2 concentrations to reach equilibrium.” AR4, Technical Summary, ¶TS.5.4, p. 77. “Revelle and Suess (1957) explained why part of the emitted CO2 was observed to accumulate in the atmosphere rather than being completely absorbed by the oceans. While CO2 can be mixed rapidly into the upper layers of the ocean, the time to mix with the deep ocean is many centuries. By the time of the TAR, the interaction of climate change with the oceanic circulation and biogeochemistry was projected to reduce the fraction of anthropogenic CO2 emissions taken up by the oceans in the future, leaving a greater fraction in the atmosphere”. AR4, ¶1.4.1, p. 105. “[T]he observed increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations does not reveal the full extent of human emissions in that it accounts for only 55% of the CO2 released by human activity since 1959.” AR4, FAQ 7.1 Are the Increases in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Other Greenhouse Gases During the Industrial Era Caused by Human Activities? p. 512.

        Man’s emissions release around 6.4 GtC/yr, while the ocean alone outgasses about 90.6 GtC/yr. AR4, Figure 7.3, p. 515. Why anthropogenic CO2 accumulates in the atmosphere but not natural CO2 is never answered directly by IPCC. However, it is a fact according to IPCC, known from signatures in the chemical analysis of the atmosphere. AR4, ¶2.3.1, pp. 137-140. As shown in Figure 2.3(a), the decrease in O2 is antiparallel to the increase in CO2, showing that the increase in CO2 is due to combustion in the air. Figure 2.3(b) shows that the isotopic ratio of atmospheric CO2 increases parallel to the global emissions, which is due to natural 12CO2 being lighter than 13CO2 and fossil fuels being lighter because the 13C has decayed over its lifetime.

        So the argument is ready for closure. The surface layer of the ocean, being in thermodynamic equilibrium, creates a bottleneck to the dissolution of anthropogenic CO2. The increase in CO2 seen at MLO (which represents global CO2 because CO2 is well-mixed, and that is because it is long-lived) is about half of man’s emissions in the industrial era. The natural CO2 is in equilibrium. The attribution of that increase to man is known from the two chemical signatures. That increase portends a climate catastrophe, because the added CO2 creates a radiative forcing, and the radiative forcing produces a temperature increase in proportion to the increase in radiative forcing by the constant α, which measures the feedback strength of the climate.

        That is the main apocalypse in all its gory detail.

        Now the fact that added CO2 also acidifies the ocean, as known to IPCC and restated by the Royal Society, above, adds a second apocalypse. This is a bonus to the Hansen/IPCC effort to frighten the public.

      • Dave H 12/19/10 6:14 pm

        Part III of III: IPCC’s CO2 model errors.

        What is wrong with the story?

        1. The surface layer of the ocean is never in thermodynamic equilibrium. For that matter nothing in the nature of the various Earthly spheres is. However, the surface layer fails miserably to be in thermodynamic equilibrium because it fails each of the three requisite conditions: mechanical equilibrium, chemical equilibrium, and thermal equilibrium. (To overcome the thermodynamic equilibrium requirement, Ferdinand Engelbeen on another blog urged that the surface is in “dynamic equilibrium”, and that that is sufficient. His argument is unscientific and without merit.)

        IPCC provides an equation for the decay of a pulse of CO2. AR4, Table 2.14, p. 213. It is

        a_0 + a_1*exp(-t/tau_1) + a_2*exp(-t/tau_2) + a_3*exp(-t/tau_3)

        where the a parameters are 0.217, 0.259, 0.338, and 0.186, and the tau parameters are 172.9, 18.51, and 1.186, respectively.

        To mechanize this formula, the four processes (including the constant), real enough in their own right, would have to have a physical separation. That might be accomplished with separate pipe lines, or by division of the pulse of CO2 into four separate reservoirs with separate feeds to the processes. That separation does not exist in nature to any level of approximation. The fastest decaying exponential will exhaust all the pulse quickly, and net even faster than its own, fastest time constant. The formula expresses IPCC’s model well, and exposes that it is nonsense.

        Consequently the ocean buffer against absorption of CO2 doesn’t exist. The predicted ratio of 1:100:10 for DIC components in the surface layer will instead be arbitrary. The surface layer is out of equilibrium, and is instead a buffer reservoir to store excess molecular CO2 and to allow Henry’s Law to proceed apace.

        2. Any acidification or basification observed in the ocean is not due to CO2 dissolved in the ocean, and does not support IPCC’s CO2 model.

        3. The slow sequestration process of the two biological pumps are inconsequential on the time scales IPCC chooses for climate.

        4. Solubility proceeds rapidly according to local partial pressure of CO2 and local ocean temperature, all according to Henry’s Law. That flux is instantaneous compared to climate or even ocean current time scales. No bottleneck exists. That conjectured bottleneck is also known as the Revelle Buffer or Revelle Factor, and when IPCC tried to evaluate it, the solubility curve appeared. IPCC had difficulty explaining the sudden appearance of the solubility curve in the draft reviews of AR4, so it deleted the curve. IPCC thus was guilty of discarding relevant data to support its story. That was fraudulent and unethical for a scientist.

        5. CO2 in the atmosphere is not well-mixed. It has gradients recognized by IPCC. A large quantity of CO2 is outgassed along the Equator and absorbed all across the surface of the ocean as currents slide to the poles. That river of CO2, spiraling from the Equator to the poles, is a complex background current. IPCC gives a formula for the life time of CO2 in the atmosphere, and instead of thousands of years, it is 1.5 to 5 years. (Here Willis Eschenbach on another blog argued to overcome the life time model contradiction by trying to distinguish between the half life of a molecule and the half life of a pulse. His analysis is unscientific and without merit.) Consequently, the measurements at MLO are not global.

        6. The twin fingerprints of human activity found in atmospheric CO2 are the product of graphical trickery. IPCC adjusted the offset between the left and right ordinates to make the curves under comparison lie close to one another, and then selected the left and right scale factors to make the curves parallel. The curves are not as claimed, and the signatures do not exist. IPCC’s graphical manipulations are deceitful, meriting the label fraud.

        The surge in CO2 measured since 1958 at MLO is (a) local, not global and (b) is about 94% natural and about 6% anthropogenic. IPCC’s reporting that other stations agree with MLO, and that the various ice core records transition smoothly into the MLO record, coupled with IPCC’s proven shenanigans, call into question IPCC’s calibration methods.

        7. The double apocalyptic alarm sounded over CO2 was unfounded, criminal, and unethical.

      • Or maybe if it is found carbon dioxide does not absorb at 15 microns. The rest of AGW follows from that, somewhat inevitably.

      • Really?
        Because CO2 absorbs at 15 microns there are huge positive feedbacks that lead to runaway heating and dangerous tipping points?

      • Yes, 3 C per doubling is not that huge. We see similar feedbacks in response to solar-change forcing.

      • 3C is supposedly deadly to the world, JimD.
        And who is ‘we’?
        This is so typical of talking to true believers: the skeptic asks a reasonable quesiotn and the true believer either goes silent or dodges away.

      • I leave it for others to infer how deadly 3 C is. I just go as far as the fairly certain statement that 2100 will be 3.5 C warmer than 2000. I don’t claim to know what effect that will have, and I would be surprised if any enactable policy was effective at stopping it from happening, so the money should go towards preparation and adaptation (but that is just my view, which I realize is not typical).

      • Heh! Now you’re into fortunetelling? At least you’re not in the 6-8 C camp.

        You might want to read Christian Gerondeau’s book “Climate: The Great Delusion” . He’s a skeptic but not in the sense you might think.

      • You are also fortune-telling if you assert it will be less than that. This is a false distinction.

      • I made no prediction so there is no false distinction. Another time maybe.

        I think Gerondeau’s form of scepticism might surprise (and maybe shock) you. He has an engineers pragmatic outlook.

      • How can I explain that sequence of logic to my eighty year old Aunt or my ten year old great niece? There seem to be quite a few steps from

        ‘CO2 absorbs at 15 microns’ (uncontroversial, easily verified by experiment)

        ‘there are huge positive feedbacks that lead to runaway heating and dangerous tipping points? (supposition with no evidence of such points)

        Please fill in the gaps for me, They may be blindingly obvious to you but I am not a climatologist – just a physical chemist and IT guy. I need to be led gently through this chain of logic.

        The floor is yours.

      • ‘there are huge positive feedbacks that lead to runaway heating and dangerous tipping points? (supposition with no evidence of such points)

        Well personally I wouldn’t class that as an accurate representation of that part of the argument. Instead I would say

        “The higher temperatures caused by an increase in CO2 will in turn have certain effects (such as increasing the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere) which will also have an impact on temperature, either positive or negative. These effects are called “feedbacks” and are estimated to cause the overall level of warming (or “climate sensitivity”) to be between 2 and 4.5C for a doubling of CO2, with the best estimate around 3C.”

        That’s a fair representation of the scientific argument which should be comprehensible to your aunt and niece.

      • …..’and are estimated to cause….’

        Not ‘shown to cause’ or have been experimentally proven to cause.

        Could I sensibly say ‘some alarmist commentators having no evidence whatsoever have estmated that’….And ‘others of the sceptic persuasion have equally estimated that the feedback is negative and would tend to dampen any effect from CO2 towards zero’

        Becasue that seems to me to ba a fair summary.

      • Not ‘shown to cause’ or have been experimentally proven to cause.

        Estimated, based on a range of different factors including experiment, observation and study of past climate change, would be fine. The exact level will never be “proven”.

        Could I sensibly say ‘some alarmist commentators having no evidence whatsoever have estmated that’…

        No you couldn’t, because it isn’t true. It ignores a large amount of research conducted over many years based on multiple lines of investigation which supports that estimate.

        And ‘others of the sceptic persuasion have equally estimated that the feedback is negative and would tend to dampen any effect from CO2 towards zero’

        Well again you could say that, but it would only be fair to point out that there is virtually no evidence supporting this view and it is incompatible with our best understanding of how climate has changed in the past.

      • ‘Estimated – based on experiment’

        Great – I love experiments. Please can you guide me to a couple so that I can study how they were done?

      • D64,
        Then you are ready to admit you were wrong?
        No ‘alkalinization’ of the oceans, no measures outside the range of typical, and world ice up.
        Can we all go home now?

      • How can I be wrong since none of the metrics I suggested have or are taking place? Oh, and I specifically mentioned Arctic sea ice, not global total sea ice. Poor sleight-of-hand attempt on your part.